I think I’m an e-book convert

The bookshops are closed, the libraries are closed, and there are only a few books waiting to be read, so I thought I’d try downloading an e-book for viewing on the iPad.

I found an app called Libby, which links to my local library account, and decided to start with George Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying, a book I last read 50 years ago!

The app works really well, both for finding e-books and for the actual reading. My old iPad is rather heavy but I worked out how best to hold it for a comfortable reading position. It was surprisingly easy to read the e-book, in fact I think the larger text and fewer words on each page improved my reading concentration. Or perhaps I was just enjoying the novel so much.

So a successful trial, at no cost, and when I’ve finished my current paperback novel I’ll look out for another e-book from the library.

I’ve been entering rainfall data from 1951!

An interesting article in today’s Guardian reports on how scientists at the University of Reading are asking Britons with time on their hands to help digitise historic rainfall data. “Under the Rainfall Rescue project, volunteers will fill the gaps in British digital weather records between the 1820s and the 1950s by transcribing observations from scans of the old paper records.”

I’ve done a fair amount of data entry in my working life so I thought why not. If I’m not reading or blogging I’d only be playing Klondike on the Washington Post website!

Here’s an example of the procedure I have to follow. It’s all quite straightforward.

When a blog suddenly stops

I came across a blog I used to follow only to find that the last post was back in October last year. It was just a typical post, nothing to indicate it would be the last post, so why the sudden ending? I’ve come across other blogs which just end. If I was going to stop posting I’m sure I would do a sign-off post.

In some cases, I guess, something sudden has happened to bring about the abrupt ending. With this in mind I’ve decided to write a last post that will automatically appear at some time in the future. So I’ll set the date to be published as 1 month in the future and every now and again I’ll remember to push that date back so as it’s still in 1 month’s time. All I have to do now is decide what to put in my last post.

Beddington Park

I took these pictures in Beddington Park on a cold, miserable and grey morning. It used to be a rather scruffy park but now it’s really quite pretty.

I accidentally took the pictures with a filter on the iPhone camera app and they came out horrible, so I deleted them. I then discovered that the iPhone allows you to undo changes and so the damage done by the filter could be reversed after un-deleting. There was still a lot of work necessary in Photoshop to enhance the colours on such a sunless day. I may have gone a bit to far with the colour enhancements – artist’s prerogative!

Out the window

I took this picture just before 9pm – it was very dark, but 15 seconds exposure, ISO 400, f/6.3 and manual focus, it’s amazing what a little camera can capture. Plus a little help from Photoshop!

Out for a stroll

Until the ‘social distancing’ becomes a ‘curfew’ it’s still possible to enjoy the parks and countryside. This morning, a walk in the park and a browse past the art gallery turned up a couple of nice images.

Traditional British puddings

Seeing this office canteen in the swish new office block of an old employer of mine reminded me of the early years I worked there. The canteen provided proper meals, cooked on the premises, the highlight being the traditional puddings – bread & butter pudding, treacle sponge, spotted dick, jam sponge. All with custard, all in huge portions, all a danger to health, all delicious. Friday was a bakery day and the kitchen would make breads and cakes for the workers to buy and take home. The company was still owned by its founder and had a family-business feel about it.

Eventually the company was sold – more than once – and the canteen closed to be replaced by a snack bar, so it’s wonderful to see what appears to be the reappearance of a proper canteen in the new office block and in a company ten times the size of the company I knew.

www.Atkinsglobal.com

A weird session with the chiropractor

My chiropractor began the session by asking me about the book I brought in with me. I gave an outline and added it was a library book, to which she asked where the library was. I told her and said she couldn’t be local if she didn’t know where it was. She said she lived in a town 5 miles away and I said I worked there for many years. I mentioned the company I had worked for and she said her uncle had worked there. I asked after his name and I was taken aback and asked her where her uncle had lived in the town and she told me, confirming that I knew her uncle. He was a close friend of mine and had died from an illness and whom I’d been at his hospital bedside a few hours before he died. I was so concerned for his health that I rang his brother, my chiropractor’s father, to express my concerns and suggest he might want to visit his brother sooner rather than later. Well he did make the three hour journey and was able to see his brother, my friend, for his last few moments. All this was more than ten years ago. Now, today, my chiropractor and I were somewhat overcome by this shared experience as we chatted over some common memories whilst at the same time she continued pummelling my body. So weird.

Glass plate prints at the library

It’s not often I visit the main library but I’m glad I did as I came across a lovely, small exhibition of glass plate portrait prints. There’s a web site about the larger collection and a full set of images can be found on a Flickr site. It’s a fascinating collection that was discovered in the basement of a shop seventy years after the plates were abandoned by the photographer David Knights-Whittome.

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