Progress of sorts


Finally some physical progress in the projects from the work shop. Seen here is our new composting bin made out of scavenged pallet wood. It is roughly put together but sturdy though and the lid and handles are yet to put on so it has a temporary one in place. Since losing the allotment last year we have been chucking the bio waste away but now there is a place to turn that oozing mass into something useful for the garden. Will report back on how its going and hopefully we will have something useable from it in the not too distant future.

Onwards now to the next wood project and more of that story later.



Well that went well, after waking up I am not sure how and why this came out and before I realised it had been posted. Moral of the story is don’t mess around with things when your half asleep. So it stays.

Thought of the day – EU

Well with only twenty six minutes till the polling stations open I awake to a new day that may change the face of my country. I have deliberately kept out of the arguments on line and in social media as I think it has been a campaign fought on lies and dis-information, rather than fact and reason. So probably by this time tomorrow we will all know the position of the UK and my England within Europe.

Right I’m off to vote.

Thought of the day – Midsummer’s Eve (A look back)

So here we are standing on the middle of the year as far to look back as to look forward and I can’t believe the year is going so quickly. When I started this blog over a year ago I started out with great gusto and intentions and then promptly let it languish until this year when I started off after Christmas with lots of energy and intention. However this too found a slump around April when I seemed to lose interest and could find the words or content to keep it going. Like all things in life there is an ebb and flow and this blog being no different I was looking back and reading through the posts to see the flow of the last year to see what I have been up to mainly. This was really the primary aim of all of this, to be just a diary for me to record my experiences and thoughts and also a kind of record for my family to look back at. There’s a whole subject to post on but not today but really I think that is all we are all really doing, is keeping a diary, unless ‘one’ is trying to sell something. But it is interesting to look back over time and admittedly mine is a very short space of digital time but non the less it is a record that is kept. I’m not sure If I have said before as I haven’t gone back and read every single post but there were/are very few pictures of the family growing up due to Dad not wanting to take “snaps” of us, quite why I have never really understood. So with the birth of digital cameras where one was only limited by the size of the memory card there is a sea of imagery that has been created. Remembering back to my nieces’ first birthday and my sister-in-law proudly telling me she had 627 pictures of the little party they had. Don’t get me wrong, if it wasn’t for the digital camera we wouldn’t probably put as much effort into these blogs as we do and they to my mind wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. For me the greatest part of reading others blogs is for the pictures. Maybe it stems back to a time when photos were sort of precious and not the common currency that they are now. But I do think a picture beats a thousand words and this brings me back to the initial thought of keeping a visual record of ones past experiences.

I have been battling with the internal voice as to what I should be writing here and how much I actually want to commit to ink, or is that digital paper and looking round the net I have built a of what the norm seems to be and have settled for that. As a process report, it doesn’t seem to read as though there has been much progress and all the things I have talked about in terms of goals have on the whole either not come to fruition or been sidelined for what ever reason. Like on all my school reports as a kid it always said “could do better” and “is not pushing himself”. I now feel much better than I did last year, which is a good thing and although progress has been slow in certain areas in others it has been rather rapid. Trying new things out has been something I have been trying to introduce in the last six months and to that end I have made some good steps forward. The Swimming springs to mind as something I had for absolutely ages thought about doing but never had the nerve to follow through. But that has opened up a whole new path of activities I am going to investigate. As for the other things I have been trying to incorporate, volunteering has not paned out as expected and I never realised how difficult it was to offer ones time. Maybe its just the things and location I am trying or maybe I am not putting enough effort into pursuing it but now is the time to step it up a gear whilst we have light and warmth.

What will the next six months hold, who knows, but you can bet it won’t be as expected. I will look back to this post and see where I stand both psychically and literally, one year on from when I truly started this blogotron journey and one of my favourite quotes “You live and learn. At any rate, you live.” ― Douglas Adams

Till next year…… 🙂

Beep beep

P1020897Every year for the last eleven I have been going to the BTCC rounds at Croft race circuit with my best mate and this year was no exception. We were both reminiscing about the bygone days which is when we worked out how long it had been. We had spent many hours playing TOCA when we shared a house after an amicable split from his then girl friend left him with rent to make up. So for three happy years we jostled for position on a virtual leader board playing out a fantasy that one day we may actually get on to a race track and race a real race. Unfortunately that dream never materialised but as a commiseration we started going to see the real racing at our ‘local’ circuit.

Over the years we have seen the changes to both the racing and the track and this year was no exception. Crowds were up and boy could you notice it but BTCC is a happy family on the whole and apart from the car park antics which I’ll mention later its very much a great day out. Although I really enjoy going to this one meet I wouldn’t want to go to all the races on the calendar and much prefer to sit in the comfort of my living room and watch on the telly as there is so much more that you see that you don’t get from a rather limited view that you have trackside. But on the flip side sitting at home you don’t get the real noise and experience.

