Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Last Post

This blog is ten years old today and I have decided that this will be my last post, as I feel that the content has become increasingly repetitive. It was relatively easy to write when I had a job that exposed me to a wealth of amusing books, photos and diaries, but my present role as a 'carer' doesn't provide the same inspiration and posts take twice as long to write.

Some people have suggested that I write about my current experiences, but I feel that this would intrude on my sons' privacy. My older son has very strong opinions on the subject and every time I mention him in a blog post, I experience a slight pang of betrayal. It would be better to just stop.

I also feel that I need to focus on what I am going to do when, in a year's time, I'm able to return to work. I have almost a third of my working life ahead of me and have absolutely no idea what to do with it. I could revive my book business, but with so many suppliers going out of business, getting stock has become a real struggle.

I’m planning to take a break for a while, after which I will either set up a new blog or try and build a website. If that happens, I'll post a link here. Unlike a well-known book blogger, I will not be initiating the auto-destruct sequence and the content here will simply gather dust in the attic of cyberspace and the archives of the British Library.

The blog began as a simple experiment, while I was laid up in bed after eating some bad oysters. I wrote a rather fatuous post and pressed publish, not expecting anyone to read it. However, within a day I received an interesting comment from someone called Ms Baroque and realised that a blog post wasn't a monologue, but the beginning of a conversation.

I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read these posts over the years. I still can't quite understand why anyone would want to follow this blog, but I'm deeply grateful to those who do.

I would also like to thank those who have commented for their kindness, thoughtfulness and wisdom. Thanks to fellow bloggers, I have discovered some wonderful books, learned about subjects I knew nothing about and visited exhibitions that I might otherwise have missed.

In addition to communicating across the ether, I have also met a few bloggers, all of whom were as interesting and likeable as their writing.

I would like to apologise to anyone who has been offended by what I have written in some of my posts. There has never been any intent to cause upset, but my attempts to amuse may have occasionally hit a wrong note, either through naivety or thoughtlessness on my part.

I will continue to post on Twitter and Instagram (as phil._.b), so I hope to maintain contact with some of the people who have been good enough to follow this blog.

Once again, many thanks for reading.


Mrs Jones said...

That's a shame but I totally understand. I've basically stopped doing my blog as well because I got fed up talking about myself and just repeating stuff. What's your Instagram account called? I really like your photos....

δύτης των νιπτήρων said...

You'll be missed in Greece as well...
Hope all will be for the best, though!

BDR said...

Thanks for the ten years, best wishes for you and yours.

Chris said...

I fully understand and respect your reasons but I hope you'll eventually reconsider and come back. In this age of endless foolishness I think intelligent writing matters, in whatever form it happens to arise. I don't know you from Adam but I've enjoyed what you've done here. All the best.

Brian Busby said...

This is sad news. I shall miss your posts. You wonder that anyone would've wanted to follow The Age of Uncertainty. The answer is simple, you seemed to be someone I'd like to get to know. And I did, in a way. I'm the one who is deeply grateful.

It is good that you won't be pulling down the blog. I will continue to visit. It'll be like stopping by an old friend who can't help repeating the same stories. One never minds when the stories are so interesting.

Wishing you all the best.

Tororo said...

Dear Age, you have provided your readers with so many inspirational, amusing, or intriguing readings over the years: I dare say you have been inspirational to me as well. I don't really know where I came from, yet I sometimes feel we probably stem from the same place, this place called Uncertainty (where is it? being a French blog, I'm not keen on geography).

Truly yours,
Tororoshiru, Tororo's blog.
PS: My blogger Tororo wants me to say "hello" to yours, Steerforth, I think is his name. And "godspeed".

joan.kyler said...

I'm very sorry that you're leaving the blogosphere, but I understand. As I've said before, you take wonderful photographs. I'm sure that's a difficult job choice, but you are very talented. Best wishes to you and your family as you figure out what to do with the rest of your working life.

Amy said...

I'm so sorry to read this. I'm a relative newcomer to your blog and have always been happy to see there's a new post from you on my reader. I hope you find a new voice/vision.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your wonderful posts. I wish you and your family the best of luck, and hope to see more of your writing on the internet if you ever feel inclined to return.


Georgie said...

No-o-o. Or rather, yes - yes, I can understand absolutely why the blog isn't the right thing for you atm. But I shall really miss reading your posts. Initially, I started reading the blog because you were writing about books, but I kept following you because you have off-beat thoughts and an interesting way of expressing them. And you made me want to visit Lewes. I shall really miss The Age of Uncertainty, and I hope things work out for you and your family in future.

I won't take down the feed link, just in case, years from now.....

Anonymous said...

Fuck - that is sad news. Anyhow, all the best. Bob

Anonymous said...

I'll miss you but am glad that you are leaving the whole thing 'open-ended'.......come back soon but, meanwhile, have a happy interim. Really will miss uou.

kate steeper said...

you will be sadly missed.....but the endless soul sapping designation of care giver tends to do this to us , sometimes I just want to run screaming . Its not the job , which so many bear with mixed joy and fortitude , its the job title

Gareth said...

A sad day indeed. There's no hint of hyperbole when I say this is my favourite blog. Your gift for seeing beauty in the everyday and mundane is something I share, or at least aspire to. Please do stay on Twitter etc. and I hope to visit a new blog in the not too distant future.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Success and great enjoyment in whatever the next step is !

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Steerforth,
. Many thanks for this wonderful blog/chronicle of testing times. Your posts gave me a mindscape to escape to during my long trudge to a Ph.D. degree. I pray you may find other rewarding ventures and will write about them too.
. A hats off in the style of The Browning Version to the teacher in you.

Ace said...

Our Venn diagrams cross in two key ways; Wilmington and books. You have entertained me in so many ways.

My blog languishes, not for ambition but for push. So much to write, so hard to get off top dead center. I do find much more satisfaction in producing than in consuming. And, the conversation is worth the effort.

My best to you and yours.


Blackout said...

Well, all I can say is thank you for everything you've brought to the digital aether and I wish you the best that life can bring in the future. I'll miss your posts, but thank you for leaving the blog online in the meanwhile :)

FS said...

I hope you decide to revive the blog (or start a successor one) at some point. I've greatly enjoyed reading you over the years.

Best of luck to you and your family.

Rog said...

Good luck Mr Steerforth - your writing has always shone like a witty and truthfull beacon in a sea of ...
You have a real talent for writing so let's hope you can find a rewarding outlet for it.
And your photos are quite good as well!!!

Steerforth said...

Mrs Jones - Thanks for your comments over the years and explaining the mysteries of the Bearded Lady of Guildford and the man with the pyramid on his head. My Instagram account is Phil._.B

δύτης των νιπτήρων - Thank you for reading - Ζήτω η Ελλάδα!

BDR - Very best wishes to you. I like your profile picture.

Chris - I'm sure I'll return in some form. I just need to find a fresh approach. Thanks for reading.

Brian - Thanks. I had the same feeling when I read your blog. My knowledge of Canadian literature was pretty poor, but your passion, integrity and humour made it consistently readable and I've read several books as a result. If you're ever in this neck of the woods, it would be a pleasure to meet you.

Tororo - I think we inhabit a country that has no name or flag, but many citizens across the world. Once we existed in isolation, but the internet has enabled us to link up. Merci d'avoir lu (I hope that's right).

Joan - Thank you for your thoughtful, wise comments over the years. I've often got the feeling that you're a little frustrated by urban life, so I hope that the future brings you something more fulfilling.

Amy - Many thanks. I will continue to visit your interesting book blog, with its pleasingly ecclectic selection.

Daniel - Best of luck to you too and thank you for taking the time to read. It's much appreciated.

Georgie - Thank you for following me on my journey from attempted book blogger to random ramblings. If you ever visit Lewes, I would be delighted to give you a tour of the area's literary highlights.

Bob - All the best to you too, and thanks.

Anonymous - I will write again, I'm sure, as I enjoy the connections it brings. In the meantime, many thanks for reading.

Kate - Yes, the 'carer' label is soul-sapping. I always feel as if I have to apologise, when in fact I know that it was the only viable option and has made a real difference. But like you, the lack of money is a constant backdrop. I wish you all the best and hope that things improve.

Gareth - I'm very grateful for you kind words. I'll post the odd thing on Twitter and see what I can come up for future ideas. It may be that when my current stretch of school runs, housework and general parent things stops, I'll find a new path that is interesting enough to share with others. We'll see.

SmitoniusandSonata - Thank you for reading and very best wishes!

Anonymous - Ah, the Browning Version! The Michael Redgrave version is one of my favourite films. I'm really touched that you enjoyed my blog during the hard slog of a PhD and wish you all the best in the future.

Fred - Wilmington is a special place, particularly in the winter, I think, when the setting sun creates long shadows across the Downs. Thank you for reading.

Mighty Blackout - Thanks. I can't see the point of torching a blog. The blog I referred to had a huge archive of book reviews and it seemed a disservice to the books' authors and blog's readers to erase it all.

FS - I'd love to have a new project. I just felt that this blog had, in television parlance, 'jumped the shark' and had outstayed its welcome. I'll post a link here and/or on Twitter when I do.

Rog - Many thanks for your humourous comments, both here and on Twitter. I always enjoy your sense of the absurd, which is a welcome antidote to some of the more po-faced elements of social media. You're not such a bad photographer yourself, either ;)

El D said...

I've enjoyed your words and photos but am sure you didn't come to this decision lightly. All the best for whatever you decide to do in the future - while hoping you come up with a new blog idea which we can also share in. Thanks for the posts.

Kid said...

How about a compromise? Only write when you want to, or when you feel you have something to say. That way, you'll escape the pressure of writing something just because you feel you have to. Incidentally, I don't mind repetition, as we can all do with being reminded of some things from time to time, and your writing was always entertaining. Also, remember that even when you repeat yourself, it's new to someone, as every post is probably someone's first. I'll be keeping your site in my blog list in the hope that some of my readers will drop in to read your 'back catalogue' every so often.

All the best to you and yours, and hope you return soon.

Anonymous said...

I started reading your blog many years ago. I'm not sure exactly what led me to it, but as an ex-pat Englishman I have always found it fascinating to hear what current residents of the dear old isle (yes, I know that's probably a silly description) have to say, regardless of the subject. My parents brought me to the US when I was barely a teenager, but we have maintained close ties with most of our family in the UK, and I often find myself wishing that I had been able to spend more time there before having my perspective changed. Reading about your life, career changes, and family experiences has been a real pleasure and often triggered many pleasant recollections, and sometimes sadness.

Reading, and the interpretation of a writers thoughts and intentions are very individualized processes, but at the same time share many commonalities. Your descriptions of working as a book seller and of meeting authors, hosting book signings, etc., remind me so much of my earlier life, even if my experiences didn't exactly parallel yours, the processes and experiences are similar.

Finally, I have to say I have always admired people who can 'put pen to paper', so-to-speak. As an amateur musician, I have always admired those who can perform in front of others. I don't have the confidence to 'put myself out there', so living vicariously though other performers has always been my escape. Reading your blog has been part of that :-)

I'll miss reading about your life experiences, but as someone who only watches from the sidelines, I obviously have no right to complain when a performer decides to stop entertaining us. Best wishes to you and your family.

moo said...

Sorry to see you go. Best of luck with your son's progress, and I hope you decide what you want to grow up to be. I still don't know, but people seem to employ me to poke at computers, so that's what I'll settle for.

TravellinPenguin Pam said...

I am very sad. You have been my favourite blogger. I will keep the subscription open and look forward to a possible revival when you get back to work. You are a wonderful photographer. Learn photoshop and maybe make money in that area. All the best in whatever you do.

George said...

I will miss your blog, and hope that you will find occasion to start a new one. I think that you are correct in mostly leaving family matters out of the blog. Good luck!

M. Denise C. said...

I live in Texas and enjoy reading about life in the UK so I will miss you and your blog immensely. Ten years is a long time. So many blogs I have followed have come and gone or morphed into something else. Ah, well. Life goes on. Good wishes to you and your family.

You could always go into photography. Your pics are superb.

Fare thee well.


Dale said...

My French is as rusty as yours, Steerforth, so let's hope I get it right when I trust this withdrawal of yours is a reculer pour mieux sauter.

It has been a real pleasure reading this blog for the last five or so years and meeting your and your lovely family was a highlight of our rather challenging UK trip in 2014.

The book trade is in turmoil, though, and any number of booksellers are facing existential crises as they wait for its new direction to become clear. With your gifts you have more choice of new career than most - but this is not a great time to be writing for pay. The Internet may have made billionaires of a few, but has made serfs of many.

All the very best to you and yours, and we hope to see you down here in the South Seas one of these days. [Thinks: Goldurnit, I may have to join Twitter to keep up our occasional conversations...]

Rosie said...

Your blog has been one of my favourites. Humane, gentle, funny and always worth a read. Thanks for inviting a bunch of strangers into your life. I do hope you continue to write again in another blog, You'll be missed. Good luck for the future. PS. the Derek Diaries were one of the highlights of the Blogosphere.

Ross said...

I only started reading a few months ago, but I've really enjoyed your blog and I'm sorry to see it go. Best of luck in the future.

David Gouldstone said...

I'm sorry to read this. I've enjoyed your blog for several years; it's always been entertaining, thoughtful and amusing (and the pictures are beautiful). Very best wishes to you and your family.

Richard de Pesando MA(RCA) said...

Thanks for everything over the last 10 years - you've helped me enormously. Can't think of any better way to phrase that.


Unknown said...

I love your writing, and indeed your photos, and so am very sorry to read of your decision. Like many others though, I entirely understand your reasons. What I might very gently suggest however is that you don't merely let your words gather cyber-dust. Instead, collect them together - maybe with those photos - alongside any particularly apposite comments and save them in a file somewhere on your hard drive. You might find there is life in them yet. Finally, I'm so glad we've met and have discovered to have shared similar Teddington / Orleans Park childhoods. I wish you and your family the very best and hope our paths cross again. Yours, Chris Neill.

Peter Sipe said...

Well, let me tell you, my joy at seeing you had a new post quickly diminished.

This is very saddening. I'm also sorry for not having discovered your blog far earlier. It really is one of the best things out there.

I respect your decision - and I have particular esteem for anyone who knows when it's time to quit - but man, I gotta say, if it were up to me, you wouldn't be permitted to do this.

I wish you and your family all the best. Thank you, sir.

Kristin said...

You'll be missed! Best wishes, and I look forward to more of your wonderful pictures on Instagram!

Steerforth said...

El D - Thanks. I have several ideas for websites, but I want time to explore them without any distractions. I also need to get to grips with the technical side of things. I did a course in web design seven years ago, but I expect things have moved on since then.

Kid - As Fu Manchu said, I shall return, but I think the format will have to be different and I will need to be released from my current routine. My attempts to run a book business provided me with a good source of material, although I kept quiet about one of its most amusing and absurd aspects - I was working on a farm with Kenton from the Archers, just to heighten the rural aspect. Many thanks for all your comments and kind words.

Anonymous - I think the beauty of blogging is that when you begin, nobody's reading it, so you have time to cut your teeth and get used to the whole process - quite different from walking onto a stage and thinking "Yikes!". When I occasionally published a few posts that received higher than usual visitor numbers, I did panic slightly and would quickly edit and rewrite if necessary. I'd urge you to give it a try, as it is not only cathartic, but also a way of connecting with like minded people. Thank you for reading and I wish you well.

