Saturday, 21 October 2017

The Morning After The Prosecco


The photo above is of my breakfast today, it's hungarian pancake (with a piece of devolay) with salad and garlic sauce from one of our favourite places, Kuchnia in Hull which is a brilliant Polish restaurant.

However, it's particularly useful today because today is a special day.

Today is the day after the "bottle of prosecco" evening.

I don't drink huge amounts as a rule. Generally on a weekend evening I'll have a beer, or maybe a glass of amaretto and coke, but that's most of the alcohol I have. Last night however, there was no beer, and I thought "hey, I know, I'll open that prosecco we've got in the fridge".

It wasn't good prosecco.

It was dry, and nasty. I poured two glasses, one for me and one for my wife, she took a sip of hers and gave it back to me.

Dear reader, you'll be pleased to know that despite the taste I stepped up, and took care of matters, and was able to add an empty prosecco bottle to the recycling at the end of the night.

So now I need a large bottle of cordial and a hungarian pancake to clear my head! 😀

In other news, my computer chair has seen better days, it was a very nice gift from a friend several years ago because he didn't need it any more, and it was narrow enough to go up to our attic (which was our computer room at the time) without having to be dismantled. But as you'll see in the image below, it was pretty badly knackered.

Not brilliant.

Anyway, I got a huge pile of fabric samples a while back (see my video for more), and they've sat in a pile for about 6 months without me really doing anything with them. This week I went off a bought some upholstery needles and a thick black thread - which turned out to be elastic 😖 - and patched it up.


Ta da!!

The sewing is rough (and actual thread rather than elastic would have been far better!) but nevertheless it's still a vast improvement on the half-naked chair I had previously. I'm hoping to spend some more time completing the patchwork look as I've still got loads of samples left over.

Before I finish I must highlight my wife's current giveaways for cross stitch fans, basically she's got 3 special halloween giveaways open at the minute, all the details are in her latest flosstube update so do watch and take part! I believe entries are drawn on the 30th or 31st because we've got to do a special video announcing the results for Halloween so do get involved now :)

Right - I'm off to eat my pancake!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Your Location Is Currently In Use

Periodically a little icon appears in the system tray in the bottom right corner of the screen on my desktop Windows-running PC. It's a little circle with a blue square in the middle, and when you hover your mouse pointer over it a little bit pop up appears, saying "Your location is currently in use".

I don't mind my location being used (at least for the software that I've allowed to use my location) but I'm always faintly surprised when it appears - this is on my desktop PC, which has been in the same location for about five years, assuming you don't get into the technicalities of it now being two floors lower than it used to.

Now, let's talk ankles.

Mine, and of course the nasty bruise I wanted to show off has faded. Feel free to give me sympathy anyway.

I have a weird ankle.

Periodically, it just gives way, it somehow bends sideways and before you know it I'm heading for the ground at speed. I believe (although memory could be fooling me) that it particularly worsened as a result of one evening I was playing football, and I decided to try hopping over the ball whilst tapping it with my foot to control it, and instead stood on the ball and fell over. Anyway, it does now and again just fail to ankle.

And it seems to have a mind of its own, and do it when it's particularly embarrassing or inconvenient. From memory I can particularly recall it failing:

  • In the supermarket while bagging groceries
  • While running down an alley dragging a sofa
  • On my neighbours footpath on the way to pick a parcel up

The most recent event I was walking through the grounds of my sons school after picking him up, so as you can imagine there was a good dozen or so other parents with children who were there to watch me plant my face into the ground., so I couldn't even let loose my favoured series of swear words and instead had to go "Whoops! Oh dear, silly daddy should have been looking where he was going!"

Funnily enough, it seems to hurt less overall if I just take the fall rather than try to stop myself falling, perhaps the time is better spent preparing for the fall rather than trying to rectify the ankle position or something.

While I'm blogging, I should point out for any cross stitchers my wife currently has not one, not two, but three competitions on the go - do check out her latest flosstube video for details!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Bookshops, Books, and their Awesomeness


Today apparently it's Bookshop Day (so Twitter tells me, anyway), which gives me a perfect opportunity to blog about one of my favourite things - books!

I've always loved reading. Being a geek, as a kid I would not only read the huge pile of Peanuts cartoon books my parents had in the house, but then went on to count how many times various characters appeared in the books and then create graphs based on the data (spoiler - Snoopy wins. By far.)

