Week from Monday 4th September 2017

Suddenly, there's a lot of STEELY DAN coming out of the radio, because WALTER BECKER has gone and died. I'm not expecting mass hysterical outpourings of grief from the general public on this one, at least not on the BOWIE SCALE. I was more than a little bit miffed to hear someone - presumably one equipped with a pair of cloth ears - dismiss the Dan's music as 'YACHT ROCK'. (Even further down the celebrity ladder, some bloke from MOLLY HATCHETT has also just died. I'm almost embarrassed to admit I had to G**gle to find out who they were. I'm still not sure if I'm any the wiser. Did I see them at the Marquee or Reading once?) But it would be true to say that STEELY DAN's perfect jazz-pop DOES mean rather a lot to me, so I shall be a little bit sad today.

DREAM DIARY... Down by the seaside... There is a concrete 'swimming channel' running along the prom, possibly the remains of what used to be a 'log flume' ride, in which guys swim-race while pushing their family in a rubber raft... There are various red lines marking where people of different heights might get 'out of their depth'... a DOUBLE 'panic-dream' then! The anxiety of social interaction AND the fear of drowning!

...and JOHN ABERCROMBIE... Oh no! and HOLGER CZUKAY! There can be only a tiny handful of artists who have not only REINVENTED how music is made, but how we hear it as well. HOLGER CZUKAY was definitely one of those. If it wasn't for them zany krautrockers like Can showing me what was POSSIBLE outside the norm, I doubt that I, as a 'non-musician', would ever have found ways to make my own noise...

Week from Monday 11th September 2017

The end of the PROMS season... The end of the PRO-CYCLING season... The start of the silly season... I don't usually bother with "THE LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS", because all that pomp and flagwaving in the second half makes me sick to my stomach. And the music is normally a bit shit. But it pleased me no end to learn that prommers were waving flags of OTHER nations (including the European stars) besides the usual Union Jacks. This has naturally sent the Daily Express and the likes of Nigel Farage into full-on APOPLECTIC BLUSTER mode, which is always worth a snigger from the sidelines (Didn't anyone notice the blatant display of FINNISH nationalism in the first half?)

LA VUELTA also ended this weekend, and what a thrilling ride it's been this year! Sadly, ALBERTO CONTADOR didn't get an official podium position in the end. Although he only missed it by a few seconds, a remarkable achievement considering how far behind in GC he was three weeks ago! But nobody really cared, because it seemed he was out to win hearts rather than stages and determined to end his professional career with a flourish. If anyone else had dared to contest and win Saturday's final mountain stage instead of him, I doubt that the organisers would have been able to guarantee their safety during the walk back to the bus! CHRIS FROOME achieved his goal of winning both LE TOUR and LA VUELTA in the same year, but I think we can all agree that it was Alberto's race in all but name (Lovely to see the entire TREK-SEGAFREDO team lined up on the stage after the presentations).

DREAM DIARY... All the people I ever knew (including the dead ones) are throwing a party, but I would rather not be there... I am walking around a seaside town. As usual, it is not a town I've ever been to in real life, yet I do recognise many of its features and know my way around it intimately... I find all of my chums gathered in the car park, standing around socialising as if they were in a pub. I nod acknowledgement at one or two of them, but I am determined to walk on... The party becomes a sort of cat and mouse game as I try to 'lose' them... I speed up my walking pace and duck into a subway... I believe I am 'safe' when I find myself in a hotel room with horrible flock wallpaper...

When you log into TWITTER using any 'private' browser, specifically one set to "DO NOT TRACK", you automatically trigger the twitbots to send an email notification telling you of an 'unknown' login to your site. They don't have a clue who you are, which I see as a good sign that things are working properly and my browsing experience really IS private. I'm used to it now with my own page - in fact I get at least half-a-dozen notifications everyday! They get forwarded straight to the bin. But I started a small panic the other day when I logged into a CLIENT's twitterverse and THEY got a notification informing them of inexplicable activity. Not only did the 'bots not recognise the 'intruder', they thought the log-in happened in Edinburgh! I had to gently explain all the above to the client and told them not to worry.

