Keeping the children busy in the summer holidays

Yay, it's the summer holidays! Weeks and weeks of lovely Welsh sunshine, no school, and absolutely nothing to do. We have set Lois, Helen and Robin a challenge; they must produce the following items on Sunday 30th August: A piece of sandstone The Dean's signature A recording (home made) of Mendelssohn's Lift Thine Eyes A fig... read more

How not to assemble a Pouch RZ85 collapsible canoe

Recently we picked up the old family collapsible canoe that had been sitting in a barn for years. I think it was acquired in the late 1980s, in Germany, and used in one or two holidays after I had left home. I’d never actually seen it before, but lil bro Nick described it thus: It's got a wooden frame, plus a **** load of thick canvas stuff... read more

How not to train for a trail race

To celebrate Sally’s 70th birthday we’ve all entered the Lakeland Trails Helvellyn Race. It’s 15km, with about 300m ascent – figures I would have sneezed at in days of yore. But this is now, with two snagged Achilles tendons, a crunchy ankle, a dicky hip, and a knee that can forecast rain three days in advance. Combined with 70 hour working weeks... read more

How to transfer a vinyl LP to MP3 using Audacity

This is a note to self really, as I find that when I come to transfer an LP to computer once every few months I have forgotten how I did it before so it takes me twice as long as it should. There are a lot of possible variations in this process, but this basic workflow does the job for me. I hope it might be useful to someone else too. Setting... read more

Westminster Abbey vs St Paul’s - an evensong shoot-out

Whilst in London for our half-term mini break we took (our Brecon chorister) Robin to evensong at Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s, to see how the other half live. First up was the Abbey, on Tuesday. We arrived at about 16:40 and were ushered into places about 6 feet from the Cantoris trebles’ east end. We were furnished with full guides to... read more

It's the Pitts: mad world

While sorting out the CDs and making sure they are all on the pooter I found a home-made one from lil bro Nick with two tracks from Anthony Pitts and Tonus Peregrinus: The Flower and Mad World. The latter turned out to be a hilarious and impressive choral arrangement of the Tears for Fears number, and it's so bonkers I could resist uploading it... read more

Automatic closure is a bad thing

Lots of things open and close – doors, shops, windows, mouths, apps, free schools, etc. The “open” state is good for use, travel, ventilation, communication, education, aspiration and operation. The “closed” state is good for silence, darkness, stasis and rest. “Closed” is good only when the recovery it permits is necessary for “open” to be... read more

Lloyds want to spam me and I don’t know what to do

While trying to get a quote for car insurance, I am staring at this particularly offensive example of a deliberately-ambiguous question regarding contact preferences. Normally a careful read, then another read to make sure, reveals whether or not to put a tick in the box; but this one left me stumped. Note that I’m right in the middle of... read more

I almost forgot the drawing

After all the scanner woes, I almost forgot about Helen’s art… here’s a pencil drawing she did for art homework a couple of days ago. I love it, remembering how my own childhood attempts to draw human faces always made the subjects look like they’d been run over. read more