Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Masonry paint

I cannot recommend this Leyland Truguard Pliolite based masonry paint highly enough:

It fills in small surface cracks, keeps its colour and lasts several years in the wettest of weather conditions. It is available at Johnstone's Leyland Decorating Centres, see here:

Not only that, but I ordered some more yesterday afternoon from the Bristol (St Phillips) Decorating Centre and it was delivered free of charge this morning at 9am (Christmas Eve)!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Cadence & Continuo in Provence

Had a lovely week in Provence. We were based in Avignon and visited a lot of places. More details can be found on the Cadence page of my website. Within 20 minutes of posting my YouTube video of the Roman arena at Nimes, a frenchman corrected me. It was at Arles not Nimes!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Robert Peston

If you are interested in the current goings on in the financial world, BBC's Robert Peston is a key reporter and his blog can be found here:

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Cotswold Way

At last, I completed the Cotswold Way last Friday.

Here is the last leg:
Cotswold Way Old Sodbury to Bath at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

I have put a page on my website about the Cotswold Way, see here.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Hear Here! Beat the Clock

Test your classical music knowledge here! Warning: it is addictive!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Ospreys in South Lakeland

Are there ospreys in South Lakeland? They have been reported there in the Beacon Fell log book and also in the Westmorland Gazette. I reckon I saw one on my last visit to the Lake District around Beacon Fell.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Radio 4 For One Night Only - The Prom of Peace

Quite ironic that this was on the radio today with Russia in Georgia - and even more ironic at the time when a Russian soloist and orchestra were playing Czech music during the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia (as it was then) in 1968.

More Czech music at the Proms tonight and next Thursday.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Extreme Cellists

I've heard it all now - on BBC radio 4's 6 o'clock news tonight in fact: - four peaks challenge!

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Vodafone 1615

I thought I would put a few of my experiences down for my future reference and maybe it will be of some help to others.

I wanted to upgrade my phone and PDA to a single unit which could browse the internet, send and receive e-mails, take photos (ideally geotagged), have an inbuilt GPS for Google Maps, TomTom, Anquet, etc, have normal PDA functionality with notes, calendar and contacts, and of course make phone calls! Not a lot to ask. Oh, a sliding keyboard would be nice as well. But I also wanted to stay with the Vodafone network as it gives me the best coverage where I live and also in the Lake District.

So off I went to the Vodafone shop in the Mall one day and put the question to them. They hadn't heard of geotagging, but they recommended the Vodafone 1615 which is the HTC TyTN II, which had TomTom installed so I guessed it had a GPS. However, they hadn't got one in to show me. So I went to PC World and found a Vodafone salesman and he agreed that the Vodafone 1615 fitted the bill. They had got one in and I signed up for one there and then.

There is a long story which I won't go into about how I switched telephone numbers so I could use my old mobile number of the new phone. Anyway, that was successful eventually and I needed to switch the SIM cards over.

That was several weeks ago now and I have been having fun ever since trying to see how to use different sofware. People might be interested in each of them and the problems I have been having and in most cases the solutions.

Windows Mobile
I found that Windows Mobile 6.1 is now available from Vodafone (see here). I am always keen to upgrade software wherever possible as the latest software is usually an improvement - better functionality and fewer bugs. You need to back up the whole of the contents of the phone's memory (not the card) or be sure you can recover the contents by synchronizing from your PC Outlook, files and programs, etc. This can be a pain but is not a bad idea from time to time as it gives you an opportunity of throwing out files or programs you don't use or need. The only problem I have had with the new version is that the GPS Photo function was turned off. I found that you can turn it back on by hacking into the registry using Mobile Registry Editor and changing a value. See here.

The latest version is 4.5 and it still has problems with large amounts of data. I have had a problem with certain error codes when synchronizing. I have a large number of contacts, e-mail folders and calendar entries. I think the problem was down to the e-mail folders. (Typing in the error code got a number of threads. These were not complimentary to activesync and WM6, but seemed to point to e-mail synching.) I have disabled synchronizing e-mails as I can get e-mail directly from the phone. However, I had to reduce the folders and re-establish a new connection before it worked properly. I have since increased the number of folders with no problem.

Pocket Anquet now works properly on my machine. I have been in e-mail correspondence with them to solve some problems. Even though this is a phone, I needed to load the PocketPC version of Anquet. I have managed to get the GPS to talk to Anquet and obtain a GPS position and tracklogs by using GpsGate (see below). The tracklogs can be uploaded to Anquet on a PC, saved as a .gpx file and uploaded to EveryTrail.

Google Maps
This is a relevation. I can see where I am using Google map and satellite views. It would be good if this had a tracklogging facility.