As part of my year of getting out and about this is one of those such events that I look forward to and next year we are planning an additional trip out to Oulton Park if the planets align and we can make it happen. So back to parking, and why people do what they do. Numerous studies have been done as to behavioural effects of how we change when we get in our cars and yesterday was no exception to the few who don’t want to follow the norms and just want to get there own way. Well for one selfish driver it was a hard lesson. After thinking they were going to get one over on the ‘rest’ of us they learnt the hard way. Sometimes manners do matter and not only did they not beat the queue but got a very expensive bill for a very expensive car that the managed to break a wheel off when the masses refused to let them in and bow down to the bad behaviour by trying to go place it wasn’t meant to go. Always nice to see some schadenfreude. Till next year then.

Two wheel tease

IMG_0647.jpegYesterday I set off to a cycling rally in York where I met my up with my brother and we had hoped to see a number of things however on arrival it became apparent that this was not the show we was looking for. There were a number of tents with either small displays or people selling bits and bobs in but not the clubs we had been hoping to look up. The middle of the racecourse had a whole lot of motorhomes and campers so obviously plenty of people had come to see it and as we came away there were loads of people on their bikes, from serious looking road racers to families out for an amble. There was a display as seen above of vintage bikes and some older chaps standing around it discussing the relative merits of the Holdsworth underslung back sprocket derailleur, ok so I made that bit up but on the whole there was little interaction. Every hobby, pastime has it’s committed followers and this being no different there were many knowledgeable people but not much for the outsider. It was all a bit village feté like and maybe it was we just we got there too early but I don’t think so.. If one doesn’t succeed the first time… Oh well on to the next event..

Thought of the day – doodles

So I now have Pixelmator which is a rather groovy image manipulation application that does a load of things most of which I won’t use or need but it is a really nice app. It has been touted as a David against Adobe’s Photoshop Goliath. It’s a long time since I opened up Photoshop and I was in no way a power user but had my moments but starting out with Pixelmator there’s so much to play with and learn even for my child like doodlings. Previously I had been using Autodesk’s Sketchbook both on my phone and on my Mac but on returning find its all been monetised and simple things like the paint bucket and layers have all been removed.. Boo.. So hence the switch to Pixelmator.

As you can see from my attempt(s) above I have tried to copy the style from my previous attempt and have left in warts and all. I plan to carry this on on a sporadic schedule when I feel there’s something worthwhile documenting. I see it as just another part of the blog rather than something separate and contrary to my younger brothers opinion I will not be starting a web comic though some times I may ape it a bit.

Lastly just want to talk about the tablet and pen. Wow, just wow! I have had so much fun over the last day with it and am trying not to disappear down the rabbit hole today as there are many things to be getting on with. I hadn’t realised how versatile they are and all the different options that can be programmed. But the oh so basic use is just so much more intuitive to me as I always struggled with traditional mice in my work and had I known about the tablet and stylus things would have been somewhat different. Saying all this however doesn’t hide the fact if you have loads of typing to do then this method of input is not the best. But for drawing and such like its great. If you have never tried one maybe you can give it a go as its not prohibitively expensive as there a number of options and you don’t have to spend hundreds into the thousand mark for an iPad Pro.

Maybe some more of my doodles will come out to play.. For now I am really just messing around and having fun!

Thought of the day – Pentastic

Yesterday I was given a Wacom Bamboo tablet out of the blue due to owner moving up to the big iPad Pro so I have been playing IMG_0621.jpegaround with it and am intrigued as to what it can do. I have been messing around with the pen or is that stylus and find it way more accurate and far more comfortable than my mouse and my skills using it. There are a bewildering array of options to configure and I am sure in capable hands can be made to produce some amazing drawings and sketches or speed up workflows from a click of a programmable button. However one of the downsides that I am sure is not applicable to the Cintiq and iPad Pros with there Pencil(s) is the disconnect from the hand and eye. It does take some getting use to and I still struggle to match things up on screen but I am having to get use to not trying to use the pen on the keyboard, as that doesn’t work!! However for navigating around the desktop and computer it is simpler and faster in my mind.

There was a period when I worked in London where commuting home I started using a drawing app on my iPhone to do a basic visual diary but it fell by the way side and when I went back to look at resurrecting it some years ago the software had changed, needing a paid update to use all the features that I had been using and had taken for granted. So now I am on the look out for drawing software for my Mac to test out my new toy.

At the moment I am doodling around and testing out on simple app which is very basic for anything other than just scribbling, but one interesting thought is the ability to now digitally sign things. How often I need to do this is a matter of conjecture but the fact I can now actually ‘do’ my own handwriting is pretty crazy.


So till next time.. where I may just digitally hand write my post, but there again maybe not. I am going to find an outlet for this new workflow/method/toy just not sure what yet.

