Saturday, 28 September 2019

Still Here, Still Busy - Part 3 | 8:00pm, Saturday, 28th September, 2019 - Car Headaches, Bad Books, & New (old) Watches

Took another stab at cleaning my desk. Time for a typecast, since it's been a while. I can't say that I'm overly happy with the photos throughout this post. The Windows Photo Editor's enhance feature seems to be playing up and I've been unable to lighten the pics. I've looked up various methods for fixing this, but nothing seems to be working. Guess I'll just have to wait for the next Windows 10 updates. 

I can download a Free Trial version of Adobe Photoshop Elements and give that a bash! Which is what I did. So, I'll attemptto tidy up some photos here wherever possible.

And a close-up. I love the four different textures of the dial. Five if you include the applied numerals. Basically, the numbers at the hour markers aren't painted on or glued on. They're attached with thin metal prongs that are slotted into tiny holes drilled into the dial.

Car Trouble.
                     My wife and I took a drive out to a seaside town a few weekends ago. On the freeway coming home, I took the last major turn-off and heard a sharp snap, while at the same time seeing a small crack instantly appear along the lower edge of my wind-screen. Dammit, a stone chip.

I called a windscreen replacement company the following Monday on their 1300 number. I was hoping that it could be repaired rather than replaced.

Is the crack bigger than a five-cent coin?, she asked.

No, it's a little smaller than that, I replied. The crack was about 15mm in length, with a chip in the centre.

Whereabouts on the windscreen is it?

About ten centimetres from the lower edge and around 20 centimetres from the right-hand side edge.

So, it's on the driver's side of the windscreen? (Right-hand drive in Australia, folks.)

Yes, it is, I replied.

Oh, well then it'll have to be replaced if it's on the driver's side. That would be $295.oo.

I then decided to call on their regional repairer, which was located five minutes from home. This would be the place where they would send my car. The guy there had a look at the windscreen and he said they could fill in the crack with a resin. For $95 bucks.
Cool. I asked him if the crack might get worse if I hit a pot-hole or something and he said it might, in which case, he could offer me a six-month warranty on the work with the option of then replacing the windscreen for the $295.oo price minus the $95 that I would have already paid for the repair.
Sounded okay to me, so I booked it in for the following Friday morning. It would take about an hour.

The next day, on the morning drive in to work, the battery warning light came on. Driving home later that evening, I  noticed that my headlights didn't seems as bright as I thought they should be. As a precaution, I lowered the instrument/dashboard lighting and switched off the heater. My windscreen wipers also appeared to work a little more sluggishly than I thought.

I managed to get home and then called my mechanic the next morning to tee up dropping it in for repair. Was it the battery? Was it the alternator? I'd find out soon enough.
Driving it in to the workshop the following morning, the battery light was on and, whenever I'd drop into second gear to turn a corner, the steering would stiffen up and the power steering malfunction light would flicker briefly.
Man, I was gonna kill myself on a six-minute drive to the mechanic.

Got the car and myself there in one piece and they gave me a Jaguar(!) as a loaner. It was a model from about fifteen years ago and it drove lousy. Sluggish on take-off and it took a while to get up to speed. Nice enough once it cruised along, but took a while to get there.
And I'm no expert on cars.

Left work early that day because I wanted to be sure I had the car ready to take in for windscreen repair the next day.
The mechanics told me that it was the alternator. They reconditioned it and said it was as good as new.

DO YOU WANNA KEEP THIS CAR CRAP IN? It's pretty poorly written. Your heart and/or mind wasn't in it, really. Ahh, what the hell...leave it in. They can skip it if they get bored. God knows I did!

Anyway, I picked up two new watches recently.

Australia phased out one and two dollar notes in 1984 and 1988 respectively, and replaced them with coins. I have some small metal tins that I throw all of my loose change into. Over time, I take these coins to the bank and deposit them into my account. Like a ten year-old kid.  I have a small Whitman's Sampler tin which is probably the same size as an Altoids tin. This holds about fifty one dollar coins. 
I have another tin which holds about $240.oo in $2 coins, and another round tin that holds about eight-five bucks in 50c coins. 
Sure, it can probably take a year or so to save any meaningful amount, but it's a nice casual way of saving for the frivolities.

These coins pretty much paid for the two new watches. Well, that plus a small chunk of my recent tax return. 

First one to arrive was this late 1960s hand-wound Seiko Skyliner. 
At 37mm in diameter, it's a slightly larger than normal size for the era. Close inspection shows that the dial and hands are in very, very good condition. 
The winding crown does feel a tad small and, therefore, it's a little harder to grip with the finger-tips, but this is such a small concern that it's hardly worth mentioning. Once you get the hang of winding it, it's not an issue.  
I can't fault Seiko. The phrase "Made in Japan" has a certain cachet to it and it conjures up memories of 35mm Nikon film cameras from the 1970s and National Panasonic transistor radios of the 1960s.
This piece is as well put-together as anything coming out of comparable Swiss brands at the same time.

Whenever I finish a bottle of alcohol, I tend to soak the labels off them. I like to use them as bookmarks. Some of these are harder to remove than others. I place the bottles into hot water for about fifteen minutes and this works with some labels and not others. A guy at a nearby bottle shop (liquor store) suggested good old WD-40. I may give that a shot.

This Gin Lane 1751 label was coming off nicely as I gently peeled it away from the glass. Only problem was that I held on to the same section of the label during removal and managed to rub away the first couple of layers of paper.
Ahh, well. Looks like I may have to get another bottle of Gin Lane at some point.
I wore the Hamilton Khaki Automatic during this exercise. I keep thinking that this watch might look a little better with a couple of scuffs and scratches on it, to give it a lived-in kind of look, but I've yet to put a mark on it. No hurry, I suppose.

I'm still reading Graham Greene's The Quiet American, but I picked up a book of short stories called Paris Noir. 
You know, gang, life is too short. I decided some time ago that I would avoid bad movies and books wherever possible, because there's a tonne of good movies and books still unwatched and unread, and I ain't getting any younger.
I got as far as the first two stories before I added this book to the pile of stuff to go to the nearest Op Shop (Goodwill/Thrift Store).

Continuing with books, my first edition hardcover of John Le Carré's third book of the Karla Trilogy arrived in the mail this week. Smiley's People concludes George Smiley's intricate game of cat-and-mouse against his Russian counter-part. Smiley is a spymaster in British Intelligence and Karla is his Moriarty.

The first book in this series, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, was filmed as a highly acclaimed mini-series back in the early 1980s with Alec Guinness as Smiley and then remade as a movie with Gary Oldman in 2011 and it concerned Smiley being brought out of retirement to ferret out a mole in MI6.
It's as far removed from Bond as you can get. I bought Tinker, Tailor back in 1981 and got up to page 48 before I stopped reading it. I was too young for it, I think, and I found the pace slow. Of course, now I'm older and appreciate character development a little more, so I think I'll take another shot at it at some point. May even re-read The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, while I'm at it. That was Le Carré's breakout novel back in 1963. A classic of the espionage fiction genre.
I'll keep an eye out for the hardback versions of the two other books in the trilogy, TTSS and The Honourable Schoolboy. 

The other watch that arrived recently was this Rado Golden Horse, which dates back to 1957.
I had a 1970s model at one point and I stupidly sold it. At the time, though, my rationale was that it looked very much like a Rolex DateJust model and I felt that, if I kept this Rado, I might never get around to getting a DateJust. Well, that was about ten years ago and I still don't have the DateJust.
Anyway, this one arrived and the seller's photos did not do this watch justice. It's in very clean cosmetic condition. Rado brought out a re-edition a couple of months ago and it's virtually identical, save for the colour of the dial. For this new model, they opted for a plum-red dial. Nice.
Picture below lifted from Fratello | Hot Take: Rado Golden Horse Collection

The watchmaker that I work with told me that Rado was a very popular brand throughout Asia in the '70s and he had good things to say about these watches. Rado was one of the smaller brands coming out of Switzerland and it was acquired by The Swatch Group at some point. I sold quite a few Rado watches back in my watch selling days. The brand did very well with its Integral range which had a very thin black ceramic case and integrated bracelet with gold accents.

This Golden Horse that I got does have a few stains on the chapter ring surrounding the dial, but this is nothing that can't be solved by an ultra-sonic cleanse. We have an ultra-sonic cleaner at work. It's basically a small tank that you fill with water and cleaning solvent. The tank then heats up the water. When you turn on the cleanse function, a tiny vibration is applied to the tank. This vibration dislodges any dirt that might build up on a watch case or jewellery. You only need to leave items in the tank for about thirty seconds. They come out looking sparkly clean.
I have read, though, that prolonged exposure to the tank while in operation can actually kill the nerves in your fingertips, thus reducing their sensitivity. We always use wooden tongs.
I've noticed over the years that dive watches tend to be really dirty when they come in for servicing. Build-up of grime in between the bracelet links and on the underside where the bracelet joins the case at the end-links and lugs.
It almost seems that the more water-resistant the watch, the less likely that it has actually been in water. I'm always careful with these filthy watches. It's all too easy to handle one and then inadvertently rub your eye and, before you know it, you risk some conjunctivitis or something.  

My wife got me this photo!

It's a reproduction, sure, but it's still nifty having his autograph on it. Judging by how he looks in this picture, I'd say it was taken in the mid-1940s.

Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart are my two favourite movie stars of the Old Hollywood era. My daughter's been binging on old movies in recent months and she's developed a liking for 1920s fashions, Lauren Bacall's eyes, Ingrid Bergman's nose, Katherine Hepburn's cheekbones, and black and white movies.
We watched Hitchcock's Notorious (1946) recently and I mentioned that I have a poster of the film somewhere. I'll have to dig it out and frame it. I got it back in the late 1980s and I'm sure it would be near impossible to replace.

And, just in time for my daughter's birthday, a couple of black leather straps arrived for the Oris. I put one onto the watch and it suits it nicely. It's got a crocodile pattern embossed on it. Gives it more of a 1930s flavour.

I presented the watch to her after dinner. She'd forgotten that I even had this watch. Good. It packed more of a surprise wallop that way. That was a couple of weeks ago and I'm happy to report that she hasn't taken the watch off since.

Anyway, that's another month down. This year has flown by, that's for sure. I trust you've been well, reader, and I'll see how I go before my next post.

Thanks for reading, and take care, all!

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Still Here, Still Busy - Part 2 | 10:11pm, Thursday, 5th September, 2019 - My Kingdom for a Shirt Pocket!

The Oris Diver SixtyFive (40mm, blue & black dial) got a lot of wear in recent months. Here it is, back in May,  in a restaurant while I awaited some calamari. It was a lacklustre meal, to be honest. Lightly (actually, too, too lightly) grilled, it was an entire tube of squid with cuts half-way through it. If you think that doesn't make any sense, then neither did the taste. 
And it wasn't very hot. Barely warm, in fact. Just as well it was on the company dime.  I was having a quick dinner before a work function where there wouldn't be any food. It was gonna be a long night. And it was.

The Rolex Submariner also got its fair share on the wrist. I took this pic for my Instagram and then felt like adding some text to accompany it;

Ritts glanced at his left wrist. The mixture of perspiration and grime between the bracelet links had produced an oily residue that left a stain on his skin. 
He glanced at his watch on the table. He’d been at the safe-house since 4:00am and Al-Waleed never showed. Nothing more to do for now. He’d try again tomorrow. Ritts took a deep breath before letting a sigh hiss through his teeth. He then picked up the pressed rose that the inn-keeper’s daughter had given him when he first walked in. The inn-keeper himself, upon seeing Ritts in this disheveled state, reached under the bar and produced the bottle of single-malt. Ritts could have kissed him. After the second glass, he caught a brief whiff of his own body odor as he reached forward to put the rose back on the table. He needed a shower. A dead rose couldn’t disguise that fact. But he needed a drink first. ‘These people are beautiful’, he thought to himself as he dropped fifty Dirham on the table before he reached for his wristwatch.


In my previous post, I mentioned a jacket that my wife had found for me in a thrift store (in Australia, we call them Op Shops, which is short for 'Opportunity Shop') and I put an asterisk at the end of the sentence;

                   My wife is always on the lookout for clothes for me whenever she visits an Op Shop. I never tend to have the same kind of luck whenever I visit them.

Like I said, I put an asterisk at the end of that sentence, with the intention of elaborating a little on the subject. 
And then I forgot to elaborate on the subject. 
Anyway, here I go... 

You see, I have this theory about men and women, and the kind of stuff that they donate to thrift stores, and the methods and thinking behind their respective donation strategies (if any). 

Let's talk about something such as a tailored jacket. You know, corporate-style cut and design, in a sober colour, made from a nice wool. Women may buy said jacket and wear it for an entire season. They'll look after it, get it dry-cleaned when required and then they might take it to a thrift store as soon as they've had it for a couple of years or it's style or cut has gone out of season or fashion. 

Men will buy a cheaper type of tailored jacket and wear it to death. Guys will sweat in the jacket, drape it over the back of a chair, leave it on when they get behind the wheel, rub a wet paper napkin across the sleeve to remove some spilled sauce, toss it on the end of the bed when they get home from work, etc. 
Basically, a guy won't look after his jacket. He'll keep it too long, won't look after it properly and he won't get it dry-cleaned. The back of it will be creased and misshapen from being crushed and stretched between his back and the driver's seat, it'll have that sheen across the shoulder from where the seat-belt has rubbed against it over time and the armpits will smell. 
AND THEN he'll donate it to a thrift store, rebuking his other half's protestations with something like; "What? It's still in good nick (condition). Somebody's gonna get themselves a bargain."

My wife has here own take on this. I'll let her explain it 'cos she's better at it;

Okay so....a few extra things to add. Tee is right. Men - not having been bombarded with the cultural expectation of being 'fashionable' or the peer/vanity expectation of 'looking good', are less concerned with the shallower aspects of clothing -  care, original style, and price. 

For them, if they wore a garment only a little bit, they confer a value to it that means when they are finished with it, logically someone else might want it and get a few wears out if it. It's sweet, really.

And I suppose it demonstrates that men are all about the utilitarian aspect of clothing, that it's fit for purpose whereas women are generally more concerned with the superficial aspect; is it in style or, horrors, out of style?
After all, it is said that women dress for other women.

But I also believe that when it comes to Op Shops there are two types of men's clothing; the first, as identified by Teeritz - the thrashed and trashed beloved item, donated only because it no longer fits, but with a genuine desire to pass on to the next lucky wearer an excellent piece of clothing that will stand him in good stead.

The second type is the one I bring home for Tee. New or near new, often with tags still on, and the crispness of fabric that has never been against a warm body. Why? It was the present (gift) bought for a male by a female partner/friend/relative, that was just NOT to the recipient's taste. 
Too floral, too patterned, too tight, too 'extra'. Luckily, Tee does not mind a pattern and is on the thinner side. But the racks are full of such clothing - all showing the thwarted attempts and hopeful expectations of womenfolk to get their men to be fashionable. 
Hence my 'luck' at Op Shops. I should also add that I am never restricted by size as it's sooo often misjudged by Op Shop staff. So I look through all sizes and at all kinds of items. There are always size and style mix-ups. 
A cool head, a keen eye and patience are all you need.

Yep. Thanks, hon!

Staying on the subject of clothing, I've lately been having a pretty hard time finding decent shirts with a breast pocket on them.
All I want is a cotton business shirt, with  button cuffs, a sharp collar, and a pocket, and it should ideally be a slim-cut shirt, as these are better suited to my thin build.
I'm trying to avoid a repeat of what I wrote about five years ago (my God, was it that long ago?);

"Oh My God, I'm Wearing a Dad Shirt!" | A Lesson in Dressing for My Body Type

In recent weeks, I've visited numerous menswear stores with rows and rows of shirts and not a damn one of them has a pocket. Unless I go for an 'Easy Iron' (read poly-cotton blend), which I refuse to do, since I find that poly-cotton doesn't 'breathe' like cotton does.

Okay, so I prefer a shirt with a pocket. I always carry a pen, while I'm sure that 99% of men these days don't, because they have their precious mobile phones for jotting down notes with their thumbs and stuff like that. And, from what I've seen when somebody sends in a watch with a hand-written note, legible handwriting is becoming a rare thing these days.
It's a particular shame when the note has been written by somebody who explains that they bought the watch for their 40th Birthday TEN years ago. Did they dictate this note to their five year-old kid?
'Cos that's how the writing looks.
But I digress.
Aside from wanting a shirt pocket for carrying a pen, I also wear glasses and the pocket comes in handy for those times when they're not on my face. Am I the only man in the world who wears glasses? Has everybody gotten laser eye surgery?

At one store, I asked the salesman (who was probably my age or older); Why don't shirts have pockets these days?
His reply? "Because they don't look good. They break up the lines of the front of the shirt."
Okay, I get that, but shirt pockets have been around for as long as I can remember.
"And also, nobody smokes anymore, so they don't need pockets", he added. 
Man, he wasn't presenting me with a very convincing argument. I left him to his duties and got the hell out of there.
Aside from pockets, I have a few other stipulations;

1) - a sharp collar. Don't ask me to name the exact style. I read about them all the time, but I couldn't tell the difference between a Spread and an English Spread, etc.
If pressed, I'd say a Forward Point, as this is the most classic collar style in my view.
Basically, something like what you see in this pic.
And I'd prefer them to have those thin sheathes underneath where I can put in my own collar stays. You know, those little plastic surfboard-shaped thingies that keep the collars from curling.
I had a small jar filled with them, but I bought three pairs of stainless steel ones some time ago and my plan is to get three or four more of them and then get rid of all the plastic ones. The plastic ones get misshapen in the wash if you forget to remove them prior to throwing the shirt in the wash. The collars need to look sharp. They're the first part of a shirt that somebody will notice when you walk in the room.
2) - Narrow sleeves. I saw a lot of shirts labelled as 'Classic Cut' or 'Contemporary Fit' and they had very billowy sleeves.
The sleeve you see here could definitely do with being about 25% narrower. In my desperation to find a shirt with a pocket, I found three full-cotton shirts at a nearby store and they had interesting patterns, POCKETS, and were a decent fit. They were a Medium size and, in hindsight, I should have probably gone for a Small, but I think these were all that they had left at the time. They're a little roomy around the neck. I read on a website that your collar sizing should allow you to get two fingers between the shirt and your neck when the top button is fastened. I think these have a little more space in them than that. No matter. I'll get some decent wear out of them.
Or maybe some lucky fella will snag them at an Op Shop sometime soon!

Anyway, the passive search continues, but it looks like I may end up going through one of these websites that does semi tailor-made shirts.

This Oris watch has gotten some regular wear lately. It's a model from circa 1995, based on an Oris watch that was first done in the late 1930s.
The Big Crown series was designed primarily for pilots, so that they could set the time and wind the watch while wearing gloves, hence the oversized winding crown.
The date consists of 31 numbers arranged counter-clockwise around the outer edge of the dial and that little crescent clicks over to each date at around midnight. Oris still makes a Big Crown model today and it's perhaps one of their more well-known pieces.
I tried it on a bracelet recently, but i have to say that it's a watch better suited to a strap. Give it  that vintage vibe.
This model is 36mm in diameter. I had originally bought the smaller 33mm model, but as soon as I tried it on, I knew that it was just too small, even for my school-girly wrist. My daughter saw it and said that she liked the 'aesthetic' of it. So, at the time of writing, it's being serviced and with a little luck, it should be ready in time for her 17th birthday in the third week of September.
So I suppose that's one more piece that will be leaving my collection. Which is good, as I continue to slowly whittle it down to a set of watches that get worn more often.

Another piece that will go soon is this one;

It's an early to mid 1970s (I think) Camy Club-Star. A nice hand-wound watch that was given to me by a watch forum member some years ago because he knew I liked vintage watches. He said I could have it for nothing, on the proviso that I don't sell it to make a profit on it.
That was a lovely gesture on his part and I wore the watch quite a bit over the years. It has a nice silver dial, with gold-plated hands and hour markers. I very nice colour combo.
However, in the interests of moving watches along, in order to replace them with those that I really want, this one is gonna go soon.
I speak to a guy from time to time who works at a jewellery store interstate and he too has an interest in vintage watches. He's sent me a couple of old watches to have serviced. I told him that I had a watch that I don't wear much anymore and I thought he may be interested in it. He said he'd be happy to take it off my hands.
So, in the interests of paying it forward, good karma, and just doing something nice for somebody, I'll be sending it off to him soon. No charge, as per the gentleman's agreement that was made when I first received the watch.
At some point, though, I'd like to get something with a similar silver-and-gold colouring, but that's a daydream for another day. For now, let's just get some watches out the door first and we'll see where we're at when the dust settles. Have to say, though, that this Camy runs quite nicely. Winds nice and smooth and keeps fairly good time, though I'm sure it could do with a service.
Still, it's a nice piece. I hope he likes it.

My Bond hardcovers collection is progressing nicely.

They're all reprints, with the exception of the last two titles, The Man With The Golden Gun and Octopussy. These were Fleming's last two Bond novels and, as such, they were printed in large quantities, which makes them reasonably easier to find.
The ones I'm missing are Live And Let Die, Diamonds Are Forever, Moonraker and Dr No, but those titles, while nice, don't have the classic cover art by Richard Chopping.
So, I don't think I'll lose any sleep over not having them. Pictured in the frame also is the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, which saw some wear through May. I tend to get more wear out of this watch in Summer.
Here's hoping for a hot one this year.

Okay, I think I'll stop here for now. I added more, to this post, but it threatened to become a long one.

I'll start the next post this weekend and see where it leads me.

Hope you've all been well, and thanks for reading!

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Still Here, Just Busy & Uninspired - Part 1 | 6:07pm, Sunday July 14th, 2019

Haven't posted since late April. Work has been busy and I've felt less inclined to get on the computer to write something in long-form after spending all day in front of a computer.

Anyway, here I be and it's been a busy couple of months. Quick recap, and I'll intersperse a few pics of the watches that I wore. 'Cos that's how I roll;

It was time to begin selling some stuff on eBay. First cab off the rank was the Seiko 7002. It sold, but the winning bidder soon contacted me to say that a personal emergency had come up and he/she wouldn't be able to pay for the item. No problem. I offered it to the next highest bidder, but got no reply from them. So, back up for auction it went. It ended up selling for about twenty bucks less than the original sale, but that didn't matter. I wasn't planning on retiring on the funds from this sale. I just wanted to sell the watch. So, that's one down.

Went to the doctor for a routine blood test last month. I got tested a few years ago and was found to have a low white blood-cell count. Was referred to a haematologist who told me that I probably had nothing to worry about, as he received four or five patients a week with low white cell counts and it was nothing to concern myself with. Apparently, it's common with people of African descent.
Was there something that my Mother never told me?
He took a sample and told me that I'd get a call a few days later if any abnormalities were found.
I never got the call.

This time around, the cell count was not the issue, but my cholesterol level was at 4.8, which I was told is considered towards the higher end of the spectrum.
"No fried food, no processed meats, that means not salami, prosciutto, eat less meat, no cheese, do you eat a lot of cheese?", the doctor asked me. She was a new one that I hadn't dealt with before. Had an accent that was a mix of French and Spanish. Turns our her Mother was Spanish and her Father was Brazilian.
"Oh, and cut out salt and sugar", she added.
Christ, what does that leave me to eat, I wondered. Celery!?
She took my blood pressure. One-twenty over seventy. Nothing to worry about there. Then she checked my height; five-ten and a half.
"You're the same height as I am", she stated.
I looked down at her feet.
"Yeah, but I'm not wearing my heels today", I answered.

I wore the Omega Speedmaster sometime in May. That's a Nique jacket in the photo. My wife is always on the lookout for clothes for me whenever she visits a thrift store. I never tend to have the same kind of luck whenever I visit the thrifts.* This one's a grey wool with surgeon's cuffs (the buttons can be undone) and it's a nice warm jacket to wear in the office when the air conditioning - an ongoing saga - tends to cool the room down a little too aggressively on colder days. I think the thermostat has a mind of its own and is trying to freeze us all to death.

The doctor then arranged for me to have an ECG test. Man, I just wanted to get my blood test results. And a 'flu shot, if possible. Five minutes later, I'm in the Pathology room next door to her office. I remove my shirt and the doctor walks in and quickly gives me a 'flu shut before I lie down on the examination table and the nurse shaves little squares of hair off my chest. 
Man, I hope this is part of the procedure, I thought to myself. Well, I didn't really, but it plays better that way.
The nurse attached the adhesives to my chest and under my left ribs and then hooked up the electrodes, or whatever the kids are calling those things these days.
I lay there for a few minutes, wondering how late for work I was gonna be. I told them that I had the blood test and would be coming in about half an hour later than usual, but this ECG test would throw a small spanner into the works. No major drama.
The ECG test over, I put my shirt back on, and a few minutes later, the doctor came in and took a look over the print-out of the ECG results.
A slight heart murmur showed on the print-out at one point. But it's not anything major. She told me to make another blood test appointment for a month later, to see if my cholesterol level drops.
All good. I thanked her for her time, headed out to reception, paid for the (long) consultation and then got into my car and headed to work.

I got myself a new hat in May. This one is an Akubra 'Hampton' in what they call 'Carbon Grey'. It's a trilby design, which means it has a narrower brim. This one measures 48mm. My other two fedoras have 64mm brims which, coupled with my narrow shoulders, give the slight impression of them being oversized for my build. Although, that's never really bothered me. This new trilby has more of a 'circa 1960/ Mad Men / Blues Brothers' kind of vibe, and it has come in very handy on rainy days this winter so far. I wore the Omega Railmaster quite a bit throughout May and June.

Work has been very busy in recent months. So much so that the watchmaker has gone in on a couple of weekends here and there to deal with the backlog of repairs. As such, this has meant that I got busier when it came to finalising these completed repairs and booking them out, updating the database, taking photos, processing invoices and shipping them out. No problem, as long as I wasn't distracted by other stuff going on in the office.

Been on a slight buying spree on eBay lately. Having sold a couple of my lower-end watches, I figured I could spend some of the earnings on other stuff. Things like watch straps, short charging cables for my phone, etc.

One extravagance, though, was this Nikon EM 35mm SLR camera. Some of you may recall that I already had one of these a while ago, but ended up selling it for some reason. I think it was shortly after I got myself an Olympus OM2n and felt that I'd be using that camera more than this one.
However, there's something appealing about using an automatic camera and so, I began reading a few reviews of the EM and then I hit eBay. Picked up the body of this one for around thirty-seven bucks - which I thought was a steal - and then a 50mm prime lens a week later for just under eighty dollars. I also got some of these decorative fairy lights that you thread into an empty bottle to make a soft lamp.
I loaded up the camera with some 125 ASA Ilford black & white film and I'm gonna try to become a better photographer. I plan to jot down shutter speed and aperture info prior to taking a photo, in an effort to get a better grip on taking decent pictures. Modern batteries no longer use mercury oxide in them and these old film cameras can tend to give a slightly incorrect shutter speed reading as a result. From what I've read - and please correct me if I'm wrong - you need to compensate for this by altering the shutter speed or aperture setting prior to taking the shot.
Anyway, only one true way for me to find out. Unless I Google the information, that is.

I wore the circa 1996 Oris Big Crown Pointer Date Small Seconds in May. I love how the dial has four different textures on it. Along with the date numerals along the outer edge, the sub-seconds dial, and the hour numerals, there's a lot going on with this dial and yet it's clearly legible. 

Okay, y'all, that's the first catch-up installment done.  I'll work on another one this coming week.
I hope you've all been well, and thanks for reading!

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Sunday, April 28th, 2019 - Goodnight Bond Girls | Bondian Rhapsody & Recent Wristwatches

Hey all, I've been back from my recent trip to Ho Chi Minh City and I'm slowly working on a post about that. 
In the meantime, I've been busy back at work. Repairs kept coming in while I was away and then the watchmaker went on annual leave. 
I got back to a mountain of e-mails and completed repairs to send out and then, once the watchmaker got back from his trip, he hit the ground running and churned out more completed repairs. 
Needless to say, it's been hella busy at work for the past month. There were a few days when I felt absolutely swamped, but the only way out, is through, as they say, so I just buckled myself in to my office chair and plowed on. 
Still not out of the woods yet, but I have things back under some modicum of control. 

Recent weeks have seen the passing of two ladies who appeared in a couple of early Connery Bond films. 
Tania Mallet was an English model who starred as Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger in 1964. She first appears in the film behind the wheel of the newly-released Ford Mustang convertible, following Auric Goldfinger's Rolls-Royce Phantom III down a long and winding road through the Swiss Alps. Bond is also shadowing Goldfinger's car and Tilly is seen as a hindrance to his mission, as she has intentions of killing Goldfinger to avenge the death of her sister, Jill, who was memorably dispatched by henchman Oddjob early in the film. 
It's a short role that she has in the movie, but a memorable one. 
In 2009, Octane, a car magazine, decided to recreate this chase in the Swiss Alps, and staged a photo-shoot featuring the Bond Aston Martin DB5, the Mustang convertible and Rolls-Royce. For this endeavour, they enlisted the services of 67 year old Tania Mallet, reenacting some frames as they appeared in the original film. Pretty cool. 

Black & white photo above, courtesy of Vanity
Colour photo here, along with the rest of the shoot,  courtesy of | Octane magazine

A week after Mallet's passing, we learned of the death of another actress from Goldfinger, Nadja Regin, who appears in the classic pre-credits sequence as a night-club dancer attempting to distract Bond while a thug approaches them from behind. It's a slightly improbable scene, but it's a Bond film, after all. 

Regin also appeared in From Russia, With Love the year before, as the girlfriend of Bond's contact in Istanbul, Kerim Bey. 

Continuing with Bond news, we finally got an announcement this week about the next OO7 adventure, currently known only as 'Bond 25'. All we know of the plot is that Bond is enjoying a retirement in Jamaica - presumably with Madeleine Swann, his love interest from his last outing SPECTRE -  when he is contacted by his CIA buddy Felix Leiter and asked to assist in rescuing a kidnapped scientist. 
Meanwhile, the villain, to be played by Rami Malek, fresh from his Oscar-winning turn as Freddie Mercury in last year's Bohemian Rhapsody, has access to some terrifying new weapon. 

I got a little bit peeved when I read this. My own Bond script, that I've been working on sporadically for years now, has a similar story-line involving a scientist and a terrifying new weapon. 
Remember that post I wrote ages ago about the advice my old boss at the movie bookstore once gave me?; If you have an idea for a movie, start writing because there's somebody out there with the same idea and they're already sitting down at a computer and writing it." 
Ahh, well, let's wait and see. Not much to do until April 2020 when the movie is released. 
I hope it makes up for SPECTRE.

And one more bit of Bond news, I snagged a 1st edition hardback copy of Fleming's last OO7 novel, The Man With The Golden Gun. This is one of the titles that featured Richard Chopping's evocative artwork.
Published in 1965, this story sees our man Bond recovering from being brainwashed by the Russians and given a last chance by his boss M to redeem himself by going after Paco 'Pistols' Scaramanga, a master assassin.
Basically, it's nothing like the film, which I consider a low-point in the series.

I also have a reprint copy of From Russia, With Love incoming. I bought one some years ago and it turned out to have a facsimile of the original cover art.
The eBay Seller buried this information in the long-winded listing and I didn't see it before I tapped on "Buy It Now". Basically, the dust-jacket of that book was a 'high quality reproduction of the original'. Let's not beat around the bush here. It was a friggin' colour photocopy.
So, I think I'll be listing it on eBay soon, with a low 'Buy It Now' price, but I will clearly mention that the dust-jacket is not original.

On the wristwatch front, I took the Camy Club-Star hand-wound and the Oris Diver Sixty-Five on the trip to Vietnam. It was very hot in Ho Chi Minh City during our stay. I wore the Oris for the most part, but switched to the Camy for some of the evenings when my wife and I went out to grab a drink. 

On the third morning, though, I put the Camy on my wrist and went down to the buffet for breakfast. Afterwards, we headed out as the weather began to warm up. 
After about half an hour in the heat, I looked at the watch and noticed that the crystal (the glass) looked a little hazy. 
Sure enough, it appeared that some condensation had formed inside the watch. This can happen if you take a watch from a cool climate (the bed-side table in our hotel room) into a warm climate (outside in Saigon in March) in a short space of time. The watch heats up too quickly and condensation forms on the inside of the crystal. Mind you, this will usually happen to a watch that is not water-proof.
The haze faded as the morning wore on. Later in the day, I decided to switch to the Oris, for peace of mind. 

I didn't buy anything of note while away. I thought I'd perhaps get a new Hamilton Khaki Field watch if I saw a certain model that I'd been casually contemplating for over a year. I already have a Hamilton Khaki Officers Mechanical that I bought back in 2010;

But in recent years, as I've come to acknowledge that my wrists can only take watches up to a certain size, my tastes have shifted back towards smaller watches that are better suited to me. 

So, this Hamilton would be going and it would be replaced by a smaller version. Alas, I didn't find what I was looking for in Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon, so once we got back, I spent another week thinking it over before deciding on the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic, in the 40mm size;

Sure, it still has a slight, over-sized feel to it, but it certainly sits better on my wrist than the 44mm model up above. 
Hamilton supplied watches to the US military in WWII right through to the Vietnam conflict, so this is a brand that has more military watch history and credibility than some others that make the claim. 
I opted for the model which has a beige/off-white lume on the hands and dial. This gives the watch a lived-in look. The suede strap is beige as well and while I'm not a huge fan of it, it actually suits the watch very well and I can easily replace it with an after-market one at some point. At the time of writing, the watch has had a few strap changes already in the two weeks since I got it and it's currently wearing a black, minimal-stitch leather band of questionable quality. 

I may leave it on this strap to really wear it in. This particular model houses the H10 Calibre movement. It's been used in a few other Swatch Group brands. Its main claim to fame is the power reserve. Fully wound, this watch is meant to last 80 hours. That's a whole weekend, folks, and then some!
To test it out, I gave it forty or fifty winds by hand on a Saturday morning and then I put the watch in my desk drawer.
On the Tuesday a few days later, I decided to wear the watch to work and sure enough, it was still running. That was already around 70 hours. 
Most automatic watches in this price range will have a power reserve of around 38 to 42 hours. 
As I say, 80 hours is a whole weekend, making this an ideal Mon-Fri wristwatch. Take it off on Friday night after work and it'll still be ticking on Monday morning. With a sapphire crystal and 100 metres water-resistance, it's a nice bang-for-buck watch. If it has any short-comings, it would be the lack of anti-reflective coating on the crystal (as evidenced in the photos) and the luminous compound on the dial and hands which doesn't last all night long.
But that's okay. In this price range, there's a lot to love about it.

In other watch news, I've reached a point where I want to clear out watches that don't get much time on the wrist. The large Hamilton watch mentioned above is currently on eBay with a few hours left to go. By the time you read this, it will have sold to a happy new owner, since that watch is in very, very good condition.
I have a few other pieces that I'm gonna shift, and those listings should be well underway as you read this.

One of them is the Dan Henry Compressor 1970 that I bought on a whim in 2017. It's a very well-made watch, but I found that whenever I wore it, I'd be wishing that I'd worn something else.
As such, it spent more time in the watch box that it should have. I think I wore it five or six times at the most, and even then, it was safely tucked under a shirt cuff. As a result, it has not a mark on it and should make its new owner very happy. If it sells, that is.
Another one set to go is the Seiko 7002 that I bought some time ago and then had modified by a watchmaker.

This watch became the 'beater', the watch that I'd wear for handyman duties and gardening. It served me well, but since I already have another Seiko dive watch that could be used in its place, I see no point in holding on to this one.
I bought a couple of different dials for this watch and mixed & matched them over the years. I'll include those parts with the watch when I sell it. Somebody will get themselves a nice watch to wear or a special little project if they decide to modify the watch further.

That's the beauty of these Seiko dive watches. There are a few sellers that specialise in after-market parts for them, and you can customise these watches to your heart's content. The trap, of course, is that you can buy one of these watches reasonably cheaply and then spend a few hundred dollars on parts and watchmaker's labour to change them up to how you want. Still, some of the results can be pretty cool.

There are other watches that I'd like to shift, but this will require a little more thought.
I had a Seiko Samurai dive watch that I got about ten years ago for $450.oo. I sold it three years ago for $950.oo. Nice little profit, without a doubt. I see them now selling on eBay for close to two grand.
You just never quite know what's going to climb in value and what's not, when it comes to wristwatches. Taking aside your juggernaut brands like Rolex, it's hard to tell if demand for a particular model from a particular brand will increase as the years roll on. Still, I've learned not to look back. Once it's sold, it's sold.

I'll also be reviewing my cameras and fountain pens, and then later my typewriters. Now, I'm not going all Marie Kondo here. I'm not getting rid of this stuff because it doesn't 'spark joy'. I'm getting rid of it to free up space, in both my home and my mind.
There are some items in each of these collections that seldom see the light of day, and I'd rather end up with a tighter collection that gets regular use. A collection that bears the marks and wear of having been handled and used as intended.

Is it true that Albert Einstein had a closet full of brown plaid jackets because, as he put it, he didn't want to waste thinking time and energy on deciding what to wear each morning?
Makes perfect sense to me. 
Anyway, that's where I'm at for the moment. Hope you're all well, and thanks for reading!

Monday, 25 March 2019

Monday March 25th, 2019 - Negronis & Americanos | Counting Down the Days | Packing Bags | & Recent Wristwatches

I wore the Submariner earlier this month.

Hawkins took off his glasses and placed them next to his wristwatch. He rubbed his eyes briefly, then began to mix a fifth gin and tonic. As he slowly built the drink in the heavy crystal glass, he glanced over at Smiley. "The real problem with this vocation, George, is that it begins with a small lie, a slightly blurred version of oneself. And then, over time, the lies become greater and a larger version emerges."
He paused to cut a small lime. Holding the wedge over the glass, he gave it a gentle squeeze. Smiley watched as a few drops of juice bled into the glass. Hawkins was meticulous with his libations. A little too much so. 
Satisfied with the amount of citrus in the drink, he dropped the misshapen wedge into the glass and reached for the tonic. The bottle cap gave a half-hearted hiss as he twisted it open. He topped off the drink, raised it to his mouth and took a tentative sip.
Smiley lowered his glasses a little, closed his eyes and gave the bridge of his nose a slight pinch. Hawkins could be tiresome when lubricated. "Is there a point to this, Bill?", he asked with slight irritation.
My point is", continued Hawkins, "a larger version emerges, and the half truths, broken promises and blatant betrayals take their toll and slowly erode all thoughts of Queen and Country.
It becomes a game, and by the end of it, you can't recall where the truth ended and the lies began. By then, it's time to get out of the Circus. Of course, it's all too late by that stage, isn't it?"
Hawkins took a sip of the drink, looking at Smiley over the rim of the glass. 

Smiley looked back at him, his face giving nothing away.


Gave the Moonwatch a bit of a run. This watch poses a bit of a conundrum for Omega. As the brand continues to move further upmarket by releasing new models with improved and more advanced in-house movements, the Speedmaster Professional must remain unchanged, in order to hold onto its "Flight-qualified for all manned space missions" qualification. NASA still uses this watch in its current form, with a movement and technologies that have remained virtually unchanged since the early 1970s. 
In an era of scratch-resistant sapphire crystals and automatic calibres with silicon hairsprings, this watch is an anachronism. Certainly, it's proven itself over the decades and it has a legion of fans, but I'm sure Omega would love to make changes to this watch in some major ways, in order to bring it in line with the rest of its catalogue. 
However, those collectors who love this watch would like it to stay exactly as it is. 
I'm one of them. 
Despite its old-fashioned tech, it's got a coolness factor that's through the roof. And whereas its competitors from the 1960s were either phased out of production as years went by, or were modified and upgraded to the point where they now no longer resemble the models they were based on, the Speedmaster Professional looks very much today like it did in 1965 when this iteration was released. 
And it still does exactly what it's supposed to do.

I've always loved this photo of author Joan Didion, taken by Julian Wasser in 1970. It's so evocative of the era. Admittedly, I've never read any of her works, but had some idea of her place in literature through Vanity Fair magazine, where her husband John Gregory Dunne and brother-in-law Dominick Dunne featured regularly.

Friday, March 22nd

I've been nipping into some slightly more exotic drinks lately, to add a little variety to the standard gin & tonics that have been fueling me all Summer.
The Negroni is the drink-of-the-moment. I decided to find out what all the fuss was about. Sure, I've had them before and made my fair share of them back in my bar-tending days, but that was a long time ago.

I gathered the ingredients together and then busted out the old bakelite cocktail shaker that my wife got years ago from a thrift store. This was a drink that would require some shaking. And a lot of ice.

While I would love to say that I was working from memory, it's been so long since I mixed drinks that I had to consult my old cocktail recipe books.  

Although, the Negroni is a simple drink to prepare.

Once done, I took a tentative sip and wasn't sure if I liked it or not. Took another sip before taking it outside to sit on a bench in the shade.
It's a tad sweeter than I prefer a drink to be, but it wasn't bad. I could see why it was popular.

I then decided to sift through some of my old recipe books to get a couple of other classics, those drinks that I saw on menus of places where I worked back in the late '80s and early '90s. I didn't tend bar for too long, about a couple of years.
Back then, though, the cocktail was back in vogue, so I spent my time preparing exotic stuff like Fluffy Ducks, Banana Daiquiries, Flaming Lamborghinis (yes, you have to set it alight with a match) and Long Island Iced Teas.
Don't let that last one fool you. Despite its genteel-sounding name, it basically consists of equal measures of four white spirits, Vodka, Tequila, White Rum and Gin, with Triple Sec, lemon juice and, if you can fit it in the ice-filled highball glass with all that stuff, as much Coca-Cola as you can get in there.
I've had one in my lifetime. Back in '86. I can't remember what happened after I threw up later on.

Anyway, I looked through some books and decided to try an Americano, since this drink has some soda water in it.

The Americano cocktail packs less of a punch than a Negroni. This can be a good thing, making for a nice Summer drink. A couple of sips and this became a new favourite. The recipe on the flip-side basically doubles the amounts of the Campari and Vermouth. That recipe was out of The New International Bartender's Guide (Random House, 1984), so it pre-dates the resurgence in cocktail popularity by a few years.

Hell, I'm low on soda water. Better fix that.

Saturday, March 23rd

Finished up at work yesterday afternoon. Happy to report that I tied up as many loose ends as possible. It'll be interesting to see what awaits me upon my return. Although, no point thinking about work for the time being. I got bags to pack.

My wife and I will be jetting out on Tuesday for Ho Chi Minh City for five days of doing as little as possible. Sure, we'll soak up some of the sights, but we really plan on not straying too far from the hotel. It's been a very busy couple of years for us. We took that trip to Europe back in September 2016 and we figured we were due for a short break.

I might try posting some short despatches while I'm away, but I'm not sure. I may be too relaxed or having to much fun to do so.
If I do post, they will be very short, since I'll be using the iPod or iPad for them. Our man in Saigon, as it were. I'll be channeling a mix of 1950s William Holden, jaded ex-pat journalist, and Graham Greene minus the literary talent.

Holy Mackerel, I just did a Google search on 'How to Cross the Road in Ho Chi Minh City'. This is gonna be interesting.
Okay, I just got back from my phone service provider. I wanted to set up international roaming with my mobile phone while I'm away.
Once again, they were no help. I gotta change phone companies. But first, I think I'll have a drink.

Over and out, for now.

Sunday, March 24th
Spent the morning and early afternoon packing my bag for the trip. My wife and I are trying to avoid the usual mistake of packing more than we need. We'll be away for six days, not six months, after all.

I think that, rather than pack more clothing than I might actually use, I may pack a little less and make use of the hotel's laundry service. Might just have a couple of shirts and pants washed and pressed if I need to.
I guess I just haven't traveled enough to be seasoned at it.
I got some Australian Dollars converted over to Vietnamese Dong. Fifty bucks works out to seven hundred thousand Dong.
Mathematics was never my strong point, so my wife and I will work on a self-created exchange rate of one Australian Dollar equals 15,000 Dong.
A quick check of shows this;

As we've always done, we'll underestimate how far our dollar goes. Less of a shock on our return that way.
Okay, it's now 8:30pm Sunday night. That's all for now. I'll wrap this post up tomorrow.

Monday, March 25th

Okay, home stretch. Bags are packed, and everything else is in place. The bank knows that we'll be overseas, we've got various charging cords packed, our contact details are up to date, and our flight and hotel bookings are confirmed.

As far as watches are concerned, I'll be wearing the Oris Diver SixtyFive for the most part, since it's water-resistant and can handle some abuse, and I'll also take along something a little simpler and dressier, for the evenings - the Camy Club-Star on the steel Speidel Twis-O-Flex expanding bracelet.
Both watches feature the date, which is handy. Reason being, on our last trip - the one to Europe - I took photos on certain days and when we got back and began sorting them out, the time difference meant that the pics were out of sync with the days on which they were taken. According to the camera's date settings,  photos taken in Rome on Wednesday the 14th would be dated by the camera as having been  taken on Thursday the 15th because the camera was set to date and time in Melbourne, Australia back when I bought it and input the settings. Since we are ten hours ahead of Europe, this skewed the dates.
So, this time around, the first photo I take on each day of the trip will be of my wristwatch dial, showing the date. Vietnam is only four hours behind Australia, so it won't be a major issue, but I figure I might as well get into the habit.

And there we have it, gang. It's now six-thirty pm in my neck of the woods and dinner is in the oven. Chicken Kiev, in case you're wondering.We're at the tail-end of Summer here in Melbourne and it rained heavily overnight, followed by a sunny day with high winds. It's actually a little nippy outside right now. Good time to get away to somewhere warmer. Extend our Summer a little.

As mentioned, I may post up short posts during the trip. Although, since the aim of this holiday is to do as little as possible, I may not come anywhere near this blog. We'll see.
First of all, I gotta figure out how to get across a road in Ho Chi Minh City.

Thanks for reading, and take care, all!

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!