Friday, 8 June 2007


Wow. Even when I say 'don't hold back' and to say whether you're coming back all people say is hi. I had exactly the same thing going on last time I had a blog - noone ever commented. I'd love to know why that is. Am I boring? Am I somehow intimidating? Is there some other reason that I can't think of? I'm not really expecting an answer to that question, but if anyone can tell me? Go for your life.

Well, anyway.

We have a recycling scheme, round here. It runs through both Newcastle and North Tyneside. Most items go into a black plastic box; tins, plastic bottles, glass, clothing. Not cardboard, which annoys me every time I throw cardboard away. Grass cuttings, plant waste (not food waste) go into a brown wheelie bin. They are both collected fortnightly on different days. The rest goes into a green-black wheelie bin; still collected weekly, although who knows for how long.

Since we moved here, we've had the black box stolen with varying degrees of regularity; it's very frustrating, especially since it takes at least six weeks to get a replacement. The first time I phoned up, they told me that people are going round after the recycling is collected and stealing the boxes to sell at car boot sales. Even as I was asking 'what?!' I was impressed at their nerve.

The last thievery was sometime in the autumn, maybe October. I phoned the council, reported it MIA and requested a new one. I put the recycling out in carrier bags, duly separated; I kind of forgot that we were waiting for a new box, after a while.

I don't know what reminded me that we'd been waiting far longer than usual. But a few weeks ago I phoned up again, asked where on earth my box was. They put me back on the list. I promptly forgot about the whole thing again.

Until last night. As I walked up the drive to the front door, I noticed a brand new sparkling clean black box behind the gate. About time, I thought.

I got into the house, kissed D. 'Did you see the recycling boxes?' he asked.

I nodded, wandered into the kitchen to put the kettle on before I really heard what he'd said. I stuck my head back into the lounge. 'Boxes?' I enquired.

'Go and have a look,' he suggested.

Intrigued, I went back outside. I saw the box behind the gate. Then I noticed what I'd completely missed the first time. Between our brown bin and our green-black bin that we have for everything else was a stack of four new black boxes.

I have no idea what we're going to do with four spare black boxes. It seems a bit miserable to just store them until the next time they're stolen, although it'll be nice not have have to phone the council the next four times a box is stolen. Any suggestions as to what we can use them for in the meantime gratefully accepted in the comments box. Modern art sculpture? Stepper for a new exercise routine? The more creative, the better....


Anxious said...

Oh, B!
You're not boring or intimidating.
Sometimes people just don't have anything to add. They come, they read, they nod and off they go. Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the post.

There is not a blog out there which gets a 100% comment rate (i.e. everyone who visits, comments). And remember that some people comment tactically on the "popular" blogs so that they can get more visitors through leaving their link.

It must be harder with a newish blog these days because the market is saturated. People don't *need* new blogs to add to their blogrolls.

But you *know* people are reading. If they have something to say, they will say it. I have my regular blogs which I read (yours being one of them). I don't comment on every one, every time. Just when I feel the need.

Anxious said...

Oh, and on the subject of the black boxes - maybe you could use one to store up your cardboard and then take it somewhere where they will recycle it!

(Our kerbside collection won't take cardboard or plastic, but we store it up and take it to the recycling centre)

b said...

Aw thanks Anx. I think it's just that that's how I feel in *most* areas of my life that makes it more difficult. People come to my parties, but they only stay til 11pm, then they're out the door - whereas parties my friends have last til 2am or later. I offered to have a new year's eve party for our friends one year because the girl who usually hosts it was sick of having to chase people out by 2am. I wasn't bothered what time people would be leaving. Yet a few days later she emailed out to invite people to the new year's party at hers.

HOWEVER. I'm very jealous of one of my sisters, who earns tons more than me, has a million times more application and can get her head down and work, of her freedom to live in Europe as she does, of her degree, of the fact she is incredibly well-travelled. She is jealous of the fact that I am married and happy.

The grass is always greener, huh?

Re cardboard: to recycle it we'd have to drive to the recycling centre, which seems a bit pointless as you can only recycle cardboard a couple of times anyway and there's nothing else we could take there that won't get taken from home. And the reason for not recycling it with the kerbside scheme seems a bit daft (basically that the vans would have to return to the depot more often if they took cardboard meaning more journeys and less environmental benefit - by that logic they could stop the scheme and leave the vans at home!). However once I start composting at home I'll be able to put some cardboard in there which will make me feel better.

Thanks again for your lovely comments :)

l-q-s said...

Do you leave a comment on every blog you visit? ;)

I'm afraid I always feel a little stalkerish for leaving comments. I know that the option to leave a comment is there for a reason but somehow, that makes no difference! And in some cases, the comments section in well established blogs feels a bit like an old boys network... If you wander in off the street, so to speak, it feels like no one knows you're there so one tends to lurk instead, hiding behind a convenient pot plant or the like! :)

b said...

No, to be fair, I don't :) That does help put it in perspective.

Thanks for dropping in and saying hi. It's nice to know when people pop in and always especially nice when the say hi.

pierre l said...

Hello b. I do tend to leave comments on the blogs that I visit, but only if I like what I read. In the nine months that I have been reading blogs, I have encountered a few instances where the blogger was fed up because no-one ever left comments on her blog, and was quitting (which I find very sad). I find that all but two of the bloggers on my regular list are women.
Living in Berkshire, I have no particular knowledge (or indeed interest in geordie life). So how did I find you? Well I read your interesting comment on "Boob Pencil", and decided to follow the link. The tactical comments on popular blogs don't really work for me - I read most of the comments on, say, Petite Anglaise, and regularly leave comments there, but I don't feel that I am part of a clique or network; hers was the first blog I ever read and I have read it ever since. I do encounter other bloggers that I know in Petite's comment box, but that's probably because we have similar tastes. As I don't have a blog of my own, I don't leave comments to advertise myself, but Ido enjoy the interaction.
I chose this post because the title intrigued me. Our council now collects regular rubbish every fortnight, and the recyclables in between.
What to do with your four black boxes? Well, store the spare ones and, as you get each one stolen you introduce the next one. When you start using your last one, you ask the council for replacements...

b said...

Hi Pierre and thanks for your comments, I found them really interesting. Tactical commenting - I actually avoid commenting on some people's blogs because I see them as 'too popular' and don't want to just look like someone who's trying to get attention - but it'd be interesting to know how my perception of popular blogs matches up with regular reader numbers.

I can understand liking the interaction, but I am curious to know if there is a reason you've never had a blog - or have you had one and then discontinued it?

I would never actually quit just because I didn't get any comments. I would quit if I didn't have any readers although probably not for long :) I used to blog years ago and didn't realise how much I missed it til I started this blog.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by - I hope you find this reply to your comment and that you come say hi again! :)

pierre l said...

Looking at your blogroll I see five names that I visit regularly. One recieves a lot of comments, but is too busy to reply (except to comments that upset or annoy her); I have enjoyed her book but leaving comments there isn't much fun. The other four are very approachable, usually reply to comments, and I have exchanged e-mails with all of them. I intermittently read some of the others.
I registered with blogger because some blogs won't let you comment otherwise. I get sporadic inspiration to write comments, but
don't think I have enough to say on a regular basis to actually start a blog.
Quite frankly, if one of Petite's posts gets 100 comments, nobody is going to follow all those links, and I don't think anyone is going to think that you "look like someone who's trying to get attention". But those who like your comment ARE going to follow the link and that is how you acquire new readers.
I did once follow a link from one of my regular blogs to a woman who was saying, in effect "I take all this time writing this blog, nobody's interested, so I'm deleting the whole thing". It was quite a nice blog, I left what I thought was an encouraging comment, and the following day the whole thing had gone. She re-surfaced later sharing space with another blogger. This didn'e work out so she's gone again.
As you suggest, I think the number one rule is that you write about what you are interested, and you have fun writing it. And sometimes writing about the unpleasant things in your life can help relieve the pain as well. Getting readers is a bonus. Getting commentors is another bonus.
One disadvantage of not actually having a blog is that I don't have a visible list of the blogs I like.
I will be back here again.

Clare said...


We got millions of boxes at first, too. It was annoying.

And most people don't comment because they are shy or busy or don't particularly have anything to add.

Some perspective: I sometimes get over 500 visitors a day, but I rarely get more than 10 comments per post.

Remember, it's not personal - it;s just the way it is.

b said...

Hi again pierre. I just wanted to say thanks for your comments. It's really interesting to get such a fresh perspective (and I suspect it's fresh because you don't blog yourself).

hi clare... the scheme has been going for a while, now, and with the 6 week delay on getting a box at all you'd think all the ones they *did* have would be at a premium.

And that really does put things in perspective on visitors and comments. Yours is one of the blogs I was nervous about commenting on because, well, you've had a book published!!!! and you have a child!!!!! To my mind, you are successful. And I'm just me, hanging round here wondering if I'll ever get round to any of that.

I suppose it says a lot more about me that it bothers me whether people comment than it says about anyone else, eh? I'm a lot less paranoid about these things than I used to be but it's still there.

I really should go and finish getting ready for work....