Category Archives: Uncategorized

Rediscovering handwriting

Let me say first of all that I’m not a pen collector nor a “penthusiast” and have no intention of becoming one. It started when we were asked to encourage our eldest grandchild to improve her writing by sending occasional letters and postcards to which she could reply.

Of course, like most people these days, we type the vast majority of our written material, right down to shopping lists and calendar entries. But after a couple of goes with a ball-point and some experimentation with computerised script fonts, I thought it might be nice to use an old-fashioned fountain pen. I managed to find an unused but fairly cheap corporate logo pen in a desk drawer, but now I’ve bought this:

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The delicious city of Hamburg

Apart from our troubled channel crossings, we had a most lovely weekend in Hamburg. We explored a few places off the beaten track with our expert guide aka our son Philip.

Whilst we waited for him on Friday, we started with a gentle stroll around part of the Alster Lake.

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Father’s Day? Segway!

I was given a fantastic Father’s Day present by my son, whom we were visiting in Hamburg. A Segway tour of the city. I cannot describe how much fun it was, and indeed how easy and natural the Segway is to ride.

We were lucky that the English language version of the tour on Sunday afternoon was undersubscribed, so instead of the usual 8 participants, the three of us had a guide to ourselves.

First faltering steps ...

First faltering steps …

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… and Floods

While I was happily making bread, the heavens opened with probably the biggest downpour we’ve seen in all the years that we’ve lived here. I was alerted to the flooding by an ominous gurgling sound from the ground floor loo, as the water overwhelmed the storm drains and foul drains too. Sure enough our little close was under water, and the lowest-lying house was inundated.

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Droning On

One of my most entertaining Christmas presents was a drone. A Hubsan X4, which is a beginner’s quadcopter. It was remarkably easy to get it flying, more or less straight out of the box.

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Christmas Ham

We normally cook something for cold meat sandwiches just before Christmas. It might be brisket, or a pâté, or, as this year, a ham. I’ve just had a “carver’s perk” from this one, which is a particularly delicious mild cure.

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We won superb Blackacre Farm eggs!

I entered a competition run by the very excellent Blackacre Farm, producers of fine free-range eggs. And won!

The prize was a very generous six dozen “Waddling Free” duck eggs.

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Cobb barbeque for camping

I’m not sure whether this latest purchase is going to be a good idea or not. Indeed I’d never heard of the Cobb barbeque until I read an enthusiastic recommendation from a fellow motorcyclist on The Rev Counter.

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The Sixteen: Handel’s Jephtha

We went to this wonderful concert last month, a Christmas present from one of our children:


I’m not going to attempt a critical review. My musical knowledge isn’t up to it. Suffice it to say that I must admit that at the start I was thinking, “Gosh, this looks awfully long”. In the final part I was thinking sadly, “Ah. It’s finishing soon. If only it were longer – I’d love another hour of this!”

Harry Christophers is a genius. If you get a chance to hear The Sixteen live, do it. We certainly shall.

We’ve had enough cold calls

On Friday, we finally decided we’d had enough. Fridays seem to be the worst, but every day we’re pestered with unwanted telephone calls. It’s a common story, I know. But now we’ve got this …


It’s a trueCall call screener, and it’s a class act. Programmable to block or accept all sorts of different calls, it’ll take messages and record calls. Best of all, it tells spammers, scammers, survey monkeys, and ambulance chasers, “We’re not interested in your call – please hang up now and don’t call us again!” That is, of course if their CRM software hasn’t already cut the call when it detected an answerphone. Deeply satisfying.