Raking Over Old Leaves

There's a pleasant, if self-indulgent game of blogtag going around. Find it here and here.
I thought I'd join in and rake over some of my old posts. Old is stretching it a bit as none of my posts are older than 21 months.

 What is your most beautiful post?
 I'm proud of most of the photos I post but I think this post pleased me most aesthetically
I love the first picture particularly.

What is your most popular post?
My stats tell me that the post I wrote about Milly Molly Mandy has had 2,628 views, 1557 more views than the next most popular post. I imagine the success of this post is simply down to people googling for Milly Molly Mandy. 

What is your most controversial post?
This was undoubtedly School Fees which I wrote in exasperation after a week of financial demands from my daughter's school. It was written with my tongue firmly in my cheek and thankfully most readers got the joke and shared my exasperation but some took exception to my humour and got even more cross than I had been. Some even went as far as to say they were going to stop reading my blog. My stats told a different story and visitor numbers continued and continue to climb.

What is your most helpful post?
I think this has to be my How To Make Bread post which many readers have told me has inspired them to make bread.

Which post's success surprised you most?
According to the Blogger's stats Redcurrant Cordial is my fourth most visited post with 544 views.
Why this particular post should be more popular than others I have written about homemade drinks was puzzling until I googled 'redcurrant cordial' and discovered my post to be the second hit. This has brought home to me how a simple, descriptive post title can direct readers to my blog. Maybe I should stop trying to think up clever titles and keep it simple. 
If you are interested in homemade drinks then click on drinks in the category list on my sidebar.

Which of your post do you feel didn't get the attention it deserved?
Wartime Housewife said it was a top quality post but nobody else seemed very interested in my telly preferences. You're all watching Downton Abbey aren't you? 

Which post are you proudest of?
I am inordinately proud of my monthly samplers. So proud of them that I had them made into a calendar one of which will be the subject of a giveaway next month. I was especially pleased with August's sampler.



  1. I made some bread and cinnamon buns from your recipe this morning for the first time and they are gorgeous, many good comments from the family xx

  2. Anonymous1:21 pm BST

    I would just like to say that stats can probably be rather misleading. I don't ‘follow’ any blogs so check up by clicking on a blog. I do this very regularly. I also go to some blogs countless times in a day simply because they have very handy lists of blogs I like to visit and it is easy for me to link from there. I like the element of surprise, so am not interested in google reader etc. Also I go back to read comments - sometimes they are more interesting than some blogs. I've been waiting for a blog to update in over a week, and click on several times a day. I'm sure I'm not the only one doing that.

    I think all the stats are misleading in some way. I often hear people talking about followers and how many they have - that is completely different from how many readers altogether. Besides, some very popular blogs who get masses of comments hardly have any followers. Paradoxically apparently many ‘followers’ don’t ever comment and perhaps don’t even read regularly. Stats are weird things.

    Again, as you get more readers some posts may appear more popular (by the way what does that mean - I read all new updates and I don't read any twice, so are some people seeing the title in their feed and thinking that they won't bother. I mean regardless of how much I like a post, I've clicked and will be counted!) Some posts near the beginning of blogging might be tremendously well received now but went relatively unnoticed then, simply because it takes a while for a readership to build up.

    These next remarks will probably be unwelcome - I've noticed criticism must only come from bloggers (who do it regularly and effusively as part of their post fodder but go into a fine old rage and foot stamping session if it is ever done to them, however mildly) and not in the comments box - I would disagree on two things. I don't like mosaic monthly posts all that much as they disappoint me when I think there is a new post but it is only what I have already seen. Paradoxically I think it’s a great idea for a calendar, because yes you are right the pictures are great. Secondly, I wouldn't choose the photo you have as the favourite. Firstly because I couldn't choose a favourite as you have truly taken some exquisite pictures (of which that is one). But if I had to choose I would have one with colour.

    And now an observation, not connected at all. Have you noticed how infantilising so many blogs are these days and the childish language everyone is using, comments too? I have got to the stage of despair over what I am going to be reading on some of them. I don’t dare cast aspersions as the wrath incurred would be too much for me. It never used to be like that did it? Are the people writing them and reading them not grown women? It is starting to make me a bit cross. Thank you for not doing that!

    Finally, you can’t please all the people all the time, so please yourself. Personally I like a bit of contention as well as elements where I can rumble my approval. If you occasionally write a post that gets people’s gander up, then in my book that’s a good thing. Sometimes I like what you say, sometimes I don’t. I do like to read you though.

  3. Rachel F2:52 pm BST

    yes I have always liked your blog as an antidote to some 'sweeter' ones! I had read all the archives but not the comments on the school fees post and must say i did enjoy them just now!
    I like the variety of your blog topics too, not just food, or crafts though I like both those things, but every day stuff, literature and especially the grumpy observations and humour!
    Keep it up Sue.

