Saturday, 6 March 2021


The weather has been perfect for the garden. Well, not quite perfect but very good for getting the winter damage cleared away and the basics of the alterations I want to make done. So I've been absent from Blogland most of the time.

However, I did read Robert (Bob) Brague's recent post entitled 'Sorry or Not Sorry'. It's brief. Basically it gave a politician's purported apology and an an analysis of whether it was an apology. It's worth a read because we see the same thing every day and probably let it go without thought or comment. In short when is an apology an apology. 

I have no idea what offence the apologiser had given but it did make me think.

My question, though is 'When is an offence for which an apology is demanded due an unconditional apology?'

I was brought up in a family of strong women with fairly 'modern' views on the role of women but also on the respect that women were due from men.

I was taught to walk on the road side of a lady. I was taught to open doors for my elders and for ladies. I gave up my seat for a lady on public transport. I was taught that compliments were acceptable and that flattery was not. Above all I was taught manners and respect.

I have during my life been complimented on occasion for being a gentleman (thank you, Parents).

In the last few decades though things have changed. I have been told on occasion that I am a chauvinist (and less complimentary comments) for doing all of those things.

To the extent that when I was in hospital a few years ago I was aware that one of the female nurses (who, as it happens I knew 30 years ago when she was a youngster) had a particularly friendly smile when she was attending to patients. I told her, quite spontaneously and without thinking, that she had a beautiful smile. As the words left my lips I realised that men these days have been taken severely to task for such things. I hastily apologised (unconditionally) even though I had in my mind, and in the minds of many I'm quite sure, done nothing wrong but was aware that some might take severe offence at my words. As it happens she responded by saying that I could tell her that as often as I like and thanked me for the compliment.

Bob's argument was that if I had said "I'm sorry if I have offended you" it would not have been an apology. My argument is that things are often not that straightforward.

Friday, 26 February 2021


There can be few more mundane subjects than printers but they have become part of our everyday lives and also, for many, part of everyday frustrations. Has any one of you reading this never had an irritating moment induced by a printer?

Printers now seem to have changed little from printers in the 1990s except that they are almost all on wifi and not direct cable link. Some also have larger refillable ink tanks and some have monthly ink charge arrangements. The basic paper feed mechanism seems as unreliably antiquated as it ever was.

Manufacturers tempt buyers with very cheap deals on printers (which now have almost empty print cartridges - just enough for the set-up and a few tempting photos) and then charge a fortune for the ink. To make sure they get their pound of flesh, they focus all their efforts on making sure printers only work with proprietary ink cartridges.

So life with a printer for most people runs something like this:

  • Buy a printer.
  • Set up the printer (if you're lucky this might not raise your blood pressure).
  • Honeymoon period - printer works as it should.
  • Poddle along.
  • Need an urgent print job.
  • Printer won't cooperate.
  • Waste a day trying to get it to work.
  • Get the urgent job printed by a friend or a local copyshop.
  • Dump the printer.
  • Buy another printer.
  • Repeat.

On the other hand your experience might be like this:

  • Discover printer won't work.
  • You're pretty handy with gadgets so you sort it.
  • Start the job and printer absolutely refuses to cooperate.
  • Decide printer is dead.
  • It's Saturday. Urgent print job. Argos is open. Buy new printer.
  • Complete job.
  • Monday, ring help line for first printer.
  • Get software upgrade.
  • Printer back in working order.

So you (I) now have two printers. This is handy because when one printer decides to throw a wobbly the other is usually in a good mood. 

I make photo cards and post cards. Mostly for my own use but also for other people (not commercially). So almost all the printing I do is photographs ie colour printing, and decorated envelopes and the cards on which the photos are mounted. So I use a great deal of ink. So I have chosen a monthly ink purchase scheme. So for a few £s per month I get an unlimited supply of ink to enable me to do all the printing I need and don't have to worry about a sudden outlay on expensive cartridges which can run into quite a hefty sum.

PS If the weather wasn't so bad I'd be in the garden and not writing posts like this.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Storms and a Beautiful Aria

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday and I was going to post about Scotch Pancakes. They have nothing to do with pancake day but a few people had asked about them and I was going to make some and share the experience. Some other time perhaps.

I had to go into town to the dental practice at short notice. There were gale force winds from the South but the high tide was about 40 minutes previously so the Braighe was not closed to traffic and I duly got ready and set off. There was a police car at this end but he was just keeping an eye on things and I drove across. It was still a bit hairy and there were stones on the road so it must have been bad at high tide.

I listen to music much of the time when I'm in the house. Usually in the morning it is BBC Radio 3 Essential Classics. Otherwise I choose from BBC iPlayer or my library on Apple Music. I rarely use my huge CD collection directly any more because it is held in my Apply Music library.  I often hear pieces that I've not heard before or I've forgotten about. Sometimes they have an great impact. A few days ago one of those was Karl Goldmark's Die Königin von Saba (The Queen of Sheeba) - Assad's act 2 aria "Magische Töne", recorded in 1967 by Nicolai Gedda with the Orchester des Bayreischen Staatsoper, Munich, conducted by Giuseppe Patanè. It will probably be of little interest to many of my readers but for anyone who enjoys opera I think it is one of the most beautiful pieces of singing I've heard for years. It's available on YouTube here.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Sunday Routine and The Prada Cup

During lockdown last year Sunday was my 'household day'. I decided that, as every day was potentially the same, I needed an 'anchor' day each week. I decided that I would do all my washing and ironing and some cleaning on Sunday. My Dad always said "The better the day, the better the deed." So it seemed appropriate. Generally speaking I am very organised so four lots of washing and five lots of drying in the dryer and ironing shirts, sheets and sundries should leave plenty of time in between for some housework and writing letters, emails, some time in Blogland some time in the garden and feeding birds etc. Of course there was always time for WhatsApp and phone calls. With earpods it's very easy to chat whilst ironing. 

And so, for the six months of lockdown that became the pattern of my Sunday. 

On the whole that has remained my Sunday ever since. Whilst ironing today (thanks to Adrian for alerting me to the fact that the Americas Cup can be watched in it's entirety on YouTube) I watched the second day of the final of the Prada Cup (a yacht race) in Auckland which will determine whether the UK or Italy meet New Zealand in The Americas Cup. These 'yachts' which travel around 40 knots lift out of the water on aerofoils. Unfortunately Team UK have so far lost all 4 races to Italy (the final is best of 13 races).