The countdown continues.

Well the countdown continues towards 27th November when I close my company and take early retirement.

I have been having a clear out of stuff and it’s amazing what I have accumulated over the years, and if I am honest used very little. But having said I am finding it quite hard to throw stuff away. But we will get there in the end.

Watch this space as they say.

I am puzzled.

Now I know that those of you who know me will say me being puzzled is not unusual but there we are.

Why is it that the week after the clocks go back here in the UK the weather gets colder? I mean what’s changed other than we have shifted everything an hour?

The ritual of shifting the clocks an hour twice a year has always had me puzzled, I can’t see why!

In simple terms if you want lighter days when on the way to work just get people to start work later, and if you want lighter evenings just get people to start work earlier and finish earlier. I mean it’s not rocket science.

At least now with it dark at 5.30pm the kids are not out making a noise in the evening, a bit of cold weather and maybe a bit of snow and hopefully the adults will get out of the habit as well.

In a couple of days time we will have an evening where begging from door to door by children becomes acceptable to many. People even spend money they may not have on sweets to give to the kids. Who then compare notes with other groups as to the best houses to visit.

Parents even stand on the pavements proudly watching their off springs begging for sweets. I am each year lost for words.

Time to lock the doors close the curtains and switch the lights off.

Is Blogging a dying art?

Over the years I have followed quite a few blogs, and they all had things in common. They were well written, humorous, interesting and the owners all posted on a regular basis.

This now seems to have all changed, 99% of the blogs I used to follow are rarely if ever updated. This is in my opinion a shame.

So what are people using as alternatives? The answer seems to be social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, to name but two.

Comments now seem to be in short but not always snappy sentences rather than in well thought out paragraphs.

I have two blogs, this one and the one I do for my time at a heritage railway. For those interested that can be found at together with a few short articles on my first five years at the railway. It is added to most weeks.

Now I will be the first to admit that this blog doesn’t get as many posts from me as it should, and that’s for a variety of reasons, lack of time being the main one. But I am determined that will change, as at the end of November I am taking early retirement. One of the things I plan to spend more time on is my writing, which I have dabbled at for a long time and which I enjoy doing.

So if you’re reading this and you have a blog that has laid neglected for some time, then how about making a post, if only to tell your followers that you’re alive and kicking.

I intend to post here on a more regular basis, so I look forward to reading your comments, once of have got rid of the gibberish spam of course.

So are you going to post on your neglected blog? I hope so, and if you do please drop me the link and I will be happy to have a read and maybe drop a comment.


The countdown has begun.

Well the countdown has begun.

I have decided to take early retirement, there is more to life than hammering away at a keyboard all day.

So on the 27th November 2017 I am closing my business. The wife recently was made redundant and we, or to be more accurate she is compiling a list of what we can do.

Now I must admit in all honesty I am looking forward to it, getting to do varied and new things.

The 28th November will be my first day of leisure, it will also be my 62nd birthday.


Go faster stripes for your computer

Whilst drifting through the BBC news site today an article about spyware in a cleaning program for Windows caught my eye.

The program in question is Ccleaner. This used to be distributed by Piriform but they were bought out by Avast the anti virus software people.

According to the article the software was infected by some spyware. Apparently all is now well, but I am sure some users will be having their doubts about putting in or keeping it on their computer.

This set me thinking about how effective this kind of software actually is. Now with any software claiming to make your machine, faster, cleaner and/or safer people generally fall into two camps. The first swear by it saying it’s the best thing since sliced bread and the second declare it a waster of time and that it does not do what it claims.

I should point out at this stage that I am not a Windows user these days, I kicked it into touch many moons ago and have never regretted doing so for one second. But when I was a user I played with most of the programs that claimed miracles and never found them to apparently make any difference at all, except perhaps free up space when they got rid of temp files and the like. But of course they were soon back again. I always found that the cleaning/maintenance programs included with the various flavours of Windows seemed to work at getting rid of junk without using anything else. But doing so never seemed to make the computer run faster.

They do say that belief in something with often convince you that something works. Medicine being a good example where belief  seems to play a great part in how good pills are.

Anyway back to this snake oil software, I think one of the big things that encourage people to try these miracle programs is the fact that they are often free or they have a free basic version.

I have never seen any concrete evidence proving that these programs do any good at all. So I would love to hear from you if you have POSITIVE proof they do any good at all. By positive I don’t mean you say that they are as advertised. I want concrete evidence. I look forward to receiving evidence and links to sites showing this proof. I am to be honest not holding my breath.

Please post as comments to this blog post so all can share.


Sometimes you need a little extra

Now I will be the first to admit I spend too much time at my desk, and I am making an active effort to spend less time hammering away at the keyboard.

But one thing that’s always irritated me is that when the work flow is flowing I often fancy a cup of coffee. Also it would be nice sometimes to have a coffee first thing in the morning without having to trek down to the kitchen and back again.

With this in mind the wife and I have invested in a coffee machine for my office. Like me it’s nothing flash but does the job.

Here is a picture of the said device. installed and ready to go. Next to it is a stand for the coffee pods, looks better than a pile of boxes and was cheaply obtained from the local Tesco store.






I must say it works very well indeed, it uses the same pods as the machine down in the kitchen, so no duplicate purchases of coffee. We have elected for milk pods as well, nowhere in here to keep milk in any other form.

So far I must say I am extremely pleased Wirth the device. It does what it says on the box and saves me time.

So I think Job Done!

