The ‘Aesthete’
My favourite newspaper, the FT, has a section at the weekend called The Aesthete where designers (I have never heard of) answer a set list of
Garlic Pesto
Wild garlic, 1 large bunch, washed Curly parsley, 1 small bunch 60g of pecan nuts and pistachio kernels. To be more traditional use pine nuts,
Håg Capisco (and Unintended Consequences)
My company provides employee benefits annually that I can put towards things such as technology, ‘lifestyle’, ISAs, medical care etc. This year I
My Secret Brexit Diary
This book is written by the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator and details his involvement with a series of British ministers after the Brexit vote in
The One
I was listening to a spin-off episode of the Thoroughly Considered podcast where they take a single designed object chosen by a guest and consider
A World Without Email
Following my recent book clearance, I finally managed to start tackling the backlog of books I want to read and have just finished A World Without
Cloud Howe
My Desert Island book would likely be Sunset Song, a Scottish Novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon. I’ve previously written about my love of this book
Books of the year
I was tidying-up my list of books I read this year and thought it worth summarising my five favourites. There are **no spoilers below. In reverse
Christmas Turkey
Each year1 I impress myself with pulling together so many meal components all at the same time for Christmas. I find this to be surprising as I work
The 52 things I learned in 2023
This list is inspired by Tom Whitwell’s list of 52 things he learned in 2020. Everything listed here must include a citation or link to a reference
Default Apps
If everyone’s doin’ it I’ll join in too. Backups: Arq, Carbon Copy Cloner and Time Machine Blogging: Blot via BBEdit Calendar: Fantastical Chat:
Stepping Backwards
I can’t quite believe how much I’m enjoying wearing my new ‘barefoot’ shoes since I got them a few weeks ago. And yes, these are Scottish feet in
(Don’t) Party like it’s 1999
I recently had a moment of clarity that when it comes to browser bookmarks I’m still trying to party like it’s 1999. What I mean is that when the
As someone who read both American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer and The Making of the Atomic Bomb it was almost
In praise of the sheepsfoot
I do like a well-made sheepsfoot! I’m conscious that this is strange opening for a blog post so I’ll add some context via the photograph below. A
Backup Matters
Last night I retired my last ‘spinning metal’ backup drive and it was 2010 that I last wrote about my backup methods. Looking back at that time, the
Friday the 13th and the Sad Little Men
It was Friday the 13th of December 2019 and I was shopping for Christmas gifts and popped into an antique shop in Leith, a district of North
For the last couple of years I have been trying to focus on the idea of ‘less’ as a goal. Maybe 2023 could be the year I get close by thinking about
2022 Reading List
These are the books I read during 2022. I learned from some of them, enjoyed many, and struggled through some (DNF = ‘did not finish’). The two
52(ish) things I learned in 2022
Inspired by Tom Whitwell’s list of 52 things he learned in 2020. Everything listed here must include some sort of citation or link to a reference
Music Matters
“But can you hear the difference?” My colleague asked me this as I removed my earphones and he realised I was listening to music through a dedicated
State of the Pens
It has been a while since I wrote in much detail about my fountain pens and a lot has changed since 2012 and 2016. So here is 2022’s State of The

A ‘revolution’ in photography?
During a recent fractals demonstration I attended, someone raised the question of what is photography when images are generated on computers.
Game Over...
I was saddened to see that the legendary Corson Hardware shop in Edinburgh has shut down. Admittedly it’s been hard to tell if it was still in
This is a ★★★☆☆ blog post
I am never quite sure what to do with the five stars commonly used to rate movies, books and music. Where do you start? ★★★★★ is obviously
My wife and I are trying to stay interested in season 2 of ‘Picard’. Our eponymous hero has reunited his trusted companions to search for a
Sad Little Men
I accept nearly all the points made put forward by Richard Beard in this condemnation of the English Public/Independent/Private school system. It is
52(ish) things I learned in 2021
Inspired by Tom Whitwell’s list of 52 things he learned in 2020. Everything listed here must include some sort of citation or link to a reference
Unexpected benefits...
One unexpected benefit of my plan to list 52 things I’ve learned this year? When I find facts I find interesting I now check them out to make sure
Return of a King
I have finally finished reading (with my ears) Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42 by William Dalrymple, a big book about the
Poetry Please!
I am currently ‘reading’ Hollie McNish’s new book of poetry ‘Slug’. I used my Audible subscription to read the book and I do still think of it as
Dad Joke
I’m keeping a list of one new thing I learn each week and have an entry for this week. Daughter no. 2 wanted me to add that pigs can breathe through
The new World of Work
As someone who still goes into a work, albeit a quiet one, I’m seeing a steady pattern in the new work week. With WFH/custom working/hybrid models,
Leica Monochrom
If all of a photography is a cathedral I just chose to move to a crevice within a niche in one side chapel of that cathedral. I’ve sold nearly all
Cameras for sale...
I am going to miss some of these cameras but they were simply beyond my reach when I started taking photographs and it has been a privilege having
Grit in the machine
Over the last 20 years I have used both Windows and Mac personal computers in parallel. I switched to using Macs in 2001 when I was finding Windows
Face Masks
Over the last few months I’ve tried a few face masks―both disposable and reusable. I’ve decided the Tom Bihn masks are the best of the bunch. I’m
The Bomb
I’m enjoying the World Service podcast The Bomb, particularly that it recognises the pivotal role of Leo Szilard in creating the atomic bomb. It’s a
And, breathe...
When I go on holiday each year — yes, even this year — I have noticed that I feel physically better and far more relaxed. I need to find a way to
Knife sharpening
I’ve always found it useful to carry a pocket knife and these two are my favourites. The top on is a Chris Reeve Small Sebenza and the bottom one an
I’ve got some pretty high-end fountain pens but I am really loving the little TWSBi Go fountain pen I picked-up recently. It’s a deceptively simple,
The Four Ts
Anthony Newman is currently producing interesting and challenging writing on his UK Fountain Pens website. Two recent posts that made me reflect on
How I read
I was listening to a podcast about reading books this morning and it started me reflecting on what I read. I don’t have a target list of books to
Consider Phlebas
I have finished book one in my Iain M Banks ‘Culture’ audio book series and reading them in the order they were published so Consider Phlebas is
I’m a firm believer in the idea that malt whisky is sunlight trapped in water — not a new idea; Galileo got there before me — but it captures the
2019s in numbers
As we approach the end of year, I thought I would think about some numbers from 2019 that reflect important parts of my life. 1677.75 hours worked
An ode to an old desktop
Inspired by @Jack’s ode to his old blog sidebar, here is my BeOS desktop from February 2003. I was interested to see what we could learn about
Ancillary Justice
Over the last few months I have been reading the ‘Ancillary Justice’ (or Imperial Radch) trilogy of books by Ann Leckie. The novels follow Breq,
I recently finished reading Max Hastings’ monumental history of the Vietnam War. I say “reading” but I actually switched from a borrowed hardback
This candid photo captures the reaction of children across Britain to the news that the UK is suffering from a shortage of cauliflower and other
Red Oxx Messenger Bag
Last week I wrote about my search for the bags that work best for my needs and how I was still to find the perfect messenger bag/briefcase. At that
All the bags
Look on top of the wardrobe in our box room and you will see far too many bags. Backpacks, briefcases and messenger bags. I’m almost embarrassed by
Misanthropic Planning
I was delighted to learn there’s a Flickr group called Misanthropic planning about urban planning that hates living people. Even better to be
Mamiya RZ67
Just before going on my summer holiday, in a moment of madness, I bought a used RZ67 Pro II medium format film camera. As someone who still uses and
Moon Dust
For some reason this feels like a good weekend to write something related to my interest in the Apollo space programme. One of the books I read on
Blown Away
Just occasionally an album comes along that changes everything for the listener, introducing them to a prodigious new talent. The amazing thing is
After changing how I use my paper planners last year, I’ve really struggled to find a good one for ‘home’ use and I’ve tried a lot… Smythson Panama
I have just finished reading Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy by Serhii Plokhy. I really ‘enjoyed’ (that’s not quite the right word — I was
The Idea Factory
I was reading about the documentary movie The Bit Player about the father of information theory, Claude Shannon. Reading this and watching the
The Name’s Bond...
I have been reading (or listening to — but I’m going to call it ‘reading’) Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels in the order they were published and it
Book Group
Some years ago my wife and I were invited to join a book group. My wife had been running one of these for years but this was an invitation to a
Better Touch Tool
When I replaced a dead MacBook Pro a couple of years ago I bought the, then new, top of the range model with the TouchBar. At the time I was exited
A Grand Pen Scoring Methodology
A few days ago I read a post by Anthony on the UK Fountain Pens website about his methodology for scoring and rating his pen collection. I thought
Ceramic Knife
The second post in my ‘spark joy’ series of posts is an object that I would immediately replace with exactly the same thing, almost regardless of
Spark joy
Despite the challenge, I enjoyed last year’s self-imposed schedule of writing here more regularly about the books, movies and music I had
Annual Email Backup
I just realised I hadn’t archived last year’s email in MailSteward. Even though I am confident with FastMail and trust them, it’s still good to have
War of The Worlds
I’m currently listening to HG Wells’ War of The Worlds as an audiobook — the first time I have ‘read’ this book in years¹. In my experience it is
This is a post that lists my current hi-fi setup. Rega P5 with TT PSU. 15″ MacBook Pro (streaming source) via an Airport Express. Linn Genki CD
Four years of turning up for work
Ok it’s just possible that I get TOO excited by data and spreadsheets! Four years of my start time at work grouped by months into a visualisation.
Why I Do This
I’ve had a blog for nearly ten years and, coincidentally, I was thinking about why I do this. I think I started out because it was ‘trendy’ to have
Over the last few years I’ve been trying to create a list of all the books I’ve ever read to record my reading history. When my daughter recently
Three for December
It’s over. Twelve months of selecting and listing my book, music and film of the month. I started this as a way to force myself write here more
The Year of Health
This year I decided that I really needed to focus on my physical health. As a middle-aged man, I was seeing warning signs such as a lardy midriff
Winter walk
I was off for my traditional winter photography walk today. I decided it was mostly a ‘film’ day so packed these cameras (the Fuji is digital). I am
Christmas Tree
Wandering around, I’m seeing lots of themed Christmas trees or minimal ones. We’re at the other end of the spectrum―all of those memories have to
Desktop Mementos
A few years ago I photographed many of the little things I like to keep near me on desks I use. I thought it was an interesting record of items I
Three for November
There was never any doubt over what I would choose as my book of the month for November. I have just finished reading Haruki Murakami’s Killing
The repetitive nature of tradition is comforting
The title of this post is a quotation from a podcast I was listening to this week. It triggered some reflection on the comforts associated with the
New diary day!
