Tuesday, 31 January 2012

and today Postman Pat brought...

... a special delivery item from Smythson's no less. I have, for some time now, been impressed with the quality of Smythson's stationery. Yes it's a bit more expensive than my favourite of twenty-five years Three Candlesticks but I think that it's worth it. This is not my usual Kings size Bond Street blue either. This is the 10x8 inch cream writing paper so, for those in the know, this is quite a departure for me. So now I need to receive a letter so that I can respond with this new stationery. Question is, though, which ink to choose with the cream paper? Any suggestions?

I saw, recently, the gauntlet thrown down for writing a letter every day during the month of February. It is a short month, even though this is a leap year. I think I'm going to give it a go. During January I managed to send sixteen letters which is up on my average of eight to ten per month. I guess I'm going to have to find some additional people to write to this month. Here goes.....

We've just tried the brand new super exciting Tesco store that opened here a couple of weeks ago. What can I say? It's just a shop! I was impressed by the trolley sticking to the travelator though. Just as well as it's on quite a gradient for a loaded shopping trolley. It was our first supermarket shop with la voiture nouvelle. The boot of the Peugeot doesn't seem quite as big as that of the old Volvo. Saying that we had the floor in the middle position so the extra height might make the Peugeot as capacious as the Volvo was though the floor area is smaller. Swings and roundabouts I guess. The real test will come when we get the golf bats out when the better weather comes.

Friday, 27 January 2012

I can't do mail art, unless this counts?

Mail art seems to be de rigeur at the moment. I, however, am inept in the extreme when it comes to any kind of drawing. My artistic ability, if I have any, is in music and photography. However I then saw on Troy's blog that people are making their own envelopes. Well here goes then. I found an old out of date OS map of the area around where I grew up and with a pencil and some scissors, hey presto we have an envelope. Unfortunately the map is upside down on the envelope, but it is early days at the moment. I guess I can always write the address etc upside down for the envelope so that the map is the right way round. If I were on the receiving end I would be glad to receive the letter and not worry too much about the map being upside down. I have plenty more of the map left to make a few more, so onwards and upwards as they say.

Did you know that the United Nations print their own stamps? Neither did I until I received some through the post today from Misty aka pen thief. They are simply wonderful and will add to my steadily growing stamp collection. I'll put some pics up another time.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Googling does not constitute research.

I was going to say that I have been researching, but Robert Landon said that Googling is not research. Er go I have been Googling for some information about the beautiful and historic port of Whitby on the North Yorkshire coast of England. I though that I knew a bit about the town but I have turned up some interesting new factoids ( too much Steve Wright in the afternoon?). The reason for my googling is because Whitby is going to have a couple of American visitors this spring. One of them is quite a Bram Stoker fan. It turns out that Mr. Stoker was in Whitby slap bang in the middle of the time that my own personal Whitby hero was active there. Frank Meadow Sutcliffe was a very famous Victorian photographer who documented the town through his photographs. So it's a great way to see how Whitby must have looked at the time of Stoker's visit. I'm so hooked on this one now:)
Unfortunately Postman pat has not been a busy boy today. I received no interesting letters. In fact I havent received an interesting letter since 16 January. Maybe I'm getting withdrawal symptoms. Letters seem to arrive in batches and then I have a flurry of activity responding to them all. It really is a shame that Postman pat can't spread them out nice and evenly. C'est la vie. Then there is the question of those correspondents who simply cease to write. What is the etiquette here? Is it correct to write again in case the first letter was lost in the post, or is it better to assume that the other person wishes to end the correspondence? I'd hate to think that other people have not received letters from me and assumed that I wished to end the correspondence. It really is a quintessential dichotomy and that's not easy to put when you;re as bad at typing as I am.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Yesterday I swapped my old car. I have blogged about the change before but I'm really feeling kinda screwed up about it. The new car is very nice and its comfortable and shiny and cheaper to run and, and, and ... but I can't help feeling a sense of loss for the old car. It had become a part of the family in the twelve years that we had it. I'm not the sentimental type who gives cars names pr calls it "she", but there's over a quarter of my life that I've spent with that car and we've had a fair few adventures in it. We've been all over the UK and to various part of Europe in it. Well I guess that as one chapter ends another one begins. We're Peugeot people now, so I had better get used to it. Chin up :)

I don't know which I most dislike, shaving or having a beard. I've been letting it grow for a while now and I'm not keen on the feel of it. most people who have commented about it have been positive, but I'm not convinced. I think it's nearing the time when it is going to disappear again. At least until the next time.

Smythson of Old Bond Street are famous for their leather and stationery. This week I received the A5 Lippiat folder that I ordered in their sale. I can see the logic of the spiral bound notebook as it allows the left hand page to lie flat. I had thought that a casebound book would be better, but I was mistaken. The folder has places to keep my BlackBerry and business cards as well as notevards, envelopes and the like. The pen loop is pretty pointless though in my opinion. As with all Smythson's goods it arrived in a Nile blue, tissue lined box tied up with ribbon and is extremely well presented. You can hear the quality oozing out of the pores of the leather. Maybe a picture or two later in the week.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Today has been, primarily, a day of letters. I had three letters awaiting a reply and, this far, I have written two replies to American correspondents and I have one to write to go to Australia. The Roald Dahl stamps are in evidence. Sadly there is no Augustus Gloop stamp to send to Georgia. I hope that the Twits are sufficient consolation.

Last week I did something I have never done before. I wrote to two people whose blogs I read. That's not really the kind of thing I would normally do, but what the hell.

Looking at the forthcoming stamp issues from Royal Mail I am in a little bit of a quandary. Do I buy an album and buy each set of stamps as they are issued or do I wait til the end of the year and buy the 2012 year book? I'm tempted to do the latter as the 2011 book is very impressive and keeps things together in a way that I like.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Shopping and other horrors

Last night we watched the film "Bram Stoker's Dracula". I haven't seen the film since we first bought the DVD which is, in all probability, ten or twelve years ago. I liked the film but I couldn;t help wondering how it differs from the book. It claims, after all, to be very true to the original. I'm embarrassed to say that it is a book that I have never read.

Today I had to venture forth to that temple of consumerism, the Trafford Centre. Er go a visit to Waterstones was deemed to be in order. Therein I found a rather nice leather bound edtion of Bram Stoker's Dracula for fifteen quid. Sold! So I am in the process of finding out how accurate the film is to the book that bears its name. Time will, no doubt, tell.

Parker seem to have a new kind of fountain pen on the market. I had a brief look in Selfridges, today, but I didn't have time to have a proper nosey as we were supposed to be looking for a burr coffee grinder. They seem to be in short suplly in the shops. Everywhere had the nasty little blades that chop the coffee up but we only managed to find one shop with a burr grinder and even they only had one model. Well done to John Lewis I suppose I sould say. I can't help thinking that internet shopping is so much easier. The other plus to internet shopping is that temptation to buy on impulse is, to some extent, removed as there are no dazzling displays of the laterst "must have" products to draw you in.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Astonishing statistics

I was absolutely astonished to read on another blog that someone actually send up to 147 items of personal, handwritten mail per month and receives a similar amount of post. Poor old Postman Pat must be earning his corn at that house! The blogger then goes on to say that she records her mail exchanges in a notebook. Each notebook last approximately four months before it is full. I dread to think about the cost of such an undertaking in terms of stationery, ink and stamps. I though that I was going some at a total of between fifteen and twenty items per month (that's an estimate, I don't keep statistics). As our American cousins might say, go figure.

Wednesday night was back to the grindstone for Sik Brass. JC led us through a mix of "stamina building" (Jim's words, not mine) pieces including the wonderful "Suite Gothique" before, eventually, landing on the test piece, "Mountain Views", for this years "area" contest to be held in the once glorious Winter Gardens in Blackpool next month. We eventually staggered over to the Davvy for a lime and soda water to recover before the journey home. Fortunately I was in the V70 because I didn't have the energy left to change gear in the Focus.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

End of an era

It would appear that more than twenty years of uninterupted Volvo ownership is about to come to an end thanks to my dear lady wife and the French. Now I have always liked France and the French. Not just John, but all French people. A lot of British folk have a dislike for the French which I have always found to be totally unjustified. I have always been made to feel welcome when I have visited France. An ability to speak even a little bit of their language combined with the knack of poking fun at yourself for trying to speak French has always seemed to work for me. So what have the French done? They have persuaded said good lady wife to buy a French car. Well if I'm brutally honest maybe it is time to swap my twelve year old Volvo. But it's like losing a part of the family now. Ah well, lets hope the new car lasts as long as the old one.

I have decided against the Kindle. A number of folk said get an i-pad, but that puts things into a different cost bracket. Whilst mulling it over I have been reading on the Kindle software that I downloaded to my PC. It really isn't for me I don't think so I'm going to give it a miss. Gadgetry is not really my thing. I bought an ipod and used it regularly for at least a week before I lost interest. Nowadays, of course, I have it connected in the Focus at work and use it that way but otherwise it would have been another waste of money. SO no Kindle and keep the cash towards something more exciting. Maybe make a trip in the new car to Smythson's perhaps......

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year

I have long been contemplating the purchase of an e-reader. I like books. My wife says I have too many books. I tried reasoning with her by saying that she has too many pairs of shoes, too many handbags, too many bottles of nail varnish etc etc. All of which was to no avail. I even had to ship a couple of boxes of paperbacks off to the local charity shop. So an e-reader seems to be the logical way to go. I have been doing some research and Kindle seems to be the best brand to go for. So I guess that's on my shopping list for 2012.

Second up I'm being forced to swap my old car. I really, really don;t relish the idea of getting rid. But she who must be obeyed says that that's the way that 2012 is going to be. So that cancels out our planned trip to Paris in the spring:( C'est la vie, I guess.

Call me Dave has coughed up some more "government" money for the olympics apparently. Lord COe was on the telly this morning saying how wonderful it was. I wonder just how much "government" money has been sunk into it already. I bet the NHS would be able to make excellent use of the money. They could probably do a lot of hip replacements ad heart surgery etc etc with the kinda money that's gone into building a running track and inviting a load of foreign dignitaries to come over. Actually we were discussing call me Dave at a New Year party last night. If Blackadder was still being written they could have an excellent character called "Dave the Bastard". If the writers are reading this they can have the idea for free.