Post index

Battersea Power Station, London (23 Oct, 2017) - If I’ve somewhat over-Photoshopped the images taken on my first visit to the Battersea Power Station development, my excuse is that it was a dull, grey day and the pictures needed some assistance – an artist’s privilege. Viewed from a train, the development looks horrible, but once you get on foot onto the site it’s […]
Diwali fireworks (22 Oct, 2017) -
Mister 45 (21 Oct, 2017) - There was an excellent interview with the film director Wim Wenders on Thursday’s Channel 4 News. In it he talks about the Polaroid snapshots he has taken throughout his life. He also  comments on the part he played in the career of the now disgraced Harvey Weinstein, as well as taking a dig at Trump whom he […]
A healthy appetite (20 Oct, 2017) - Talking to 3½ year old Chloe about her favourite this, her favourite that, I asked her what she would order if she went to Max’s Italian café. She said a large tomato, a spaghetti carbonara, and a margherita pizza!
When there’s nothing to say (19 Oct, 2017) - I couldn’t think of anything to write so I’ve resorted to that good old standby, a Photoshopped image! The original image, taken in our holiday cottage in Fowey, looks decidedly dull next to the enhanced one below. I like how the triangle formed by the curtain mimics the triangular yacht sails.
The cash machine story (18 Oct, 2017) - A few weeks back I used a bank’s cash machine to withdraw £100. I put the money in my wallet without checking the amount, and waited for the receipt, and waited. The machine was whirring away which is probably why I looked down and noticed a tiny piece of paper wedged in the cash slot. […]
Box Hill cattle poo (17 Oct, 2017) - The fairly short but steep walk up Box Hill in Surrey is a popular walk, but I’m not sure it will remain so. There was a large amount of cattle dung on the face of the hill, which is where most people walk. We caught a glimpse of the cattle and it was hard to […]
Getting to Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant (16 Oct, 2017) - On the spur of the moment I decided to visit my aunt. She lives in the tiny village of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant in Mid/North Wales, where there is only one bus per day in each direction. I needed to plan the connections with great care if I was to catch the sole bus into the village at […]
Views of and from Fowey (pronounced “Foy”), Cornwall (14 Oct, 2017) - I’m a little disappointed with my Fowey pictures. I took too few of the town itself and of the winding streets and alleys. Fowey is a lovely, small Cornish town at the bottom of a steep hill. The shops, pubs and cafes are wrapped around the winding, narrow roads. There is a small bookshop, selling […]
Polperro, Mevagissey and Padstow, Cornwall (13 Oct, 2017) - Polperro Mevagissey Padstow
Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall (12 Oct, 2017) - The Lost Gardens of Heligan is a terrific place to visit when in Cornwall. We visited these restored, historic gardens on a hot, sunny October day, though when we were under the jungle canopy it was quite cold.
Inside our holiday cottage (11 Oct, 2017) -
Portwrinkle, on the way to our Cornwall cottage (10 Oct, 2017) - On the way to our Cornwall cottage we made a diversion to Portwrinkle, a small, coastal Cornish village just beyond Plymouth. As a child, my wife had several holidays in the area and we have re-visited the village a couple of times. There’s not much there apart from a hotel and golf course, and of […]
It rained all day today on our holiday (7 Oct, 2017) - Yesterday was a scorcher, except when we were under the jungle canopy, but today it’s rained all day. So when the bride and groom turned up for a photo shoot on the beach, they must have wished they had wed a day earlier.
Saturday in Bushy Park (2 Oct, 2017) -  
Greatness is within Trump’s reach (30 Sep, 2017) - This article isn’t about what you think!
In the kitchen (29 Sep, 2017) -
Tinkering with line height (25 Sep, 2017) - I’m very fond of tinkering with the format and layout of my blog! My previous post is somewhat rambling and I wasn’t too happy with the line spacing – it just seemed too spaced out. The solution was straightforward. Simply wrap the text of the post in the following: For comparison, see below for how the […]
I’m feeling better this morning (25 Sep, 2017) - I’m feeling better this morning! Firstly, my cold, which is in its fourth day, is on the turn. Secondly, I’ve managed to fully charge my laptop! I’ve been struggling to charge it because of wonky connections and I’d become resigned to replacing the machine. But last night I found the old unreliable power cable and it […]
The Bargate, Southampton (20 Sep, 2017) - The Bargate is a Grade I listed medieval gatehouse in the city centre of Southampton, England. Constructed in Norman times as part of the Southampton town walls, it was the main gateway to the city. The building is a scheduled monument, which has served as a temporary exhibition and event space for Southampton Solent University […]
Hythe Ferry (19 Sep, 2017) - The Hythe Ferry runs from Southampton, across Southampton Water, to the small village of Hythe. The future of the ferry, which was under threat, has recently been secured. Although Hythe village is not particularly interesting, it’s worth doing the return trip, not only because a boat trip is always interesting, but also because at Hythe […]
Saturday’s interactions (17 Sep, 2017) - I accepted a religious pamphlet from a street missionary and put it in the first available bin. Maybe I should have returned it to the missionary further down the street who tried to give me another one. The ATM outside a bank shortchanged me by £20. I only spotted this because the machine was taking […]
Displaying posts using a WordPress shortcode (15 Sep, 2017) - Every now and again I like to change the look of my blog by using a different WordPress theme. Inevitably there’s tinkering required, but I’m a sucker for tinkering! My latest theme change (to the Apostrophe 2 theme) was to a magazine-style blog. Anyone landing on the home page has to click individual posts to […]
A working life (14 Sep, 2017) - A working life (with a few imaginative job titles): News media delivery agent Meat delivery agent Factory inventory recorder Software engineer – space research, energy supply, marketing, communication hardware, system software PC / network support analyst Database & IT support manager Fundraising database manager Book reader (unpaid)
I could eat a horse (14 Sep, 2017) - Three years and four months old Chloe seems linguistically advanced for her age. The expressions and sentences she sometimes comes out with are a constant surprise. But maybe she’s just demonstrating how rapid the development of language skills is and at how early an age this occurs. I’ve recently introduced her to the hyperbolic expressions “I […]
Just another rainbow (11 Sep, 2017) -
Classic Boat Festival & Great River Race (10 Sep, 2017) - The Classic Boat Festival at St Katherine Docks was just one of two events I was interested in seeing on my visit to London yesterday. Over 40 vintage boats were on display and visitors were able to get close to, and in some cases onto the vessels.It’s worth clicking on these images to get an […]
A violent night sky (8 Sep, 2017) - I’m not sure if this an accurate representation of the striking night sky, but it’s the best I could do. And no, there was no rain or storm.
London South Bank / Tate Modern (5 Sep, 2017) - When I began my walk on the South Bank, at around 11am, it was surprisingly quiet. Usually this part of London is teeming with tourists, walkers and joggers. Even the beach was empty! My intended destination was the huge Tate Modern building. The Turbine Hall was being prepared for what looked like an event rather […]
The beauty of Inspector Montalbano (3 Sep, 2017) - Last night’s terrific episode of the glorious Inspector Montalbano had the usual array of beautiful women, though not quite so many stunning views. Here are a few screenshots from this episode (A Nest of Vipers).
Eid in the park (1 Sep, 2017) -
At the races (29 Aug, 2017) - I’ve lived close to Epsom racecourse for a very long time but I think this was only my 2nd or 3rd visit to a race meeting. This was just a small event and my visit was brief. 
I miss playing badminton (28 Aug, 2017) - I very much enjoyed yesterday’s World Championship Badminton Finals. I miss playing, though my level was nowhere near that of the professionals! Being tall and having long legs helped me, but sadly that wasn’t sufficient, and in the end I was beaten by injury and age.
It was cool in the woods (27 Aug, 2017) -
Iris (26 Aug, 2017) -
Chatham and Rochester, Kent (24 Aug, 2017) - Chatham Dockyard is a terrific place to visit, and this was my third or fourth visit. However I baulked at the £21 entry fee and decided to abandon the visit. After all, I already had loads of pictures from the previous visits! After a bus ride to the nearby Rochester, I headed for the huge […]
Hampton Court Palace (20 Aug, 2017) - Yet more images of a visit to Hampton Court Palace, so I’ve heavily photoshopped some of them to add a bit of interest!
The Big Sick (17 Aug, 2017) - A romcom is not usually my thing, conjuring up images of trailers for an endless number of Jennifer Aniston films on tv. However, on an overcast day and with no sign of the promised sunshine, The Big Sick has been well reviewed and was showing at my almost-local cinema. A film about relationships and cultural […]
Nonsuch Park – puffy clouds & spaghetti (16 Aug, 2017) - It was just before sunset and there were some magical cloud formations on a short walk in Nonsuch Park. Earlier in the day, whilst looking at Google Maps, I was amused by the spaghetti-like paths in Nonsuch Park.
Bosham – the tide was out (14 Aug, 2017) - Bosham is a lovely village near Chichester. On a previous visit the tide was in, but today it was out. I think I prefer it when the tide is in. [Helpful public transport tip! Bus route 56, every 90 minutes or so from Chichester, takes you right down to Bosham harbour, whereas bus 700, every […]
Straight from the camera (13 Aug, 2017) - Straight from the camera, no raw images, no photoshopping, just playing with the settings on my lovely Sony Rx100 (model 1) on a lovely sunny afternoon. And I love to live so pleasantly Live this life of luxury(?) Lazing on a sunny afternoon In the summertime
Because I can (12 Aug, 2017) -
I wish I had this garden (12 Aug, 2017) -
Iris the bulldozer (10 Aug, 2017) -
The Clown (8 Aug, 2017) - “Trump is a menace, both ignorant and chaotic. His saving grace is his incompetence. In his first six months in office, he has made a hash of our foreign policy, set back efforts to contain global warming, exploited public land and depopulated the State Department. But these efforts — as bad as they might be […]
Hurst Point, near Lymington (8 Aug, 2017) - On our last day in Lymington we took a short drive to Keyhaven to get the small ferry to Hurst Point and Hurst Castle. It’s a fabulous short boat trip and on landing one can enjoy visiting the castle or just wandering around the spit which is just ¾ mile from the Isle of Wight.
Travelling by boat (7 Aug, 2017) - The best bit about travelling to a destination by boat is the travelling by boat! However I’ve never experienced a rough boat trip, so it may not always be the case. The first of our voyages during our 48 hours in Lymington was the round trip to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight.
Lymington at the end of the day (6 Aug, 2017) - By choosing to process the raw image files rather than allowing the camera to do it for you, getting the light right can be difficult at the best of time, and the evening light is even harder. Usually I end up doing what takes my fancy, without too much consideration for whether it looks like […]
Hurst Castle from the Isle of Wight (5 Aug, 2017) - I’m too knackered to process and cull the 100+ images taken during 48 hours in Lymington, but here is a nice picture of the wonderful Hurst Point / Hurst Castle site, taken from the Isle of Wight. More to follow…
Scenes from a country walk (1 Aug, 2017) - I’ve done several variations of this circular walk from Box Hill and Westhumble station to Polesden Lacey and I know the routes without the need for a map. I was puzzled by the horse which has what looks like a blindfold. Maybe it’s just some form of see-through protection. As for the ‘bull in field’ […]
Park lighting (30 Jul, 2017) -
Where I get the news (29 Jul, 2017) - First port of call for finding out if the world is about to end is the BBC website. After that I check out the Guardian, sometimes the Telegraph, sometimes Sky News. I also pop into Mail Online for a laugh. The New York Times and Washington Post web sites are great sources for finding out […]
A great picture (26 Jul, 2017) -
Sean Spicer – gone, but not forgotten (21 Jul, 2017) - Today, Sean Spicer resigned as press secretary, telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with his choice for a new communications director. For many, Sean Spicer will be remembered for a brilliant portrayal by Melissa McCarthy in this Saturday Night Live sketch.
What will the plane do when it gets to the end? (18 Jul, 2017) - Walking with 3-year-old Chloe to the newsagent, I pointed out the rather nice, curved vapour trail in the distant sky. “What will the plane do when it gets to the end [of the vapour trail]?” she asked, which brought a smile to my face. I think I tried to explain something along the lines of […]
Hampton Court on a lovely, summer day (17 Jul, 2017) - The weather was wonderful and a visit to Hampton Court Palace, as ever, was a joy. Here are the pictures taken in the Palace and its gardens. And here are the River Thames ones And here is the playing-around-with-Photoshop one
Evening in the park (16 Jul, 2017) -
Box Hill, Surrey (15 Jul, 2017) -
Why the Mexico / USA wall has to be transparent (14 Jul, 2017) - “When they throw large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don’t see them — they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It’s over. As crazy as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall.” Donald Trump, July 2017
Chloe & Iris (11 Jul, 2017) -
The biggest, strangest batteries (6 Jul, 2017) - What if you need a battery? A really big one — big enough to run a city? This article from the New York Times shows some interesting ways for storing energy. There are some nice graphics as well.
The artist’s residence (5 Jul, 2017) -
View from our holiday apartment (5 Jul, 2017) - Our Scarborough holiday apartment was on a corner and had large floor-to-ceiling windows looking out in two directions. Although there wasn’t much of a view, the light flooded in, and it took a couple of night’s sleep to adjust to such brightness at 4 in the morning! Here are some images looking out through the […]
Misty Filey (4 Jul, 2017) - Filey is a small and pleasant seaside resort on the North Yorkshire coast. On this visit it was misty, and the amazing Filey Brigg was invisible (picture on right). We were puzzled as to why the Punch and Judy man was setting up his theatre on such a dreadful day (picture on left). He was […]
Views of Scarborough (3 Jul, 2017) - A couple of fine days, a couple of wet days and a couple of misty days. We’ve experienced a lot worse weather in Scarborough!
Stunning Robin Hood’s Bay (2 Jul, 2017) - We’ve been to Robin Hood’s Bay many times. It’s a beautiful old fishing village on the North Yorkshire coast, and when the weather is fine, as it was on this visit, it’s a wonderful place to visit. There is a notoriously steep hill that must be walked to get from the top of the village to […]
I’m not happy (27 Jun, 2017) - I’m not happy. Taylors Cafe and Books in Scarborough has new owners – and they’ve done away with the books! After a decent coffee and cake, I could always find a couple of interesting second-hand books on the top floor. Sadly, no more. However it gets worse. The only bookshop selling new books (other than […]
Horsing around (23 Jun, 2017) -
Still tinkering (19 Jun, 2017) - I used to be a computer programmer and I haven’t lost the pleasure to be had from figuring out how to alter or fix anything related to software. Nowadays this is likely to be exploring web design using HTML and CSS rather than writing computer code. Using CSS within WordPress it’s possible to alter the […]
Hever Castle & gardens (16 Jun, 2017) - The castle The lake The gardens
Park life (14 Jun, 2017) -
My Life as a Courgette (13 Jun, 2017) - I was the only person in the Wimbledon HMVCurzon cinema – a first for me! That wasn’t too surprising as it was a lovely sunny day and it would have been lunchtime for most people. Incidentally, an air-conditioned cinema on a hot day can feel uncomfortably cold. As for the film, it’s s 66 minute, […]
Southampton (12 Jun, 2017) -
Noooo! Say it isn’t so! (9 Jun, 2017) - We’ve still got a Tory government, we’ve still got Brexit, but now we’re stuck with Corbyn and his motley crew and there’s going to have to be another election.
Vote tactically! (7 Jun, 2017) - Moi? Lib-Dems! (Update: Well that was a waste of time!)
Nobody sits in the front row out of choice! (6 Jun, 2017) - The cinema has 108 seats and there were just a dozen patrons waiting to see the subtitled film. So why did an oldish man enter the auditorium and sit in the front row, bang in the middle, followed a minute later by another oldish man who also sat in the front row but at the […]
After the Storm (5 Jun, 2017) - Going to see a film just after lunch was probably not a good idea. I was struggling to read whilst on the train to the cinema and drifted off to sleep, nearly missing my stop. The film is almost 2 hours long. There is no action, and I mean no action, and at times I again […]
Hampton Court (30 May, 2017) -
What’s this picture all about? Answered! (29 May, 2017) - In a previous post, I asked the question “What’s this picture all about?” This Steve Bell cartoon provides the answer!
The man is shameless (25 May, 2017) -
Genius (18 May, 2017) -
A nice display (15 May, 2017) -

The Reflection – Hugo Wilcken (10 May, 2017) - Intriguing and puzzling, I rushed through this in two days, all the while fearing that ultimately it wouldn’t make sense (to me). Sadly, my fears were confirmed. A back-cover blurb that began “An experimental novel disguised as a thriller” should have warned me off! Interestingly, in the acknowledgements the author references John Franklin Bardin’s The […]
A Very English Scandal – John Preston (8 May, 2017) - “A Very English Scandal – Sex, Lies, and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment” is the true story of the Jeremy Thorpe murder-plot. Jeremy Thorpe was a British MP and leader of the Liberal Party. This amazing book is the story of his downfall. Throughout this gob-smacking, and sometimes hilariously funny story, […]
Eating bogies (5 May, 2017) - I just couldn’t let this article go unnoticed! Click the image for the full article! Now I’ll no longer need to pack a lunch on my hikes!
Lady Macbeth (3 May, 2017) - On a cold, overcast day it seemed appropriate to go see a film. Lady Macbeth seemed longer than its 90 minutes but that doesn’t mean it dragged. Atmospheric and stark, there’s little dialogue, but lots of silence and sounds, and it looks terrific. A fine performance by the leading lady, Florence Pugh. Story-wise, I’m not sure, […]
The creature from the ponds (2 May, 2017) - Another lovely morning and another visit to the ponds. Spot the creature lurking in the swamp.
After the rain (1 May, 2017) -
Epsom Common ponds (27 Apr, 2017) - I haven’t been to see the Epsom Common ponds for years, but early this sunny morning the common and the ponds looked delightful.
Hamble (again) (26 Apr, 2017) -
The pink block (23 Apr, 2017) - We were puzzled by this extremely heavy block hanging from the branch of a sturdy tree. Anyone got any thoughts? I’m not fond of mainly green images and this is what you get if you wander through a wood or common on a cloudy day. Time to bring out Photoshop to see what can be […]
Brenda & Ollie do politics (21 Apr, 2017) - [Bingo – I finally managed to find out how to put videos side by side]
Winchester (18 Apr, 2017) - Winchester is an historic city – ruins, walls, old buildings and a cathedral. But these aren’t my scene, and on a gloriously sunny day I was looking for images, for colour. In the event, I’m not happy with the few usable shots I took, so I’ve thrown in a Clapham Junction shot as well. Despite […]
B&W experiments (16 Apr, 2017) -
Pictures from Somerset (15 Apr, 2017) -
Rain ⇨ Sun ⇨ Colour! (1 Apr, 2017) -
My mum doesn’t look happy (27 Mar, 2017) - By the look on my mum’s face, and the suitcase and bag piled up on the wall, it looks as if another one of my stepdad’s cars has broken down. Picture taken around 1966. I was a bit of a looker, do you think? Things change.
Spring in Kingston (27 Mar, 2017) - Contrasting images taken in Kingston-Upon-Thames on a glorious Spring day.
Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium (26 Mar, 2017) - In Saturday’s Guardian there was an interesting article on the closure of Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium. I have fond memories of the only time I went greyhound racing, at Wimbledon, with half-a-dozen work colleagues. As well as 10 or so races to bet on, we had some surprisingly good food. My cautious colleagues decided to place £2 […]
Mike’s bikes (25 Mar, 2017) - I recently bought two second-hand books on cycling, and although I rarely cycle, they were both interesting reads. The Escape Artist, by Matt Seaton, is an excellent short book, describing the author’s passion for cycling. Two Wheels, by the same author, is a varied and interesting collection of the author’s short, Guardian articles on biking. […]
A neo-renaissance cinema masquerading as a bingo hall! (22 Mar, 2017) - I just had to post a link to a blog post about this amazing building. Maybe it’s time to take up bingo!  
Hamble, again (21 Mar, 2017) - I make no apologies for taking yet more pictures of the River Hamble and the pink ferries! It’s a lovely spot, with a small waterfront and a consistently reliable café. Hamble village is also charming, with several pubs. The short ride on the ferry, across the river to Warsash, is well worth the modest fare.
Personal Shopper (20 Mar, 2017) - At almost 2 hours long, Personal Shopper is an absorbing film, but very odd. Its star, Kristen Stewart, is barely off-screen and gives a fine performance in a confusing ghost story. I would recommend the film, for some. It’s been a while since I last went to the cinema! There were just 6 film-goers in […]
A walk from Westhumble to Dorking (16 Mar, 2017) - A sunny, Spring day was ideal for a short walk (4 miles?) from Westhumble to Dorking via the North Downs. I found four books in the Dorking Oxfam Bookshop, including two books on cycling even though I don’t cycle! Lunch at The Cricketers Inn on the road out of town was a very decent BLT […]
River Thames, East Molesey (15 Mar, 2017) -
Lost, without a book or a compass (14 Mar, 2017) - I’ve nothing in the to-be-read pile so I’ve dug out a to-be-studied Christmas present. I have previously looked into map and compass reading, but I’m a lazy student and didn’t get far. I should have persevered because I once get lost on a walk. Although I knew roughly where I was, I had no idea which country […]
Pimlico and Victoria (9 Mar, 2017) - It’s been a lovely day for wandering around London. I’m fond of the the Victoria / Pimlico area and I had intended to browse around Tate Britain. However, desperate for sustenance, the queue in the Tate cafe was just too long, and I walked straight out to continue my walk in the sunshine! These are […]
The Boy’s Companion (27 Feb, 2017) - I think I was about 12 or 13 when I was given The Boy’s Companion – A Book For Every Boy. My copy disappeared half a century ago but I have managed to get hold of what I think is the same edition from 1962.It’s a book from a bygone age, with chapters on sports […]
Epsom Downs (26 Feb, 2017) -
Dorking – a perfect sky for pictures (24 Feb, 2017) - Click on any image for the gallery, or click here for large images
View from Clapham Junction (20 Feb, 2017) -
We don’t run, but on Epsom Downs ….. (19 Feb, 2017) - I could have done with a faster shutter speed to capture the motion, and I’ve made the grey day grimmer than it was, and made the colours a bit washed out. But hey, that’s artistic license!
Reigate Park (18 Feb, 2017) - Photoshop couldn’t help me with some dull pictures taken on a grey Saturday in Reigate Park, so I took just a tiny bit of one of the pictures (see left), mucked around some more, and came up with the image below. A cake and a cup of tea from a lovely teapot was enjoyed before […]
Out the back (17 Feb, 2017) -
In the trees (17 Feb, 2017) -
It looks like a UK web site, but…. (16 Feb, 2017) - Whilst looking to source a camera battery I came across a web site with a web address and which in every respect looks like a UK web site. But on the About page it states…. “We digsin to provide thoughtfully server for every battery buyers.” I’m not sure what was intended, but it […]
Six wasted book purchases (16 Feb, 2017) - I’ve been unsuccessful with my recent book purchases… Back Trouble – Clare Chambers [Couldn’t get going] The Whites – Richard Price [American slang too hard to follow] Towards the End of the Morning – Michael Frayn [Couldn’t get going] In the Dark Room – Brian Dillon [Couldn’t get going] The First Bad Man – Miranda […]
Now that’s what I call a cemetery (14 Feb, 2017) - No plastic flowers in this cemetery in Cheam Village!
Photoshopping (13 Feb, 2017) -
Genius (13 Feb, 2017) -
Plastic flowers on a grave (10 Feb, 2017) - On a dreadfully cold, dank and drizzly day there’s not much scope for taking pictures. But a walk through the back lanes of Epsom up to the Downs brought me to the cemetery, via the pub (for coffee!). Perhaps grey days are the most appropriate days for a cemetery but I was shocked to see […]
New toy from Milton Keynes (4 Feb, 2017) - At last – a decision and an action! I now have a new little camera to complement my bulky DSLR. It’s the highly rated Sony RX100 1 (the range goes up to 5) and, at first look, appears to be a very nice toy. I’m hoping for great things from this gadget but I have […]
Great Pubs of London by George Dailey (1 Feb, 2017) - I’ve just bought the book Great Pubs of London, by George Dailey. It has descriptions  and glorious photographs of 22 of London’s oldest pubs. I’ve been to a couple of them over the years but my goal is to visit all of them during 2017 for a pint, a pie and a picture! But first […]
Oh my goodness! (29 Jan, 2017) -
Freedom of the Press (25 Jan, 2017) -
On a cold and frosty morning (23 Jan, 2017) - West Humble and Denbies vineyard, near Dorking, Surrey.
President Windrip (21 Jan, 2017) - “The senator [later President Windrip] was vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected, and in his ‘ideas’ almost idiotic, while his celebrated piety was that of a travelling salesman for church furniture, and his yet more celebrated humour the sly cynicism of a country store. Aside from his dramatic glory, Buzz Windrip was a […]
Thames walk (20 Jan, 2017) -
The Itchen Way (17 Jan, 2017) - On a blog I follow there is a blog post ( about walking along the Itchen Navigation, from Southampton to Winchester. Intrigued, my Google search led me to these links about the Itchen Way, a walk from Southampton to Winchester and beyond: I also found a second-hand paperback from 1990, Exploring the Itchen Way […]
Just for fun (13 Jan, 2017) -
President-Elect Trump (12 Jan, 2017) - “It is, regrettably, a simple statement of fact that Trump lies routinely and blatantly. So much so that we must assume that neither he nor we are supposed to care about what the actual truth is.” David Aaronovitch, The Times
Saturday Times, Jumbo crossword – just 5 left! (8 Jan, 2017) - No dictionary. No Googling. Just 5 remain – well done me!
How Japan has almost eradicated gun crime (6 Jan, 2017) - What a great article for the beginning of 2017.
Earthquake strikes off North Yorkshire coast (4 Jan, 2017) - Much amused by these tweets following reports of a magnitude 3.9 earthquake off the coast of Scarborough – but few people noticed!
Hogsmill River, Ewell, Surrey (29 Dec, 2016) - It’s decades since I last wandered along the Hogsmill River in Ewell, but what a fabulously crisp and sunny day to choose to visit!
Have you ever seen typesetting as bad as this? (27 Dec, 2016) - In the UK paperback edition of the excellent Dodgers by Bill Beverly, there is some really rubbish typesetting throughout the book. Spaces in the middle of words, spaces missing between words, and even overprinting of characters. How was this missed before going to print?
“I did not have relations with that man” – Trump (23 Dec, 2016) - I just had to post another one!
Trump has a hissy fit (23 Dec, 2016) - There are a lot of these videos taking the Mickey out of Trump. Here’s another good one!
Hampton Court ice rink (22 Dec, 2016) -
So, I ran out of books (12 Dec, 2016) - The top 4 were new books, the other 3 from Oxfam Books. Some good finds, I think.
November’s reading (30 Nov, 2016) -
I’m in awe (26 Nov, 2016) -
First thing this morning (26 Nov, 2016) -
Nonsuch Park, Cheam (25 Nov, 2016) - We’re not travelling far at the moment…
Fireworks – on the 15th! (15 Nov, 2016) -
Music on a sunny autumn day (6 Nov, 2016) - I came across this quirky song by Andrew Bird and which I liked enough to put into the blog’s music area. On the briefest of walks we came across this rather lovely autumnal view through the trees.
Nonsuch Park, Cheam (28 Oct, 2016) -
Nonsuch Park, Cheam (23 Oct, 2016) -
Some blog tweets (22 Oct, 2016) - I’ve just watched 5 episodes of the ITV drama Paranoid. Heads should roll for this mess. Some normally classy actors are probably wishing they had turned it down. A potty story, terrible script and acting – and there’s another 3 episodes in the coming weeks! But I guess I should see it through to the […]
Hamble and the Beach Hut Café (17 Oct, 2016) - In between the heavy showers in Hamble there was some gloriously warm sunshine giving clear, colourful views. Coffee and cake in the Beach Hut Café – just perfect.
What did I do wrong? (4 Oct, 2016) - Today I took some rubbish pictures using a supposedly better lens. What did I do wrong? After some heavy raw photoshopping, drastically reducing the contrast and boosting the vibrance, this was the best I could do with a couple of them. The first picture is a crop from the background of an image, whilst the second picture is a crop […]
Southampton boats (3 Oct, 2016) -
The park in almost B & W (18 Sep, 2016) -
A London stroll (9 Sep, 2016) - The Battersea Power Station redevelopment doesn’t look too promising…

Christie Malry’s Own Double-Entry – B.S. Johnson (29 Aug, 2016) - The only good things I can say about Christie Malry’s Own Double-Entry by B.S. Johnson is that I like the cover and I like the foreword by John Lanchester. Other than that it was a confusing, chaotic mess that I gave up at around page 50.
How to Watch TV News – Postman & Powers (28 Aug, 2016) - How to Watch TV News by Neil Postman & Steve Powers is an OK read about how TV news is put together. At just 170 pages it’s a brief and manageable examination of the subject. I liked, and have long adhered to, three of the book’s final recommendations: – Reduce the amount of TV news you watch […]
A Price To Pay – David Bermingham (21 Aug, 2016) - A Price To Pay (The Inside Story of the NatWest Three) by David Bermingham is the astonishing tale of three British bankers caught up in the Enron scandal. It’s a devastating portrait of the American justice system and the British extradition and political system, and leaves one horrified and angry. The financial details are complex, […]
Dull pictures on a bright sunny day (17 Aug, 2016) - Some rubbish pictures from a walk along the Thames called for some extreme Photoshopping!
Epsom Downs (14 Aug, 2016) -  
Worthing & Steyning, Sussex (12 Aug, 2016) - Some astonishing sea colours on our visit to Worthing on the South Coast. I recall seeing colours like this when we visited Lake Louise in Canada. Not far from Worthing is the stunningly attractive and charming town of Steyning. The two pictures below give just a small indication of why it’s worth a visit. There […]
Lawyer abandons career to become artist (10 Aug, 2016) - People come to create visually stunning pieces of artwork naturally, others take different paths to realise their dreams. Ex lawyer and now illustrative artist Lucy Haque talks about the ideas behind her work and how she came about her practice.
Tate Modern – new extension (8 Aug, 2016) - On my first visit to the Tate Modern’s new extension I wasn’t too taken by the works of art but the view from the viewing gallery on the top floor makes it well worth visiting.
Not quite Olympic table tennis (6 Aug, 2016) - After the second night of competition, the old guy leads the young pretender 2-0 (4-2 and 4-2). Windy conditions meant it was a lot easier to play into the wind than with the wind behind! Sunday update! On the 3rd night the young pretender dealt better with the blustery wind and won 4-2. Overall, 2-1 […]
Dorking Oxfam Books (5 Aug, 2016) - One can usually find something a bit different at Dorking Oxfam Books.
Epsom Downs (31 Jul, 2016) - We’re lucky to have the large open spaces of Epsom Downs on our doorstep!
Too cheap! (30 Jul, 2016) - Charity shops selling quality paperbacks for a pound each. That’s too cheap, but thanks anyway!
3-legged fun over the field (30 Jul, 2016) -
Nothing But Blue Skies – Thomas McGuane (24 Jul, 2016) - Nothing But Blue Skies by Thomas McGuane is one of those books you live in and which you don’t want to end. Set in Montana in the 1990s, it’s a sad story of a middle-age man disintegrating after his wife leaves him. He neglects his businesses, occasionally creating havoc as his despair increases. Sometimes, crude […]
Lymington (21 Jul, 2016) -  
One has become grandparents, again (10 Jul, 2016) - Welcome to the world, Iris Eliza Haque, sister to Chloe. Born Sunday 10th July 2016, at about 00:20. All are well.
You can spend too much time reading! (3 Jul, 2016) - Ten books in a single month is too many. The poor weather was partly to blame but even though there were some terrific reads, ten really is too many. I need to get out more and hopefully July’s blog postings will reflect this. Watch this space!
Hampton Court (2 Jul, 2016) -
The Innocent Man – John Grisham (26 Jun, 2016) - The Innocent Man by John Grisham is the 500-page, true story of an injustice in a small American town. Detailing an appalling justice system and how it failed the flawed Ron Williamson, it’s a truly shocking story. Well written, thorough and detailed, it shows up the many failed aspects of the American legal system. Highly […]
Hampton Court (22 Jun, 2016) -
This House of Grief – Helen Garner (20 Jun, 2016) - This House of Grief by Helen Garner is the true story of the Australian trial for murder of a father following the deaths of his three young sons in a car accident. It’s a fabulous portrayal of the incident, the participants and the trial. As involving as a thriller, but with real people, this is […]
EU referendum (18 Jun, 2016) -
Epitaph For A Spy – Eric Ambler (9 Jun, 2016) - Epitaph For A Spy by Eric Ambler is a jolly enjoyable read! Written and set in the 1930s, the first half seems a bit like an Agatha Christie whodunit (not that I’ve read one!). Guests at a hotel, a stolen item, our hero trying to determine who’s the thief etc. Although continuing in the same […]
Snail and spider (7 Jun, 2016) -
A bit of rain….. (7 Jun, 2016) -
The Age Of Absurdity – Michael Foley (29 May, 2016) - I think I may have begun to read The Age Of Absurdity by Michael Foley a year or so back, but not really got into it. This time, as often happens, it took me half a book to really start to enjoy it, and in the second half I was really enjoying it. It’s a […]
The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas (26 May, 2016) - I wish I had put more effort into the first half of The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. I didn’t begin to enjoy the novel until about 250 pages in (just past the halfway mark!) and by then I had lost track of the many characters. Each chapter gives a different perspective of the same event (the […]
Red sky at night,….. (25 May, 2016) -
Berlin (25 May, 2016) - Some images from a wonderful weekend in a hot and sunny Berlin. It’s a relaxing, manageable city, with big buildings, big spaces and a gorgeous park. A youthful population, a fantastic mix of crisscrossing transport, and a million and one cafés and restaurants, make for a wonderfully, bustling city. I always like to include a […]
Finders Keepers – Stephen King (18 May, 2016) - Finders Keepers is my first ever Stephen King novel and what a terrific thriller it is. [I thought about slowing down, to have something to read on the plane, but it’s just so unputdownable – I couldn’t stop!] Brilliantly constructed, the various threads are nicely juggled, joined up and then brought to a tense and […]
Big ships, but not the big one! (16 May, 2016) - Sadly, the Harmony of the Seas, the biggest cruise liner in the world, doesn’t arrive in Southampton until tomorrow, so all I could see on my brief visit were these ships.
What’s a litotes? (15 May, 2016) - I came across a new word, ‘litotes’, in a Guardian forum. Not an unpleasant sounding word (ha ha!), and worth examination. Wikipedia tells me ‘it’s a figure of speech wherein understatement is used to emphasize a point by stating a negative to further affirm a positive, often incorporating double negatives for effect’. Examples of litotes: He’s no […]
Kew Gardens (12 May, 2016) -
Hampton Court Palace (9 May, 2016) -
Filey (1 May, 2016) -
Bridlington promenade (1 May, 2016) -
Scarborough (1 May, 2016) -
Making great filter coffee is simple (28 Apr, 2016) - I came across this comment on a 2013 Guardian article, and after I stopped laughing I knew I just had to share it. Making great filter coffee is simple: Use only single-bush beans, preferably from the same branch. Burnish each individual coffee bean with a tiny loofah, until you can see your beard and square spectacles […]
Snakes alive on Colley Hill! (20 Apr, 2016) - We weren’t expecting to see snakes on our walk! I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a snake in the wild, and today we saw two adders, the only venomous snake native to Britain. My wife doesn’t like snakes. The first picture is a panoramic view made up of five images stitched together. Taken […]
It’s my birthday! (11 Apr, 2016) - The weirdest and the most colourful birthday cards. Thank you family for a lovely day. And, for the record, I ate east of Greece (Lebanese!).
Bushy Park (10 Apr, 2016) -
Never 10. Never again! (8 Apr, 2016) - I came across a recently promoted utility called Never 10. It claims to easily and safely stop the regular reminders from Microsoft to upgrade to Windows 10. I checked out the reviews and all were positive. So I thought I’d give it a go. The utility works by modifying the Windows Registry. Before doing this […]
Nora Webster – Colm Tóibín (7 Apr, 2016) - Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín is a delightful and moving novel from the author of Brooklyn. It’s the story of recently widowed Nora and her struggles dealing with her grief and depression, and bringing up her four children in a small town in Ireland in the early 1960s. It’s a charming read and is highly […]
A 2 year old visits (6 Apr, 2016) -
Victoria (4 Apr, 2016) - The really notable thing to know about the film Victoria is that it was shot in a single, unbroken, unedited, continuous take of 2¼ hours duration. Before seeing the film all I knew was that it has been described as a heist movie set in Berlin. I found the first hour somewhat slow, wondering where it […]
Along the South Bank to Canary Wharf (1 Apr, 2016) - It was a dull morning when I set off from Waterloo station along the South Bank, heading for Canary Wharf on the other side of the Thames. Eventually the weather improved and became sunny / cloudy and this time I managed to locate the pier where the short ferry embarks and crosses the Thames to […]
The Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace (1 Apr, 2016) - For little people aged 2-13. Fabulous!
Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories – Thomas Grant (31 Mar, 2016) - Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories by Thomas Grant is a very funny book about the life and court cases of the QC Jeremy Hutchinson. There are lots of fascinating background details about the cases but also of the social climate at the time. This is a wonderful, well-written book which is often laugh out loud funny. […]
Lucy Haque, artist (28 Mar, 2016) - Prints by the artist Lucy Haque are now available from her web shop at
Prefab Homes – Elisabeth Blanchet (27 Mar, 2016) - Prefab Homes by Elisabeth Blanchet is a sixty page history of the prefabs built after the Second World War as a temporary solution to the housing shortage. With many images, this is a nostalgic and useful little book, particularly for anyone who, like me, spent their childhood in a prefab.
The Innocent – Ian McEwan (26 Mar, 2016) - The joy of reading fiction is that you get transported to places and periods without leaving your chair, and whilst reading The Innocent by Ian McEwan I was living in 1950s Berlin. This novel is a fascinating portrayal of post-war Berlin as well as a love story and a spy thriller. Two-thirds of the way […]
My photo gallery (24 Mar, 2016) -
Freshening up (22 Mar, 2016) - Another blog template change – the fourth! The template sequence has been Pilcrow, Blissful, Bold Life, and now the Able theme.
Anomalisa (21 Mar, 2016) - Anomalisa is a very weird animated stop-motion film. I’ve no idea what to make of it, but I’m glad my wife decided not to come with me! With a 90 minute running time, it seemed longer. I guess the guy was struggling with life – was he having a mental breakdown? There’s a pretty explicit [animated] […]
Please, Mister Postman – Alan Johnson (21 Mar, 2016) - Please, Mister Postman is the second of Alan Johnson’s memoirs, and covers his time as a postman and union official. Like the first of his memoirs, This Boy, this is another charming slice of working class life, set between the late 1960s and the mid 1980s. It’s another fine piece of writing from that rare […]
Lymington to Keyhaven coastal walk (16 Mar, 2016) - Many times we’ve walked along the coastal path between Lymington and Keyhaven. This time the weather was fine, but sadly the tide was out, so we saw mainly mud rather than water. Birds and twichers will always be found on the nature reserve which is next to this stretch of the coastal path. This map [] shows the area. […]
The Power of the Dog – Thomas Savage (7 Mar, 2016) - The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage is an interesting story of ranch life in the 1920s and of two brothers, the decent George and the homophobic and bullying Phil. The characters are well-developed, and the enfolding drama leads one to expect that inevitably something bad is going to happen. There’s also an interesting and […]
Along the Thames to Surrey Docks (4 Mar, 2016) - I was going to walk from Waterloo Station along the north bank of the Thames, but when I saw the Shard in the distance I just had to visit this wonderful building zooming into the sky. A sunny day with the odd cloud made for some colourful pictures. However, sausage and mash, floating in a […]
Hamble, for old times’ sake (29 Feb, 2016) - Image taken with the old Canon 710 IS.
From Waterstones in Dorking (25 Feb, 2016) -
The Tortilla Curtain – T C Boyle (22 Feb, 2016) - I’m unlikely to read a better novel this year than The Tortilla Curtain by T C Boyle. An engrossing story of the contrasting lives and fortunes of middle-class Californians and illegal Mexican immigrants. It’s a beautifully written story, with the very different lives, struggles and perspectives expertly interwoven. Magnificent.
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – Jon Ronson (14 Feb, 2016) - A book about shaming people, in particular via social media. A frightening warning to be careful about what you say on Twitter/Facebook. An easy, well-written tale, it’ll scare the pants off you! Very highly recommended.
Unwanted but rescued (7 Feb, 2016) -
The Letter Bearer – Robert Allison (6 Feb, 2016) - I’m really not sure about The Letter Bearer by Robert Allison! Set in the African desert during World War II, the main character struggles to survive the hardships of the desert following injury and memory loss. Rescued by a motley gang of deserters, he tries to rediscover who he is and how he became injured. […]
Room (1 Feb, 2016) - Room is a wonderfully moving film, with tremendous performances from the two main characters, the mother who was abducted, and the child who was born in captivity. It’s an emotional and sometimes traumatic film – take your hankies – and is very highly recommended. (I can’t believe it’s 14 months since I last went to […]
The Fear of 13 (31 Jan, 2016) - The Fear of 13 is a truly, truly astonishing documentary about a prisoner on death row. What an amazing guy. Seek it out – the 90 minutes whiz by – but do try to avoid finding out anything about it before watching! Currently showing on BBC iPlayer but also available on DVD etc. The film reminds […]
Magnetic bookmarks. I’m not convinced. (29 Jan, 2016) - Good: Unlikely to fall out of book. Bad: Fiddly to remove and attach. Not as pleasantly tactile or as attractive as standard bookmarks.
Brooklyn – Colm Tóibín (27 Jan, 2016) - Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín is a lovely, lovely novel. Set initially in small-town Ireland in the 1950s, it follows the young Eilis as she starts a new life and finds love in Brooklyn. Tragic news from home leads her back to her roots and to her having to make choices about her future. A wonderful, […]
Two for £1.60, five for a pound (21 Jan, 2016) - I only wanted two, and they would cost me £1.60, and because I only wanted two I declined the offer of five for a pound. This was pretty dumb because I could have had my two for a pound (with 3 more unwanted ones thrown in for free)!
Conrad Phillips as William Tell (16 Jan, 2016) - Sad to hear that the actor Conrad Phillips has died. In the 1950s he played William Tell in the TV series of the same name. As a kid I loved that programme. Interestingly he also had a part in Fawlty Towers as a disgruntled guest. I also loved the TV series Robin Hood starring the […]
Lucas – Kevin Brooks (14 Jan, 2016) - Lucas by Kevin Brooks is a terrific read which I zipped through in a couple of days. Notionally aimed at ‘young adults’ it’s more than suitable for older adults as well! It’s told by a 15 / 16-year-old girl, covers all the relationships you’d expect (friends, parent, brother), deals with matters of grief and responsibility, […]
Annoying Stratford-upon-Avon (13 Jan, 2016) - Annoyance(1): The prominently sign-posted park-and-ride facility gladly accepted our £1 compulsory parking fee. However the driver of a bus, which was clearly marked as a park-and-ride bus, informed us (and another annoyed couple) that the scheme hadn’t operated from this site since July last year. Thank you Warwickshire County Council! Annoyance(2): My fault – I lost the dust […]
The Cotswolds village of Naunton (12 Jan, 2016) - On the way back from an uninspiring visit to Cheltenham we passed through the stunningly pretty village of Naunton. No shops, just a rather attractive looking pub, and with a population of about 350, Naunton would, on a sunnier day, be well worth a proper visit. I like this watercolour of the village by the artist […]
Stow-on-the-Wold (12 Jan, 2016) - Shame about the cars…
Cotswolds bookshops (11 Jan, 2016) - Today was cold, cloudy and, for a while, very foggy. No point taking pictures in the pretty (though not as pretty as they say) village of Broadway, but we had a decent sandwich lunch at Hunters Restaurant & Tea Room and I found 3 reduced paperbacks at the disappointing Blandford Books. Stow-on-the-Wold has two bookshops. The Borzoi […]
Cotswolds villages (10 Jan, 2016) -
The glorious Young Montalbano (9 Jan, 2016) - A wonderful second story in the new series of The Young Montalbano. The Italian names of the story’s characters can be very confusing, but the context always manages to assist with resolving who is who. There’s so much to be gained from being familiar with the main characters, their quirks, their repetitive behavior. It’s a quality […]
Messing with a blog layout (4 Jan, 2016) - A new year and a new theme. I almost decided to abandon blogging, but hopefully the new layout will inspire me! For the record, the new theme is the Bold Life theme and I’ve come across this link to some interesting CSS customisations for the theme.
December books (29 Dec, 2015) - What a great month of reading. All of them, I can recommend! Dirty Work – Gabriel Weston A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson Summer House With Swimming Pool – Herman Koch The Assault – Harry Mulisch The Long Tomorrow – Leigh Brackett What’s Going On? – Mark Steel
Dirty Work – Gabriel Weston (29 Dec, 2015) - This is a magnificent short novel about a doctor, a surgeon, wrestling with her conscience. It’s unputdownable – I read it in a single sitting. Not everyone’s cup of tea – it’s harrowing and honest – but it feels accurate and true. Very highly recommended.
A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson (29 Dec, 2015) - There are nearly 600 pages in this highly readable history of science. The sheer amazingness (is there such a word?) of it all is brilliantly conveyed. Perhaps some illustrations might have been helpful, but otherwise this is a not too difficult and highly recommended read.
Li’l’ ol’ Chloe (20 Dec, 2015) -
Summer House With Swimming Pool – Herman Koch (17 Dec, 2015) - In Summer House With Swimming Pool by Herman Koch there aren’t any nice people, but don’t let that put you off! The main character is a doctor who has an unfortunate disregard for the health of his patients. This attitude makes for some very funny, and sometimes informative, reading. This is a story about family life and […]
A rant about an unnamed bookshop (10 Dec, 2015) - Things I don’t like in an independent bookshop Books squeezed in so tight that removal is difficult and replacement impossible. Old, discoloured books mixed in with the new books, suggesting poor stock rotation. Owners ranting on the phone to their suppliers. This is unprofessional. In addition, bookshops, like libraries, should be mainly quiet. Books right at […]
The Long Tomorrow – Leigh Brackett (10 Dec, 2015) - The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett is categorised as science fiction. I doubt whether I have read more than a couple of SF novels in my entire life, so this was a bit of a toe-dip. [Is there such a term as a toe-dip?] Published in 1955, the story takes place in a post nuclear […]
You look like a gentleman (7 Dec, 2015) - As I walked from the station to the bus stop, I was summoned from across the road by a tall, attractive, young woman, who, in a very well-spoken voice, said: “Hello, excuse me, excuse me, sir. You look like a gentleman. I’m a fashion model. Would you like to see my portfolio? I’ve been on a fashion […]
London Christmas lights (7 Dec, 2015) -

What’s Going On? – Mark Steel (6 Dec, 2015) - Mark Steel is a comedian and socialist. This is one of his autobiographical books, covering his disillusionment with far-left political parties and the break-up of his long-term relationship. It’s an honest and very, very funny read. Highly recommended.
November books (30 Nov, 2015) - Nothing too special this month – the M.J.Hyland the best of the bunch. I.D. Crimes of Identity – Editor Martin Edwards [ID themed short stories – OK] Carry Me Down – M.J.Hyland [A troubled 11 year old and has family – recommended] Audition – Ryu Murakami [OK, short novel builds up to a bloody ending] Edith’s […]
Ai Weiwei at the RA, London (27 Nov, 2015) - The Ai Weiwei exhibition at the RA wasn’t packed. However it was busy enough to not make it worthwhile taking pictures and not helped by taking an unsuitable lens for large, indoor works. The multimedia guide was essential in helping to make sense of his works.
Microsoft Bob (21 Nov, 2015) - I came across a great site of screen shots of versions of Windows and other graphical user interfaces. Ah, Windows 2, I remember it well. And then there’s Microsoft Bob, which was “designed to replace the desktop of Windows 3.1 and 95 with an interface designed mainly for novice users”. At first I thought this […]
A holiday in Scarborough (15 Nov, 2015) -
October books (5 Nov, 2015) - A month to be forgotten, but still some great reading done. I Can Make You Hate – Charlie Brooker [Very funny rants. Highly recommended] Two Years, No Rain – Shawn Klomparens [Man struggles with love and work – recommended] Rogue Male – Geoffrey Household [An old-fashioned thriller – recommended] Four Days in November, The Assassination of […]
I Can Make You Hate – Charlie Brooker (5 Nov, 2015) - When things are not going your way, Charlie Brooker’s I Can Make You Hate will cheer you up no end! He rants and raves in succinct, two-page doses. There are lots and lots of laugh-out-loud moments. This is highly recommended to those who can handle it!
“When the world ends, the readers will be spared” (13 Oct, 2015) - From the novel “Two Years, No Rain” by Shawn Klomparens.
Rogue Male – Geoffrey Household (12 Oct, 2015) - Written the 1939, this is a good, old-fashioned thriller full of escapes and chases, involving torture and murder, ships and hideouts. The blurb on the front states it’s “Simply the best escape and pursuit story yet written”. It’s a fine read and a recommended one.
Four Days in November, The Assassination of JFK – Vincent Bugliosi (4 Oct, 2015) - Four Days in November, The Assassination of John F. Kennedy, by Vincent Bugliosi, is a magnificent narrative covering the days surrounding the assassination of JFK. At over 500 pages I thought it would take me a month to read, but it took me just 4 days! It’s beautifully written and reads like a novel. In […]
September books (29 Sep, 2015) - Being still diverted by other things this month, I might have read just two books if I hadn’t manage to squeeze in a couple of easy reads at the end of the month. The Dave Eggers novel sticks out because it was so readable and different. Electric – Chad Taylor [An OK, slow-burning thriller] Your Fathers, Where […]
Your Fathers, Where Are They…? – Dave Eggers (28 Sep, 2015) - Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers is a fabulous novel. 220 pages of dialogue, it’s probably like nothing you’ve read before. Quirky, weird, tense, stressful, breathless, you should read it in a day, or 2 at most! A great story, highly readable and highly recommended.
Hilarious! (16 Sep, 2015) - Nestlé fails to convince European court of justice that four-fingered version of its chocolate bar should be protected by law
Epsom Downs (6 Sep, 2015) -
Nice boat! (5 Sep, 2015) -
August books (1 Sep, 2015) - Other things took priority during August but there were two terrific books – a non-fiction about the life of Lord Lucan and a very fine novel, Stoner. A Lee Child novel was typically easy to read and fun. Stoner – John Williams [Highly recommended] Compartment No. 6 – Rosa Liksom [I couldn’t get into it] The […]
Stoner – John Williams (1 Sep, 2015) - Stoner by John Williams is a wonderful novel about the life of John Stoner, an undistinguished teacher at an American university. Set in the period 1890-1955, it’s a sad story – Stoner always seems to make the wrong choices – but so beautifully written. The novel was written in 1965, one of only four novels by […]
Canary Wharf, London (28 Aug, 2015) - A lovely sunny, cloudy day in London, a boat ride and some excellent pasta (Wild Boar Ragu Pappardelle & Ravioli Di Capra) at the Canary Wharf branch of Zizzi. Nice.
The wonderful Frasier Crane (24 Aug, 2015) - Just caught a wonderful episode of Frasier before another day of hospital visiting. Frasier dates a super-model but no one believes him. When he tries to obtain evidence by taking a selfie of himself and the sleeping supermodel in bed, the camera-flash fires and she wakes up and rightly goes berserk, leading to the end […]
Southampton sunset (10 Aug, 2015) -
Scarborough. The last pictures. (1 Aug, 2015) - The end of an era as we leave Scarborough for a good while. I’ve taken so many pictures of the place I decided that these last two, of the North Bay and of the castle, would be heavily artisticised (Google found 20 uses of this non-word!). If you’ve never visited Scarborough, check it out. It […]
July books (1 Aug, 2015) - Another month of having read 7 books, all novels and all of them a success! Mystery Man – Colin Bateman [Odd, quirky, very funny. Not everyone’s cup of tea!] Hidden River – Adrian McKinty [Terrific thriller set in NI & America. Recommended] The Widow’s Tale – Mick Jackson [A widow’s near-breakdown – pretty good, read […]
Staithes, on the Yorkshire Coast (31 Jul, 2015) - What a lovely village Staithes is. I first visited it decades ago and I remember it as cold and grey. But on this visit it was a glorious, sunny day. There were children amongst the people on the breakwater wall (see image below) who eventually realised that their route back to the beach was cut […]
Runswick Bay, on the Yorkshire Coast (31 Jul, 2015) - You will only get to discover the beauty of the village of Runswick Bay if you walk up through the narrow alleys between the houses. Keep going up and around and in the summer enjoy the abundance of flowers.
From Hull to hell (29 Jul, 2015) - After a wet day in Hull, a final visit to Bridlington, a town that for so long has needed knocking down, and sadly still does. However there is an attractive South beach, and the Old Town is worth checking out, but even here there are signs of continuing decline. .
Scarborough – alternative views (28 Jul, 2015) - These paintings of the Scarborough South Bay are from Scarborough Art Gallery. Notice the same landmarks – the Grand Hotel, the cliff-top hotels and Oliver’s Mount.
Hull. It rained all day! (27 Jul, 2015) - It rained all day in Hull and it was nigh impossible to take outdoor pictures. But I managed a couple, one of the soulless pier and one of the trawler that is now a museum piece. After lunch at Ask , a pizza chain down by the pier, we visited the manageable Ferens Art Gallery. […]
Postcards from Scarborough (26 Jul, 2015) - I inadvertently took these as JPEG images rather than raw files. Not sure if I can notice any loss of quality but I still needed to process the images to get them how I wanted.
How I became a reader (22 Jul, 2015) - I have always read, though with gaps. Now, I read a lot. This is how I started. At primary school I had a girlfriend(!) and during reading classes we used to hold hands under the bench. Love+reading = Love reading? At home we would get comics delivered, on a Thursday I think, including Tiger, Eagle […]
A Man Called Ove / Rendezvous in Black (19 Jul, 2015) - A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is a charming Swedish novel about the grumpiest man you could imagine. But he’s also practical, kind and loving. It’s a great translation, easy to read and touchingly funny, and is highly recommended. Rendezvous in Black by Cornell Woolrich is a 1948 psychological thriller. It’s a great read […]
Southampton (11 Jul, 2015) -
Independent bookshop opens in Scarborough! (4 Jul, 2015) - Scarborough already has a few places for book-browsing; a decent Waterstones for new books, and several second-hand bookshops. The cramped Mrs Lofthouses Secondhand Book Emporium may make you sneeze, but is worth a visit for the huge number of books. Curiously there is only ever a gentleman there – Mr Lofthouse? I prefer the small collection […]
June Books (4 Jul, 2015) - Seven books read in June – a record, and all a good read! Pieces for the Left Hand – J. Robert Lennon [100 very short stories – OK] Confessions – Kanae Minato [Recommended Japanese novel about kids, murder and revenge] Loss – Tony Black [Enjoyable, violent crime novel set in Edinburgh] The Blue Tango – Eoin […]
Scarborough & Filey Brigg (again!) (4 Jul, 2015) - It thought it would be a perfect day for taking pictures – sunny and cloudy, but I’m not too happy with the end result! I’m using the bog-standard lens that came with the camera. They’re not as sharp as I would like and I’m not too happy with the colours either. I don’t think I’m […]
Llangollen and around (29 Jun, 2015) -
Eating out on a Monday night shouldn’t be this hard! (29 Jun, 2015) - Finding somewhere to eat in North Wales’ villages on a Sunday or Monday evening is a bit iffy! Nothing available at the three Llanrhaeadr pubs tonight. We sat down in the only cafe in the village but struggled to find anything we fancied. One of the items we chose was no longer available and eventually […]
Heather creatures (26 Jun, 2015) -
Bee (25 Jun, 2015) - Not quite sharp but the best I could do with the tools I have.
Southampton (24 Jun, 2015) -
Sunny London (22 Jun, 2015) - I know, I know, these are heavily processed pictures. Artistic license! Click images for enlargements.
Squirrel (21 Jun, 2015) -
Smiles and tears in today’s Guardian (20 Jun, 2015) - In today’s Guardian, this item, part of a very funny series about the writer’s experience with online dating, made me smile: I’ve learned not to make snap judgments. Sexual chemistry can surprise you [“Miles thought I was being overcautious. Caution will gain us nothing, at this stage of our lives, he said. As he’s 59, about to […]
The Blue Tango – Eoin McNamee (20 Jun, 2015) - The Blue Tango by Eoin McNamee is based on the 1952 killing of a Northern Ireland judges’s daughter. Beautifully written, it effortlessly meanders around the events and characters. It’s a terrific read and is highly recommended. A visit to Skoob Books, which is less than 10 minutes walk from Kings Cross, turned up five novels […]
Southampton & Warsash (11 Jun, 2015) -
Scarborough – the last pictures for a while (6 Jun, 2015) - The last pictures from Scarborough for a while. An alternative image of the harbour, a sunset viewed from granny and grandpa’s flat, and a view of Castleton on the Yorkshire Moors on a very blustery day. Yet again I made the mistake of concentrating on the aperture and neglecting the shutter speed. A forty-fifth of a second […]
Whitby (4 Jun, 2015) -
Scarborough to Filey – a stunning 9 mile walk (4 Jun, 2015) - Yesterday I walked this stunning walk along the cliff top of the Yorkshire coast. These are my pictures taken on a sunny and cloudy day. My late father-in-law, Bill Bourne, loved walking and he did this same walk as part of a 14-day walk from Spurn Point to Redcar, some 130 miles or more. He […]
I messed up after the funeral (3 Jun, 2015) - I only took a few informal pictures at the reception. I was using my discreet, pocket camera, which I don’t use very often. I set the aperture and the sensitivity and left the camera to work out the exposure time. Big mistake! I have lots of pictures taken at a tenth and even a third […]
Helmsley, North Yorkshire (2 Jun, 2015) -
Hack Attack – Nick Davies (27 May, 2015) - Hack Attack by Nick Davies is a brilliant account of the hacking scandal and the corruption of the UK tabloid press, police and political system. It reads like a crime novel, with plenty of villains and a few good guys. It’s a shocking story and is highly recommended.
