Saturday, 2 March 2019

Sunday, March 3rd, 2019 - Busy Times | The Heat's Still On | Thanks For the Charade, Mr Donen & Recent Wristwatches

I wore the Omega  Seamaster Planet Ocean. It's been some time since I last wore this watch. I may have mentioned this already at some point in recent months, but I'll say it again for the sake of posterity. I've reached a point in my watch collecting life where I have a clearer understanding of the kind of wristwatches that I tend to favour. It would seem that I have a real soft spot for dive watches. 
Strange, considering that I don't dive. It's probably due to seeing my first Bond movie at an impressionable age - I've stated that before - , but I think I've found over the years that a good dive watch tends to be both robust and legible, and also has enough water-resistance for anything from a half-hour at the sink to a day at the beach. 
While most brands began increasing the size of their watches over the last fifteen years or so, I'm glad to see a gradual shift back towards smaller sizes closer to what was produced in days gone by. This opens up the choices for a guy like me, who has a six-point-five inch wrist. 
At any rate, this recent realisation for me will help towards thinning down the collection a little. That's the plan, anyway.

I switched over to the Rolex Submariner 5513 earlier this week, in the last few days of February. This Graham Greene biography arrived in the mail. I've been wanting to read it since the early 1990s. Written by Norman Sherry, the Professor of Literature at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, this is the first volume of a staggering work on the life of Greene.
Sherry met with Greene on numerous occasions and, throughout the writing of these volumes, he followed in Greene's footsteps, traveling to the same places throughout the world that Greene went to, in an effort to better understand the man, and to speak with those who had met him.
This book will take some commitment. Given its length, it only covers the first 35 years of Greene's life.

My views probably began to change in 2016, when we lost Prince, David Bowie, and George Michael all way too soon. As far as I'm concerned, they still had much to give.

So basically, if somebody in the public eye has lived a long and fruitful life and they check out at the age of, say, 85 or 90, I don't tend to mourn them too deeply.
I raise a glass to them, thank them for their efforts, and wish comfort for those they leave behind.

I wanted to reply to comments made about my previous post, but time got away from me. So...

  1. Steve K17 February 2019 at 04:00       Wonder if J.D. was ever a hand model. You upuld have that in common Tee.

                                                     I suppose that's something, yes. 

  2. Joe V17 February 2019 at 06:47    Another great article. I like how you often start out so humble, but before you know it there's some great content to read, along with pictures. Well done, keep at it.

    I wonder if your hot summer in December is a harbinger of our coming summer in the southwest US ? Probably no connection, climate-wise. Last summer we didn't get too many days above 100f here in Albuquerque, but being a mile in elevation it does cool down at nights, making for some nice summer evenings on the patio. Stay well.

                                                     Thanks, JVC. Whenever I begin these posts, I have to wonder if anything of any great import has occurred that week. Of course, I'm no longer posting on a weekly basis, which would mean that there's more to write about, but it seems life is less interesting than it used to be, perhaps? 
    This Summer here in Melbourne seems to have been a late one. We had some scorchers early on, that's for sure, but we've had a consistent run of hot days over the past month or so. Ahh well, it'll be over in about a month or so, so I may ass well enjoy it wherever I can.

  3. Bill M17 February 2019 at 09:00       Dead birds as rewards (I guess). I had a Rottie that used to like to bring me her dead triumphs as a gift or reward.

    If you want some cold. we've been braving -15F and similar for the past week or two. If the pattern from Oz and here reverses for our summer we will be in for some unusually hot weather.

    It's nice you got your glasses exchanged. I had a dreadful pair of multi-focal lenses one time. Most of the time though I do like them more than regular bifocals.

    Hope you have a great week and enjoy driving the newly repaired car.

                                                        Yeah, Bill, I once read that cats bringing in dead animals is their idea of a gift. I also read that it's their way of showing us how to hunt. 'Cos they think we're dummies.

    Not sure I could handle -15F. Lowest it ever gets here in Winter is maybe 2 degrees Celsius, and that's in the early hours of the morning.

    I never got used to the multi-focal lenses. On a small rectangular lens, it felt like there was too much going on, with different focal points. And yes, I'm glad I was able to get them changed over without any fuss. 

    And yep, it was good to get the car back. 

    Thank-you all for your comments!

    I'm still wearing the Omega Planet Ocean. Given the weather we've had, it seemed easier to just leave this watch on, since it can handle perspiration, water, kitchen-sink and gardening duties (not that I've gone anywhere near the garden this weekend).

    Le Carre once stated in an interview that the inner workings of MI5 were very similar to the way in which the hierarchy of a large business corporation operates. The same back-stabbing and skullduggery occurs, as department heads attempt to work their way up in the intelligence organisation, with little regard for colleagues.
    This may be why I found his books a little too heavy-going when I was a teenager reading Fleming's Bond books.

    Anyway, it's now 12:22pm on Sunday afternoon. Time to get a move-on with the rest of the day. My wife and I just need to plow on through the next few weeks and then we'll be off overseas for a week.
    More about that as it draws closer.

    Thanks for reading and have a great week ahead, folks!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Sunday, February 17th, 2019 - Forgotten Posts / Record Heatwaves / Back to the Books / Man, What a Voice! & Recent Wristwatches

Hmm, it would appear that I started this typecast post in the last few days of December last year and then never got around to finishing or posting it up.
Ahh well, here it is. I wasn't going to bother, but since I spent the time and energy typing it out, I figured I'd better not waste it. 

I rearranged the shelves in the spare room. This room still has boxes filled with stuff that I haven't unpacked since we moved into this house in September 2015. 
I think I should do something about that. 
Looking at my typewriters, I notice a few that I could probably do without. I have thirteen of them and I think I'm gonna try getting them down to ten or so. 
To be honest, I'm finding it hard to get motivated to write the copy, take photos, etc, for the eBay listings, but in an effort to de-clutter, I'm just gonna have to sit down and get started. I've been saying it for too long - and this blog is littered with statements about de-cluttering- so I think I should just bite the bullet and get it done. 
There. I'll say no more about it. 
Till it's done. 

I wore these two watches for most of the week;

The Submariner was worn early on, but I soon created a list of chores for myself during my time off from work, so I switched over to the Omega Railmaster on a minimal-stitch leather strap.

I have to say that the leather is not very pliable on this strap, which made for a very uncomfortable fit and feel during the warmer days this week. 
I've since put the watch back onto its steel bracelet. I think steel is a better option for Summer, since water and perspiration over the warmer months can tend to wear down a leather strap faster than would happen at any other time of year.


Anyway, it's now Sunday, February 3rd and we've just experienced the hottest January temperatures on record. Yeah. On record.
It's currently 36 degrees C.
The temps have crept up to the high 30s on and off over the past few weeks and we had a four or five day spell where it got to between 38 and 42 degrees Celsius. A quick Fahrenheit conversion turns those numbers into 100.4 and 107.6. Yikes!
Okay, the wife and I just got back from a quick workout at the gym. Since writing the above paragraph about an hour ago, the temperature has climbed up a couple of notches to 38 degrees.
Tomorrow is shaping up to be another hot one.

Monday February 11th, 8:00pm
                                                    Where the hell is this post going!? Let me check the photos that I've taken over the past couple of weeks. That oughta' jog my memory.
Ahh, okay, I remember now.

I had multi-focal lenses fitted to these Tom Ford frames a couple of weeks ago.
I had been on the hunt for a set of frames which had clip-on sun-glass lenses attached. I was aiming for a mid-Century aesthetic along the lines of James Dean's glasses. These Tom Ford frames are a honey-blonde shade. I would have preferred a darker shade of tortoise-shell, but considering this particular style has been discontinued for some time, I figure I was lucky to find these.
In a moment of weakness, I let the girl at the optometrists up-sell me to multi-focal lenses when I had actually planned to just get bi-focals. I just wanted glasses for driving and reading. She convinced me to go for an all-purpose lens that would be better for driving, reading AND being able to see the dashboard clearly.
Stupidly, I let myself get talked into it.
Anyway, fast-forward ten days later and I picked up these specs and wore them over the following week.
I hated 'em. Too much distortion in the periphery of my vision when driving, making it difficult to negotiate my driving in traffic where split-second decisions were concerned. Lane-changing meant taking an extra second or two to judge how close that motorcycle was to my rear right and how close that cyclist was to my rear left. And they were no good for wearing while working at the computer at work, as I found myself tilting my head a little too high to see the screen, since these lenses had three different focal points ground into them.

I went back to the optometrist over this past weekend and asked if I could switch them to basic bi-focals like I had originally planned. I was fully expecting to be further out of pocket. These multi-focals were the priciest lenses I had ever bought. Anti-reflective coating, anti-glare coating, etc had driven the price up on these.
Surprisingly, I was told that there was a warranty on the lenses and they would change them over to bi-focals at no charge and I still had a coupla' hundred bucks credit left over. This meant that I could get another set of frames fitted with reading lenses, to replace my older pair that sit on my bedside table.
Cool. They should be ready sometime next week.

Thinking about it now, I'll probably read another Follett book or two at some point. The bastard. Still, probably a better way to pass the time than Patterson's works.

Okay, wristwatch-wise,  I wore the Omega Railmaster, seen here back on its bracelet. I briefly began reading Graham Greene's The Quiet American, but then decided to hold off a little longer with it. I'm not in the right frame of mind for it just yet. 
Soon though. 

Man, this has turned into a very literary post. Hope you don't mind.

My son showed me some YouTube videos this past weekend featuring an outfit called Postmodern Jukebox. The brainchild of a fella named Scott Bradlee, they basically take modern songs and give 'em an old time spin. I spent an hour or so sifting through them and every singer has an absolutely extraordinary voice. 

A highlight is this pocket Venus named Haley Reinhart, who belts out a fantastic version of Radiohead's early '90s hit Creep. This dame's got a set of pipes on her you wouldn't believe. She's got a great repertoire of chanteuse moves as well, as she flits and flutters her hands as she sings with a husky voice which is at times raspy and at times blows the roof off. And the band is tight! There ain't a bum note in this gig. 
Here's the clip. You be the judge. Then check out her rendition of Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun. And then look for Puddles Pity Party and his version of Lorde's Royal.

Warning- It could be addictive. See ya in a coupla' hours.


Postmodern Jukebox seems to have been kicking around for about three or four years, so I have to say I'm late to the party here. 
Either way, looks like I'm gonna be downloading off iTunes soon.

Here's the website, featuring the video clips, tour dates and downloads;

Scott Bradlee's PostModern Jukebox | Home 

I wore the Submariner at some point in the past few weeks;

And here comes another book. I picked up a First Edition Library version of Fleming's The Spy Who Loved Me. I had looked at pre-owned First Editions of this book, but their condition was less than stellar, unless I wanted to spend more than I was prepared to. The First Edition Library brought out the complete set of Bond novels in the early 1990s with reproductions of the original cover art. This one, along with From Russia, With Love, has perhaps the most evocative artwork of all the Bond novels which featured paintings by British artist Richard Chopping. 
First published in 1962, this was Fleming's attempt at writing a OO7 story from the Bond Girl's point of view. Hence, it is billed as 'written by Ian Fleming with Vivienne Michel'.

The story concerns a young woman with a past who checks in to a motor inn in Upper New York State. Unbeknownst to her, the place has been taken over by two thugs who are on the run and have holed up there.
That synopsis may be a little sketchy. I'm working off my memory of the book from when I read it back in '81. 
Figured I'd give wikipedia the night off.
It was a strange book in many ways. Fleming writing from a woman's perspective is bound to be skewed and full of his own wish-fulfillment and ideas about how a woman might think. In giving the co-writing credit to the protagonist, it attempts to give the impression that Bond is real. 
Aside from that, this book is 221 pages long and is split into three sections entitled Me, Them and Him. 
Bond himself doesn't appear until around page 135 as he pulls up at the hotel to get a room and soon realises that the two thugs aren't the proprietors of the place. 
Needless to say, it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the film of 1977. Fleming was disappointed with the sales of the book and stated that only the title could be used if it were ever to be filmed. 

Around 1990, I bought a copy of a 'lost' Dashiell Hammett novella called Woman In The Dark. This story centres on a woman who arrives at the home of a couple living in an isolated house in the country. She is being pursued by three or four (can't recall exactly) rich men that she was partying with earlier. While she is portrayed as being a little bit of a floozy, these men have misread her signals, thinking that she's more of a good-time gal than she really is. 
As the story progresses and she continues to try and escape and evade these men, she hooks up with an ex-con who's recently gotten out of jail. Together, they try to get away from these men, but they are hampered by the very real likelihood that the police won't believe her version of events compared to whatever the rich guys tell the cops. 
'The strumpet and the convict'  is how she describes herself and this man when he suggests they go to the cops to explain what's going on. He, of course, doesn't want to risk his parole, so it seems that the odds are stacked against them both.
Once again, I'm working off memory here. 

