Monthly Archives: March, 2024

Living history

I was delighted to meet my great-nephew Jonathan — my brother’s daughter’s son — for the first time at the weekend.

I remember, in my childhood, meeting my Great-Aunt Grace.  (She deserved that degree of capitalisation.)  Though always kind, I remember her as a rather formidable woman from a different world.  She lived in central London (which she knew like the back of her hand), was born in the 19th century, and had lived through the reign of several monarchs of whom, at the time, I was only very dimly aware.  She died just before the advent of the personal computer.

And I guess that, in a few years, that’s how Jonathan may think of me.

“Great-uncle Q”, he will say, “was a relic of a bygone era.   He used to write code himself, rather than getting a machine to do it!  He even, can you believe, used a QWERTY keyboard! Have you ever seen one of those things?  Wait – I have a photo of him somewhere, but it’s only two-dimensional…”

What the internet was invented for

About a decade ago, my friend Richard wrote a short blog post entitled “This is what the internet was invented for“.  In it, he linked to “Ian’s Shoelace Site“, his point being that if you suddenly realise you’ve always laced your shoes in a particular way without really wondering whether it was the best way, then there’s probably someone out there with sufficient interest in shoelacing that they’ll have compiled everything you need to know about how to lace your shoes… and this turns out in fact to be the case.  Ian Fieggen lives in Melbourne, Australia, and his site is wonderful.

Well, in a minor way, this changed my life, because I went and perused the Shoelace Site at the time, and so for the last ten years, most of my shoes have been laced using the Double Helix Lacing method.  

Now, it’s pretty rare that I buy a new pair of shoes, and after my latest purchase, I forgot about this undeniable improvement, and left them laced in the way they came from the shop, can you believe?   For several months!  Well, while polishing them at the weekend, I realised the error of my ways, and immediately pulled the laces out and re-did them, and now my tensioning and untensioning is smoother, easier and more satisfying.

There are so many ways in which the internet is getting worse, and making life worse, all around us, that it’s nice to be reminded, from time to time, of all the ways in which it can also make things better.

Well, I finally folded…

I’ve wanted an e-bike for ages, ever since I first tried one many, many years ago, but most of my normal cycling destinations are close enough that I didn’t really feel I had an excuse to buy one.

But then we started to think that folding bikes would also be useful when campervanning, and so the idea started to grow of getting folding e-bikes… and we are now the proud owners of two Eovolt “Afternoon”s.

Interestingly, we just rode these and found we liked them slightly more than the others we tried, but when we got them home and started looking for reviews, accessories, etc found they seemed to have comparatively little presence online (at least, in the English-speaking world). I certainly hadn’t come across them on YouTube, for example, when researching possible brands. So here’s my modest attempt at rectifying that!

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser