One of my photos

Movin’ on up

July 23rd, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

After six months of riding aroud on my 50cc scooter, I bought a ‘proper’ motorbike, and then did the CBT so I would be allowed to ride it. Unfortunately, I completely did my back in soon after the CBT by over-doing it on the allotment, and it is only in the last couple of days I have felt limber enough to get on the new bike. Because it is the getting on and off that is the problem. The riding probably would have been OK.

This has all been very frustrating for Jayne, who also got a bike and wanted to go out on rides together, and isn’t too keen on having to slow down enough for me to keep up on my little scooter. All is OK now though. We have had a couple of little uns out and I am starting to feel a bit more confident – and used to having a clutch where I am used to having a rear brake.

Here are the His & hers bikes in Balcombe, where we took a little ride to this evening. Mine is the red one.

Jayne’s Hoodlum and my YBR

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Pride – part two

July 13th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Having complained about the concept, I have to admit to the sin of pride today, and it was certainly not for any achievement of mine. Rather it was vicarious pride in our daughter’s achievement as she picked up her master’s degree today. I may try to be cool about it, but I know I am not because I find myself just happening to mention it all the time and grabbing every opportunity to shoe-horn it into any conversation. [Read more →]

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July 13th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

The word ‘pride’ has been flying around a lot lately, especially about the England football team. It is a word I try to avoid and I have never really thought about why. I guess it is partly because I try to be modest and pride is sort of the opposite to that. It is partly because I feel that aif you are proud of something you ought to be at least partly responsible for it.

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Lenovo fanboy

June 19th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Technology

I bought a new mobile phone last week. After several Sony Xperias I went for a new Moto G6 after finally acknowledging that my eyes and fingers don’t cope so well on a compact phone I wanted something bigger, but the big Sonys are a bit pricey.

When I turned it on I was greeted with “Hello Moto” and at the side of the screen it said Lenovo. I had not realised that Lenovo had bought out Motorola’s phones so I now have a Lenovo desktop PC, a Lenovo tablet and a Lenovo phone, which all makes me look a bit of a fanboy. I’m not even a big fan of Lenovo. I can’t stand the Thinkpads and was so glad when the work one got upgraded to an HP.

But I suppose they must be good for something because each decision was based on a compromise between capabilty/features and price and in each case the Lenovo hit the sweet spot. Having said that, if I decide to replace my home laptop I will be amazed if I end up completing the set.

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Motorcycle emptiness

June 1st, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Well Jayne and I did our CBT yesterday and it did not go well. Apparently we are not yet at the standard where we are not a danger to ourselves and the rest of humanity if we go out on a motorbike. Fair enough. Neither of us had ridden a geared motorbike before and trying to get the hang of a totally new thing in your 50’s in just a couple of hours is a bit of a big ask.

On the plus side, we both really enjoyed it and I am thinking about getting a ‘proper’ motorbike instead of a bigger scooter. As I was only intending to get a 125 scooter I and have been riding my 50cc scooter on the roads for months I could have got a CBT on a twist-and-go with no trouble but I thought it might be more fun to have a challenge, but also keep my options open.

It turned out that when I was not in the wrong gear, riding a bike was good fun, and it was easier to work up through the gears than I expected. I also found it easier to get my leg over (oo-er missus) and get on the bike than I thought it would be. So now I am parking the plans to get a Peugeot Speedfight 4 or Honda PCX scooter and thinking about a second-hand Honda or Yamaha bike instead.

Having said that, I intend to keep using the scooter around town a bit until such time as the oldest grandson is old enough to use it in about 5 or 6 years, but it will mean that I will have a car, a motorbike, a scooter and a pushbike which is a bit OTT considering that I do my daily commute by walking.

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Goodbye 70s

May 28th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

Its a sad week this week, because Absolute Radio 70’s has stopped broadcasting on DAB. Sad because that has been my go-to station for playing music to fall asleep to on the bedside DAB radio. It is a well-established fact (in my mind) that the 70’s were when music was at its peak and everything has been downhill since then so I can’t understand why this would be booted off DAB, leaving no station specialising in the 70’s but several stations of religious and Asian programming.

I’m really not sure what to go for now. My favourite station is Radio 6 Music, but that can get a bit avante garde at the time I want to go to sleep. Jayne is OK with the mainstream 70’s music but would kick off with some of the stuff on Nemone’s Electric Ladyland or the Freakzone. Planet Rock would be my next choice but while I find rock music soothing, Jayne might not agree, which would rule out Kerrang as well.

I can’t face Heart, Smooth or Magic so I worry that I might end up with Radio Two.

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Parliament back in business!

May 28th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

I was a little surprised to see an album by Parliament listed in the new releases section of Spotify. I can’t claim to be any sort of expert on the band, and could never really keep track of all the various combinations of Parliament, Funkadelic, Parliament-Funkadelic, and P-Funk, but I do like a bit of bit of funk.

I had a look on Wikipedia to see if the album Medicaid Fraud Dogg is new stuff or just some re-hash of old stuff and it is actually  a new album – the first in 38 years!

I was more than a bit amused to see right at the top of the Wikipedia page it says “Not to be confused with Funkadelic or Parliament-Funkadelic”. That is a big ask. In the second paragraph of the band history it says how George Clinton formed Funkadelic as a group of 5 musicians with 5 singers from his old band, The Parliaments,  as guests and then re-launched The Parliaments as just Parliament with the same 10 people, concluding with “Clinton was now the leader of two different acts, Parliament and Funkadelic, which featured the same members but were marketed as creating two different types of funk.”

But don’t get confused! As for the album itself, it is 107 minutes spread across 23 tracks and I think you could edit it down to a brilliant 45-minute album.

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What the fip?

May 23rd, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

I’m not sure what to make of the new ‘listening report’ feature on

Generally I am happy to just listen to music without analysing it all, but it is sometimes fun to look into the statistics and get a few surprises. For example, I was a little surprised to see that last week I listened to 62 different artists on Spotify but the one I listened to the most (16 tracks) was Simian Mobile Disco.

Most surprising was the map of genres listened to. A lot of it was as expected: krautrock, rock, punk, grime, classic rosk, synthpop, indie, new wave, ska, but very surprised to not see reggae, rap and soul in there – unless some of it counted as “70s” because I tend to stick to the old stuff. Amongst all those genres there was one big surprise though: apparently around about April 20th I listened to a fair bit of fip.

Surprising because I have never even heard of it. In fact I went to look it up on Wikipedia and I still don’t understand what it means. FIP is a French radio station, and the genre seems to be defined as the sort of music played on FIP, which plays various genres.

Somehow I feel that I know a little bit less than I did yesterday.

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Busy weekend

May 7th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

We have had a busy and eventful weekend, by our standards. [Read more →]

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Mouldy Old Dough

April 17th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

Today’s suggestions for me on Spotify included an album by Lieutenant Pigeon called “Mouldy Old Dough and other hits“. I do hope the title is tongue-in-cheek or it is re-defining the definitions of “hits” and “other” as well as the concept of plurals.

I was interested enough to look them up on Wikipedia and found that they did actually have one other hit after Mouldy Old Dough – Desperate Dan, which reached number 17 in the charts. I wasn’t interested enough to actually listen to either on Spotify though, not when there are Tom Tom Club remixes and a new Manic Street Preachers album to play instead.

Not that I stayed completely in my comfort zone. I also came across a new album collaboration between Sly & Robbie and some Norwegian jazz musicians called Nordub. Who knew that dub reggae and jazz trumpet would work so well together?

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