Robin Hood's Bay, which is one of my families' favourite places to visit (do check out the video from the holiday I and my dad had there), used to have a brilliant bookshop called the Chapel bookshop - large, with various rooms, nooks and crannies, you could easily spend hours there hunting through dusty piles of books that quite possibly hadn't been read by anyone for years. The downside of Amazon (and I am a big user of Amazon, it is great for getting stuff you need) is that it tells you what is most popular, the bestsellers, and the things that you typically like, but doesn't necessarily show you things that you wouldn't normally consider.

Several times I've seriously considered buying a Kindle, because logically it makes perfect sense. Rather than having, as we do currently, a couple of walls in the house full of books, I can store them all on one easy to carry e-reader that I can take and use anywhere. But there's just something about the physical presence of a book, the weight of it in your hand, flipping pages, sticking a bookmark (or in my case a scrap of paper) in to track your position. Plus the cost difference between an e-book and a paper book isn't big enough for me to justify buying a Kindle.

And, of course, there's so many books that you can't get on a Kindle. For example, I happen to own a hardback copy of "Hello Sailor" by former Python Eric Idle, a quite rude and slightly bizarre story which doesn't make a great deal of sense but is funny nevertheless. From the 1970s, there's almost no chance of that appearing as an e-book any time soon.

Take a look at a sample of my books:

Hello Sailor is at the end on the right. Told you I had it.

There's a lot of science fiction and what you might consider to be typically geeky books there, but I've found, particularly as I work on writing my own books, the value and enjoyment of reading different genres. A good example of this is Adele Archer's International Relations trilogy, the first of which to be quite honest I only bought because I'm a big fan of Adele's blog.  I found myself engrossed in the story, and was surprised at how my emotions were affected by the story - getting angry at one of the lead characters part way through at their actions!

Right now I'm reading "Laura's Handmade Life", a novel which I probably wouldn't have ever considered reading before experiencing Adele's work, and all I can say is, to me, it makes sense to try new things, whether it be some crazy and exciting new hobby, or simply reading a book that you wouldn't normally try.


So, it's Bookshop Day. This seems like a good reason for you to pop out and support your local book store.  Off you go then :)

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Spain


As a rule I dislike blogging about anything too serious. If I don't have a sufficient grasp of the information about a topic I would generally endeavour to avoid giving my opinion.

But...

I'll be totally honest, the first I became aware of the referendum in the Catalonian part of Spain was today, when it started trending on Twitter.

If you're not aware, the referendum, called for by the regional Catalonian parliament, is for independence of the region, and allegedly if the vote is successful then within a matter of days the region will declare itself to be independent of Spain.

Big. Disruptive. A massive concern to the Spanish government, I'm sure. The referendum has been arranged and pushed on with even without the agreement of the national government, there are questions over its accuracy, and it has even been classed as illegal.

So whatever result comes out of it, there's grounds for arguing that the referendum is not valid.

But...

The Spanish governments response to this referendum has been to use police forces to disrupt the referendum, seizing voting materials, and arresting key people charged with organising the referendum.

And today, they have used those forces to directly disrupt the vote, using force. Hundreds of citizens have been injured by the police. There has even been the bizarre sight of regional firefighters being attacked by the police for trying to prevent them from entering polling locations.

Regardless of whether the referendum was legal or not, we are talking about a country using its police forces to injure people attempting to vote - not people dealing drugs, not murdering people, not abducting children, not even committing fraud. A country having its people beaten for administering a vote.

Imagine if that happened in your own country. Would that be acceptable?

I recognise that in other countries there has been similar events to this, and even worse disgraces. But that should not mean that what is happening in Spain is acceptable.

The initial reactions from some of those bodies that could put pressure on Spain has not been encouraging.  I have taken the opportunity to write to my representatives in the UK parliament, and to sign a number of online petitions.

Wherever you are in the world, I do think that it is valuable to protest these actions. It is not acceptable in the modern world for a government to act in this way.

Do contact your democratic representative, and below are a couple of petitions that you may wish to sign:

Worldwide petition - "For freedom and the rule of law in Catalonia" on change.org (it is in French but it's one of the most signed petitions so I've linked to it) - https://www.change.org/p/la-catalogne-doit-voter

UK only petition - "To condemn the repression of democracy and freedom of speech in Catalonia" - https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/200914
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