Their page had sat dormant for a goodly sixmonth, so I thought it about time SOMETHING happened on the timeline. I posted a few retweets, so it looked like SOMEONE was paying attention. I have a couple of clients who have been keen to sign up to Twitter "for business purposes", only to find that they don't have much use for it after all, and don't know what to do with it once they've got it. In the case of the "EMPORIUM O'HAIR", that's mainly because they're comfortable as BookFace People. Just think, if I hadn't found myself setting up accounts for OTHER people, I probably wouldn't have taken the plunge myself and the twitworld would have been spared MY nonsense!

I have been carefully shuffling money about and trying to get my bills out of the way, so that I can pre-order this year's XMAS PREZZY! There will be a new BIG BOX SET of nineteen-seventies KING CRIMSON arriving sometime in November! Pricey but vital! And before that, another COLLECTORS' CLUB 'official bootleg', a complete show from the most recent tour! What is a po'boy to do!?!

It's DÉJÀ-VU all over again, as I go with my mum to shop for a new MICROWAVE... I might sneak a look at some BLU-RAY players while I'm there!

Yer Cancellaras and yer Contadors may have retired, but the next generation of TREK FACTORY boys are doing very nicely, thank you! MADS PEDERSEN has just won the TOUR OF DENMARK (not only GC, but also the points competition AND the "Best Young Rider" jersey!), ably assisted by JASPER STUYVENS and MATTHIAS BRÄNDLE. I managed to watch the final stage on Danish TV (only in Danish, mind you, and only possible via an internet browser that still has FLASH capability!)

Week from Monday 18th September 2017

Whoops! it's WEDNESDAY already! That 'WEDNESDAY FEELING' when you realise that it's Wednesday already... clearly there's nothing much to say in the WEBBYDIARYBLOGGYTHINGY so far this week, so Wednesday comes and goes and I haven't written anything yet. Did I mention it's Wednesday already?

I'm looking at ways to add an INSTAGRAM widget to 'LA WEBSITE DE L'EMPORIUM DES HAIRS'. I already succeeded in embedding ones for F***BOOK and TWITTER (the latter of which got pretty much abandoned almost immediately!). But the Instagram options I've looked at so far either involve giving ones account log-in details to a third party (ARR! ARR! ARRROOOGAH! ringringringringring!!!) or they aren't particularly 'RESPONSIVE' designwise. Having laid out the page and positioned the widget so that it looks nice on a PROPER PC browser, it looks broken on those tiny little screens that all the kids use these days... But I have a cunning plan...

Anyway, I'm doing THAT for a while this morning, so there you go. Naturally, there will be #walkies afoot at some stage... but then I'm shutting down at midday, to watch the gentlemen's INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIALS at the UCI World Championships in Bergen. I haven't been paying too much attention to all of the other events, but it seems most of the medals are being swept up by the DUTCH nation, the SUNWEB team or people who are in both. (TOM DUMOULIN won today's race, proving my point. He's on fire this season, is that lad!)

I paid a visit to that SOUTHAMPTON on Thursday lunchtime, mainly to stock up on blank CD-Rs from the MAPLIN concern. Needless to say, I also stuck my head in the door of the OXFAM MUSIC SHOP for a while... There is an enormous FERRIS WHEEL plonked right next to the Bargate. I presume that it's there for the duration of the BOAT SHOW, but no one seems to know for sure. Nor can anyone explain why it is in THAT particular location, as it doesn't exactly afford the best panoramas of the city (unless you really DO want to get a bird's eye view of the roofs of various POUND SHOPS?). The surreal juxtaposition of the metal girderwork next to the stones of the ancient city fortifications did make for some nice #ViewFromTheWalkies action, but other than that, I would probably agree it's a bit of an eyesore. It didn't appear to be attracting any customers either...

POLICY DECISION: I'm no longer buying ANY new 'ROCK'/'POP'/'PROG' music without having HEARD it first. Or at least enough of it to decide whether it'll be worth the price of admission. I've been bitten a few times too often now, listening to other people telling me how special something is SUPPOSED to be, only to be disappointed when I hear it for myself. I suppose what it boils down to is this... 'ROCK' is not my brain's default setting. There's an awful lot of rock and pop music out there already and I probably only care for a tiny fraction of it.