This is not a test. Please don’t ignore¹. Today was the day I started to use my 2019 diary and that got me thinking about the things I choose to
Three (actually only two) for October
I’m now ten months into my self-imposed project to write about a book, a record and a film each month this year. This has been a dry month for books
Three for September
Of all the books I’ve read this month, there has been one that has stood out more than any other. After struggling through all of Howard Jacobson’s
What goes around comes around
During the month I rediscovered favourite software applications that I thought I had permanently abandoned: OmniFocus - My difficulty with classic
Three for August
August included our summer holiday, and that meant lots of books could be read as we relaxed on two coasts of Scotland. Choosing just one book, from
Three for July
My album of the month is Heaven & Earth by Kamasi Washington, an album I was introduced to by a friend via social media. This is a jazz concept
Three for June
Coming up to halfway through the year and my self-imposed challenge to record the music, book and film that have most excited me each month. I
The ‘Butterfly’ Bowl
It might not look much but I’m a little sad to see it go. This was the bowl my girls fought over when they were little because they both wanted the
Things my kids will never understand
Inspired by thinking about Fog Horns, I decided to compile a short list of things my kids would simply never comprehend why they should ever have
Three for May
I only read two books in May and that should make the ‘book of the month’ choice easier, but it doesn’t. Although I enjoyed Amor Towles’ A Gentleman
Three for April
My book of the month for April proved to be an easy choice. I read ‘Educated’ by Tara Westover after listening to an interview with her on the
The Hobonichi Experiment Continues
This year I have been looking again at how I use my Hobonichi planner. Each year since 2014 I’ve used the English language version of the planner
Three for March
I finally watched a film! Family illness forced my wife to travel to Malta to visit her family and I used that time to watch the Japanese Animé film
I’m very lucky that I can afford to buy books, so I don’t use public libraries often. On the other hand I am a voracious reader with catholic tastes
Three for February
In which I continue my monthly update on the book, film and music that have made most impression on me this month. During the transition from
Three for January
Each year, for the past few years, I have posted my ‘Festive Five’ in December; listing my top five music tracks of the year. It’s an idea I stole
Stepping Back
Today on impulse I carried out a severe cull to some apps I keep on my iPhone home screen.  I deleted all of the ‘time sink’ apps from
New Phone Day
We operate a pretty strict food chain of phones here and my daughter’s iPhone had started to become old and unreliable so it was time for my old
Festive Five 2017
Each year for the past few years I have shamelessly ripped-off an idea from a friend and posted my Festive Five music tracks here. It’s is always
We will remember them
Today is remembrance day. The Third Battle of Ypres (31 July — 10 November 1917) concluded 100 years ago yesterday and has come
My EDC Essentials
There’s this whole online community dedicated to ‘EDC’ (Every Day Carry). They review and discuss pocket knives, tools, flashlights, wallets, bags
Hobonichi Planner
Way back in late 2014 I wrote about my first year using a Hobonichi Techo planner. This year, as I ordered my fifth Techo, I thought it was
Red Oxx Mini Boss
Some time ago I bought a Red Oxx Air Boss and it’s a fantastic travel bag just very slightly too large to be a carry on bag with European airlines.
Montblanc 147 Traveller
I have crossed the Rubicon twice with a new fountain pen I bought in the last couple of weeks and have been using frequently since then. I never
The Music
Yesterday a couple of things happened that emphasised the power of music to move me. When I was listening to music on shuffle at work in the
The cup in my hand
The Buddha told his student, ‘Every morning I drink from my favorite teacup. I hold it in my hands and feel the warmth of the cup from the hot
Where is my data?
I saw a post from Stephen Hackett a few days ago and found it very interesting. Stephen looks at where he currently has data stored and I thought it
Manton Reece is launching a new microblogging serviceand a book about independent microblogging. The decision on whether to back this is a
The Making of The Atomic Bomb
This book (written by Richard Rhodes) was a colossal undertaking — 900 pages long and dense with references and end notes. One third of the way
Lest we forget
At the weekend I was reading a book¹ that reviews the activities of some notable physicists during the First World War in order to highlight how it
I’m slowly turning into my father, carrying all sort of junk and paraphernalia wherever I go. It used to be called stuff but now we glorify it and
Breathing Space
This year we spent our family holiday in the Cotswolds and the the city of St Davids in Wales. One thing I noted during the break was that I
A rant...
After someone posted this video on Facebook I took a look at this ‘product’ to see what it is all about. This company are after $500,000 to fund
The image above is what was written on my daughters’ school whiteboard today, showing the reaction of our kids to the referendum vote to leave the
Broken Vows: Tony Blair
This is a review of the book Broken Vows: Tony Blair — The Tragedy of Power by Tom Bower that I posted on Library Thing… I have
A Rotation of Fountain Pens
I’ve now reached the point where I have 12 fountain pens in my regular rotation. Just a couple of years ago I had 4 or 5 pens and carried them every
This is a book I always thought I should read. A little like the Great Unfinished Iliad Translation™, bought in the last century when I lived in
Nakaya Pens
I watched SBRE Brown’s latest video review of the Nakaya Portable Writer in Heki Tamenuri with some interest. I have a Nakaya fountain pen too, one
Elbow grease
I’ve been polishing up the family’s shoes todays after a few days away, with too much football played wearing sensible shoes in muddy fields and
I Saw Goody Proctor with The Devil
Last Saturday we went out as a family to see Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible at the Lyceum theatre. It’s a powerful portrayal of the Salem witch
Sunset Song
I have just finished re-reading my favourite book, Sunset Song, probably for the fifth or sixth time. It’s a book I first read as a student in
Peanut Butter
I can’t remember a time when I’ve not enjoyed peanut butter. I recently remembered that I used to eat peanut butter sandwiches when I was at primary
OmniFocus Niggles
There’s something about productivity tools — use them serious for a while and then it seems to get common to get itchy feet and want to try
Requiem for a shirt
Rest in peace old warrior. You have served us well. You have kept me warm, but more importantly You have absorbed the tears of small children and
Festive Five 2015
