Saturday, 18 September 2021

RIP Sir Clive Sinclair.


Sir Clive was a great man; for a start he invented the electronic calculator, that puts him amongst the true 'worthies'. He's up there alongside John Logie Baird and Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

My first experience of him came via the young daughter of a good friend. I was visiting him when she grabbed me, and insisted on showing me something. On her funny little machine (ZX Spectrum?) she had written 'Hello, what is your name?' I then had to type in 'Cro'. Then I pressed a button and the message came up 'Hello Cro, welcome to our house'. And that was it. High-Technology had arrived; even small children had begun to programme computers!

I soon noticed that most of Sinclair's genius was being used to keep kids in their bedrooms, playing games (they still do). I didn't really like this idea, so, when Wills (my youngest) asked me for something similar I refused, but bought an Amstrad PCW 8256 instead.

Rather than playing games, I encouraged him to design his own; it didn't take much encouragement. He'd always been an intelligent boy, and he saw the whole concept of learning a computer language as just another task. The above is a quick sketch of him hard at work; totally unaware that I was drawing him.

This was in about 1985/6 (maybe later?), when word-processors/computers were still at an early stage of development, the Amstrad was a classic example of this. Green screen, very slow, etc.

Wills set to, and created his first game 'Cavern Capers'. This very soon became outdated, and he created 'Cavern Capers 2'. Versions 3, 4, 5, and maybe even 6, soon followed and his friends used to turn-up regularly to play them.

I do know that Amstrad was Alan Sugar's Co, but the development of the PCW 8256 probably could not have happened without Sinclair. To this day I continue to use a hand held calculator, and am grateful to Sir Clive for all the innovations that followed in his footsteps. 

So, farewell Sir Clive, and I promise not to talk about the C5.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Epic moment! Kid joins breakaway at Tour of Britain 2021

My son Kimbo recently sent me this short video. If you haven't seen it, it's worth watching.

Under 12 champion silver medallist, Xander Graham, decided to join the Tour of Britain Cycle race recently. Wearing very impressive full kit, he pulled away from the leaders for a short while. When the group caught-up with him, Dutch rider Pascal Eenkhoorn, of team Jumbo/Visma, gave him his water bottle as a souvenir.

Nice gesture Pascal, and well done Xander.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Polite Robbery

All crime, petty or otherwise, is always worthy of utter contempt, but one can almost feel pity for this criminal, who even promises to pay back the money when he gets back on his financial feet.

Desperation at its most civilised! 

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Je suis au jardin.

I bought this small embroidered 'cushion' from amongst the few small items of an elderly lady's boot sale stall. She had made it when she was small, had used it all her life, then told me that she had no further use for it.

In the country it's traditional to hang messages on the front door saying where one is; this one simply said she was in the garden.

Its naiveté is charming. A short message, a few flowers, and a butterfly; none of which is particularly well executed.

Children no longer make such things. They no longer embroider 'samplers', or messages such as the above. Boys no longer make pipe racks for their fathers in woodwork classes. Such things are from a bygone age.

When I bought the above (for a few centimes) the elderly lady looked quite sad. It was as if part of her life had ended. I told her that I would look after it, and use it when required. In fact it hangs by our fireplace in the sitting room. Our visitors pass Haddock's before getting to the house, so they would see me if I was there; making its use unnecessary.

Every time I look at it, I'm reminded of her kind wrinkled face, her traditional widow's weeds, and her natural warmth and charm. I suspect she'd been 'selling-up' in preparation for her next great adventure.


Tuesday, 14 September 2021


We were eating at a favourite restaurant on Saturday, when we suddenly noticed that our sleepy town had become totally over-run with parked cars; mostly double-parked. I was sitting with my back to the scene, and hadn't been aware of the chaos.

Double parking of this sort is more associated with carefree Italy or Greece, where all road signs are simply 'advisory'; not with rural France. I had never seen this before here.

So, what on earth was going on? They can't have all been in church, even though the doors were open. No, it looked as if they were all in the 'Foyer' playing Belote; a very popular card game hereabouts.

Belote competitions are always hotly contested; enough to even make our good local townspeople leave their cars all over the place. Thank goodness I parked my car elsewhere.

In case my photo is unclear, that should be a single line of cars parked in front of the Halle; but not having either Gendarmes or Parking Wardens in the village, caution was happily thrown to the winds. 

re my meal: Yet another gorgeous 'Steak-n-Chips. I could eat there every night! 

Monday, 13 September 2021

Me and Bridget Riley

I'm sorry to say that I have absolutely no connection with Brigitte Riley whatsoever.

However, I do have a penchant for her beautifully designed plasters; and I usually need several each day.

When I did my Foundation Course, I had a lecturer called Dave 'makes your eyes go funny' Mills (who was younger than me), who had worked on her paintings for a small sum. He was at Chelsea at the time, and she gave him a few shillings in exchange for his eyesight. She was no fool; she got others to actually paint her work.

I still have a few of Dave's works, but they'll never reach the dizzy prices of Ms Riley's paintings; which he probably painted anyway!

Sunday, 12 September 2021

The UK's North/South divide.

For those who don't know about England's division of areas, she is divided into two parts; The North and The South.

'The North' is a large area situated to the north of London, that reaches as far as the Scottish border. The South includes London, and everything south of London

This video shows the natural reaction of a Southerner, when a Northerner comes south. 

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