The returned

It’s over two years since I last posted to this blog, I think that counts as a big FAIL in terms of writing something every day!

I’m certainly not short of things to write about – I probably have too many hobbies and interests and despite taking voluntary redundancy a couple of years ago and not having made much of an effort to find a new job I seem to be busy all the time.

The following is a list of some of my interests and hobbies:

Family history

I started with several aims – to be able to name and have details of birth, marriage and death of all my ancestors back to my great-great grandparents (including the names of their parents), to follow the family name as far back as I could, to follow the female line back as far as possible, to confirm whether I was descended from Rob Roy MacGregor (I am), to research my Grandmother’s maiden name (Begbie), to check the ‘Hyde’ connection in my family tree (not done) and to general keep a record of all my relatives.

Local history

This started from a desire to know more about my house, and turned into learning more about the village where I live.

Doctor Who

Jon Pertwee was ‘my’ Doctor, the earliest Doctor I remember from my childhood. I have knitted my own 4th Doctor scarf. I like the very early Doctor Who episodes – An Unearthly Child and those first Dalek episodes are brilliant. However, I can’t pick a favourite Doctor, they are all good, and in any case, there only is one Doctor, just many incarnations. Similarly, there have been many brilliant (and one ‘ace’) assistants. I wish to build my own Police Box, based on the Mackenzie Trench design, although made of wood.


My wife is interested in all things Anglo-Saxon I have been drawn into this hobby – including attempting to make my own Anglo-Saxon costume. We Anglo-Saxons defeated the Vikings in a battle at Stamford Bridge in 1066.

Natural History

I’ve been interested in Natural History since I was at school, and more particularly in Ornithology. Although I have a degree in Zoology I’m certainly no expert, but I like being able to observe the huge variety of nature there is around us. I am a member of the RSPB and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and am trying to encourage wild flowers to grow in my back garden, which in tern attracts all kinds of butterflies and other creatures.


My first computer was a Dragon 32, bought in 1982 and on which I learned to program in BASIC and 6809 assembly/machine code. By the 1990s I was using a dial-up modem to connect to bulletin boards and the first browser I used was Mosaic in the early 1990s. I learned HTML. I currently have a laptop with Windows 10 recently installed, but have also played around with various versions of Linux, Slackware being the first version I used and still my favourite.

Graphic design and typography

I particularly like those sans-serif typefaces like Johnston, and Gill Sans, and to learn about the history of different typefaces. I am also interested in calligraphy and lettering. My interest in graphic design links my interests in art and drawing with my interest using computers.


My parents met at art college so I suppose it is not surprising that I’m interested in art, mostly drawing and painting. My own children are more accomplished artists than I am.

Model making

I include with this model railways. I aim one day to build myself a garden railway, possibly based on a mid-1960s period and in gauge 1 (1/32nd scale).


Another creative activity, which also ties in with other interests, for example photographing wildlife.


I particularly like sci-fi/fantasy and thrillers/detective novels. However if I start reading a book I am unlikely to get anything else done for a while.

Physical activity

I enjoy walking, which of course is something that I can combine with my interest in natural history. I did take up running and would like to have a go at running a marathon one day, but haven’t been running for quite a while. Similarly I enjoy swimming but haven’t done so for some time.

Board games

Actually, not just board games, all kinds of games. Back in the 1980s I used to play AD&D.


I like doing cryptic crosswords, Sudoku puzzles etc.

Watching televison

I probably watch too much TV. Sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, whodunnits, comedy, quiz programmes …


I just enjoy pottering around in the garden – I suppose it is another creative activity. This year I’ve turned a front bed into a cottage garden and half the back garden is being developed as a wild-flower meadow. Only half because otherwise it would look like I just wasn’t cutting the grass.

I’ve probably missed out some interests. I cook every day, but that is more a necessity than a hobby, not that I don’t enjoy cooking including the occasional baking. I am also a Quaker, but that is a way of life, not a hobby. I am chairman of the parish council, that definitely isn’t a hobby but does take up some of my time. I do DIY around the house, enjoy a glass of red wine at weekends and a single chocolate each day.

So with all these other interests, although I have plenty to write about I somehow haven’t found the time to keep my blog up-to-date. I simply must try harder 🙂

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