Something For the Weekend #2

A round up of the things that caught my eye, made me smile, interested me, came in handy or taught me something this week.

A little later than normal this week, but it was a longer than normal weekend so it’s allowed. 

1. New Car Time.

I  drive a company car. I think I’m very lucky to not only have a company car but to be given the choice of some very nice cars. I know there will be lots of people who think that company cars are a bad idea because…

  • They are taxed (and the more expensive the car the more tax allowance you lose)
  • The tax you lose is money you never get back, if you were to have a car allowance at least you might own it at the end.
  • If you had a car allowance you might get more choice of what you drive (Might! A lot of companies still impose restrictions even if you are claiming an allowance)
  • There are sound financial arguments for allowance over fully paid car.


  • If I was paying for it I wouldn’t be driving something as nice as this and it is a very nice car. I have an older version at the moment and love it but the new model has all the toys – and toys are important when you spend as much of your life driving to meetings, and do as much business mileage as I do.


  • The benefit of knowing that if it needs a service, new tyres or repair I can just book it in without ever having to worry about the cost is priceless in my book.
  • Not having to pay for my own insurance is great, I know that means that ‘officially’ as a company car driver I don’t have no claims bonus if I ever buy my own car but a lot of insurance companies will take a letter of recommendation and apply some discount.
  • Knowing that if I break down I will always be able to get home/where I need to be and I’ll be given a hire car without having to pay is great for your peace of mind, especially in the middle of winter, in the middle of nowhere on a dark, wet night.
  • There is something incredibly satisfying about spending a LOT of someone else’s money on a car with the only big decision being what colour to have.
  • So… I chose Moonlight Blue. Leather seats, iPod dock, sat nav and bluetooth, all I’ve ever wanted in a car. The only thing that could have made it more perfect was if it was Red (apparently metallic paint has a better resale value so we have to have metallic and I don’t like the metallic red  – it’s a small price to pay)
  • Just waiting for the delivery date – safe to say I’m excited.


Audi A4

2. Crowdfunding.

Move over Bank Managers (is there still such a thing?), Dragons Den, Selling your soul/house/grandmother – if you have a business idea or a creative project then crowd funding is the new bank loan. Well not that new actually it’s been around for a while now. A possible early precursor of the crowdfunding business model could be the concept of collective fundraising or praenumeration, a subscription business model, which was used in the 17th century to finance publications planned but not yet printed. (read more – source – wikipedia).

Crowdfunding is a tool that allows anyone — be it startup founders, musicians, artists, students, children, or even someone in a developing country who lacks basic electricity — to attract a pool of people via the internet to invest in their business idea. A funding target is established, and rewards to backers are offered.

This new type of startup business model has the opportunity to disrupt industries and change the way we determine success and let the best ideas flourish, rather than the best access to capital. It’s exciting Read More…

I have two favourite crowd funding sites that I have and will support. Pledge Music and Unbound which cover two of the passions in my life, music and books.

The simple explanation (For Reward based Crowdfunding) is that you find a musical project, book or idea that you would like to see become reality and you pledge money, in exchange for the project or greater levels of reward and treats depending on how much you want to pledge and if it reaches it’s target amount by the end of the campaign you pay, it gets made and you get the goodies. If it doesn’t get enough pledges it doesn’t get made and you get your money back.

It’s great to be involved, even in a very small way, with helping an artist realise their ideas and much more satisfying than paying a faceless corporation money for a product that will be diluted beyond recognition by the time any of the money it makes to gets to the person who created it.

In case you need some suggestions, check these out…

She Makes War (aka Laura Kidd) – Direction of Travel

Spring Offensive – Young Animal Hearts (funded and released but worth buying)

Burlap To Cashmere.

Viddy – DIY Pinhole Camera.

There are so many great projects out there, have a look and help make an idea reality.

3. Post.

In these days of email, SMS, instant messaging, social media and all forms of instant digital communication it’s still nice to get something real, solid and touchable through the post. Especially when it’s a nice surprise.

Matt’s Mum sent us a couple of season tickets for Bletchley Park last week so we tried them out over the weekend. It was a quick visit this time and we were both feeling a bit under the weather but we will be back (We have a year to go as often as we like) I loved the Pigeons.



This Time Last Year #76

This time last year – April 24th – May 8th 2013.

Still finding my way.


This Time Last Year #75

This time last year – April 8th – April 22nd 2013

I am a number – and proud of it.



This Time Last Year #74

This time last year – March 25th – April 8th 2013

Stop Press – Man Walks Underwater!



This Time Last Year #73

This time last year – March 8th – March 22nd 2013

The Lightning Tree.

This tree (in Lower Machen nr Newport) has apparently been struck by Lightning over 50 times but still lives, blooms and buds.


This Time Last Year #72

This time last year – February 22nd – March 8th 2013

Time Flies.



Something For the Weekend #1

A round up of the things that caught my eye, made me smile, interested me, came in handy or taught me something this week.

1. Drunken Seagulls

I'm Just A Soul Who Is Misunderstood


Councils across the country are taking action to tackle the “growing menace” of aggressive seagulls, fuelled by a diet of flying ants…     Read More

I like Seagulls. I know I’m probably in a minority but when you read this article it might change your opinion a little. There has definitely been some season creep this year in the UK with flowers blooming earlier and uncharacteristic weather for the times of year and one of the results has been flying ants swarming earlier than normal. Apparently the formic acid in ants is a bit like a Tequila slammer to the average Seagull so they’ve been celebrating spring and summer by acting like a stereotypical Brit on a booze fuelled package holiday – excited, loud and annoying.

Councils around the country are trying to take action against Seagulls by Bird proofing rubbish bins and all sorts of pest control measures but Seagulls still manage to get the upper hand in most cases -

“they are wasting money on this stuff because seagulls are just too clever.”

So hats off to the Seagulls I say. If we as a nation didn’t buy so much junk food then throw the excess that we either can’t stomach or just can’t finish into bins at the roadside/seaside/service stations or, even worse, just toss from our car/van windows with no thought for the environment to litter the road and seaside then they’d have nothing to scavenge and they’d have to queue at the Kebab shops, late at night like every other badly behaved drunken Brit.

Steven Seagull

(Source Funny Melon)

2. The List Serve.

If you could send an email to 1 million people what would you say. Join ‘The Listserve‘ – you might just get the chance.

3. The Following (Series 2) and Soundtracks

This is a twofer (2for1) post. the first part is finishing the second series of The Following. Kevin Bacon (Yes I admit it, I have always has a teeny crush, ever since FootlooseTremors and Flatliners) serial killers, cults, control and just the right mix of wtf! (Lets not forget the very charismatic James Purefoy)

The second, (bonus post) is the soundtrack. There are some great songs. I don’t think it’s been released as a collection yet but it should be. This is my favourite discovery. A great cover of a great song and the perfect backdrop for the scene.

And you can (legally) download the whole album for free here. It’s one of my favourites at the moment.

4. Nostalgia.

I am on a labour of love. I have a huge box of old negatives that have been gathering dust (literally) for decades. I also have a huge box of old photographic prints that have been equally neglected.

The Plan.

Scan all of the negs into my Mac

Match the negs to the physical prints and then delete the negs that I have prints for (maybe a little photoshop/manipulation on any that lend themselves to it first)

Put the prints that I want to keep in Photo Albums

Print the negs that I don’t have prints for and add those to the photo albums.

Bin/delete the rest.

It could take a while – there are some very big boxes, lots of years, lots of photographs and lots of memories good and bad. Deleting/binning may be easier said than done. There’s a lot of history in those photographs.