Sunday, 15 September 2019

008 - Recapture the Pleasure

In a recent issue of Amateur Photographer, a reader wrote of missing the limitations of good old fashioned film photography, where your exposures per film were limited to 20 or 36 shots. This in contrast to digital devices with several thousand opportunities.

The editor's comment suggested using an SD card with a lower capacity to 'recreate that sense of jeopardy'.

My solution is even more radical, albeit also more expensive.

I bought a used Instax camera with a couple of film packs [Just 10 shots per pack] and embarked on a steep learning curve but it sure focused my mind on composition and lighting to glean acceptable results within the limitations of the camera. Back to the 1970s with a vengeance!

CJ Chilvers suggests a similar discipline in his book.

A cheaper alternative might be to buy a disposable single-use camera for around a fiver with a similar cost for developing and printing.

I guess that whatever your hobby, pastime or occupation, it is inevitable that you will hit a temporary loss of enthusiasm? Maybe that is when to look for options that will challenge your brain rather than your wallet.

Best wishes from Margate - thanks for stopping by.
If you want to drop me a line use

Sunday, 8 September 2019

007 - Watching Time

I have been asked to write a mission statement for this blog. Sorry, but it is not going to happen. Until I start writing each edition I have no idea what it will be about. I can tell you that it will never feature politics, music inserts or video. I shall do my best to avoid links to anything dodgy.
I try to use correct grammar and spelling because anything less would insult your intelligence and similarly, I avoid bad language so that this blog is family friendly.
This is the 7th edition [you may have noticed the introduction of a number in the title?]

My first ever wristwatch came from a Croydon shop and cost £5 in 1950 … about £100 in today's value … and it was my parents gift  for passing my 11+ exam to gain a place at grammar school.

I guess I've always remembered the name because it triggered my interest in branding and merchandising. I soon discovered that Kelton was a brand within UK Time which, in turn was an offshoot of US Time which subsequently evolved into Timex. My wealthier mate Brian, chose a more expensive Ingersoll watch.

I have been reading an article about the extremely expensive Patek Phillipe watch brand and wonder why anyone dishes out so much loot for an up-market heirloom. My own watch is now four years old, it has been fed each year with a new strap from Terry's Gifts in Margate High Street and a new battery from a pack that I bought in Poundland. It is now looking a bit tired, but it was only a fiver from a pop up shop back in the day.

Which is why my new one is on its way from China courtesy of Ebay. The price is £4.36 with free postage.

How do they do it for the price?

Why do people spend megabucks on shallow status symbols?

Thanks for stopping by. Be on time this week!

Out with the old

In with the new

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Back to School

Around  2005 I was given a 'Travelers Notebook' [TN] from Japan. It was a leather folder with elasticated bands that would hold pages in place. It was eye-wateringly expensive. It also appeared to have a cult like following of aficionados around the world who eagerly bought each annual special edition.

I soon realised that I could not afford to get hooked  although I could certainly admire the sheer marketing originality. That first one of mine was branded 'Midori'. The internet was soon awash with lower priced 'Fauxdori' versions. 

Last year I was in our local Wilko store and discovered a wonderful selection of 'Back to School' stationery at prices that made WH Smith look expensive. I was happy to buy an A5 size [about 6" wide x 8" high] Discovery Organiser for just £5 which, unlike the TN, included four notebook inserts.

It used the TN style system of elasticated bands threaded through the spine. These were tight enough to hold the inserts in place but, loose enough to allow them to be easily removed. A year on and it is still working well.

I've long subscribed to the therapeutic benefits of journaling. The Wilko notebook range suits me just fine. Each A5 book has around 40 sheets to yield 80 sides and, a real benefit for coastal dwellers, they are sewn into the covers rather than being stapled. Staples go rusty here!

The pages take 'V5 Pilot' ink and 'PaperMate Flair Ultrafine' well. They are sturdy enough to carry the weight of photographs on 80 gsm paper. If you don't like the rulings that are included in the Organiser then Wilko have a range of options, all around £2.

The Discovery comes with a Journal, A Yearly Planner, A lined notebook and a dot-grid notebook.

A useful design feature is a second popper closure that allows the PU cover to be shut even when the enclosed notebooks gain girth. In fact, I was so impressed that I bought another one a few days later!

Pages from my Journal

Search for a store near  you or to buy on line While surfing, check out all those sites that explain the benefits of journaling.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a happy week.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

A Lucky Escape?

Way back, in the mists of time, whilst sheltering from a brief but fierce tropical rainstorm, my wife and I shared one of those strange holiday fantasies.

We were in Tangier and overheard a couple at the next table in Café de Paris as they discussed the lack of housing for Moroccan nationals, especially as there had been a recent influx of souls from more rural areas in search of accommodation and employment.

Our fantasy ran along the lines of establishing a 'buy to let' housing business in the clearly expanding city.  Thankfully the idea never survived the trip home.

I was reminded of this when reading Kathy Kriger's delightful book about the joys and perils of buying, renovating and running a business in Casablanca. She succeeded eventually, but not without a share of heartaches and pain.

If you really want to start a business, for goodness sakes try it in your home country first, ideally in your home town where you know the heroes, villains, movers and shakers and where you understand the unwritten rules of the game.

Enjoy your daydreams and fantasies. Know when to stop dreaming and start living. You too may have a lucky escape.

Thanks for stopping by ... have a great week.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Your Time Is Now

Courtesy Warner Bros Pictures

Back in 2000 I wrote, in The Thirty Minute Life Coach, that;

 The haunting theme which remains after watching this movie is, As Time Goes By,written 69 years earlier by Herman Hupfield. 

These words are not in the original lyrics but they could certainly fit the tune ... A wish is just a wish, a dream is just a dream, a thought that you can try ...

Perhaps they should be the theme for all coaches and their clients? Your life coach is there to call on as time goes by.  To remind you that there really is no time like the present to take control of your own life and destiny by using the freedoms that are already yours.

Start with a wish if that is all you have, for it can become a dream. A dream can become a magnificent obsession that will create thoughts that will trigger action. And actions produce results. And results change lives.

You can be, do or have whatever you want.

The fundamental things apply, as time goes by.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

From Elsewhere

SY Espere
I once read that it is not a good idea to direct readers away from one's own blog. Never mind. For this outing I offer you a handful of blogs from elsewhere simply because I find them entertaining for the occasional visit. is a weekly update from Liz and Jamie who have been sailing the world aboard their yacht SY Espere since 2006. They are currently in the South China Sea - where I spent a year of my own seafaring days.
Their blog offers video diaries, newsletters and much more. is a daily blog from an American management consultant with a sense of humour and a generous share of wisdom. It takes the form of headline extracts from stuff that he has enjoyed and has many fascinating links to explore. David is a prolific author and photographer based in Canada. His books still maintain premium price even years after their original publication which is why I signed up for his free newsletter where it is possible to share his views and wisdom without charge, is a long established blog by Michael Child who owns a secondhand bookshop in Ramsgate. He is currently sharing a lot of ancient local photographs, his water colour paintings as work in progress and a few comments of local interest concerning Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs. His sidebar offers links to some other fascinating blogs. From Chicago, cj is a photographer and author of his highly original food-for-thought book A Lesser Photographer, a slender paperback that urges us to drop any obsession with constantly striving for better gear and redirect that energy towards making better pictures with what we have.

All these sites were working this morning when I checked, but you know how stuff happens! If you can't connect then do a google search for the named blogs.

I am sorry that I cannot make these sites pop up when you click on them as I have yet to find out how to do it myself. If you know please drop me an email to:

Thanks for being here. I wish you an amazing week of happiness

'Get out of your comfort zone and stay out. That comfort zone discourages the hunger for more, to be better, to make and do better, to try new things' [David duChemin]

Sunday, 4 August 2019

On Magazines

Photo: Charisse Kenion on Unsplash
Casa Magazines NY USA

The advent of on-line publishing resulted in a sad decline in the availability of print on paper titles along with a commensurate increase in their price. Inevitable I guess, given the reach of social media advertising which has reduced that income source for magazines.

According to In Publishing [An excellent free trade paper that I have subscribed to since my days in the industry] there is now the start of a welcome reversal of that downward spiral.

Here in Margate it seems that WH Smith is the only remaining outlet for magazines beyond Women's titles, Celebrity and Puzzle books. So that is why I am happy to recommend another long established Kent business at who list over 37,000 titles and will mail your order the same day if you order before 3pm. They add 1st class postage costs which is fair enough and I have never known them to miss their 'next day delivery target'.

My two favourite magazines for when funds allow, are each priced between £6 and £10 per issue. I sometimes wait a month and buy used copies cheaper on eBay as neither are vitally topical.

Monocle is a hefty lifestyle, design, culture and travel magazine that also hosts its own 24 hour radio station and cafe in London. On line they offer a free daily update of international news and trends as The Monocle Minute and there are ample free samples of their style on their website. A real quality product!

The other is Boat International,another lifestyle magazine that weighs a ton and is my sole remaining contact with my decade at sea. We get the occasional luxury cruiser passing by at the end of our road but Ramsgate Marina has yet to attract the big spenders that prefer Monaco, Malta and Cavtat. If only the people responsible for Port Ramsgate had some imagination and vision enough to see its massive potential to the millionaire market.

In closing you may notice the Unsplash credit under my header picture. Take a look at their site for thousands of totally free photographs from around the world.

Thanks for your interest and please stop by again next Sunday. Have a great week.