I am not responsible for my own opinions

Waiting for the 晶

Published: 03 January 2017

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Once the sun comes into your life, it can never leave...

Time Can Do So Much!

Published: 15 December 2016

Glued together... for 44 years!


An attempt to recreate the 1968 Oxford matriculation photo outside the Sheffield Tap in October 2012...

Water, Water, Everywhere...

Published: 08 August 2017

Had a visit from a Yorkshire Water bloke yesterday to test the water quality in our area, and learnt a few things. Our supply comes from Langsett, apparently, so not too far away. What surprised me was that areas quite close to here get their water from York! It seems that they are not allowed to lay pipes under the M1, so those areas east of the motorway (such as Rotherham, Thorpe Hesley etc.) have to look elsewhere, and that elsewhere is near York. The water's pumped to a huge underground tank "like a cathedral" (can't remember where), up to a hill near Wentworth, then gravity fed to destinations.

I did ask him what that small reservoir up on Hallam Moors is used for, but he wasn't even aware that it existed, so that must remain a mystery.

Lazy summer Monday

Published: 17 July 2017


Glorious sunshine, no clouds, no wind - today must be summer! A late decision to have lunch at the Ladybower Inn: meal, 2 pints Batemans light, lazing outside by the Snake Pass. Then back via Hathersage and up Dale Bottom to Stanage, Burbage, and Ringinglow.

The age of equality? Not just yet, it seems...

Published: 03 July 2017


An advert spotted by Andy after family lunch at Monsal Head. Where would women be without us men, eh?

Birds again

Published: 18 May 2017

Swallow perched on telegraph pole along Skew Hill, singing quite merrily.

Yellowhammer singing away along Stanley Hill. I disturbed some largish bird, but not sure what! Seemed to have a greenish hue on the brief back view that I had, call unfamiliar to me. A mystery.

Fox again

Published: 10 May 2017

Looks like we've had another walk-through from a fox: left a pile of droppings on the back lawn overnight...

Avian Activity

Published: 01 May 2017

Don't know what's going on here: amazing number of bird visits to back and front these past few days. Mistle thrush (one or two) very regular, and squabbling with blackbirds. This morning, had great tit and chaffinch on front lawn: unheard of since we moved into this house.

Bird News

Published: 28 April 2017

Since the neighbours hacked down all their bushes and replaced them with a stalag fence last year, bird visitors to the gardens have been scarce. But these past few days have brought regular visits from a mistle thrush and a collared dove. Seen the occasional song thrush around in the past, but a long time since I've seen a mistle thrush anywhere, so a welcome visitor.

Now had a crow visit: first time I've ever known one come so close.

Getting rid of Piwigo

Published: 15 April 2017

Having used Piwigo for my gallery for some time and found it pretty good, I now need to replace it as it's not responsive. But finding an alternative that looks decent has proved to be a bit of a nightmare for various reasons. However, today I've come across Koken and that looks like what I need, so looks like I'll plump for that - and start from scratch...

First impressions of Koken on trying it in earnest were not good: gave useless "HTTP error" when trying to upload 4000x3000 image. After much trial and error, it seems it doesn't really like large hires images (not a PHP problem because upload limit is 128MB...). Not a showstopper though, as a Photoshop action can quickly sort out the ones giving problems with little loss of clarity. So... accepting that, it's all looking the way I want it: clean, crisp, and responsive. Adding titles and captions will have to come later...

Looking good to me

Published: 07 April 2017

Getting rid of Joomla has very much improved the look and feel of the whole site. The Editorial template provided free by html5up has been easy to work with and provides the basis for a fully-responsive HTML5 site - along with it actually looking decent. Impressed.

How many browsers does one person need?

Published: 25 February 2017

I've just installed Opera Neon out of curiosity. It does look rather weird, and I'm not sure whether I'll find it useful. But it's a completely different presentation method, so I'll try to give it a go if I remember... I do like the standard Opera, even though it's not my main browser but gave up using it much when it seemed to be getting rather OTT.

I've really been rather promiscuous as far as browsers are concerned; finding a favourite and then discarding it for slowness or bloatedeness. Chrome was a long-time favourite, but I switched from that to Vivaldi, and have been pretty satisfied with it. But I still have Chrome... and Opera... and Firefox... and IE11... and Edge... and still use (or have to use) all for different reasons. I suppose the obvious omission is Safari, but I never got on with that, and, post-iPhone, post-iTunes, I am quite content to steer well clear of "the Apple experience"!

What I got for Christmas

Published: 25 February 2017

Amongst other items, Becky and Andy gave me a DNA-testing kit from ancestry.co.uk. Being dutifully-minded, I gozzed in the tube and posted it off. After 6 weeks and several e-mails saying "We're processing it... honest...", I finally got the results - and I haven't a clue what light they've shed.

It turns out that I'm 53% GB, 20% Europe West, 13% Ireland, 5% Europe East, 3% Italy/Greece, 2% Scandinavia, <1% European Jewish, <1% Iberian Peninsula, <1% Caucasus, <1% Middle East, and <1% Asia South... Approximately... As for matches to people that ancestry.co.uk have registered, there is an "Extremely High" chance that I am related to a fourth cousin (or range of fourth to sixth cousin, or third cousin removed) called Kenneth Lawrence, about whom they seem to have no other details... Plus, they come up with 148 pages of matches of varying likelihood, with 50 matches per page... Seriously - do they expect me to wade through over 7,000 entries to find something interesting?!

I'm just a bit worried that my 53% might have voted for Brexit without my knowing it!

Boredom is...

Published: 11 February 2017

... being bloody housebound! Apparently, back problems are the biggest issue for GPs nowadays, and I've added to the statistics... Had a mild lower-back pain 4 or 5 weeks ago, so did the exercises that the GP had recommended in the past, and that cleared it up, apart from a small niggle on the lower right. "Good enough", I thought, and left it at that for a couple of days, until I had the brilliant idea to keep doing the exercises anyway, to keep the back in good nick. Big mistake! One of the routines upset that niggle, and it decided that agony was the best response... Sitting and lying in bed were fine, but stand? walk? - no chance! Only way I could manage either was by bending forward at 45o... and only for a very short time... So, I've had weeks of sitting and lying around the house, which effectively means TV and PC and a numb mind.. Thankfully, it's finally getting back to normal, and I've managed a few walks outside - for a whole 10 minutes! Oh, the power!

Had to visit the GP, of course: and the only way I could get there was for Mel to drive me the vast 300m and then use her as a human zimmer frame to walk to the surgery! Got prescribed cocodamol 30/500 - plus diazepam... The cocodamol did bugger all for the pain, just made me light-headed and constipated - deep joy! The diazepam were brilliant: can't remember ever being so chilled-out and sleeping so well (weird dreams, though...). But they ran out after 5 days, and 24 hours later I'd gone from chilled-out to spaced-out and freaked-out! Anxiety, panic, lack of concentration - it was a flaming nightmare for a couple of days. Do not want that again...

So what have I learned from this? Divert by keeping the brain active - learn new stuff or revisit stuff long forgotten; nothing short of morphine is likely to alleviate the pain, so accept that it will eventually pass, and intersperse the sitting/lying with short walks up, down, and around the house; enjoy the feeling of the pain getting less once it happens; and, above all, AVOID DIAZEPAM!

School Days

Published: 11 February 2017

Decided to scan (and read!) all my school reports from Brigg Grammar that have survived the years. Interesting reading 😜 Didn't realise I only came 7th in the first term there and shot up to 1st the next! Such acceleration never surpassed later, I guess 😊 Interesting 6th Form comments about my lack of contribution to school activities: they were obviously unaware that the 60s were rather fervently in progress at the time!

The scans are now all available here. Turns out that all the reports through junior school and grammar school are extant. Made interesting reading! Now if only Oxford had given us written reports...

Bleaklow, How You've Changed

Published: 16 July 2016

Walked for half an hour or so from the Snake Road summit onto Bleaklow along the Pennine Way. Half expect these wilderness areas to remain untouched, but that's not the reality of course. Not like it was in my day blah-blah-blah, squelching through peat mud, just easy, comfortable walking on a sandy path and paving stones. It does seem a shame, but so many pairs of boots for so many years must have caused immense damage.

Still a great feeling walking there, even though we didn't even get as far as Hern Clough (it was the second walk of the day...). Such splendid isolation, rawness, brooding hostility with evil pools either side of the path; yet beauty with abundant cotton grass, the call of a golden plover, the fluttering of meadow pipits. I've missed this badland.

Physio, heal thyself

Published: 16 May 2016

Poor old Ziggy: after all this time treating my tennis elbow, he's been suffering from the same complaint for 2 months! It came on when he was testing another patient... And, yes, he is treating himself.

Ziggy is pure stardust

Published: 09 April 2016

In previous posts, I've alluded to this "tennis elbow" condition that had seemingly settled in for the duration. I finally got referred to a physio three weeks ago, and two sessions with him have made a world of difference! Just a simple exercise to do thrice daily, and the pain has all but gone now. So much time wasted to get to this point. Thanks to Ziggy the physio for his time and skills, and to the NHS for still being able to provide such brilliant staff despite the best efforts of Lansley and Hunt since 2010.

Blessed be the Brian

Published: 09 April 2016

Well, I woke up this morning...

No, not a blues song - far from it. There was an article about Brian Blessed in The Guardian today, to which I got in the first below-the-line comment over breakfast at 8am - just seven words which has had 164* recommends so far! This is fame... this is glory... this is ridiculous!

Marvellous bloke, though. Wish I had his energy, enthusiasm, and sod-the-buggers attitude.

* Up to 167 since I started this post.

Addendum: Good grief! Just looked back through my other BTL posts and one about Stephen Fry in 2014 got 353 recommends! Perhaps a sign of the times that my cynical posts get recommends, but my serious ones don't?

Words (2)

Published: 25 March 2016

So I "learnt" two new words today: donds and zedded. This is what you get for venturing into the darker regions of The Guardian. Not that they are going to be of any bloody use to me.

Where next?

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