Lounge Makeover (Part 1 of 9637)

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And so it begins!

The Lounge was the first room we decorated when we moved-in nearly 21 years ago, and although it’s worn well, it’s looking a bit drab, when compared to the other, more recently decorated parts of the house.

Being us, simplicity and speediness didn’t come into it, and every square inch of the room will be changing soon, in some way – walls, lights, carpets and even the three-piece suite. Stay tuned!

The biggest change for me was the decision to ‘embrace the new’ and go totally diskless for all my music. I’ve now managed to convert 99.9% of my tunes – around 16000 tracks to (250-275 VBR kbit/s) MP3s – and so it’s goodbye to the CD tower that’s occupied one corner of the room since 1996!

My new whizzy amp – when I get it fully up-and-running – the Yamaha RX-A1060 will ‘talk to’ the PC and make it a lot easier to select and play music. Yes, I know, (apparently, according to audiophiles) “digital music sounds cold and loses some quality in the conversion”, but to be honest, I really can’t tell the difference, and the benefits of having instant access to ALL my collection, at the push of a button (or two) easily outweighs these downsides.

Therefore, it’s ‘goodbye’ to my trusty hi-fi stack system (that cost me a King’s ransom back in ‘95) to be replaced by just ONE box to ‘rule them all’.

In preparation for the change-over, today’s task was to disconnect everything behind the hi-fi. In doing so, I was reminded of how complex this original setup was with what seemed like ‘miles’ of cabling. I re-discovered twin phono/coax/optical cables, as well as speaker leads, running in all directions under the carpet, as well as up and down the wall cavities (so they stayed hidden) whilst linking-up with the TV/DVD player and various other AV units that I’ve owned over the years.

Well, at least going forward, with HDMI cables these days now being the main connecting technology, it should all be a lot simpler getting it all up-and-running.

…or will it? Already, just reading the first few pages of the Manual, there’s a massive learning-curve ahead!

More chaos news to follow…

We ARE Amused

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Ann and I met up joined Geoff, Rhonda, Paul and Sue at The Olde Victoria tonight for a spot of nosebag and our three-monthly catch-up. Gosh, we haven’t been here for about a gazillion years and it’s now under new management. What a very pleasant surprise – in every sense. Very welcoming and friendly staff, a great menu, superb service and super-delicious food.

I can’t believe that this place is right on our doorstep and it’s probably one of the best (if not, THE best) eating experience we’ve had in a Pub for many, many years!


..and of course, it was great to catch-up with ‘the gang’ and gossip-away the evening!

Tablet Coaching: The Web Browser

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Today, we discussed more about the ‘core apps’ that are installed on every Tablet. Today’s topic was the Web Browser and how to make the most of it when surfing the ‘net.

Filed under: Delivery, Salvation Army, Skills Development, Volunteer

Laptop Coaching: More About Malware!

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Today, we continued discussing how to stay safe online. Having discussed the evolution of viruses last week, this time around, we concentrated on how to spot malware, why you should (almost) never click on an ‘unsubscribe’ button and the power of the ‘Malwarebytes App’.

Filed under: Delivery, Salvation Army, Skills Development, Volunteer

Laptop Coaching: eMail – the Final Lesson

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Today, in our (slightly extended) final lesson for the family, we practised, practised and practised sending and receiving eMails.

Filed under: Delivery, Feedback, observation, Salvation Army, Skills Development, Volunteer

Russians in Northamptonshire!

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We picked up David and Valerie and headed off to The Derngate to see Russian Masters performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The journey there was straightforward, but parking near the Theatre was a nightmare – even the multi-storey was full! Eventually, we found a space in a nearby street, but I think if we hadn’t spotted that single space, we might still be there looking! As expected the Theatre was packed in readiness for an afternoon of familiar Russian classical pieces – and the Royal Philharmonic didn’t disappoint, as they played their way through a great selection of familiar tunes including:

Borodin Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances

Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2

Mussorgsky A Night on the Bare Mountain

Rimsky-Korsakov Capriccio Espagnol

Khachaturian Spartacus Suite No.2: Adagio

Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture

Then it was off to the very familiar Thornhill Arms for some Sunday Nosebag!

Massive portions (as usual), and in the hour-and-a-half we were there it went from ‘busy’ to ‘heaving’ – and that’s always a good sign!

Good music, good friends and good food – a perfect end to the weekend!

Valentine Meal 2017

Reading time: < 1 minute...David and I got together to cook up a special Valentine Meal for our other halves – albeit, not on Valentine’s Day itself. We’d done the planning and the shopping on Wednesday, so all that was left to do, was the cooking itself. No ready-meals here – and we actually visited a REAL Butcher too! Valentine Meal 2017 I popped over to David’s at around 5pm and we did most of the preparation there – and by 6.30, we were almost ready. Preparation: Eggs en Cocotte Preparation: Braised Beef Short Ribs Nearly there! Three hours later… et Voilà! Fair to say that Dessert went down well too! Well, there weren’t any left-overs (so that’s a good sign!) and we finished off the evening with a Movie: this year it was the original ‘Sabrina’ from 1954 starring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. David had thoughtfully picked up a couple of appropriate mugs for tea too! A great evening! SmileRed heart