Robin Hood’s Bay (21 May, 2015) -
Puzzling item in local Scarborough paper (18 May, 2015) - But all is explained, here!
The South Korean barber (10 May, 2015) - Chloe, age 1, and her mother recommended the South Korean barber. By means of a million tiny snips he meticulously cut what little hair he could find. It must have taken 20 minutes. He then carefully trimmed the hair in and around my ears (it’s an age thing) and then poked a thin, pen-shape trimmer […]
Scarborough! (6 May, 2015) - I don’t normally have my camera at the ready on a long-distance train, so I failed to capture an astonishing image of a brilliant yellow rapeseed field with a magnificent rainbow in the background. Shucks! The following will have to suffice.
Berlin – day 3 (26 Apr, 2015) - A walk through the beautiful Tiergarten park with my son, a late bread-breakfast in the park for him, accompanied by two jazz musicians. A train to a huge lake at Tegel. Tegel is charming and one can imagine is packed with Berliners in the summer. There are large pleasure boats and smaller boats and yachts. […]
Berlin – day 2 (26 Apr, 2015) - A visit to our son’s new flat – he passed the parental-approval test! Berlin flats are mainly rented and very affordable in comparison to London. Housing in Berlin seems so very sensible, though I do find it strange that every radiator has to have a gadget fixed to it that measures the amount of heat […]
Berlin – day 1 (of my 3rd visit) (26 Apr, 2015) - London to Berlin. I was the oldest person on the flight and was sat close to a stag party. They were not too raucous, they were polite and they each drank just two small cans of beer during the flight – it could have been a lot worse. Note to self – it might be […]
Berlin – half a lemon (26 Apr, 2015) - I have returned to my hotel room at the end of the day and there is half a lemon on the desk. Is this normal in Berlin hotels? Perhaps this is how the maid wipes down the surfaces “without using any chemicals, electricity or water”. She just forgot to take the lemon with her!
Berlin (25 Apr, 2015) - Berlin is a great city to visit, especially if you also have family to visit. Pictures and details to follow when I have proper Internet access! I’ve had a wonderful day today, thank you R & N.
Chloe – 1 year (20 Apr, 2015) - I can’t figure out why the video to the right of the image doesn’t display (in Safari) or run (in Chrome) on an iPad – any ideas?
An Isle of Wight panorama (10 Apr, 2015) - A panorama made up of 5 images stitched together. Click the image for a bigger version.
IOW, Yarmouth to The Needles (10 Apr, 2015) - I’m a huge fan of the coastal Hampshire town of Lymington and the coastal town of Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, and of the ferry linking the two! On a glorious spring day it took me four hours to get to Yarmouth (walk, train, train, train, ferry from Lymington). After spending just over four […]
The Establishment – Owen Jones (8 Apr, 2015) - The Establishment – And how they get away with it, by Owen Jones, is a brilliant demolition job on who runs the UK. Well written and informative, you’ll view ‘the news’ in a different light after reading it. Ridiculously young and eloquent, Jones describes himself as a “4th generation socialist”. He writes for The Guardian, […]
Sky Garden – London (7 Apr, 2015) - I came across a blog post about London’s Sky Garden, which I hadn’t heard of before. Click on the image to read the full blog post or click on the Sky Garden’s website.
I have hugged an angel (6 Apr, 2015) -
Kings Cross area, London (6 Apr, 2015) - With so much development going on in the Kings Cross area, you can expect to find something new on each visit. Click on an image for a larger version.
The Hythe Ferry, from Southampton (2 Apr, 2015) - The ferry from Southampton to Hythe (The Hythe Ferry!) is a fabulous excursion for any visitor to Southampton. A 15 minute boat trip on what seems like an old tug, past a liner if you’re lucky, and then to the end of a 600 metre pier and on to a clunky old train along the […]
Stuff matters – Mark Miodownik (27 Mar, 2015) - Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik is an interesting look at the materials we take for granted as well as some new and exciting ones. Occasionally technical, overall it’s highly readable and is recommended.
Bushy Park (27 Mar, 2015) -
Park birds (27 Mar, 2015) -
Chloe – 11 months (24 Mar, 2015) -
Park bird (24 Mar, 2015) -
Day trip to Lymington (23 Mar, 2015) -
Just a shelf (22 Mar, 2015) -
Inspector Montalbano – The Potter’s Field (22 Mar, 2015) - Last night’s The Potter’s Field is surely the most wonderful of the Inspector Montalbano TV adaptations. So funny, so much warmth between the characters and such a wonderfully complex yet manageable story. The acting is brilliant and you just get the feeling the actors are so enjoying their roles! It may not be to everyone’s […]
The River Thames on a glorious afternoon (20 Mar, 2015) - The yellow submarine in the third image belongs to the Common Sense Party. Its founder member, Howard Thomas, campaigns in a car and boat dressed up to look like a yellow submarine. See this Wikipedia entry for details! In 2014 he announced that he was leaving the Common Sense Party to join the UK Independence […]
Very Nice Too (18 Mar, 2015) -

The Farm – Tom Rob Smith (16 Mar, 2015) - The Farm by Tom Rob Smith is terrific! Rightly described as unputdownable, it’s brilliantly written with an unusual story, and I read its 350 pages in under a day. Try to avoid reading the comments and summaries, and approach it with no idea of what it’s about – I did – you’ll quickly get hooked! […]
Case Histories – Kate Atkinson (15 Mar, 2015) - I whizzed through Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. Centered around three family tragedies and a likable private detective, this is a well written English crime-novel. I sometimes had to flick back to remember who was who, but in the main this is pretty easy read with the mysteries being nicely tied up at the end. […]
My days in IT are over (14 Mar, 2015) - I’m old enough to have been involved in the early days of ‘computing’. Of course it’s now called IT (or is it?). I was bookshelf-browsing and I came across some of my old computing books and it just seemed to be the right time to clear out a few of them. So out goes Access 97 […]
My awesome desktop picture (14 Mar, 2015) -
Shouldn’t that be Crêpe? (13 Mar, 2015) - There’s a new place for a coffee / bite to eat in Cheam Village. On our first visit the cheese and ham crêpe was tasty and substantial but we found the lemon and sugar crêpe far too sugary. Next time I’ll ask for a lemon-only crêpe and I’ll add sugar from the sugar sachets! It’s worth giving […]
Saturday – Ian McEwan (12 Mar, 2015) - I wasn’t too sure about Ian McEwan’s Saturday, but with a few longer reading sessions I was into it and ultimately enjoyed it. This story, of a neurosurgeon and his family and of the events on one day, is well written and thoughtful. Along the way, I particularly enjoyed the fascinating and detailed accounts of […]
Chloe swings! (10 Mar, 2015) -
Text messages received out of order (8 Mar, 2015) - Some confusion and problems resulted when, of 3 text messages sent to me from the same sender, the first message was received after the second and third message. I have found the following interesting extract on Wikipedia: “Various studies have shown that around 1% to 5% of messages are lost entirely, even during normal operation […]
Dressy casual (8 Mar, 2015) - I’ve been invited to a birthday party and the dress code is ‘dressy casual’. I had to look it up! It appears that the look I should be aiming for is something like the guy on the left. I don’t really think this is me! But I’ve found some other ideas at and There’s […]
Saturday’s Guardian magazine (8 Mar, 2015) - What an interesting Saturday Guardian magazine! Sophie Heawood’s article on lying is fun was amusing. I laughed out loud at the idea of telling one’s child that the ice cream van only plays music when it’s run out of ice cream! Bim Adewunmi has a crush on Frasier Crane. I think this is a healthy […]
Prezzo, Banstead Surrey (7 Mar, 2015) -
Hampton Court (5 Mar, 2015) -
One thing always leads to another…. (2 Mar, 2015) - Google and the browser took me from one computer language to the next, from Mercury Autocode to Algol 60, then on to the very strange language APL (here there was a diversion after I came across an APL programmer I played badminton against many decades ago), then on to FORTRAN, then on to Prime’s operating system […]
Vaclav & Lena – Haley Tanner (2 Mar, 2015) - The Adventures of Vaclav the Magnificent & His Lovely Assistant Lena, by Haley Tanner, is a curiosity that I nearly gave up on around the 100-page mark – but fortunately I didn’t! Two children, Vaclav and Lena, become inseparable and dream of becoming famous magicians, when one day Lena disappears. Set among Russian immigrant families living […]
It’s wet outside (28 Feb, 2015) -
Drawing Boundaries: How to Keep Your Blog from Complicating Your Life (27 Feb, 2015) - Originally posted on The Daily Post:
My name is Elizabeth Urello, and as far as I know, I am the only Elizabeth Urello in existence. This is great for branding purposes, but terrible for anonymity: I am highly Googleable. I often think that I would take more risks online if my name were, say, Elizabeth…
A clock (26 Feb, 2015) -
The Jook – Gary Phillips (25 Feb, 2015) - The Jook by Gary Phillips is a pacy crime novel full of swearing, sex and extreme violence. Set around the world of American football, there are no likeable characters but the story keeps you hooked. Initially, the street-dialogue took some getting used to, but eventually I got the idea! At 250 pages, it’s a short […]
Box Hill panorama (spot the 3 trains!) (25 Feb, 2015) - Panorama of the view from Box Hill, Surrey, made up of multiple images stitched together. Notice the strange, curved horizon and the 3 trains on the railway line! (Click on image)
Chloe – 10 months (24 Feb, 2015) -
More snow, but not a lot (21 Feb, 2015) -
Never Go Back – Lee Child (19 Feb, 2015) - Never Go Back by Lee Child is the third novel I have read by this author. As with the previous books, I raced through it, reading the first 350 pages (of 500) on the same day! But then I couldn’t read for a couple of days, and on returning to the story I found I had […]
Taken in Southampton (18 Feb, 2015) -
Nothing – Edited by Jeremy Webb (15 Feb, 2015) - Nothing is a collection of articles from New Scientist based around the concept of ‘nothing’. Some articles I found interesting, some less so, and some I didn’t understand. Anything to with numbers (zero in this case) is always interesting to me, as is anything about what existed before the big bang – don’t ask, I’m […]
What a plonker (twice) and for the 2nd time (13 Feb, 2015) - We did the same thing 3 or 4 years ago. We closed the front door, leaving a key in the inside lock. Despite having another key, it’s not possible to open the door whilst there is a key in the inside lock. What a plonker. The first time this happened I eventually managed to open […]
The Man Who Forgot His Wife – John O’Farrell (11 Feb, 2015) - The Man Who Forgot His Wife by John O’Farrell is such an easy read that I consumed its 400 pages in a single day. There’s quite a few laugh-out-loud moments. It’s a decent, light read, though perhaps a bit stretched-out.
Opposite Canary Wharf (9 Feb, 2015) -
Southampton (4 Feb, 2015) -  
Why: Reading is a Modern Superpower… (1 Feb, 2015) - Originally posted on
It is my contention that:  In the modern world, Reading is no less than a Superpower. In this post I will explain the thinking behind this, and share 7 reasons why you should consider make reading an integral part of your daily life. So sit back, strap in, and turn…
World War Two, A Short History – Norman Stone (1 Feb, 2015) - World War Two, A Short History, by Norman Stone, is a not-too-difficult history of what will hopefully be the last world war. It’s sometimes too detailed for me, and more maps would have been helpful, but at 200 pages it’s a manageable explanation of the complex story of this devastating war. The book does an excellent […]
Scarborough, after the snow (30 Jan, 2015) -
Come on, snow! (29 Jan, 2015) -  
Tripwire – Lee Child (27 Jan, 2015) - I’ve been loaned another Lee Child novel, Tripwire. It’s my second, and I completed the 500+ pages in just over two, on-holiday days. If my reading consisted only of Lee Child novels, I’m sure my brain would turn to mush, but, like the first Lee Child novel I read, this was good holiday reading. I’m sure […]
Scarborough (26 Jan, 2015) -
The sun came out for 5 minutes (25 Jan, 2015) -      
Exposure – Michael Woodford (23 Jan, 2015) - Exposure by Michael Woodford is a first-person account of the author’s experience working for the Japanese company, Olympus. Rising to the top position of CEO, he soon discovered allegations of fraud that eventually led him to exposing the crimes and mismanagement at the very top of the company. It’s an interesting insight into Japanese business culture, […]
Legend of a Suicide – David Vann (19 Jan, 2015) - I selected Legend of a Suicide by David Vann from my daughter’s bookshelf because it looked like a short, easy read after the 700 page biography I had just finished. Well it is a short, easy read – I read it in a day – and for a while it’s a good read. But then […]
Alan Turing: The Enigma – Andrew Hodges (18 Jan, 2015) - Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges is a thorough and, at 700 pages, a long book. It’s well written and easy to read but at the same time it’s also a difficult read. The mathematics, the computing, the ideas, make for a challenging book, and sometimes I cut corners and skimmed! The book is […]
Heaven on Earth (16 Jan, 2015) - Liver & bacon, a couple of glasses of Chianti, followed by rhubarb crumble and custard. Lovely!
Oh, Leatherhead! (16 Jan, 2015) - The Surrey town of Leatherhead is known for its flooding river (see today’s picture) and the depressing number of charity shops. It also has a very decent, independent bookshop Barton’s Bookshop.
A Rip in Heaven – Jeanine Cummins (11 Jan, 2015) - A Rip in Heaven by Jeanine Cummins is subtitled ‘A Memoir of Murder and Its Aftermath’. It’s a harrowing and honest description of a terrible crime and the effects it had on the victims’ families, friends and acquaintances. It’s a terrific, moving book and is very highly recommended.
Epsom Downs (11 Jan, 2015) - These two horses and riders appeared from nowhere and I just pointed the camera and fired off. Unfortunately the camera was on manual settings and all the settings were wrong! But a lot of editing recovered an image with some merit. This is a view that I’ve taken many times, but with some playful editing the […]
Very funny, grandad! (4 Jan, 2015) -
Oh, Epsom! (2 Jan, 2015) - Things have changed in the handful of years since I last wandered around Epsom. The train station has been rebuilt beyond recognition, and for the better (see images). Shocking is the loss of the only bookshop, Waterstones. When I mentioned the missing Waterstones to the man in the bank, he said there was a ‘Will Smiths’. He then […]
My Dark Places – James Ellroy (29 Dec, 2014) - I nearly gave up with James Ellroy’s My Dark Places. There were so many names and, seventy pages in, it was going nowhere. A sudden change of tone and it dawned on me that I wasn’t reading a novel (!), I was reading a detailed examination of a true story, the story of the murder […]
Our Christmas tree (28 Dec, 2014) -
Thank you, Santa (28 Dec, 2014) - This year Santa brought me the Alan Turing biography, a bottle of port (gulp), a 900 page Hilary Mantel novel (gulp), an impossible-to-put-together kaleidoscope (gulp), and a train set(?).
Christmas Day (25 Dec, 2014) -
That was weird (20 Dec, 2014) - Whilst browsing in the Dorking branch of Waterstones, I came across Stuff Matters by Mark Miodnownik. I might have bought it if I hadn’t been looking for Christmas presents for other people! An hour later, I switch on the BBC 24 hours news channel and there is Mark Miodnownik discussing his book Stuff Matters! Will there […]
Bushy Park (15 Dec, 2014) -
Chloe (14 Dec, 2014) -
Not just any smile (12 Dec, 2014) - Is there anything more wonderful than being greeted with a smile of recognition from a seven month old grandchild?
The Card – Arnold Bennett (12 Dec, 2014) - What a delightful and funny, short novel this is! Set at the end of the 19th century, it tells the story of Denry Machin, who, through his exploits and wheezes, becomes the local Jack-the-lad or ‘card’. Each chapter describes another of Denry’s exploits as he becomes more popular and more wealthy. It’s a warm and […]
The Complete MAUS – Art Spiegelman (1 Dec, 2014) - The Complete MAUS by Art Spiegelman is a renowned graphic novel about the Holocaust that switches between the present day and the past. The book tells the story of the author’s father and his harrowing experiences as a Jew during the Nazi period. It also beautifully portrays the relationship the author has with his father […]
The Heretics – Will Storr (1 Dec, 2014) - The Heretics by Will Storr is a fabulous read! In the book, which is subtitled ‘Adventures With the Enemies of Science’, the author travels the world to interview some wacky heretics. [Heretics are people who hold an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted. Or, as put on the back of the book, ‘obviously intelligent people who […]
Battersea Power Station (30 Nov, 2014) - Finally, Battersea Power Station is being redeveloped! The station ceased producing electricity in 1983. It’s a Grade II listed building and is the largest brick building in Europe. For a while you could visit the inside of the derelict building (see the second image). But now, development is under way – see the image and […]
The Hitch-Hiker (B & W movie from 1953) (29 Nov, 2014) - I randomly picked The Hitch-Hiker, a 1953 b&w movie from the Internet Archive. It turned out to be a tense and highly watchable thriller and, at a mere 70 minutes, well worth watching. It was the first film noir by a female director (Ida Lupino). The Internet Archive is “a non-profit digital library offering free universal access to […]
Oscar Restaurant & Bar, Charlotte Street, London (26 Nov, 2014) - Oscar is a lively and attractive restaurant which is part of the Charlotte Street Hotel. For £35 per person we enjoyed a three-course late-lunch, followed by a film (Gone Girl) in the private cinema. One of the cheaper bottles of wine at £27, plus coffees and a service charge of 12.5% bumped it up to […]
A hike on a fabulous, sunny day (25 Nov, 2014) - Dorking to Guildford along the North Downs Way. What a glorious day, which got better as the day progressed. Twelve miles, five hours, 2 sore feet!
Mini manipulation (22 Nov, 2014) -
I’m hooked on Serial! (19 Nov, 2014) - I’m hooked on Serial, “the whodunit that has become a cultural phenomenon”! So far there have been 8 forty-minute episodes and I’ve listened to 6. A Guardian article by Linda Grant explains what all the fuss is about and all the episodes can be listened to at Make sure you listen to them in […]
The Imitation Game (18 Nov, 2014) - The Imitation Game is a terrific film about the mathematician Alan Turing. Finely constructed and beautifully acted, particularly by its star, Benedict Cumberbatch, it is very highly recommended. Based on the book Alan Turing: The Enigma, by Andrew Hodges, the film inspires one to want to know more about Turing and his code-breaking work during WW2. I shall be […]
Half a day in London (16 Nov, 2014) - Battersea Park, some boats, an interactive exhibit in the Saatchi Gallery, and a John Lewis store.
