Still here.


I’m alive! I’m still here! I have, if you are new to this blog, recently finished doing a hundred posts in a hundred days. I realised halfway through the process that other people were doing this all the time without breaking a sweat, but I must admit that by the time I got to the end, I was finding it rather heavy going.


The beaches in South Africa are really big.

The beaches in South Africa are really big.

The actual process of writing a post was not a problem, but trying to come up with something new every day was becoming a bit of an ordeal. The world is a busy place full of distractions. If people are kind enough to let you occupy a tiny little bit of their headspace every day, you owe it to them to at least try to be interesting. It was quite sobering to see that my brain could only find slightly less than 100 interesting things to talk about.

Part of that might have been the relentlessness of it all. If you’re doing something new every day, there’s no time to think things through, no time to research things properly, and no time to change your mind if you get half way through and find that it just isn’t working.

So, how did it all go? Well, first there are the numbers. I did a hundred posts. But not in a hundred days. I took a holiday in the middle and missed a day or two due to shiftless laziness. It took me 112.


I'm OK with the shiftless laziness, but I really do feel awful about that holiday.

I’m OK with the shiftless laziness, but I really do feel awful about that holiday.


I had hoped to get 60 000 views. Hah. I got 34 978. So not quite. I have no idea how many comments there were, but on the last day I reached the 3000 follower landmark.

And the real point of it all? Well, part of it was that I wanted to get a decent body of work onto my blog. Which I’ve done; a hundred posts is a hundred posts. I have reached the point where I’m getting about a hundred views a day just on keywords alone. Part of it was that I wanted to get a decent bit of practice in and get better at writing. I have absolutely no way of measuring that. I have, over the last few days, been going over some of my earliest posts. They seem sort of mawkish and heavy handed. I have not, however, had a look at any of my more recent posts. Maybe they are mawkish and heavy handed too.


Stick with me for just another couple of million posts and you'll get yourselves some Shakespeare.

Stick with me for just another couple of million posts and you’ll get yourselves some Shakespeare.

But. And right now it feels like a big but. A monster. I have forgotten how to write. I turned off my notebook after writing my hundredth post and that was it. My brain has turned into an amoeba. I even battled to give decent responses to comments. I don’t remember what an adjective is. Vowels? Apostrophes? Sentences? I don’t even remember the layout of the keyboard any more. I have become paralysed.

It’s a familiar feeling. I used to get this when I was studying law in another life. Before an exam, my whole life would become focussed on cramming my head full of dates and court findings and laws, and then suddenly it would all be over. I used to go into something just a little like mourning. Which is weird, because I didn’t like studying law. I would wake up the morning after the last exam and have no idea what I was supposed to do with myself.


Anyone keen for a beer?

Anyone keen for a beer?

But it would pass. Slowly. And eventually, I would wake up and remember that there were other things that made life worth living. Things that I actually enjoyed doing. Not that I haven’t enjoyed doing my 100 posts.

I’ve loved it. Probably more than I’ve enjoyed doing anything else in my life. I’ve loved every part of it. I’ve loved scraping the furthest corners of my mind for things that might interest just one or two people out there and make them smile. I’ve loved engaging (never my strong point) with the people who have been kind enough to follow me throughout, and those who’ve just popped in for a look. I’ve loved trying to bend and twist and beat the words I have always been passionate about into something I hope other people will care about too. I’ve loved seeing the same people looking in over and over again and tailoring posts specifically to try and wheedle a comment out of them.




But now it’s done. Time to move on. I don’t think I’ll ever stop blogging; after forty years, I’ve finally found myself a hobby. But in future I will do it when the muse moves me, not in a desperate flurry before I let myself sleep.

So that’s it. Except for one thing. Thank you. Simply pouring my voice out into the void would have sucked. But there was no void. There were mad, insomniac Australians, lurking South African wildlife lovers, sweet, encouraging grandmothers, real biologists and museum curators who were kind enough never to call my bluff, young people funkier than I’ve ever been, men in hats, cult survivors, photographers, writers, poets, the works. That’s what made it all fun.


This guy was my target market. Everything else was a pleasant surprise.

This guy was my target market. Everything else was a pleasant surprise.

I am eternally grateful for that tiny bit of headspace you gave up, and I hope you will keep letting me occupy it.

Enough navel gazing. Time to start thinking about a proper post again. Stick with me. Where else are you going to learn about Lowveld dogs….?



91 thoughts on “Still here.

