Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tablet Coaching: The Play Store

Auto cross-posted from my Wordpress Tech Blog:


Today we discussed how to gain access to, and get the most from, the Google Play Store.

Laptop Coaching: One-to-Ones

Auto cross-posted from my Wordpress Tech Blog:


Today we concentrated non one-to-one activities, helping those who had specific issues with their Laptop.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Laptop Coaching: One-to-Ones

Auto cross-posted from my Wordpress Tech Blog:


Today, we extended the duration to a double-lesson and spent time working 1-to-1 with the Class on a range of laptop-related topics.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Rock me Amadeus!

It was down to the Capital this afternoon to catch the National Theatre’s 2018 production of Amadeus.

But before all that, we headed for the Royal Academy to see the time-limited ‘Charles I: King and Collector’ exhibition.

Wow! This was impressive! It featured a collection of around 100 works of art (classical sculptures, Baroque paintings, perfectly displayed miniatures and ginormous tapestries by various artists - Titian, Mantegna, Holbein and Dürer and others. These were mostly on loan from around the globe (Her Maj, The Louvre, The Prado and other distinguished locations) and displayed in a number of separate rooms.

As every schoolboy knows, when the King was executed in 1649, his possessions were sold off and many scattered across Europe. This is the first time they’ve all been located in one place, and understandably, the place was already busy when we arrived just before 4.30.

It took us around an hour to get round (and that’s a long time for us! so it perhaps shows how interested we were in it all).

After a quick cuppa, we then headed for the Theatre. We haven’t been back here for over 20 years, and it was good to wander around the South Bank, amongst others doing the same together with the semi-permanent residents - the skateboarders!

It hasn’t changed very much, and we did spot a good place to eat - inside in one of their restaurants. It was almost empty when we arrived and we enjoyed a simple pre-theatre meal. As we left just over an hour later, it was almost full, so it looks like we chose wisely!

Then it was off to the 1150 seater, fan-shaped Olivier Theatre, to take our seats for this Michael Longhurst’s 2018 production of Peter Shaffer’s Play - Amadeus. It’s their second season here and it’s been getting rave reviews.


five star

What was it like? Well, I’m almost lost for words! Ann and I have seen gazillions of films, plays, operas in our lives, and this one left a permanent impression on both of us.
Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
From the imaginative set design, the integration of the orchestra with the actors, the blend of dialogue with extracts from various opera, the sound quality, the seating, the lighting - but most of all from the electric and energetic performance of the two leads: Lucian Msamati (Salieri) and Adam Gillen (Mozart). I have never seen a performance where two actors, just by using their acting ability, held the audience (and us two in particular) completely spellbound for the majority of the performance.

It was electric!

..and then some!!!! Out of five, we’d give it 6!
Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up

Scores on the Doors

We talked about it all the way back to our next stop!

We knew we’d be late tonight, and although there are plenty of trains until just after midnight that would get us home, it would have been a bit of a rush. We therefore decided we’d stay over. A while back Ann found a new hotel chain called Marlin - it’s relatively new with just seven locations (at the time or writing) around London. Ours, at Waterloo, was one of their apart-hotels - a cross between an apartment and a hotel room - with all the advantages of both! What could possibly go wrong!?

On arrival, just before 11pm, we were impressed - an ultra-modern lobby area and a very swishy looking Lounge area and Bar. Pity then, it all went downhill rapidly, at the point of check-in and afterwards.
Sad smile
First of all, they didn’t give us the type of room we’d paid extra for - so we ended up in a room on the 10th floor (albeit with a superb view across the London skyline), well laid-out but with none of the extras we’d chosen. A quick call to Reception then required a trip back downstairs, where we were allocated the correct room for the night.

The hotel is just 10 months old, but immediately, we could see that our one-night-home was a bit unloved. It began with a dirty ‘fresh’ bath towel (and note, only ONE towel), the TV in the Lounge didn’t work at all (the cable was detached from the plug on the back); the smaller TV in the bedroom refused to acknowledge the existence of Sky News in spite of being on the EPG; the thermostat in the bedroom wasn’t working properly (it was cold); there was a knob missing off one of the gizmos in the bathroom (making it almost impossible to use) and the robe-hook was in dire need of a screwdriver.

Not a great start!
Sad smile
Still, we just needed a bed for the night - at least that ’worked’. But I don’t think we’ll be going back again.

We slept well! and by 8.45, we were heading off the Waterloo Tube and St Pancras International 

We made good time and were able to sneak inn a small cheeky breakfast at St Pancras Carluccio’s before jumping on our Train for home at 10.01.A trouble-free journey followed and we were even able to get a seat just off First Class, so were able to take advantage of the ‘free’ First-Class-Passengers-Only WiFi!

All-in-all, it’s been a great short break in the smoke, apart from our hotel experience!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tablet Coaching: Core Apps

Auto cross-posted from my Wordpress Tech Blog:


Today, in the Group’s first double-lesson, we looked at two Android Core Apps:-

  • Calendar
  • Contacts

We also looked at how to configure a Tablet for printing to a home-printer.

Laptop Coaching: Word Processing (Part 3)

Auto cross-posted from my Wordpress Tech Blog:


Following-on from last week’s lesson, today we concluded the ‘word processing Lessons. We discussed:-

  • Inserting the Date
  • Text Alignment
  • Inserting Columns
  • Using Styles
  • Indenting and Outdenting
  • Changing Margins
  • Inserting a Text Box
  • Sorting Data
  • Saving your Work
  • Free alternatives to Word

We concluded the Lesson with the group (in pairs) designing a poster for a lost pet!


Monday, March 12, 2018

Laptop Coaching: Core Apps

Auto cross-posted from my Wordpress Tech Blog:


Today, we gave the Group their first look at pre-installed ‘Apps’. Specifically, we discussed:-

  • Calendar
  • People
  • Calculator


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Remember the 60s?