In hindsight 2015 looks like a mixed-bag for buying new music. While I’ve picked-up quite a few albums, when I look down the list, I don’t have
The dreaded Christmas letter
It’s coming up to that time of year again — the serious newspapers and Radio 4 will soon be parodying those who send out ‘round robin’ Christmas
Everyday Water Bottle
I try to drink plenty of water. When I’m at work, in a stuffy office environment, it helps to keep me refreshed and (nearly as important) ensure I
Blinded by the light
– Photo by Oli R Each winter for the past few years I’ve noticed that more and more oncoming cyclists are cycling with high power LED lights at full
Two well-loved objects. These two spurtles were a thank-you gift from an anonymous patient when my wife worked in the Fort William casualty. They
After reading some very positive reviews, and sending them some enquiries (that were never answered), I decided to order a new coffee grinder from
A Shepherd’s Life
I recently read the book ‘The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District’ by James Rebanks for my book group. I wrote this review to post on the
Inside Out
I remember reading about Pete Docter’s concept for a film about emotions when I read the excellent book Creativity Inc written by Ed Catmull and
Ink & Graphite
“My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course. Ball-point pens are only
Trade secrets
I sometimes wish I’d followed a trade that has secrets! Judging by adverts on the Internet every other profession has secrets they don’t want the
500 Words
My 13-year-old daughter wrote a story for the Radio 2 writing competition ‘500 Words’. Sadly she didn’t get selected for the next round but I still
Rocket Science
I grew up with a fascination for the Apollo space programme and remember as a child staring at the moon with wonder and thinking that a man had
One year with a Hobonichi
It’s one year since I started using a Hobonichi Techo as my daily planner and to-do list manager and I thought I would write a (not so) short
The Best
Let’s be honest about this post. It’s inspired by Ben Brooks page of the same name where he lists of number of products that he considers to be the
In the last 20 years I’ve worn out two pairs of ‘work’ shoes and today was the day to retire the second of those pairs. Long ago I learned that I
Sulluzzu v4.0
I can barely recall why I started a blog. I know it was March 2009 and my first post was about text selection in Adobe Acrobat. I believe I started
Bertha’s book
Much as I love my Kindle there’s a lot to be said for a real book once in a while. I’m amazed just how much book you can get for £7 — one that’s
Inheritance Tracks
Some weekends I find myself listening to Radio 4 on a Saturday morning when the show Saturday Live plays its segment called ‘Inheritance Tracks’.
A history of my life in 50 objects
Working away from home over the last two weeks, I’ve spent some time waiting for things to happen. During one such moment I got to thinking “what
Starting my engineering career in the mid-1980s, desktop computers were just starting to appear in general offices but were designed for a single,
Revolution in Time
What keeps one coming back to the same book for years or even decades? I can think of two books I’ve read and re-read for years; Sunset Song by
2013 Festive Five
Photo by David Denicolò Once again I’ve stolen the concept of a ‘Festive 5’ from a friend who has been compiling a list for some years now. The
This is a man’s world
I’ve taken my daughters to swimming lessons on a Friday afternoon for years now and it’s become a pleasant point in my routine as it marks the start
No Signal
I’ve previously written about holidays in Landmark trust properties, but family holidays are not just about a place, they’re about time. Our
On the move again
I moved my blog from Tumblr to about one year ago with mixed results. The thing that has worked extremely well is having a repository
Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
Last night we were lucky enough to go and see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (UOGB hereafter) play live in Edinburgh. In case you haven’t
The Treachery of Photography
Just a bit of fun this morning. Obviously this is not really a pipe. It’s actually binary-coded data representing a digitised bitmapped image
Living in Edinburgh with Chancelot Mill on my doorstep, I find it interesting that the original Chancelot Mill looked like this… That beautiful
Exploring Audio Nirvana
I love listening to music and generally listen to it on one of two ways; via my phone at work and when on the move or through the hi-fi at home.
Good things come to those who wait
It’s a local holiday in Edinburgh today and I have the day off work as my kids don’t have school. My unusually long, slow, leisurely breakfast
RSS Choices
In an earlier post I wrote down some thoughts about RSS services I was trying at that time. There was no real conclusion other than things are still
Tubular Bells
I was lucky enough to be able to go and see a performance of Tubular Bells For Two performed at the Edinburgh Fringe this weekend. As someone who
Adobe Lightroom
Around 18 months ago I wrote a short imaginary letter to Adobe Lightroom after I found that we had irreconcilable differences. I was surprised to
The end of RSS
It’s ironic that the end of Google’s flavour of RSS reading has rejuvenated the world of RSS reading. It’s impressive just how many developers have
Ten reasons why we are together
I’ve just finished reading CJ Sansom’s alternate history novel Dominion set in a 1950s Britain that is effectively under Nazi rule. The novel
Don McCullin
Two nights ago I watched a documentary about war photographer Don McCullin and am still haunted by the images. The film, simply called McCullin, was
Desert Island Discs
One of the things that I find most interesting about listening to Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 is how people approach their musical selections.
P1 Pen Hacking
Some time ago I backed the Kickstarter project for the P1 pen; a better body for the Pilot Hi-Tec-C / G-Tec pen, made from anodised Aluminium. I was
Earlier this week I was struck by Matt Gemmell writing a moving article about an incident in his life that spawned a need to write and leave a
A Point Of View
I’ve been thinking this week that much of what we ‘share’ about ourselves via social media actually reveals very little about us. Just occasionally
Cycle Speedway
Despite living in Edinburgh for years (and North Edinburgh since 2006) I only noticed a small dirt track in a municipal park at Redbraes in the last
Kodachrome Red
Whenever I look at old slides I’m always struck by that vibrant ‘Kodachrome’ red. Here’s a bit a of photoshop fun with one of my dad’s old photos
Japanese Lady
Today’s old photo is not that old. This is a photograph taken through the base of an old Japanese tea cup I inherited from my parents. I love the
PDF version
On writing
Robert Graves to Alan Sillitoe on writing: “Always take out everything that’s unnecessary but be very careful not to take out what you want to
Gangster Squad - Nuneaton
In today’s old photo Joe ‘The Barber’ Battaglia becomes a made man during a meeting with Frank ‘The Bull’ Scotto.