Anquet suggested that I needed something like Franson GpsGate so that multiple applications could use the GPS data. I have installed this. It has the additional functionality of creating an NMEA logging file on the phone (and even on a website, so that your movements can be tracked by someone else - sounds useful for trekking!). Also, an NMEA file can be read by EveryTrail.

This is also a relevation. With the GPS Photo option, you can add information to a picture which records where it was taken. If you upload the photos to Flickr, for example, Flickr (limit 100Mb per month) can show the pictures on a map (a Yahoo map) exactly where they were taken. You can load them directly to EveryTrail as well and show them on your tracks. Picasa can also show photos on a map (limit 1Gb), but this time it is a Google map, which is much better, but it doesn't seem to be automatic - you've got to place them by hand - and they can't be imported to EveryTrail.)

Here is my first tracklog with photos on Everytrail using the phone: My wish is that Anquet will be able to do the same thing on an OS map using their new MARS system when it has been launched.

Microsoft Money
Microsoft do not support a Pocket PC version which can be synchronized with old versions of Money. Shame on them! So the only way I have found to do it is using Ultrasoft Money. I am trying this out on trial and it looks as though it does the same as Pocket Money.

TomTom Navigator
This program comes free with the phone. However, you can only get one free map (in my case I downloaded Bath which includes the Bristol area). Anywhere else you have to pay for.

ActiveSync 4.5 assumes you want to sync Media files. This takes a very long time and requires a lot of space. Unless you want to use your phone as an mp3 player or view videos, I would disable this and only copy across files you want manually.

Another 'nice to have' feature is to be able to blog from the phone. I have used Mail-to-Blogger, and this works, but Vodafone doesn't support blogger mobile (sending messages to

This seems to be the weakest link. With the GPS on, the battery was 50% down after 2 hours use. It takes a long time to recharge as well. I have got an extended battery which doesn't seem a big improvement. It adds to the thickness and weight of the phone. I have been told of iDOL which I might consider at some future date.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Cardiff Philharmonic

Sang in Mahler's Symphony no 2 with the Cardiff Philharmonic last night at St David's Hall, Cardiff (see here) - absolutely fabulous! There were 116 members in the orchestra and 200 singers. There are rumours of the Verdi Requiem next year - yes, please!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

The Gloucestershire Society

Sang Mattins with Cadence for the Gloucestershire Society at this lovely little church in Ozleworth Park. Lunch at the Gumstool (Calcot Manor) afterwards - fantastic!

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Harry Christophers and The Sixteen

Saw Harry Christophers and The Sixteen tonight at Tewkesbury Abbey. They are on their choral pilgrimage around the country singing music of 16th century Tudor England. This is highly recommended, superb singing in superb surroundings - go and see them if you get the chance.

Severn Bridges

Took Dexter to the Severn Estuary at Aust this afternoon. This is a panoramic view between the two bridges. I am uploading more pictures on his blog.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Bluebells and cowslips

Found both this afternoon at Sheepcombe and Lower Hazel.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Mahler's Resurrection Symphony

Members of the Alveston Singers and Thornbury Choral Society are joining the Cardiff Philharmonic Chorus in a performance of Mahler's Symphony No 2 ("Resurrection") on 20 June. See Cardiff Philharmonic for details of the concert. This piece is 97th in this year's Classic FM Hall of Fame. It should be near the top - a truly inspirational work. Here is the fifth movement in which the choir will be singing, divided into 4 parts on YouTube. The choir starts to sing at 1 minute into the third part.


Did you smell the 'euro-whiff'? I did last night at about midnight and I live in South Gloucestershire! See the BBC and Telegraph websites.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Free compost bin

Whilst searching for the best price for a compost bin, I found this recyclenow website. You can get a free 220 litre compost bin here if you live in South Gloucestershire. Or you can find out what special offers there are in your area here.

Sunday, 13 April 2008


In church today, Dr Anne Spargo in her last sermon with us, reminded us of the fable of the chicken and the pig:
One day the chicken said to the pig, 'Hey, I've got a brilliant idea. The two of us should go into a business partnership.'
'Great,' said the pig, 'but what sort of business?'
'Oh, I don't know ... how about the bacon and egg business?'
'Well, that seems like a good idea, let me think about that,' said the pig. 'Wait a minute, though - it's okay for you to produce eggs, but for me to produce bacon I'd have to give up my life.'
'That's right,' said the chicken, coldly.
Well worth remembering the difference between contribution and commitment.

Yesterday, on Any Questions, Archbishop Sentamu reminded the Radio4 audience of Archbishop William Temple's saying: "Coincidences seem to occur much more frequently when I pray".