A good example: I very NEARLY bought the new album by GIZMODROME when I spied it in the racks. They are a 'supergroup' featuring ADRIAN BELEW, MARK KING, STEWART COPELAND and an Italian keyboardist (his name escapes me right now) who used to play with PFM. Sounds pretty amazing, right? But now I've listened to some of it (online and on the radio), I'm rather glad I didn't hand over my tenner straightaway. It's an album on which some extraordinarily good musicians play some extraordinarily naff music. With a band that includes Adrian Belew and Mark King amongst its ranks, who on earth agreed to let Stewart Copeland handle all the 'lead vocals'? His 'funny' rapping is far too up-front in the mix, and it totally distracts from some rather fine instrumental work going on behind it. I wish he'd just shut up and stick to playing the drums. They sound like THEY are having a lot of fun together in the studio, but the enjoyment is not contagious. Zappa it is not. I also detect that air of smugness that I find in a lot of Belew's own music...

Week from Monday 25th September 2017

SUNDAY IN BERGEN... I called it! I opined beforehand that if PETER SAGAN was riding in the "Elite Men's Road Race", they might just as well give him the medal up front. I swear he didn't turn up AT ALL until the last couple of hundred metres of racing, he was completely invisible for the rest of the day! Or perhaps nobody recognised him 'cause of the new haircut.

My folks have bought a new TELLY, so I 'inherited' their old one - still only a year old! - to replace my ailing LCD beast. The problems with the old set were threefold and counting. The software is several generations old, so that it couldn't receive any channels without the aid of an external TalkTalk 'set top' box, which is itself rather archaic in its operational parameters. Secondly, the internal sound has developed kazoo-like distortion problems. Thirdly and most recently, when it is first switched on, the screen is wont to blank itself several times in the first five minutes before it warms up. I didn't realise that liquid crystals NEEDED 'warming up', but there you go... I got up nice and early on Sunday morning to undergo the fiddly process of demolishing the old set-up (mucho uncabling) and installing the new one, in time for the day's viewing (Flemish crime drama, Norwegian bike race, Swedish/Danish ghost story). The old telly has now gone to a charity shop who were requesting such things. I very much doubt it's any good, but they're welcome to have a go!

It's the same old story... my scrolly swipey 'CUNNING PLAN', for embedding an array of social media widgets in the HAIR PEOPLE website (which I rather thought to be an elegant solution when I tested it on various Foxes) turned out to be NOT so cunning after all. It didn't work very well on APPLE devices. Just when you think you might JUST have got the appalling M!¢r0$ofT INTERNET EXPLODER sussed out (with its long-standing obstinacy regarding compliance with Cascading Stylishness), someone else goes against the W3C grain! I've now gone for a slightly LESS elegant (but at least functional) version.
SEMI-CRYPTIC MESSAGE TO SHELFY (I know he'll be reading this DiaryBloggyThingy eventually - he's one of the only people who does! - but he doesn't partake in any of that 'social network' nonsense.) That Ben Elton's really gone and 'blackaddered' us again! Have you watched the second season of "UPSTART CROW"? Bastard! {8-D
Another thing I have to consider (and discuss) with regards to the WEBSITE DES HAIRPEOPLE is purchasing an SSL CERTIFICATE for it, which stands for "Secure Socket Layer". This is an online plug-in arrangement which ensures that a website appears with an https:// address in folks' browsers, instead of the good old-fashioned http:// one that we've all used for decades. When we originally built the website, it was entirely passive, but it has gradually acquired an array of embedded widgets and linkages, such that now it might be considered 'UNSAFE' by certain web browsers and (especially) by Google. When all these entities gang up and hassle your potential customers with little red padlocks, and pop-up boxes that effectively say "Don't type here!", it's time to sit up and take notice. I spent most of a day 'researching' the subject. I THINK I've got my own little brain around it now and it SHOULD be fairly painless to set up. But of course, I also have to explain what it's all about to the 'client' before I can go ahead. It's all about 'FUTURE-PROOFING'...

By the way, there's absolutely no reason to drag THIS little online presence screaming into the twenty-first century. I couldn't care less if Chrome or Firefox nag (either of) my visitors that "HERE BE DRAGONS". They shouldn't, because there's absolutely NOTHING on here that can be called 'unsafe'. It's entirely passive, made of text, like some bulletin board from the 'eighties. If the COFFEECUP folks were to move THEIR goalposts, then it would mean the diary won't be 'public' anymore. No skin off my nose. Because it costs money (and some degree of hassle) to upgrade a website to https://. It is a fact of life that the WEBBYDIARYBLOGGYTHINGY (as "THE GRIDLER" before it) has never had, will never have, any money spent on it. I wouldn't be able to do it otherwise.

