Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Rule bender

You may have heard of the "rule of thirds". This is used to bring order and satisfaction to artistic endeavour. 

Unfortunately this isn't it.

This is just a mad oblique confection courtesy of yours truly.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Axe and Saw

Here is a demonstration of the power of the saw. 

Trying to reduce the height of a stump with an axe proves to be a futile task. You split the wood into smaller and smaller sections but then you have to chop from the side to sever them from the stump. That is almost impossible at ground level.

It is no easy task to saw through a stump at ground level either, but it can just be done. This shows what a powerful tool the saw is.

It was ever thus. The saw is also very difficult to make and would have been a prized possession in the past. It is recorded that there were only thirteen saws in Britain at the time of the Domesday Book. 

A mere thirteen saws.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Fear and trembling

You arrive at the end of the meal and it is time to pay. 

Once upon a time you would reach in your pocket for your wad of cash, peel off three ten bob notes and the waiter would return with the change on a tray. At that point you could leave a tip of half a crown or maybe even five bob from that change. A well trained waiter would select the right coins from the till and present them to you in such a manner as to make the whole business seamless, discreet and professional.

These days, thanks to progress, we have these remote credit card processors. (By the way, they pass your details and pin number over the local WiFi network so that hackers can extract funds at will, thereby boosting the local economy - but that is another story). No, today's rant concerns the whole business of leaving a tip. 

Now you are faced with a Gratuity decision, and a complex set of key strokes to add the tip, set the amount and verify the transaction. Here lies the trap and the fear. What if I accidentally add my pin number to the bill as a tip? What if I add a tip but it turns out to be 5p not £5 as I intended? 

If I decline the added gratuity and leave cash, will the waiter get the money? If I add the tip does it just go to the management? Meanwhile your generosity is under scrutiny from your dinner guests. It is all just too awful.

Friday, 15 May 2015


Let this be a warning.

No matter how tempting it may seem, curried sprouts are never a good idea.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Rural Connectivity

Once upon a time there was a gravel ford and a willow tree down here in the valley. Then the cart track and the pub appeared. Eventually a bridge was built and tarmac announced that the village was connected to the world outside.

Then, wonder of wonders, a phone box. You could talk to people in distant parts of the Empire for fourpence.

Finally we all have mobile phones, no-one stops here any more. The Pub has closed and this is the state of the phone box.

The river and the willow tree are still here.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Smart Meter

They have given us a smart meter. In fact everyone is going to get a smart meter in the coming year or two, it is part of an EU carbon thing, so you may as well prepare yourself.

It isn't that smart. It doesn't engage in conversation "Ah, I see you turned the kettle on, time for a nice cup of tea and a sit down eh?" It does however dispense daily disapproval from its perch on the wall. Each computer left turned on, each slice of bread toasted and every cup of tea are counted, weighed in the balance and found wanting.

It measures gas and electricity, and records your energy use hour by hour. It will even tell you that if you carry on like this, sir, you will exceed your daily budget...

All this extra information is mildly interesting. Even when everything seems to be turned off and the fridge and freezer are having a short snooze, I find the house still uses about 80 watts just being there. If there is any sign of life such as a television and a light or two then suddenly we are using half a kilowatt.

I assume the intention is that we are shamed into reducing our energy consumption by the baleful eye in the corner. Time will tell.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

New Parliament

It's voting time again.

It's time to exercise your democratic right to have your views eventually ignored by well meaning politicians who discover that there is nothing that they can actually change after all.

In case back stabbing becomes necessary, here are some knives in handy political party sized bundles.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015


"Watch out guys. These nuts are rubbish. I just chipped my beak"

Monday, 4 May 2015

Words fail me

I make it my mission to observe and report, dear reader. 

However sometimes, just sometimes, words fail me.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

March of time

Fifteen years separates us from this old picture. 

Gone are those quaint old fashioned wind up cameras with amusing cassettes of slide film. 

Gone are the hard decisions about picture taking, the fear of loading the wrong film, the worry about setting the wrong exposure.

Somehow the pictures turned out OK in the end. The grain, the scratches and the dirt were all part of the experience. 

We hold in our memories those pictures we didn't get because the film ran out. We treasure the few pictures we did take.

Now we take billions of meaningless images, and consign them to hard drives unexamined and unloved. Because we can.