Monday, 9 January 2012

being back

Got back to Dunedin on the 21st of November 2011.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Red deer

Out and about yesterday afternoon the dog and I stood open mouthed as eight (8) antlered reds swam, waded and splashed their way from one island to another. They have been hanging round the property of late. Polly saw them one morning from our living room window.

As far as we know the deer will now lose their antlers and then begin to grow them again - bigger and better.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Dear Buffy

Dear Buffy Summers,

Polly and I treated ourselves to the complete DVD set of your adventures from Season 1 to Season 7. We already had the complete Season 2 but I rather think the laser was beginning to burn holes in the layers. Also it probably isn't healthy to quote accurate speeches before they are uttered by you, Xander, Willow, Giles, Spike, Drusilla, Angel or Oz while watching an episode or two of an evening, so it is good to see what for us are almost brand new adventures. I say almost because we did get a looksee at the later seasons from our local DVD store in beautiful downtown Dunedin. We didn't have them out long enough to memorise any of the snappy comebacks but that is going to change.

Thank you so much (to all of you) for the martial arts moves and the sharp delivery of Buffyverse dialogue.
If you're ever over this way we could meet up for fish and chips in Mother Hubbards, Swaffham. You might have to eat your 'fries' with salt and vinegar but I'm sure we could look away if you wanted to use tomato ketchup (ugh!) on your portion of chips.

Yours faithfully,

H & P

Thursday, 3 February 2011

LyX, LaTeX, XeTeX

I had a pleasant surprise yesterday. LyX now has ease of access to your system fonts. In the LyX 2.0 beta releases you can go to Document>Settings>Fonts and tick the box marked Use non-TeX fonts (via XeTeX/LuaTeX). Now you have instant access to all the fonts installed on your system. I can only speak for XeTeX here as I don't fully understand LuaTeX but this feature opens up your text processor to a world that traditionally belongs to conventional word processors - from Wordpad onwards.

I am using LyX on Windows but Mac users have been able to use XeTeX in their TeX frontends for some time.
'What does this all mean?' I hear you cry as once did I. 
From the LyX pages:

XeTeX can use all fonts of the operating system without additional configuring and access font features such as special ligatures and variable font weights.
LyX outputs pdf books like nothing else. 

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


I saw my first primroses a couple of days ago while checking the snowdrops on one of the islands. There are a lot but they haven't opened fully yet. This is our first year here and we have been told to view the snowdrops as soon as possible before the muntjac eat them.

The primroses I saw were nestled in a root hollow of a tree. They looked very comfy.

Sunday, 9 January 2011


Every morning I count the wildlife I have seen and relate the tally to Polly. The relating usually mentions deer. I'm not always sure what the deer are although I can recognise the muntjak close up. First time I saw one of those was in Hertfordshire and I mistook it for a giant hare. Frightened the life out of me. remember Night of the Lepus? That film had rabbits instead of hares but the misnaming wasn't the scary thing here it was the size. Now I take meeting deer in my stride. Saw a whole herd of 10 deer in the field next door. I also have a joke routine that goes:
saw 1 muntjak; 1 kingfisher; 2 swans; one million assorted ducks...
I am sure I misidentify a lot of birds and mammals because they aren't quite close enough for sighting memorable bits to aid in identification. For example I also saw a wading bird coloured like a seagull ordinaire but it was standing like a heron - but nowhere near big enough for my notion of heron. So what was it? Maybe it was a junior heron. When we lived in Donegal the herons were always big and readily recognised.
Out with the great book of British birds again.
There is always this site - RSPB -  which whittles down the search criteria pretty darn good.
That's all for today folks.

edit: the bird might have been a Little Egret

Monday, 3 January 2011


Just as I thought: I did not keep any of my new year's resolutions.
The 90 ciggies remain unsmoked and the 5 bottles of wine undrunk.
Slack, slack, slack.