A huge thank you to The Other Andrew and Sephyroth, who just nursemaided me through a blogger's ultimate nightmare:
I ended up with a weird glitch in my Blogger template last night. I tried to fix it ("cleverly" taking a copy of the HTML from another window I happened to have open - but it was only of one recent post) and, of course, everything looked perfectly fine when I previewed it. Then I've realised I'd managed to cause a logic loop of some kind.
Following some advice, I managed to do more of the same (ie. with more archived posts showing up, but the page itself was still "static".) Every link in my template kept me (and any readers out there) looping back to that same small sample of blog entries.
Time to seek out some HTML experts! (Surely, I kept telling myself, two years of earlier entries couldn't have been wiped out by one small coding error. I mean, I never pressed "Delete". The old posts must still be stored somewhere, even though I've seemingly severed all the old links?)
While waiting (im)patiently for an answer to my pleas (Sephy's on US time), I started grabbing Google caches of various "important pages", retrieving the HTML of my two annual indexes (so at least I had the titles of two years of entries). I started to imagine that, over time, I could rebuild the whole site from Google's cached pages. But, did I even need to? If it was just a minor HTML correction needed in the template I'd rather do it that way...
Then, at about 4.45am this morning, Sephy came to my rescue. Thanks everyone at Aussie Bloggers for all your good vibes, and especially thanks to Sephy, kathiemt, Snoskred and The Other Andrew. I could visualise what needed to be done, but that little voice in my head kept telling me I'd created a mess that wasn't fixable.
Essentially, all that was needed was to restore the Blogger template back to the one I was using, as it had all the specialised tags that Blogger uses to make posts appear (which the HTML I pasted in, in my panic last night, didn't). Then I just had to find all special code I'd so bravely added over the years (the sidebar, Sitemeter, etc) from the code in the static page I still had, save that to my computer, and then put it back in where it needed to be in the refreshed, but now-generic, template.
Easy! (When you're thinking straight, and have wonderful Internet friends to support you.) Yes, I did get a few hours of sleep overnight, but not enough.
Oh well, it's breakfast time...