Gone Tomorrow – Lee Child (16 Nov, 2014) - I was given Lee Child’s Gone Tomorrow by a friend who rates the author. What a pleasant surprise! It’s a page-turner, with lots of dialogue and a story that’s easy to follow and moves along very nicely. It’s an easy read, ideal for a holiday-read or as a break after reading something meatier. Highly recommended!
The John Franklin Bardin Omnibus (15 Nov, 2014) - The three stories in The John Franklin Bardin Omnibus were quite an eye opener when I first read them several decades ago, during my crime-novel-reading phase. Well I still like a thriller and I recently came across a battered copy of the book in an antique shop near Hampton Court. The stories are highly readable, […]
A very strange mobile phone add-on (13 Nov, 2014) - I saw a girl using a yellow one of these on a bus and I was gobsmacked!
Chloe ponders (9 Nov, 2014) -
The South Bank, London (25 Oct, 2014) - We went to see the poppies around the outside of the Tower of London, but everyone else on the planet had the same idea and we only caught glimpses.
Chloe (15 Oct, 2014) -
Shakespeare – is he any good? (5 Oct, 2014) - Today I went to my see my first Shakespeare play, The Comedy of Errors. So, how was it? Firstly, I had problems hearing the dialogue – I have only one functioning ear. [My brother texted me on his way home, suggesting that I should get a hearing aid. Thanks, bruv.] I had briefly read a synopsis […]
This made me feel good (4 Oct, 2014) - G’Bye Now (feat. Woody Herman and His Orchestra) – Swing Republic [youtube]
Austria – unclassifiable! (28 Sep, 2014) -
Salzburg, Austria (28 Sep, 2014) -
Kitzbühel, Austria (28 Sep, 2014) -
The Silent Wife – A.S.A. Harrison (14 Sep, 2014) - The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison is a well written story about a disintegrating marriage. Alternate chapters describe events from the perspective of the husband and wife, neither of whom are sympathetic characters. The story proceeds along nicely to a curious ending and is highly recommended. Sadly this was the author’s only novel, as she died, […]
Found on a walk (5 Sep, 2014) -
Silent Witnesses – Nigel McCrery (2 Sep, 2014) - Silent Witnesses by Nigel McCrery is sub-titled ‘The Story of Forensic Science’. I bought it on the basis of a review. It’s OK but perhaps I’m not as interested in the subject as I thought I might be! I did find the case studies a bit wearing – murders, rapes, bodies and gory details etc. […]
Why you should ignore the superlatives on book jackets (29 Aug, 2014) - I must confess to being a sucker for those recommendations inside and on the cover of books! How else am I to decide whether to buy the book? Of course some books speak for themselves – an author I’ve read previously, or an interesting subject matter. The comments do at least give me some help. […]
Pictures from the day (28 Aug, 2014) - Don’t miss the owl on the boat!
London images using the new prime lens (27 Aug, 2014) - A grey day in London – it was supposed to be sunny! I’m happy with this first set of images from the new lens (Pentax 35mm f2.4  non-zoom). Don’t miss the dog in the second picture and the webbed feet of the duck in the  fourth picture (click the image to see the detail). The […]
Young Hearts Crying – Richard Yates (24 Aug, 2014) - I got to the end of Richard Yates’ Young Hearts Crying and wished that I had concentrated a bit more in the first half! It’s a beautifully written novel about disappointed lives, unhappy marriages and dreams unfulfilled. It’s another book I should mark to re-read. Recommended if you like books about lives rather than ones about plot.

First image with a prime lens (24 Aug, 2014) - I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this new lens! Today is a sunny Sunday, a  day for reading. I need to take the lens further than the garden!
My pictures look so green and dull (21 Aug, 2014) - My blog looks so washed out. I need some orange or yellow, but I haven’t a suitable cheerful picture. Instead, I doctored an old picture of the Lymington to Isle of Wight ferry. It’s not ideal (no orange or yellow) but it’s OK. I’ve ordered a prime lens (ie non-zoom) for my camera and I’m […]
Wansford, Cambridgeshire (15 Aug, 2014) -
Invasion of the ducks! (13 Aug, 2014) -
North Yorkshire Coast (10 Aug, 2014) -
Growing up in Wartime Southampton – James Marsh (7 Aug, 2014) - Growing up in Wartime Southampton by James Marsh is a fine telling of the author’s childhood in a Southampton street, from his birth in 1939 until the demolition of the street in 1968. The author lived barely a mile from where, 10 years later, I spent my own childhood, and many of the locations and […]
Post Office – Charles Bukowski (3 Aug, 2014) - Post Office by Charles Bukowski is a novel about one of life’s losers as he moves between jobs, gambling, women and drinking. Centred around his boring job working for the U.S. Post Service, it’s frank, crude and very funny and at 160 pages it can be read in a day. Highly recommended.
They don’t keep still! (29 Jul, 2014) -
My dad, in colour (25 Jul, 2014) - It’s been a wet afternoon and I’ve not yet started a new book. I recently came into possession of this old black and white photo of my dad from 1950. I’ve attempted to put some colour into the image using some rather crude Photoshop techniques. I think I’ve added something of value to the original […]
A Fraction of the Whole – Steve Toltz (25 Jul, 2014) - A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz is a long read! At 700+ pages, this is a rambling, preposterous and bizarre tale. At the 200-page mark I seriously questioned whether I wanted to spend a chunk of my life on this. Well I continued but I’m not convinced I made the right decision! Some […]
Great story, grandad! (24 Jul, 2014) -
Southampton (23 Jul, 2014) -
FIFA World rankings – gulp (17 Jul, 2014) - 1 Germany 2 Argentina 3 Holland 4 Colombia 5 Belgium 6 Uruguay 7 Brazil 8 Spain 9 Switzerland 10 France 11 Portugal 12 Chile 13 Greece 14 Italy 15 USA 16 Costa Rica 17 Croatia 18 Mexico 19 Bosnia-Herzegovina 20 England
Cold in July (13 Jul, 2014) - Cold in July is a rubbish film. Slow and plodding, disjointed and lacking in tension and with a poorly executed violent ending, it’s deeply unsatisfying. This sort of thing was done so much better in the magnificent Blood Simple and A History of Violence. The Soho Curzon is undergoing refurbishment and is a mess. Fingers […]
The Book of Revelation – Rupert Thomson (12 Jul, 2014) - The Book of Revelation by Rupert Thomson is a highly unusual tale about abuse and subsequent recovery. It’s very erotic, it’s part thriller and it’s unputdownable. Though highly recommended, it might not be to everyone’s taste!
Unusual Suspects – an Anthology of Crime Stories (11 Jul, 2014) - Unusual Suspects – an Anthology of Crime Stories from Black Lizard, edited by James Grady, is a fine collection of American crime stories. There was a time when I didn’t enjoy American literature or short stories, but fortunately this is no longer the case. This is a varied selection of stories and is highly recommended.
Chloe (6 Jul, 2014) - Two lovely days with the kids and the kid.
Rochester, Kent (30 Jun, 2014) - Rochester in Kent is a curious town. It has the longest high street I’ve seen in a good while but strangely missing the usual chain stores and supermarkets. Is there another high street? The town has a superb castle, which is well worth visiting, and a cathedral. The view below is of the cathedral taken […]
Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent (29 Jun, 2014) -
Southampton (26 Jun, 2014) -
Chloe’s first book (23 Jun, 2014) -
A happy Father’s Day (15 Jun, 2014) -
London street (14 Jun, 2014) -
Father’s Day presents to myself (14 Jun, 2014) - It’s Father’s Day tomorrow and my family have flown the nest – wife as well (!), so how better to soften their absence but to indulge in a visit to the wonderful secondhand bookshop, Skoob, where for a mere £16, I bought: Wide-Angle Lens Photography, by Joseph Paduano Novel About My Wife, by Emily Perkins The Man Who […]
This Boy – Alan Johnson (14 Jun, 2014) - This Boy is Alan Johnson’s wonderful memoir of his childhood in London in the 1950s and 60s, and for anyone born around 1950 the book will evoke long-forgotten memories. The book is an affectionate tribute to Alan’s mother, Lily and older sister, Linda, who are real-life heroines as they struggle to survive a life of poverty. This is a […]
Fresh Kills – Reggie Nadelson (14 Jun, 2014) - Reggie Nadelson’s Fresh Kills is a slow crime novel which kept me interested. Centred around the relationship between a cop and his young nephew, the ending was unexpected, though it probably shouldn’t have been. It was an OK read.
Dorset, England (7 Jun, 2014) -
Chloe and Big Ted (2 Jun, 2014) -
Never Mind – Edward St Aubyn (31 May, 2014) - Edward St Aubyn’s Never Mind is the first of the Patrick Melrose novels. The book has one sympathetic character – Patrick Melrose as a boy. Everyone else, his family and their friends, are obnoxious, upper-class twits. For all the praise heaped upon the author and the novels, I found this book unenjoyable.
Tate Britain (30 May, 2014) - I always enjoy the walk from Victoria railway station to the Tate as it takes you past many local shops and cafés. The Tate is a manageable art gallery that never seems to get crowded. You can click on the images below for a full-size picture.
The Erotic Potential of My Wife -David Foenkinos (27 May, 2014) - David Foenkinos’s The Erotic Potential of My Wife was bought solely for its title! It’s a very odd and humorous novel about obsession and love. I nearly gave up but gradually I warmed to it and at a mere 150 pages is worth persevering to the end. If you can handle the bizarre, it’s worth a read! […]
Boats on the Thames (25 May, 2014) -
A new look (25 May, 2014) - Playing around with WordPress themes I now have a new look, though it may change again. This layout uses the Blissful theme. As well as the different look, I’ve also removed the right-column so that the blog is now a single column. The magnificent, highly detailed background image (not visible on an iPad) is by […]
The Neon Rain – James Lee Burke (19 May, 2014) - James Lee Burke’s The Neon Rain is a well written crime novel set in New Orleans and is the first in a series featuring detective Dave Robicheaux. A violent story, populated by very unpleasant people, it moves along at a cracking pace. I read it over a 24 hour period, which is probably how it […]
The Country of Marriage – Anthony Giardina (19 May, 2014) - Anthony Giardina’s The Country of Marriage is a terrific collection of short stories about marriage and men. I love the quote on the back of the book; “Giardina’s men are self-aware but paralysed. They know precisely what’s going wrong but can’t lift a finger to change it. Giardina’s prose is full of insights which will […]
Chloe (17 May, 2014) -
Eastbourne & Cuckmere (15 May, 2014) -
Kings Cross (2) (14 May, 2014) -
Kings Cross (1) (14 May, 2014) -
Approaching London (14 May, 2014) -
London, again (12 May, 2014) -
Your travel luggage is not safe! (12 May, 2014) - If you travel by plane, this is a pretty disturbing video. Unfortunately the solution offered is, for a normal traveller, unintentionally hilarious!
Chloe (11 May, 2014) -
Driven – James Sallis (11 May, 2014) - James Sallis’s Driven is a sequel to the author’s novel Drive. It’s a short crime novel which doesn’t really get going or lead anywhere. Disappointing.
Old Filth trilogy – Jane Gardam (8 May, 2014) - Jane Gardam’s Old Filth is the first book in a trilogy. I hadn’t realised this when I bought the book, only discovering it after reading it. Having enjoyed Old Filth I bought the other two and read the three books back to back. They’re a warm and affectionate amble through past times, the British Empire […]
Babysitting duties…. (4 May, 2014) -
One has become grandparents (28 Apr, 2014) - Welcome to the world, Chloe Jasmine Haque. Born Monday 28th April 2014, at about 11pm. All are well.
Friday’s to-do list ✔ (26 Apr, 2014) - Sit in a long traffic jam. ✔ Teach a pensioner and a heavily pregnant woman how to play cribbage. ✔ File a report that my mother’s doorstep milk has been stolen, again.✔ File a report that a second cheque-book sent to my mother has failed to arrive – another act of dishonesty? ✔ Buy a book for its […]
Cribbage – a loser’s perspective (21 Apr, 2014) - I came to the conclusion that the Aces Cribbage app on the iPad cheated and dealt itself high-scoring combinations just a little too frequently. I’m currently winning about 1 game in 3 at the Master level. But having recently started playing against my son, I’m starting to wonder…. Since winning the first two games against […]
Belated Birthday Book Binge! (20 Apr, 2014) - Being well enough to wander into town for a belated birthday book binge, I easily managed to find 8 new paperbacks at Waterstones (previously known as Waterstone’s). OK, so 8 new books is rather excessive, but hey, it was a big birthday. The afternoon was rounded off with a couple of glasses of Merlot, with […]
Re-reading books (17 Apr, 2014) - On my landmark birthday I decided to re-read Hermann Hesse’s Demian, a book from my youth, when I was still impressionable. It’s one of Hesse’s shorter works. Now, 39 years later and a lot less impressionable, I really didn’t enjoy reading it again and I finally gave up two-thirds of the way through. I recall […]
How my kids see their dad! (17 Apr, 2014) - Two out of three. I’m the greatest and I have bushy eyebrows. But I don’t wear dark-rimmed glasses.
Around Hampton Court (17 Apr, 2014) -
Epsom Downs (16 Apr, 2014) -
E.TED (13 Apr, 2014) - Originally posted on CARDBOARD BOX OFFICE:
Film: E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial Be E.T. (Extra Terrific) and vote for Cardboard Box Office in the 2014 Webby Awards!
It’s my birthday… (11 Apr, 2014) - It’s my birthday and I have a cold. At my new, landmark age this means that I am incapable of doing anything to celebrate the day. I need to start reading a new book and I’ve decided to re-read something I last read way, way back. My first choice was going to be Cornell Woolrich’s The […]
Big data (11 Apr, 2014) - Years in current house: 34 (approx) Years with current wife: 42 (approx) Years with current body: 65 (exactly)
How the Dead Live – Derek Raymond (10 Apr, 2014) - I can imagine the main character in Derek Raymond’s How the Dead Live being played by a young Michael Caine in a British b & w adaptation of the book! There’s lots of fast, violent dialogue in this old-fashioned British crime novel. Recommended.
Terrorist – John Updike (8 Apr, 2014) - Maybe I didn’t get as much out of John Updike’s Terrorist as I could have. Leave too long between reading sessions and you lose the pace of the story. In addition, I wasn’t convinced by the character of the terrorist and the ending seemed implausible. Still, it was an interesting read.
Losing my way (5 Apr, 2014) - My walk yesterday started at Ockley railway station and ended at Holmwood station. Although I’d previously done parts of the walk, on this occasion I managed to take a wrong turn at the 8 mile mark (a right instead of a left!). After a while I began to think that something wasn’t right and then […]
Two pheasant (5 Apr, 2014) -
Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan (31 Mar, 2014) - Robin Sloan’s Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore is a jolly read! It’s a mystery about a strange bookshop and its books; it’s a puzzle; it’s about the clever things you can do with computers. And it’s a lot of fun! Recommended.
The biggest bookshop, the last one and a closed one (28 Mar, 2014) - The biggest Just before reaching Chatham (see earlier post), my train stopped at nearby Rochester and I could see a sign advertising ‘The biggest second-hand bookshop in England’. Unfortunately I was unable to check it out, but on looking for it on the Web I found this picture and located the shop’s rather modest website. I understand it has half-a-million […]
Chatham Dockyard (27 Mar, 2014) - Chatham Dockyard is a terrific place to visit. This is my second time in a year and once again it was pleasantly quiet. Visitor details from their web site and there is also an interesting Wikipedia entry for the dockyard.
Norwegian By Night – Derek B. Miller (23 Mar, 2014) - Derek B. Miller’s Norwegian By Night is a great read centred on an 82 year old American and his memories and regrets. Set in Oslo, the story develops into a Nordic thriller with a tense ending. This is the author’s first novel and is highly recommended.
The Special Prisoner – Jim Lehrer (21 Mar, 2014) - Jim Lehrer’s The Special Prisoner is a stinker of a novel! It’s a story about revenge for crimes committed in Japanese prisoner of war camps during World War II. Despite being mildly curious about how the story might develop, the stilted writing and preposterous plotting forced me to give up halfway through. My first thought […]
Being Dead – Jim Crace (17 Mar, 2014) - Jim Crace’s Being Dead is a fabulous book. It’s a beautifully written story, effortlessly switching between past and present. A simple story about the slaughter of a couple, this is no crime novel, but rather a love and death story. Be warned that it deals with the details of death in an extremely detailed though […]
Prefabs (17 Mar, 2014) - Interested in British post-war prefabs? I have added two new posts to my blog about prefabs.
An untypical day (16 Mar, 2014) - It’s an untypical day. There is an amazing blue sky and not a single cloud. I’m sat in the garden. In March! It’s warm and the grass is growing. I’m on my own. I don’t feel too good and I haven’t eaten anything. It’s an untypical day. But typically, I’m reading a book, Jim Crace’s […]
The Man in My Basement – Walter Mosley (16 Mar, 2014) - Walter Mosley’s The Man in My Basement is a an odd tale. The setting up of the story was interesting and I was curious to know the ending, but that was all.
Camel case? (15 Mar, 2014) - I’d heard of upper case, lower case, proper case, sentence case, title case, but camel case is new to me. iPad, iMac and eBay are examples of words in camel case. That is, joined words with the initial letter of each word capitalised, apart from the first word. Joined words with the first joined word […]
I should be out in the sunshine… (15 Mar, 2014) - Instead of playing around with Photoshop Elements, I should be out in the sunshine…. OK, OK, I’m going!
A spectacle in Brighton (14 Mar, 2014) - I was in Brighton. A young guy calls out to me and hands me a pair of specs and then goes on his way. I’m always misplacing my specs, so I assumed I had dropped mine. Without looking at them I spent a good 15 seconds trying to figure out how I dropped them, since […]
Misty Brighton and Hove (13 Mar, 2014) - A thick mist descended on the Hove/Brighton seafront within minutes of my arrival and this is how it stayed for my two hour visit. According to my iPad weather app there were 8 hours of sunshine in Brighton today, but obviously not on the seafront! However the  images I took using my zoom lens (which […]
Watch out! (12 Mar, 2014) - We were only expecting a gentle stroll in Ruskin Park but the waiting ambulance and police cars suggested something was about to happen, and then, in flys the Kent Air Ambulance, just yards away.
A Quiet Belief in Angels – R.J. Ellory (11 Mar, 2014) - I really enjoyed A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellory. It’s a fairly lengthy crime thriller, well written though perhaps a little rushed at the end – did the author lose interest? Set in small-town America, it’s another book about a book. Recommended.
I gotta slow down my book buying! (10 Mar, 2014) - The sunshine promised today for central London didn’t materialise and so the camera stayed in its case. However not far from Kings Cross is Skoob Books (nearest tube is Russell Square), a great second-hand bookshop. Today’s haul was Derek B Miller’s Norwegian By Night, Derek Raymond’s How the Dead Live, Jim Lehrer’s The Special Prisoner, and […]
Spring comes to the UK (9 Mar, 2014) -
Tough guy likes to drink tea (28 Feb, 2014) - Francis Tea Rooms in Scarborough (“A unique 30’s style setting with wood panelled booths”) has to be one of the strangest places to have a cake and an old-fashioned pot of loose leaf tea. Give it a try!
Scarborough boats (27 Feb, 2014) -
More second-hand books! (27 Feb, 2014) - There are a couple of good second-hand bookshops in Scarborough, an OK one opposite the steam railway station in Pickering, and none that I could find in Malton. My browsing resulted in buying three books: Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend, John Updike’s Terrorist, and Reggie Nadelson’s (who?!) Fresh Kills. I’m happy with that haul!