Digital Housekeeping
I read a recent post by Jack Baty on digital recordkeeping with some interest. Out here in the analogue world I’m really rubbish at organising
Best of British
I enjoy drinking beer and especially trying beers that I haven’t tasted before, and particularly ones with exciting flavours rather than mainstream
Sporting Days
I took my oldest daughter to her first six nations match at Murrayfield today — Scotland vs. Italy. It turned out to be a good choice for a first
And speaking of modern...
Here’s something that has remained ‘modern’ ever since 1955.
Modern Art
I have a difficult relationship with a lot of modern art. Much of the time I simply don’t get it and I don’t know how to approach a work when it’s
Foghorns Just
Photo by Tom Parnell Where I grew up on the coast of Fife I would often hear the Inchkeith Island foghorn booming out in the night. What I remember
Offally good food
A recent discussion with @helgeg on about pigs trotter sausages inspired me to see if I could convert some of my family members over to the
2012 Festive Five
Photo by David Denicolò Once again I’ve stolen the concept of a ‘Festive 5’ from a friend who’s been compiling a list for some years now. The idea
If you’ve been following me on Twitter you may have occasionally seen the hashtag #Corson appear in there. ‘Corson’ is a game invented by Professor
Beware of the clouds
Recently I noticed that some of the images in my blog posts weren’t being displayed. When I dug into this I discovered that it was only some of the
My compleat guide to shaving
When I think about shaving I’m ambivalent about it — I hate the need to shave regularly but really enjoy the ritual and how my face feels after a
Malta 1919
No funny comments about this weekend’s old photo which is actually a couple of photos from someone early and late in their life. These photos are
It’s become something of a tradition here that I search through old family photos at the weekend and post one that’s just a little bit weird or
A child possessed
Today’s old photograph shows a child suffering from possession. One cousin looks on somewhat bemused, while the other pretends nothing is happening.
Changed Days
In the days since the ‘news’ about Sir Jimmy Savile first broke I’ve been thinking about whether the fact that he got away with the alleged abuse
The Rise and Fall of Thomas Cromwell
The ’Rise and Fall of Thomas Cromwell’, by John Schofield, was a very enjoyable biography of Henry V’s right hand man. It’s interesting how few
Girls on the beach
Today’s old photograph shows one of the most famous post-war exotic dancers from North West England on holiday with some of her friends.
Princess Duckface and The Mechanical Monkey
In his great novel East of Eden John Steinbeck said that having a nickname meant that somehow your own name didn’t quite fit you. I’m not sure I
Dress up as ladies!
Times were hard and the only pleasure we could afford was to dress up as ladies!
Some years ago when we were on holiday in Northumberland we visited the Vindolanda Roman fort. It’s a fascinating site, where the archeologists are
I ♥ Film
Looking over the photos that I consider to my best over the last few years I was struck by just how many were shot with film. There are 27 photos
Mystery Woman
Today’s old photo is a bit of a mystery woman. Like most of my old photos this comes from my father’s photo album but there were no notes on this
Digitally Remastered
It’s taken a while to work through all my old tumblr posts but finally battered them all into shape. I took the opportunity to rationalise the
Going to the pub won’t pay the Bills
Today’s old photo is of my great-grandfather, Bill Hodgson. It seems to me that everyone in my family was called Bill — my Father was ‘Bill’, his
I’ve seen a lot of people wondering around interesting places and photographing things without even stopping, so this lovely writing in a piece
"I am thinking here. You know, that strange feeling"
Tommy Cardwell
I love the little boy running by in this photo from around 1941.
Classic Designs
I’m not a great fan of “top ten” lists but thought I’d make an exception today… For me a design classic is something that works extremely well for
Angels and stories
Why do we write documents for printing?
In the corporate world people routinely spend a disproportionate amount of time producing documents that look good on paper. While we’re living in a
The Camera Exchange Programme
For the next couple of weeks I’m going to be trying a classic medium format camera because I’ve temporarily swapped my Leica rangefinder for a
Magna Carta
Photo by Pedro Lourenco Venda A clause from the Magna Carta, a peace settlement between King John and his most powerful subjects, signed on 15 June
Me vs. Miles Davis
Photo by David Denicolò ‘Versus’, ‘vs.’ It’s such an easy word to use to find out what is better… Mac vs. Windows. BBEdit vs. TextMate. Labour
The Landmark Trust
I realised this morning that I’ve used this blog to write about a lot of things I really enjoy but I’ve never written about the Landmark Trust. The
Camera Bag
I’ve had cameras ever since I was at school and got my first camera, a Russian Zenit E,  and even a home-made darkroom. I got my first serious SLR,
My hand on a pen
This has turned out to be a long blog entry with lots of photos! These are probably my favourite posts to write. I love fountain pens! I’ve been
Alasdair Gray
“Since the14th century English vocabulary has looked like a garden of turf and herbs in which grow flowers of greater height from another climate”
Ernest Hemingway
“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But
Stopmotion Drawing
A little project with a still camera, a willing daughter and iStopMotion…
The people around us...
Take the high road or the low road?
I love Microsoft’s ‘Wizards’, I really do! They seemed designed to break every single task they carry out into the most frustrating experience
Diamond Mine
The King Creosote & John Hopkins’ album Diamond Mind has some of the most hauntingly beautiful music I have heard in a very long time. I
They’re not just toys
I love the way our youngest daughter cuddles her favourite toys during the night. I’ve spoken with her about ‘Spot Spot’ and whether she’s real,
Blotting Paper
When did Sulluzzu stop being about techie stuff and hatred of Adobia and turn into a fountain pen geek’s blog? When I saw these small sheet of
Enveloop Pen Case
I’ve been into fountain pens for years now, but always just one pen at a time. I would either have a favourite that I would use, or have others that
Photo by Fred Riley Having recently read a biography of George Mackay Brown I wanted to follow-up by reading one of his most celebrated novels,
Pen For Men
Of all my fountain pens my favourite is my Pen for Men V — a pen that that was “proudly designed for men only.”
