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THIS WEEK IN ROSS-ON-WYE
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Issue No. 26 [Back Issues]
4th January 2005

This Week's Issue: [New Year's Eve 1] [New Year's Eve 2] [New Year's Eve 3] [Topical Photography - That Was 2004]

Topical Photography This Week - New Year's Day Fun Run 2005

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This year's New Year's Day Fun Run began at Hole in the Wall at 11:00 am on 1st January and finished at *Ross Rowing Club.

Above: The start of the race.

Left: At 8 years old, the youngest person to take part in the race was Jake Wild.

Below: This year's winner, Jacob Shepherd.

Further Below: The first lady runner to make it home was Pippa Jones.

 

* 'Excuse me interupting. Is this a five minute argument or have you paid for the full half hour?'


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That was 2004 - A success but still a way to go . . .
 



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At precisely 23:59:58 GMT on 31 December 2004, I took the photograph to the left and seconds later the year was history.

During 2004, I took over nine thousand photographs in and around Ross-on-Wye, some good, some bad and some ugly. Scenic shots aside, my favourites for the year were of John Otway (Cor Baby, That's Really Free,) Rob and Nick playing on the 'Potters Bar' football table and little Amy being cuddled by Father Christmas. Amy and Santa can be seen on last week's Wyenot News and the front page of last week's Ross Gazette. I much prefer natural shots to the posed line-up.

In an attempt to try and ease my work load, maintaining Wyenot.com, rather than just update randomly (although regularly) I introduced this weekly 'local news' section to the web site in July 2004, after dreaming it up whilst soaking in the bath one day. Far from easing my work load however, 'Wyenot News' doubled it and created deadlines to meet. The news section has been a big success with site visitors however, shooting from obscurity to the number one most visited section of the whole web site within five months.


During 2004, I received 1,214 emails from viewers of the web site. As you can guess, I haven't had a hope of being able to reply to every single one but I have tried my best to do so. Ashamed as I am to admit it, it is the genealogy ones I tend to shove to the back of the reply queue. I am forever receiving emails along the lines of, 'My great uncle's second cousin six times removed was born in France, emigrating to England at the age of six with his father, his third cousin's niece and a dog called 'Enthwhistle'. He had an aunt, who died of rubymolitis at the age of nine hundred and eleventy eight in 1746 and was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere close to Ross-on-Wye. Do you have a photograph of the dog?'

The above is obviously a moderately exaggerated example but I kid you not when I say, since I started Wyenot.com I have received six emails from different and unrelated people with the surname 'Goodrich,' strangely, all of them living on that large continent, located 2,000 miles off the coast of Land's End. All of these people have sincerely believed they have a claim on a local castle of the same name. I wonder how much I could make selling Goodrich Castle on Ebay? Somebody over there is bound to be gullible enough to buy it.

I looked at the Wyenot.com final viewer statistics for last year yesterday and the server log showed over 2.3 million 'hits' on the web site during 2004, including 70,184 unique visitors who looked at 343,086 pages of the site. Although the 'hits' count is just a little up on 2003, in 2004, the 'page view' and 'unique visitors' count had doubled on the previous year's figures. This huge increase in readership, I assume can only be due to word of mouth propagation. Amazing!

There is a great deal of information available from the server log about who the viewers of this web site actually are. I don't usually look at this information but this past week, excessively large bandwidth usage of late prompted me to investigate the 'IP address' which had made the most downloads from the wyenot.com domain. Surprise, surprise - with an IP address of 194.75.245.98, it turned out to be Herefordshire Council. Person or persons unknown, using a Herefordshire Council computer (or computers) downloaded 304.56 Mb of data from Wyenot.com during 36 visits in the month of December alone, and similar amounts for at least the two months prior to that. Who knows, one day Herefordshire Council may even offer me some financial support. Even just acknowledging the fact that I exist would be nice. Herefordshire Council's December usage (which was the equivalent of downloading every single photograph on wyenot.com, four times) dwarfed the next highest user during the month, who downloaded 39.54 Mb over 39 visits.

2004 has seen both bad and good times but on the whole, it was a good year and despite the fact that this web site, now well into its fifth year is not yet making money for me personally, it is making a huge amount for the town of Ross-on-Wye and local business. I have to admit that this has often caused me a great deal of frustration. There have been many occasions when I have nearly hit the 'delete' key on the whole thing due to lack of local support. There have been other times however, when people have approached me in the street, asking if I am the 'Wyenot.com Alan' and I have felt proud to admit that I am. Rather than be the pushy salesman type offering expensive advertising opportunities but with no real end product, over the years I have tried to allow Wyenot.com speak for itself by building it up gradually with real content, so that prospective local advertisers find it of their own accord whilst searching the web, as do the hundreds of thousands of other viewers and readers. This method is slowly beginning to pay off.

New Year's Eve 2004 finished the year on a high note for me. The year was a success but there is still a way to go. There is still a community spirit out there in Ross-on-Wye. There is also much hope for a successful and prosperous 2005 and I intend to stick with it. Happy New Year!


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