Splish, Splash

Photo-on-13-06-2016-at-13.19.jpegYesterday I took the plunge both physically and literally and went swimming at my local swimming pool. In fact the last time I was there was when I was a teenager and it hadn’t seemed to have changed at all which was a bit spooky. Apart from there being shared changing rooms and no freezing cold foot bath to stop the tide of verrucas that we made a sport of avoiding it was just about as I remember it. I first started going there with school and then later with the local Scout and Guide group once a week and one of my abiding memories was training for a Gold survival medal that required us amongst other things to do a mile in the pool which for a 25m pool is sixty four lengths, so we pretty much had to run in, get changed jump in the pool, swim, get out and run for the bus, ahh those happy days.

After a bit of floundering around and probably swallowing half the pool I settled into a rhythm. I was never very fast back then but more of a distance swimmer. Like then, whilst most were going past me I was happy to plod up and down at my own more gentle pace. Thankfully the pool was almost empty apart from a couple of people charging up and down the fast lanes marked off to stop us wandering into their paths and so I surreptitiously tried out a number of moves testing my memory of the different strokes at the deep end where I was away from the stern gaze of the lifeguard(s). I did wonder at the readiness of these people who seemed completely oblivious to their surroundings and not at the peak of what one would imagine as physical fitness. But I guess impressions can be deceiving.

After about half an hour I had had enough and thought I didn’t want to over do it as it had been such a long time and wasn’t sure of the repercussions for the day after however I am happy to report there have been no side effects and coming out of the pool was as I remember an energising feeling; one where you feel a bit more alive than you did before.

So.. roll on next Monday for another splash down memory lane..

Thought of the day – WWDC

For those who either don’t know or don’t care this will be an irrelevant post today but I thought I would put some thoughts down about the annual Applefest that is WWDC. For most of my working life I had hoped to one day go to the Developer Conference just to see what all the hullabaloo was about but now I am finding I couldn’t care less. As previously stated I am not in the market for any new gadgets of the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or such like as I have everything I need. But I thought it would be interesting to see where Apple is heading and if there’s anything on the horizon that could be of interest. In fact it seems like Apple’s cash cow, the iPhone, is starting to cool and that there is talk of moving to longer periods between upgrade cycles but they as a company are not doomed.. Personally if I had the money I would probably blindly be updating mine every year just because I could and did but now I am perfectly happy with my current 5S and see no need to blindly follow the masses. What does interest me is the future landscape of the Mac Mini and Pro models and whether they will get any love or will further be left to languish, wither on the vine to what seems like a slow and silent death. I do like or maybe even love Apple stuff for there simplicity but I am also realistic about it too. I am one of those people that still like a laptop for my daily use due to liking a proper keyboard and being able to prop it up in bed to watch TV and movies. I can see the allure of an iPad but there just not for me I still like my traditional computing, yes old fashioned some might say. However there was a day before laptops were popular that everyone had a desktop and the more serious you were the bigger the tower! those days have long gone on the whole and probably no bad thing as mobile tech has brought us back to the living room and out of those heat filled darkened rooms.. lol ok maybe I did play games a bit. Going back to the Mac Mini as the one of the last remains of traditional computing that Apple has I would like one for a number of reasons, i.e media centre etc but most of what I would want to achieve on it can/could be achieved on a Raspberry Pi. This is where the buy-in of the Apple ecosystem is a hinderance, that may all be changing if Apple really are moving away from traditional computing to mobile and ultimate gadgets we see on Sci-Fi movies and shows possibly?! Then I guess we will be using jet packs wearing silver jumpsuits and eating our food pills.

Apple does seem to be following their view that we will all be using iPads in the near future. Further off into the distance maybe computing as we know it will be something so far, we the general public have not imagined. Boffins in labs are working out how we will interact with technology or will we become implanted with it. As a side note I offer the fact that now everyone takes for granted mobile phones where previously the accepted norm was we had a old dial phone at home and you made and received calls only in that location usually at the bottom of the stairs. Prior to that it was a telephone box for a percentage of the population. I still remember as a youngster having to use them in order to have a private in air quotes call with my friends and then later girlfriend if I didn’t want my parents knowing everything about my life, whereas now I can speak to family and friends around the world on Skype on a high speed train whilst video calling. To my grandfather this would have truly been science fiction but in that short space of time our lives have changed immensely but in a mostly invisible way.

So where does Apple see this and for that matter the rest of the tech industry see us going in the future well today may be a window into that. It may not be as obvious as we think and for the larger part most people are interested in the “iPhone” bit for me it has always been about the future and the trends. What will we be taking for granted in say 10 years time that now seems alien or maybe the span will be longer, maybe a generational thing that say my niece will be part of. I think back to talking to my Grandfather when I was much younger who saw the advent of cars, flew in bi-planes and many other things we take for granted now and I thought “I will never experience a time like that” however in the 21st century I am seeing the birth of the mass produced electric car, solar energy becoming the norm, landing probes on Mars and distant meteors and many other technological advancements across all of society that make this a truly amazing age too. Maybe thats the point, that I/we take most things for granted but there is change out there and some of us choose to see it.

So I will this year be sitting in my comfy chair, cup of tea and watching WWDC with a bit more than passing interest unlike other years. Will you?