The Wound and The Gift
I started reading this book under the assumption it was going to be a ‘straight’ biography of George Mackay Brown, not realising that, while it has
When I buy things...
I like the idea that when I buy stuff, I follow these principles: Make sure it’s well-designed from good sustainable materials and I will use it
A English country house with an industrial chimney
Some years back when we was driving through Oxfordshire, heading to visit friends in Reading, I glimpsed a building with this incongruous
Mistitled: BAR SOPA
“Speaking as someone who’s made a living for the past 20 years producing content that is often pirated, I am strongly opposed
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
“I know you’re just fabric and stuffing and plastic,” he said. “But you’ve been a wonderful friend to me” The quotation above is from TychoBrahe
Aperture or Lightroom (Take 2)
I tried this time, I really did. Dear Lightroom, I really tried to like you this time and learn to live with your foibles but I just don’t think
The Bolton Ecky Thump club at their inaugural meeting celebrate a great win over Barnsley
2011 Festive Five
Photo by David Denicolò Once again I’ve stolen the concept of a ‘festive 5’ from a friend who’s been compiling a list for some few years now. The
Spring Heeled Jack
I want to see Jack as a villain in Doctor Who sometime… He wore a large helmet; and his dress, which appeared to fit him very tight, seemed to her
Reading outside the comfort zone
This quote from an article from Devir Kahan at The Geek’s Companion site rings true with me. “If we are only reading things that interest us,
You don’t take a photograph, you make it
Looking back over 2011, one thing that strikes me is how much I rediscovered film photography over the course of this year. It started with the
Ansel Adams
2011 Discoveries
This year I’ve discovered (or been recommended) some really great stuff. Here’s a summary of some of my favourites. I used to use a Happy Hacking
Friends of Adobia
Marco Arment on using Acrobat for OCR: Acrobat It also came with the ScanSnap, but testing it would require me to … install Acrobat. On my Mac.
Snake Oil
It has now been 133 days since I first contacted backupmytweets about the error message above, and during that time I have not received a single
Eleanor is 10
Our oldest daughter turns 10 today and I think the best present she received is a poem written by our dear friend Maggie, who clearly knows her
Commonplace books of the 21st century
As Wikipedia says, commonplace books (or commonplaces) were a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. Such books were
The WP 34S Project
As someone with a bit of an obsession with Hewlett Packard Reverse Polish (RPN) calculators, I’m always on the lookout for a way to avoid having to
2012 Calendar Wallpaper
Updated my ‘calendar’ wallpaper for 2012. Other sizes could be supplied or the original Fireworks file.
Hardly anyone reads this
People don’t belong here
Brooks Messenger Bag
When my much-abused Chrome messenger bag died this year I was looking round for an alternative an remembered I’d bought a rooks Barbican messenger
In the spotlight
“If you’re in the spotlight, people are going to say bad things, and that’s just the way it is.” It’s now two years since I was first annoyed by
The House of Silk
It’s not often that one gets to to read a new Sherlock Holmes novel so I eagerly anticipated the arrival of the new Anthony Horowitz Holmes story,
Slide Film
It’s not often that I have a chance to try a film that’s new to me but I recently bought some Kodak E100VS film - a film that Kodak claims provides
The Zen of Python
I saw this linked to by Scot Hacker and then tracked it down to the index of all Python Enhancement Proposals. As a set of general rules it’s a
Grandmother’s Traditional Rhyme
Photo by Mike Bitzenhofer When reading Peter Ackroyd’s Biography of London I was reminded of a rhyme my grandmother used to recite to me. In the
I think I’ve grown into enjoying visiting cathedrals. Although I’ve visited many in the past I don’t recall them well, except for those in the last
A Classic Reborn
I’ve previously written a blog post describing how my love of Hewlett Packard calculators< started with an HP15C calculator bought in the summer
On Software Updates
“Good software is virtually free, regardless of its purchase price, because the payback dwarfs the investment” Earlier this week I was reading a
Happy Hacking!
Over the years I have spent a small fortune on upgrading computer keyboards, probably because I started using computers in an age when the keys
Do not glare upon thy snot
I love this quote from a book of manners, written by the Italian Giovanni Della Casa. This edition was published in English in 1576. The extract
Slightly Out of Focus
Last year I read Robert Capa’s wartime memoir Slightly Out of Focus for the first time. It certainly won’t be the last time I read this book. What
Nikon FM3A
Yesterday I was very, very, excited to have found a reasonably priced Nikon FM3A camera yesterday. It’s a camera that I once lusted after but could
I was listening to this album while ironing tonight and wondering just how many hundreds of times I must have listened to it, first as a student,
Mary and Max
Photo by Helen Black This weekend I got round to watching Mary and Max, an Australian claymation film narrated by Barry Humphries. Max is a
Geotagged Music
Photo by Thomas Hawk We’re now familiar with the idea of photos ‘geotagged’ with a location. It just occurred to me that some music, for me, is now
Doctor Who Chess Set
This morning the girls and I were messing about playing chess and talking about how great a Doctor Who chess set would be. We came up with this list
The Umbrian Print Shop
For me, one of the highlights of our holiday in North Umbria was our visit to a printing and typography museum in Città di Castello. Typografia
Summer 2010
This video is made up of 100s of individual photos taken with an iPhone and then animated using iStopMotion. It was very tricky getting the girls to
Music to work to
I really enjoy working while listening to music but it’s sometimes a difficult balancing act to get right. You can’t listen to something you like
Tadpoles in the mist
In which I discover that a tadpole is also called a polliwog, pollywog or porwigle. Some weeks ago a friend brought us some tadpoles back from the
Stealth Mode Fountain Pen
I really enjoy my first Pilot capless retractable fountain pen, a Fermo with a twist action but I just fell in love with this matt black version of
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My Menu Bar Icons
Completing a trilogy of UI blog posts today… MailMate notification - The fantastic lightweight IMAP mail client from Benny Kjær Nielsen. CoverSutra
Microsoft Word’s Teeny Tiny Cursor
Using Microsoft Word you many occasionally experience a problem where the cursor shrinks to a teeny tiny fraction of its normal size when you are
Torn Paper Syndrome
Other people have written more eloquently and knowledgeably than I ever could on the subject of Skeuomorphism and torn paper syndrome. I just want
Pinhole Photography
I’ve taken photos as a keen amateur ever since I was a kid, starting with a Zenit E camera and a ‘darkroom’ in my parents’ wardrobe. Since then,
The Joy of Text
After I posted yesterday’s post on time management I realised that I failed to give sufficient emphasis to one of the main reasons I enjoy using
Coffee for workers
I love the soviet-era typography in the this P22 coffee mug.
