Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014 Round-up

Well, 2014 is just about over, so it’s as good a time as any (well, better than most, really) for the annual summary thingy.


Let’s look at the numbers first, shall we:

January 1: 224 pounds (16 stone, 101.6 kg)
December 31: 216.7 pounds (15 stone 6.7 pounds, 98.3 kg)

That’s an actual drop of 7.3 pounds (3.3kg), which is the best I’ve done since 2011. Still got a long way to go, but I have a Cunning Plan which may help.


I’ve made the lowest number of posts in any full year since the site began. This either means I’ve been too busy to think of things to post, or I’m just running out of steam. Either way, at least readers had a better chance of keeping up with just 484 posts this year

2003: 2 posts
2004: 515 posts
2005: 576 posts
2006: 620 posts
2007: 747 posts
2008: 833 posts
2009: 718 posts
2010: 717 posts
2011: 770 posts
2012: 665 posts
2013: 607 posts
2014: 484 posts


I consolidated my Fujification by replacing two earlier cameras with the excellent X-T1. I started learning to play the guitar, though that’s been a bit neglected over the last couple of months. A further Cunning Plan is in place to get things moving there.

And finally…

Happy New Year to anyone and everyone who reads this stuff.

December 2014 Round-up

Ah. December appears to be giving up and going home, which means it has to be time for the ever-popular monthly summary.


It’s been another month of fluctuations

December 1: 217 pounds (15 stone 7 pounds, 98.4 kg)
December 31 : 216.7 pounds (15 stone 6.7 pounds, 98.3 kg)

That’s a statistically insignificant drop of 0.3 pounds (0.1kg). But at least it’s not a rise…


Well, it’s December, innit? Office party, meals with suppliers, Christmas in Wales, etc, etc….


Some moderate walks, but could do better….


The total, once I’ve done the annual thingy to follow this monthly thingy, will be 42, which is more or less average for this year.


Apart form the Hexham photowalk, it’s been a mostly uneventful month, which is quite normal…

Weight and Stuff Report – 31 December 2014

Back up a bit today, in a typical end of month, and indeed year, manner. but never mind. After a quick bit of shopping this morning[1], I decided to take the X-T1 for a final walk of the year. By the time I got to Newcastle, it was beginning to be a bit dull and overcast, which took some of my enthusiasm away, so I didn’t stay long. In any case, I wanted to be out of the city centre before it got crowded (there’s a parade thingy on, which might be nice, but it would involve too many people…).

The step count today comes from the iPhone rather than the Fitibit. My shiny new and allegedly better Fitbit appears to have died, possibly due to being even less waterproof than claimed. After having worn it in the shower (which should have been OK), it developed condensation and then a tendency to drain the battery in nothing flat. I’ll be taking that up with Fitbit later….

Today’s photo is a last look at something that’s likely to change. For many years, it’s been a fun thing to take photographs of the fragmented reflections in the glass wall around the Blackett Street end of Eldon Square shopping centre. But that end is to be redone as a restaurant quarter, with actual windows, so these reflections are likely to become unavailable. So here’s one I took today:

Time is running out

Time is running out

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/9
Shutter speed: 1/40s
Focal length: 56mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 31 December, 2014


[1] Croissants for tomorrow :grin:

Weight and Stuff Report – 30 December 2014

Well, after a week away, my weight is pretty much the same as before I went. Shock, horror, etc.

I had a lazy morning, then went out to Tesco’s for some food shopping, then went to Newcastle to get some other things I may talk about when I’ve had time to play with them.

Today’s photo is one I took on the Saturday before Christmas, when I abandoned my visit to Tynemouth due to unexpected tiredness. Before I went there, I did take a few shots in Central Arcade, which was looking quite festive:

Central Arcade

Central Arcade

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/5
Shutter speed: 1/30s
Focal length: 56mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 20 December, 2014

Stuff Report – 29 December 2014

And here I am back home at Losing it HQ, after a week back home in Wales. If you see what I mean.

Today’s journey involved a train from Pencoed to Cheltenham and then another one from Cheltenham to Newcastle. This isn’t necessarily the quickest way of doing it, as there’s a 35-40 minute wait at Cheltenham, but it’s the least stressful, as it has just the one change, and doesn’t involve the Draughty Shed in the Middle of Nowhere[1] or the 13th Circle of Heck[2].

The fun started when the cattle truck train arrived at Pencoed. It was full. Mutter. So, I had to stand as far as Cardiff. Mutter. At Cardiff, the train emptied, and I could then sit down for the rest of the journey. It arrived at Cheltenham in plenty of time for me to get (and eat) a sarnie (egg and bacon). The next train would have been on time, but was delayed by delayed trains in front of it. But it turned up in reasonable time.

Well, half of it did, anyway. I know this train – it’s the one I usually get when I come back from Bristol. It’s supposed to leave there as a double set – two four coach trains joined together[3], but what arrived was a normal four coach train, which did not include the bit with the coach I was booked into. So guess what? It was full! And as I’d just got on where I could, I had to stand for about 40 minutes until we got to the 13th Circle of Heck, where I was able to battle my way along the platform[4] and get into position for the second bit of the train which was attached there. As I’d invested £20 in a “weekend first upgrade”, I happily took my seat in the almost empty first class coach in the newly attached bit of train.