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Gift Aid

It was expected that when the income tax rate was to reduce by 2% to 20% on 6 April this year that the tax reclaimed on Gift Aided contributions to charities would correspondingly be reduced. This is not the case. The welcome news for all charities is that they can continue to reclaim 22%. This came out in the 2008 budget: the additional 2% is called transitional relief.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Alveston Weather

Just found this cool website. Should be of interest to anyone in Alveston with an eye on the weather! I cannot find out who runs it though?!

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Classic FM Hall of Fame - results

Further to my previous entry here the results are now out and the top 3 are:

1 Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending
2 Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2
3 Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

It couldn't be that this year is the 50th anniversary of Vaughan Williams' death that has something to do with it? (Note: the Alveston Singers are singing his Benedicite in June.)

My top 3 were:
1 Beethoven: Violin Concerto
2 Mozart: Requiem
3 Handel: Messiah
and they were placed 45th, 19th and 20th respectively.

The Apprentice

The Apprentice starts again tonight at 9pm on BBC1.

Archbishop Robert Runcie

Just heard this on tonight's Radio 4 comedy programme (The Museum of Curiosity):

Baron Runcie (former Archbishop of Canterbury) said: "the church is like a swimming pool; all the noise is at the shallow end". Very true!

Monday, 17 March 2008

Start the Week

Listening to Start the Week with Andrew Marr. One of his guests is Simon Russell Beale, the actor, who was a chorister at St Paul's Cathedral. He is starting a new series called Sacred Music on BBC4 starting on Good Friday at 8pm and Easter Day at 8.30pm featuring the award-winning choir The Sixteen, conducted by its founder Harry Christophers. Must see!

Monday, 10 March 2008

BBC Music Magazine

Reminder to myself - I must get it!
Informed by the BDOA of the April issue of the BBC Music Magazine. The free CD is of David Briggs playing
Vierne's Organ Symphony No 3, and Widor's Symphony No 5, plus a 5 minute improvisation by David Briggs on the bell chime of St Sernin Basilica, Toulouse, where this recording is made. It is a recording on the magnificent original Cavaille-Coll instrument.

Tewkesbury Abbey

I visited Tewkesbury Abbey for the first time on Saturday. Why I have not visited this splendid place before, I just do not know. Anyway, having a friend stay for the weekend was an ideal excuse to go, and I recommend a visit to this Norman abbey.

Friday, 29 February 2008

Converting .mov files to .avi files

Videoclips on digital cameras tend to be .mov files which can be played by QuickTime. However, if you want to edit them using Windows Movie Maker, they need to be converted into .avi files first. You can do this by purchasing QuickTime Pro, or for free by using RAD Video Tools. If at first the latter does not work, try different compression types. I use Intel Indeo for my Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 camera clips.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

New BBC homepage

Just looked at the BBC homepage. You can now customise it - very useful.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Mock the Week

Hilarious clips from Mock the Week, currently being repeated on BBC2.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

On my doorstep

Found this frog on my front doorstep wanting to come in after choir practice (mine not its!).

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Karl Jenkins: The Armed Man

Attended a workshop to rehearse and perform this work with Thornbury Choral Society today at Thornbury Baptist Church - excellent work, excellent conducting (Steven Kings), excellent venue!

Excess Baggage

Did you listen to this morning's Excess Baggage programme on BBC Radio 4? Included was a feature on the Island Man who is the first person to sleep on all of the 162 Scottish islands over forty hectares (as featured in this book - must put it on my wish list). You can hear Mendelssohn's Overture "The Hebrides" (Fingal's Cave) here:

Friday, 8 February 2008

Embedded routes and photos on walking logs

I would really like to do what you can do with EveryTrail (see earlier posts) with OS mapping.

The Ordnance Survey have just announced the launch of OpenSource for developers. This looks like rather hard work unless you are used to Java programming.

Anquet tell me that they are soon to launch something similar to EveryTrail but with OS mapping so I will be interested to see how that pans out. However, there are licensing restrictions with showing OS maps on websites, so I will be getting in touch with OS to see exactly what the situation is. Watch this space.

The demise of the British pub?

Listened to You and Yours on BBC Radio 4 at lunchtime. You can listen again here at BBC iPlayer. There was mention of the Black Swan in Ravenstonedale which the BAsWC have used as a base for memorable walks in the Howgills. Is diversifying the way forward for the country pub?

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Lunar eclipse

The next lunar eclipse is on 21 February at about 3am! See wikipedia for more information.
Here is a YouTube film of the one on 3 March 2007 taken from Bristol!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Another test of EveryTrail

A Cotswold Way leg last month. The software is a bit quirky and takes some getting used to, but I haven't found anything better yet....
Cotswold Way Cleeve Hill to Stanway at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:Share GPS tracks


Experimenting with this EveryTrail website after a walk yesterday. This is the result. Looks very useful. You can upload a GPS route with digital photos and the photos will be marked on a Google Earth map using the clock in each! I suppose this is a form of geotagging. Note that Google Earth now has a 'terrain' option.
River Severn walk at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:Share GPS tracks
I have started to use this for my walklog.

Here is a YouTube demo of EveryTrail:

Friday, 1 February 2008

Avalanche awareness quiz

Click above for a very useful quiz from Glenmore Lodge.

Pancake Day is on Tuesday!

Something I found in a YouTube news item on the BBC website:

Look up other videos by Provster Productions - hilarious.
You might like to look up this website as well:

Satmap Active 10 GPS

At last a dedicated GPS with OS mapping! See here.
Here are two reviews/discussions: here and here.
It is also reviewed by Trail Magazine here:

You can win one here at
You can subscribe to YouTube channels Trail Magazine and Country Walking Magazine for more useful videos.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008


I have started to publish some freebies on my website. You can access them here.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Rachmaninov's 'Bogoroditsye Devo'

Another favourite choral piece of mine. There are several versions on YouTube, but I think this is the best - Melbourne University Choral Society singing in Melbourne Cathedral.

Alveston Parish Plan

If you live here in the parish of Alveston, you are being asked to complete a questionnaire. This is a project funded and managed independently of the Parish Council. I recommend it be completed as they are key inputs for the production of a plan that our community can follow to improve the way we live.

While searching, I have found this Alveston Parish walk which mentions White Cottage (an old dressmaker's workroom). This guide has some interesting local history, including the fact that Alveston is derived from ‘Alwihs Stone’, probably a neolithic stone.

Extreme Dreams

Have you been watching Ben Fogle and Extreme Dreams on BBC2 which is currently on every weekday evening at 6.30pm? You can watch the programmes on BBCi Player for 7 days after the programme. Although I find it irritating to watch/fast-forward 8 minutes of repeat at the beginning of each programme and several 'still to come...' previews, plus a preview of the following day, this week has been particularly interesting for me, having just been to Nepal myself! Highly recommended for the scenery but one wonders why the people (including a brave lady with lupus) are chosen to go and then I found an answer here, as I suspect! There is a thread on the newsgroup uk.rec.walking here. I have lost count the number of times that Ben is 'worried'.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Aerial flight over the Lake District

Found this YouTube video of a flight over the Lake District starting from Cark and flying over the Crake Valley, Coniston Water, Dow Crag and Goatswater, Wastwater, Great Gable, Scafell Pike and Helvellyn. Can you spot my holiday home (Lingmell)?

Thursday, 24 January 2008


Just discovered this site (internet radio station devoted to organ music). Worth a visit by all organists and anyone interested in organ music.

I was doing a search for Ian Tracey, Liverpool Cathedral to find this DVD which has been recommended to me. (Scroll down to PRDVD1.)

Royal Mail

Did you know you can buy and print stamps with address labels at home for letters and parcels? See here. You can also find a postcode here.

Classic FM Hall of Fame

Closing date for entries is midnight on Sunday 27 January. I put my entry in today as follows:

1 Beethoven - Violin Concerto

2 Mozart - Requiem

3 Handel - Messiah

Saturday, 19 January 2008

NHS Blood and Transplant

You can sign up online here for National Blood Service and here for UK Transplant.

Eric Whitacre

Heard this piece ("Sleep") yesterday on ClassicFM, so searched for it on YouTube. There are a number of videos; here is one.

This reminds me that I heard his "Lux Aurumque" some time ago and made a note to buy it some day. (I think I may have ordered it from Britannia Music Club, but then they went bust.) Here is the composer conducting it in a recording session.

Both are on this CD:and can be bought here: Amazon or CastleClassics.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Save Windows XP

Are you happy that Microsoft are ceasing support of Windows XP in June?

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Petrol prices

Have you a thing about petrol prices? Here is a useful site:, which you need to sign up to free of charge, but it gives you the cheapest fuel prices within a given radius of a given postcode. One day, this site may carry some clout.

It Pays to Watch

Did you see last week's programme on five? This is the first in a series. This website shows additional web only footage. The programme features Martin Lewis who has his own website You can also subscribe to the Moneysavingexpert YouTube channel .

Saturday, 5 January 2008


Spent the New Year in Suffolk. Highlights were:

The Froize Inn

Orford Church & Castle

Here are the graves of Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and Imogen Holst in the churchyard there:
The Golden Key in Snape

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Internet CD shops

I have been a member of Britannia Music Club for many years and have had good terms as a result. However, they have now gone out of business, so I have had to look elsewhere. Before Christmas, I put in a large order with Castle Classics. They have been able to get all my requests, with good customer service, although there have been some delays.