Happy first birthday to my blog!

View across Prague © Ricky Yates

This week, my blog celebrates its first birthday! I published my first blog post on 4th February 2009. Entitled ‘Episcopal Taxi Service’, it described the events that had taken place in the previous week at the end of January 2009. So now seems a good time to look back over my first year of being a blogger.

In one respect, the blog is more than two years old as my wife Sybille kindly bought my domain rickyyates.com more than a year earlier in December 2007. She did so at the same time as purchasing a domain for my son Phillip to help him promote his skills as a caricaturist. Not only was phillyates.com available but rickyyates.com was too. So she purchased them both as very unusual but highly useful Christmas presents to us both.

When I started the blog, I had two groups of people in mind. One was my family and friends back in the UK who wanted to know how I was getting on in my new home, new job and different circumstances in the Czech Republic. Rather than write individual emails or letters I could say instead, “Just look at my blog”.

My other initial intended audience were my former parishioners in the Shelswell Group of Parishes in North Oxfordshire whom I had served as Rector from January 1993 until September 2008. The Benefice of Shelswell (to give the group of parishes their correct legal name) produces an extremely good monthly magazine entitled ‘Shelswell News’ which is delivered to around two thirds of households in the parishes who in turn, pay £7.00 a year for the privilege of receiving it. In the first few months after my arrival in Prague, I wrote a couple of newsy pieces about my new life in the Czech Republic. However, I was very aware that I could not always continue doing so.

One unwritten, but very important rule for Anglican clergy is that, once you have ceased to be Rector/Vicar of a parish or group of parishes and have moved on to a new post or have retired, you do not interfere or remain involved in any way, in the life of your former  parish(es). This is order that your successor can begin their ministry without any outside interference. So in the March 2009 edition of ‘Shelswell News’ I wrote saying, “In future, if you want to know the latest news from Ricky & Sybille in Prague, visit www.rickyyates.com”.

However, I was always conscious that, sooner or later, my new parishioners at St. Clement’s Anglican Episcopal Church, Prague would also find my blog and start reading it. Therefore, after a couple of months, rather than trying to hide it, I decided to add details of it to my ‘email signature’. Now, although hardly any of the congregation ever leaves a comment, I do know that it is quite widely read by congregational members. And yes – I am extremely careful not to say anything rude about any of them!!!!

Over the past twelve months I’ve managed to write 72 posts. On average, that is one every five and a half days – quite an achievement I reckon! Initially I relied on photographs or artwork legitimately downloaded from the internet, to illustrate my posts. Or I asked Sybille to photograph something for me so I could use it on my blog. Or I scanned the relevant item. But in June 2009, I bit the bullet and bought myself a relatively simple point and shoot digital camera and since then, the blog has almost exclusively been illustrated with my own photos. The exception is when I’m in the photo when I have to rely on my wife’s expertise.

I still get frustrated at my inability to quickly turn my thoughts and ideas into blog posts. I’m a stickler both for factual accuracy and correct spelling and getting both right takes time. And, as I’ve commented previously, I also try to spell Czech words, personal names and place names correctly, using the appropriate diacritics only to discover most web browsers turn some of them into ?????. Aagh!!!

My other frustration is the number of people who read my blog but never leave a comment. I do get comments, usually far too many of them. But most are spammers trying to promote online pharmacies, or sites offering pictures of so called ‘celebrities’ in various stages of undress, or comments that bear no relation to my post, trying to build back links to their own dubious websites. When someone clearly has read my post, then even if I don’t necessarily agree with what they say, I approve their comment. But sadly, such comments are few and far between.

Therefore as my blog enters its second year, if you enjoy reading it, don’t be afraid to say so. If you disagree with me or want to amplify what I’ve written, leave a comment. It will help me as I seek to articulate more of my experiences as an expat Anglican clergyman living in Central Europe during 2010.

St Vitus Cathedral and view across rooftops of Prague © Ricky Yates

16 comments to Happy first birthday to my blog!

  • Let me be the first to congratulate you to your first blog-anniversary 😉 Your internet marketing wife, SY

    PS Thanks for the back link, you know it stays in the family (little insider joke 😉
    .-= hospitalera@cleaning ceramic tiles floors´s last blog ..Comment by =-.

  • Kath


    Congratulations on your first year of blogging! As one of your former parishioners in Oxfordshire I have been following your blog from the beginning. I’m always really happy to read that you’re enjoying your new life in Prague and your travels, although of course you are greatly missed here. Please don’t think that because people don’t comment you aren’t being read – I think that being able to read your blog has greatly softened the blow of your departure for many people, although there is still a gaping great Ricky-shaped hole back here. Hope your new parishioners appreciate you!

  • Ricky

    hospitalera AKA Sybille – Thanks for the congratulations, the photos for the earlier posts and all the technical support for your relatively non-computer savvy husband.

    Kath – You make me embarrassed with your kind comments! Thank you, both for reading the blog & for commenting on it.

  • Congrats on a whole year of blogging!

    You have stuck with it longer than 99% of people who start out to blog and that is impressive.

    Best of luck in the upcoming year 🙂
    .-= Lucas´s last blog ..Use Coffee Filters to extend the life of your Water Filtration System =-.

  • Happy 1st birthday on your blog, keep up the good work, all the best for the future years ahead.

  • Happy blog birthday! As Lucas says – most blogs don’t last a year. Congratulations!

    I’ve heard Prague is beautiful – and your photos confirm it.
    .-= Lucy´s last blog ..An Employer Resume? =-.

  • Yea Ricky! During your first year, you used your considerable moral authority on behalf of me and one of my fellow teachers when we had trouble getting a straight answer from our employers on Czech visas. Wow! That felt FANTASTIC to get that sort of support and we can never thank you enough.

    I love to read your blog! I especially enjoyed the posts about your trip to Turkey because every single spot was new to me. I was fascinated by your post on the guy posing as a Bishop. Lastly, I savor your “Britishisms”. All due to your English language leadership, I aspire to use the word *whilst* in a sentence!
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Who Will Be the Czech "Jamie Oliver?" =-.

  • Ricky

    Lucas – I didn’t know the drop out rate was that high but thanks for the compliment.

    Cindy – Thank you!

    Lucy – Thanks for the congratulations. Yes – Prague is beautiful. It fortunately suffered very little damage in WW2 and many buildings have been beautifully restored to their former glory since the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

  • Ricky

    Hi Karen – Firstly, thank you for being one of the few people who not only read my blog but regularly leave comments too. It is highly appreciated. I do quite regularly try to return the compliment on your blog.

    As for speaking out about the abject failure of the Caledonian School to honour the promises made to both you and Anna, well it was the least I could do. I’m just sad that there wasn’t a successful outcome. However, it certainly got my blog noticed!

    As for my ‘Britishisms’, I’m glad you savor them even though I would savour them! Especially when writing, I use English as I was educated to use English. Being Anglican Chaplain in Prague has broadened my understanding of North American English and in my blog I do often put holiday/vacation, dual carriageway/four lane highway and write two weeks rather than fortnight. And I’m still learning! Only the other day I discovered that the colour/color I spell ‘grey’, you would spell ‘gray’.

  • Happy 1st bloggiversary! As i read your post, even though i haven’t kept track on your blogs, i have a glimpse of your being a newbie before to blogging world. It’s nice to reminisce things that have put you to where you are now. I salute your wife too for buying you the domain on your own blog and also to your son. She’s very thoughtful.. Her gift is very useful to both of you thought it’s really uhm, weird but i love the idea! 🙂

  • Ricky

    Janet – Thank you! I have to say that getting a dot com domain in your own name was a very nice present rather than being something weird. Like you, I loved & still love the idea!

  • Happy birthday to your blog too Ricky :).
    Greetings ~
    .-= Marketa´s last blog ..The morality of it all / HR dept. of our..communist past =-.

  • Yaaaaaaaaaay!!! Congratulations Ricky. Any analytics info for the public? regarding total no of posts made during the year, total no of comments and duration between posts. Such data will be interesting to view especially a year later. YOu can use it to compare with next year. I wish you all the best and look forward to congratulate you next year as well. rock on 🙂
    .-= Alan@Tulsa Homes´s last blog ..Increase the Value of your Home =-.

  • Hi Ricky,

    Congratulations on your blog’s first anniversary. I think that you are doing an outstanding job with it.

    I enjoy most of your posts, especially those from your travels and about Oscar the cat.

    Your posts about Prague are very interesting too.

    Keep it up.

    .-= Vance@Learn Internet Marketing´s last blog ..Alex Jeffreys Marketing With Alex Las Vegas Workshop 2010 =-.

  • Ricky

    Vance – Thank you for your kind comment. I’m glad you have enjoyed so many of my posts over the past year.

  • Big Congrats are in order, not only for lasting a year, but also for making it a productive year. Some of the blogs I read aren’t even updated monthly; every 4 to 5 days is really working at it.

    And I am really enjoying the photos of Prague. It is even more impressive that you and your wife are taking the photos yourselves.

    I look forward to the next year. Keep it up!
    .-= Keith@Norman Rockwell Art´s last blog ..Feb 22, Norman Rockwell Christmas Homecoming, 1948 Christmas Painting =-.