Mrs Bonkers Senior describes herself as a fair weather gardener. I would describe myself as all weathers non-gardener, and only engage with the shrubs in our very dull front bed when the more aggressive specimens like ivy and cotoneaster threaten to prise open the living room window or even insinuate themselves into the fabric of the walls themselves. Which does actually happen every 10 years or so - prompting Mr Bonkers to launch a frenzied attack on these impudent lianas with a pair of blunt and rusty shears.
Thus it was that last weekend, in the course of my hamfisted attempts to add a Facebook and Twitter share button, I managed to delete some text in a sidebar, and every time I went to add it back in, I got messages along the lines of "corrupted code, insert fresh code", right by that irritating little wrench sign that purports to be for my eyes only. It was all rather distressing at the time, but worse things have happened since, with which I shan't trouble you, enabling me to move on.
On the plus side, I didn't accidentally delete all my followers, who collectively comprise a cheering and colourful enhancement to this blog. Yes, at the risk of coming over all unnecessary, I confess to feeling a frisson of excitement every time a new avatar appears. The cubed montage - I believe it even has a proper name ie "avatar mosaic" - reminds me of those executive puzzles where you slide the tiles around to make a specific formation. As far as I know there isn't such a facility in Blogger, say if you thought someone's avatar was particularly fetching and you wanted to keep it in your top line. The last man in bumps an earlier follower into the invisible panel behind, or that is my impression.
But notwithstanding the shortcomings of followers as a human executive toy, I would like to thank every one of the 63 people on there currently who have taken the time to click on the "Google Follow" button, including the unfortunate person who appears to have lost his or her head, and defaulted to the rudimentary representation by an "X". Maybe they are called Malcolm. No, I have just checked, and the person in question is a lady lawyer in South America. She may need to keep a low profile for professional reasons, which arguably I haven't helped by drawing everyone's attention to her.
Now, round about the 57 follower mark, someone joined and promptly unjoined. At least I assumed it was the same person, rather than the perfectly timed coincidence of one follower joining as another one cancelled. Whatever occurred back there, I never established who had left, or the reasons why. I am trying to make up my mind which is better: someone quitting within the hour or a long term follower deciding they have had enough. The first instance could be down to a simple mistake - you would be surprised how many people find Bonkers about Perfume whilst looking for avocados. They may have hit the Google Follow button in an unthinking moment, only to have immediate second thoughts, once they realised how few column inches are in fact devoted to this nutritious fruit.
As for the scenario where a person leaves after some time - if that is what happened - it must take a lot consciously to decide to strike off a blog. (Almost as much effort as it takes consciously to avoid splitting an infinitive, not that anyone cares these days.) I suspect I am listed as a follower of all sorts of blogs I don't read as often as I would like. But to go back in deliberately and unfollow a blog feels like a decisive act, more so than just unfollowing someone on Twitter whose tweets are swamping your feed.
Consequently, I spent a dark - not quite "night of the soul" - but an early evening at least, trying to figure out why a long term follower might have upped sticks. Perhaps they were bemused by my post about Californian road surfaces. Or the sheer number of posts about California last month. Even readers based in California would probably agree that the attention accorded to their state was disproportionate.
Perhaps I should have put a palate-clearing paragraph in amongst all those posts stating that loosely related perfume features would be along again shortly. But then, if I had done that, and the follower had come back today, they would have seen this post on widgets and followers and been resoundingly confirmed in their decision to leave...
Hmmm, I wonder if I should offer a prize for the 100th follower, if and when that time comes, like the sales assistant in Harrods the other day who handled the billionth pound of sales revenue. Though maybe that isn't such a great idea, as the other 99 may quit in disgust at being passed over, and then where would I be?
But anyway, I promise that my next post will be about perfume again. Or avocados. So, please, don't go away, anyone...or get any ideas from the poster above about changing your avatar to an avocado. That would be rather a lot of green - much like our garden, indeed.