Moo - I envy those people who know what they want to do. Poking at computers is at least more lucrative than bookselling and computers don't ask you to join them for a teambuilding evening, so it sounds as if you've made a good choice. Thanks for your comment.

Pam - I am hoping to do a Photoshop course in September, as I often have amusing (to me, at least) ideas for satirical images but no idea how to execute them. Thanks for keeping the subscription - I'll post an update when the time comes.

George - I never really wanted to write about family matters, but they became so overwhelming it was impossible to ignore them without feeling completely dishonest. Fortunately I can end on a positive note, as things are looking much more positive than they were - a 10-day holiday in Scotland and N.England would have been unthinkable once. Many thanks for your wise, erudite comments over the years and very best wishes.

Steerforth said...

MDC - Thank you for following. It's interesting to read that other blogs have followed a similar route. I suppose it's inevitable. I feel the same way about Instagram - after snapping the local area for 18 months, I feel that I'm recycling the same views - a shot of Lewes Castle, some old houses, flint walls, etc, but I do feel I'm getting better. Thanks for your kind comment about the photos.

Dale - Yes, it was lovely to meet the two of you in 2014 and I left wishing that we had teleportation technology so that I could see you again, as I'm not a big fan of flying. I've always enjoyed your comments and emails, but meeting you in the flesh revealed what a great raconteur you are and I loved hearing your anecdotes about the literary scene in NZ and your experiences in the publishing world. I hope that we'll maintain our connection in the years to come.

Lisa - Ah yes, I'm still haunted by the Derek Diaries - the ones that were thrown away when my back was turned for half an hour. I think they would have made a fantastic book, but of course there would be a huge ethical dilemma about doing this. Derek clearly wanted his diaries to be read, but his family clearly didn't. Also, if I'd edited them, most of the material about the Mormon Church would have had to go (it was very dull), which wouldn't have pleased Derek. It amuses me that people thought I'd made them up. Many thanks for your kind words.

Ross - Thank you for reading. I hope you'll visit my next venture, whatever it is.

David - Many thanks and very best wishes to you too. I'm very grateful to you for taking the time to read and comment.

Richard - I'm not sure how I've helped you - I'm intrigued - but I'm glad I have. You already know the high regard I have for your blog and it has been a comfort to me too to read about your struggles, always told entertaingly with the perfect blend of humour and righteous anger.

Chris - Thanks. I'm really glad I came across that piece you wrote about your schooldays - it was a spooky moment when you mentioned the newsagent in Heath Road and I realised that you must have been at Orleans. Thank you for capturing part of my youth so evocatively. I hope you decide to turn it into a memoir one day. I'll take your advice about saving the blog posts to a hard drive. Wishing you all the best and yes, I hope our paths will cross again.

Peter - I'm flattered that you wouldn't permit me to stop (as long as it doesn't involve any Stephen King-style tactics), particularly coming from such an intelligent and engaging writer. I would leave comments on your blog, but they don't seem to be enabled. Anyway, I will be back at some point. I just feel that I jumped the shark a few years ago and need to take a break and think of something new. Many thanks for your support and positive comments. I'm glad that we'll be able to maintain contact through Twitter.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe I've commented before but I have enjoyed reading your blog for quite some time. It's one of only two that I particularly look forward to seeing. Sadly, *both* are now mothballed so goodness only knows what I'm going to read online. Anyway, adieu and best hopes for the future, and thanks for the thoughtful entertainment and pretty pictures.


Martin said...

A sad day in blogland, Steerforth. One of the brightest lights has gone out. I sincerely hope that, after a break, you'll start a new blog, and we can look forward to your entertaining and informative posts once more. I do follow you on Instagram, and enjoy your photographic adventures, there.

Sandra Morris said...

Another damn fine blog bites the dust.
You will be missed.
Best wishes for your future...hope it all works out fine in the end.

Anonymous said...

Many others on here have expressed exactly how I feel - just want to say thank you for allowing us to have shared your thoughts and reflections on life in all its many frustrating and joyful aspects. There was always food for thought, and I will miss this blog. Very best wishes to you and your family, and I hope it's au revoir for now.

Andrea said...

Thank you for writing so well and for so long. Your writing has been exceptionally clear and fascinating, and I can't say enough how much I've prized your drawing our eyes to the different beautiful parts of your world (ordinary and otherwise) and to the countless human stories you've come across. Your blog is one of the best collections of writing I've ever found. For the past year, I've actually been going through your blog and saving screenshots of it in anticipation of its ending. While I'll miss it, asking anyone to keep up that kind of endeavor on the internet is obviously unrealistic. I wish you all the best in your future projects. Please do post or tweet about them if you don't mind doing that.

Take care!

Anonymous said...

I'm really going to miss reading this blog - funny & profound in equal doses. I do hope you begin a new blog, & I'll continue to follow you on Twitter. I wish you and your family all the best. Come visit Detroit someday, we have a fabulous bookstore - John R King's - to entice you

Unknown said...

Derek will live on in our hearts x

Anonymous said...

I will miss you!

Annie in Sweden

MikeP said...

