Wave goodbye to frigid digits

Winter walks are made more comfortable with a hand warmer. Types of hand warmer include:

  • electric rechargeable
  • sealed pouches
  • charcoal
  • air activated
  • catalytic

The sealed pouches contain a supersaturated solution which crystallizes, producing an exothermic reaction, when a metal disc floating inside is clicked. After use, they can be reactivated by placing them in boiling water for about 20 minutes. They do warm up quite nicely, and the process of crystallization is interesting to watch. However, the heat lasts only about 20 minutes, and the reactivation process is a bit inconvenient.

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Whilst watching TV yesterday I was idly channel flip-flopping between the Euro 2016 football and Wimbledon tennis. What struck me was the difference in behaviour expected of the players and spectators in the two sports. It’s time to mix things up a bit.

For example, to aid players’ concentration I think the football referee should insist on complete quiet from the crowd.

By the same token, I think it would make tennis more fun if after winning each set the player ran around the court doing an aeroplane, finishing with a spectacular knee-slide.


Bicycle journey planner

I have just discovered a great app for your iPhone or Android smartphone. It’s a full-featured satnav for cyclists and pedestrians. This means it will navigate a route on cycle paths and quiet roads and use bike-friendly cut-throughs and short-cuts where available. It even avoids hills if possible, and will show you A to A leisure routes from and back to a specified location.

It’s free from Bike Hub thanks to a voluntary bike industry levy.

Nature soon takes over

After recent heavy rain my local nine-hole golf course is suffering from partial flooding. Two holes are unplayable. Immaculately manicured grass is now under a sheet of water which shows no signs of subsiding.

And there in the middle of this new pond, looking content and perfectly at home, glides a solitary snow-white swan.

Press here

I was one of those kids who sends off for free stuff from companies. You know – samples, information packs, promotional material, posters for my bedroom wall.

One such firm was Adana (Printing Machines) Ltd in Twickenham, England. I could not resist the coupon for a free sample of printer’s type. They sent me nine characters which spelled the words ADANA TYPE wrapped in a plain piece of paper, together with brochures for their printing presses and accessories.

I took these curious shiny rods of lead (exactly 0.918 inches or 23.3172 mm high) with the mirror-writing letters on top to primary school with me, where I would carefully unwrap them and show to friends and teachers.

At first that was the extent of my interest in printing, but Continue reading

All aboard Concorde!

On 31 October 2003 I was one of 10,000 spectators who waited patiently in the cold at Manchester Airport to watch Concorde G-BOAC land for the very last time.

Today I went on a Technical Tour of that same aeroplane which, after five years standing out in the open, is now housed in the Concorde Centre. (Whilst this purpose built hangar protects the iconic plane from the wind and rain, it is unheated. The seven of us on our tour were bitterly cold for most of the 90 minute experience. If you are considering a tour, wait until spring!)
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Urbis purpose

It looks like Manchester’s Urbis gallery might become the home of a National Football Museum instead.

Good. Not that I have any appreciation of the game. I watch a football match on TV with the same level of comprehension as our cat. We can both see coloured shapes moving around on the screen but that’s about it. But Urbis has been a white elephant from the start. Continue reading

Canoeing from Symonds Yat to Redbrook

At 7.30 we went off for a pre-breakfast walk to the top of Symonds Yat Rock. It was a lovely morning and we had the place to ourselves. It’s a steep climb up through the woods, where we bumped into a regular from the White Lion in Ross-on-Wye. There is a walled viewing area at the summit with a perfect view of the rocks where peregrine falcons nest. You can also see the vast sweep of the river as it doubles back on itself – something you are not aware of when canoeing.

Dave and I were ready for breakfast by the time we returned, but once again we were frustrated; breakfast at the Saracen’s Head was served to residents only, and the landlord refused to be persuaded otherwise – even though there were plenty of empty tables.
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