Watch Out For The Wicked Witch! TWTW # 34

I’m sorry this is posting later than normal – I thought I’d set it to post automatically this morning but something went wrong.

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Well it’s been another busy working week, I’ve been progressing things for clients and had another trip down to Somerset for a meeting with one of them. I like being busy, although it is easy to worry about making sure everything gets done, particularly with life outside of work being a little uncertain and at times also time consuming.

I stopped in a lay-by on my way back from Somerset on Thursday, it’s one that is only legally accessible to access from one side of the road, and I’ve travelled back via different routes before so only passed the lay-by before on the “wrong side” of the road. This time I pulled in to eat the sandwiches I’d made in the morning for a late lunch and saw this little cafe there. Apart from the imposing CCTV signs it looks like it might be a nice lunch stop, perhaps another time when I’m a bit early and they’re still open. I wondered aloud on Instagram about where Hansel & Gretel might be.


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I also picked up a little bluetooth receiver this week for the car. I’ve been doing a bit more travelling recently and there’s only so much Radio 4 you can listen to at the moment, when every other story is about Brexit. Using this I’ve been able to connect my phone to car radio and listen to audiobooks from my phone (and have the navigation prompts over the car radio, which interrupt the audiobooks seamlessly and then go back to the book). I’m impressed. I think I could also link my kindle to it to listen to the audiobooks that I have on there, but then wouldn’t be able to have that and the navigation available.


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Things on the allotment are starting to die back a bit at the moment. I need to go down with the wheelbarrow and bring back all the pumpkins and butternut squashes that are down there. There’s also been a manure delivery so I need to go down and move some of it across to my plot. Tomatoes are doing well in the potting shed, as is finally my first aubergine. I suspect it will be the only one I get this year. Although the plants have been covered in flowers this is the only one that has actually come to fruit.


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I picked up a few paperbacks on Saturday morning when I was passing the secondhand book shop. The Alistair Maclean’s are a bit of staple from my childhood, as is the Doctor Who book. The latter made more poignant as the author Terrance Dicks died very recently.


Love this electric JCB digger:


42 Douglas Adams quotes to live by


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In addition to the books I picked up on Saturday, I’ve been reading one of the new “Dragon Tatoo” books. I think it’s the second of the three that have been published postumously and on the basis of having read the first of the “new” books and now this one I don’t really think they are a patch on the originals. They’re a bit like fan-fiction taken too seriously by a publisher. I’m not even sure whether or not I’ll finish this one. I suspect I will but given that the only time I’ve really had a chance to read (other than audiobooks in the car) has been at bedtime, when I’m too tired to read for more than a few minutes, it’ll take a while.

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I’ve been listening to “I Contain Multitudes” by Ed Yong in the car. All about microbes and such and absolutely fascinating. This audiobook thing is a bit of an experiment. I used to have an Audible subscription, but I wasn’t listening to the books I was downloading and so paused it. If I catch up I might consider starting it again. After all a 4 hour roundtrip in the car or 6 hours on the train is a lot of listening.

Also in audio listening I noticed that both Roger Deakin’s BBC shorts The House and The Garden are available again online. Not sure how long they’ll be available for or whether they’ll be accessible outside of the UK, but they are worth a listen. His old short Cigarette on the Waveney is also available (cigarette is a type / name of a canoe).


I just picked up my personal journal to see if I’d missed anything that I should add to this post, and realised that I haven’t written anything in it since Monday, so it must have been a busy one!

I have a couple of personal meetings this week and it’s Ann’s birthday, but otherwise my time is mostly going to be occupied with work.

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Pineider Ink Filler – Demo & Review

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I was given a Pineider Ink Filler (portable ink well) as a birthday present a couple of weeks ago. I’ve had a chance to use it a bit and I have to say for the price (about £20), it’s a great bit of kit. Only downside I can see is the top stopper and how durable that will be in the longer term.

Mine was purchased from Cult Pens but other stationery suppliers are available.

Now that I’ve used it a bit I thought I’d do a short demonstration and review video. You can find the video below.

Round and Around – (Quick Links 124)

The end of the week at last! It’s been a busy one for all sorts of reasons, but none of them being really work related. I’ve had a couple of nights of disturbed sleep with a poorly dog, and a few things to do with my Mum.

It was also Ruby’s birthday. She’s now 4 but it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long since we collected her, the time has flown by.

I’ve also spent quite a bit of time on the allotment (it’s about this time every year when I wonder if it’s all worth while).

I’m coming to the end of the week feeling pretty tired and worn out. Next week’s looking like being busy too (at least the first half).


I went to see Avengers: Infinity War on Wednesday.

I enjoyed the film, but felt a bit underwhelmed by it. Maybe it’s because it’s had so much hype for so long, but I felt that both of the two previous “Avengers” films were better. I also haven’t seen Dr Strange or Thor: Rangnorok, which I think probably meant that I missed a few things that might otherwise have made sense.

It’s still a good film though, and the next installment, next year should be the best of the bunch if they don’t mess it up.


Craig Mod Newsletter – I may have mentioned the excellent Roden Explorers newsletter from Craig Mod before (or I may not, I can’t remember). It’s an infrequent but excellent read. The latest edition [LINK] contains all sorts of interesting stuff, but the thing that stuck in my mind was his walk where he ended up with blisters and how he dealt with them. It made me positively wince as I read it. It’s well worth a read, and you can always sign up via the link at the top of the newsletter page.


Work – A quiet week overall, a few emails exchanged with a prospective client and a phone call with a recruitment consultant but otherwise that’s about it. I’ve been looking at possibly expanding my grow-your-own work, but not made any decisions about that yet.


Allotment – Busy week here. It’s that time of the year when everything is ready to go out onto the plot. This week I’ve transplanted runner beans, cucumbers, sweetcorn, courgettes, pumpkins, squash, Brussels sprouts and sown seed for more radish, lettuce, purple sprouting broccoli & rocket.

img_20180518_103314_490.jpgThe sweetcorn entailed the building of an enclosure to try and keep the badgers at bay should they try and eat it. Not sure I’ll be very successful in keeping them out if they’re determined, but at the end of the day I only need to try and dissuade them and hope they move on.

I’ve been doing similar in Mum’s garden, trying to get her plants out as well (very similar combinations to my own – probably because I’ve grown them for her). I also mowed her lawn and a few other odd jobs around the house.


Currently Reading – I’ve just finished reading “Under The Rock” by Ben Myers [LINK], I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not sure what’s up next.


The Week In Wildlife In Pictures – [LINK]


I’m thinking about taking a break from writing on the blog for a while. I know I’ve said that before but I feel like what I’m saying isn’t much, and it’s certainly not exciting. I’m also haven’t had the time to actually find much in the way of interesting stuff that I normally add for some time. I’m also getting a lot of spam comments and email sign ups, although the filters are catching just about all of them they’re pretty annoying, and I wonder if a break might stop them, if there are no new posts for a while. So there may not be a post next week or for some time. If you have any thoughts on what you like to read here then do leave me a comment. I’ll likely still be updating in places such as Instagram and Twitter where you can find me as @tontowilliams, but in the meantime take care until next time!

The Short One – (Quick Links 123)

I’m a little late posting this week, having not had the time to write much of this update in advance this week, so I’m not sure how long this is going to end up being. Here goes!

I avoided the Bank Holiday crowds at the start of the week, and instead did a bit of a coastal walk on Tuesday. The tide was out which meant I was able to walk around the section of the coast path that the signs guide you away from, and make you walk inland. When the tide is in, this part of the path is not that accessible but at low water there’s plenty of time to make the trip. Even got to see a couple of Wheatears across one of the fields, but had to wait until today to see my first Swift of the year.

It feels a bit like Summer has arrived this week, with daytime temperatures reaching the mid to upper 20’s, we’ve had a few rain showers over the weekend, but it’s warming up again.