  1. Judy says:

    I loved the dare me to write Shakespeare monkey picture!! Perfect!! While your perfect goal was not met, the one you did reach is magnificent and you should be proud of the run and that there a so many people who don’t feel they are giving up any headspace but rather choosing what they want to fill it with. Your quirky, insightful view of the world is a joy and a gift and we all can use some lighthearted perspective often. Some of us who entered the 100 day process late might have some browsing and catching up to do…so given that we will be busy right here while we wait for the next missive.

  2. safia says:

    A great achievement – give yourself a pat on the back. I wasn’t with you all the way but I never read a post of yours which didn’t cheer me up. Oh, and those photos – where did you find them all?! I find posting once a week is enough to keep my hand in and to come up with a topic, but that never seemed to be a problem for you. All the best.

  3. Glad you accomplished what you set out to do (minus the target number of views). I find that blogging is more fun when you post because you have something to say rather than because you are compelled to post. Enjoy your new hobby!

  4. I admit that I was a little worried you’d vanish for half a year after your marathon series. So happy to hear that you’re going to keep up posting, you’re one of my favorite bloggers.

  5. narf77 says:

    Reminiscent of “We’re BAAACCKK” rolled up into one with an episode of Lassie Mr 23Thorns and we insomniac mad Australians salute you! Like Bon Scott riding a tide of patriotism playing the bagpipes through the streets has managed to tame we the untameable you have managed to right many of the wrongs that South Africa did to Australia with wit and honesty. We might be easily led sir but we don’t forget easily! After all…we let an entire generation of Scotsmen dictate our music industry in the 70’s, we aren’t known for our cleverness. It was with a tear in my eye and a small amount of thought that I composed my final comment on your 100 posts. I even gave you a parting gift. Now you are back, like Alf, in pog form. Hopefully the Lowveld will keep featuring in your blogging future and hopefully you will keep giving us priceless little insights into what it means to be a white African living in a rapidly changing state. Some of your posts left us breathless Mr 23Thorns and for that, we offer you our loyalty. We will remain your nocturnal sardonic dear constant readers because if we go, if we head off to watch Honey boo-boo marathons with enormous buckets of popcorn we might just miss that small still voice of reason that you were able to channel. I don’t know where you found your muse Mr 23Thorns, but if you ever break up with her, can I have her please?

  6. I’m glad you have survived the goal you set for yourself. I, for one, have enjoyed your postings – heavy handed or not. I look forward to finding a new post from you when it arrives in my email. Congratulations on your numbers!


  7. You have a pretty good blog. Good luck. I’m going to unfollow because I want to make this blogging thing a 2-way street, call me crazy. I don’t like the idea of going for numbers and follows and such, much less reading about it. No offense meant.

  8. tryouth says:

    Congratulations boet. This creativity and passion has inspired me leaps and bounds. If you struggle with the future creativity, just send me a message and I will tell you what an ex-pat SA youngster would love to learn about the magical lands he left at 12 years old…

  9. albertine says:

    PS – My own self-imposed challenge was to be the first to post a comment. I got really close once or twice, when you posted late at night.

  10. albertine says:

    I really loved the ‘first’ posts that I came in one – just around the pallets as tables mark – was that about number 60-something? BTW – grandmotherly I am, encouraging I may be – but please don’t call me ‘sweet’. (But maybe that was some other, less Swiftian g’mother you meant.)
    meanwhile – I am the reverse writer – so many ideas, so little wish to sit down and write.

  11. erickuns says:

    Always an enjoyable blog to read, and your particular corner of the globe is one I know next to nothing about, so I got to see a whole other perspective through your writing.

    Look forward to updates when the muse strikes.

  12. mariekeates says:

    I’m one of the slightly obsessive post every day (mostly) nuts but that’s just because I am good at wittering on about nothing much in particular. At least your hundred all had proper, interesting subjects. Good to see you back 🙂

  13. I came to your Blog site rather late in your 100 posts, but have thoroughly enjoyed reading them every day – and now I have a void where your posts used to be, so I was glad to see you’d posted again 🙂
    I’m very much looking forward to reading about whatever comes into your head – especially if it’s anything Lowveld! 🙂

  14. kelloggs77 says:

    I will fully admit I did not read all 100 posts, but I can definitely say the ones I did read were anything but mawkish and heavy-handed. And there were monkeys with blue balls. Winning.

  15. It has been a pleasure to go on this writing (well, reading for us followers) jaunt with you and I feel enriched by what you write. I have learned things, not just Lowveld things but South African things too. Not every shared has been pleasant but never once has anything been written badly or without wit and sensitivity.
    Martina is on the money. Hobby? NO! You sir, are a writer.

