The London Bus Page’s last entry a year ago today contained, at the very end, a promise that I’d be back. ‘In the New Year’, it actually said, and I can get away with that because 2006’s not over yet! Today, the first anniversary of the end of London’s Routemasters, which took with them the legacy of the old London Transport as we knew it, seems an appropriate time to try and pick up where I left off.
Basically, I needed a break. The politics of the last year were so wearying that I just didn’t have much time left after recording the events to put together coherent accounts at the volume or frequency that is expected by readers of topical websites. To which end, I can’t promise the same amount that I used to write – not least because a) there’s a lot less of interest bus-wise going on in London as it is, and b) I don’t actually live in London any more. What visits I make are anywhere from fortnightly to monthly, though I try to do at least one Saturday a month in the capital, often catching up a month’s worth in one go. Hence the title – the London Bus Page in Exile. Accordingly, there’ll be a fair bit around the country as well – 2006 has seen me visit Liverpool, York, Leeds, Sheffield, Coventry, Birmingham, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Salisbury, Southampton, Plymouth, Brighton and other perhaps less thrilling places in the Home Counties. So the first month or two of this blog will be about catching up with the places I’ve been, with news items interspersed as and when I can cover them.
I’ll also shamelessly plug my books (one done, one out soon), which have taken up my time in the last year. They’ve been hugely fulfilling to do and I hope to write as many as the publishers will let me, but between books I get irritable if I’m not doing something, so this blog may sate that urge. I continue to take photos, of course – my Fotopic account is full up, but I publish a dozen or so a month on Flickr to stay within its upload limits (both sites are much recommended and particularly popular with transport photographers). I may delve into reviewing the various photographic equipment I use (you are, of course, more than welcome to buy me more!).
I said I wanted this to be more participatory than of late – please send me anything you think might get a good reading, particularly historical photographs of London Transport buses. My pet period is 1983-1987, but I can work with anything – I need the practice and the research is always fun.
In the same way as I may not be posting updates every day, I definitely won’t be able to reply to comments or emails individually – trying to keep up with that perhaps most of all was what was killing my output on the old London Bus Page, and having several hundred email messages that remain unanswered even today made me feel terribly guilty! To that end, readers can hopefully answer each others’ questions in the comments box underneath each post. I’ll compile a list of various categories that will make it easier to search for past posts – route changes, stuff to do with vehicles, etc.
As this blog grows, I’ll get to grips with its functions and whatnot – WordPress is rather more sophisticated than my old FrontPage and Paint Shop Pro combination, and it appears that if I want to create proprietary logos, themes and suchlike I’m obliged to buy the appropriate CSS plugin – which I will at some point. I fully expect to outrun my 50MB storage quota in due course as I upload pictures, and will be buying more as fit.
So here I am. Wish me luck…