More a passing note than a blog entry but as mentioned previously I moved to iPhone from nearly a decade with Android. Still can't believe just how bad the iPhone autocorrect and typing experience is. So so infuriating.

Anyway another working week done and here comes the weekend.


There's a greyhound racing stadium near us; actually stadium sounds too grand for it so let's call it a greyhound track. It was built in the mid/late 1970s and has a squash/racquets club attached to it. Odd combination of businesses but hey it was the 70s! Since lockdown started both of these businesses have been shut though I think greyhound races restart there soon (as will the frequent animal rights protests too probably). The premises had been quite neglected for 5 months will not in use but recently they got cleaned up a bit. Weeds removed, rubbish cleared etc. As part of it a large bush that was getting unruly got dug up and from behind it this appeared:

Mosaic artwork

Which was obviously from when the complex was built but had been hidden for the whole of the 15 years we've live here. It's really good. I enjoy a bit of public art. There is literally no reason for that to be there other than to liven up and make the place look more interesting which really there should be more of.

A few minutes walk down the road from the greyhound track is this shop. We'd only ever known it as a moody kebab shop which seems to change management every 6 months. It was the sort of kebab place you'd never go to sober as it was generally ropey. It shut during lockdown, presumably as there weren't any drunk people staggering home from any pubs, and it having a new frontage. Which meant this incredibly well preserved sign is out in the open for a while:

Mosaic artwork

Love seeing these little glimpses of older layers in cities and towns.

(Yep for the eagle eyed that's me in the reflection!)

Last night going through an old notebook I came across this cutting I'd taped in. It has to be at least 10 years old, probably getting towards 20 years old.

Peace to Beirut

A little searching and it turns out it is by a very popular Lebanese singer called Fairuz and was written in Arabic

To Beirut – peace to Beirut with all my heart And kisses – to the sea and clouds, To the rock of a city that looks like an old sailor’s face. From the soul of her people she makes wine, From their sweat, she makes bread and jasmine. So how did it come to taste of smoke and fire?

For Beirut A glory of ashes, for Beirut Of blood, of a child held in its palm My city has extinguished its lantern She (my city) closed its door Became at night alone Alone with the night You are mine… You are mine Oh, embrace me; you are mine My banner, and the stone of tomorrow, and the waves of my travel. The wounds of my people have blossomed The mothers’ tears have blossomed You, Beirut, are mine You are mine Oh, embrace me…

#100DaysToOffload – Day 46

100 Days to Offload is a blogging challenge started by Kev Quirk that I've been pretty lax at stickign to recently! Check for more info.

  • Shuffles awkwardly.
  • Stands up and bows head to avoid eye contact with those in the room.

“My name is Luke and I'm an addict. A notebook addict. I've been buying them ever since I was kid. I thought I could handle it but I finally realised I had too many. Hopefully one day I will be able to stop buying them.”

The few on just this desk

This morning whilst looking round my desk I finally realised I might have too many notebooks. These few are just ones on my working from home desk, there are more elsewhere around the house. My particular weakness is an A6 size cahier style notebook. Be it Moleskine, Leuchtturm1917, or Field Notes I'm there. Though any other cheap alternative would be considered too. This realisation came today as I was coveting a new limited edition Leuchtturm1917 with a metallic cover and I thought “what am I going to use it for?”. Normally I put random phrases or words I want to remember, titles of books to read or films to watch. Even lists of things I need to take note of. However I have more than enough already. Heaven forbid does the fact I came to this conclusion mean I am being sensible?? Have I finally grown up? Who knows! This is uncharted territory for me.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 45

100 Days to Offload is a blogging challenge started by Kev Quirk that I've been pretty lax at stickign to recently! Check for more info.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 44

Yesterday I was in the park for while my son had football training. Us parents on the sidelines end up talking all sorts of random things to kill the time and being British the weather was naturally one of the topics discussed. We were saying how we missed the sunny weather of previous months as unlike Basil we've had lots of glorious weather and relatively little rain. Of course the British Summer being what it is that meant while we were all on lockdown we had lots of sun and now restrictions have been eased it is a bit grey and drizzly.

I mentioned it was going to be St Swithin's day soon which means sod's law it is likely to be raining and got a lot of blank looks. None of them had heard of St Swithin's day. WTF? I'm not even religious and certainly wasn't brought up in a Christian household but I've known since I was little that the saying goes if it rains on St Swithin's day (15 July) it will rain for 40 days and 40 nights. Here it is copied from wikipedia:

St Swithun's day if thou dost rain For forty days it will remain St Swithun's day if thou be fair For forty days 'twill rain nae mare

Have you heard of this?

100 Days to Offload is a blogging challenge started by Kev Quirk. Check for more info.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 43

The regular readers of this blog (yes both of you!) should recall I like reading and I like being frugal so it should come as no surprise to learn I like book swaps. Luckily my neighbourhood has several public bookswaps set up and also during lockdown lots of folks have been leaving books out on their front walls for people to take. Probably my favourite bookswap spot is the Stoneham Book Transformer:

stoneham book transformer inside usage instructions

Partly I like it a lot as someone has constructed it then installed it guerrilla fashion in the street. Nothing like a bit of direct action to improve things for everyone.

A few roads away from me is the Hove book hut

Hove book hut in Frith Road, Hove

which has the misfortune of often being described as a bird house by locals on Facebook/Nextdoor etc and I know this annoys the person that constructed it in their front garden (as I had a chat with them one day while checking the books).

Mindful of the fact I've always got lots of books stocked up ready to read I try not to take too many books and limit it to books I had planned to read anyway or authors I like. That said this is my recent haul:


Better crack on with reading.

100 Days to Offload is a blogging challenge started by Kev Quirk. Check for more info.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 42

Unbelievably this post 42. 42! The answer to life, the universe and everything. However this post deals with much more mundane matters. It deals with cheap bananas.


I've mentioned about being a frugan before and even mentioned 9p bananas in that post. Same thing happened on Monday and 3 packs were purchased. Soon as I got home I peeled and chopped about half of them. Some went on to sticks to be frozen.

banana popsicle

These we end up using by melting a little chocolate and peanut butter together then dipping the frozen banana in it. The coating freezes and you end up with tasty concoction that is good on a hot day.

Others where just chopped into chunks ready to be used in smoothies. (Sometimes our kids claim they are bored of toast or cereal for breakfast so we make them a smoothie.)

chopped frozen banana

And the rest of them went being used in a banana bread and some banana scones. The scones were this recipe and whilst they were tasty they were not scone like at all and more banana rockcake. Would not recommend. Really I should have made banana pancakes where when making a pancake batter you substitute some dairy/egg for some very mushy banana and make American style pancakes. Absolutely delicious.

100 Days to Offload is a blogging challenge started by Kev Quirk. Check for more info.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 41

Seems I've cycled more in June than have done since last summer. Cycling is something I do enjoy and whilst I'm not a hardcore cyclist going out and doing 70+ miles every Sunday morning it is fun to get on your bike and have a ride. Where I live I have to consider routes carefully as south is the English Channel and north is the South Downs so lots of hilly roads. Given my current weight and fitness I'm trying to avoid big hill climbs as much as possible so routes are east and west. Last few Sundays I've met up with a couple of friends for a social ride of about 20 miles-ish with a stop for coffee at about halfway.

It's been really good though yesterday's ride featured climbing then 8 miles back into strong headwinds. About a mile from home I was broken and barely managed to keep turning the pedals:

yesterday's route

Here's a couple of others:

The first social ride

^ This one was to the Brighton & Hove Albion training ground. More out of curiosity of how long it would take. Cycling there was a lot quicker than the drive in rush hour would normally take.


This is a belated contribution to my 100 Days to Offload posts. It is a blogging challenge started by Kev Quirk. Check for more info.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 40

Yesterday was Father's Day. As we all know it is a modern construct supposedly supported by the greetings card industry to drum up business. It's not a particularly big deal in our household but I do like winding up the rest of the family for a few weeks prior to it by talking about all the presents and surprises I'll get for Father's Day. The reality is usually quite low key and this year was no exception. Usually for Father's/Mother's Day the other parent cooks a nice meal with the aid of the children. This was was a bit different as Mrs Luke has strained something in her neck from a week of sitting badly during what seemed to be back to back Teams or Zoom meetings. This meant she couldn't actually do much! I had to go go do the shopping for the meal and do the prep but that's fine.

The day started not the way I expected as we had an Ikea delivery first thing (so the coffee in bed I was hoping for didn't have a chance of arriving) and I was lugging boxes in the house in my pyjamas first thing. I did get a present:


Which was very welcome. Proper coffee is always appreciated. (Think the last time I drank instant coffee was June 2019 and that was because it was the only option while I had a thumping hangover.)

Pleasant stroll along Hove seafront walking the dog and the children after that and a video call with my dad.

Then down to lunch. My favourite food it food that you need to eat with your hands and that gets you messy so it lunch consisted of a lot of that:

beef short rib

Massaman beef short ribs

katsu wings

Katsu flavoured chicken wings

buffalo wings

Buffalo hot wings

bbq ribs

Baby back pork ribs

along with salads, coleslaw and fresh focaccia from the top notch Italian deli near us. It was a feast!

Then a visit to my folks to sit in their garden and drink fizz and get attacked by my children:


All in all a great Father's Day.

This is one of my 100 Days to Offload posts. It is a blogging challenge started by Kev Quirk. Check for more info.

#100DaysToOffload – Day 39

Whilst the Premier League may have restarted yesterday with much discussion on crowds, or lack of them, and talk of faulty goal line tech (my fav take on that was that the HawkEye system needed to take a drive to Barnard Castle!) I am still missing cricket more than football. Presumably this is because it is cricket season rather than football season at the moment. I've mentioned cricket before and did manage to get my tickets refunded thankfully.

Anyway as I've been missing it I have watched the BBC's offering as highlights of classic Tests of yore. There are 2 available at the moment. Thankfully only an hour long each (rather than the full 5 days!) and whilst I certainly didn't grow up in a sporty household it is odd how much of these I recall, at least the names and the headlines from them. Presumably back then it was a lot more visible as we only had 3 TV channels so it was a lot harder to avoid!

Screnshot of the iplayer page

Anyway the 1984 Test brought to mind a great documentary that deserves more accolades: Fire In Babylon.

Screenshot of a webpage about Fire in Babylon

Like all good documentaries it is about a subject but also has a broader focus. In this case it is a lot about the changing attitudes to race in the 80's as well as the sport itself. (I can imagine disgruntled statue defenders closing the tab now.) It's interesting stuff.

This is one of my 100 Days to Offload posts. It is a blogging challenge started by Kev Quirk. Check for more info.