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Since taking up Longbow archery a few years ago I have been fascinated by the variety of bows available. Choosing one above another is difficult.  It is not easy to try them out; friends at clubs may be OK with you having a go with their bow for a few ends, but it takes time to get to know what is working for you.

So, I started out with a bow made by club resident guild member, Paul Reed, who had made bows for many members and others.  I acquired a triple laminate bow (42 pound pull at 28 inches). This served me very well, even taking the Surrey Longbow championship one year, and still continues to be a reliable companion.

Next, on a trip to Washington State,  I came across Curt Brisky who fulfilled my next desire with a truly traditional lovely and sinuous pure Yew bow (50 pounds pull). This was a new experience and a new love. Faster and light in the hand 80 and 100 yards became more realistic distances to shoot, albeit with new arrows (arrows are a story for another day!), and a bit of adjustment.

Then I read a review of a Adrian Hayes bow on the Archers Review blog. I was impressed, even excited by what I read. If a bow was really that good I had to take notice. Yes I know it is only one part of the equation in the bow/arrows/archer mix, but I was struggling to find form with my current mix of arrows and bows and I was ready to take a chance.

I phoned Adie and had a good chat; a few weeks later my new bamboo backed bow (52 pounds @ 28″) arrived.

First impressions were good. Very good. The extra pounds felt OK, the bow was responsive and light in the hand. Arrows shot true and suddenly I started to realise where my weaknesses were. Yes, I need to improve my aiming. Yes I need to match my arrows better to the bow(s).  But now I have a bow that in  some unspoken way reveals that to me.

It will still be a while before I understand this and start to find the right combinations of bow & arrow at the different distances. But that journey has now started. Thank you Adrian, Curt and Paul.

When I got a contract 4 months ago from ‘3’ I chose the Nokia E71. I had wanted a top-end phone after years of using very basic devices. I chose it mostly based on comments from Adam Curry and James Whatley. The phone was great – did everything I| wanted and it didn’t make it hard to do it either.

So, when some rum got spilled on the keyboard last night (well technically it was about 2am this morning!) I was a bit concerned. Picked it up and turned it over to let gravity do it’s job… dried it off and left it near a radiator to dry overnight. It was still working then.

I eventually woke up next morning, tested the phone and found some major issues… the space bar was not working or miss-keying, the right scroll was repeating, etc… I was starting to get worried.

Plan ‘A’ – Use good old electronic contact cleaner pressure spray to give those keys a quick degrease. Right? Turn phone off, strip out battery, remove SIM etc. 2-3 second spray…. leave for 4-5 minutes to dry (like it says on the can) and then reload.

Result? No better.

Now I am really getting anxious. I had turned down the insurance at the time I took out the contract (like you do right?), so now I was looking at £300 to get a new unlocked phone 😦

Plan ‘B’ – Repeat plan ‘A’ with more spray, lots more (maybe it didn’t get to the right places first time). A good 5-10 second inverted spray over all the keys.  Leave to dry for 5-10 mins. Reload – MUCH WORSE! Now many keys don’t feel right, all soggy not a firm click. :|((( Unload the phone again leave to dry even longer.

Start to tell contacts about the problem and to switch back to spare mobile account number for now.

One friend tells me she put her phone through a full washing machine cycle and it came back to life after drying for several hours. Advises not to panic – give it time.

But I am thinking… this phone is f*******! The spray probably melted some inner plastic membrane and it is not going to make it… start looking on eBay :-0

Leave phone hanging over radiator for an hour, retest… maybe a little better action but nothing significant…. 3 hours later, retest… small improvement on some keys. 8 hours later it almost feels normal again…

Reload, reboot and BINGO!  All back and working.

I am truly relieved and humbled by the resilience of this phone.

Now… do I need to reconsider that insurance? I think it was 23p a day.

Anyone else had similar experiences?

I was inspired by a couple of posts by my old friend, but new blogger,  Rob; and new social media contact Asha to post some 2008 highlights of my own. 

So, in no particular order…

Podcasts of the year: 

  • Mr Trick and Wrongtom: Two UK-based DJ’s who describe themselves best on their Faceboook page “Like two old soaks chatting by the fire, Trick and Tom swap songs, talking with passion and insight about the music they love, both new and old. Uncovering music you may have missed is usually the order of the day, with “but I bet you’ve not heard this…” being an oft-muttered sentence. Anything from doo-wop to gospel, punk to dub is pulled out for consideration, with the sole hope of having you wanting to look up these artists when the show’s over.”   Best thing since John Peel 🙂 IMHO
  • Daily Source Code – Adam Curry: Well, I first listened to Adam ‘The Father of Podcasting’ three or four years ago and then dropped it from my list as being a bit too long and disjointed. Returning this year was been a hoot. Adam has a mission to help us all wake up to knowledge we don’t know, and barely gets reported. Yeah Adam… “They (should) work for us”. Entertains me on those commutes. And, if you like this, then also check out the weekly ‘No Agenda’ show with Adam and John Dvorak.


Technology of the year: 

  • Nokia E71 Phone: Got this on contract from ‘3’ and it just does (almost) everything perfectly… now I just need an unlimited data plan 🙂


Music of the Year: It’s been a year of reawakening to new and old interests.

  • Tha Carter 3 > Lil Wayne:  Well, I am late the scene, but this one brought ‘gangster rap’ to my doorstep and took it in like a pint of milk.  Challenging but honest, musically coherent.
  • Eskimo > Balloonatic Part Two: Maybe not his greatest albumn but representative of my flip into the dance music this year. Ten years too late on the scene of course, but still making me hop around the room like a teenager 🙂
  • Esborn Svensson Trio > Leucocyte: A new jazz line line-up to me, but sadly their last album. Think Keith Jarrett meets Brian Eno meets <insert name here>.  Great pianist and composer.

So many more deserve mention  – been a great year for re-awakening of my consciousness.

Have a great 2009 everyone.

Inside and Outside

The box promised “Dark chocolate, orange and almond torte”

We took it out of the box and it didn’t look like the picture on the cover. The nuts were barely toasted. That the first impression did not match the expectation that the marketing image set puts your mind in the wrong place before you even take a bite.

The taste was ‘OK’.  But if it had looked like the cover would I have said ‘Great’?  I’ll never know now.

Small things trip us up.

Maybe my mother was right – first impressions do matter.

Taking a day away from home we went ‘up town’ to Camden in North London (or is it really Camden Town?). Camden is famous for its market. That’s why we went really, looking for some goth gear for a party next year. We fell into the original “Doctor Marten’s” (DM) British Boot Company shop 5 minutes after arriving, and walked out with a pair of 8-hole DMs. Plenty of goth gear to be seen on the street and in the shops…all selling similar brands of – what was (IMHO) cheap (or not so cheap) – tat.

Had a great lunch at a pub we hadn’t been in before, The Hawley Arms. I would recommend it to anyone who finds themselves in the area. Friendly staff and good food, even table service! Unheard of in most of London. We have to go to Dublin to find that usually!

Good day out overall. 🙂