  16. Oh my. Sacha Baron Cohen missed a trick when he chose the lime green mankini over the peach fluted sleeve leotard. That is awesome.
    Keep posting…when the mood takes you.
    How about a post on how the 23thorns household is earning a living these days? I’ve been intrigued by the intermittent cryptic hints. Seriously, it’s something I need to work out for myself too, after this year is up.

  17. menomama3 says:

    Ditto what Mary said.

  18. Mike Powell says:

    Your quirky sense of humor and love for the bizarre really struck a nerve with me–in a good way. I look forward to your future postings as you reacquaint yourself with your real life and periodically return to the virtual world to share some glimpses of it.

  19. I think a hundred posts in 112 days is a wonderful achievement. I’m looking forward to your next 100 posts. 🙂

  20. pussonalamp says:

    Not for nothing is 112 pounds called a hundredweight. Call your hundred days a hundredaze, and you’re all set.

  21. Martina Wald says:

    Haha. A Hobby? Don´t fool yourself. You are a writer. Get it! 🙂

  22. silyoj says:

    Congratulations! I picked up your blog halfway through the enterprise and loved it. Looking forward to hearing more about the Lowveld, robust DIY projects and your ever-supportive wife (unless it comes to coffee tables) as the mood takes you.

  23. Kami Tilby says:

    Always brightens my day when your blog pops up on my reader or inbox. Here’s hoping the muse strikes you often and with great force, but not enough to bruise anything. Congrats on reaching your 100 blog goal!!

  24. lylekrahn says:

    I appreciated the insight behind your interesting journey. It’s no small thing to set out on a public goal like that and be rewarded in so many ways.

  25. Ike Jakson says:

    Keep doingm it!

  26. ksbeth says:

    it was a great run and i look forward to reading your words when the mood strikes you. )

  27. spartacus2030 says:

    38 likes including me! At least your replies have pictures of people in them. I’m so desperate, I’m putting up spam, hoping at least someone might want some hand creams :O(

    • 23thorns says:

      Not just people! There are frogs in underpants, too.

      • spartacus2030 says:

        True, my profile pick may seem unusual… Froggy and I never really grew up. It’s much better than that women’s lip stuff… Froggy doesn’t argue with me, or ask me to take out the garbage LOL!

  28. Lyn says:

    Don’t worry, we’re still here too (“Blast!” says he, “I thought I’d ditched you!”) Oh I’m more than happy to let you share a little headspace – not much else there, so you might as well 😉
    I was delighted this morning when I saw the very first email on my list was once again ’23Thorns’

  29. ioniamartin says:

    Posting every day for any length of time is definitely difficult. I am happy to see you here again. What is the next great challenge?

  30. Trapper Gale says:

    Glad to see you back… you keep me entertained.

  31. Well done. I pledged to post every day for 2013. At least I am over half way now! Whew…

  32. It is hard to follow that pace, I needed a brake after a while but it’s always good to get back too!

  33. tric says:

    Well done. Welcome to my world i post most days but I do love it. Enjoy the break and well done on completing your challenge.

  34. ethewriter says:

    Whew! I found myself worrying for a bit that we readers would never hear from you again (even though it’s only been a week since the end of your challenge).

  35. I’m glad you’re still here! So you got just under 35,000 hits in 112 days? We’ll try to look past that abysmal performance. (I’ve been blogging for a year and a half and just recently hit 10,000. Thank goodness for that one guy with OCD and no life! LOL) Your writing is hilarious and very entertaining. Thanks for putting the effort in. I look forward to reading more of your work whenever you post it. Cheers 🙂

  36. Kevin says:

    As a humble reader, I’m glad that me hitting my refresh button thousands of times worked and all those fake gmail accounts I created to boost up your follower count also worked! In all reality, it is impressive to have 3000 followers! Great job!

  37. Hank. says:

    We’re a little unnerved by how you might’ve gotten Hank’s real photo, though glad he was your target market after all.

  38. smallpebbles says:

    Ah……23thorns, so nice to see you pop up in the Reader – and think Shakespeare the second, is well on his way!

  39. 3900+ views and 3000 followers is no joke! Congrats on making it till the end of your challenge. Cheers to a million!

  40. joanfrankham says:

    Looking forward to reading more, in your own time!

  41. Lol congrats on an awesome achievement!!! I totally loved that pic of your target market. Hehe You are a great writer. Look forward to reading more in the future!

  42. Mary Southon says:

    Thanks. I missed you.

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