Shame...but like everybody else I completely understand. I gave up my highly amusing blog about moving to Australia before I even got there! I will continue to enjoy your Twitter and Instagram feeds (particularly your photos), and perhaps, when I'm next in Lewes (next April) we can finally meet - while our respective Aged Ps are still around. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Desperate Reader said...

I'll miss your posts too, and hope that you find things you want to write about again some day. Meanwhile best of luck with everything.

Adam said...

Thank you for all your posts here. I haven't been following you for the whole 10 years - more like five, I think. But I've always enjoyed your posts, and the gentle insights into the places you go and the work you do.

I hope you do eventually come back with something else - as I'll miss your writing.

Steerforth said...

Kristin - Many thanks for my guest spot on your lovely blog. I wish you all the very best in the future.

Anonymous - Thanks for reading - I hope that my next venture may amuse you, unless it turns out to be that difficult second album or novel that nobody likes as much.

Martin - Thanks for your many words of encouragement over the years, which I'm very grateful for. Our paths will continue to cross, I don't doubt.

Sandra - Your kind words are much appreciated. Best wishes to you and many thanks for taking the time to read.

Anonymous - I think it is au revoir, as I can't imagine remaining silent for long.

Andrea - I'm extraordinarily flattered that you've taken screenshots. I've been going through the old posts trying to see it through other people's eyes, but all I can see are its flaws. I think it's always easier to see the good in others. Many thanks.

Kim - As you know, Detroit is very high on my list of places to visit, so I might just pop over one day. Many thanks for your interesting insights into the city and the links to articles and photos. Thanks also for reading. Very best wishes.

Kathryn - I think we're all Dereks, in varying degrees, but not all of us acknowledge our inner Derek.

Annie - Tack så mycket for following the blog. Best wishes.

MikeP - I think our mothers will probably outlive us - they seem immortal. But yes, I'd love to meet for a chat next time your here.

Desperate Reader - Thank you. I will drink a glass of gin in your honour, as it's a favourite tipple of yours!

Adam - Thanks for reading over the last few years. I've enjoyed writing but as you only know too well, with your background, there's so much more to the digital world and I feel that I should leave the comfort zone of my 2006 blog format and try something new. Best wishes.

Juna said...

This American reader will miss you. Best of luck with your next adventures.

Unknown said...

Mate, you will be missed. Your blog was infused with humanity. Cheers, Bob

Unknown said...

I'll so miss your wry posts and glorious photographs here, but am glad you're staying elsewhere.

If I can tempt you with any new books, F or NF, or reprints to review for Shiny or bookish articles - you know where I am.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for helping me channel my inner Derek!
Will miss your blog.

Maria in Stockholm

Steerforth said...

Juna - I've just had a day that would have made a great blog post and felt a pang of regret, so I have an incentive to design something new. Many thanks for your kind words.

Bob - I really appreciate that. I didn't set out to write in a certain way, so I'm really heartened that you felt that way about the blog. Thank you.

Annabel - Thanks. I'm more of a dusty old books man myself, but I'd happily do a round-up of forgotten gems - I've read some corkers recently. Many thanks for reading. I've enjoyed following your blog and have read several books which I might have missed otherwise, so many thanks.

Maria - I think that accepting our inner Derek is the beginning of wisdom. Tusen tack for following the blog in Stockholm (one of my favourite places, by the way).

mahlerman said...

'I am undone: there is no living, none'
Your quite wonderful, quirky writing has sustained me (and others) for years. I am bereft. I cannot say more.

Resolute Reader said...

Thanks for the entertainment and the illumination that your blog has provided. I've always enjoyed it. Best wishes for the future. Martin

Anonymous said...

I have really enjoyed your writing and look forward to your next venture. Somehow I stumbled across your blog via your post on Ladybird book illustrations whilst googling Miriam Elia's Dungbeetle series. A happy coincidence!



Anonymous said...

All the best Steerforth. I will miss your blog too, it usually made me smile and told me things I didn't know – a good combination. Natalie

Anonymous said...

I have loved reading your blog - the humour, trials and tribulations of life - and admiring your wonderful photos. I will miss your of my regular go to sites. So many bloggers are burning out these days. I'll be checking you out on Instagram. Bye from Oregon.

D. I. Dalrymple said...

Your blog has been one of my very favorite online destinations for years. I'll miss it. Best of wishes to you and your family.

NPCC said...

Thank you for what has been a unique and marvelous blog.

sustainablemum said...

I am always grateful to all bloggers who take the time to write. I know that I haven't always commented but I have enjoyed each and every one of your posts. I wish you well with future ventures.

Steerforth said...

Mahlerman - Thank you. I felt the same way when my fortnightly dose of Mahlerman disappeared - it was so refreshing to be able to read posts by someone who shared a passion for classical music and wrote about it in such an engaging way, with a dry wit and finely tuned sense of the absurd. I hope that our paths will cross again.

Martin - Many thanks. I salute your staying power in the blogosphere - 11 years now, I think - and your consistently thought provoking posts, always imbued with an integrity that is sadly lacking in many quarters. Some of them make my head hurt slightly, but in a good way, challenging my lazily-held assumptions. I hope you continue.

