OK, so I have a sticking plaster solution to Blogger's buggered archives.
It's actually been there for 24 hours, down at the bottom of the page, although almost nobody seems to have noticed.
It's not perfect because it doesn't restrict itself to individual months, it simply churns back through the timeline. It's not perfect because it sometimes jumps back to the last post you read, not the first post you didn't. It's not perfect because there isn't a "Newer posts" button for going back the other way. It's not perfect because few people will ever bother clicking on it, because that takes effort, whereas with complete monthly archives it was possible to scan your eye down to the bottom and spot something interesting. It's not perfect because hundreds of internal links in 4000 posts over the last eight years no longer work. And it's not perfect because none of my lost posts are searchable. These "older posts" pages don't exist as fixed webpages, so Google never indexes them, so nobody deliberately searching for something in the truncated chunks will ever find it. I've still wasted my time writing 60% of my blog because you can only stumble on it, not search for it. Like I said, this solution's not perfect, but it'll do for now.
In fact, to be honest, it's more than imperfect. I'm lumbering on with a less-than-optimum blogging interface because I hate change. I haven't upgraded to a new Blogger layout template because many of the problems I mentioned in the last paragraph would still exist. And I haven't switched to Wordpress or Movable Type because I'd have to abandon my current URL and start afresh somewhere new. I know you don't care. I know you just wish I'd shut up moaning and start writing about obscure London backwaters again. But I care, because I want the least worst option for my writing - whatever that may be.
One thing that's increasingly clear is that Blogger couldn't give a damn. They could make available the "Older posts" code I'm now using at the bottom of the page, but they choose not to. Their priority is delivering future advertising opportunities, not safeguarding existing content. Their techies don't give a damn that new features might 'break' stuff, they just plough ahead grinning and tell us it's allfor the better. One day, surely, they'll introduce something so awful that I'll be forced to jump ship altogether. But, until an escape route is absolutely necessary, I'll make do with my sticking plaster for now.
I suppose that means I've actually got to write something tomorrow.