Archive for May, 2005

Sixty days

Monday, May 23rd, 2005

Sixty days is a significant period of time. Wars are won, fortunes lost, regimes toppled and new hope raised in less time. All of which is my way of acknowledging that a lot of water has passed under the bridge since I last wrote here. In the intervening time, my attention has been almost entirely taken up with the mundane and the humdrum, the ins and outs of everyday life. That said, thoughts of a new life and emigration have always been there, surfacing into conscious thought when time and space have allowed.

One of the key reasons behind the lack of updates was the fact that my blog became more widely known in my workplace than I was comfortable with. For this reason, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and allowed things to cool off for fear of causing problems for myself. Whilst I am keen to resume regular blogging here, I am not quite ready for ‘no holds barred’ posting just yet. Suffice to say, we have been making steady progress with our plans, working away at the myriad tasks and to-dos that need to be attended to in order to even think about moving to the other side of the world.

More, more regularly, soon.

Friends in need

Sunday, May 22nd, 2005

More often than not, when it comes to the maillists, forums and chatrooms, we only hear about the darker side of human nature.  This being the case, I just wanted to post something in mitigation.

As detailed in the post below, I have had my trusty commuting bike stolen and, despite trawling the local flea markets and back alley traders, I am no closer to finding it.  This morning, I wrote a brief email describing my efforts to recover the bike.  I then posted it to a thread on the Brompton Talk Yahoo group concerning the possible sale of stolen bikes on eBay which has been a recurring theme there for some time.  Within a couple of hours of the post, I received two unbidden mails off-list from fellow Brompton owners offering the loan or sale of their spare or surplus bikes.

In the grand scheme of things, not earth-shattering acts but for me, an indication that, despite scaremongering to the contrary, the Internet can be a conduit through which the hand of friendship and good citizenship can reach out and make a difference.

my lo-fi ears are listening to All For Self/Fun Lovin’ Criminals/100% Colombian

The dirty deed of a stolen steed

Tuesday, May 10th, 2005

Sadly, I became just another crime statistic a couple of hours ago when my Brompton folding bike was stolen in Spitalfields. It was taken from a group of three bikes locked together by the zebra crossing railings at the corner of Commercial and Fournier Streets, London E1 ( It was taken in the 20 minute period between 18.40 and 1900hrs and, whilst not particularly disctinctive, it has a number of non standard details.


  • Brompton L6
  • British Racing Green
  • 2 part Brompton telescopic seat post – not standard
  • Front pannier bracket
  • Reflective green London Cycling Campaign sticker on headtube
  • Two yellow inline skate wheels on rear triangle – not standard
  • Cateye Krypton front light (silver in colour)
  • 3 LED Cateye rear light
  • Frame No: 203863
  • Serial No: 0410031920

It has been reported to the Police via their online Non-Emergency Minor Crime Notification, so if you see a green Brompton on your travels, these photos of the bike and the distinctive skate wheels might help you work out if it’s mine. If you see it, please report it to the nearest police station, quoting Crime No: 4214303/05.

The browser that’s a wowser!

Thursday, May 5th, 2005


(about 15 of them are mine!)

Seems like the message is getting through.  If you have no idea what this post is about, I will just say this:  where have you been? A cave? The Horse-head Nebula?  Browse secure, browse tabbed, browse Firefox.

Thanks to Ian for the heads up.

A few more than 43 Folders

Thursday, May 5th, 2005

Along with a few of the other ‘Getting Things Done’ geeks and productivity pedants over at 43 Folders’ Google Group, I have recently revised how I store my personal papers. My old filing system consisted of a briefcase sized portable hanging file box (purple box below) which was full to overflowing years ago and was supplemented by an old aluminium camera case and numerous folders (also shown below).


After reading and contributing to a thread about banker’s boxes, I was tempted to follow suit and go the cardboard route. However, the distinct possibility of having to move house later this year (and, quite possibly, continents) left me with little doubt that the drawer-style cardboard banker’s boxes favoured by my correspondent wouldn’t be suitable. A wander up and down the aisles of my local Staples led me to find a variety of Really Useful Products polypropylene archive boxes. After trying out various ideas, I choose the 35 litre stacking boxes with transparent lids for a number of reasons:

  • The size seemed to offer a good capacity but not one that would mean that the boxes would be too heavy to move easily.
  • Each box has vertical guides moulded in several places on the four inner faces to allow hard dividers to be inserted.
  • The linear dimensions of each box allows the use of A4 hanging files in one orientation or the use of foolscap hanging files in the other.
  • The grey handles act as snap locks and have holes to allow locks or zip ties to be used.

The only drawback I can find with these boxes is that there is about 1” of play between the top of the hanging folders and the lid of the box. Whilst only a small thing, this could mean that, if they were tipped-over in transit, the files and folders could move enough to slip out. However, folded newspapers or a layer of stiff foam under each lid before sealing would resolve this entirely.

Decision made, I grabbed two of these, 50 hanging files, 100 buff folders, a large pack of 3X3 Post-Its, a decent marker and headed for home.


The long-delayed and equally long-overdue task of overhauling my filing involved a long evening’s blitz on the various nooks and crannies in my home office before order was finally wrought from the chaos. Papers were divided on the most basic level (a pile of tax papers, a bunch of pay slips and so on) but that was about it. As these files are primarily for historical archiving and reference material, I used simple, single level A-Z labelling, jazzed up with a few filing hacks from the 43 Folders wiki rather the 43 ‘store then bring forward’ folders of the GTD tickler system. After a good few hours work, I had managed to turn the mess partially illustrated by the top picture into the picture of organisation you see below.


Given all the recycling/burning/shredding significant amounts of papers, old folders and envelopes, I am surprised by the amount of materials I am left with but it is so much more accessible/managable now. That said, I have yet to file my computer manuals, software and family reference files so I suspect another trip to Staples is in order for more of the same and the CD-sized equivalents.

my lo-fi ears are listening to Falling/Balligomingo/Beneath the Surface