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w/e 2023-01-29


Listening to NTS’s breakfast shows this week, as is my habit, the track that grabbed me the most reminded me of that one by Jacki Apple I heard last October. Turned out it was I Trawl the Megahertz by Prefab Sprout. Given I only know them for “Hot dog, jumping frog, Albuquerque” etc. this was a surprise.

Here’s a brief interview with Paddy McAloon about writing and recording it.

§ It was our anniversary this week and we treated ourselves to a night away at The Kilpeck Inn, whose dinner and breakfast were very tasty.

In the hotel room we allowed ourselves the mundane luxury of channel surfing. It’s still odd to me that hotels etc. often have worse TV offerings than most homes. As a kid, when staying in hotels, it was so exciting to marvel at all the channels they had – more than three or four! They might even have MTV!! But these days the novelty of hotel TV is having only a pedestrian selection of live TV to cycle through in hope.

The highlight of the Freeview choice was Outback Truckers which was silly fun, with big characters and lots of manufactured jeopardy. If it wasn’t for the many advertising breaks and recaps of what had previously happened it would have been even better.

§ I’ve enjoyed a couple of short walks taking photos this week. Black-and-white photos feel a bit of a cheat – everything looks a bit more interesting and sombre than it would in colour. But I really enjoy how it makes me look for pictures slightly differently, concentrating on shapes and shades. This helps me find pictures that I might otherwise have dismissed because, this time of year, on a cloudy day, everything round here is browny-green.

A black-and-white photo looking over a hill of tree stumps. In the background are bare winter trees with some mist beyond them.
This would have been my favourite photo of the week if it wasn’t for the branch that snuck in at top-left

Black-and-white also makes Lightroom less overwhelming. There are fewer potential levers to tweak which is useful when I’ve never fully got to grips with all of the photo editing possibilities.

A black-and-white photo looking at a hedge with a wide metal gate in it. On the left is a three-way road sign, the clearest pointer of which reads 'Kerrys Gate'. There's a wooden footpath sign next to the gate pointing over a grassy hill on which sits a metal trough. In the distance are fields and more hills.
I had one shot that captured the day’s moment of sunshine

§ Some things I’ve got done this week:

  • Made some improvements to so it’s easier for me to see which feeds are failing when the site tries to fetch their blog posts. There are so many ways to fail. I notified a few people – whose sites were otherwise working fine – that their feeds were broken and they fixed them. My free, slow, and haphazard uptime monitoring for feeds.
  • Improved the layout of’s Recently Updated Blogs page. There are lots of useful/interesting things the site could do/be other than “a directory of blogs”, if only I got round to them, and one of them is a good way to answer “what’s been posted recently in the blogosphere?”
  • Added 62 more blogs to
  • Prepared @samuelpepys’ tweets/posts for February 1660/2023.
  • Insulated our loft hatch. This was the weak point after we had the insulation of the loft improved some time ago. Draft excluder strips stuck round the edge of the door and hatch, to fill a slight gap. Then 10cm of insulation board cut to shape, covered in duct tape (to stop it getting damaged), No-More-Nails’d to the hatch. Using a sharp knife, rather than a saw, is definitely the way to cut that stuff – not too many horrible floaty fragments of insulation.

§ I haven’t read Twitter for a couple of weeks now and don’t miss it at all. Excellent.

That is all. February ahead. Nearly Christmas.

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