John - Thanks. I wish I had Miriam Elia's talent for creaing pastiches of the original illustrations. I could have had some fun.

Natalie - Many thanks for reading. I really enjoyed sharing some of my quirkier discoveries, partcularly the old photos. I'm they entertained you. Wishing you all the best.

Anonymous - I suppose a lot of bloggers are burning out now because many of us started at a similar time, between 2005-07 and unless life changes drastically, it feels as if one's just recycling the same ideas. I'm not sure what's replaced blogging, other than the brevity of Twitter and Facebook. I'd like to create a website that has elements of a blog, but is easier to navigate. Anyway, I'm waffling on now. Thanks for your kind words.

D.I - Thank you. I'm currently enjoying looking at your beautiful photos of Oregon on Instagram, so I hope that we'll still connect across the ether in some way. Wishing you all the best.

NPCC - I'm both flattered and grateful for your kind words. I hope that my next venture doesn't disappoint. Best wishes.

Steerforth said...

Sustainablemum - Thanks. I've been reading about your feelings about other people's attitudes towards home education and all I can say is that I salute you. We tried it for a few years and found it incredibly tough, but the benefits to our sons' mental health and academic progress justified the decision. Schools may suit many children, but they're a recent invention and many of them just feel like big machines. Anyway, many thanks for reading and good luck!

Letterslive said...

The blogosphere will be a chillier place without your warmth and humour.
Wishing you all the best,

Laurence Glazier said...

Landed on your blog during a searchfest about Lundy Island. A splendid entry. Good luck!

GSGreatEscaper said...

I shall miss the lovely pictures.

sunt_lacrimae_rerum said...

I miss your blog already and I am a newish reader. You grabbed me at "it deepens like a coastal shelf". I hope that you will not dismantles this lovely structure and that from time to time at least you might come back to do a touch of refurbishment and renewal--sort of like Inigo Jones improving the estate.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Nooooooooooo!Reduce your post frequency by all means (I've had to) and don't mention your son if he doesn't want you to, but please don't stop. Yours is the best blog I've come across in terms of intelligence, warmth, wit and sensitivity combined and that is no idle compliment. Your voice of reason has never been more needed in an increasingly bonkers world. Think of all the obscure authors you have brought to life, all the parents you've helped with your struggles to get help for your son, all the hidden places you've illuminated, all the forgotten Dereks given a voice, all the Ladybird books given new life. How can you stop? Instagram etc can't hold a candle to a thoughtful blog. We don't need any more soundbites, visual or otherwise. We need intelligence to strike back in a dumbed down world (and yes I did win my school debating shield if you must know - Twice.) Anyway, your family should be proud of what you've achieved and blogging has been a constant in your life when elements such as your career haven't. It may not earn you a living but it earns you friendship, appreciation and support like other social media never could. It also satisfies your need to write and aids your health (a creative outlet has been proven to be beneficial to both mental and physical health, particularly during stressful times, ie career uncertainty).

Sam Jordison said...

But no! I understand your reasons for stopping, but can't help feeling sad. I'll miss your writing here. It's been wonderful. (And I still think you should write a book.)

Sue said...

I will miss you. Many nights during my husband's illness I read your blog with such enjoyment and pleasure.

Warmest good wishes to you and your family.

Good night and good luck.

Chris Matarazzo said...

Good luck in the future. I'm only sorry I wandered into to the blog world so late. You're one hell of a writer and thinker, so I hope your writing continues on in whatever form it takes. And it is no surprise that one of your last Age of Uncertainty ideas is one that I agree so deeply with and that I have never heard anyone but you (or me) mention: the importance respect for the privacy of our children. Thanks for the inspriation and conversation. See you on Twitter.

Lucille said...

Heart-sinking news Steerforth. This comes at a time of change for me and I am clinging to the familiar and much loved online.
Anyway enough of the guilt-tripping. Maybe the blog posts will accumulate in your head to such an extent that you find you have to return in some shape or form to offload. That's my hope anyway. If not, well then thank you for all the great writing and I will try to get connected with this Instagram thing.

Steerforth said...

Letterslive - Thank you. I've received such lovely comments, I'm almost having second thoughts!

Laurence - Ah, Lundy is a magical place. I'd love to go back there. Thanks for stoopping by.

GSGReatEscaper - Join Instagram and you'll see more pictures, although you'll also find ones far better than anything I could take. I know I keep pushing Instagram, but I promise I'm not on commission.

Sunt - Thanks. My vague intention is to build a website where I could list old posts by theme, but also update like a blog, so it would be an Inigo Jonesian refurbishment (although I may end up being more of a cowboy builder).

Laura - Thank you so much for your kind words. You were the first reader of this blog that I met in real life and I've always been grateful for your words of advice and encouragement. I fully intend to continue, but I think it's time to take a break and come up with something that is more than just an internet diary. I have a book on how to do this, but I'm a slow learner, so it may take a while.

Sam - Thanks for your support and encouragement over the years, which has been much appreciated. I'd love to write a book, but I'm still waiting for that lightbulb moment - bookselling hasn't helped, as I saw what happened to so many new books. In the meantime, I hope to build something where gems like the Derek Diaries can be read without having to trawl through the archives.

Sue - Without wishing to sound corny, I was moved and humbled to think that my blog had helped you in some small way during a very difficult time. Thank you.

Chris - Thank you. I'm a big fan of your blog and admire your sincerity and candour. Every post is thought provoking. I'm glad that you understand my feelings about respecting the privacy of others. I feel I've already written too much about family members, but the situation with my son became so consuming it felt like a lie to not mention it at all - it has defined the last ten years. Anyway, many thanks for reading and I wish you all the best.

Lucille - Your inclusion of a video of 'I Will Survive' on your blog suggests that the changes you allude to are rather challenging, so I wish you all the best and hope that things get better. Many thanks for reading and commenting over the years.

Anonymous said...

We will miss you! Your sense of humour is wonderful. Good luck on your quest to find a new meaning in your life. I'm 73, and still looking! Enjoy the journey - luck and love to you and yours, xoxox Carol Lake

mahlerman said...

Hey Steerforthians - I think he's beginning to crack (note his reply to letterslive above). Let's try and keep this comment-thread going a bit longer (76 and counting) and eventually he will crumble, I'm sure. Many of you may think we should respect his decision - I beg to disharmonize. Think of it like a resignation. He has handed in his resignation and we, his numberless groupies, refuse to accept it. Simples.

Steerforth said...

Carol - Thanks for following the blog. I suppose the secret to staying young is to remain on the quest - uncertainty is a blessing in disguise, perhaps?

Mahlerman - I think Stexit means Stexit, otherwise I will be without honour. However, I'm very touched by people's comments and will expedite my next venture.

Steerforth said...

Carol - Thanks for following the blog. I suppose the secret to staying young is to remain on the quest - uncertainty is a blessing in disguise, perhaps?

Mahlerman - I think Stexit means Stexit, otherwise I will be without honour. However, I'm very touched by people's comments and will expedite my next venture.

Anne said...

Very sorry to read this, but I understand your reasons. Your wit and candour, insights and great photographs will be much missed. I think it was Derek, on Ms Baroque's recommendation, that got me started reading here - what a brilliant project that was! I wish you and your family all the best and look forward to whatever you write in the future, as you surely will.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Myself and the Oliverse have come up with an acceptable compromise. A monthly LIVE blog just for us at the Lewes Arms. : - )

Steerforth said...

Anne - Yes, Ms Baroque was behind all of this. If she hadn't commented on my first tentative post, I might not have continued. I had no real intention to set up a blog. I was just very bored, having spent over a week in bed. I felt too ill to concentrate on reading a book and stumbled on Blogger. The rest is history. Thanks for reading and very best wishes to you.

Laura - What would a live blog entail? I could do a Powerpoint presentation, with slides of amusing book covers and photos. After a monologue from me, people could then comment. However, unlike a blog, they couldn't scroll down and skip (unless going to the loo/buying a drink counts) the post or click a link to a more interesting blog. It's an interesting idea.

helen said...

Oh, I am sorry to read this! I don't think I've ever commented here, or rarely, but I have enjoyed reading your posts so much and they have often made me laugh, there aren't many like you on the interwebs and I mean that in a completely positive way.

Good luck with the future!

Or just come back and we'll all forget this ever happened heh heh.

Lucy R. Fisher said...

Dear Steerforth (the correct way to address a Lord you are acquainted with)

Will miss your insights. I quote you often. I'm sure we'll stay in touch on Twitter.

Here's to the next chapter, as you leaf through life's catalogue.

tristan said...

damn, damn, damn ! and sorry !

Anonymous said...

The Age of Uncertainity: A good man, writing well.

You will be missed. Thanks.

Kath said...

Your blog, the one and only that I read with such certainty. Always such amazing insight, keen sense of humor, humility and respect and acknowledgement of the beauty of the mundane. You have extraordinary talents both writing and photography and your compassion and insights should fare you well. I will miss your blog but as so many, many have said - I wish you and your family the very best.

Deshan Tennekoon said...

It has been an absolute joy reading this blog. I hope you'll return to the wilds of the internet someday.


Steerforth said...

Helen - Thanks. I'm really glad I made you laugh - that was always the main aim, although I kept getting sidetracked. I think this blog has to end, but a rather familiar-looking one may appear in a little while.

Lucy - Your tweets and comments were always a voice of sanity, making me feel that perhaps I wasn't being so unreasonable after all, so thank you. I look forward to keeping in touch in the Twitterverse.

Tristan - Thank you. I'll be back.

Tom - Much appreciated. I'll try to make sure that my next venture doesn't disappoint.

Kath - I'm really touched by your comment - thank you. I am working on a new blog that will aim to present the posts by theme as well as chronologically, so that the old photos or diaries are easier to find. I hope it will appeal to people who liked this blog, but also be a bit swankier. We'll see.

Deshan - Once I've got my head around the intricacies of WordPress and web hosting, I hope I'll return with renewed vigour. In the meantime, many thanks for reading.

This batch of responses was typed on a phone after two glasses of something fizzy, so please excuses any oddness or typos.

Huw said...

Dear Steerforth,

No doubt the numerous, well-written and kind comments have already given testament to your human, humorous and generous blog. I always think of you whenever I see the Bearded Lady of Guildford, go to Woking Waterstones (as there used to be two Ottakars in town - the only such doubling in the UK!), and drive past Lewes.

