A relaxing weekend

View out to the Bass Rock from a beach near Dunbar
View out to the Bass Rock from a beach near Dunbar.

What a wonderfully relaxing weekend Jane and I had in the company of our lovely friends D and J. Following my evening at Powerpoint Edinburgh and Jane’s at a Colour Me Beautiful party we rolled up at D and J’s house in south Edinburgh around 23:30, a full fifteen minutes before J arrived back home.

One well-needed sleep later we set out for a fun-packed day: breakfast at Dobbies Garden Centre — where we also saw the cutest little turtles for sale; a walk with the dogs on a beach near Dunbar (which is where I took the photo above); then afternoon tea at a delightful tea room in nearby East Linton.

Back at the house we took an hour out for a relaxing afternoon siesta before visiting our new nephew Aidan — Jane’s sister’s new boy.

I’ve not had such a relaxing weekend away from home and in the company of good friends and family for ages. The irony amused me: when we lived in Edinburgh we’d escape to Fife to relax; now we’re living in Fife we’re escaping to Edinburgh for the same!

More friends

It truly was a friends-centric weekend. On Thursday evening I drove back to Anstruther listening to a friend presenting his radio programme on BBC Radio 4. On Saturday afternoon D and I sat watching the motorcycle Le Mans on Sky Sports, listening to another friend of mine who was commentating. How wonderful!

Powerpoint Edinburgh (April 2007)

Vox AD50VT guitar amplifier

It’s time to dust down my guitar, amp and riffs for another month: it’s Powerpoint Edinburgh tonight; the last of the current session.

I drove down to Edinburgh last night for rehearsals, which was fun. Except for the bit where I nearly crashed into the side of a lorry when, without warning, the road was reduced from two to one lane. On a corner.

I was in the outside (fast) lane at the time and could almost feel the tyres digging into the road as I stepped heavily and hastily on the brakes. Shortly after I drove past a group of workmen putting out more cones. If I may offer a little tip: signs then cones, it’s safer that way.

Yesterday was also the one year anniversary of our move to Fife on Wednesday 19 April 2006.

Much has happened since then. I’m much healthier now than I was then, on almost every level, happier and more content. It has been a good move and a good year. What better way to celebrate than to play live music with friends and worship God?

The parcel of doom

Yesterday I arrived home to discover that I had a parcel. Technically, it’s probably more a “packet” than a “parcel” but hey! Anyway, here it is:

White packet

I got all excited. I love getting parcels. Everyone loves getting parcels.

What could it be?

As I’d ordered a few geeky accessories for my new phone on the internet I wondered if it could be one of those. Maybe it’s my 2GB micro-SD card, or the O2 Xda Orbit cover (made from 100% real ‘something’) or …

I couldn’t stand it any longer. I took it through to my desk, ripped it open and looked inside:

A letter, a leaflet and a bottle for wee.

Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that it contained three things, none of which I’d ordered on the World Wide Web:

  1. A letter from a consultant urologist surgeon inviting me to an appointment next Tuesday, where they’ll pour some anaesthetic gel onto my ‘manly bits’ (their words! — I’m paraphrasing) and shove a camera up my winkle. Smile! The procedure is called a flexible cystoscopy
  2. A leaflet (with diagrams) explaining what they’ll do … as though more detail was a good thing!
  3. A little plastic bottle for wee.

Oh, how I’m now looking forward to Tuesday morning at 09:00. (Irony!) Isn’t modern medicine marvellous that they can do such things. (Fact!)

Still, hopefully they’ll be able to find out why I’ve had so many UTIs over the last couple of months, and why I’m still experiencing some discomfort after four weeks of antibiotics.

As it turns out, there were three other parcels delivered yesterday for me too. One was delivered to number 39: it was a new Sony DVD+RW drive to replace the one that I hadn’t actually broken — I’ll tell you that story later; the next was shoved through the cat flap: it was my Swedish Xda case; and the last was delivered with my parcel of doom in the conventional way (through the letter box) and was my 2GB micro-SD card.

All’s well that end’s well, as they say.

But then I bet the person that said that didn’t have the prospect of having a camera shoved up them!

My new phone

O2 Xda Orbit mobile phone and PDA

This month I come to the end of my 18 month contract with O2, so on Friday morning, while in Edinburgh waiting for my train connection to Glasgow, I upgraded my mobile phone from a Nokia 5140i to an O2 Xda Orbit.

Which I imagine in car terms is a bit like going from a Vauxhall Astra to a BMW X5.

The O2 Xda Orbit has the following features:

  • Windows Mobile 5.0 (Pocket PC Phone Edition) operating system
  • GSM Quad-band (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900) mobile telephone
  • Wireless LAN 802.11b & g
  • Built-in GPS (Global Positional System) running CoPilot Live
  • Integrated 2 megapixel camera
  • Micro SD memory expansion slot
  • MP3 and Video playback
  • FM radio
  • … and stuff

I’ve still to set it up properly … not least because I needed to restructure the data in my Outlook Contacts as all my phone numbers had an initial “0” and +4401333310140 isn’t a valid telephone number. Five-hundred and ninety contacts later I’ll soon be ready to sync and install the GPS software which arrived yesterday.

Expect a review soon.

Arial or Helvetica?

Arial or Helvetica?

Once there was a typeface called Helvetica.

It was extremely popular.

Later came a software company called Microsoft.

They “borrowed” Helvetica for their operating system and called it Arial.

This inferior typeface is now on millions of desktops all over the world.

Can you tell the difference between the original and the rip-off in these ten examples?

Seemingly, Arial was designed in 1982 by Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders — good name! — for Monotype.

Take the quiz.


I got 7/10.

Getting there ... I scored 7 out of 10.