  4. Anonymous,

    This post now wins the award for the post with the longest comment! Thank you for taking the time to leave such an interesting comment, I appreciate feedback like this temendously.

    I quite agree about stats, but in order to answer some of these questions I don't have anything else to go on. I do get regular emails from people who say they found me by googling Milly Molly Mandy.

    I also agree with you entirely about the infantile language used on some blogs. It turns me right off. I hope you've had a look at my favourite blog list which is located under my banner picture -no baby talk on these blogs.

    Finally, and this isn't directed at you personally but generally, my blog is my personal creation and I write to please myself. If people like it then that's great, if they like bits of it and other bits not so much then that's great too, and if they don't like it I assume they have the sense not to read it.

  5. Brilliant post :D I now feel guilty for not commenting on your Reading the Telly post, which I thought was great. As you know from my post today we mostly keep the telly' in a cupboard, but it is always wheeled out for a spot of Nordic noir and I swear was wheeling itself out for Spiral!
    At the risk of sounding gushy ... you write wonderfully entertaining posts, take beautiful photographs, and are firmly on my bloglist. Rake over the old leaves all you like but please don't change a thing :D

  6. Annie, thank you. You raise an interesting point -a reader can like a post without necessarily commenting. I'm guilty of not commenting on every post I enjoy reading, sometimes I simply don't have time, or somebody else has said it better. I don't want to sound gushy either.

    Bloggers can never really know how well a post is received which makes writng a post such as this a bit of a nonsense.

  7. Loved the School Fees post, I had a similar rant in the playground a few years ago when presented with photos, trip letter and Christmas Card order form all in one week. There are still mothers who back away when they see me coming as a result ofnthat meltdown!

    The Christmas Cards were the worst - a crap picture by my normally quite good at drawing daughter, accompanied by emotional blackmail which got me to rationalise it by thinking I would use them for family in New Zealand. Needless to say they did not arrive in time for NZ post, and when they did arrive my daughter opened them and wrote them all to her teachers before I knew she had them!

    She is now at secondary school and last month we got a letter about a trip next Autumn - New York, £950. Even she knew that was not going to happen!

    Anyway, what I meant to say was, I enjoy your blog because you seem to have a very healthy attitude to parenting, one I find myself verymuch in tune with.

  8. I have nabbed this idea, I like it. I love blogging and find it quite fascinating as a concept. I learn so much from blogs. Like you I write mainly to please myself and if anyone else likes it that is a bonus :) I am fascinated by my flag counter though.

  9. What an interesting post Sue. I'd missed some of the earlier posts so really enjoyed reading about MMM and seeing the wonderful illustrations also.
    I had previously read the school fees post (and agreed with all that was said)- but hadn't read the comments until now & what a can of worms that was. How on earth did you hold back from responding to the comment that - 'Perhaps teaching was not the profession for you, as you don't seem to like children very much'!!!
    I must also say that I am v. v. v. excited at the thought of your calendar giveaway.

  10. Lynne Gill9:05 pm BST

    Wow, this was an interesting post - I hadn't read the school rant. My children are long grown, and the grandchildren are giving them the same hassle we had from them! Totally agreed with what you said, we had exactly the same problems 25 years ago, AND I did my stint as a fund-raiser and parent-helper, so I feel I am entitled to comment. The emotional blackmail is not on; there are other ways of fundraising. I was a tad bemused by some of the defensive comments it evoked. However, a blog is a blog, and comments will come from all directions.

    On another note, I've been following your blogs about quinces - how could I not?? And actually managed to buy - very cheaply - a bagful from our local market. They weren't too bad to peel with a decent peeler, and the perfume was incredible. I made a beautiful puree and served it with ice-cream. It went down very well. Now I want a quince tree of my own!!

    And on a none-sycophantic note, I will sign off - your blog makes me laugh and I love the foodie bits especially. I've used your freezer tips many times. Keep it coming1

  11. Lynne Gill9:06 pm BST

    oooops! That's meant to be an exclamation mark at the end!!

  12. Welcome Lynne and to all new commenters. Thank you.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed your quinces. A purée is my favourite and most versatile thing to do with them. It freezes so well and is lovely with yogurt for breakfast.

    Glynis, yes a pretty cutting remark and from someone who has never met me and knows nothing of me beyond what I choose to reveal here. The world is made up of all kinds of people.

  13. I like your monthly samplers a lot too; they have such a sense of timeless abundance.

    And I enjoyed Anonymous' thoughtful comment - I agree on the matter of the followers who hardly read. It seems to me that the number of comments is to some extent a measure of the extent to which one engages with the blogging community - it is very much a mass dialogue, and one I find worthwhile in its shifting intricacy and open social engagement. If I don't comment, I enjoy reading comments on a post nonetheless; the to and fro of opinions and enthusiasms is uplifting.

    For my own part, I like to pretty much ignore the stats - they can be so compelling and so mysterious that it can be better to forge on regardless of them.

  14. I thought your post School Fees was very humorous...some people took you wanting to punch mothers and the PTA in their faces to literal. My parents had is easy with me since they didn't cough up money for me (not very supportive). It's okay for a mother or parent to complain they are only human...I can go on and rant about how people try to be so perfect, but I'll stop here:) All I know is when I do have kids I'll try to be as supportive as I can be while ripping my hair out:) Like you...(this is meant to be funny for those that don't know)

  15. Tsk. Now I have to crawl out of anonymity and post a comment to say that yes, I really enjoyed the "Reading the telly" post - mostly because that was the first time I came across someone who enjoyed the same sort of programs that we do. And the other half was chuffed to hear that he was not the only one to struggle with the French of the Spiral despite all his French courses of recent years.

    And while I'm here, I should probably also mention that, thanks to you, I am seriously considering getting a quince tree (my gran used quinces as air fresheners, but I've never eaten the blighters), and I really, really do not have the space for another fruit tree in my little dirt patch (I have nothing as grand as a garden here, sadly).

    Oh, and I made mince last night using your recipe (not so different from what I normally do, except for adding the sundried tomatoes and the bacon, but when I read your version, I knew immediately that this was exactly what my mince has been crying out for all this time).

    So, in a nutshell, reading your blog is becoming almost as dangerous for me as reading cookbooks is generally. I really should stay away. No, really, I should.....

  16. Allegra, welcome and thank you. I'm glad you liked the telly post. I'm eagerly anticipating the next series of The Killing. I hope it hasn't been and gone without me noticing.

  17. My favorite post of yours showed photos of your "messy corners". I got a real giggle out of this as we all have them but so many blogs paint an unrealistic picture of home life. You combine a respect and knowledge of the domestic arts with humour, wit and authority. I just love your blog.

  18. After reading the comments to this post I re-read your blog regarding School Fees! Then I read almost all of the comments (there were so many). It's so funny how angry some of the comments were. I have to say I'm fed up with all these extra fees - second week of term and I had to buy another skirt for my eldest daughter in sixth form because the Deputy Head decided that the skirt she was wearing was not smart enough - it was corduroy and I considered it smart myself - she had worn it for the whole of last year without comment! Some of the skirts being worn can only be described as pelmets. Had a good moan at the Deputy Head for changing the dress code without informing the parents and giving the girls detention at lunchtime for wearing what she considers to be inappropriate. Then there is the new Sports Hall being built which the Government were going to be contributing to but have decided not to now even though the building work is already underway - the school has calculated that each child needs to contribute £300 to cover the costs! As I have two girls at the school that means I have to contribute £600 and my eldest will not even use it - she'll be gone by the time it is finished. Then there's the annual direct debits that are "voluntary" a word which really annoys me because there's nothing voluntary about them. A bit late for this rant really and I definitely don't have my tongue in my cheek either. I guess I'm just a grumpy old woman. I do love reading your posts, even the grumpy ones because you are very funny. That particular post reminded me of the film "The War of the Roses" when Kathleen Turner says to Michael Douglas that when she looks at him she just wants to smash him in the face!

  19. Pati from London10:59 am GMT

    This is a very interesting post, Sue. Anonymous is quite right in her analysis of the usage of blogs. I very often pop into the same post/blog several times to look at a recipe, check the tutorial on a crochet project, print something, show it to my hubby or whatever so I guess the statistics can't be accurate; however, you can probably get an estimate in what has been a popular post or not. Also, I suppose by now that you have a good sense of who your regular followers are, who comments frequently etc... Sometimes I go to blogs but don't comment. I tend to comment in my favourite ones only and sometimes there are blogs where unless one is a blogger or has special google/amazon or whatever accounts, one cannot comment on it. Some blogs I use mainly for craft ideas or tutorials but find that their content is perhaps to rosie/sweet as somebody else put it and find that boring/repetitive etc..., sometimes you feel that the blogger just wants her/his ego to be boosted with : "wows!", "oh how lovely!" and "how amazing you are" type of comments....Blogland is intersting, isn't it?
    I love your blog as it has a great variety of topics, your sense of humor is great, you tell things as they are rather than pretend that your reality is something else and it actually feels very natural and refreshing. Well done Sue!! x Pati

  20. Pati from London11:01 am GMT

    (upps!! I forgot) I also love your recipes, inspiration and pictures. x Pati

  21. Dear Sue,

    I do appreciate your sense of humour and your often pithy style, it suits me just fine and that's why I return.

    Thank you



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