The Snowden Files – Luke Harding (27 Feb, 2014) - The Snowden Files by Luke Harding is the first of what will no doubt be many books about Edward Snowden’s leaking of the astonishing extent to which the US and UK spying agencies spy on the world’s citizens. It’s a mixed bag of a book but you get the essence of Snowden’s story and the […]
Whitby (26 Feb, 2014) - Whitby is always interesting, particularly when, as in the winter months, the tourists don’t flock in! When visiting Whitby we always make a detour to the charming old fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay.
Malton and then off to slaughter (25 Feb, 2014) - I don’t know whether the faces of sheep can express terror. The sheep at the Malton market must have felt pretty frightened as they were shouted out of the lorries and as they slid down the mucky ramp and ushered into their cramped pens. The auction was confusing and I found it nigh on impossible […]
Bridlington and Flamborough (24 Feb, 2014) - Just outside Scarborough, a visit to the Stained Glass Centre at Cayton is highly recommended. It has a colourful showroom and an excellent tea-room. Bridlington has a wonderful Old Town and a splendid promenade, but the rest of Bridlington needs demolishing! Today the sea was brown and bumpy. Flamborough Head has splendid cliffs, an old […]

Scarborough (23 Feb, 2014) - There was a wild wind in Scarborough today and at times it was not possible to move forward. However this doesn’t explain why the waitress in the coffee bar threw coffee over me. I’ve taken many views of the harbour and here’s another one. In the old town I liked the colours and general shabbiness […]
Yorkshire coast walk (22 Feb, 2014) - I previously did this cliff-top walk from Scalby to Cloughton in June last year. Today, a February wind raged from the west and made for a pretty cold walk. At Cloughton I once again had a sandwich lunch in the 250 year old Blacksmiths Arms Inn. It’s a decent pub, typical of the country pubs […]
Depressing items from court reports (19 Feb, 2014) - Peter Hood, 32, pleaded guilty to damaging a coffee mug belonging to Robert Hood. Community order made to participate in alcohol activity sessions for eight days and ordered to pay £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs. Leon Billington, 60, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to stealing a jar of Bovril worth £3.39. Fined £50 […]
About the Author – John Colapinto (19 Feb, 2014) - John Colapinto’s About the Author is a book about a book and the book’s author. It’s tricksy and clever. About three-quarters of the way through, I was starting to have some doubts, but it came up with a fine, fun conclusion. Recommended.
Men in Rage – Paul Sayer (16 Feb, 2014) - In Paul Sayer’s Men in Rage most of the men are angry. I could identify with some of the situations but this is not a pleasant read. Interestingly, the book was not a success and the author gave up writing, eventually returning to writing another novel, 12 years later.
River Thames, the north bank (16 Feb, 2014) - The north bank of the Thames makes a pleasant change to the crowded and touristy south bank. There are several interesting looking pubs amongst the converted warehouses but at a Cafe Rouge we had a snack lunch which came with the saltiest French-fries you could imagine – lovely!
Drawing by Lucy Haque (15 Feb, 2014) -
Dallas Buyers Club (14 Feb, 2014) - We enjoyed the film Dallas Buyers Club. Set in the 1980s, it tells the story of Ron Woodruff who, on being told he has HIV and has 30 days to live, sets out to find alternative treatments and to make a bit of money. A terrific performance from Matthew McConaughey in the lead role. There’s […]
House of Fools – Bob & Vic (12 Feb, 2014) - Magnificently weird!
Enemy Combatant – Moazzam Begg (12 Feb, 2014) - Moazzam Begg’s Enemy Combatant is an exceptional telling of the author’s kidnapping and incarceration in Guantanamo Bay. It’s shocking and so well written it reads like a novel. It’s unputdownable and highly recommended.
Just a simple experiment (10 Feb, 2014) - The legs belong to the St Pancras Station statue ‘The Meeting Place’. The building is at Chatham Dockyard.
Arundel, West Sussex (10 Feb, 2014) - Arundel is a very pleasant market town with many independent shops, galleries and eating/drinking places. It also has a castle and two bookshops. If I’d had the appetite, a good lunch of sausage and mash at the Red Lion could have been followed by bread and butter pudding – foiled again! Across the road is […]
1974 – David Peace (9 Feb, 2014) - David Peace’s 1974, is a gritty, Northern thriller that’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s a decent read, providing you can stomach the earthy language and extreme violence. 
The Dispatcher – Ryan David Jahn (4 Feb, 2014) - Ryan David Jahn’s The Dispatcher, is a pacy American crime thriller of the type I enjoy. A seven year-old girl is abducted, and seven years later briefly escapes to make her existence known to her family. The chase is on to find her! It moves along at a cracking pace that forces you to want […]
Netherland – Joseph O’Neill (3 Feb, 2014) - In Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland, not a lot happens and it became a tiresome read. It has had rave reviews but I note that Amazon reviewers were split.
Hindhead & Haslemere (3 Feb, 2014) - Hindhead was a village on the A3, the main road between London and Portsmouth, and was a notorious traffic bottleneck until a tunnel bypassing the village was completed in 2011. As a result of losing the through traffic, Hindhead has become pretty rundown. The village is famous for the Devil’s Punch Bowl, a large natural […]
Hampton Court, again (2 Feb, 2014) -
Simple pleasures (30 Jan, 2014) - I’m reading Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland, there’s a bottle of Peroni by my side, and Waldeck’s Ballroom Stories is blasting out the speakers. Perfect!
BlogPad Pro for the iPad (29 Jan, 2014) - I’ve installed BlogPad Pro (£2.99 in the UK) on my iPad. It’s an app for maintaining a WordPress blog, and this is a first attempt at a post. It’s going to contain a bit of over-the-top formatting! Type  Number Fruit  5 Vegetables  4 Total  9 I’ve inserted this thumbnail image – the text is behaving, […]
Thumbprint – Friedrich Glauser (28 Jan, 2014) - Friedrich Glauser’s Thumbprint is a curiosity! I was well into the book before I realised it was written in 1936. It’s a detective story, set in Switzerland, and written in a rather dated way. I got rather lost with the foreign names and the general oddnesss, but otherwise it’s a very easy 200 page read. […]
Windsor & Eton (27 Jan, 2014) - I’m not too keen on Windsor! In the summer, the tourists flood in, and the place should be avoided. Today, the weather deteriorated rapidly, and much of my visit was spent in Esquires Coffee House and The Carpenter’s Arms, which are handily opposite each other! Windsor is not particularly attractive, hence the limited number of […]
Canada – Richard Ford (26 Jan, 2014) - Richard Ford’s Canada is a lengthy, 600 page novel about a 15 year old boy trying to deal with his disintegrating family. Told by the boy, it’s a compassionate and well-written story. Not a lot happens and I was ready to get to the end, but it’s a fine book and is recommended. I will […]
Hamble, near Southampton (23 Jan, 2014) -
Coloured buildings, London (18 Jan, 2014) - I came across these office buildings whilst walking from Kings Cross to Waterloo. Along the way I browsed in Judd Books and Skoob Books where I picked up three novels. In Covent Garden, people were sat outside eating, in January!
The Collini Case – Ferdinand von Schirach (13 Jan, 2014) - Ferdinand von Schirach’s The Collini Case is a short (180 pages) novel that’s easy to read over a few hours. It’s a crime / court room story which comes with rave reviews on the back and inside covers, but I found it all a bit thin and uninvolving. Beware of books headed ‘The International Bestseller’!
13 Things That Don’t Make Sense – Michael Brooks (12 Jan, 2014) - Michael Brooks’ 13 Things That Don’t Make Sense is a an exceptional science book which is both difficult and easy to read. There are some mind-blowing subjects covered, and at the end one is left amazed at the wonder of science. Highly recommended and worth re-reading.
Mimi e Coco, Cheam Village (10 Jan, 2014) -
Change of plan (10 Jan, 2014) - Having been thwarted by a power cut on the train line into London, we eventually ended up in Wimbledon Village. A coffee in the very pleasant Light Cafe was enhanced by a cheery chat with an Aussie who was reading the latest novel by Jo Nesbo, of whom we are huge fans. We then went for […]
Banstead’s Ibis Bookshop saved (9 Jan, 2014) - The Ibis Bookshop in Banstead , which was due to close at the end of 2013, has been saved, for the moment. Its future is assured until June but not beyond. I did my small bit to help by buying Jim Crace’s Being Dead and Ferdinand von Schirach’s The Collini Case. Best wishes to the Ibis owner.
No chocolate in the house? (6 Jan, 2014) - Click the picture.
Vinegar Hill – A. Manette Ansay (6 Jan, 2014) - A. Manette Ansay’s Vinegar Hill is a wonderful story about Ellen, mother, wife and daughter-in-law, who struggles to survive in a family of unhappy, unpleasant people. The book will not be to everyones’s liking, but I found it a terrific read, and ultimately uplifting. Highly recommended.
River Thames near Hampton Court (2 Jan, 2014) - Excessive use of Photoshop Elements on the second image?
The best of 2013 (31 Dec, 2013) - Favourite TV – The Young Montalbano; Borgen Favourite films – Blue Jasmine; Captain Phillips; What Maisie Knew Favourite box-set – The Wire (what else!) Most Favourite book – The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up by Jacob M. Appel More favourite books – Trans Am by Rob Ryan; Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre; Ten Stories […]
High Price – Drugs, Neuroscience and Discovering Myself – Carl Hart (31 Dec, 2013) - Carl Hart’s High Price – Drugs, Neuroscience and Discovering Myself is a memoir describing how the author evaded a life of drugs and crime to became a neuroscientist researching drug addiction. He combines this with detailing controversial research and views on drug addiction and drug laws. I was left questioning why people are punished and […]
Sunny London (29 Dec, 2013) -
A terrific article on Internet security (27 Dec, 2013) - How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking And as a result of reading this, I have: backed up my images and key files set gmail to use my mobile number as a second-level security check.
Merry Christmas, friends (22 Dec, 2013) -
Congratulations, Lucy & Rez (20 Dec, 2013) -
“I thought you were 15 years younger” (12 Dec, 2013) - Thank you to the very nice man who thought I was 15 years younger than I am! It’s just a shame that he reached his opinion based only on the strength of my voice during a long phone conversation.
Sunny, misty Reigate Park (11 Dec, 2013) -
A Crime in the Neighborhood – Suzanne Berne (9 Dec, 2013) - In Suzanne Berne’s A Crime in the Neighborhood , not a lot happens, but it’s a fascinating portrait of 1970’s American suburbia as seen through the eyes of a child. Well worth reading.
Walking the North Downs (9 Dec, 2013) -
Tate Britain (8 Dec, 2013) -
Wheeler’s bookshop in Midhurst (5 Dec, 2013) - This looks like an interesting bookshop to visit in Midhurst, West Sussex.
Just Kids – Patti Smith (5 Dec, 2013) - Patti Smith’s Just Kids is an enjoyable portrait of two struggling artists. It left me understanding a little more about what drives an artist.
Miserable, grey day in London (28 Nov, 2013) - A grey day in London seemed to carry over to the staff in Notes coffee shop in Trafalgar Square. It’s a nice looking cafe and I liked my coffee and cake, but a smile from any member of staff would have been nice. After a gentle meander around The Strand and the law buildings, we […]
Revolutionary Road – Richard Yates (27 Nov, 2013) - Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates is a wonderful novel. Set in American suburbia in the 1950s, the dialogue rings true, as a marriage crumbles. A fabulous read and I will add the author to a list of authors worth seeking out.
Mooching around Dorking (26 Nov, 2013) - On a gorgeous, sunny day, a mooch around Dorking began with dropping off unwanted books at the Oxfam bookshop, followed by coffee and cake in the small but pleasant Two Many Cooks café in South Street. At the new Waterstones I managed to limit my purchases to a mere 3 books (science, memoir and novel), […]
WordPress – stop mucking up my images! (24 Nov, 2013) - Apologies followers. WordPress is putting lines across some of my images. Problem logged with WordPress
Hedgehog burger (24 Nov, 2013) - There’s an absolutely huge and empty council estate at the Elephant and Castle which is being demolished for re-development. Walking around the fenced area makes you realise just how big an area it is. Nearby I came across The Roebuck pub, which looked interesting. Bizarrely my Cabernet Sauvignon was white, so that had to go […]
Meet Hal Lasko, Pixel Painter, age 98 (22 Nov, 2013) - “Hal, better known as Grandpa, worked as a graphic artist back when everything was done by hand. His family introduced him to the computer and Microsoft Paint long after he retired. Now, Grandpa spends ten hours a day moving pixels around his computer paintings.” Click on the image to visit Hal’s web site. Make sure you […]
Fun in London, with Chris (20 Nov, 2013) - Another fun evening in Covent Garden. Coffee in Café Rouge, followed by a couple of glasses of wine. Beef bourguignon (half a chicken for Chris!) in the neighbouring Boulevard Brasserie (nothing special and not cheap) and finally coffee and cake at a Pret A Manger (unpleasant). Finished off by a walk in the cold and […]
Books (18 Nov, 2013) - Mark Watson’s Eleven Is an easy, enjoyable read which links up the lives of eleven people. There’s humour and wisdom, and most of the characters are likeable, as is the book. Alison Moore’s The Lighthouse escapes being unfinished by virtue of being just 180 pages long! A strange read, dull yet interesting. Short enough to […]
Wey Navigation near Byfleet (16 Nov, 2013) -
Books (14 Nov, 2013) - Having not enjoyed reading fiction for a while, including Henning Mankell’s The Shadow Girls and Anna Funder’s All That I Am (I gave up pretty early on), I switched to reading non-fiction. Tim Hartford’s The Logic of Life is excellent, though I think I might skim re-read it. Ben Hammersley’s Now for Then – How […]
Ditchling (13 Nov, 2013) - Before starting a South Downs walk from Ditchling Beacon we stopped in Ditchling village for a morning coffee. The café on the crossroads has had a chequered history. We can remember when it was a rather splendid deli and cafe, and then it became a rather formal restaurant / café. It is now a café, […]
Gravity 3D (12 Nov, 2013) - My first 3D film and the special effects are pretty damn good. Other than that, it’s a load of hokum!  See it for the effects but for no other reason. [Is it just me, but are the staff at Wimbledon hmvcurzon always miserable?]
Autumn tree (10 Nov, 2013) -
East Wing Cottage, West Ayton, near Scarborough (9 Nov, 2013) - We stayed in the charming East Wing Cottage in the village of West Ayton, near Scarborough. It’s one of the best cottages we’ve stayed in and is highly recommended.
Photos from the day (7 Nov, 2013) -
There’s nothing wrong with you – get outta here! (4 Nov, 2013) - After tripping over a pavement kerb yesterday, I took myself off to accident and emergency to check out the lump and limp.  I spent more time with the receptionist than with the doctor. There’s nothing wrong with you – get outta here!
London towers (30 Oct, 2013) -
London in early Autumn (25 Oct, 2013) -
Tipping (22 Oct, 2013) - I think I approve of this blog posting from a grumpy fella I follow: Inept or just slow service is saving me a fortune in tips. That, you see, is how tipping works in my world. You don’t get 10-20% just for existing. If I am at your table, you get a tip for providing […]
Captain Phillips (22 Oct, 2013) - Starring Tom Hanks and based on a true story, the first half of Captain Phillips is good. The story then moves on and I’m thinking, hmm, downhill from now on. How wrong I was! A stunningly tense and exciting second half culminates in a hugely emotional ending. It’s another film in which I end up […]
Carluccio’s – Covent Garden (19 Oct, 2013) - What a fun evening with friends at Carluccio’s, Covent Garden! London was heaving – it was Friday night and Victoria tube station was closed due to overcrowding. Carluccio’s is always rather noisy, and upstairs was no exception. However all was fine; the company was entertaining, the food was good, the wine plentiful, and the service […]
Always have your camera with you (17 Oct, 2013) - I missed an opportunity to take a picture of the little old lady on a rare excursion out of her flat.  And whilst we were admiring the view down by Southampton pier, I missed being able to capture the big yellow container ship contrasted with the green water and bright blue sky. Bugger!
I’m moving from Google Blogger to WordPress (14 Oct, 2013) - I’m fed up with Google Blogger. So WordPress, here’s a new customer. Please be easy with me.
20 things you should know about children (12 Oct, 2013) - 20 things you should know about children by Tim Lott, in today’s Guardian.
The Tenpasenta Church, Southampton (12 Oct, 2013) - I’m looking forward to exploring further Womb to tomb!
Google Blogger. I’m losing patience.. (11 Oct, 2013) - Once again, I can post to the blog but cannot edit other areas. Not happy, again. Will investigate WordPress, again. Things change on WordPress (early days..)
North Downs walk (7 Oct, 2013) -
Newspapers (6 Oct, 2013) - During the week we try to pick up the i newspaper. For a ridiculously cheap 20p (30p on Saturday) you get a cut-down but decent version of The Independent. We are huge fans of the i.On Saturdays we are regular Guardian readers but the Guardian is sooo expensive these days (£2.30 on Saturdays). Interestingly, if you […]
I’ve had to give up reading books (5 Oct, 2013) - I’ve had to give up reading fiction. I seem unable to complete any novel. I’m going over to non-fiction for a while. So, from Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street, I start with Tim Harford’s The Logic of Life and Ben Hammersley’s Now for Then : How to Face the Digital Future Without Fear. I’m […]
Prisoners (4 Oct, 2013) - Prisoners is a curious film centered on the abduction of two children. At two and a half hours it’s a long film for a thriller. Whilst the film held my attention throughout, it’s slow moving and low on tension (there’s no music!). The only bit of tension, at the end, involving a car race against […]
Blue Jasmine (2 Oct, 2013) - An absolute fabulous Woody Allen film with an astonishing performance from Cate Blanchett. Go see it! Interesting that they showed a trailer for the film just before showing the film! I closed my eyes.
Cute (30 Sep, 2013) -
Disturbing statistics – pensions (27 Sep, 2013) - Total number of active contributors to an occupational pension scheme: 1967 – 12.2 million2012 –   7.8 million Number of active contributors to occupational pension schemes in the private sector: 1991 – 6.5 million2012 – 2.7 million
Lucy’s studio (21 Sep, 2013) -
Hot from the Press (20 Sep, 2013) - Ryanair to stop annoying passengers John Lewis fixed bra prices
Stef’s Italian (19 Sep, 2013) - Another really fine night out with Chris. Coffee outside in the Covent Garden Piazza, a glass of wine in The Salisbury, and a really excellent meal at Stef’s Italian, which is just off Oxford Street. Finished off by another coffee near Piccadilly Circus, where I managed to lose and eventually recover my mobile phone, it […]
Books (19 Sep, 2013) - I gave up on The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh after 80 pages. A novel about war from the perspective of a North Vietnamese soldier, I just lost interest. I gave up on If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino after 35 pages. What’s that all about? Life’s too short. I enjoyed […]
What Maisie Knew (17 Sep, 2013) - A fine film that brilliantly shows a child’s perspective on what tossers adults can be. An astonishing performance by the 6 year old child actor (Onata Aprile).
Bring back the prefab! (17 Sep, 2013) - A letter in today’s i newspaper regarding solving the housing crisis: “In the 1940s there was a drastic housing shortage. The answer then was to build thousands of “prefabs”. These were quite acceptable dwellings. Instead of more hand-wringing and waffle, why not launch a similar programme?”
Oxfam books (2) (16 Sep, 2013) - I came across this item in the comments section of a Guardian article about the worst book you’ve ever read. It’s rather relevant to my blog post Oxfam books. “I frequently buy books in charity shops and plead with fellow readers not to recycle their bad books in that way. If you have a woodburning stove, heat […]
Cloudy London (16 Sep, 2013) -

"It’s not a crime to cheat on your wife!" (14 Sep, 2013) - A terrific second story in The Young Montalbano series. This is turning out to be as equally wonderful as the Inspector Montalbano series and it’s hilarious to see the references to the characters in the original series. As I watched our hero open a bottle of wine and prepare a gorgeous plate of Italian food, […]
Eirianfa B&B, Llanrhaeadr YM Mochnant (14 Sep, 2013) - “Eirianfa closed for business on Monday 9th September 2013. Thank you to all of our customers for making the past six and a half years so fantastic! If you would still like to stay in Llanrhaeadr YM try Bron Heulog 01691 780521 or The Plough 01691 780654. Very best wishes, Tony” Sad news.
Kings Cross & Marylebone High Street (10 Sep, 2013) - It’s worth walking around the developments at the rear of Kings Cross station. Not much appears to have changed since my last visit, but I’m sure it must have! Marylebone High Street is a lovely street (it’s a fair distance to walk from Kings Cross!). The Oxfam bookshop has been revamped and now sells clothes. […]
The Young Montalbano (7 Sep, 2013) - Oh what joy on BBC4,  The Young Montalbano.  There are another 5 episodes, so that’s Saturday nights sorted!
London Great River Race (7 Sep, 2013) -
EIGHT toilets! (7 Sep, 2013) - Some friends have just bought a house with 8 toilets.
Pineapple with spoon (7 Sep, 2013) - The 20p copy of the i newspaper was listed on the petrol station receipt as ‘pineapple with spoon – 20p’. Yummy!
Hire a folding cycle! (6 Sep, 2013) - Hire a Brompton folding cycle! Locations throughout the UK and the prices look reasonable. Not sure how comfortable the bikes are, or how easy/stable they are to ride. Still, a great idea and a great website.
Implementing a new Blogger template. Phew! (5 Sep, 2013) - I installed a new Blogger template I found on the Web, having backed up the existing one first. However I didn’t like the new template so I restored the old one. Except it wouldn’t restore because of code errors. Help! Fortunately I managed to work out what the offending code was and to get back […]
Walk from Dorking on a scorching day (4 Sep, 2013) - I got hopelessly lost on a 10 mile North Downs walk. I really have to work on my map reading skills!
A couple of magnificent photos by Rich (4 Sep, 2013) - I’ve been meaning to broadcast these two terrific pictures taken by Rich. Fantastic stuff, Rich.
Whitstable, Kent (3 Sep, 2013) -
River Thames, again (1 Sep, 2013) -
Lucy Mangan on secondhand bookshops (1 Sep, 2013) - “Lemme tell you, you haven’t browsed until you’ve browsed in a secondhand bookshop” – Lucy Mangan
Books (31 Aug, 2013) - Kissing the Beehive by Jonathan Carroll is an excellent, well written thriller. An author suffers writer’s block but rediscovers his enthusiasm when he revisits a murder from his childhood. A very readable story. I nearly gave up on The Italian Quarter by Domenica de Rosa but I’m glad I didn’t! It’s an easy and enjoyable slice […]
Westhumble walk (23 Aug, 2013) - We have done this pleasant circular walk from Westhumble near Dorking several times. Half way round there is Polesden Lacey, where there is excellent food, drink and loos. On the walk, in the distance, we came across a group of chanting men in white cloaks. The other two images are experimental, one with the use […]
Two large plums (19 Aug, 2013) - Another fine meet with Chris on a pleasant summer evening. Coffee outside in the Covent Garden Piazza, a couple of bottled beers outside Cafe Rouge, a very good baked chicken penne pasta and bottle of Sauvignon Blanc outside the Covent Garden Wildwood Italian restaurant, finished off by another coffee at an iffy pub near Trafalgar […]
The Plaza cinema, Southampton (part 3) (19 Aug, 2013) - “Saturday mornings “Mickey Mouse” film club attracted children plus live organ entertainment provided by the cinema’s Chief Projectionist, Ken Batten. “ “There were the Saturday morning shows…6d downstairs, 9d upstairs. On your birthday you would be given a free ticket and you could take a friend to any priced seat free of charge.” See the […]
Woman in a blue dress (17 Aug, 2013) - Whenever I visit Hull I have a look at this lovely lady in the Ferens art gallery.
"We’re out of helium!" (16 Aug, 2013) - Overheard in Hull!
Scarborough (16 Aug, 2013) -
Spurn, Hull & Bridlington (16 Aug, 2013) -
Yorkshire Moors (13 Aug, 2013) -
Scarborough (12 Aug, 2013) -
Road to nowhere (11 Aug, 2013) -
Room with a view (10 Aug, 2013) -
Wadjda (5 Aug, 2013) - Wadjda is a gem of a film. The story tells of an 11-year old Saudi girl hoping to get a bike. Set against the background of the difficulties women face in Saudi society, it’s an absolute joy.
666? (4 Aug, 2013) -
Books (4 Aug, 2013) - South of the Northeast Kingdom by David Mamet is a gentle ramble through the author’s memories of Vermont. It’s a short, pleasant read and is one of a series of National Geographic books by prominent writers on the art of travel writing. However I can’t decide whether the ragged edge of the pages is due […]
Just before twilight (2 Aug, 2013) -
St Denys’ prefabs (31 Jul, 2013) - “The last estate of prefabs in Southampton, as far as I know were on the left bank of the Itchen alongside the railway bridge across the river at St Denys. They were there for a long time after the war. German PoW’s built those at the back of Butts Rd. My mum had sympathy for […]
Surrey hills (27 Jul, 2013) -
Brighton (26 Jul, 2013) -
"I think everyone I ever met named Mike was a good fellow" (23 Jul, 2013) - David Mamet, American playwright and film-maker.
Oxfam books (22 Jul, 2013) - I’m wondering whether my book-buying strategy is flawed! I’m a great fan of buying second-hand books from the Oxfam charity bookshops. They get my money, I get a cheap read, and I can, as I sometimes do, donate the book back to Oxfam so that they can get even more money from the same book. […]
Hamble (18 Jul, 2013) -
Newtown, IOW (17 Jul, 2013) -
Sun ray treatment – I had that! (7 Jul, 2013) - 65 Reasons to love the NHS
Processing camera images (6 Jul, 2013) - So I’ve made the move to capturing camera pictures as RAW files rather than JPEG image files and to use a trial version of Photoshop Elements to process the RAW files and images. The Chatham Docks images are the first results. I’ve found Elements is relatively straightforward, having basic and advanced modes. These first images […]
Chatham Docks, Kent (5 Jul, 2013) -
The Wire (30 Jun, 2013) - We’ve just completed viewing the 5th and final series of The Wire. That’s 50+ hours of magnificent television.  The final episode brilliantly tied up the varous storylines. A confession: we needed to have subtitles on in order to follow the Baltimore slang!
Image manipulation (30 Jun, 2013) -
The Crooked Well, London SE5 (29 Jun, 2013) - Ranked 133 out of 12,026 restaurants in London on TripAdvisor
Southampton (26 Jun, 2013) -
Isle of Wight (23 Jun, 2013) -
Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant – Uncle Nelson’s 90th birthday (15 Jun, 2013) - Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant Nelson & May and their kids
Prozvonit – I do that! (14 Jun, 2013) - Prozvonit (Czech /Slovak) – To call a mobile phone to have it ring once so that the other person calls back, saving the first caller money.
Two duff books (7 Jun, 2013) - The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland – I couldn’t get beyond the first 10 pages. It had great reviews on Amazon though! This left me without a holiday read so I had to find a replacement in the Pickering second-hand bookshop. In the Wake by Per Petterson, a Norwegian novel on family and loneliness, was […]
A Life Too Short by Ronald Reng (31 May, 2013) - A Life Too Short – The Tragedy of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng is a marvelous book about football and depression.In 2009, the German goalkeeper Robert Enke stepped in front of a train. He suffered with depression. This award-winning book tells of the pressures of being a footballer, in particular those of being the goalkeeper, […]
Hyde Park, London (26 May, 2013) -
Garden colours (25 May, 2013) -
Shoo! (25 May, 2013) -
King Of The Ants by Charlie Higson (23 May, 2013) - King Of The Ants by Charlie Higson is what I would categorise a holiday novel. And great fun it is too! Set in London, it seemed to take an age to get going (100+ pages) but once it does, the fun is violent and exciting. Recommended as a light, holiday read.
The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats (20 May, 2013) - I enjoyed The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats by Hesh Kestin. A gangster novel with an interesting story and good period detail, it seemed to run out of steam, so only just misses out on being recommended.
Mystery knocking 3am this morning (20 May, 2013) - We are yet to determine the source of the mysterious, loud knocking at 3am this morning. At its loudest from the back garden, I first timed it at 49 regular knocks per minute, then 40, then 25. At 4am it was time to give up on trying to guess what it was! What do you […]
Sunday afternoon (19 May, 2013) -
One Hand Clapping by Anthony Burgess (16 May, 2013) - One Hand Clapping by Anthony Burgess is gem of a story. Written in 1961 it tells the story of a working-class couple from the perspective of the wife, Janet. Her husband has a special talent of a photographic memory, which leads to success and then unhappiness. It’s a charming, easy read, and is highly recommended.
Reigate Colley Hill (16 May, 2013) -
Black clouds (15 May, 2013) -
Vernon God Little and other reads (14 May, 2013) - I gave up on Homestead by Rosina Lippi and didn’t enjoy Amsterdam by Ian McEwan. Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre is a riot of a read! It wasn’t until I was halfway through the book that I started to enjoy the ride. It’s a bit difficult to read initially, the American slang is hard […]
Southampton (8 May, 2013) -
The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up (6 May, 2013) - The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up is the first novel by American author Jacob M. Appel. I found it in one of the Oxfam bookshops I now frequent. And what a find it turned out to be! Arnold Brinkman is a New York botanist who, by refusing to stand up at a baseball match to […]
Walking London (4 May, 2013) -
Westhumble (3 May, 2013) -
Love at St Pancras (1 May, 2013) -
Life is full of misery…. (30 Apr, 2013) - ‘Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon’ Woody Allen
Train fare madness (29 Apr, 2013) - Single ticket, London to Scarborough is £34 (with railcard). Single tickets, London to York and York to Scarborough is £24 (with railcard). Daft.
TripAdvisor: The Grumpy Mole, Cheam, Surrey (29 Apr, 2013) - We had a very nice lunch at the The Grumpy Mole, topped off by a very decent bread and butter pudding.
Hampton Court (28 Apr, 2013) -
TripAdvisor: Westminster Arms, Westminster, London (27 Apr, 2013) - There was bread and butter pudding on the menu, but I wasn’t tempted.
Debris (26 Apr, 2013) -
So far , so good… (23 Apr, 2013) - 2 pints + 2 large glasses of wine, and the ceiling’s not moving. That’s promising. Dished out a lot of advice tonight, which seems to have gone down well, but I’m not sure should be taken seriously. #JustSaying
Denison Arms, East Ayton near Scarborough (19 Apr, 2013) - A common theme among the TripAdvisor reviews of the Denison Arms is that the food at this East Ayton pub comes in large portions. I can confirm this. My steak and ale pie came with chips and SIX vegetables (carrots, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, swede and parsnips). Far too much for one person and I failed […]
St Denys, Southampton (18 Apr, 2013) - Where I lived for the first 10 years.
Chicken and duck up close (17 Apr, 2013) -
Another bus adventure (16 Apr, 2013) - I’m on the bus, it’s full and I’m standing half way down the aisle. People get off and I relocate to just behind the driver’s cab. The bus driver says something. ‘You’re very well spoken’, he says. ‘How do you know that?’ I say, ‘I’ve never spoken to you’. ‘You were very polite when you […]
Scarborough buildings (16 Apr, 2013) - Dumped in a different part of Scarborough, I came across all these buildings I either hadn’t seen before or I was seeing from a different perspective.
Scalby walk near Scarborough, 9.5 miles (15 Apr, 2013) - A gentle 10 mile walk along tracks and paths was topped by a pleasant hour with a sandwich and pint at the Three Jolly Sailors at Burniston.
Matlock, Derbyshire (13 Apr, 2013) - Matlock is a charming town in Derbyshire, with a splendid park right in the centre and Matlock Town football club next to the park. The park was a hive of activity when I was there; a boating lake, putting green, crown green bowls and skateboard ramps were all in use despite the overcast, chilly day. […]
Paint factories – are they bad for your health? (12 Apr, 2013) - We lived in a prefab next door to this paint factory for much of our childhood. Hence the breathing problems we experienced? I can remember having ‘sun ray treatment’, with my sisters I think. There are images of this to be found on google using this search string.
The Plaza Cinema, Southampton (part 2) (12 Apr, 2013) - The following extract from the Boyhood Memories of George Henry Allen brings back fond memories of going to the pictures as a boy. My father was the projectionist at the Plaza and also played the organ.  I used to go to the pictures on Saturday morning, and my favourite was Rocket Man. “I would have been about twelve or […]
Happy Birthday…. (11 Apr, 2013) - My son’s in Germany, my daughter’s in America, my wife’s up North. It’s my birthday.
Things Change (11 Apr, 2013) - Life stressed me even then….
Splashing out on my birthday (11 Apr, 2013) - For old times sake, I’ve just ordered 10 blank punch cards from the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge. At £6 they’re a bargain, or maybe not.I loved punch cards and the mechanically beautiful punch card machines that you used to type new cards. It was all so tactile in those days!  SUM = 0.0DO 10 I […]

Auction of Emperor Proculus coin (10 Apr, 2013) - Today is the day of the auction of the Roman coin found by a man who was magnet-fishing (although he found this coin in a field using a traditional metal detector) and whom I got talking to on a Yorkshire Wolds bridge back in February. The auction can be watched live over the Internet. See my previous […]
#nowthatchersdead (9 Apr, 2013) - Cher isn’t dead. Twitter users confused over Margaret Thatcher death hashtag #nowthatchersdead.
The Plaza cinema, Southampton (part 1) (9 Apr, 2013) - The Plaza cinema in Southampton, with its ornate surroundings, was claimed to be the most luxurious film theatre in the south. Many local people will remember two distinctive features about the Plaza; the double seats in the back row, much in demand by courting couples, and the illuminated Compton organ that used to rise from […]
Bargate – Southampton (9 Apr, 2013) - The main entrance to the walled town of Southampton was through the Bargate at the northern end of the town.  Since Henry II, many of the Kings and Queens of England have passed through the Bargate. By 1175, a simple square stone tower had been built, and the arch completed. The Bargate was a toll […]
Microsoft’s SPF record wizard – gulp! (8 Apr, 2013) - So I’ve had a couple of funny emails. My web/email hosting company suggest the following: “In order to fix the spam issue, you could try adding an SPF record to your domain. By adding an SPF record into your DNS configuration any mail servers receiving email, that is allegedly from you, will check that the […]
Margaret Thatcher dies and Pudsey writes a book (8 Apr, 2013) - On the day that Margaret Thatcher died, I bring you some real news: Ashleigh Butler has admitted she would love to star in Pudsey: The Movie as herself. The 18-year-old and her adorable pet dog Pudsey won Britain’s Got Talent last year, and now Pudsey is publishing his autobiography Pudsey: A Pup Star’s Story, and […]
Recently read books (8 Apr, 2013) - The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier was an odd read. When you die, you end up in the city, then, when the last person who ever knew you dies, you finally die.  An interesting read, but something was missing. Arcadia by Jim Crace is about an elderly millionaire who wants to leave his mark […]
thingschange domain names (8 Apr, 2013) - I’ve been looking at domain names around the theme of ‘things change’ is me! takes you to a dating / porn site! simply displays “hello” is a German marketing company and is for sale for 2,000 dollars! is available is for sale for £1,100! I also looked up […]
What the…… (7 Apr, 2013) -
Check out this Daily Mail link! (7 Apr, 2013) - Now that I have officially been classed as ‘traditional working class’, I can openly admit to occasionally checking out the Daily Mail web site. Have a look at this delightful set of pictures.
Emailing a ship at sea…. (5 Apr, 2013) - Not sure what to make of this email I received on April 1st….
Slide rule on The Wire! (5 Apr, 2013) - I was amazed to see a slide rule being used in an episode of The Wire. My older brother went to a grammar school and I was envious that he had a slide rule. I went to a secondary modern school and had to do with log tables! I’m no longer jealous of him having […]
I’m traditional working class! Yeh! (3 Apr, 2013) - Click on the image to take The Great British class calculator and find out which class you belong to!
Dorking – Coldharbour (10 miles) (29 Mar, 2013) - There was still snow in some parts of the woods.  The Plough at Coldharbour is a nice country pub with decent food and a log fire.
Did I write this 24 years ago?! (28 Mar, 2013) - void do_function_key ( int fkey )/* Handle function key */{LINE *p ;   p = function_keys[fkey-1] ;   if ( p == NULL ) beep () ;   else { line_lastpos = p->line_lastpos ; line_pos = line_lastpos + 1 ; strcpy ( line , p->line ) ; display_line () ; if ( line[line_lastpos] == ‘;’ ) do_return () […]
Getting your own back on telemarketers (23 Mar, 2013) - If you’ve had a nuisance marketing call or message, the Information Commissioner’s Office want to know about it. Click the image to complete a simple and anonymous on-line form.
A big man knows the value of a small coin (21 Mar, 2013) - “A big man knows the value of a small coin” from the wonderful film “Things Change”.  I just came across this again and felt like putting it on the blog.
Wandering around London (18 Mar, 2013) -
North Downs, near Dorking (14 Mar, 2013) -
What a great noise! (11 Mar, 2013) - What a great noise now being used in an advert. See the original blog posting here.
Experimental (11 Mar, 2013) -
Not so inspiring reads (11 Mar, 2013) - Gold by Dan Rhodes was ok, as was Invisible by Paul Auster but I struggled with Child’s Play by David Malouf. The Newsagent’s Window by John Osborne was a gentle exploration of the world of ads in newsagents’ windows.So not a very inspiring set of recent reads.
Another Thames walk (9 Mar, 2013) -
Filey (2 Mar, 2013) -
Amazing bread and butter pudding! (28 Feb, 2013) - Unfortunately the size of the main course prevented me sampling this delight.
Scarborough (27 Feb, 2013) -
Old geezers (27 Feb, 2013) -
Robin Hood’s Bay (25 Feb, 2013) - Robin Hood’s Bay is a lovely old fishing village, just north of Scarborough, on the Yorkshire coast. On this visit, however, the weather was dreadful, and we managed a coffee and a quick browse around the second-hand bookshop (all crime and romance!), before returning to our warm cottage.
Magnetic fishing (24 Feb, 2013) - From a distance we could see a man on the bridge repeatedly tossing a weighted line into the river below. It didn’t look like fishing, or crabbing. Sampling the water?  Curiosity got the better of me. It turns out he was ‘magnetic fishing’ which is essentially treasure hunting under water. He had a strong magnet […]
Spiral (23 Feb, 2013) - Brilliant couple of Spiral episodes on BBC4 (review here). Great stuff.
