Rubus cockburnianus

My wife was watching TV earlier; Monty Don, the gardening programme host, mentioned a flower variety and I'm assuming a caption appeared onscreen.

A quote from her email:

"As soon as Monty Don said it I weed my pants laughing. And then I though of you x"


Rubus cockburnianus.


It's a bramble.

Do your own research. It's real, not a 'funny' Wikipedia plant.


As my youngest daughter started to read one of her homework reading assignment books, 'Amazing Whales', I have to admit I struggled mightily attempting descriptions before she got the book's true facts.

It's something we attempt every reading session; try to guess, then read, then debrief.

This time though one word in particular made me pause…

…and, silently, admit defeat.

  • Easy to describe: Dolphin; Killer, Blue, Grey…
  • Intermediate: Baleen, Beluga…
  • Hard: Sperm

Luckily my wife was out walking Ruby dog, otherwise it could have got rather messy.

In other news, Bob The Builder seems to have had a makeover for 2016.



My girls and wife went out to the craft shop earlier, getting stuff to decorate their Easter bonnets. I jetwashed the patio - this time with the lance rather than the usual brush with rotating jets.

Not the best idea I've ever had; there was mud everywhere; along the path down the side of the house, on the walls, sheds, plastic wendy-house, in my shoes, socks, jeans and undies; there still is some along the side of the house.


I flooded the utility room; the hose/tap adaptor is rubbish.

Thank goodness for fluffy towels!

Stony ground

A variation on a theme; a joke told to my daughters a few minutes ago:

> "What did the Italian man say when asked why he was leading Bambi, who was wearing 2 eye patches?

> 'I've-a no i-dea!'"

I'm imagining your response, dear reader, is the same my girls gave me.

My wife didn't tut. Progress.


There's a modern disease I share with a good proportion of the world. There's not a massive social stigma attached to it these days yet all kinds of crackpot remedies are supposed to help…

So what is this thing?

I have trouble getting to sleep, sleeping, and waking at a reasonable hour.

The central foundation - part 1 of my journey to nighttime joy - comes from a potentially surprising source.

Last year I wanted a Windows tablet; HP had just brought one out under £100 (US$99) and I'd decided a planned hobby could benefit from its price and convenience. So I searched for reviews.

The first YouTube review I came across was very informative, as the numbers of views attests. Watching it at bedtime though I noticed a curious phenomenon: I'd consistently fall asleep before it ended.

It still works.

Here it is:

Let me know what you th


Posting something about the upcoming Rio Olympics yesterday, I asked a question:

"Who are we supporting this time?"

It should have been obvious really. But it wasn't. In case it's not for you, watch this YouTube video…

Turn the sound up…

Its only 1-1/2 minutes long.

Martin, thanks.


It's nearly 4 years since the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. 4 years. Wow!

Rio De Janeiro!


Where's the advance publicity here in the UK? Look, I know a country hosting an event is bound to have a crazy run-up to the main event; local interest in the shape of homegrown heroes\* and the possibility of winning a ticket lottery to view a niche sport on a weekday evening are things everyone can grasp hold of…

Who are we supporting this time?

\No, not heroes. *Emphatically-not heroes. Role models of course (until the wheels fall off) but a single-minded dedication to accuracy or speed does not a hero make.


Right now I feel as if I've melted. I've been drinking wine; half a bottle of a rather nice Merlot. It's a 'Turner Road' or 'Turner's Road' or something, my vision's a bit blurry now too. I must also apologise in advance if this post makes more sense than the usual...

I say it's a 'rather nice' wine but, to be honest, it's not an objective statement based on what other people think, it's simply one I like. Don't get me wrong, I read reviews of red wines, Scottish single malt whiskies, preground coffees for my AeroPress, cars, computers, USB drives, NASs, dog and cat toys, TV stands... and occasionally even buy stuff rather than indulging myself with procrastination.

Other folks' opinions are of course important to me, but I'm my own man. I was my own man even as a boy. Family life is attempting to beat that out of me; resistance is futile...

I spent quite some time choosing mt prefect whisky: a Laphroaig 15-year-old; first tasted on a cruise down the River Nile, now available only as a special edition, far beyond my budget. If I had a big birthday coming up I could perhaps flutter my eyelashes in the hope someone'd buy me one. But even I shudder at that prospect despite my innate sense that' I'd be worth it.

So, this Merlot has achieved something a few hours of productive coding this weekend failed to. A sense of achievement.

No, I don't understand either.

Legacy (apps…)

I made a conscious choice to develop my app ( in Python 3.x. Python 3.x was introduced in 2008, 2.x updates ended in 2010; 3.x seemed a logical choice.

If only I'd read a little deeper.

Even developing a trivial Python app to run on Google's Android OS requires Python 2.7. That's requires. I don't have a Mac or a daily driver iPhone so cannot develop for OS X or iOS. An interesting recent development though (thanks for the tip ) is that the iOS Pythonista app is being updated (parallel app development) to support Python 3.x.

Why do I care? Mine is a personal project, right? The very earliest stages of development, right?

Yeah, about that…

It's good when someone shows an interest in a thing one's created. But to be unable to use it because their workflow is based entirely around a deprecated version of the language one's working with…

It's understandable; when even Google continues to use it because to not would introduce massive compatibility/update issues, why rock the boat?

But there are further obstacles to overcome before my thing is anything other than a post-only 10C client:

  • Making sense of the API JSON so that a user can interact without the needing to read through pages of 'gibberish',
  • Cross-platform compatibility,
  • And other stuff…

Aaah… Dunno.


The mobile hairdresser paid a visit today. She tidied the girls' fringes and hair at the back, did something with my wife's and, rather odd this; dropped a load of greying hair on our kitchen floor after she'd cut mine.

I feel a lot less scruffy now. Maybe I should shave; back to a goatee?

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