What’s happening at Pointman’s.

If you’re a regular visitor here, you’ll have noticed the blog looks radically different and I’ve published nothing for several months. I’ll address those two observations in that order.

Gone are the nice selection of varied items down the right hand side of each page – music, pictures, what’s trending and statistics etc. They were all suddenly replaced overnight with nothing more than a long list of months for years stretching back a decade or so and if you clicked on a month, you’d get whatever articles I’d written that month. You’ll need some background and context about what’s happened.

The most widely used blogging software is something called WordPress. Basically, it’s software that allows you to create and edit an article and then add it into some sort of scheduled publication train. It’s been around for years, it’s open-source (which means free), stable and easy to use, which is why I decided to use it.

The next decision was about how to host the blog I was going to create and that came down to three options. The first was to host it myself on my own PC but that would have involved buying a domain name, setting up an Apache web server and a backend database which would have been a big task in itself. A steepish learning curve but not a biggie. That might also involve some negotiation with my ISP about about using my account to host a website, even though it was non-commercial.

The second option was to use a hosting service which would set up the basic WordPress software, web server and database backend, buy a domain name for me and tend to the technical maintenance. There would be a running cost overhead to that one and the usual ongoing pain in the ass problems associated with outsourcing anything.

The third and the simplest was to just visit WordPress.com where I could just bag an account, a domain name and get to work five minutes later writing stuff for my soapbox. The advantages were it was quick, free, simple to use and I’d be up and airborne in minutes. The bijou snagette was that I wouldn’t actually own the domain name which would allow them to plaster some adverts over the blog without consulting me at all.

Nothing in life is free, we all have to turn a buck. Their business model was that bloggers could blog for free and they’d jam in an advert at the bottom of each piece. I’ve no problems with that just as long as they’re not tyre levering ads for dubious products in the middle of my prose.

At this point, a distinction has to be made between wordpress.com the company and WordPress, the open-source free software package. The former is basically a commercial company using free blogging software developed by an open software community. In essence, a hosting company whose foundation is built on software they don’t have to pay for and created by community volunteers.

A reasonably stable arrangement was arrived at but when wordpress.com starts to unpredictably fuck around with their version of the software and consequently my blog, it becomes intolerable. One day I’d a few reasonably eclectic adornments hanging off the blog and overnight, they’ve all disappeared to be replaced with the default months and years arrangement you see.

It gets even better though. Their new version of the blogging software and its user interface is contra intuitive to say the least. User ferocious just about describes it and it’s the sort of buggy crap written by a junior programmer in the first six months of what looks to be an unpromising career. Having finally worked out how the hell to put back in place my modest hand-crafted HTML bits, they stay there for a couple of days before they’re all automatically zapped overnight by the now default months and years crap you’re probably looking at now.

Any fool can set up a website in literally a half day, but it’s filling it with content on a regular basis is the big task. It requires some nous, imagination, creativity, technical knowledge but above all some stamina. It’s why if you look at so many blogs hosted by WordPress.com you’ll find the best its creator managed was three or so articles before running out of steam.

The saying “content is king” is very true. WordPress.com may offer a free service to bloggers but it’s the content provided free by the bloggers themselves that furnishes readers for the adverts it makes an income from. Basically, they’re trying to force their content creators to start paying for their hosting service and my natural reaction to that would be to immediately migrate the blog under a different nom de guerre to another means of hosting. I will sort something out but it won’t happen quickly.

As some of you have surmised by my absence, I’ve been having some medical problems, and thank you for the concern expressed. I won’t go into any details except to say that what initially appeared to be dire mutated into being serious to being manageable with some cooperation on my part, so the full contact karate lessons have to be ditched and the bungee jump has to come off the bucket list. Included in my awkward bastard skillset is a propensity to just stay alive against all expectations which has once more come to my aid.

Somebody once asked a mountaineer why they risked everything to climb a mountain and they replied because it’s there. It’s since become the flip answer to that question but sometimes a mountain is something you have to climb because you’re all out of options. It’s that or perish. I feel like I’ve climbed out of something rather than up something, but the reward is a view I thought at points I might not see.

I’ve had a few challenging months but in recent days think I’ve turned a corner. It’s no longer grim trench warfare with me feeling like I’ve been backed into the last defensible corner of the trench wielding nothing more than a sharpened entrenching tool against an overwhelmingly stronger enemy. That’s a situation I’ve been in before and learned that a never give up as long as there’s a single breath left in your body attitude is the only way to get out, but also that you’ve got to detune from that single-minded determination in the aftermath. You’re the one who got away, you survived, you walked out of the wreckage of thing. It’s gone, history, get back into the world. You have to reconnect again into the day to dayness around you.

Life doesn’t owe you a single penny for being a survivour. Nobody does.

Christmas is almost upon us. I’ll have my family back home this week and will be playing with grandchildren and bouncing a bonny grandchild on my knee and ensuring the robot vacuum cleaner is turned off because it somehow spooked her at some point, so she keeps a baleful and unforgiving eye on it. I recognise only too well that intensity – her and that thing are never going to be easy friends. The awkward chip.

A real tree has been bought and tonight my sons will fill a bucket with stones and earth and mount the tree in it. I’ll put on the Andreas Bochelli Christmas CD of him singing tunes like adeste fideles (Dad, opera, they’ll all groan as usual but they’d kill me if I didn’t do it), the old box of Christmas tree decorations will be located and we’ll all decorate the tree together. All the family rites will be observed.

The last touch will be rotating it tentatively and minutely in several directions atop the coffee table I made years ago until there’s some sort of consensus about that being the best angle it has. After that, the wrapped presents get stacked underneath it by everyone and guesses are made about what’s in the boxes but no shaking allowed until Christmas morning just before opening. The comforting family traditions have been dutifully followed and all that remains is to open the few remaining doors of the Advent calendar with the kiddies each morning so they can get their sweet.

That’s where I am at this moment and I hope whatever your circumstances are, you’re in some similar space. It doesn’t matter where it is, how it is or perhaps how lonely or difficult it might currently be, I’ve done most of those things over what can be the most difficult day of the year. I will take some private time in my study looking out at squirrels running around a winter garden on Christmas day to raise a glass to you, and think of you whoever you are.

Happy Christmas to all you lads and lassies.


Related articles by Pointman:

Grandfather thoughts.

Working men.


Click for a list of other articles.

34 Responses to “What’s happening at Pointman’s.”
  1. 1957chev says:

    Welcome back… I’ve missed you dearly!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. constantlurker says:

    Well, I cannot reply on the WP side, so I’ll tell you I have missed you as well. Have a Merry Christmas!

    Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jonathan says:

    Welcome back Pointman. May your health be the best it can be! I have long enjoyed your posts, and I would like to make a suggestion. I think you were premature in announcing victory in the climate change wars. I don’t see much victory where I am, in the land of St. David Attenborough. First they came for my lightbulbs, now they are after my car and my central heating boiler! Please, just occasionally, write some common sense on climate madness!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jockdownsouth says:

    Thanks for all your hard work Pointman and best wishes to you and your family for a happy Christmas and a healthier 2022.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. John says:

    Hi Pointman, missed your insight and depth when analysing this mad world.
    Hope you are well soon and have a great time with your family. Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. philjourdan says:

    Happy Christmas to you as well. As with all others, glad to have you back, and I hope and pray it is for many years to come!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dolf (a.k.a. Anders Ericsson) says:

    Yeah, I was wondering and have been missing your weekly posts. Glad you’re still alive an’ kicking.
    As a little bit of return trivia, in sweden the big family day is the 24th, not the 25th (although that is still the official religious big day) and all the xmas gifts under the tree usually get distributed and opened when the family is collected in the evening of the 24th.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Doonhamer says:

    I am glad you are back. To comment during your absence seemed like an intrusion into whatever was going on.
    You and all your family enjoy Christmas and your invaluable time togrther.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Margy says:

    Merry Christmas and all the Best in the New Year!
    As for WordPress, I eventually, after many years of blogging, went the route of buying a plan that removed the ads and let me customize with CSS. I figured my home on the internet was worth the price.
    As for squirrels, one or two of them have figured out how to get into my home. Evicting them isn’t that hard, but figuring out how they gain entrance is proving to be a challenge…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. babygrandparents says:

    All I say is Merry Christmas and I know what you have and are going through. I can’t say I “understand” because I do not know your exact circumstances. However I have been through similar trials in the last 5 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. brennan says:

    Welcome back Pointman, like the others have said, you were missed. I pray 22 will be better for you and that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Margaret H Smith says:

    Merry Christmas and many, many Happy New Years. So glad you are back as I am missing your essays.
    I agree with Jonathan about the climate wars. As the world is cooling the elites are in a great hurry and that may be their undoing – well I can hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. jrchips says:

    It’s a relief to know you’re coming back. Talent is always missed.
    Enjoy the grandkids. Their energy and enthusiasm for life are an irreplaceable tonic, no matter how much they wear you out.
    Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Simon Derricutt says:

    Pointy – nice to see you’re still alive. I hope you enjoy the family visits, and the squirrels when the family leaves again. In these days of muddy thinking by those in authority, it’s good to have some corner of the net where clear thinking rules, even if WP messes up the accessibility.


  15. Juliet46 says:

    I’m so glad to see your post, welcome back, like many others here I was worried about you. I wish you the happiest of Happy Christmases with your wonderful family and may those family traditions bring you all joy (and happy groans!) for many more Christmases together.


  16. Selwyn H says:

    Welcome back Pointy and a Merry Christmas to you and your family. We have driven down to WoyWoy) of Spike Milligan fame) in NSW, from QLD for Xmas with our children (in their 40’s) and grandchild. Just set up the Christmas tree with much laughter.

    I have missed your insight on so many subjects and continued to monitor your blog regularly for when you returned. We knew you had pretty severe health problems and are glad to see you have overcome them.

    We now have to get a border pass to get back into QLD which is a bureaucratic nightmare but hopefully navigable at this time of the year.

    All the best for the New Year.


  17. Erny72 says:

    Merry Christmas Pointy, I am very glad you’re still in the game, your wit and insight have been missed.


  18. another ian says:

    Hi Pointy

    Merry Xmas and thanks for the update

    And things that turn up

    A new term for a covid “vaccinating station”


    And its origin

    “Adopted with thanks from a commentor on Conservative Woman.”



  19. Ossqss says:

    All the best to ya Pointman. Glad you climbed out successfully.



  20. Annie says:

    Glad to see you back Pointman. I wondered what was up and missed your contributions.
    My wishes for a Merry Christmas to you and enjoy your family company and good health in the New Year.


  21. beththeserf says:

    Glad yer back! Happy Xmas to yu and yer loved ones. A serf/


  22. Pointman says:

    I’ve done my time out watching the squirrels. They’re happy and a happy Christmas day to all.



  23. babygrandparents says:

    Merry Christmas to all


  24. Fraizer says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Pointy.
    Glad to see you are back.
    In terms of wordpress, I manage a small site and use godaddy with a managed wordpress site. We own the URL and can customize till our heart is content, but day-to-day nuts and bolts are left to the service. It’s cheap and IMO a pretty good solution.


  25. NicG says:

    Belated Merry Christmas Pointy. Hope you and the family had a worderful time. I have dropped into the site a few times and had been surprised at the lack of blog posts. You were much missed. Glad you are feeling better and that you have solutions to the wordpress problems.


  26. The Man at the Back says:

    Belatedly caught up. Great to see you back Pointy. You have been missed.

    I wish you and all your family the very best of wishes for the future.


  27. Pointman says:

    Happy 2022 to all. We can only hope it’ll be better than 2021!



  28. barkerjim says:

    Welcome back and Happy New Year. Glad you made it!


  29. Power Grab says:

    Welcome back to the land of the clamberers-out-of-things. Survivors rule! 😀

    P.S. One of my email addresses has “TheSurvivor” as part of it.

    P.P.S. A football team that’s near and dear to my heart just beat a blueblood team in Arizona…you might say “by the skin of their teeth”. Whew!


    • watersider says:

      Mr Pointman,

      Your sober and acerbic view of this mortal coil was sorely missed.

      I am delighted that you have not joined the phalanx of realists who have sadly left us,
      It is great that you will continue to pour cold water on those who wish to destroy our way of life.
      My I wish you a very happy and helpful New Year – and none of this masonic hand holding please during Auld Lang Syne.

      As I am fast approaching my three score and twenty, I was inspired to write this little observation.


      Did you go with the Lateral Flow
      And trust in the PCR
      If you’re not ill you don’t need a pill
      For your Mortis wont be Rigor.

      In days of old if you caught a cold
      No one classed you as Unclean
      You went to bed and covered your head
      With no need for Quarantine

      Now the slightest whiff of a nasal sniff .
      Means you must master ancient Greek
      You line up for a Test with all the rest
      You’re a Case in Orwellian New Speak.

      If you’ve gone along with the compliant throng
      And believed a so-called expert
      Had the latest jab from some unknown lab
      You’re a New World Order convert.

      If you’re still puzzled by those who are Muzzled
      Knowing diseases pass through a Mask
      Pity poor people herded like Sheeple
      With never a question to ask.

      If you’re desirous of avoiding this virus
      These Gene Altering jabbies won’t do
      You can still pass it on it’s an Omi Con
      A biological gift from Manchu.


  30. Paul says:

    Glad to see that you are still among us. You were missed.
    Been climbing one of those mountains myself. I can sympathize with you.


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