Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Gentleman's Equipment

Finally completed: My latest guitar amp project.

Tweed is the proper covering for a guitar amp. Black amps are for hooligans. 

A gentleman's guitar amp is covered in Tweed. And it sounds better.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Sometimes life is Brough

T.E. looked around.

Another quiet day. No electricity. No toilet. No visitors. 

He decided to go for a ride.

Too Late

Mr Phelps looked long and hard at the dinghy. 

He knew in his heart he had left it too long..

Bad day?

You're having a bad day? Pah!  Tell me about it...

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Shut up

How to stop the staff whinging about the office temperature: Fit one of these.

Tap it every morning and say - "aah, just right".

Monday, 26 November 2018

Miserichord, Christchurch.

What were those medieval carpenters smoking* when they set about work like this? I mean, what is this illustration supposed to be telling us? 

Next time you get a chance, check out your local miserichords. They are usually rather fantastic.

*Well, it won't have been tobacco in pre-Columbus Europe. Or potatoes.  

Friday, 23 November 2018

More Ghosts on the Horizon

Out beyond the Needles. More ghosts on the horizon.

Some of them dance above the horizon like distant castles in the air.

Roll your own: Part 4

The continuing saga of my home designed Princeton Plus amp.

After a six week wait for the post from China* I finally have my tweed covering. Now the amp looks as good as it sounds. I gave it a blast when the house was empty recently. It makes seven or eight watts, but they are very loud watts. The sound hits you in the chest and leaves your ears ringing.

Fortunately I can switch it down to one watt - which is still extremely loud in a domestic environment.

The question is, what's the next project?

*China: Look, we know your stuff is cheap. Free postage is the icing on the cake, but not if it takes a month and a half. I would rather pay £5 and get the thing in seven days. Grrr.

All gone

It's that time of year when we look to the southern horizon hoping that the sun will see the error of its ways and head back north again.

A fabulous sunset across Christchurch bay over Studland.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018


Once upon I time I was a bit of a dauber myself. Now I seem to take pictures, not paint them. This happy artist is pictured opposite the Needles on the Solent.

Shameful to admit, but I even use the phone to take pictures, even tough a phone is not a camera.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Roll your own - part 3

This is how it begins: Buy an empty amp case and pull all the nice black covering off it. Then saw a gap in the top for the new amplifier.

Now stand back and admire your craftmanship.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Friday, 14 September 2018

Roll your own Part 2

How to make your amps sound better without all that dangerous soldering: Cover them in tweed.

Black is so old school, but everyone knows that tweed amps sound better.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Roll your own part 1

Oh dear me, I have been overtaken by another addiction.

I have entered the seductive and slightly shocking world of valve amplifier modifications. 

You thought those old noisy valve guitar amps were dead didn't you. You thought it was all done on computer these days. 

Well, yes it probably is, but there is a growing group of individuals who stick to the old fashioned ways in search of that elusive and perhaps unobtainable tone. So, after a summer spent modifying Leo Fender's commercial valve amplifiers, I decided to start from zero and build an amp. This has now reached the point where the next step will be applying power. I think I will check the circuit carefully, twice, before I do that. 

If you are interested, this will be a dual 6V6 version of the 5F2A with my own tone stack and pre-amp modifications. Oh, you aren't interested.... :-)

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

New Clear Deterrent

We can't afford to buy a squadron of the new F35 Lightning II jet, so we have to press some of our old faithfuls in to service. 

These will soon make Ivan back off a bit.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Cold war

Finally and at last* they have done something useful with the Greenham Common ex-airfield. It's great if you want to walk a dog. It is great if you like cow-spotting or have a leaning towards rabbits. 

It isn't great for bikes and it will be decades before trees grow there properly. There's plenty of gravel.

However, and after an eternal delay, they have converted the control tower to a tea shop. That is such a  good idea on a cold and windy day. May it last forever.

*Yes it really is five months since I posted anything. 

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Cut backs

Or is that "Cuts back"?

Anyway, the Internet era combined with falling literacy levels have allowed Dorset county council to downsize their Libraries. 

If you have an urgent need to contact someone by Telephone, then a pile of burning books may summon help.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Old and new

Ancient lights over Corfe Castle and street lights over the Swanage road.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Money for Nothing

Stair Hole near Lulworth Cove.

We visited Lulworth Cove and discovered the minimum parking charge is £4 for 2 hours. Four pounds!

The tide was in, it was blowing a gale, most of the indoor coffee shops were shut or unstaffed.

I have a rule with expensive car parks. I deduct the car park cost from the money I was planning to spend in the town. In this case I took this expensive photo and we had lunch somewhere else.

Money for nothing, Lulworth...

Sunday, 15 April 2018

We English

This is what happens when five blokes can't agree which sword is the bendyest.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The park

The bandstand in the park is rarely used. The Tea shop is closed. The boating pond had its boats withdrawn. 

Still, the skate park is still popular with the yoof.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Frightening the congregation

I'm not certain I would want this guy looking down on my pew every Sunday.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Monday, 5 March 2018

Diplomatic Blunder 2

This strange shape shifting object worries me. It has been in out kitchen cupboard forever, but neither of us remembers buying it. 

I am starting to wonder if it is some sort of alien communication device.

Furthermore if you surprise it, it does this.

If it actually turns out to be the Ambassador from the planet Zorg, then we are in trouble. We just put him in a pan of boiling water and put spinach on his head.

Students of this blog will know that this sort of thing has happened before.

Monday, 26 February 2018

How do they do that?

It is that time of year when bulbs stir into life and spear through the soil to produce a perfectly vertical shoot, despite the random angle their parent bulb was planted.

How do they do that?

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Seeing in black and white

Aah, good old black and white.

How is it that monochrome images are acceptable? Is it a culture thing? Or is it that we apparently revert to black and white vision, if it is dark enough. Perhaps it is something we just accept at a deep level.

Monday, 19 February 2018


Why do violins and fiddles have that odd scroll at the pointy end? 

Is it essential?

Do you think they woodwork without it?

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Hanging on

I'm quite surprised to see Boots the chemist are still selling single use film cameras.

You need to be a dedicated film geek to do it this way. You pay almost nine pounds for a very basic camera with 27 black and white exposures, no immediate preview and you are rewarded with distinctly delayed gratification. Perhaps you have to pay for developing ant printing as well. I suspect so. So it is slow, grainy, low quality, monochrome and expensive. 

And yet compared to the ridiculous convenience of the ubiquitous smartphone camera, it is a tempting thought, no?

I love the questions and comments on Amazon. "Can I upload directly to dropbox, does it have USB?"

"Disappointed, only four of the pictures came out"

Welcome to the past folks. 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018


Singing the blues:
Telling it like it is.

Down on the street, where the rubber hits the road, man.

Saturday, 27 January 2018


In a direct contradiction of the well known saying, here's proof that "when one door opens, another two open as well - although one remains closed".

OK, I realise as a saying it's not as snappy.

Friday, 26 January 2018


The phone is ringing.

Summon Scrollocks the butler and tell him to call a maid of all work to answer it.

Saturday, 6 January 2018


Spotted: This container with an enigmatic three letter abbreviation. Maybe it's a modern word, like "meh"?

It's confusing. There were two others nearby, and they were equally confusing. You would think Debenhams would know better.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018


Oh dear. The poor old pound. Once upon a time you could build an empire with the Queen's currency.

These days it's looking a bit wonky. Perhaps we get them stamped in China to save money?