Phone book

A dull thud in the hall as a new phone book came through the letter box this morning. For years now we’ve put the phone books and yellow pages straight in the paper recycling as soon as they arrive — they provide no value to us.

I left kateaw peeling vegetables in the kitchen while I followed the delivery chappie down the road; I flagged down his car as he was leaving the street and handed the phone book back to him. He seemed rather cautious while winding his window down — I wonder whether he is used to getting a negative response to his junk mail. Or maybe me waving a phone book at him wasn’t a welcoming sight.
  • Current Music
    Anthrax “For All Kings”

Ad blocking

Years ago, when I actually bought physical paper magazines, I remember the routine of shaking a magazine in the newsagent, before buying it, to get rid of all of the advertising inserts. Pretty sure some newsagents provided a bin for that purpose. I suppose that was primitive, physical, ad blocking.

Now I can’t come to terms with buying something that will be disposed of when I’ve finished reading it. It is mad that we create so much printed material that will meet the recycling bin.

Political opinions, and shy Tories

I look at my friends and colleagues, and see a wide variety of political opinions. I might disagree with somebody’s politics, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have good reasons for their beliefs, and it doesn’t stop me valuing them and liking them. And arguing with them.

It seems to me this is a basic requirement for living in a democracy: the acceptance that other people’s opinions are as heartfelt as one’s own, and that just because they see the world a different way, it doesn’t make them bad. I strongly believe that most people are honest and caring, even though that may be expressed in different ways.

From observation I think that many people on the right of politics look at that on the left with a little condescension, perhaps with a belief that most people grow out of left-wing politics as they assume the responsibility of life, but see them as being well-meaning if misguided.

More worrying is the intolerance of some of those on the left of politics, who use hate language to describe those on the right. This has always occurred, but is more apparent than before on social media. There is a disconnection between lefties using words like scum, evil, and fascist, and the reality of Tory voters’ concerns.

Which has to go a long way to explain the “shy Tory” factor; Tory voters are less likely than others to identify as such in opinions polls, in normal social interactions, and online. It is saner to avoid rather than engage with the intolerance and bigotry of those who fling around insults yet make no effort to understand others’ politics.

I wonder whether we will see a parallel “shy Labour” factor in Scotland, since so many anti-Labour insults have been flying around.
  • Current Music
    Dreamboat Annie
  • Tags

January giveaway

Another clear out. Free if you want them.

  • Kensington laptop lock cable (with three-digit combination)
  • Canon Digital Ixus V2 camera, including case, 2x batteries, memory card, charger, video cable, USB cable, and manuals
  • Technicolor TG582n ADSL router
  • Hornby Select DCC Controller R8213, with power supply, cable to track, and manual
  • OO-gauge track, mixture of Hornby and Bachmann… R607 x8, R600 x8, R606 x2, R8072, R8073, and R8206
  • Apple PlainTalk microphones x2
  • 2GB 1Rx8 PC3-12800S RAM x2
  • Apple Pro Mouse M5769

Books giveaway

We’re having another clear out; we have lots of books to give away. Free if you can collect from us in St Andrews (or happy to post at £3/paperback and £5/hardback).

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Please let me know if you’d like any of these:

Winnie-the-PoohA. A. MilnePaperback
Gentlemen Prefer BlondesAnita LoosFolio Society
Pup IdolAnna WilsonPaperback
The Original Illustrated Arthur Conan DoyleArthur Conan DoyleHardback
The Sign of FourArthur Conan DoylePaperback
Missee LeeArthur RansomePaperback
The Elusive PimpernelBaroness OrczyHardback
The Scarlet PimpernelBaroness OrczyFolio Society
A Late PhoenixCatherine AirdPaperback
The Body PoliticCatherine AirdPaperback
The Complete SteelCatherine AirdPaperback
A Dream of WessexChristopher PriestHardback
On What GroundsCleo CoylePaperback
RebeccaDaphne du MaurierFolio Society
ShatteredDick FrancisHardback
Under OrdersDick FrancisHardback
MicroserfsDouglas CouplandHardback
Tales of Mystery and ImaginationEdgar Allan PoeFolio Society
Arrows of Erosedited by Alex StewartPaperback
Twelve Mystery Storiesedited by Jack AdrianPaperback
Twelve Tales of Murderedited by Jack AdrianPaperback
Death of a DuchessElizabeth EyrePaperback
Designer KnockoffEllen ByerrumPaperback
Raiders of the Lost CorsetEllen ByerrumPaperback
The Case of the Black-Eyed BlondeErle Stanley GardnerPaperback
AvengerFrederick ForsythHardback
The AfghanFrederick ForsythHardback
The VeteranFrederick ForsythHardback
The Diary of a NobodyGeorge and Weedon GrossmithFolio Society
Animal FarmGeorge OrwellFolio Society
Travels with my AuntGraham GreeneFolio Society
SheH. Rider HaggardPaperback
Dead AirIain BanksHardback
The Steep Approach to GarbadaleIain BanksHardback
MatterIain M. BanksHardback
Surface DetailIain M. BanksHardback
The AlgebraistIain M. BanksHardback
Doors OpenIan RankinHardback
Exit MusicIan RankinHardback
Resurrection MenIan RankinHardback
The Naming of the DeadIan RankinPaperback
On the RoadJack KerouacPaperback
Garfield’s Furry TalesJim DavisHardback
The Pilgrim’s ProgressJohn BunyanFolio Society
CharadeJohn MortimerPaperback
RumpoleJohn MortimerFolio Society
Rumpole and the Age of MiraclesJohn MortimerPaperback
Rumpole and the Golden ThreadJohn MortimerPaperback
Rumpole for the DefenceJohn MortimerPaperback
Rumpole of the BaileyJohn MortimerPaperback
Rumpole’s Last CaseJohn MortimerPaperback
Rumpole’s ReturnJohn MortimerPaperback
The Trials of RumpoleJohn MortimerPaperback
Gulliver’s TravelsJonathan SwiftFolio Society
Journey to the Centre of the EarthJules VerneFolio Society
Snipped in the BudKate CollinsPaperback
The 10th KingdomKathryn WesleyPaperback
Learning the WorldKen MacLeodPaperback
Doc Savage Omnibus #10Kenneth RobesonPaperback
Doc Savage Omnibus #11Kenneth RobesonPaperback
Doc Savage Omnibus #13Kenneth RobesonPaperback
Doc Savage Omnibus #4Kenneth RobesonPaperback
Doc Savage Omnibus #5Kenneth RobesonPaperback
A Series of Unfortunate Events 1: The Bad BeginningLemony SnicketHardback
A Series of Unfortunate Events 2: The Reptile RoomLemony SnicketHardback
A Series of Unfortunate Events 3: The Wide WindowLemony SnicketHardback
Crime in QuestionMargaret YorkePaperback
The Adventure of Tom SawyerMark TwainHardback
FrankensteinMary ShelleyFolio Society
Perish in JulyMollie HardwickPaperback
The Prime of Miss Jean BrodieMuriel SparkFolio Society
Cabbages and KingsO. HenryHardback
The Gentle GrafterO. HenryHardback
A Taste for DeathP. D. JamesPaperback
An Unsuitable Job for a WomanP. D. JamesPaperback
Cover Her FaceP. D. JamesPaperback
Death in Holy OrdersP. D. JamesPaperback
Original SinP. D. JamesPaperback
The Black TowerP. D. JamesPaperback
The LighthouseP. D. JamesHardback
The Murder RoomP. D. JamesHardback
The Private PatientP. D. JamesHardback
Desolation IslandPatrick O’BrianFolio Society
H.M.S. SurprisePatrick O’BrianFolio Society
Master & CommanderPatrick O’BrianFolio Society
Mauritius CommandPatrick O’BrianFolio Society
Post CaptainPatrick O’BrianFolio Society
The Golden OceanPatrick O’BrianPaperback
A Clubbable WomanReginald HillPaperback
A Killing KindnessReginald HillPaperback
A Very Good HaterReginald HillHardback
An April ShroudReginald HillPaperback
Death’s Jest-BookReginald HillHardback
Dialogues of the DeadReginald HillHardback
Exit LinesReginald HillPaperback
Good Morning, MidnightReginald HillHardback
On Beulah HeightReginald HillHardback
Ruling PassionReginald HillPaperback
The Death of DalzielReginald HillHardback
Under WorldReginald HillPaperback
I Am LegendRichard MathesonPaperback
The Complete Tales of the UnexpectedRoald DahlFolio Society
Phule’s CompanyRobert AsprinPaperback
Phule’s ParadiseRobert AsprinPaperback
The Man Who Sold the MoonRobert HeinleinPaperback
Time Enough for LoveRobert HeinleinPaperback
To Sail Beyond the SunsetRobert HeinleinHardback
Travels with a DonkeyRobert Louis StevensonFolio Society
The Adventures of Robin HoodRoger Lancelyn GreenFolio Society
Just So StoriesRudyard KiplingFolio Society
Puck of Pook’s HillRudyard KiplingPaperback
Puck of Pook’s HillRudyard KiplingFolio Society
Rewards and FairiesRudyard KiplingPaperback
The Jungle BookRudyard KiplingFolio Society
Devil May CareSebastian FaulksHardback
Murder on the CliffStefanie MattesonPaperback
The Girl Who Played with FireStieg LarssonPaperback
Nightmare AbbeyThomas Love PeacockFolio Society
The Name of the RoseUmberto EcoFolio Society
IvanhoeWalter ScottHardback
Rob RoyWalter ScottFolio Society
Adventure Stories from The StrandFolio Society
Crime Stories from The StrandFolio Society
Short Stories from The StrandFolio Society
American Short StoriesFolio Society
English Short StoriesFolio Society
French Short StoriesFolio Society
Irish Short StoriesFolio Society
Russian Short StoriesFolio Society
Playing with History: The Historical Approach to Musical PerformanceJohn ButtHardback
Contemplating Music: Challenges to MusicologyJoseph KermanHardback
Text & Act: Essays on Music and PerformanceRichard TaruskinPaperback
Performing Music in the Age of RecordingRobert PhilipHardback
Death-Devoted Heart: Sex and the Sacred in Wagner’s Tristan and IsoldeRoger ScrutonHardback
The Aesthetics of MusicRoger ScrutonHardback
Side by SideAlan TuckerHardback
Heroines: Women Inspired by WomenLisa TuttleHardback
Folklore, Myths & Customs of BritainMarc AlexanderHardback
The Complete Book of Home ImprovementMike LawrencePaperback
Ordnance Survey Travel Map: South East EnglandMap
Ordnance Survey Travel Map: South West EnglandMap
The Private Eye Annual 2009Hardback
The Private Eye Annuel 2010Hardback
The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: ParentingPaperback