GDPR – If you haven’t received multiple emails from people about this then you’ve been very lucky. It seems most people have been getting it completely wrong when it comes to what you’re actually supposed to do, with the major corporations being the biggest offenders. I’ve been using it as an opportunity to “unsubscribe” to a lot things.

I’d be a bit remiss though if I didn’t remind you that if you receive this post and other posts via email, you can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link provided. Of course I hope you don’t but it’s your choice. If you have provided me with your email address it only get used to send you posts from this site and nothing else, and it will never be shared with anyone else.


Work – There’s been a bit of movement with a client on some work, but it’s still not clear whether this will go ahead. If they don’t make a decision by the end of the month, then it definitely won’t be proceeding, so there’s still plenty of time, and for me nothing much to do other than wait!


Allotment – Been doing a fair bit this week, I’ve been getting ready to plant out things like squash, pumpkin and courgette, and they’ll be going out probably in the next week or two. I’ve also been preparing the ground and have now planted out the Cavlo Nero on the end of the existing brassica bed. Everything is starting to come alive at last. There’s plenty of soft fruit stating to form, in particular gooseberries, and seeds sown a couple of weeks ago are growing well. Of these I’ve even harvested the first radishes of the year!


Currently Reading – I’ve been reading “Under The Rock” by Ben Myers [LINK] this week and jolly good it is too. It’s likely to be one of my favourite books of the year.


The Week In Wildlife In Pictures – [LINK]


Sean Bonner – Citizen Science


I’m outta here, otherwise this thing is never going to get posted. Have a good week.

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like That Anymore – (Quick Links 122)

It’s been a fairly busy week for me, and also an election week for local councils.

We had an opportunity to vote this week. Despite our current Councillor retiring, I hadn’t expected any change in political party even if the face changed. This proved to be true with the new Councillor getting over 50% of the vote, although given the campaigning before the day, you’d have thought there was only one candidate standing as we heard nothing from any of the other three, although I did see a representative of one of the other candidates campaigning in town on the Saturday before polling day. Sadly he was being pretty offensive and rude to people he spoke to, and not doing his candidate any favours in the process, he put me off voting for his candidate.


I was sitting doing my end of month accounts when I realised that my calculator had stopped working. I thought it was just the battery that had died, but it appears that’s not the case and this is probably an end of life failure. A little sad because I was given this calculator for either a Christmas or Birthday present (I can’t remember which) when I was starting my science classes at school. It’s seen me through all my school, college and university career, and on it to my working life. It’s done more than a few project appraisals, as well as month after month of household accounts. As I said on Instagram – We’ve done some maths together. By my reckoning this calculator is 35 years old, and that is some serious service for something that probably now we would be surprised if it lasted more than a few years. They don’t make them like that anymore.


I’ve never really wanted a “fitness band”. Not the musical kind, one of those things that you wear on your wrist that measures your steps, and heart rate and a few other things. My phone counts my steps and I’ve been pretty happy with that.

Well this week this happened:

The jury is still out for me on this at the moment. It seems pretty accurate at counting steps (compared to my phone the two seem broadly in alignment). It also measures sleep, but I’m not sure this is terribly accurate as it can’t seem to discern between “light” sleep and being awake but resting quietly. I’ll keep giving this a try to see how I get on with it


Mythos – I’ve been listening to this BBC radio drama on iplayer this week on my travels [LINK] – (this might not work outside the UK, but it is worth the try). It’s a good mix of mythology and humour with some interesting story lines. A bit of a shame it was only three episodes, and I hope they make some more. If you’re a fan of Charles Stross’s Laundry novels [LINK], you’ll probably enjoy it.


War On The Walker – I walk as much as I can, if I can get somewhere without using the car I try to do so. I get annoyed by cyclist riding on pavements where there is no cycle lane and insufficient room, and by people who are inconsiderate and park on the pavement blocking it. It seems that our current government is pretty set on the car, despite the fact that there are too many of them and not enough room for them. The solution is to build more roads. My local council’s view of how to overcome congestion and air pollution is essentially to build more roads – go figure. It also seems that even for electric vehicles, we haven’t gotten this right yet [LINK] and the Transport Secretary isn’t much better [LINK].


