Thursday, 2 December 2010


Photo by Twiggles at Flickr.
Original here.
Licensed by-nc.
So ... Hintons became Presto became Safeway became Morrisons. Goodness me. Supermarket history, eh ... I wonder if you can do an MA in it?

Fine Fare, anyone? Gateway?? No?
(Since you ask, yes, I was indeed thinking about the Guisborough shop at 71 Westgate!)

Monday, 29 November 2010

School reunion

I went to my school reunion and dinner the other week. This was an interesting and significant experience, about which I should write one day - if I ever get the time. I was pretty apprehensive, having not seen the people or place for about 35 years. It was, however, an overwhelmingly nice day. More soon, or sometime, or something.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Chaotic Day

Well I'm having a bit of a chaotic/annoying day and my swim is the first victim. Having said that, I'm compensating myself for the trauma with breakfast in a nice caff to which I usually don't get to go nowadays. I'm not sure if this is a net win or what, but hey.

Mobile, hence terse.

Location:Aldersgate St,City of London,United Kingdom

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Fish Central – very nice local fish restaurant on the southern edge of Islington

Just went out to this place in the St Luke’s (part of very-South-Islington) area for a colleague’s farewell lunch. Very nice indeed – great food and cheerful service. Strongly recommended.

I had:

  • Whitebait
  • Haddock and chips

OK, I know it’s pedestrian of me but, dammit, I like fish and chips and I am weird about “proper” fish dishes … and this was just delicious.

There’s a proper posh menu but most of us had the express lunch deal, which is a choice from three starters and three mains for seven quid or something. Thus struck me as good value and it was a filling and delicious plateful-and-a-half. I would definitely go there again.

Mrs von Neustadt would like it too, I have no doubt. On the other hand, whilst one of the tiny von Neustadt Family Singers would like it, one would run (sic) away screaming and one wouldn’t be too keen but might tolerate it. So not really a family-outing-arama for us.

Remind me to ramble on about its area sometime. It’s interesting.

The Cosmic Bank of Goodwill

My Theory (which is mine) of the Cosmic Bank of Goodwill. (ahem)


You make withdrawals; you make deposits.

Any questions? No. Good. Carry on."

Sunday, 26 September 2010

ISM here all week ladies and gentlemen

From an Incorporated Society of Musicians online petition about instruments on planes:

Have you had any difficulties when travelling with a musical instrument? If you have, please tell us about your case.

Boom boom!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Egg security - also available in English

This is from Egg's home page for Payment Verification. I don't think I can give you a direct link as they use session-aware URLs. Anyway, the page begins:
Like many other banks, payment verification is an extra security measure we're introducing to help prevent unauthorised transactions on your account.
I always think it's a good idea to proofread these things, or, even better, ask someone else to do so. Your mileage may vary, though. 

Oopsie-Beebs-a-blog™ – no teeth or claws?

This may just be something odd about my always-tenuous grasp of language, so if you are not interested or amused please do move along swiftly and leave me giggling alone here. I'll be fine, really.

I very much like this current BBC News headline:
This alone has pretty much made my day. I sit here, I read it, then I read it again, and again, and it just kind of effortlessly flips back and forth between the two meanings like one of those trick postcards, or a Magic Eye picture or something. And, I must be truthful, I cannot see how it is easily fixed in a short headline, or perhaps at all, so I am (typically) laughing but not helping. Tsk.

The thing, however, which has propelled me right out over the edge and is currently giving me mild breathing difficulties is the line that they've used to link to that story from the News front page:
  • Woman repels bear armed only with a courgette
For some reason - and I could not, for a large sum of money or even for some nice yoghurt, tell you why - this removes, for me anyway, all ambiguity and makes it absolutely clear that it is the bear, not the woman, who had the courgette. I can only guess that it was worded carefully to have the opposite effect, but it has triggered something in my tiny, weary brain and it's almost making me cry, and I need to go and have a nice cup of tea and a lie down. Marvellous marvellous stuff.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Google calendar editing - GCalToolkit - de-headache your calendar duplicates!