FTTC in St Andrews

My broadband seems to be getting slower and slower. A few years ago I could connect at 11Mb/s, but now I’m lucky to get 7Mb/s. I searched for something better, and was was pleased to see that St Andrews now has FTTC available.

I rang my ISP this afternoon to see what they could do, and the result is that we’re being upgraded to FTTC on Monday 8 September. Apparently we’ll need a visit from a BT engineer to fettle our master socket, and AAISP will send me a new router.

We should get around 40Mb/s, with the option to upgrade to 80Mb/s. Looking forward to it.

Planning a party


This evening I’ve been organising Beth’s birthday party. She was 10 in the middle of last month, but we were away around her birthday (and many of her friends are away in July), so we decided to put her party off till the end of the school holidays.

So the party is in a week’s time, and like last year, we’ll spend an hour playing on the beach followed by lunch in the garden at home. (Beth’s choice this year is pizza. And cake, obviously.)


Sitting in front of the computer, half-way through the morning’s work, thinking that I fancy a cup of tea.

Look down and realise that my mug is half-full of cold tea.


I bought a Canon EOS M a couple of weeks ago. I’d fancied one since they were released in 2012, and when I saw that Currys had the kit on clearance for £150, it was a no-brainer. I also got the 22mm f/2 pancake lens, which I think will live on the camera as my walkabout lens, and the adapter ring to use the larger Canon EF and EF-S lenses.

Up until now I’ve been using a Canon 300D as my main camera. While significant at the time — it was Canon’s first cheap digital SLR — the body is now ten years old.

Odd that lenses outlast camera bodies. My main low-light lens is an EF 50mm f/1.4, a 1993 design that is still current in Canon’s lens range.

The EOS M is a revelation of technology compared to my 300D. So small, and mostly a joy to use. I’m missing having a viewfinder; the touchscreen is hard to see in bright sunlight, and I haven’t yet come to terms with looking at the screen for manual focus, but I guess I’ll adapt. The camera body is so small that the older EF lenses seem massive in comparison.

The new camera has motivated me to start uploading photos to Flickr again, after a break of a few years.

P.S. Anybody want to buy a preloved 300D for cheap?