Nuclear Titanic – In times of crisis nuclear powered vessels can be used to provide power to communities where their normal power supply has been lost. In some ways I think this is possibly what Russia was thinking with the Akademik Lomonosov [LINK] but I’m not altogether sure that this is the best idea in the world.


Work – A bit of prep for, and time at a meeting mid-week but otherwise it’s been another quiet week on the work front. The outcome of the meeting however means they’ll be a bit to do in the coming weeks (subject to the response from the client).


Allotment – The weather turned for the better midweek (and is due to last until after the Bank Holiday Monday). As well as the allotment I managed to get a few things done in the garden at home.

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I had a little help in the garden as I was replacing some of the supports for our climbing roses that grow up the wall between us and one of our neighbours. It was lovely to be out in the sun doing some of those small jobs that often get forgotten in the garden because of lack of time.

On the plot things have been doing pretty well, despite a couple of late frosts this week. I’ve planted out some leeks, mowed the paths and gave the beetroot seedlings a good weed, they’re looking the better for it.


Currently Reading – I’ve been reading “On The Moor” by Richard Carter [LINK] on and off this week. It’s an interesting mix of science, landscape and natural history. I’ve also been dipping in and out of a few other things.


The Week In Wildlife In Pictures – [LINK]


Ant Man & The Wasp


Monday’s a Bank Holiday, and if the weather holds beyond then I’ve got a couple of plans, but then you know what they say about the best laid plans! Have a good week.

Export Highlights From Your Kindle

I highlight a lot on my kindle, particularly when I’m researching a particular topic or just to highlight particularly inspiring passages for future reference.

Now there’s a great “new” feature on Kindle which now allows you to directly export your highlights via email, and receive them as both .pdf and csv files. There have been ways to do this via http://kindle.amazon.com for a while now, and your highlights are still stored there, but this is a more direct service.

Firstly you need to make sure you’re running the most recent version of the kindle OS on your device (I’ve got a Kindle Paperwhite, and it’s now running ver. 5.8.2).

In a book that you have highlights, tap at the top of the screen to bring up the Menus, then tap “Go To”:

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On the next screen tap “Notes”:

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Then tap “Export Notes”:

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And then finally tap “Send”:

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As you’ll see from the image above this sends the notes to your Amazon email address, and you should end up getting an email that looks something like this:

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The pdf is a nice little document in it’s own right and the CSV file, allows for easy transfer from a spreadsheet to other places e.g. the research folder in Scrivener.

This is a great feature, and one that I feel I will be using a lot, particularly for background research.

Apple Watch – iDon’t Think So



My emails and RSS feeds are full of Apple news this morning. With the launch event of the Apple Watch (and other things including new MacBooks) yesterday, technology news is abuzz with this new gadget.

I won’t however be buying one. With a price range of between £299.00 & £13,500, I feel priced out of the market. I know Apple has always focussed on a premium product and has always achieved record sales. I have no doubt they will do the same with the Apple Watch, however if I were to spend this much money on a watch, I would do so on one that would hold its value and perhaps be something that could be handed down to future generations, and not one that will be replaced by the latest model in 12 months time.

I also struggle to see why a smart watch brings me something that I don’t already have with a traditional watch, mobile phone and/or tablet. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mobile tech, it makes my life easier both inside and outside of a work environment and I’m often an early adopter of a new gadget, however I have yet to be convinced of the case for a smart watch of any manufacture.

Similarly, why would I want to charge my watch every night? I want a watch that will run and run. I own several conventional watches that use the power of sunlight or a spring that recharges by movement to tell the time, and in use never need to be “charged”. Whilst I can appreciate a Smart Watch is a far more powerful device and uses more energy, I don’t need that, so I’ll stick to charging my phone each day and leave my watch to look after itself.

So, sorry Apple, I won’t be an early adopter on this occasion. I remain to be convinced.