Spinneyhead is (nearly) nineteen!

In the build up to New Year, lots of people were posting photos of themselves in 2009 and 2019, and doing mini recaps of the decade. I haven’t done that, because I’m contrary. But I would like to take a trip back in time.

The first post on the Spinneyhead blog is dated January 27, 2001. So the blog turns nineteen this year. I actually thought it was older. The domain has been around longer than that, but most of the content from before I started blogging has been lost to the mists of time.

So, as the first of what may be an ongoing series as I count down to the blog’s twentieth, I thought I’d find posts from New Year’s day (or soon after) from 2001 onwards.

2001’s first post is linked above. There was no NYD post in 2002, because, as I explained the next day, I was unwell (can’t guess why).

By 2003, I’d started using titles for my posts. I listed all the resolutions I would go on to break, and posted one of my personal favourite posts- The World According To Clancy.

2004 opened with a Happy New Year!

New Year 04/05 was conducted out in the wilds, in the days before moblogging was seamless. So there was nothing posted until the 3rd.

2006 started with a very small thumbnail. Then there were more resolutions destined to be unkept.

NYD 2007 saw me looking ahead to my birthday.

2008 opened with a short story.

For NYD 2009, I left a GI Joe figure at Tebay services.

I was still distributing GI Joe figures on NYD 2010, leaving two in Edinburgh (1, 2).

In 2011, all I could muster was a link list that only had one link in it.

In 2012, I didn’t manage to blog until the 3rd. But it was a picture of a friendly penis*, so I demand forgiveness. *Graffiti penis, not a real one.

2013 saw me being lazy, with only a cross post on the 2nd.

2014’s first post was a grainy photo taken in a pub.

2015’s first post wasn’t until the 4th, and was about Creationism and the inevitability of life.

2016’s first post was about some of my 3D printed products, and was recently updated.

Posting has been significantly sparser in the last few years. 2017’s first post wasn’t until January 29th, and was about a letter sent to my local MP. The subject? Brexit, of course.

I managed to post on the 1st in 2018. But looking back on it, I was ridiculously naive to think the political situation might somehow improve.

Last year’s first post was the last part of A Death In Didsbury. Which you probably can’t read unless you’re supporting me on Patreon.

And this year’s first post is this one.

Resolutions have proved pointless in the past, so I’ll just offer a vague hope for things to be better- for me, those I care for, the country, and the world- over the next twelve months.

And for more Nazis to get punched.

RIP How to Save the World for Free

How to Save the World for Free was my Green blog, which I ran for a few years. I haven’t posted on it for a while because I decided to bring all the subjects I cover back onto Spinneyhead rather than carrying on running multiple niche sites. The domain will lapse soon, and I’ve decided not to renew it. For posterity, and the search engines, I have imported all the posts from the site into Spinneyhead.

I shall continue covering Green issues here at Spinneyhead. In fact, a bit of nostalgia for How to Save the World for Free makes me think I should increase eco coverage here.

Manchester Blog Awards

Nominations have opened for this year’s Manchester Blog Awards. I’ve put Spinneyhead forward for everything except Best New Blog. It’s been around since 2001, I can’t really claim it’s new.

That I can legitimately put my blog forward for all but one of the categories is a sign of the strength of Spinneyhead. It’s also the reason I probably won’t win anything or even make it onto any of the shortlists. This is a personal blog, in that it reflects what I’m doing and the subjects which fascinate me at any given time, though it’s not of the confessional type you’d normally associate with the genre. It’s a city blog because I go out and explore bits of Manchester and come back with pictures and commentary, but I do that everywhere I go so it’s not exclusively Mancunian. It’s a vehicle for my writing, with the longer prose pieces being fiction, but there are a lot of short link filled posts. And it covers art and culture, even if that culture is almost entirely low brow. However, Spinneyhead isn’t exclusively dedicated to any of these areas, so it won’t sit right in any of the categories. Such is life.

I’ll admit that I’m a little sad that the eclectic nature of Spinneyhead means it doesn’t really stand a chance in the awards. It’s a bit like hoping a mongrel will even be let through the door at Crufts. Nonetheless, I love my mongrel, and it’s thriving far better than any of the pedigree single theme blogs I’ve tried to maintain over the years.

A little WordPress help please 3

Fellow WordPress users can I ask for your help?

How can I get full posts in my RSS feeds? I’ve set everything I can find to full feeds, but still I’m only getting a one line summary in my feed. This is very annoying, for me and for my readers. Does anyone know why this might be happening? And, if you do, do you know of a way to fix it?

Thank you.

Can someone solve my DNS conundrum? 4

My other main blog is, which has been running on paid for hosting for several years. However, Blogger is about to shut down its updating by FTP functions, so I thought it would be a good time to let the hosting lapse (it ran out last week) and move the blog to being hosted by Blogger.

My hosting may have ended, but I still have my domain registered with the same company for another year. I’ve logged in to their DNS management page and, following Blogger’s own instructions, made changes to the CNAME record which should point to hosting on Blogger. Except nothing’s happening, so I can’t complete the move to Blogger.

I’ve obviously misunderstood something. Could somebody who understands DNS have a look at the instructions and tell me whether I’m right to have created a new CNAME for the www subdomain or if I should be doing something else entirely.

