Weeknote 21st January 2024

Photo of Hawksmoor menu showing Sharpeners

I’m sitting here listening to Storm Isha battering our battened hatches, and remembering Storm Eunice. I was ‘trapped’ in London for an extra day but managed to find shelter from the storm in Hawksmoor Borough. Desperate times and all that…

As a fountain pen user, I have a Sunday ritual of cleaning and filling my pens that are low on ink. I have a small (ahem) collection of Lamy Safari and Al-Star fountain pens, one of my very favourites is the Copper Orange special edition from 2015.

A collection of colourful Lamy fountain pens

It’s my favourite Lamy by far and the special edition ink Lamy released with it is both Lamy’s best ink and the best orange ink I’ve used.

Annoyingly the Copper Orange ink was only released in cartridges and so I was more than a little sad when I found the empty cartridge in my pen was my last.

I’ve ordered cartridges that were advertised as Copper Orange but turned out to be just orange before, so I didn’t hold out much hope of finding any stock online.

I found a listing on eBay and ordered with some trepidation. The parcel arrived quickly and was very well packaged which gave me some hope, surely a fraudster wouldn’t go to this much effort. Would they?

I removed the Barbour Sean The Sheep tissue paper that had been wrapped around the cartridges and… they were genuine Copper Orange. All praise the holy ink well.

I know have a stock of just 15 cartridges, but I am tempted to look for more to create my own Copper Orange ink lake.

All Flows animation

The highlight of this week was formally launching All Flows 2024.

We already have an amazing lineup of speakers, with more to follow soon. We have a very cool new website courtesy of my talented friend Richard. More importantly, we have a massive 40% off for Mega Early Bird tickets. If you are thinking of coming – book now and save some serious money.

On Saturday I had a very pleasant morning with my son; after a trip to the barbers we had coffee and then popped up to the Super Sausage Cafe for ‘brunch’ which was epic as always.

Super Sausage full English breakfast

This morning my lovely wife and I popped to Canal Street Coffeefor breakfast. The coffee was excellent as always and supplied by a new (to me) local roaster Doe and Fawn.

A cortado on a wooden tray with a view of the canal through a window behind

I have a bag of their filter coffee on order which I’m really looking forward to trying. I hope their filter is as good as their espresso – review to follow.

Weeknote 31st December 2023

New Years Eve 2023 – I must resist the urge to write a yearnote, but if I’m honest I’ll be glad to see the back of 2023 as, with the exception of a few highlights, it’s been a distinctly underwhelming year.

Back to the weeknote – this week has been a traditional Christmas with family, food and drink and rather a lot of Indiana Jones.

Having watched The Dial of Destiny, I decided to revisit the earlier films; Temple of Doom is, unsurprisingly, by far the best and it was glorious to watch a film without CGI and where all the stunts were real and so much more impressive for that.

On Friday my wife and I took advantage of a break in the weather and headed out for a walk around Stowe Gardens, which was a welcome breath of fresh air and a chance to stretch the legs and burn off a couple of pigs in blankets.

It highlighted how little I’ve moved, literally, over the last few months. I got a little bored of trudging around my local area on the same old routes that became embedded during lockdown and my employer seems to have a culture of lunchtime meetings.

Having recently been diagnosed with low Vitamin D as a result of working like a dumbass and barely leaving this desk through the summer, that will be changing in 2024.

As will where I publish my weeknotes, as I said a couple of weeks ago for 2024 I’ll be publishing them via my newsletter.

So this is the last weeknote here on my blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed them and will join me on my newsletter.

Happy New Year!

Weeknote 24th December 2023

Christmas Eve in what has been a oddly quiet December.

No Christmas Do with my employer or my suppliers boooo!

No family trip to Bruges due to my wife’s school term not finishing until the 22nd.

And through poor planning my Christmas catch ups with my friends all ended up in this week, well apart from one that isn’t free until January, and then two of the three events got torpedoed by external events. FFS…

I was due to meet a friend for lunch on Thursday but I had to cancel at the last minute as I was managing a response to a malware attack – yes really.

On Friday I should have been staying with a friend for Christmas beers but his daughter has caught Covid and being ‘high risk’ I decided not to take risk this close to Christmas.

The event that went ahead was our MK Geek Night Christmas dinner with Andy and Roo the lovely chaps that have helped us with the sound since MKGN #3. We couldn’t run MKGN without them, they are a human security blanket when it comes to managing the sound and associated technology.