This is another of those little utilities that:

  • Costs a few quid/euros/bucks/whatever;
  • Contains functionality that really should have been written in by the developers of the main software (and perhaps will be one day); but for now
  • Is worth its weight in gold for the time and pain it saves you. 

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you GCalToolkit by Neil Gerstenberg. Basically it does stuff that I wish Google Calendar did, like giving you a useful editable list from a flexible search. If like me you messed up importing your repeating events from a previous calendar, and now (aaaaargh!) you can't sort them out because due to cosmic waves and evil undertows in the universal flux™ they became (doh!!) a load of separate, unlinked events in your Google calendar, this is the magic wand that sorts it all out. US$25 - a real bargain for the awful editing hassle you can avoid by using it.

Yes Tamsin, usual disclaimers apply, and yes Colin anyone who uses a utility like this without first backing their calendar up does probably deserve all the bad things that could happen to them (but please do not make that silly noise while I am speaking, thank you). Caveat emptor and all that. But I do back my calendar up before editing it, so ner - and this is a great utility!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


It's 1st September today, and though it's not warm it is lovely and sunny. Woohoo! I rode a Borisbike for the very last bit of my commute this morning and it was simply delightful on a day like this. (Come November, I may be less gung-ho about the whole cycling thing ...)

Friday, 27 August 2010

Just checking ...

Hello dear reader,

I'm just checking that you've seen I'm after your money ... please! from a short while ago in which I grovellingly try to solicit money from you for a worthy cause.
  • Sorry it's a bit unglamorous, just some Ugandan kid with smashed-up legs and a surgical bill. I mean, who cares about him, right?
  • Obviously I would rather be trying to help fund heritage cinemas or establish a better walking route through the wildflower meadows of the West Midlands Orchid Preservation Zone, while amusingly discussing the government's latest faux pas over a balsamic latte in the intellectual hotbeds of Muswell Hill. Nevertheless, some tiresome little Imp of the Right Shoulder is telling me I have to have another bash at this and so, darlings, despite the tedium, I'm asking you to have a quick dekko.
  • I promise that normal service will soon be resumed and I will stop trying to be nice or anything. See it as just a temporary aberration, OK?
  • If you have already coughed up please accept my thanks, and sorry for bothering you again.
  • If you do go and look at the post, please also look at the comment where I explain what to do about the Zip code on the donation form if you're not in the USA.
Thanks a lot!!
Thanks a big lot!!!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Bl**dy English weather!!

OK I'm sorry about Corfu. I promise: I'm sorry, OK??

You've made your point. Now enough. Really.

Location:Buckingham Rd,Tottenham,United Kingdom

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

It's my best friend's birthday today!



Location:Parkfield St,Islington,United Kingdom


There's an interesting-looking fish restaurant, "Fish Fish" on Archway Road, on the corner of one of its eastern junctions, maybe Causton Road or Cromwell Avenue.

It would be an excellent place for a rendezvous. Why? Because instead of any more complex description, or even its name, you would merely have to say, "I'll meet you in the place with the lighthouse on the roof." That should pretty much clinch it, I feel. In Highgate, anyway.

I think we will probably have to go and eat there, even though I am weird about fish. How could you not want to? It's got a lighthouse on the roof! I mean, come on.

Note: it was apparently called - and I know this is going to come as a bit of a shock - The Lighthouse when it opened, but since then the proprietor has massively expanded his restaurant empire and has this branch and another in Temple Fortune, that legendary destination in the far far west. Since I started writing this on the 43 this morning, I've looked at the website and, more particularly, the menu, and we are not probably, but definitely, going to have to give it a go. Oh yes.


I find myself in a strange situation this morning. Some readers of this blog will know that the Infanta Marfs has been away gap-yearing in Africa for, er, a year.

I should write about this; that's not, though, what I'm thinking about right now - it's a big topic. No, it's something rather lower-level than that, more of a side-effect.

Briefly: while Marfs was in Africa I wrote to her every week. I got - surprise! - a bit obsessional about this, feeling that I must do it. It would be possible to debate endlessly the rights and wrongs of this but don't worry: I'm not going to right now.

What it does mean though is that with Martha home I'm currently sitting on the bus with a slightly odd, empty feeling where I would have usually been working on a letter. It turns out that letter-writing is quite time-consuming. Well, duh, indeed.

So, to cut a long story short, do I enjoy a bit of a break from the slightly driven feeling of needing to write something every day(ish) or do I try to rechannel the "spare" energy (if that's what it is) into something else? Or some perhaps-uneasy compromise between the two? And what's the "something else"? It could be this blog, or that difficult zeroth novel, or job applications or … whatever. Tsk, decisions decisions. I have lots of thoughts and no plans. We shall consider this matter. In the meantime, please have a nice cup of tea and a ginger snap.

Mobile, hence terse.

Location:London,United Kingdom

Monday, 23 August 2010


The location tools on my iPhone think that a LOT of places are in Tottenham. It's most odd.

I have moaned at Google about their mapping, which I think is the root of the problem: the blogging app on the iPhone picks the text up from its location services and somewhere in Google maps it thinks - I conjecture - that most or all of Haringey is Tottenham. I did get an acknowledgement saying they'd deal with it but on past performance this could take, literally, years.

In the meantime, it doesn't really matter that much, which is fortunate. I think the location data is sometimes fun but never important. Please accept my apologies if you're annoyed by this silly inaccuracy.

Mobile, hence terse.

Location:Archway Rd,Islington,United Kingdom

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


It was the longest day only a month ago and, although the evenings are still lovely, it's already getting dark noticeably earlier. Well duh, Vogel … we're already a sixth of the way back to midwinter; what do you expect?

I know, I know. I know, really Tamsin I do. It's just that time passes so quickly these days. They no longer make proper, long-lasting time, the way they did when I was a kid. It was proper British time, made in Greenwich you know; now it's gone the way of most British manufacturing.

Sure it's not the end of the world: not yet even of the year or day. I just wish this gorgeous evening could go on a bit longer, is all.

Mobile, hence terse.

Location:Alexandra Park Rd,Tottenham,United Kingdom

Fake synth trumpets on Herbert Grönemeyer's "Mambo" from "4630 Bochum"

Herbie how could you do this? They're nice parts too. Kindly slap yourself round the head - zweimal bitte - and employ some real trumpets next time. Sheesh

You wouldn't replace the fine sax player Frank Kirchner with some microchip, would you? Well then. Even though they're quite well done they're still not real.

Erm. Are they? No. Surely. Blimey. What's wrong with my ears? No, fake.

Unless, dear reader, you know otherwise…

Mobile, hence terse.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

I'm after your money ... please!

Hello. If you read this blog and like it or me at all, or even if you hate me and it - I really don't mind - please consider coughing up a few quid or dollars or whatever to help...

I do hate people grovelling to their online friends for charity money ... er, unless it's really necessary. Please follow this link and scroll down to "Medical Bills for orphan hit by car". I guarantee that this is the real deal and that every dollar you donate is a DIRECT help. The cool thing is, if a few friends donate 5 or 10 bucks/quid/whatever each that very quickly builds. No-one's expecting you to go there and donate crazy money, but, like I say, a few bucks ... all the difference. Sorry to grovel like this but please please go and have a look. Thanks!

Just to clarify:

  • Kaihura is Martha's village.
  • The people making the appeal, who run the orphanage, are Martha's friends.
  • The kid injured in the RTA is well-known to Martha and was in her class at school.
  • Hospital treatment in Uganda costs ... not a fortune by US or UK (private) standards, but it costs.
  • You can help very directly. Thank you.

Friday, 25 June 2010

The Infanta Marfs is on the way to the Mara!

I’ve neglected this poor blog so badly recently that a large proportion of my massive base of readers will have no idea what that title means.