A summer Friday

Here we are trundling through the first week of August and the sun is making a half hearted attempt to shine. Personally I don’t give much for it’s chances to be honest. Rain is forecast for tomorrow afternoon so that’s something to look forward to.

I sat here in the office this afternoon wondering about this blog. I started it back in May 2013 with to be honest no real idea of what I was going to do with it and what kind of direction it was going to take. I think I wanted somewhere other than my railway blog to post random thoughts and observations about this and that as I worked my way through life. To be honest I am not sure I have achieved that. The blog has, in the past had periods of no entries and I am not sure if that was because I had nothing to really say, or that I had but could not be bothered to put thoughts to the screen via the keyboard.

The fact that I rarely get response to my postings by comments on the post does not help, I mean am I typing this to myself and will I be the only person to reads it? I know that the answer is likely to be no simply because people I speak to comment that they read these entries, and then make a comment on what they have read. Why they have just not made a comment by pressing the comments button and hammering their comments out on the keyboard is beyond me.

I suppose what I am really saying is that if I make an effort to do a post that if you have comments perhaps you should make an effort to make a comment if you actually have any comments to make. So if you have survived this far into this post then please take note.

A few years ago blogs were all the rage on a multitude of subjects from hobbies to day to day life. But the trend now is for posts to be made on social media where people pour their hearts into saying they have just been to the toilet and are now waiting for the bus to work, to do a job they hate and will most likely comment on how much they hate it later. Some will post on Facebook and crow that they have a thousand friends. How you can have friends you have never met is frankly beyond me. Personally I think if somebody life revolves around  updating friends they have never met about things that are of no interest to anybody then they really need to get a life.

But that’s really it I suppose, do people have time to get a life these days. My wife recently got made redundant after over nineteen years in the same job, and if I ask her, as I have several times if she misses it then her answer is “No.” Speaking personally I think that it’s sad that after nineteen years there is nothing she misses enough to think it warrants comment. Yes she has remained in contact with a few of the people she worked with, but that may or may not stand the test of time. Thinking about it when I left paid employment some years ago I did not miss it either if I am totally honest. I mean what fun is there in having a job when your only aim is to hang in there until retirement. Some years ago my retirement age was sixty and I should in that case have been retired about eighteen months. Instead the government shifted the goal posts and my retirement age is now sixty seven. All I got at sixty was free eye tests and free prescriptions. Come to think of it I might have got a birthday card from Saga but that was so exciting I can’t honestly remember.

If I keep on ruminating like this I will run into the next blog post. So I will go back to the book I was reading safe in the knowledge that my mutterings have been converted into electrons to be unread across the world.

Now back to the book and looking forward to tomorrows expected rain. It’s an exciting life.

Ah the joys of summer.

Well here we are it’s the last Friday of July and the time is 7.30pm. We should be enjoying the summer weather.

As it is the office lights are on and have been most of the day, it’s cool and throwing it down with rain.

Nice to see a typical British summer evening, and some people wonder why lost of people take their holidays abroad.

Imagine this is the end of the first week of a two week caravan holiday by the sea. Those in that position looking at this weather must be wondering why the hell they are there.

The more you pay the less help you get.

After much deliberation the wife and I have splashed out on a couple of new office chairs. The old ones were shall we say past their best and in dire need of replacement.

In common with most things these days they came flat packed each in a large box.

Tools provided to assemble – One Allen Key
Instructions provided – One piece of paper with a few diagrams.

Shall we say the second one was easier to assemble than the first was. The diagrams were not that much use and I reckon it would have been quicker not to consult them at all.

But we got there in the end and the two chairs are assembled and now in use. I am sitting on one whilst typing this literary gem for you.

So you may well ask what is my point? Well the point is that having made a few purchases of late I have noticed the more you spend the less assistance you get to get the item working.

What do you think?

You do have a backup don’t you?

Today I ordered a 1TB external hard drive online, now there is nothing strange in that, I would imagine that thousands of people do it every single day.

However, after ordering the drive I had chosen I had a read down the reviews. I normally don’t take much notice of reviews unless there is a real high percentage of don’t likes shown.

But having a couple of minutes to spare I thought I would take a look. In doing so one thing stood out, and that was that people who said the drive had failed almost all commented that they had lost data, in one case a few thousand images and in another their university work.

This leads me to wonder if they had ever heard of keeping backups. Nobody in their right mind never backs anything up.

But time and time again there was the statement that data had been lost forever.

They do say that there are two types of people, one who backs up everything and a second who backups nothing because they have yet to loose anything. I have in the past always taken this statement with a pinch of salt. But from reading the reviews of this particular drive that there are a percentage of computer users who don’t backup.

These days data is often valuable and we keep more and more of our life history and or possessions digitally. So it makes sense to have a backup surely? Well apparently some think not.

I must admit I find it hard to dig up any sympathy, we have numerous reminders to back up. Operating systems these days can be set to do it automatically, you don’t even need to make an effort to do anything.

Here in my Mac environment TimeMachine does an hourly backup automatically, I have all my files backed up onto my NAS here in the office with another backup off site. You can’t be too careful.

Also, I wonder how many people verify their backups to see if they are successful and will actually work. Do You? No thought not.

If your backup is corrupt, incomplete or just unreadable then it’s as bad as having no backup at all.

So now you have finished this missive then check your backups actually work, or if you don’t have a backup then do something about getting one sorted. Before you mutter you can’t be bothered just think of all the family images you have that are irreplaceable, you have thought? Good now extract your digit and get a backup sorted.