I deem that it is time for a dose of omphaloskepsis, and to find out which of my miserable scrawlings captured your attention the most during the past year.

On a personal basis, the year started hopeful, but plans did not work out as hoped for, so I end the year really much the same as it started.

I’ve managed to write more this year, and visit more places – and done somewhat more in transport land. You’ll have to put up with a lot more of that in January for the anniversary.

I wrote less than planned though – with the usual bouts of lethargy getting in the way, and I am still sitting on a pile of photos that I just can’t motivate myself to write about. One day, maybe.

Then again, it has been a good year for photos of fireworks, and although my visit to the Olympic park was but a single day, then The Queen blocked off the Orbit while I was there.

And there was quite a bit of monarchy, which was rather difficult to avoid this year unless you tried really hard.

For me, some of the highlights include the helicopter flying through Tower Bridge, as it later turned out, for the Olympics opening razzmatazz. A few late nights offered chances to see things happening in the early hours when few others were awake.

Amazingly, I still haven’t taken a trip on the cable car – despite recording its construction at length, and in some discomfort when locked on a riverside pier at midnight once.

It’s rare for me to accept PR visits, but when it is buildings that are simply not open to the public, that can tempt me to want to write about the place. About 5% of the blog posts written were due to invitations from venues which I would not have been able to write if this blog didn’t have an audience. So I am always grateful for people who read the website for without you I can’t get into building sites and the like.

I did accept a “freebie” to be on one of the boats in the Jubilee flotilla though – well, just occasionally is allowed 😉

And I finally published my research on pneumatic railways, although it didn’t seem to attract as much attention as I had hoped. That is the confusion of writing a blog – I can never be sure what sort of stories will sink or swim.

top10But, the top ten articles that certainly swam this year were the following:

  1. Closed for 130 years, the public observation tower in central London
  2. It’s the 250th anniversary of the Cock Lane ghost
  3. Vintage tube train to run on the Underground next month
  4. Huge military fly past over Windsor Castle in May
  5. Pre-Booking details announced for London Open House Weekend
  6. List of London’s Bonfire Night Fireworks for 2012
  7. Photos behind the hoardings of the new Kings Cross station
  8. Disused tube station to open to the public for tours
  9. Victorian plans to encircle London with a Crystalline Railway
  10. Helicopter to fly through Tower Bridge

Here’s to 2013.


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  1. Andrew says:

    Appreciation of posts does not equal the number of comments. I found the pneumatic railway information fascinating as I knew nothing about the system. I have enjoyed reading your blog for a couple of years now, and I look forward to reading it in 2013. Best wishes.


  2. Tina Baxter says:

    Thank you for your blog, I am new City of London Guide this year and have found your blog and twitter feed informative, entertaining and enviable. Glad to hear that you are also not always motivated to write about all those photos/clippings/bits and bobs etc – now I don’t feel so bad about neglecting my own fledgling blog at times. Looking forward to more of Ian Visits in 2013.

  3. always enjoy your blogs and listings. Always recommend you to others. Wanted to hear about Kew Gardens in the biting rain as the grey weather put me off a Christmas visit.

  4. Bruce Eames says:

    Ian – I find your posts just fascinating and I think you are being a bit hard on yourself if you believe you have been lethargic or unmotivated. I don’t know how you keep up with all that stuff happening and your posts are articulate and so well informed. I look forward very much to reading your work in 2013.

  5. Mike Williams says:

    Ian – how can we thank you enough for all the fabulous material you turn out. Your pages and blogs are really a “must visit”
    Keep it up and looking forward to 2013 stuff. I don;t know haow you find time to do it all!

  6. Matt says:

    Ian your fantastic blog is, in some part, responsible for my decision to move to London in 2013. Always such fascinating things to see and do, and please continue to accept those occasional invites to things that none of us would ever have the chance to see for ourselves. Those can be some of your best posts.

    ps Any idea why mobile Safari seems to not load the css for your site any more? Back in November I abruptly started getting plain pages. Maybe its just me.

    • swirlythingy says:

      It’s not just you – I’m getting it as well, in a different browser. I thought it was just me!

    • IanVisits says:

      The plain text version loads faster on mobile browsers.

    • swirlythingy says:

      That’s interesting, because I’m not using a mobile browser. You’re not doing that thing where you examine the User-Agent string and decide it absolutely must be a phone if it contains the string “arm”, are you? The BBC recently made that mistake as well, and it’s maddening.

      My User-Agent is: NetSurf/3.0 (RISC OS; armv7l)

      I should point out that the obvious example of an ARM-powered computer which isn’t a mobile phone is the Raspberry Pi.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks Ian, but is there a way to get the full site back? I always found performance more than acceptable on my 3-year-old iPhone and the plain version is missing all the navigation functions of the site! Sometimes I need more than just todays events…

  7. swirlythingy says:

    When you mention building sites, do you mean all those Crossrail posts? If so, I’m pleased to see them embracing and engaging with the London blogging community, instead of keeping them at arms’ length and regarding them with suspicion, as tends to be the case if you’re not ‘traditional’ enough.

  8. Ann Barratt says:

    I very much enjoy your visits and thank you for doing it. I have been to many of your recommendations and you are never wrong.
    Thanks a lot.

  9. Whiff says:

    Excellent summary of the year. You’ve definitely carved out your own distinctive niche in the London blogging world and I’m always fascinated to read about where you’ve been. Keep up the good work.

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