We watched Love Actually for the first in many years, and enjoyed it much more than I expected. The scene with Emma Thompson and Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now is heart wrenching every single time I watch it.

My wife and I had a very pleasant lunch and wander around Cambridge on Saturday – I can highly recommend Fitzbillies mince pies and the mulled wine from the Cambridge Wine Merchants is very good indeed, even without the optional shot of whisky.

This morning my daughter and I popped over to the new Caffeine & Machine in Houghton Conquest, it was very quiet indeed but will be interesting as a more local alternative to the original C&M in Warwickshire.

The rest of the day was spent prepping for tomorrow followed by our traditional family viewing of Home Alone.

Merry Christmas ya filthy animals!

Weeknote 17th December 2023

A short weeknote for a relatively short week as I was ill for a few days.

My iMac finally sold and was collected by the new owner, it seems to be going to a good home. The longevity of Apple hardware is unique in the world of technology I feel, I do sometimes wonder why I’ve spent all this money on the Studio Display and MacBook Pro if I’m honest.

My daughter and I popped over Canal Street Coffee for a morning to get a change of scene. The light over the marina was striking as the sun came up to burn off the morning mist.

Low winter sun over Campbell Wharf

In May my friends Richard, Simon and I ran the first All Flows Festival, which was an amazing two days of fantastic talks and cool side events. I had thought I wouldn’t be able to give enough time to All Flows for 2024, but I’ve found I need an interesting, creative and rewarding distraction from my day job so I’m back on board.

Richard and Simon have done a great job lining up some fabulous speakers and we made a big decision about the venue at the end of the week – watch this space for more news early in 2024.

Weeknote 10th December 2023

I was in London for a Christmas event with a supplier on Tuesday evening. The event took place at a rooftop bar deep in the City of London – a venue I imagine would be fabulous in the summer months.

As I made my way there in a cab I noticed the names and offices of very big, very global companies that occupy the square mile and became aware of a feeling of envy of the people that work for those firms.

Not because of the companies themselves and the assumed rewards of working for such beasts, but because I’ve never felt the desire to do so. The desire to work my up in a business or an industry, the desire to suck up to the boss and to compete with my peers. I’ve never seen the attraction or felt the desire to do so. On that dark night in the City of London I wondered how my life might be now if I had.

On Thursday I co-hosted the 46th MK Geek Night, this time at a new venue The South Central Institute of Technology at MK College, Bletchley. We had the usual new venue teething problems but they were quickly ironed out and we had a great evening.

Two great talks from AJ & Ceb and my friend Documentally, superb food from the college brasserie and excellent beer from local brewer GRID Beer Project.

On Saturday we headed down to Oxford for the Oxford Triangle of coffee at Society, lunch at Mowgli Street Food and hot chocolate at Knoops.

It’s notable the impact the new modern shopping centre has had on Oxford with many empty shops on the old High Street and a feeling of slow decline and decay, not helped by the constant stream of old diesel buses that rattle through Oxford constantly.

Weeknote 3rd December 2023

Rubber Soul

I’ve been listening to Rubber Soul by The Beatles this week. I normally listen to later Beatles – Revolver onwards – but thought I’d listen backwards through their catalogue.

I found Rubber Soul interesting as it feels like a transitional album, a stepping stone between the earlier I Wanna Hold Your Hand pop Beatles to the later Sgt Peppers, spending months in the studio psychedelic Beatles. Well worth a listen.

AI Dreaming

I don’t often dream, my wife says I do but don’t remember them as everyone dreams but I’m not convinced.

Anyway, I had a fascinating dream about different AI’s going rogue, each had a cool name I can’t now remember and I was just about to be killed by one when I was woken by the alarm I’d set on our Alexa.


Books On A Train

I’d set an alarm as I was once again being dragged into the office.

The train I have to catch is always very busy and this trip was particularly annoying as I had to sit next to a non-commuter.

You can always tell somebody that isn’t used to commuting; they sit there in their coat, with their bag on the floor not the luggage rack, keep checking the time and which station we’re stopping at and generally take up too much space. When you’ve commuted for a while you learn how to coexist in relative peace with your fellow passengers.

This non-commuter did have one saving grace – he was reading a book, a real paper book.

This made nostalgic for when I started commuting in the days before Kindles and watching video on your phone which seems to be far more common now, when people read honest to goodness books.

It was fascinating as you could see what people were reading and what book was popular, I’ll always remember being on the tube and almost everybody seemed to be reading The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman.