In the first week of October 2017, I decided to finally wake up my ignored WordPress blog. I had started with such enthusiasm in June 2016 but then struggled to put pen to paper – or whatever the laptop equivalent is by the autumn of that year.
In March of 2017 I shared just one post – but if it had to be one post, I’m glad it was this one. My lovely uncle, Liam Gray, was awarded the Legion d’Honneur medal by the French government, which honoured the veterans who had freed the French people from Nazi oppression. He celebrated with his family and friends and a couple of pints of Guinness, his ‘Irish medicine’. The following day the French Ambassador presented him with his medal at the French Embassy in London.
In September 2016, I had been visiting close to where he lived and had the urge to visit, so I turned up unannounced. Always welcoming, he took me upstairs to his ‘museum’, his spare room decorated with family pictures, his medals and other mementoes commemorating special events in his life. And so I discovered his medal, he posed for photos and we put the world to rights over a cup of tea. He told me of the planned party and before waiting for an invitation, I told him I would love to join him and his family for his special celebration.
I started to write the blog post about his time in France during World War II, but once again I abandoned it without publishing. I eventually published it in March of 2017.
Liam died on 4 July 2018 aged 95 and he is much missed.
Returning back to last October, I shared the same blog post I shared this last week, The ‘Black Boy’ of the Philanthropic Society, to mark Black History Month. I also shared another academic paper, Infanticide in the early Modern Period. My first original post that month was To Find the ‘Write’ Word, I struggled to write it, but eventually posted on 8 October 2017, hence my blogiversary (of sorts)! I posted To Find the ‘Write’ Word: Revisited in June this year, after an update. I eventually posted several new articles during that month and found another stored on my laptop that I’d failed to post even though complete. My October 2017 archive can be found here.
I have now posted consistently for one year – an achievement, I feel, when my natural inclination has always been to remain out of sight, preferably with a book in hand. I’m reading fewer books these days, I suspect because I’m reading or writing blogs, but still listening to audiobooks prolifically when driving.
My post styles have also changed, I reduced the length of my blog posts and added more photo-based articles. I have also added several themed series, for example, In the News: where I share items reported in the news that catch my eye and Thoughts on several different British sovereigns. However, I have decided not to schedule articles and publish as the posts are written to keep the blog less regimented. Plus, I failed to keep up with the scheduling of my Pictures of History posts after about six weeks, so I do think I’m not generally cut out for scheduling blog articles as I’m far too indisciplined.
HistorianRuby has now welcomed readers from more than 120 different countries. This is an amazing statistic and I’m hoping that the following year will bring readers from more countries and fill in those grey spaces on the map above. I also hope that I can continue to share interesting content for all my followers: to come in the near future are reports of my visits to historical places on the recent #HeritageOpenDays and #OpenHouseLondon. I’m convinced that one of the museums will surprise you, but that is for another day!