Time Management By Dummies
I wouldn’t ever claim to be an expert in time management. Ironically enough, I didn’t even find the time to finish reading David Allen’s book
The Devil’s In The Details
This particular tiny splinter has really got under my skin… When Firefox 4.0 is loading a webpage it displays a stop button that overlaps the text
Gravestone through a pinhole
Shakespeare, King Richard Ⅱ
“Let us sit upon the ground And tell sad stories of the death of kings.”
Peggy in the window
Snowdrops through a pinhole
The Water of Leaf
Girl Famuż għall sulluzzu Wara Inkarigati bil Qtil
As improbable Maltese headlines go this strikes me as a good one.
Slide Rules
I’ve always been interested in slide rules since I first saw them used in secondary school. I was part of a generation that saw calculators being
It came from outer space but now it’s been sent to bed!
If text Editors Were Films
Standoff (or how not to rebuild a computer)
File under learning from experience… When rebuilding your computer manually and reinstalling software it’s best to avoid the situation where all
A Season Ticket to Adobia
< I do seem to go on about Adobe software but another blog post reminded me of something I first saw in Adobe Photoshop Elements some years ago.
Festive 5
Photo by Ant Smith I’ve stolen the concept of a ‘festive 5’ from a friend who’s been compiling a list for a few years. The idea is you boil down
The genius of Shakespeare
Who’s he that wishes so? My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin: If we are mark’d to die, we are enow To do our country loss; and if to
Aperture or Lightroom
Last night I downloaded the current version of Adobe Lightroom to compare it with Apple’s Aperture that I have used since it first came out. It has
Henrietta Lacks
I’ve just finished Rebecca Skloot’s book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, without doubt the best non-fiction book I’ve read this year.
Another Visit To Adobia
I’m actually surprised just how often I’ve written here about the bad user interface deign in Adobe Acrobat software. First was the bizarre text
2011 Calendar Wallpaper
Updated my ‘calendar’ wallpaper for 2011 and corrected a horrible 1px error in last year’s. Other sizes could be supplied or the original Fireworks
Into The Trees
Having suffered five days of heavy snowfall in Edinburgh I’ve had to give up my daily cycle into work. This is disappointing as I’ve always
Helping Angels Keep Their Wings
I’ve written before about Microsoft Word’s cavalier attitude to adding extra styles to documents. At the end of that post I mentioned it is possible
Leaves (by Lucy)
Fiery leaves Brown and old leaves Colourful as rainbows Floating Turning and spinning Red as flames Autumn leaves are beautiful
Night of the long pegs
A state of fear and paranoia exists in the Hodgson household after a mass ‘pegging’ incident by a rogue state (that would be me). After the
Rocken Robbin
Art Nouveau Amy Pond
A little glimpse at the 19th century
One of the great delights of using fountain pens is the little bottles of ink that you inevitably find yourself buying. These can often be
The Invisibles
I find it more than a little ironic that the company that first popularised the graphical user interface for computers develops an operating system
A Warning...
“It is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts.” — Sherlock Holmes
John Berger on life as a child
“If I’d been told as a child what the life of an adult is like, I’d never have believed it. I’d never have believed it could be so unfinished.” —
John Berger on books
“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” — John Berger
A Very Determined Case Of Suicide
Hope Fear & Happiness in Edinburgh
I Like This Cheshire Cat
Cat in the air
Henry Ford
“The best we can do is size up the chances, calculate the risks involved, estimate our ability to deal with them, and then make our plans with
New Music
When buying music from an unfamiliar artist always buy the latest album, never the “classic”. It’s more important to know where an an artist is now
TrueType vs. OpenType
Some background first. According to Wikipedia OpenType is “built on its predecessor TrueType, retaining TrueType’s basic structure and adding many
Ten Reasons Why They Should Be Together
With all credit to Ashley Hutchings
Tell me, and I will forget
“Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand.” — Confucius (around 450 BC)
I’ve just updated to Acrobat 9.0 at work and immediately hit my first problem with one of the new features, Portfolios. My perception is that Adobe
Backup Madness
Photo by Martin Deutsch I thought it was time I wrote about my obsession with backups. It’s the sort of madness you only get after a hard drive’s
iPhone Wallpapers
A collection of simply amazing iPhone Homescreen wallpapers and lock screens.
CAPCOM ... Check. CONTROL ... Check
At some point during the summer my daughters started saying “check” in response to questions like “have you brushed your teeth?”. Yesterday morning
Pasting text in Microsoft Word (an angel will lose its wings!)
I have to admit Microsoft Word is my bête noire when it comes to computer software and I have very strong feelings about how text styles are handled
Signal vs. Noise
This blog article seems to me to encapsulates much of what might be called ‘Analyst Wankery’. Lang Riley, self-styled ‘serial entrepreneur’, has
“(1) to make a case for an improved information acquisition, categorization, and retrieval process as a facilitator for business intelligence with a
Instapaper Text-only View
I love the way Instapaper’s text-only bookmarklet gives immediate viewing of the current webpage and does not add the page to your Instapaper
Pyramid on Holy Island
Camera and Film Comparison
I recently posted on Twitter that I had shot the same photograph using three different cameras and was surprised at how well my iPhone performed. I
My attempt to explain the Curse of Hello! magazine
I like this photo but I also find it just a little bit spooky.