I remember reading this book and thinking of the similarities between this and the Bond novel. Or maybe I'm projecting a little more into it all than there actually was. 
At any rate, I'll need to re-read them both at some point to really be certain. 
Gee, that all went nowhere, didn't it? 

I wore the Sinn 103 St Sa chronograph on the 8th, when I cracked the seal on the 'emergency bottle' of Bombay Sapphire. I bought this 500ml bottle in Rome back in September 2016 for about ten or fifteen Euros, which was equivalent to about $21 AUD at the time. Back here in Oz, a 750ml bottle of this stuff was selling for about $40 bucks back then.
Do the math, to account for the 250ml difference and you still feel that we're getting stung here in Australia with liquor prices.  I also bought a bottle of Ballantine's Scotch Whisky for 12 Euro, which I recall worked out to eighteen bucks. Yet here in my burg, it would cost about thirty-five to thirty-eight dollars. 
It's enough to drive you to drink.

Anyway, I spent an hour or so ironing half a dozen shirts and two pairs of chinos last weekend while listening to some wristwatch-related podcasts. By the time I was done, it was well and truly time for a drink. I was wearing the Railmaster.
My kids have been using up the ice without refilling the trays. Drives me nuts. So, I grabbed a small ZipLoc bag, half-filled it with water and put it in the freezer. For emergencies.

My wife came home earlier that day with a little vintage Japanese figurine that she found in a thrift store. "Check it out. She's wearing silk." 
Decked out in geisha-style robes, she holds what looks to me like an olive branch. Her face is made of a tightly woven fabric, possibly mounted onto a hardened base and her expression is (probably) hand-painted. And it looks flawless. Even though there are signs of mold appearing in places.

My wife quickly dubbed her 'Miss Happiness' and I didn't argue. It seemed to fit. We lightly cleaned her, removing the accumulated dust from her hair and making a minor repair to the angled hat on her head before putting her on a cabinet in the lounge room.

Now, as long as the cats stay away from her, she should be fine. Dammit, that iron is in the bottom edge of the frame. I've lost count of how many pictures I've taken over the years where the ironing board is visible in the corner of the room.

I wore the Oris Diver SixtyFive blue/black earlier this week and switched to an old-school piece that I haven't worn for some time. The circa 1962 Omega Seamaster Automatic;

           Spent an hour or two rearranging the lounge room so that I could set up a new phone in a more easily accessible part of the room. Our current phone is plugged in to the modem and it's situated in the far corner of the lounge room behind the corner of the couch.
What this means is that when the phone rings, we have to sprint to the lounge and then navigate our way around the corner of the L-shaped couch. By this time, the answering machine has already kicked in with a pleasant American voice; Hello. No-one is available to take your call. Please leave a message after the tone. Followed by the beep.

I bought a new hands-free phone off eBay, something that still retained a semblance of the shape of an old rotary phone. Sort of.

My son and I then attached the RJ45 cables and worked them along the skirting in an effort to make them as inconspicuous as possible. This involved running some small brass hooks along the skirting and looping the cable through them, then zig-zagging the cable between the brickwork of one wall.

If I had my way, I'd just have an old-fashioned land-line telephone plugged in to the old phone socket. This would be independent of the modem and broadband service. Also, it wouldn't require power from the electrical system. As it stands, this whole analogue exchange is long gone (or well and truly on the way out) and this leaves us at the mercy of Australia's pitiful broadband network.
We were without internet and home telephone for five days last month. Our provider, aside from making it difficult and convoluted to speak to somebody about this and get a straight answer, sent us a portable 4G WiFi modem loaded with 50gb of pre-paid free data.
If it happens again, just plug this modem in to your existing one and you'll be right, they said.
Okay, that was of some consolation...until I read the fine print on the packaging; "50 GB. 28 day expiry. Activate by 31/3/19"
If our modem goes down again after March 31st, this thing will just be a paperweight.

Anyway, this new hands-free phone is up and running and the old hands-free is still in the awkward spot behind the couch for now. 
If I never see another RJ45 cable, it'll be too soon. I was wearing the Oris Diver SixtyFive;

And that's another few weeks done and dusted. Work has been very busy since we re-opened for the year. My wife and I have a short break planned for late next month and I'll say more about that as it draws closer.
All we have to do for now is plow on until then.

I hope you've all been well and that this year has begun nicely for you all.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

My Most-Worn Wristwatches of 2018 + What Came In & What's Going Out

Okay, first of all, Happy New Year! I hope 2019 has started off nicely for you. Now that we're in the year of Blade Runner, I'm keeping an eye out for replicants. It's as good a plan as any!

First post of 2019 sees me looking back once again at the watches I wore throughout the previous year. Two thousand and eighteen saw me posting less than previous years. In fact, I only wrote 19 posts, as work got very busy, and after entire days in front of a computer screen, I found myself less inclined to get back in front of one once I got home. 
As such, these results will be skewed, but they should still provide an overview of the watches that I wore the most throughout this year. Also, due to fewer posts throughout the year, this will probably be a shorter list, but I'd like to respond to a reader's comment from the last few weeks regarding the heirloom aspect of my watches. This is something that I've thought about often over the last year or so and I would imagine that any of you who have a collection of stuff have perhaps had similar thoughts with regard to leaving these items to your kids.

I'll list these watches in reverse order this time. Also, I'll mention the watches that came into my collection this year and the ones that will go out. 

Anyway, here I go.

In fifth spot, worn throughout three weeks of the year was the Omega Speedmaster Professional. For some reason, my more water-resistant watches spent more time on my wrist than this one. Although, whenever I did wear this classic, I was instantly reminded of why I like it so much. As I've said a million times before, it's such a classic example of mid-Sixties chronograph design. And if you wade past all of the NASA/ moon landing associations embedded in the history of this watch, you'll soon learn that it was originally created in 1957 for use as a racing chronograph, hence the reason why it was named the Speedmaster. The design you see here dates back to around 1965, where Omega replaced the earlier arrow-head hands for a simpler picket-fence style, which was common among watches of the era. 

Coming in fourth was another Omega, the Seamaster 300. As you may know, this was a WatchCo-built model and it was a Grail piece for me. Around 2005, I spent a lot of time on eBay looking at Vietnam-era fakes and heavily water-damaged versions of this watch. In the end, I called a contact that I knew and placed an order for one of these. Basically, WatchCo would take a correct movement from a heavily trashed Omega watch and they would place it into a Seamaster 300 case. 
Your purists will argue that this makes it a 'Frankenwatch', something that has been cobbled together from parts to create a watch that was never built in Omega's factory back in the 1960s. 
True, to an extent, but baloney just the same! Sure, this didn't come out of the brand's Geneva headquarters, but it is made up of period-correct Genuine Omega parts.
If I had bought one of those water-damaged ones off eBay and then sent it to Omega for restoration, they would have fully serviced the movement and then replaced dial, bezel and hands with all-new parts. Effectively, the watch would be pretty much like a WatchCo build. The ONLY main difference is that the serial number engraved on the movement of the WatchCo would correspond to the original 'donor' watch, whatever it would have been. Most likely a mid 1960s Geneve model or Seamaster dress watch. It would not be the serial number for a Seamaster 300, as what would be found on the movement of a factory-built Seamaster 300.
This caused collectors to worry about five or six years ago. Urban myths began to circulate in collector circles about Omega Service Centres confiscating these watches and destroying them, or at the very least (compared to that), refusing to perform any repair work on them. 

Anyway, some time passed and some folks on watch forums reported that, due to a slight difference in case numbers between the old, original models and these new WatchCo-built ones, Omega would now service the new watches when they came in. They added an extra zero to the new case numbers, in order to differentiate them from the vintage models. This was designed to prevent someone from trying to pass off a WatchCo modern build as a restored vintage piece. 
Either way, I'm not worried. When the time comes to get it serviced, I'll just take it to Omega and see what happens. 

My 3rd most-worn watch was yet another Omega. This 36.2mm Railmaster is a favourite. Understated, supremely legible, and enough water resistance to go from a bucket of water to an ocean. If I have one gripe about this watch, it would have to be the clasp. While it works just fine, I've always thought it was a flimsy arrangement, made up of a sliding section made from a very thin sliver of steel. I have been tempted to try fitting a sturdier clasp from a mid-sized Seamaster model of the same era, but this would be a pricey gamble, since I can't be certain that it would fit the bracelet of this watch. 
An easy solution would be to just put this watch on a leather strap, but this changes the entire look of the watch. Still, not the worst thing, as it does tend to look quite nice on the right kind of strap.

In the Number 2 spot was the 40mm Oris Diver SixtyFive with the blue and black dial.
Not much more I can say about this watch, as I wrote a review on it a few months ago;

Just in case you missed it. ;-)
I'm wearing it now as I write this post. It's become my go-to watch in a lot of ways. My wife and I are planning a trip away sometime in March and this just may be the watch that I take with me. 

And now the home stretch. I wound up wearing two particular watches over twelve weeks of 2018.
In equal Number 1 spot was a watch that I got back in February, one that I thought I had missed out on getting in late 2017 when it was first released - The Oris Movember Edition Diver Sixty-Five.

This watch came out of nowhere. News of its release was announced in October 2017, and it would hit the market the following month, as a special edition in conjunction with the Movember Foundation and its efforts to raise awareness of physical and mental health issues which affect men all over the world. Based on the 42mm Diver Sixty-Five models, this one was a 40mm model and it's overall design and look just positively screamed 'vintage dive watch'. I wore this one through 12 weeks of the year, alternating it between a minimal stitch leather strap and a black NATO strap. Recently, I picked up the metal bracelet, just in time for the Summer months.
While it shares the same case diameter, movement, and bracelet as the other Diver SixtyFive of mine, the dial layout is so vastly different that it becomes a completely different watch to that one.  I wore it a lot on various straps throughout the year and it was suited to each and every one of them. Once I put the bracelet on it, the whole watch's look changed yet again.

Finally, the other watch that got 12 weeks of wear throughout the year; The 1982 Rolex Submariner 5513. I've written exhaustively about this watch, so I'll try to keep it short.
I had a minor mishap with this one earlier in the year when I knocked it against a door frame and dislodged the bezel of the watch.
Luckily, as the After-Sales Coordinator of a wristwatch brand, I work with a watchmaker and I have to say that I'd been reluctant to let him near this watch. Not because I doubt his abilities. He's in his sixties and has worked on a myriad number of watch brands including Rolex, and the work that he does on a daily basis is stellar.
Nope. The reason I didn't want him to work on it was because...well, let me ask you, do you have any friends who are plumbers or electricians, etc?
I do and I would never ask them to do any work for me because, if they do a sub-par job, it would put a strain on the relationship.
With the watchmaker, my worry was that if he didn't do the work to my satisfaction, I would still have to work with him, and there would be some bad blood between us. Maybe I was being paranoid, but I thought I'd err on the side of caution.
When I first decided to have the Submariner serviced, he told me not to waste my money by taking it to somebody else. I told him that the beauty of dealing with strangers is that you are paying them for their efforts and if they do a bad job, you can blast them and demand a proper repair or a refund, if you don't end up taking them to Consumer Affairs first.

Anyway, after I'd knocked the bezel off the watch, he told me to bring it in and he'd take a look at it.
So I did. I have to say that he has some tricks up his sleeve that I never knew about. 
He changed the crystal, and refitted the bezel, making sure that it was more securely fastened.
In the end, I was very happy with his work.

Frank (Schrijfmachine), one of my regular readers, responded to something that I wrote in my last post regarding the heirloom aspect (or not) of this particular watch.
Here's what I wrote about this Rolex in that post;

I switched over to the Rolex Submariner the next day. This watch is one that I tend to wear a little sparingly, depending on what I'm doing for the day.
Reason being, owning one of these is like having a vintage car. Parts can be expensive and tricky to find. This is actually a richer man's wristwatch, made for someone who can easily afford to get it fixed if something goes wrong.

My daughter wants it when I shuffle off this mortal coil, but I've told her 'no'. My son won't get it either. She decided to plead her case; 

"Oh, but you wanted it for the longest time, and it means the most to you."
"No, it actually doesn't"
I countered. "Despite the fact that I chased it for so long, I'm not going to burden you or your brother with this watch. Parts are expensive, servicing it is expensive, and if you damage it, you'll kick yourself. If you really want one, save your money and get one. That way, you'll know what it takes to get ahold of one of these. And this one doesn't mean the most to me. I have other watches that I wore during significant times of my life. My Railmaster has more resonance with me, even the Sinn Chronograph, that I wore on the trip, and the watch that I wore when you and your brother were born. Those ones mean more to me. The Rolex will get sold when I'm gone. That way, the money that it gets will be of more use to you and him. And, the Rolex comes with a lot of baggage because it's become the watch that guys will buy to show the world that they've made it. They buy it for all the wrong reasons, which is why I wanted vintage rather than new, which would have cost me less. Besides, you'd be better off with something like the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight. Looks a lot like the Rolex, but it can take more abuse, 'cos it's a modern watch." 

The part about you telling your daughter the Rolex will not be her in the future (and why) is spot on. Very refreshing to read. I am used to reading guys on the watch forums saying they plan to buy a Rolex from the year their son/daughter is born, in order to give it to them when they reach 18, or 40, or...

I read these plans so often I almost started thinking this is actually a good idea. But than I read your text and I agree with you. It might be nice to buy it with the thought to give it away sometime, but it might not be so nice to get something expensive from your father, having to take care of it (and be sad when it breaks down). Thanks a lot, great lines.

Happy 2019! Frank (Schrijfmachine)

I wanted to add further reasons as to why I wouldn't leave this watch to my kids. Basically, with a wristwatch, you're not just giving them the watch. You're also giving them the box, the spare links, and all of the paperwork that's associated with it because, should they decide one day that they do want to sell it, they'll get more for it if they have all this stuff to go with it. Collectors want as much 'provenance' with the watch as they can get, and I have it in spades with my watches. 
Hell, this blog alone has tonnes of info about how and where I've worn my watches.
And all those boxes and papers require storage and looking after. You have to put the box and papers somewhere where they won't get damaged. Someplace where they can sit for years and years if necessary. And you have to remember to take it all with you when you move.
Basically, it's all just one more thing to take care of as they go through their lives. And like I said, if the watch gets damaged or when it requires routine servicing, it won't be cheap and I don't want to burden them with it. 
And let's say I did give the Rolex to my daughter one day. She wears it for a few years and one day, it gets knocked hard against a brick wall and needs a new crystal, bezel, dial and hands, as well as a service to the movement.  That will be an expensive repair. Will she have the money in the bank to get it fixed? Will she feel an obligation to have it fixed, since it was my watch? Will she feel that she may in some way be betraying me or my memory if she decides not to get it fixed? 

If you're a collector, be it watches, cameras, typewriters or anything else of a mechanical nature, you need to look after these things. And if you want to hand them down to your kids, you don't want it to become a curse. You want to be sure that your kids are into these things almost as much as you are. That way, these items may stand a better chance of being looked after once you're gone.

Besides, there's no shortage of watches for my kids when the time comes. My plan is to leave them three or four watches each, and even then, that sounds like too many. I will, of course, once again run them through the cost involved in maintaining a mechanical Swiss watch.

And yes, Frank, back in my watch selling days, I dealt with many customers who wanted to buy a watch when their first kid was born and then put it away for twenty years until they were ready to be given it. 
Whether a watch is running or not, it will still need to be serviced after five years or so. 

The better plan would be to buy yourself a nice watch, wear it, live your life, travel with it on your wrist and then give it to your kid when the time is right. The watch will have a beautiful history by then. 
Of course, you'll still need a watch for yourself, so you may be smart to buy a couple of watches as the years roll by. Actually, get three. Make sure one of them is a dive watch or something water resistant. That way, your child will have something for the beach and something for the nine-to-five. 
Personally, I think a pre-owned Rolex DateJust (34mm, 36mm or 39mm) or Omega AquaTerra (38mm) would be a good choice. Both of these watches would work nicely on a son's or daughter's wrist once they have come of age.


So anyway, I plan on clearing out some of my things this year. I have a few too many watches, typewriters, fountain pens and cameras and I've reached a point where I know what I like and what I prefer to use on a regular basis. The watches will be a little tricky, I'm sure, because some of them have a great sentimental value to me. 
We'll see how strong and/or logical I am. 

To start with, I gave the Tissot Visodate to my son earlier this week. He already has a Seiko dive watch that I bought for his sixteenth birthday a couple of years ago, so that takes care of the sporty watch category for the time being. 
However, he turned 18 on Christmas Day and I wanted to give him something a little more mature. 
I had contemplated selling this watch, but the review I wrote on it back in 2010 has clocked up over 550,000 page-views on a watch forum (521,440 views) and this blog (29,916 views), so I'm a little reluctant to get rid if it solely for this reason. 
To be sure, it's a great watch. It came along at just the right time, back in 2010 when Mad Men was in full swing and the mid-Century aesthetic of this watch went a long way towards generating interest and sales of this piece. At 40mm in diameter, I did always feel that it was just a tad too large for my wrist for this style of watch, but I didn't let it bother me too much. In recent years, though, my tastes have shifted back towards wearing watches that are better suited to my 6.5 inch wrist, so I decided not to wear it and then decided to hand it down. If it were just two or three millimetres smaller, I'd be all over it. 

Next on the chopping block is the Dan Henry Compressor 1970.

This one caught my eye one day and I snapped it up because I liked the look of it and I don't have a Compressor-style dive watch. Basically, it has an extra crown on the 2:00 o'clock edge of the case and this is used to turn the internal bezel for dive times. 
This 40mm model was produced in a limited run of 1,970 pieces and it nicely captures the look of this type of watch that was produced in the mid '60s to the early '70s. 
The luminous compound on the dial and hands isn't very strong, but this is a minor gripe for me, since I have other watches if I want to read the time in the dark. 
Under the hood beats a Seiko NH35 automatic calibre which is quite accurate. It is a nice watch, but I bought it on a whim and rarely wore it. I think I've worn it three times since I got it in September 2107.
So it's gonna go soon. No point holding on to it it it doesn't get worn. There are no passengers, only crew, as my wife says to the kids when they're given a (short) list of chores to do around the house.
Which they avoid like crazy.

This next watch is one that I haven't worn much in recent years. It's the 44mm Hamilton Khaki Officer's Mechanical.

As you can see in this pic, it positively dwarfs my 6.5 inch wrist. I bought it back in 2009, when the big watch craze was well and truly in full swing.
Two reasons why I opted for this particular model; firstly, I got suckered by the big watch craze and decided I wanted something big and cartoony. Something that also looked (in my mind) like a WWII SOE agent's piece of kit.
Secondly, this watch houses the venerable Unitas 6498 hand-wound calibre, a mechanical movement that was first introduced in pocket watches of the 1950s. It winds as smooth as butter.
Alas, it's just too damn big for my wrist. If it were two millimetres smaller, I'd keep it, but this 44mm case diameter is just too big, so this watch will have to go.
However, since Hamilton was a military supplier to the GIs of the Second World War, I still feel I should have one in my collection. Therefore, I may just snap up a smaller-sized model at some point. The beauty of this brand is that it is inexpensive when compared to similar watches of other brands, and Hamilton now falls under the Swatch Group umbrella, so you have the peace of mind of knowing that it'll be around for a long time.

One more watch that I will be shifting is the Omega Seamaster AquaTerra Co-Axial;

Judging by the photo above, one could be forgiven for thinking that this is a nice clear watch for reading the time. However, I've found that in a lot of lighting conditions, the hands can tend to disappear against the glossy black dial. Of course, I don't have any photos of the watch where this occurs because when taking photos, I try to ensure that the dial is legible. Otherwise, it kind'a defeats the purpose of what a wristwatch is meant to do;

This picture here may give you an indication of how the hands can 'blend in' with the dial.
I got this watch in 2006 when I had a younger man's eyes. These days, I don't want to squint too much in order to read the time. It's a great watch, without a doubt. The glossy black dial looks like it's made from Oklahoma crude. It looks like a fresh paint-job on a 1970s Maserati.
I just can't read the time on it as easily as I used to.
Given that this watch has the same case and diameter as the Railmaster, which has gotten a lot more wear in recent years, this one will go.
Remember, if it ain't being used, it's just taking up space.

There's another watch that I'm looking to move along, but I'll get to it a little later, once I've covered...


I had a couple of unplanned purchases during the year. Both of them were watches that I missed out on buying years ago, so when the opportunities to take another shot at them presented themselves, I didn't think twice.

The first one was a watch that I saw back in the late 1990s. It's the Oris Big Crown Small Seconds;

The Big Crown model was first released by Oris back in 1938 and the brand has had some version of this watch in regular production ever since. 
It was named the Big Crown because, you guessed it, the winding crown was slightly oversized, to make it easier to wind the watch and set the time while wearing gloves. 
This was, after all, a watch specifically designed for pilots. 
I first saw this watch at the jewellery section of the Daimaru department store and a few years later, I saw it again in a 1996 Oris catalogue that I'd picked up someplace. 
It was such a pleasant looking watch, with its snake's-head shaped hour hand, syringe-shaped minute hand, crescent-shaped date pointer, and multi-layered dial with applied numerals. Everything about it screamed '1930s', and this was at a time when I was fully immersed in my mania for Old Hollywood glamour and Art Deco design, and my interest in wristwatches was well underway, but it was hampered by poverty. 

Look at that dial, will ya? Four different textures going on - a plain, flat section where the date numerals are printed on the outer edge, a mottled, fresh cement-style pattern underneath the beautiful hour numerals (check out number '4'!), a Deco sunburst pattern in the central section of the dial, followed by a sub-seconds dial with concentric circles. There's a lot going on, but the time is clear to see. This is the kind of attention to detail that was prevalent even throughout the smaller watchmaking houses of Switzerland.

I actually bought two of these. The first one was 33mm in diameter and I thought I could carry it off. Although, once it arrived, I tried it on and it just felt too small on my wrist, even though this size was probably a lot closer to the original models of the Thirties.
Anyway, my daughter saw it a she liked 'the aesthetic' of it, so I'll get it serviced (it arrived without the genuine Big Crown, which I knew when I bought it, and this would explain the low price that I paid for it) and then hand it over to her. 
The model in these photos was the larger 36mm model, which I managed to find about two months later. This is a nicer size for my wrist.

Another watch caught me at a weak moment in 2018. Again, it was an Oris watch, and again, it was a model that I missed out on the first time it was on the market. This here is the Oris Artelier Hand-Wound;

Housing the well-regarded Peseux 7001 hand-wound calibre, this is a very thin wristwatch. Diameter-wise, it's 40mm, which would normally be too large for this type of watch, as far as I'm concerned, but whereas I got rid of the Tissot Visodate for being the same diameter as this watch, I find that I get a nicer fit out of this Oris. As a watch collector, I'm a mass of contradictions. 
This one is a two-tone model, featuring a steel case with a gold-plated bezel. The dial is silver, with a sub-seconds dial at the six o'clock end and three applied gold-plated numerals at the remaining cardinal points. No date, which makes this a nice watch to wear out of an evening, even though the hands have no luminous compound in them, but instead have a wide slit cut through their length. 
You know that watch I mentioned earlier? At the beginning of this section? The one I plan to sell? It's this one;

A Lanco hand-wound, dating back to somewhere between 1955 and 1963. Yes, it's a nice watch, but it bears a similar enough appearance to this newly-arrived Oris, so I think this one will go. It currently requires a new mainspring. Once I get that done, I'll move it along. 
I have to say that I do love the look of this watch. It's 38mm in diameter, considered a jumbo size for its era and the dial is sublime, with barely a blemish on it. Somebody looked after this watch. Damn, now that I look at it, I can feel my resolve weaken. 
Well, I'll get rid of the others first and then see how I feel about this one. 
The fact that I have to get it fixed first means that it gets a reprieve for a while. 

And that's where things stand. I have a Seiko that I use as a beater, for handyman duties and other activities where a watch runs the risk of getting damaged. I've been thinking of getting rid of that one, but I'm not sure. It seems to serve a purpose. For now.

I've reached the stage of collecting where I really want to keep things that will actually get used. Oh, wait, I said that already. I must really mean it. 
Another thing, if I get something new, I should get rid of two that I already have. In the interests of keeping these collections manageable.

I'll soon be going through my typewriters and fountain pens to see if there are any (I'm sure there will be) that don't get much use and should therefore go. 
I'd like my collections to be a little leaner.
If that's possible.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 23 December 2018

RIP Mr Lee / Sorry, Pal, But You Ain't Marlowe / Plastic Car Mishaps / Pleased To Meet You, 007 + Recent Wristwatches

November was a busy month and December has, so far, been a tad busier. Work has been steady and has gotten increasingly more hectic as the year draws to a close.

As such, the watches that I wore each month have become somewhat of a blur. So, I'll list some of the ones I wore, but I'm not sure if they were worn in November or December.

I wore the Oris Movember Edition Diver SixtyFive sometime throughout the month while I grew a mustache. Managed to snag another drinks tray from a thrift shop. I have another one that is rectangular and quite large, but I wanted something smaller, with more of an Art Deco/1920s vibe. 
Just in case Scott and Zelda come around for a night-cap. 
Now, I just need to find someplace to put it. Maybe I'll have a bar in the house one day. I can sit it there.

Marvel comics genius Stan Lee died last month at the age of 95. He was the co-creator of Spider-man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, among other comic book super-heroes. 
He'll always be best remembered for Spider-man,
and for me, it was always Spider-man.
The tale of a puny high school kid who gets bitten by a radio-active spider, and is thereafter endowed with super-human strength and speed, resonated with me as a pre-teen back in the '70s. My brother had a handful of The Amazing Spider-Man comics back then and I don't know how many times I re-read them. 

Cut to 1977 and I went to the cinema to watch The Amazing Spider Man, a live-action movie starring Nicholas Hammond as Peter Parker. 
The effects were really bad, but totally in keeping with the pre-Star Wars technology of the time. 
But it was a disappointing effort nonetheless. 
By the early 1980s, I was buying my own Spidey comics. However, Marvel Comics were soon churning out four different Spidey titles each month and it began to get a little pricey for me after a while. 

My fandom lay dormant for a couple of decades until Sam Raimi's wonderful Spider-Man in 2002. By now, Hollywood had this little thing called CGI, and this gave us the kind of special effects in movies that we could only dream about twenty years earlier. Not only that, but it seemed that Marvel had decided to create an entire cinematic universe from it's vast trove of comic-book characters.
And I've been lapping it up ever since. 

I'm glad that Lee got to see his creations on the big screen. Sure, I can mourn the death of this man, but I think, aside from getting to a ripe old age, he had a good life. He was married to the same woman from 1947 until she died in 2017, and he built up a wonderful body of work during his lifetime.

I also wore the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean in November. Geez, I'm starting to get a little low on gin. Maybe this cold is a good thing. I haven't touched a drop for over a week now. 
As you may know, gin has become the new black as far as spirits are concerned.  There has been a slew of small gin distillers popping up over the last couple of years. 
There's a hometown brand called MGC (Melbourne Gin Company), and I've also seen a few Japanese gin distillers on the shelves at some of the bigger liquor sellers. Call me old fashioned, but I tend to stick with the English brands. 

My daughter was with me when I saw a brand called 'Ink Gin' at a local store. The gin was dark blue, like fountain pen ink.
"Ohh, you should get that one, Dad", she said. 
However, I don't think I could sit there and take a gin & tonic seriously if it was dark blue. 
But that's just me.
In saying that, though, there's an Italian gin called Malfy that I might just try. It's infused with lemon, and some reviews have said that the lemon taste overpowers everything else. Might be a nice drink to have on a warm Summer night.

I recently finished reading Only To Sleep, Lawrence Osborne's Philip Marlowe novel, and I have to say, I found it underwhelming.
Sure, it'll end up on the shelf nestled to Chandler's own works, plus those of other authors, but this latest novel didn't feel like a Philip Marlowe story at all.
The shelves are brimming, hence the books lie sideways, to make better use of the shelf space.

Thursday, December 20th
                                            Okay, so I have one more day of work left before we close the office for the year...and I think I have a cold.
It was a slightly stressful start to the week. I sent a repair quotation to a store back in September. I stipulated that, because parts had to be ordered, there was a possibility that this job would not be completed before Christmas. I stressed that the store should advise their customer of this.
They informed the customer and the customer gave the go ahead on the repair.
Fast-forward to a week ago and the store manager calls me to ask on the status of the repair. I told him that parts had been delayed (this happened with a few repairs last year, which is why I stated it as a possibility in every quote I sent out from mid-September onwards) and that the repair would most likely be completed in late January/early February, as mentioned in the original quotation.
He hung up on me. That's twice now that he has done that. To guys like him, guys like me are just minions.
He called my manager, who checked with me, and then reiterated what I had already told this fellow.
I hate situations like this. I have had upset and angry customers on the phone (and via e-mail)  from time to time and they always seem to want to take their frustrations out on me. I remind them all that I'm merely the messenger.
Those types of customers don't bother me. I can handle them, but when I get somebody who's in the industry getting ticked off with me when all I'm doing is relaying information, and they decide to go over my head, only to be told the same as I've already told them, then that just adds unnecessary time and trouble to the situation. It gets everybody nowhere.
I decided long ago to be part of the solution, not the problem. So, when somebody calls up and wants to complain about the cost of a service or the time that it's taking, I will listen patiently, but then I'll spell it all out for them so that we're all clear on what's going on and the reasons for it.
Simple as that.
Anyway, that's all in the past now. As I once read, 'you get a sore neck looking back'.
Still, I thought I'd vent a little.
I'm all better now.

Anyway, I wore the Oris Artelier Hand-wound sometime last month. This watch houses the Peseux 7001 manually-wound calibre. It features a sub-seconds dial at 6.
I have been told that this movement requires a little more care when winding, as the mainspring can sometimes dislodge if the watch is wound too vigorously. Have to say this has never been an issue for me, as I tend to take care anyway when winding a wristwatch.
Back in the days when I used to sell watches, I was constantly surprised by the abuse that some folks subjected their watches to. For those guys, they tended to equate 'expensive' with 'indestructible'.
Sadly, this is almost always not the case. Whether you buy a $60 Seiko automatic or a six thousand dollar Omega, both watches should be treated with a little care. Like any other machine, whether it's a blender or an automobile.

There is a risk to filling in the gaps, with the benefit of hindsight, when a writer takes on another writer's work. Horowitz has sparingly filled in some of these gaps, but he has stayed fairly true to the essence of James Bond and who he is. Much of what takes place in the book does seem like the kind of reactions Bond would have and the kind of things he would say and do.

So, I managed to read two books based on well-known and loved characters and I have to say that Bond latest tale comes out better than Marlowe's.

Oh, another recent headache;  After a particularly busy day at work a couple of weeks ago, it got to knock-off time and I couldn't wait to get home. And then I soon found myself in a perfect storm.

The lights were off in the car-park. I started my car and slowly began reversing out of my spot. I could just make out the outline of the car parked in the bay next to mine before I felt a slight tightness in the steering. Checking my side mirror, it looked like I had grazed against the other car.

'Oh, dammit to hell', I thought to myself as I tapped the brake pedal.
I then edged the car slowly forward back to my original spot and heard the sound of cracking plastic. These damn modern cars.
I uttered a range of expletives as I heard tiny bits of plastic hit the ground. I switched off the engine, wondering why in hell the lights in the car-park hadn't switched on automatically as they normally do.
I got out of my car and surveyed the scene in the semi-darkness. 'You've gotta be kidding!?' I said, not believing what I thought I was seeing. I ran over to the other end of the car-park and the automatic lighting switched on at that end. As I turned and walked back to my car, I saw that half of the rear bumper had been wrenched away. Tiny plastic mounts lay scattered across the car-park floor.
Feeling my gut muscles tighten, I walked over to the light switch near the lift (elevator) doors. Sure enough, one of them had been switched off. I flicked it on and the lights came up. One of the other tenants in the building has moved out and there have been tradesmen and cleaners coming in and out of this car-park all week.
I should have left the lights off. The car looked much worse in the light.

The car next to mine was parked closer to the line on my side. The front tyres were turned all the way over to the right. I had driven in to my parking spot, the other car had been reversed in to its spot.

There wasn't a mark on this car. Just a slight scuff on the upper side of the tyre. My theory? As I reversed, the tyre of this car gripped the bumper of mine. When I stopped reversing and then drove forward again, it was enough to rip the bumper off my car.

'I just wanted to effing go home, man!' was soon followed by 'I don't have three grand to fix this, I don't have three grand to fix this!' bouncing around in my head.

Moments later, a lady appeared. She was the owner of this other car. As she approached, I explained what I think had happened.
"But your car's fine", I added, with just a hint of sarcasm. She looked at my car's damage. "That's no good" was the best she could say.
I had an urge to blast her for parking so close to my car AND for turning her wheels to the side. If not for that, I would have been okay.
I let it slide, thinking that I'd try doing the opposite to what I might have done in the past. So I kept quiet, but I hope she doesn't ask me about my car when she next sees me because I may just give her a lesson in how to park a car.

My main worry after that was; do I try re-attaching the bumper or do I tear it away completely? I wanted to get home. I tried to refasten it and managed to get it back on reasonably tight, but I decided to see if I could secure it a little better before I got home.
I got back in the car and limped over to the nearest petrol station (actually, it was a 7/Eleven if you must know) and bought some gaffer tape. I taped the bumper to the body and drove home at a sedate speed. It's one thing if the bumper dislodged again, but it would be something else entirely if it came off the car and caused an accident for somebody else.

Next morning, I took the car to a nearby panel shop and they quoted me $700 to replace the rear bumper and to colour-match it to the rest of the car. Better price than I expected, but still a decent chunk out of my personal savings. Ah, well, nobody got hurt and that's the main thing. It's booked-in for repair on the day after Boxing Day.

I wore the Omega Speedmaster the next day. This watch gets some regular wear. I can tend to go a month or two without wearing it and then I'll see a picture of it on a watch forum and I'm reminded of how nice a looking watch it is.
Other chronographs have come and gone since this watch was first released in 1957 and this design dates back to the mid-Sixties. That's what I love about it. It's a beautiful example of chronograph design from that era. And that could well be one of the reasons why it became a classic. The NASA/moon landing association helped too, of course.

I switched over to the Rolex Submariner the next day. This watch is one that I tend to wear a little sparingly, depending on what I'm doing for the day.
Reason being, owning one of these is like having a vintage car. Parts can be expensive and tricky to find. This is actually a richer man's wristwatch, made for someone who can easily afford to get it fixed if something goes wrong.

My daughter wants it when I shuffle off this mortal coil, but I've told her 'no'. My son won't get it either. She decided to plead her case; "Oh, but you wanted it for the longest time, and it means the most to you."
"No, it actually doesn't", I countered. "Despite the fact that I chased it for so long, I'm not going to burden you or your brother with this watch. Parts are expensive, servicing it is expensive, and if you damage it, you'll kick yourself. If you really want one, save your money and get one. That way, you'll know what it takes to get ahold of one of these. And this one doesn't mean the most to me. I have other watches that I wore during significant times of my life. My Railmaster has more resonance with me, even the Sinn Chronograph, that I wore on the trip, and the watch that I wore when you and your brother were born. Those ones mean more to me. The Rolex will get sold when I'm gone. That way, the money that it gets will be of more use to you and him. And, the Rolex comes with a lot of baggage because it's become the watch that guys will buy to show the world that they've made it. They buy it for all the wrong reasons, which is why I wanted vintage rather than new, which would have cost me less. Besides, you'd be better off with something like the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight. Looks a lot like the Rolex, but it can take more abuse, 'cos it's a modern watch." 

As I've said here before, in my big write-up when I first got this watch, I wanted it because of the Bond connection. I wanted it because it was associated with photojournalists and war correspondents of the 1970s. I wanted it because McQueen and Redford wore one. I wanted it because I couldn't pick up a magazine when I was a kid without seeing a classic ad for one;

Besides, I doubt there will be a shortage of watches from my collection for my daughter to choose from. Selling the Rolex and splitting the proceeds between the two of them will do the most good. She just doesn't know that yet.
Although, I did tell her that I plan to give her and her brother four watches each. Anything more than that may become a burden for them.
I speak from experience.

 And, for the last few days, I've been wearing the Movember Diver SixtyFive on a bracelet.

Monday, December 24th
                                  And there we have it. About six weeks since my last post and much has happened. Things are busy around here. I have the next eight days off and I plan to do some serious tidying up around the house. I didn't manage to sell stuff on eBay in the lead-up to Christmas and I plan to make up for it in Jan/Feb. Time to clear some stuff, Make some room. Not for any new stuff, but just to create a little more breathing space.

In closing, I hope 2018 has treated you all well, and thanks for your readership throughout the year.

I hope that whatever you celebrate at this time of year, it is an enjoyable and/or restful time for you all.

I hope that you all have a safe and Happy New New, and that 2019 treats you kindly.

Thanks for reading!