It’s getting to that point where many of our social circle are reaching a ‘certain’ age (although some have past it, and some feel past it!)

Guilty on both counts!
Tonight was another of those events, with John C reaching that milestone where the Library (if there’s any left!) and travelling by Train, both financially become more of an attraction!

Trish had done most of the hard work tonight in getting their place ready for his Party, with about 25 couples on the invite list. We’d done our bit by lending out some plates, our Hot Trays and some cutlery plus Ann had created a couple of dreamy desserts! - Black Cherry Trifle (almost completely fat-free) and Plum Crumble.

Low Fat Black Cherry Trifle
Plum Crumble
The Neighbours were there - Tom, Julie, Rosi, David, Paul and Karen as well some of John’s closest friends.

Tom and Julie attempting to encourage John to face the camera!
Tom and Julie attempting to encourage John to face the camera!

It must have been a good evening as we didn’t leave until 12.30am! (very late for us!). Another fab evening with good food and friends to match!

Open-mouthed smileThumbs upOpen-mouthed smileThumbs upOpen-mouthed smileThumbs upOpen-mouthed smileThumbs up

Moggy Birthday - Biscuit at 13!

Biscuit turned 13 today and by my calculation that makes her about 68 in human years. Our previous two Persians (Mumsy and Bubsy) made it to almost 15 and 14 years old respectively, but were both unwell in their final years. I therefore expect, going forward, we’ll be making more trips to and from the Vets!

Biscuit at 13
Biscuit at 13

So, how’s Biscuit been since Bon-Bon passed-away on the 10th August last year? Well, in short, her behaviour has changed significantly. I guess being the only feline in the house now, it’s because she’s not got any competition!

For example, whereas she never used to sit with us on the sofa - now it’s a regular occurrence. Additionally, she’s now also a lot (lot) more vocal, especially when she wants something… anything… at any time! (sometimes even at 1.30am!) And it’s not a gentle meow either, it’s more of a full vocal work-out, exercising her lungs to capacity - in fact, she can hear me typing this and she’s started calling…

…back in a mo’…

OK, back to the narrative - I think she just wanted to say ‘hello’ in her own special way!

Her eating habits have changed too. We tried Biscuit on tinned Tuna a while ago, and she adores it. When she scoffs, she does it at a ferocious speed and it would make any observer think it’s her final meal! She really does love the fish! Coincidentally, around the same time, she’s also become a bit indifferent towards the famous Dreamies – she must be the only cat we know who can resist them!!

She’s sleeping even more these days and hardly ever ventures upstairs when we’re going to bed (it used to be a regular occurrence) preferring to remain in the Lounge. Initially, we were a bit concerned, but then, just when you think you understand cats, in the past few days she’s now taken to sleeping upstairs when we retire for the night! Oh, and she’s now back on the Dreamies too!
Disappointed smile
Here is a few of her other habits…

Lap of Honour – She continues to be a lap cat when the mood takes her.

The Great Escape – A few years back, she was regularly jumping up on the fence to ‘go exploring’. Luckily, maybe because she can’t jump so high these days, these days, this never happens - thank goodness! However, she is still finding some way of getting out of the garden having done it three or four times this year. She’s always returned some four-to-six hours later, none the worst, except for a slight limp and a satisfied look on her face.
At Night – Biscuit is always in search of a hot-spot - whether it’s radiators, or the duvet (with the sun shining through the window on her) and more recently, during the snowy weather, right in front of the gas fire - sounds like a typical cat!

Cat Tower – It’s fair to say that she doesn’t use it as much as she used to, but every so often, she’s take the lower level and stay there all day.

Health – Fit as a Butcher’s Dog err, Cat. No issues whatsoever this year. Let’s hope it continues!

Coats – Patsy, our nearby groomer, still sees her every six weeks, (every four, in the Winter), and is keeping on top of her coat. Although she closed down her Persian Rescue business last year, she still looks after Biscuit’s fur whenever we ask – it’s a great help, as Biscuit still doesn’t enjoy a bath nor extensive combing (whereas Bon-Bon enjoyed it all).

Cattery – The place we found nearby continues to impress, and she’s now been in-and-out quite a few times in the past year whilst we’ve taken long weekends and holidays. It’s pretty much perfect, as Gill, the owner, remains a cat-lover first, and a cattery-owner second! She also used to own a couple of Persians!

So, that’s it for 2018’s birthday girl – even without the company of her late Sister, she’s still a big part of our home, and gives us a lot of pleasure just watching her doing her ‘cat things’ (apart from the early-hours calling!)
Baring teeth smile

Friday, March 09, 2018

Janet +1

We enjoyed a fantastic evening in the company of Jo, Carol (and the star of the evening) Janet - who’s now one full day into retirement - hence tonight’s celebration!

We picked everyone up around 7.15 and headed off to The Palmichael - we haven’t been there for a year-or-so and it was good to return and enjoy some quality food. My Steak was probably the best I’ve tasted in a good few years. Still being on Lent, Dessert was a bit of a challenge, but I did manage to find something - Blood Orange Sorbet. It wasn’t the yummiest option on the Menu, but it was a Dessert!!
Janet into retirement!
The weather was atrocious, and even on the short walk there, we were soaked when we arrived. Still, it was a warm welcome and the place had plenty of atmosphere - it was almost full when we arrived, and only thinned-out just as we left.

On the way back to the car, it was still raining, so again we got wet! But Ann and Jo got an extra dose, as an inconsiderate driver sped through a puddle in the high street and soaked them both! Janet, Carol and I were a few steps behind, so we were spared!!

A memorable evening in all sorts of ways!
Welcome to retirement Janet!
Thumbs up