Thank you for everything over the years, and best wishes to you and your family.


Erika said...

Thank you. I hope the gods are kind to you and your family. A gift for you in turn, from one of my favourite poets.

The hermit of green light

only the wind and a river know the way to his
hut in the woods, and sometimes only the wind.
the moon, who is his lady, calls him
from the orchard, her light
releasing dim scents of heavy fruit
fallen, concealing the earth. the wind,
a white visitor, knows him through shutters,
through a torn shirt he wears.
he has no love now, has scraps of song
to hum in odd corners of night. besides the moon
he tends broken birds, the forest victims.
cats tumble about him; there are books, the sound
of the river, it is almost enough, this imperfect
silence: often it is enough.

- Michael Dransfield

Anonymous said...

I'm a "lurker" who has been enjoying your blog for about five years. I will miss it, but now I'm trying to master Instagram & look at all your excellent pictures there.
I've just gotten to the abandoned quarry in Lewes. Have you ever read "Brat Farrar" by Josephine Tey? Can that be the very abandoned quarry which played such a sinister part in that wonderful mystery?
Susan Gutterman

Anonymous said...

1.6 million page views! You should have retired a long time ago (and then monetized your final post. -Sorry, I have no idea how you would do that, but imagine getting some small amount each time someone read your farewell post?) You'd be so rich you could retire...:-)

Well at least you didn't just disappear without so much as a goodbye. Many other blogs that I've grown to enjoy over years have done just that and it's very frustrating because you come to think of the author as someone you 'know', albeit remotely.

Steerforth said...

Huw - Many thanks for your kind words. I'm glad to read that the Bearded Lady is still around. I can't remember why there were two Ottakar's in Woking, but I think it was something they inherited from Hammicks. Best wishes.

Erika - Thank you for those beautiful words - very evocative. I wish you all the best and thank you for reading.

Susan - I don't think so, as there are lots of quarries around Sussex and our local one isn't that well known, but who knows? I'd like to think it is. Thanks for looking at my Instagram shots. Best wishes.

Anonymous - My aim wasn't to disappear, but just to step back and think of a new approach, as I felt stale. I hope to be back later in the year. As you say, if only I'd monetised those page views! But I wouldn't know where to begin. I'd love to make a small income (or even a larger one) from writing, as I seem to have become unemployable in any sensible job. Anyway, many thanks for your kind comments.

Anonymous said...

There was something so wonderfully melancholic about your blog that I already missed it while you were still posting regularly.


Joris, Amsterdam

blubird said...

I'm from Australia and discovered your blog a few years ago. I've really enjoyed reading it. I lived in London for a while well over a decade ago and your blog reminded of why I have such fond memories of your country and its ways ( you are very English, as I'm sure you know!!)

All the best to you and your family.


Steerforth said...

Joris - Thank you. I am busy working on another blog which will hopefully give me more scope for new ideas. The melancholic element is unintended and I can only see it after a post has been written, but I'm glad that it appeals rather than depresses.

Blubird - Many thanks. These days I can see how English I am, but when I was younger I thought I was just a normal, average human being and it was other people who were different -it's that childlike quality of thinking that everyone speaks with an accent except you and your peers. It wasn't until I visited places like California that I realised that I was like a fish out of water - incurably English.

Prudence said...

I've enjoyed your musings, but all good things must come to an end,
so new things can grow and blossom :)
good luck, I wish you and your family a bright future.

Anonymous said...

Just saw the news. Terribly sad to see you go, but thanks for all the words you shared with us and the very best of luck for your life from here onwards.

Anonymous said...

I have long admired your quirky sense of humour and exceptional pleasure in the ordinary beauties of life. It never felt repetitive to me... Reading your posts was like getting a lovely long letter from someone you truly appreciate as an exceptionally creative, thoughtful and articulate human being. Your photographs and links were always unusual and surprising, and gave me a new way of looking at the everyday. I really do admire your curiousity and your tolerance. Thank you for everything. Wishing you and your family success, happiness and all good things. (Rabat, Morocco)

Steerforth said...

Prudence - Thank you. My new thing is growing a little more slowly than I'd like and at times, I wonder why I didn't just stick with something that works, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Anonymous - Not going, just regenerating, like Doctor Who. Many thanks for your kind words and I wish you the very best. Thank you for reading.

Claire - I'm quite taken aback reading your kind words, as I only think of myself as a bit of a failure really, so to know that what I've written has provoked that response in you means a lot to me. I'm busy (ish) working on a new blog that will provide more space for the visual and aural. I'm not sure if I like the format, so I'll have to see what the feedback is like. It might be the sequel that nobody likes, but I hope not.

Mahlerman said...

If, as you say, you think of yourself as 'a bit of a failure really', I wonder what sort of currency you are using to arrive at such a bleak judgement? If, like a certain Sir Philip, you measure with cabbage, then you probably join most if not all of your devoted readers, in having no knowledge of the berthing arrangements at harbourside in Monte Carlo.
Our (I'm not shy about speaking for all of us) feelings have not been expressed any better than by Claire Mkinsi in Rabat, Morocco (above) - proof, as if it was needed, that the net you cast is wider than perhaps even you imagined.