Three Men dancing
Dead Heads
Photo by The Green Odyssey
Travels with my Kindle
I’ve been reading reviews of the Apple iPad with great interest and am always slightly envious of those people who have one. At the same time I
Don’t turn your back, don’t look away, don’t even blink!
Kentish Fried Chicken
Caboosh - The Fight Continues
My daughters and I have been trying for some time to get the word caboosh into the English language, so far with no success. For the very many of
Runaway Train
T‘was in the year of ’89 on that old Great Western line, When the winter wind was blowin’ shrill, The rails were froze, the wheels were cold, then
Sleeping Giant
To a kitchen timer...
I really like the experience of using well-designed objects and can get quite excited about a new pen, case or my favourite calculators. I’m also
Benefits of a Bicycle
Via cosmicdreamer
Lovely Old Colours
Wandering about out Edinburgh
Portobello Beach
Mysterious Door
Spring Scene
The Irony of My ‘Piracy’
Having small children with an interest in being princesses, we have quite a collection of Disney DVDs¹ and quite a few musicals. These get played
My useful desktop wallpaper
Thrown together in Fireworks. I like the idea of having desktop wallpaper that’s useful and the idea of having a calendar on the wallpaper was
Seymour: An Introduction
I have just just finished reading JD Salinger‘s ‘Seymour: an Introduction’. Oh Lord, how I hated, loathed and detested this story, with its
There’s something just plain wrong about an iPhone application (especially one that costs money) that can’t do anything unless there is another app
How I use
Brent Simmons started an email group discussion about creating a new mail client in Cocoa. You can read the discussion here . So I’ve decided
Covering-up the kindle
A few weeks ago I wrote about the experience of buying a kindle and the initial experience of setup and use. I am still enjoying reading books on
Bicyclist Myths
@ Same Roads Same Rules BTW When they say “right” they mean “left”
Snowy Face
Bleugh, bleuch, bleugh with the babies!
“If you marry a member of your own family then bleugh, bleuch, bleugh with the babies!” — Lucy (5)
Brockless Family Christmas Pudding
I’ve been making this recipe for many years, adapting it from a recipe that I first saw in a newsletter from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. This
The Kindle Experience
When Amazon first released the Kindle, I promised myself that once it was released in the UK I would just go out and buy it. Despite some
There once was a small boy called Neil
Who instead of each heel had a wheel His parents lamented But they soon relented Because they didn’t need to
Sublime Text
When I tried out the Sublime Text text editor for Windows today I was initially a bit quick to dismiss it… Having played with it some more I’ve
Sunday Morning
A good cup of Illy coffee… Eels’ Blinking Lights and Other Revelations on the hi-fi… A fragile peace accord brokered between the warring offspring…
Set-up Alternating Row Colours in Excel
This fantastic tip creates alternating row colours in excel and, unlike other ways to do this, you don’t have to change the row colours every time
Zanzero for coffee. And upholstery
Zanzero for coffee. And the upholstery isn’t bad.
Or Alternatively...
Or alternatively you could just tell me that the file ISN’T THERE!
Cycle Path Memorial
It’s a memorial to Bobby Scott who died at this spot in a motorcycle accident in the summer of 2006. Each year these memorials have been appearing
Tension between meaning and non-meaning
I took this picture because I thought it was quite funny. I didn’t realise I was photographing what was left of what the 2004 Lonely Planet Guide to
Thunderbirds Are Go
Whenever I see this on the M6 I always think of Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet. It also has a marvellous octagonal sink in the toilets. A much more
Devon Pottery
It’s poetry…
Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for
“Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for.”— Clarence Darrow
iPhone App Store Featured Items
It has puzzled me why the two spotlights for the featured applications in the iPhones App Store toolbar point upwards rather than downwards. Maybe
WTF is this supposed to mean?
I wonder if anyone has actually read this dialog? With all that space available to them they could have written something in simple language to say
"It smells like all my favourite things!"
The title of this was my five year old daughter’s reaction when I asked her to smell a candle I had just blown out. I thought it was such a
More Adobe Madness
Today I took at look at the document permissions in the two documents and here you go… So what’s going on here? Acrobat 6 creates a document that
Strange Flowers
These ‘flowers’ made from drink cans are strangely beautiful and a little spooky.
Fun font of the day
Archive Tilt, as used for the title of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Family Cookbook.
Pilot Capless Fermo Fountain Pen
Fountain pens are lovely things to write with and probably improve our handwriting but they can be pretty impractical for daily use. While they are
Omnigraffle Annotations
When I tried Little Snapper from Realmac Software I was very impressed with the annotations included. They are much more professional looking than
Omnigraffle Annotations
When I tried Little Snapper from Realmac Software I was very impressed with the annotations included. They are much more professional looking than
Little Sparta
Having seen some photographs of Little Sparta recently I am quite keen to visit there over the course of the summer. It looks as though the gardens
I am really pleased with the simplicity of this photo.
If you want to truly understand something
“If you want to truly understand something, try to change it.” — Kurt Lewin
If you want to truly understand something
“If you want to truly understand something, try to change it.” — Kurt Lewin
The history of my calculators
I thought I would write down a brief history of how I came to own six Hewlett Packard calculators. This was really as much for my own interest as to
Word, how do I hate thee. Let me count the ways
There’s a real danger that my posts here are going to turn into a poor imitation of the marvellous Betalogue website. I must write something about
Adobe Acrobat 8.1
Hit the ground running… I know that at one time Adobe had a great reputation for the attention to detail in their applications. They cared about