A Three Year Old Cow

Ah my faithful Acowlytes! With a minimum of fanfare Tetherd Cow Ahead has turned Three! It seems like only yesterday that a solitary cow let slip its restraints and ambled off into a haze of soporific poppy fumes and an uncertain future. The truth is that it has been a staggering 1095 days and in that time The Cow has wandered far and wide and seen sights and dreamed dreams that cows only dream of. When they’re on drugs. Or something.

As long-time Cowmrades know, my initial reason for setting TCA in motion was as a kind of occupational therapy after the death of my beloved Kate. At that time I really had no idea where I would go with the blog, what it would mean to me, and, indeed, whether there was any real point to it at all.

Over the years, though, Tetherd Cow Ahead has become something much more than I ever expected. I have made many new friends with whom I’ve laughed, philosophized and bantered. I’ve been encouraged, by the continuing labour of keeping The Cow interesting, to pay much greater attention to my world, viewing it, as it were, through the eyes of my readers as well as myself. This strange dissociation has given me an appreciation of my life that I don’t think I would ever have managed otherwise.

There’s been a lot of speculation in recent times about the utility of blogging. Some strident critics like the irksome Andrew Keen obtusely, or perhaps even wilfully, fail to understand even remotely the value of blogs*, advocating that the power of writing should be taken out of the hands of ‘the amateur’ and put back where it belongs (into the hands of those ‘who know what they’re doing’. Like, oh, CNN, and James Redfield, and The Pope and Shirley MacLaine and pretty much anyone of any public profile as long as they achieved their status through means other than the egalitarianism of the web).

People like Keen view the world in a very stilted and old-fashioned way. Andrew Keen would have taken Samuel Pepys’ quill away from him. He would have had Anne Frank go sit in the corner and knit. He’d have told Andy Warhol to get a proper job.

Now I’m not attempting to hold The Cow up to any of those extraordinary chroniclers of human experience, but in my opinion it is inevitable that sooner or later some great works will come out of the blogosphere. If nothing else, everyone who is currently blogging is helping to create an amazingly detailed picture of what it is like to live in the beginning of the 21st century at the explosive dawn of the Age of Information. And this picture is not being painted just by those who are somehow ‘sanctioned’ to do so.

For my own part, a nostalgic trawl back through The Cow lets me see an intriguing picture of my life over the last three years. It’s a quirky, funny, thoughtful and sometimes sad journey, but all in all (from my assessment anyway) it is a pretty good sketch of who I am and what I make of the world. I’ve never been much of a diarist so I’ve never had any real opportunity to look into my past at the changing person I surely am so it’s something of an engaging novelty to go revisit my life through the eyes of The Cow. I’m glad I started it. And I’m glad to have met you all, dear Cowpokes, and I thank you for your fine company.

No quiz this year – you’ve had altogether too many competitions lately I notice. But if you feel in the mood, have a few plugs away on the Mad Cow Ride in the sidebar. You’re sure to find something you’ve never seen before, or something you’ve completely forgotten.

I know I did.


*While hypocritically maintaining one of his own. It’s evidently OK for him to have one, because, unlike the rest of us, he’s got something to say…