Berlin (14 Feb, 2013) - We had a lovely 3 nights in Berlin over the weekend.  We stayed in the Adina Apartment Hotel Hackescher Markt (see or TripAdvisor). The hotel and room were fabulous and in a great location.On our first full day we had breakfast at the Frida Kahlo Mexican restaurant, which has some less than favourable reviews on the web […]
So many books read recently (14 Feb, 2013) - Quarantine by Jim Crace is an interesting read set two thousand years ago, about four travellers, including one called Jesus, who enter the desert to fast for forty days.Ten Stories About Smoking by Stuart Evers is a fabulous collection of short stories. Very highly recommended.Them by John Ronson is a wacky ride with a variety of extremists. There […]
Zero Dark Thirty (14 Feb, 2013) - Zero Dark Thirty – a terrific movie about the killing of Osama bin Laden.Go see it!
Anthony Hill (8 Feb, 2013) - When I was about 10 years old, my friend Anthony Hill taught me a simple card game. I often played the game with my brothers and sisters, but not knowing the actual name of the game, we simply called it Anthony Hill’s game. Fifty years later I still play the game and continue to use […]
Experimental (3 Feb, 2013) -
Drama on the 14:20 bus from Reigate! (30 Jan, 2013) - Mobile phone conversations overhead on the top deck of the 14:20 bus from Reigate: “I’ve got to go. I’ve got to ring grandpa to tell him dad’s been sent down.” “Grandpa, dad’s been sent to prison” Minutes later, after the bus had pulled into the bus stop layby:BANG!  A lorry, overtaking the bus, clips the […]
Lazy weekends (27 Jan, 2013) - Surely two episodes of Borgen and an Inspector Montalbano DVD has to be one of the best ways to be lazy at the weekend!
Borgen best TV ever (19 Jan, 2013) - Borgen – was that 2 hours of the best ever TV?
Playing field wreckers (18 Jan, 2013) -
North Downs (17 Jan, 2013) -
Experiments (11 Jan, 2013) -
Reigate Park (8 Jan, 2013) -
Books (7 Jan, 2013) - In the Sea there are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda is a fine novel, based on a true story, about a young boy’s journey, as an asylum seeker, from Afghanistan to Italy.My Father’s Notebook by Kader Abdolah tells the story of the relationship between a son and his deaf, mute father. Set in Iran, it beautifully portrays the […]
Flying saucers on New Years Eve? (1 Jan, 2013) - What the heck were these, flying at speed, just after midnight – about 20 in total? Microlights? Drones? UPDATE! Chinese lanterns, carried at speed, by the wind!
Christmas highlights (30 Dec, 2012) - We banned Santa from our house this year and his absence was much appreciated. The carom board was greatly used and I won the 2nd-place pot of £5 at poker. A great new card game Scum was played which will no doubt be played in future years – best enjoyed with alcohol! The only TV I can remember watching […]
Books – Articles of War by Nick Arvin (16 Dec, 2012) - Articles of War by Nick Arvin is a short, moving novel about the horrors of war. Set in France at the end of World War II, it’s a simple story which eloquently portrays the brutality and destructiveness of war. Highly recommended.
Hearing not what it was? (13 Dec, 2012) - Whilst watching the cinema trailers prior to viewing the subtitled Danish film The Hunt, I realised I couldn’t make out any of the dialogue. So another reason for seeking out good foreign films is that they’re subtitled and there’s no problem with following the dialogue. Simple!
Books – Daughter of the River by Hong Ying (13 Dec, 2012) - Daughter of the River by Hong Ying is a fascinating autobiography set in Mao’s China. The author describes her shockingly poor childhood and eventually discovers the family secret that she always suspected existed. Highly recommended.
The Hunt (original Danish title Jargen) (10 Dec, 2012) - A terrific sub-titled Danish film about a teacher who is wrongly accused of child abuse.  Great performances and an absorbing and challenging story.  Don’t miss it!
Snow in Surrey! (5 Dec, 2012) -
Arty Café in Belmont has closed (1 Dec, 2012) - The only café in Belmont appears to have closed.
Books (30 Nov, 2012) - The Submission by Amy Waldman is an interesting read. The winner of a competition to design a memorial to the 9/11 attack turns out to be an American Muslim.  The issues raised in the story make for a good read. Between Summer’s Longing and Winter’s End by Leif Persson is a 600+ pages Swedish thriller.  It is a […]
I know the face but not the name (29 Nov, 2012) - You were on Victoria station and I only saw you briefly. I know that face! Initially I thought you were the systems manager from Atkins, way back in the 90’s. Going through the alphabet I came up with your first name – Gordon. Before I could get your last name I decided you weren’t the […]
London on a grey day (28 Nov, 2012) -
Southampton & New Forest (23 Nov, 2012) -
Greenwich (20 Nov, 2012) -
Epsom Downs (18 Nov, 2012) -
My all-time favourite track from my all-time favourite movie (17 Nov, 2012) - Christmastime by Aimee Mann and Michael Penn, from the absolutely wonderful film Hard Eight.
Wrong camera setting (14 Nov, 2012) - This is what happens to your photos if you set the white balance to tungsten on a nice sunny day.
Inspector Montalbano back to form (11 Nov, 2012) - After a disappointing Inspector Montalbano (episode 10, The Gull’s Dance) two weeks ago, I’ve finally caught up with last week’s story (episode 11, The Potter’s Field). Back to form with a terrific story once again exuding wonderful warmth and humour. Magnificent. There’s just last night’s final episode to catch up on.
Newcastle & Durham (9 Nov, 2012) - More pictures here
Epsom Downs (2 Nov, 2012) - And there’s more here
I never thought this day would come! (1 Nov, 2012) - I got an Apple iPad!  Very nice…..
Sunny but cold Brighton (27 Oct, 2012) -
Books (22 Oct, 2012) - A trio of books finished while continuing with the Sherlock Holmes collection. Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader is a charming, short novel imagining that the Queen develops a passion for reading, leading to her neglecting her public duties. Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig is a very violent roller-coaster of a story about a woman who can foresee the death of […]
Henley & Marlow (20 Oct, 2012) -
V & A Museum, London (17 Oct, 2012) -
Camera fun (14 Oct, 2012) -
Queueing for laughs (13 Oct, 2012) -
The things you find on the radio (11 Oct, 2012) - Heard this on BBC 6 Music and was blown away.  Best appreciated if played through speakers (at full volume) or through headphones!
Untouchable- a great movie (11 Oct, 2012) - You must see the film Untouchable. A very funny and warm story that will have you laughing out loud and dabbing your eyes.  Like the poster says, ‘an absolute must see’.  Great, great, great! Don’t spoil it by looking up the reviews and finding out the plot. Enjoy. French with subtitles.
The grim reaper (11 Oct, 2012) - Walking down the high street I was accosted by a Greenpeace chugger (twice), a will-writer salesman and a funeral-plan salesman.I’m hoping that the latter two were not indicative of a serious decline in how well I look!
Inspector Montalbano (6 Oct, 2012) - A complicated and complex story left me a bit bewildered but once again a wonderfully enjoyable episode of Inspector Montalbano, oozing humour, beauty and real class.
Thames sunshine (6 Oct, 2012) -
Happy and sad numbers (29 Sep, 2012) - In Pickering I was browsing a second-hand bookshop / toy shop and came across the most unlikely of books to buy – Oxford Study Mathematics Dictionary.  At £3.99 it was a bit expensive for an obscure read, but what magic is contained within! It’s a maths dictionary.  ie All the maths words and phrases, with […]
Pickering & Whitby (28 Sep, 2012) -
Scarborough (28 Sep, 2012) -
Flowers (28 Sep, 2012) -
Sunny day at Hampton Court (15 Sep, 2012) -
Lymington to Yarmouth IoW (8 Sep, 2012) -
Corfe & Swanage (7 Sep, 2012) -
Lymington (6 Sep, 2012) -
Sherlock Holmes (4 Sep, 2012) - It’s a summer afternoon and there’s a new book to start.  And what a start! A Study in Scarlet is a fantastic story to start off the Sherlock Holmes collection.  How come I haven’t come across this Arthur Conan Doyle fellow before?
Walking Dorking to Guildford (13 miles) (3 Sep, 2012) - On a beautiful day in late-summer, a walk from Dorking to Guildford, mainly along the North Downs Way. Pictures taken with a Pentax zoom lens (as an experiment). More pictures here.
Inspector Montalbano – episode 2 (2 Sep, 2012) - A truly wonderful second episode of Inspector Montalbano.  Luscious to look at, a typically rich story, and lovely acting.  It oozed warmth and class. But how come all the villages and towns are deserted?
Books (26 Aug, 2012) - A wonderful read is Justin Cartwright’s The Promise of Happiness, a fine English novel about a dysfunctional family – something I know a lot about!Also recommended is I’m Not Sacred by Niccolo Ammaniti, a tense story set in Italy about childhood.And I finally finished  a wonderful collection of short stories called Stories to Get You […]
Experiments in the park (26 Aug, 2012) -
Inspector Montalbano is back! (25 Aug, 2012) - The wonderful Inspector Montalbano is back for a new series, Saturdays on BBC4. A terrific first episode marred only by an implausible ending. Wonderful acting, lots of fun and warmth.
San Gennaro of Battersea (23 Aug, 2012) - Lovely meal with the whole family at San Gennaro in Battersea, preceded by pints of beer nearby at The Mason’s Arms. But why oh why do pubs and restaurants feel the need to play loud music!?
Ham, Richmond, Teddington (23 Aug, 2012) - Starting from a free, public car park on the riverside near Ham House, we walked towards Richmond, over  the bridge, back down the Thames to The White Swan pub at Twickenham.  Lovely location and good pub food. I would recommend turning back for a short distance towards Richmond in order to cross the river via […]
Experimental (22 Aug, 2012) -

Ockley, Surrey walk (20 Aug, 2012) -
A quiet day at Eastbourne – NOT! (11 Aug, 2012) - A day trip to Eastbourne turned out to be not as peaceful as we were looking forward to!  Eastbourne was packed for the Eastbourne Air Show and this normally sedate resort was rocking to the deafening noise of planes flying in front of the crowded promenade.  But we had a nice day!
North Downs walk (10 Aug, 2012) -
Southampton & Hythe (9 Aug, 2012) -
Walk to see City of London boats (3 Aug, 2012) - Cups of tea and coffee in The Angel at Bermondsey were a curiosity.  The only coffee on offer was Nescafé, and the tea and instant coffee came served in cups and saucers but without the saucers! Amazingly one of our ex-neighbours walked in whilst we were there – she was born in the area and was revisiting old haunts. […]
Itchenor near Chichester (30 Jul, 2012) -
River Thames/ Hampton Court (26 Jul, 2012) -
Hamble, Hampshire (25 Jul, 2012) -
Scarborough, Yorkshire (22 Jul, 2012) -
7 P&O liners leaving Southampton (4 Jul, 2012) - Taken with a rubbish phone-camera in the misty rain!
Cornwall for a couple of days (1 Jul, 2012) - In Cornwall for a couple of days for a funeral, staying at the Finnygook Inn in the tiny village of Crafthole, just across the water from Plymouth.  Excellent dinner at the Finnygook followed by watching a glorious win for Spain at Euro 2012.  The following day, the weather is appalling for the funeral.
Dinner with Elaine & Tony (29 Jun, 2012) - Thank you Elaine & Tony for a lovely evening.
Books (29 Jun, 2012) - I can highly recommend “The Good Doctor by Damon Galgut”, a very fine novel set in rural South Africa.AND I have just read a fabulously funny short story “A Convalescent Ego by Richard Yates” in which the couple are called Jean and Bill and the son is called Mike!
Experimental images (22 Jun, 2012) -
Books (21 Jun, 2012) - Recently read and which I can recommend: Snow Drops – A.D.MillerAn enjoyable and atmospheric story set in Moscow The Mind’s Eye – Hakan NesserAn enjoyable Scandinavian thriller Air Mail – Terry RavenscroftLaugh-out-loud letters between the writer and the airlines Through the Looking Glass – Guy DeutscherA fascinating look at how our language may effect the […]
Lunch at the RAC Club (19 Jun, 2012) - What a splendid lunch, sitting outside at the RAC Club. Thank you David & Jenny. We looked at how much it would cost us to join and decided that £6K for the first year and £3K each subsequent year was probably out of our reach!
Oh dear John Lewis! (14 Jun, 2012) - Sometimes even the best get it wrong!
Should I have been a mathematician? (5 Jun, 2012) - Many, many years ago I noticed that the square of a number consisting of all sixes had a particular pattern. With pretensions to be a mathematician I set out to prove why this was so! Every ten years or so I would re-visit the previous solution and attempt to improve on it. Now I have […]
Camera sensor cleaned! (1 Jun, 2012) - I think I’ve managed to clean my DSLR sensor using a Hama Bellow Dust Blower (£6.83 via Amazon).  It’s looking promising!
Day 5 – last day in Bergen (26 May, 2012) - A morning of walking around the centre and up the windy streets to a viewpoint. Then off to the airport for the return home.  We got on the wrong bus – there are two airport bus services and we picked the wrong one for our return ticket!  The driver was typically Norwegian – ie pleasant […]
Day 4 – Bergen Botanical Garden (25 May, 2012) - We had an unsuccessful visit to the botanical garden!  An hour’s bus ride out of Bergen, we soon discovered the garden was pretty remote and that there were NO eating / drinking facilities, and we had no food!  So we ambled for an hour and then set off back to Bergen.  A reasonably pleasant way […]
Day 3 – Norway in a Nutshell (24 May, 2012) - Day 3, Thursday, we did “Norway in a Nutshell”, a standard tour encompassing a train into the snowy mountains and then down the mountain on the Flam railway to Flam. From there we took a boat for a 2 hour fiord cruise to Gudvangen followed by a scary coach ride down a narrow, winding mountain […]
Day 2 – Bergen and funicular (23 May, 2012) - Day 2, Wednesday, I stuffed myself at breakfast with fish, meat, cheese, fruit, bread, cereal and coffee! A very relaxing breakfast. Jill was not feeling too good so had a tasty crisp-bread!! Exploring the town (we were wrong about a jazz festival!), we did the parks and took the funicular up the mountain, intending to […]
Day 1 – Arrived in Bergen, Norway! (22 May, 2012) - Day 1, Tuesday, we arrived in Bergen, Norway late afternoon and checked in to the Best Western Hotel Hordaheimen. The hotel seems ok and our room is modern, a bit basic, compact but not small!  We have a corner room, with a balcony and view of the water (just!). Glorious warm weather even at 9pm, […]
Weekend away in Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant (12 May, 2012) - I have arrived for a long weekend in the quiet village of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant. This North Wales village is halfway between Bala and Oswestry and is famous for the Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall, which at 80m high is the UK’s tallest single drop waterfall. I am staying in the delightful B&B Eiriafa which is in the heart […]
Congratulations Lucy (6 May, 2012) - Congratulations Lucy on selling 2 artworks.  The first of many!
Grey day in London (6 May, 2012) -
Le Havre (2 May, 2012) - I hated the film Le Havre! I slept through some of the first half hour – did I miss anything? Hated it. Hated the acting, the story, the pacing. Puzzlingly 99% of reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes (link) rated it highly.
Books (30 Apr, 2012) - I can highly recommend: Ghost Town – Patrick McGrathThe book consists of three wonderfully different stories set in New York during the 18th century, 19th century and post 9/11. Currently reading: The New New Thing – Michael Lewis Stories to get you through the Night – Vintage Classics
The Kid With A Bike (24 Apr, 2012) - We really enjoyed The Kid With A Bike, a delightful French film. Highly recommended.
Books (19 Apr, 2012) - I can highly recommend: Moonwalking with Einstein – Joshua Foer The Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson The Lost Art of Walking – Geoff Nicholson A Human Being Died That Night – Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela I enjoyed reading Headhunters – Jo Nesbo, but it is trash!I gave up on King of the Badgers – Philip Hensher Currently […]
Lambs on the North Downs (16 Apr, 2012) -
Inspector Montalbano (15 Apr, 2012) - Inspector Montalbano was the highlight of our Saturday nights, and has come to an end. Gorgeous to look at (beautiful scenery, beautiful women, beautiful men), brilliantly acted and absolutely hilarious. Bleak Nordic thrillers to look forward to and then hopefully another series of the joyous Inspector Montalbano.
40 years! (7 Apr, 2012) - What a great day in London to celebrate 40 years of wedded bliss. Noises Off at the Novello Theatre, Aldwych was classic farce. Acts 1 & 3 were to die for! A wonderful meal at the Palm Court Brasserie in Covent Garden rounded off a wonderful day. Thank you wife and family.
Lucy’s artwork (5 Apr, 2012) -
12 mile walk from Dorking to Guildford (3 Apr, 2012) - This was the second time this year that I walked from Dorking to Guildford, mainly along the North Downs Way.  It’s essentially uphill for the first half and then downhill for the second half. A surprising treat at the end was the stunning view overlooking Pewley Down, which is well worth a revisit. I bumped into […]
Fabulous February snow! (10 Feb, 2012) - What a treat.  Lots and lots of snow and maybe more to come.
North Downs Way (9 Jan, 2012) - Lots of fallen trees on the North Downs following recent gales.
My worst job (18 Dec, 2011) - The worst job I ever had was working in a supermarket meat  and cheese department.  It was OK cutting and packing the cheese.  It was OK packing the cuts of meat.  What wasn’t OK was having to scrub the walk-in freezer floor with a wire-brush in order to remove congealed blood!  Bloody cold!!
Nonsuch Park, Cheam (11 Dec, 2011) -
What Really Happened Aboard Air France 447? (8 Dec, 2011) - An absolutely amazing article by Jeff Wise. “Two years after the Airbus 330 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, Air France 447’s flight-data recorders finally turned up. The revelations from the pilot transcript paint a surprising picture of chaos in the cockpit, and confusion between the pilots that led to the crash”.  Read more: Air France […]
Cheam Village gets a sweet shop! (3 Dec, 2011) - The good news – Cheam Village now has a sweet shop which opened today.  The bad news – another barbers has opened, making 3 in the space of 50 metres, with the new one directly opposite an existing, established one.  So which one of these barbers will close first?  What Cheam really needs is a book shop, […]
My first computer (1 Dec, 2011) - The first computer I came upon was an IBM 1130. I had dropped out of studying A-Level physics and was required to fill my time at college with something else.  I don’t remember how I came to be sitting in on a computing course, but eventually it lead to a career in computing. The IBM […]
North Downs Way (28 Nov, 2011) - What’s with the trains today?  Finally made it to Dorking and eventually managed to pick up the North Downs Way heading for Gomshall, I guess about 5 or so miles along a good, waymarked path.  A rather grey day with some nice sunbeams through the clouds.  Trains from Gomshall are every 2 hours and I […]
Current favourite picture (27 Nov, 2011) - This picture was taken on a day out in London when I set the camera to take b&w images only.  I like how they appear much sharper than when in colour.
Sunday on the Downs (27 Nov, 2011) - A walk of a couple of miles on a windy day.  Wooly hats and gloves made their first appearance. We managed to startle a couple of horses and their riders as we appeared around a turn in the path.  There were no injuries.