Week from Monday 2nd October 2017

My ancient and beloved SONY CASSETTE DECK has finally given up the ghost. It makes a lot of desperate clicking noises when you press 'play', but doesn't actually do anything. Opening up the lid, I find that the drive belt that makes everything 'turn' has come adrift and got wrapped around one of the capstans. No doubt it has got stretched out of shape in doing so. I was able to download a PDF of the official SERVICE MANUAL (You can find ANYTHING like that online if you know where to look! Come to think of it, you don't even have to know 'WHERE' to look, you just have to know WHAT to ask Google for!) When I have time, I will HAVE A GO at fixing it myself, but it looks like a fiddly job. I don't hold much hope that it will be a permanent solution. Even if I do get the beast up and running, it looks like the sort of problem that will happen again five minutes later. Time to keep one eye on the secondhand shops for a 'new' one...

Well, I was SUPPOSED to have a meeting in Gosport today, but that fell through... so I turned my attention to the CASSETTE DECK instead. I managed to thread the drive belts back on (VERY fiddly job indeed!), but I was right, they ARE stretched out of shape now. I can't see them staying on the capstans for very long. I think the reason they came adrift in the first place is because an electronic sensor that 'applies the brakes' is not working properly. Not much I can do about that, even equipped with a comprehensive Sony repair manual from decades ago. The situation is almost certainly "YOU CAN'T GET THE PARTS, MATE!"

Well, this was something that a socially anxious boy doesn't need, but kinda welcomes all the same... Out of the blue, I met a couple of the BRAZILIAN lady friends that I knew thirty-five-to-forty years ago! They were on our side of the pond, doing the 'nostalgia' tour thing, visiting old haunts etc etc... I don't really do 'small talk' in awkward situations, I need actual DISCUSSION if I'm to converse at all. Difficult to strike up one of those when there's limited window of opportunity. SO THERE THEY WERE AND THERE THEY WENT. I couldn't help noticing that the girl who used to be 'The Large Jolly One' is now slim and elegantly attractive, and 'The Petite Cute One' has assumed the 'Jolly' role...

I didn't have any luck so far on the CASSETTE DECK quest. The charity shops don't want to take the old one if it requires any kind of service beyond a perfunctory 'functional' test. The ones they have on their shelves LOOK a bit iffy and, if that's their definition of 'servicing', I'd not expect anything to be in FULL working condition either! There was a DENON machine that looked quite promising, but on closer inspection, the playback head was completely worn down to a polished sheen. I might try the shops in Eastleigh next...

Week from Monday 9th October 2017

Ah but... I have a PHILIPS portable cassette machine, a sort of mini-'ghetto-blaster' with built-in (obsolete AM) radio and tinny speakers, buried under the bed and gathering dust. Why don't I drag that out and clean it up? Fix up some cables for it, that'll at least solve the problem of not having a 'PLAYBACK' tape source that I can plug into the peecee for DIGITISING THE ARCHIVES. Job done! So I can now exhibit zen-like calm and patience until a 'proper' hi-fi separate reveals itself unto me.

This morning's #walkies mission involves an appointment with the DENTIST... except that, in the event, there WAS no dentist, only the #walkies. Bit of a cock-up on the bookings front. I need to go in two weeks' time instead.
On my WINDOZE desktop, CYBERFOX remains as my DEFAULT BROWSER. As I see it, it has all the advantages of a stable FIREFOX, but for some reason, it is a LOT quicker to load than 'the real thing'. But whenever a new version of 'the real thing' gets a general release, I always give it a fair trial, in the hope that they've improved its notorious sluggishness once and for all. When version 56 arrived, I was delighted to find that many of the problems I'd had with earlier 64-bit variants had been cured. It's a LOT quicker, in fact it's pretty much caught up with its 'FORKED OFF' little sister. I was on the verge of making 'the real Firefox' my DEFAULT again after all these years. But then I found that I couldn't log into TWITTER on the new beast.

Now Twitter doesn't really like you using PRIVATE BROWSING. It especially doesn't like it when you use any sort of TRACKING PREVENTION. That is why I get daily email notifications telling me that there has been an 'UNKNOWN LOG-IN' to my account. The poor little twitbots just can't recognise you as a real person! I get so many of those in a day that they are forwarded straight to the bin now! Naturally, when I try out a 'new' browser, I immediately tweak all the 'SECURITY & PRIVACY' settings, so that I know nobody is looking over my shoulder all the time and that any 'HISTORY' will get flushed away when I close the window. My ideal internet browser would be a Windows or Linux version of Android's FIREFOX FOCUS, which does all that for you at the click of a single button.

On finding that Twitter "WOULDN'T WORK" on the latest Firefox, I systematically went through everything to track down what it was objecting to:- I disabled plug-ins, including my beloved STYLISH CSS scripts and the 'HTTPS BY DEFAULT' I'd installed quite recently (I find that if something suddenly doesn't work, one should always retrace one's steps to the most recent changes). I tried a number of DIFFERENT combinations of 'Fox's own 'Privacy' settings, including disabling the 'DO NOT TRACK' completely. I unblocked the blocked cookies... Then I found it! I UNTICKED THE "BLOCK POP-UP WINDOWS" OPTION. Suddenly, I was able to close the 'This Site Uses Cookies' nag at the top of the Twitter screen, because its little cross worked again. But most importantly, a previously dysfunctional data entry field would now accept my password and LET ME IN!
UPDATE: You can leave the "Block Pop-Up Windows" option ticked, but add the Twitter address to its 'EXCEPTIONS' list. It seems funny that I've never had to do that with any previous versions though !?!
CASE CLOSED! (well, sort of...) Now I don't know if this is a bug in the new Firefox or changes to Twitter itself. I rather suspect the latter, whenever issues of 'compatibility' crop up. A Twitterchum tells me that there is a version 56.0.1 of Firefox already out there (for those who receive the 'bleeding edge' releases) so it MIGHT be that they've found some bugs to fix already. I find I rather like the latest version of FIREFOX. They're getting there, but I don't know if I'm QUITE ready to go all in just yet...
I'm listening to some old live recordings of the STICK MEN, while dipping into the TOUR OF TURKEY cycle race with the sound down (seems I can only get it online with Turkish commentary!). The ambient improv bit in "SLOWGLIDE" goes rather nicely with some helicopter shots of the LYCIAN ROCK TOMBS at Dalyan...

This morning will find me sitting at the foot of the stairs, Pavlovian-droolingly waiting for the bell to ring, to announce my BURNING SHED delivery. That'll be the long anticipated KING CRIMSON "Live in Chicago" 'official bootleg', generally held by all (including the band themselves) to be a pretty DEFINITIVE document of the most recent American leg of the tour. A midwest twitterchum was at this very gig and he promises that listeners are indeed in for a treat...

It arrived while I was out... I hope to find time to give it the HEADPHONE-ASSISTED ATTENTION it undoubtedly deserves at the weekend! But also arriving on the 'PILES' today is the new ROBERT PLANT album "CARRY FIRE"...

It is a thing of great beauty, oud and fiddle to the fore, carrying on exactly where the last one left off. You know the one? That one with the labyrinthine title that no one can remember and the cover 'concept' that nobody ever understood? Yeah, that one! Well, if you liked that one, you won't be disappointed. On the other hand, if you expect it to still sound like Led Zeppelin, look elsewhere and GROW UP!

I also did the charity shops in CHICHESTER today, coming home with a fresh copy of "A Meeting By The River", VISHWA MOHAN BHATT's meditative album with RY COODER (a most lovely thing that I THOUGHT I had on cassette, but I'm buggered if I can find it)... also an interesting collaboration between yoikin' MARI BOINE and some Russian musicians... and the Esoteric reissue of EGG's final album "The Civil Surface"... SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND, SIR?

