One of fascinating things about writing a blog is the amount of two-way communication that goes on. Some of that is public, in the comments box, where discussion and additional information can be posted for all to see. But there's another means of communication which the public doesn't see, behind the scenes, via email. I'm always impressed (and slightly surprised) when somebody I've never met sends me an email out of the blue. And I seem to have had more emails than usual recently, which is nice. Sometimes it's a question, sometimes it's an observation, sometimes it's just a brief note of appreciation, but I try to reply to them all (well, most of them anyway). So today I thought I'd say thanks, because your emails really do add a special extra dimension to writing online. And I thought I'd share with everyone just some of what you've been missing.
Selena (thanks Selena) told me about ononemap.com, a Google Maps mashup which enables you to find sales and lettings information for properties anywhere in the country. Cor that's impressive, if only to discover how much the rent on the flat nextdoor is (ooh good, more than mine). Elaine wondered whether Fulham Road was one of the longest streets in London. And what do you know, Wikipedia has a list of the longest streets in London. Or at least it did before anal stats geeks insisted on removing every street from the list whose precise length could not be 'appropriately referenced' and 'independently verified'. So now, officially, there are only two longest streets in London. Pedantically correct, perhaps, but utterly unnecessary. The full (deleted) list of 53 streets is here (Fulham Road comes in at 18th) and the gobsmacking discussion thread is here. 'helen star-flaps' was trying to hunt down a special Poem on the Underground. We tracked it down eventually here (and yes, it was special). Capitano reminded me how much more dangerous bendy buses are than Routemasters - if you're a cyclist. He says being overtaken by a bendy bus manoeuvering to pull up at a stop probably means you'll need to frantically hoist your bike onto the pavement to avoid being squashed. Now I know why I'm not a London cyclist. Nick asked "But, how exactly do you make money from this site? I don't see any adverts." Which suggested to me that Nick hadn't been reading this site for very long. Stroppycow advised that I might want to add a special "Blogue sans chat" badge to my blog (except that my blog very definitely hasn't been kitten-free recently). Twenty Major noted that "since your April Fool's kitten jape all your articles are titled 'Untitled' in my News reader program thingy." Hmmm, I'd also noticed my recent titlelessness elsewhere in a couple of different blogfeeds. But is it just my blog, or is this happening to anyone else? And can I fix it, and if so how? Three of you emailed to point out an interesting date coming up in May. Cheers - I'd rather be told three times than not find out at all. I've also chatted recently via email to 20% of my blogroll, to someone who grew up just down the road from me, to someone who appreciated my tour down the River Fleet, to someone wishing me a happy 15000th birthday, and to someone whose missus thinks he's a geek because he reads this blog. And Clare, thanks. And Christian, many thanks. And Kath, glad to have helped in some small way. And Peter, I've had an idea - maybe later.