And it was nice. Wider seats (only three across in a 2+1 configuration), plenty of legroom (my usual problem with long train journeys, and I’m not even all that tall), free Wifi and a free cup of tea with biscuits[5]. The coach remained mostly empty all the way to Newcastle, and was nicely quiet, too. If the normal first class fare wasn’t so high, I’d go for it every time…

One of the pleasures of the route I took is passing under the Severn Bridge, which looks quite lovely in its bright white paint (it was dull grey when I was younger). I got a very bad photo with my phone (too much reflection off the windows), which I’ll share with you now:

Severn Bridge

Severn Bridge

Camera: iPhone 5s
Aperture: ƒ/2.2
Shutter speed: 1/1250s
Focal length: 4.15mm
ISO: 32
Taken: 29 December, 2014
Location: 51° 36.7967′ 0″ N 2° 40.5075′ 0″ W

[1] Sometimes known as Bristol Parkway
[2] Sometimes known as Birmingham New Street, which I’m sure will be very nice when they finish the building works some time in the next 30 years or so
[3] Quiet separate – the only way to get from one part to the other is to get out and walk along the outside. Fro safety reasons, it is not advised to do this when the train is moving.
[4] Not too many casualties
[5] Apparently more food is served outside the holiday period, but I was quite happy with the tea

Stuff Report – 28 December 2014

Looks like being another quiet day in[1], so I’ll do this now. Errr, nothing to report. So here’s another photo from Hexham:

Traditional Shops

Traditional Shops

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/50s
Focal length: 18mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 13 December, 2014

I’m not entirely convinced that the tattoo studio’s signs are in keeping with the building and general surroundings…

[1] It’s a bit cold out there…

Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman – Good Omens

I should have re-read and reviewed this book as part of my Great Terry Pratchett Re-read-athon last year. But having got through all the Discworld books, the virtual pile[1] of unread new books was giving me sad looks, and I was obliged to start catching up with those. And then there’s the little matter of new books appearing all the time, which distract my attention even further. But all the publicity attached to the BBC Radio adaptation of Good Omens reminded me that it’s been a while[2] since I read it, and the Christmas break seemed like a good opportunity to right that wrong. Rather than carry my first edition (I think) hardback (definitely) with me, I invested in a new Kindle edition, which comes with a new introduction and extra bits at the end, so it was worth having.

Anyway, enough digression, and on with the book. It’s all about Armageddon: the end of the world, the Final Battle between Heaven and Hell, and how that all gets a wee bit disrupted thanks to a slight error in the baby-swapping department. Instead of being brought up as the son of an American diplomat, the Antichrist ends up in an English village, which by no coincidence at all is also home to a descendant of the remarkable witch Agnes Nutter, noted for making entirely accurate prophecies which can only be recognised as such after the events in question.

Much silliness and fun follows, mostly centred around the Angel Aziraphale and the Demon Crowley, who rather in the manner of opposing secret agents, have found over the last few thousand years that they have more in common with each other than with their respective management structures. Crowley, having spent a lot of time with humans, and having realised that left alone, they’ll do much nastier things to each other than all the demons of Hell can think up, has moved on to more subtle work

But demons like Ligur and Hastur wouldn’t understand. They’d never have thought up Welsh-language television, for example. Or value-added tax. Or Manchester.

There’s fun with the remains of the Witchfinder Army (run by both Aziraphale and Crowley) and even more fun with aliens:

You do know you could find yourself charged with being a dominant species while under the influence of impulse-driven consumerism, don’t you?

But the core of the book has to be the misplaced Antichrist Adam and his group of friends (known as the Them), who are quite blatantly inspired by Just William[3], and don’t act or speak like any real kids. Oh, and there’s a Hellhound, too.

But enough of my waffling – you need to read this, or maybe listen to the radio version, which is reportedly Rather Good, having been observed by Neil Gaiman.

The extra bits include an introduction about the unexpected popularity of the book, the definitive Facts about Good Omens, a bit by Terry about Neil and a bit by Neil about Terry[4].

One bit missing is the possibly apocryphal story that at some point not that long after the book was published, one or both of the authors came up with a title for the sequel that never happened: 664: The Neighbour of the Beast. I think somebody else may have used it by now…

And by a remarkable coincidence, I seem to have written 666 words, which is a good point to stop.

[1] I have a collection on my Kindle called “To read”. It’s got lots in it, rather like the piles of actual books I need to get around to.
[2]  Well, I certainly read it when it was published in 1990, and probably again a year or two later, so it’s probably been twenty years or more…
[3] Younger readers and furriners: a series of books about a group of kids who get into “adventures” and generally annoy all adults while having the best of intentions. Mostly.
[4] Those two might have been in the original edition, but I can’t check from here.

Stuff Report – 27 December 2014

My brother[1] and I headed to West Wales today to visit our other brother and his family. Laughs were had, food was eaten, and then we came back.

Here’s another view of Hexham:



Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/125s
Focal length: 14mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 13 December, 2014

[1] Hi Geoff  :wave: