Simple Living in Suffolk is no more

WordPress is great as a blogging platform, but this Christmas period is the third time my self-hosted WP has been hacked over the odd ten years of running this, and I’ve had enough.

I didn’t give up work to spend my days trawling through loads of computer files to look for exactly where the particular cyber scum had crapped on. It was time to give up the fight against the tosspots of this world. People are always more tossy than I can be clever.

So the solution is that WordPress can have the problem. I even considered paying for it for a moment, but then decided against it. I’m not so vain that I need to have my own domain name at this stage, because I don’t monetize the site. If Monevator can’t work out how to do that then I sure as hell aren’t smart enough πŸ˜‰

But I do learn and appreciate the dialogue. Mrs Ermine even talked me out pulling the plug by offering to pay the WordPress rent. So I moved the content and comments to

The ermine didn’t get where he is today by paying for things he can’t touch. I have no mobile phone subscription, I don’t rent anything if I can avoid it and one of the first wins over spending I got on deciding to leave work was to shoot all subscriptions and then take it from there. I’m not going to break that habit yet, but the WordPress corporation can have the work of keeping the Mujahidin Cyber Army out of their sprawling and messy code. And I don’t ever want to see PHP again.

Oddly enough I can still make websites using old-skool passive html – using Jekyll is a good way to dynamically process pages and create a great website on something historical that doesn’t change much. It would even do a very good attempt at blogging. But the tragedy of all static html is that there is no comment system, for that you need the database, and that’s where it all starts to go pear shaped. Since interacting with commenters is the whole point of blogging IMO jekyll doesn’t work for blogging.

It’s also part of the wider shift I mentioned last time. I want to get away from the nitty-gritty of making particular things happen – it is the creativity of writing that I am after rather than making computers do something. I want to spend time in places like this

Brean Down, Somerset
Brean Down, Somerset

than behind a screen. I took time out from battling the Cyber Army to go out and listen to the tawny owls hooting in the garden, because it is good to know what matters in this world more. So I want to use my time well, and in this quiet time of the year it is important to think about what I will not do as well as what I will do. Because every yes to the owls and the trees with the moon is a no to something else like


and I’ve seen too much of the latter πŸ˜‰

It’s not that clear to me how the commenting system on here works in comparison to the self-hosted variation, and I suspect most people read this through RSS feeds or email subscription from the old site which will be lost, although are possible here – see links on RHS.

On the upside, it is apparently possible to read the mustelid meanderings on a mobile phone, and the interface does look cleaner to me. Then there is the separation of form from function intimated in Resilient Web Design, a promise that was whispered to us from the first




tags in 1992 before all those guys from the print industry with their Mac computers and Dreamweaver snatched it away from us when theyΒ  smashed content and presentation together with the







23 thoughts on “Simple Living in Suffolk is no more”

  1. Delighted to hear you are going to battle on. Over the last few years your insights have proved invaluable as I went through the processes of performance management, disillusion, early retirement and delete compression. Thank you.


    1. Interesting, I guess WordPress was running the RSS before and is smart then! I’ve gone out of my way to keep links from old posts through to the same content on here which is working a treat


  2. Hi Ermine, there are some utter morons in this world. I’m really pleased to read that you are continuing to publish your thoughts and experiences via WordPress, your insight is extremely useful and valuable to me at least and I’m very grateful for you taking the time to share it. For what it’s worth I have just finished reading “the 100 year life”, it shares a worrying picture of the future for people in their 20s and 30s but offers a useful framework and approach to how to deal with the changing work / life environment – much of your writing & insight fits extremely closely to this, if you were looking to monetise your output there is a market for a book I’m sure. Thanks again and all the best for 2018.


    1. I think one of the wins that seems indicated in the book for people in their 20s and 30s is hopefully living healthily into their ninth decades!

      From looking at the LSE video they seem to take Sheehy’s work quite a bit further, which is reasonable. The bits I would question is the idea of having a first career nose to the grindstone and then a second with more balance and a third taking it more chilled. I don’t think companies like that at all and it’s not clear to me what will force them to offer the second and third options. However, I must admit that I probably have a very narrow and anachronistic view of the career arc – much has changed in only the last five years, so I hope they are right. Then there is the elephant in the room, which is that four fifths of women want to have children, and human biology isn’t moving at all, although having children matches the second and third career phases rather than the first, so there are going to be some tough choices to be made in some cases.

      Absolutely agree with them that reinvention is probably the key, but I would say that reinvention is a lot more fun when it doesn’t have to fit in with work!


    1. No, the long-form of that is here – various things meant we had more freedom of choice, and both wanted a change. We had some connections with Somerset, and it’s closer to megalithic stones and some people we know


  3. Re: static site generators like jekyll, if you’re familiar with a little python check out the generator called pelican. For comments, you can use a plugin (disqus comes to mind). Both pelican and disqus have wordpress importers. You can then host the whole thing e.g. on github (free!).

    I realise this might be more effort than it’s worth to you, but thought I’d mention it! Feel free to email me if you want a few more pointers on anything.

    Thanks for keeping the blog going in any case!


    1. Running static was a strong temptation, but I ran Ad-Block and then uBlock and these really hate cross-site commenting systems. I felt I couldn’t really do that to my readers – I haven’t seen comments on the torygraph for years because they switched to Disqus.

      May revisit that policy for a couple of other blogs though, which have far fewer comments and I could make a site exception to wrangle Disqus. What worries me about Disqus in general is that it follows you around like Facebook platform building a profile. I guess WP does the same but you don’t have to be registered on WP to comment here, I believe.


  4. Ah, glad to see you again, I did have some ‘site unavailable’ type messages when catching up on my blog reading the last few days and worried that you’d decided the delights of the West Country were more interesting than continuing to write online.
    (I use Blogger reading list and this post came up as normal for me.)


    1. That site unavailable was me, I had to deny all access on the old site to shut down the bad guys while chasing that because I didn’t know what they might be doing. Interesting that Blogger continued tracking – I think that’s because I used’s jetpack on the old site to manage RSS and all that stuff when Google abandoned RSS a couple of years ago


  5. Very happy that you have decided to continue writing. Your thoughts and insights have always inspired me in dealing with the economics of this world.
    And welcome to Somerset! Brean Down is wonderful on a wild and windy December.


    1. Yes, welcome to Somerset ! We’ve been in the Quantocks for the last 5 years and have loved every minute of it.

      I’m so glad you haven’t given up your writing and ideas are second to none. Kind Regards.


  6. I click through to your site when my Feedly reader shows me you have a new blog post. This article popped up OK. Your one on Winter Solstice appeared yesterday, but now that I can view it (got the ‘unavailable’ message yesterday) I see it’s dated 21st Dec. I’m sure you’ll be able to make sense of this, given you know what problems you were having!


  7. I’m very glad Mrs Ermine prevailed upon you to continue, it would be a sad loss if you capitulated to the script kiddies.
    I’ve really enjoyed your writing over the years as it articulates a view of life after chucking in the paid job that nobody else seems to want to touch. Thank you.


  8. Very happy to see you back online. This has been my number 1 site for many years as I followed in your footsteps to early retirement. I pulled the plug 1 year ago and I am now front running my DB with savings then AVCs. You have certainly earned the right to stop blogging but I for one would be very grateful if you continue for a little while longer. Your writing has inspired me and I am sure many others over the years. – Thank you.


    1. I believe if you use the wordpress follow button that will do that for you, as you are a fellow user. I quite like WP reader. But the form will do it the old way


      1. Ok. (I think) I’ve replaced your old site with the new one on my of followees. We’ll see if it’s worked when you write a new post πŸ˜‰ Agree with your analysis of Nick Boles’s thesis, btw. Utter bollocks.


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