I now need to do about 3000 pages of writing which just briefly deal with, er, the entire year, including a colossal and lifetime-significant trip to Kenya and Uganda, where the Infanta Marfs has been flying the flag for British Youngpersonhood … er, or something.

olkiombo-planeAnd that by the way is the good news – the young aristocrat in question is on her way down to the Masai Mara courtesy of the lovely Safarilink, having been kicking her heels in Nairobi for more days than she really wanted … so this is nice, good news and I was thrilled to hear it.

Quite why the blog is so much in the doldrums I am not sure. Sure, although my time management used to be truly appalling, it is now much, much worse than that. This can’t be helping. And then … Facebook and Twitter make it seductively easy to post some quick nonsense about philosopy and the nature of religion, life, football and classical music whereas it’s harder work to come here and do proper writing about serious topics like, ah, Strawberry Yoghurt. It is harder when it is not in a little box, but it is really quite low-value writing when it is.

I was very moved the other day when a Young Person of my acquaintance pointed out that I’d written very little here recently, and suggested that I should write more. I do, seriously, need to do some thinking about this … but, yes I wish I were writing more too. As it says in the FIQ somewhere, one reason that I do it is that I sometimes like to go back and read it. Well apart from the rants and the OCDish bits about spelling, Attlee or whatever.

Hmmmmmmmmm. I must try to write sometimes. Must try. Try.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Bliss - Peter Collyer, Baroque Viola, St Anne's

Absolute bliss!!

I wish I had written more at the time but really the line above says it all. Gorgeous concert, fine player, favourite place.

Location:Staining Ln,City of London,United Kingdom

Hmmm yes … the silly location thing is never quite right, but hey, it makes me laugh …

Friday, 26 March 2010

Gig-a-blog, 26th March, St Anne's, Gandalpho

Gandolpho: Eleanor Harrison, baroque violin, David Wright, harpsichord

Corelli: Sonata No 10 in F Major Biber: SonataNo3 inFMajor Babell: Variations on ‘Vo Far Guerra’ for solo harpsichord Handel: Sonata in D Major HWV 371

Phew! Made it back to London's Premier Lunchtime Gig Church(tm) today after another insanely busy period in my life.

Corelli: lovely, pretty melodies, lively.

Biber: absolutely insane, as advertised. Splendid.

Babell: Handel busked it, we're told, and Babell transcribed it. Fair play to both of them, then, as this was a stunning all-over-the-keyboard number. Go George. Go William! Go David Wright and his Magic Flying Fingers(tm)!

Handel: fabulous. Beautiful and spirited playing from these two very fine performers.

Lovely concert!

Location:Noble St,City of London,United Kingdom

Friday, 19 March 2010

More on Attlee and how to spell him correctly if you are, erm, 10 Downing Street

Doh! Still can't spell it ... It has been pointed out to me by a delicate but usually reliable source that it may be construed as unhelpful to moan at 10 Downing Street (about their continued inability to purge the embarrassing misspelling “Atlee” from their webbity website) without actually explaining just what the current, ah, ishoos are.

I’m not sure about this (is it really a bit too spoon-feedy?) but the delicate but usually reliable source is someone I hate to argue with (and I never win) and maybe it will be useful or amusing or something, so here goes:

  1. Parliamentary statement on Trident (4 December 2006) at – last paragraph contains “the Atlee Government” as illustrated above. Doh! indeed, Tamsin.
  2. History Audio at – under the header “Welcoming the United Nations”, the Attlee graphic has a bad filename and bad alt text too – two instances of “Atlee”. The bad spelling is not visible on the main page, but still needs fixed.
  3. Clement Attlee (in Welsh) at – main photo at the page top. Unsurprisingly it has the same problems as the page mentioned above – the graphic has a bad filename and bad alt text.
  4. Syr Winston Churchill (in Welsh) at – visible on the page, under the second-to-last subhead “Y Prif Weinidog nesaf” we have this: “Clement Richard Atlee 1945-51 Llafur.” I’m like no way man.
  5. Italian Attlee at – same problems as the second and third examples above – bad filename and bad alt text for the graphic.

