Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Sunday 27 October 2019


The morning the clocks go back, and one wakes up to find an extra hour available, it seems natural to reach for the internet-abled devices, whether it's the radio stream on the phone (with headphones, so as not to annoy the neighbours) or the computer. So it was not the most pleasurable of surprises to find no wifi connection (and on the fancy fibre-optic network so many of us have signed up on in this development, too), still less to realise how temporarily bereft I felt.

By the time I thought it not too early to call their customer support, they had already put up a recorded "We're on it" announcement, and - anticlimax of the year - it was back on again reasonably quickly. But it's just another reminder of how we take so much for granted: as are so many old and recycled TV series, on the multiplicity of digital channels, where assorted plots and jokes would be impossible now, with mobile phones and the internet.

Sunday 20 October 2019

Another day, another demonstration

And it was a big one:

A family day out for quite a few:

Still some jokey signs, but some were more aggressive than others:

And the odd placard abandoned and forlorn in the passing rain:

Sunday 13 October 2019

I am counted

Today is census day. That may come as a surprise to some in the UK, but this is one of the areas chosen to test out an online census form as a rehearsal for 2021, when the next full census is due.

It probably took me about ten minutes to do, but then it's all very simple for just me. I can't remember exactly what was asked in previous censuses, and therefore what's different in this survey, but I don't think we had something asking us about what we think our "national identity" is. It'll be interesting to see what that turns up when compared with the answers to what passport(s) we hold and what our primary language is, as well as the questions one might expect on housing, work patterns and caring responsibilities. All useful for screening for comparative advantages and disadvantages, and potential discrimination, I suppose.

One thing I did notice is that we're no longer asked for a more detailed place of birth than just the country, which will probably upset keen genealogists. But who knows whether anyone will still be interested when the records are made public in 2121, even assuming anyone's still here?

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Harrumph (II)

The first (or the first to impinge on my consciousness) Christmas advert* has arrived. It would be for Disneyland.

*(overt - the perfume ads have been running since September: we all know they're aiming for the Christmas shopper, but of course they just show "aspirational" fantasies of one sort or another with brand names that don't seem to mean very much on their own, and certainly don't conjure up images of Santa and all that)

Friday 4 October 2019


The thermometers say it's not that cold, but the weather maps on TV showed a pretty blue plume of polar air descending on us. It's definitely felt like time to dig out the warm winter jacket, turn the heating on, change over to the thicker duvet, and swap over the curtains so that the thick and heavy ones no longer block out the early morning light  (such as it is) from the bedroom, but now trap colder air by the living room window, while the thin light ones stand a better chance of letting the morning light wake me up.

Which probably means it will now get warmer for a while, and there'll be the usual period of taking jackets on and off, and fiddling with the radiators to get a comfortable, even temperature.

Oh well, only three months till the days start getting longer.