"KING CRIMSON: LIVE IN CHICAGO" is mighty powerful stuff, a proper HONEST, warts-and-all 'official bootleg' recording. We the home audience will probably never know for sure whether this was indeed the 'BEST' night, but it's probably a fair representation of the tour as a whole. It's not a PERFECT PERFORMANCE by any means, there are clunkers a-plenty (and, it has to be said, a lot of them are Fripp's!). The one song that this line-up has played more than any other, "Starless", is full of them! ('HONEST', I tells ya!) I don't know what it sounded like to the punters in the hall, but on this RECORDING, Fripp's guitar TONE sounds a bit muddy, that famous 'laser beam' sound has been dulled by too much reverb. On the other hand, the keyboards ("Did somebody mention a Mellotron?") and woodwind are clear in the mix and the countless percussives sound strong as ever. I'm happy to report that TLev gets through this night's "ConstruKCtion" without too much of a hitch! Finally getting to hear "Fallen Angel" played live is a 'hairs on the back of the neck' moment for me, and the 'new' songs ("Meltdown"/"Radical Action II"/"The Errors" formerly known as "Radical Action III") are settling in nicely. It's not the most inspired version of "Easy Money" I've heard recently, but the "Lizard" numbers and "Islands" are astonishingly good, these alone are worth your price of admission. By the way, Adrian Belew can complain all he likes about this Crim playing 'his' songs, but the new versions of "Neurotica" and "Indiscipline" make all previous efforts sound very tired indeed!

Week from Monday 16th October 2017

I'm settling into the new FIREFOX nicely, having 'fixed' that one problem that I had with it (re: TWITTER). I need to 'shop around' and find a new AD-BLOCKING plug-in that I can get along with, because the one I had been using on CYBERFOX doesn't seem to work on newer versions of 'the real thing'. There's one called ADBLOCKER ULTIMATE that looks like it might be the business. It does what you'd expect ANY ad-blocker to do, with no apparent loss of performance. But it is in the nature of these things that I'll need to TRY IT OUT for a while. Inevitably, there are still some media sites who nag habitual ad-refuseniks about denying them their 'income', and who will, in turn, deny access to any of their content. (Funnily enough, there seems to be a correlation with the ones who still rely on FLASH PLAYER, especially TV channels.) I have found with some ad-blockers that trying to switch them OFF for specific sites causes more trouble than it's worth...

Morning #walkies are now, very suddenly, AUTUMNAL... Even traversing the 'proper' footpaths involves trudging through fallen leaves. There are peculiar species of fungus popping up everywhere. The skies remain twilit and dun[ny]-coloured for much of the day. The geese have been spotted further north, no doubt headed this way just as soon as the fireworks are done. Mind you, it's still too warm for donning woolies and anoraks just yet...

IT'S A 'PHENOMENON' THEN, IT'S OFFICIAL... Apparently, the reason the sky looks 'twilit and dun[ny]-coloured' is because of another big storm system ("OPHELIA") over the Atlantic, whipping up some Saharan dust and Portuguese smoke. As GREGGERY PECCARY might well have asked, "Who is making those new brown clouds?". If and when the sun itself WAS visible (and here it WASN'T for most of the day), it was apocalyptically red. We haven't seen anything as weird as this since the last eclipse, or when Eyjafjallajökull erupted. It got so dark in some areas that the street lights were switching themselves on in the middle of the day - the ones in Elm Grove, Southsea came on at about ten past two!

I found myself in SOUTHAMPTON again yesterday. As yer do. One couldn't fail to notice that the big FERRIS WHEEL is still there, spoiling views of Bargate. Obviously, it WASN'T put up just for the duration of the BOAT SHOW. I really don't know WHAT the thinking behind it was then, but there's probably SOMEONE on the City Council who thought it would be a good use of public money. It can't be earning anything, because I haven't seen anybody use it yet. What? You mean there's NOT a queue of cash-flushed punters, eager to look down on the rooves of POUNDLAND and MAPLINS? It just goes round and round, empty...

Week from Monday 23rd October 2017

On Monday morning, I am due to go for that DENTAL CHECK-UP, which for reasons best known to the receptionist, I DIDN'T have a couple of weeks ago, because only I and my little appointment card seemed to know about it ("...puter says 'No'..."). But it is peeing with rain, so my mum offers to give me a lift into town... AND THERE WENT THE DAY!

Once all the oral examining, poking and scraping were out of the way, I traipsed back to Trinity Street car park, but the car wouldn't start! Flat battery. So, since I am the one with the mobile phone, a large chunk of the day was spent pacing around the parcark, waiting for the emergency callout man to arrive with his charging equipment. After THAT was done, it was suggested that the car should be given a good half-hour's drive to warm up, so we went down to Gosport and back just to get petrol! It's now mid-afternoon and I only just had breakfast!

Bang on schedule, I spotted half-a-dozen BRENT GEESE in formation, skimming low over the choppy sea, no doubt taking a shortcut to Titchfield Haven.