Bye bye Blogger? 3

I just received this email (several times because I have several blogs using ftp)-

Dear FTP user:

You are receiving this e-mail because one or more of your blogs at are set up to publish via FTP. We recently announced a planned shut-down of FTP support on Blogger Buzz (the official Blogger blog), and wanted to make sure you saw the announcement. We will be following up with more information via e-mail in the weeks ahead, and regularly updating a blog dedicated to this service shut-down here:

The full text of the announcement at Blogger Buzz follows.

Last May, we discussed a number of challenges facing Blogger users who relied on FTP to publish their blogs. FTP remains a significant drain on our ability to improve Blogger: only .5% of active blogs are published via FTP — yet the percentage of our engineering resources devoted to supporting FTP vastly exceeds that. On top of this, critical infrastructure that our FTP support relies on at Google will soon become unavailable, which would require that we completely rewrite the code that handles our FTP processing.

Three years ago we launched Custom Domains to give users the simplicity of Blogger, the scalability of Google hosting, and the flexibility of hosting your blog at your own URL. Last year’s post discussed the advantages of custom domains over FTP and addressed a number of reasons users have continued to use FTP publishing. (If you’re interested in reading more about Custom Domains, our Help Center has a good overview of how to use them on your blog.) In evaluating the investment needed to continue supporting FTP, we have decided that we could not justify diverting further engineering resources away from building new features for all users.

For that reason, we are announcing today that we will no longer support FTP publishing in Blogger after March 26, 2010. We realize that this will not necessarily be welcome news for some users, and we are committed to making the transition as seamless as possible. To that end:

o We are building a migration tool that will walk users through a migration from their current URL to a Blogger-managed URL (either a Custom Domain or a Blogspot URL) that will be available to all users the week of February 22. This tool will handle redirecting traffic from the old URL to the new URL, and will handle the vast majority of situations.
o We will be providing a dedicated blog and help documentation
o Blogger team members will also be available to answer questions on the forum, comments on the blog, and in a few scheduled conference calls once the tool is released.

We have a number of big releases planned in 2010. While we recognize that this decision will frustrate some users, we look forward to showing you the many great things on the way. Thanks for using Blogger.


Rick Klau
Blogger Product Manager

So, as I already have hosting and there’s a little bit more to spinneyhead than just blogs, it looks like I’m in need of a different blogging engine. Is Movable Type still around? What’s WordPress like (I’ve used it to post on other sites, but what’s it like to set up and run)?

I’ve been using Blogger since 2001 and remained faithful as other, better, tools came along. Admittedly part of that is because of the size of job it’ll be to shift the archives of all my blogs to another platform.

Where’s my sysadmin? I need to ask about setting up a database on the server.

Out of the rabbit hole

Today- maybe yesterday, possibly tomorrow, depending upon when I send this message- is Rabbit Hole day. To celebrate Lewis Carrol’s birthday writers across the universe have been invited to step away from their comfort zone, to go somewhere else for a day.

I’ve been down the rabbit hole for a week and a half now, sleeping through the day and spending the night shuttling students home from the 24 hour library. I’m only in this twilight zone- where dinner is breakfast, elevenses is dinner and lunch is a 3am trip to Asda to dodge the shelf stackers then have a conversation with the automated checkout- until Friday morning. I guess I could adjust to it if I had to, but I’m glad I don’t.

There are other inhabitants of wonderland, the security staff at John Rylands and my regulars- the lovely redhead who’s been a 10.30 fixture; the guy whose street I can now find (third time lucky); the two girls who live just before the bridge under the railway; the lovely Irish girls whose accents make me feel warm even as they’re getting lost and taking me round and round the block. Out of context I probably wouldn’t recognise them and they mostly know me as “the bus man”, but I’m going to miss them next week.

I don’t think the normal night bus, which operates a less time shifted timetable taking people home from the students’; union, is as busy as the library one. Which is annoying for me because I’d hoped to get some writing done when I had no passengers. The quietest time is after 4, when I get a little bit done between siestas and my concentration is more suited to reading short snippets than writing them.

I think I shall stay awake as long as possible on Friday then try to get up at a sensible time on Saturday. But I do have a party to go to that night and I don’t want to fall asleep in a corner. In which case I might be better off doing what I did last weekend- sleeping through Friday and using a late night and alcohol to reboot my body clock and climb out of the rabbit hole.

Anyone out on Friday?

Update Edited for formatting and a link.

Can British bloggers make money?

A question posed on the BBC’s blog, which has an interesting, and only slightly flamey, set of comments. From them I have discovered, which looks like it pays out in pennies and pounds so might be a good alternative to Google ads, and The Flowfield Unity, comics which might have an xkcd flavour. I shall investigate them both when I’m not using someone else’s computer.

Manchester blog awards

It’s that time again. Nominations are open for this year’s Manchester Blog Awards. I’m not sure I have anything that fits neatly into any of the categories (political blog, personal blog, arts and culture blog, best new blog), though I think I’ll nominate How to Save the World for Free as a political blog and Spinneyhead in the personal and arts and culture categories.


I owe some people money. It adds up to a four figure sum (maybe just over the edge into five). I’m paying it off as best I can, a regular amount every month.

One person owes me money that adds up to a four figure sum. They’ve promised to pay some of it back next month. We’ll see.

The Inland Revenue owe me a four figure sum, according to my self-assessed tax return. I’m still waiting for them to confirm my calculations and send me the cheque.

That is all you need to know about my relationship to debt.