These were found on a quick Google search but I am sure that if you worked there you could do better than this when you were on a search-and-destroy mission for “Atlee”. Also please note that this Google search finds a couple of instances which no longer have the problem, so presumably the pages were corrected after the last time Google indexed them.  These are “Spanish Attlee” and the main Attlee page in Prime Ministers in History – so that’s good, and well done No. 10 because these are fixed already – hurrah!

And that concludes the voting of the Belgian jury.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Open letter to the web managers at 10 Downing Street

10 Downing Street still can't spell Attlee Hey guys,

Here’s a suggestion.

Learn to spell “Attlee”.

Come on, it’s not rocket science. Make a big notice and put it on the office wall or something. Make the next person to misspell it buy doughnuts for the whole office. Work out a strategy for checking and correcting (ermmm, quality control anyone?). Just do something.

Having it still spelt wrongly now is, frankly, pathetic and shameful. He’s been dead since 1967 – it’s not some novel new name of whoever won X Factor last week! I mean, dammit, I’ve been writing to you about it for years. You haven’t really taken any notice, and I must, sadly, conclude that you’re a bit incompetent. Is that unfair? If so, I’m sorry, and do please explain how so.

Here are a few Handy Hints on getting it right:

  1. Do a site search for the spelling “Atlee”. Use Google, use your own web software, whatever. If you don’t know how to do this, please write for instructions (and send money).
  2. Search again, more carefully, because, to be honest, you’re not very good at this, are you?
  3. Have another go. This time check source code, look at the names of graphics, check in your alt text. Check carefully.
  4. I know it’s pretty tough but you’re 10 Downing Street, you can do this.
  5. Do it again and again until it is impossible for me or anyone else to find Attlee spelt incorrectly anywhere, in no matter how obscure and trivial a place, on your site. Don't guess that you might have done it right: know that you have.
  6. Hurrah! You’re done. Have a nice cup of tea.

There you go. Have a great day.

With best wishes

Vogel von Neustadt
Concerned Citizen

Monday, 1 March 2010

Gig-a-blog™: Brooks, Sändig, Pells & Knizia

My first G-a-B for a while as I struggle with, er, stuff.

It's utterly delightful to be back at St Anne's for this concert of lovely music by Purcell and Buxtehude.

In my ignorance, before I started coming to this fabulous concert series many years (nay, gurt yonks) ago, I thought that Buxtehude would just be a sort of square version of Bach. Yes, I know, sorry. In fact, being shown round some of his clever, intricate music has been one of the greatest pleasures here for me. Wonderful.

Oh and he's on here in a double bill with Purcell. My cup, frankly, runneth over, yes indeed.

Great players; a lovely concert. They've even arranged some sunshine.

Verdict: nicer than bunny-wunnies.

Location:Foster Ln,City of London,United Kingdom

The back pew of this church discriminates against chubby chaps!

... and I should jolly well know!

Something must be done.



Carry on please.

Location:Gresham St,City of London,United Kingdom

Monday, 15 February 2010

Why is it SO difficult to find your seat on a train?

Pretty much every time I travel on a train which has booked seats - or indeed an aircraft ditto ditto, come to think of it - there are incredible scenes of confusion as people fail to find the seat they're meant to be in. Apparently it's really very difficult to: examine your ticket; see that you are in coach C, seat 23; walk to and board coach C; sit in seat 23.

Why is this? The actions outlined seem to represent a terrible challenge to people who seem otherwise capable, have made it to the station, and look like they know how to play tunes on their iPod. It's bizarre, and I should probably stop writing now before I collapse into horrible intolerance.

Just before I do, though, here's a little hintette-series for travellers on Virgin Pendolinos between London and Manchester (and perhaps many other destinations besides, but what do I know?):

1. You're standing there being clueless and helpless;
2. Even though you've found the right pair of seats, you still don't know which is yours.
3. You're looking at the little LCD screen above the window and it doesn't seem very helpful.
4. Here's my suggestion. Forget the LCD screen for now.
5. Instead, look at the labels on the "ears" which stick out into the aisle for people to hang onto.
6. Look Tamsin! Look Colin! The "ears" have the seat numbers on!
7. See the lovely seat numbers!!
8. Now here's the clever bit: the seat numbers are like a map of the seats.
9. The number nearest you represents the seat nearest you.
10. The number further away represents the seat further away from you.
11. I know it's tough but try to stay with me here.

12. Gosh, this is really a bit OCDish and bonkers isn't it? I must have been in a foul mood when I wrote it (makes a change). Hmmm. Revise, delete, ignore ... ?

Mobile, hence terse.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Quickoffice does Google Documents. Bliss.

Quickoffice have just upgraded their iPhone app, for free, so it can talk to Google Docs.

If you don't know why I might think this is a Big Deal, please don't worry about it - boring techie stuff.

If you do get it, you may understand why I'm so thoroughly blissed out by this lovely improvement. Say yay. Say woo. Say oh look I say that's really rather good, actually.

Marvellous. Scribbling life just got better. Thank you, lovely Quickoffice people, for sorting this out.

Mobile, hence terse.

Location:Alexandra Park Rd,Haringey,United Kingdom

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Small World-o-rama

Missed bus badly, long wait billed for next: instant grump.

Went in pub for consoling half. (The other night they had run out of proper beer, which was a bit sad.)

To my great surprise and delight was served the said half (which was indeed proper nice beer) by one Freddie dL, star saxophonist and all-round Good Egg. We've known him since he was very small, which frankly he no longer is. Good or what? Yeah, I thought so,

Location:Palace Gates Rd,Tottenham,United Kingdom

Pret a Manger porridge

So delicious! :)

Location:Islington,United Kingdom

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

I’ve never been closer …

Oh how lovely – BBC Radio 6 Music have got an amazing-sounding Heaven 17 and La Roux joint session coming up, a live gig at  Maida Vale on Friday night.

I’ve applied for tickets for this but so I imagine have 47 million other people, and it’s Tuesday now so I am not still holding my breath. I do think it might be interesting, though, and I will try to listen to it or record it or something.

Some readers will be aware that I have - how can I put this – another interest in this matter, a somewhat more, ahem, pecuniary one. Radio 6 are trailing this quite a lot and every time they do they play a couple of tiny Heaven 17 extracts, one of them, obviously, being Temptation. Well you would, wouldn’t you? It sounds like the single or standard album version (same thing, I think), and if it is, and the chunks are big enough to trigger payments, then I might be making a few bob here.

Of course I’m wildly out of touch with all this … it may not be the right version, and the short moments they play may be teeny enough to be exempt or something … but who knows? I’ll find out in a month or two and, for the meantime, it’s a nice thought.

And now I'm here ...

... outside Islington Town Hall. Ah the happy memories.

Oh hang on, there aren't any. Not of that particular place. Ho hum.

- MobileHenceTerse

Location:Upper St,Islington,United Kingdom

I'm blogging on the

... bus.

This is most exciting. I'm writing and sending this blogulistic entity from a big red London omnibus. Hold very tight please! (Ding ding!)

- MobileHenceTerse

Location:Holloway Rd,Islington,United Kingdom

Monday, 11 January 2010

He’s a funny old chap, that G*d. (The Odeon lays it on the line.)

11-01-2010 09-39-34 As I write, it is still a bit cold and snowy and icy all over the UK.

The Odeon has an interesting take on what has been going on:

“Selected cinemas have been affected by adverse weather.”

Now, I have to confess that I find this statement theologically very interesting and actually rather exciting. I do wish that a Bishop would read this blog, then maybe she could give us an authoritative comment … though non-Bishops are of course also very, very welcome.