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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Raydori TN - 100 Words

Exactly one week ago I wrote about Midori TN and then ordered my very own Raydori. Oh yes! I always endeavour to walk my talk!

With such a simple design it must've been inevitable that the Midori idea would be imitated. Apart from plagiarism, this is said to be the sincerest form of flattery.

There are several Midori features that I would improve on. The original larger size is just too big for my present needs whilst their smaller passport size is a tad too small. I have not yet figured why they anchor the bellyband rubber in the centre of the back cover, instead of the spine. I am not keen on the price either!

Right here in Britain we have Ray Blake who produces his own version and a whole lot more. You will find an interview with him if you prowl around Travellers Notebook Times and masses of goodies when you explore Ray's own website at

Here are the 100 words I promised:

After too many years of trial and error I have finally settled on Field Notes as the ideal notebook format and size for my needs. Midori do not make one and are based in Japan. Ray Blake shows you how to make one, will make one for you and is based in England.

My initial emailed enquiry led to my order and my Raydori arrived well within the week. Superbly presented in reams of white tissue and appropriately labelled. It even came with a pseudo Field Notes insert from the Italian Fabriano company. Well done Ray. Thanks a million!

Ray's website contains details of all manner of notebook inserts and DIY mods.

Next week: Happiedori and others.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Generation Gap?


Yes! This is the prize winning entry to  a competition. The editor of Amateur Photographer explains that he had to reverse it left to right for shelf appeal and to accommodate all the 'featured inside' screamers.

I am tempted to rant all over your computer about why I don't like it. Maybe you really do like it and think that the editor is 'on the money' by choosing this out of focus image. Maybe it really is a generational thing?  I am reminded that owning a great camera does not create a great photographer ... it just creates someone who owns a great camera.

Sure, I too have produced some horrendous pictures in my time but would never have ever dreamed of sharing them, let alone submitting them for a competition.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

More Thanx

Ten days ago I wrote of the way that an unexpected 'thank you' had influenced some of my buying decisions.

At the weekend I received an email from the people who created, produce and market Field Notes. [] It was short and it thanked me for my support over the last year.
 It was a year when I had only placed one order that was worth about $12. It made me feel good that they had noticed and that they felt it mattered. [Even if my cynical subconscious says it is all part of a larger marketing strategy]

You won't need too many guesses about where my stationery loyalties might be in 2015.

THANKS TO YOU FOR READING THIS BLOG ... I have taken this year-end review time to make a few changes.

Following a couple  of local high profile bloggers having their collars felt for publishing comments from anonymous correspondents to their blogs - and thus ceasing publication altogether - I have chosen to remove the 'comment' facility from today and to erase all previous comments. This is a simple precaution in the light of a couple of particularly obscene attempts that slipped through during the year.

I plan to introduce a little more structure where a specific topic is addressed on the same day each week. This may make it easier for you to find the ones that interest you without removing the elements of surprise where neither of us can be too sure what is likely to crop up next!

Hopefully these changes will be OK despite my near illiteracy and ineptitude on matters involving computers and blogs.

Monday, December 15, 2014

True Story

I wrote this in 1974. Every word is true. There are sins of omission concerning the business we were running at the same time. The frightening thing is that it seemed 'normal' at the time.
It wasn't published until 2004 and I came across it again last week.
From my book The Star Process published by iUniverse ISBN 0-595-36631-7

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saturday Stuff

Sometimes it is good - or for me, essential, to take time out and chill in mellow mood.
Mostly my books are from second hand shops but, sometimes I learn of a new title and grab a copy.
That's how I acquired The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer. A small hardback of just 75 pages, published by Simon & Schuster UK at £7.99.
An easy read and an original take on a profound idea ... the concept of just sitting and going to Nowhere. Give it a go! I have read it three times this week and gain new insights each time.

Then I reach for the CD player and listen to this old friend - The Sea by Rod McKuen and The San Sebastian Strings.

Friday, December 12, 2014


Our new kitchen arrived in 42 cardboard boxes
When Wren Kitchens opened a showroom in nearby Westwood, we wandered in out of curiosity and came out having ordered a new kitchen.
Full marks to designer Coleen who walked us through the options without a single attempt at a hard sell and without insulting our intelligence with 'special limited offers'. She was courteous, professional, friendly and she came up with one idea which made all the difference to our own design and layout thoughts.
Later, on the due date and at the appointed time, our new kitchen arrived in 42 cardboard boxes all the way from Yorkshire. Next day, on the dot of 0800, fitter Kevin arrived and removed our old units, worktops and flooring. By the time he left we had a levelled floor which was left overnight to dry. The detritus from our former space was removed cleanly by contractors arranged by Wren.

Contractors took all the old stuff away on time
Kevin worked over the next six days [we allowed him to have Sunday off!] and proved to be a master carpenter, plumber, electrician, gas-fitter, flooring professional  ... always arriving on time, doing a full day's work with friendliness, courtesy, efficiency and amazing attention to detail. Each day he tidied up and left the site spotlessly clean, tidy and safe.
We were delighted to sign off our satisfaction report, with especial thanks to Colleen, who came out to visit during the renovation and at the end ... and Kevin who could put other contractors to shame.
The whole experience was a delight from start to finish and a marked contrast with the rogue traders and con artists who feature on TV blow-the-cover shows. The quality of Wren units is first class and we believe sets a standard that some others would do well to emulate.
The following photos show just one of the walls in our galley/kitchen which has three doors limiting our options. Google Wren Kitchens for a showroom near you.
Before [top] and After

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Midori TN - 100 words

Midori is a Japanese paper company which, in March 2006, launched the iconic Travelers Notebook. Now owned by DesignPhil Inc, this small company has grown the brand into a worldwide sensation.
An MTN goes to Mass

The concept is simplicity personified. Take a rectangle of Thai leather, punch a few holes, add a couple of elastic bands and insert a 48 page notebook. Don't be misled. This zen like simplicity is the foundation of the Midori Travelers Notebook [MTN] success.

The genius stroke has been an almost monthly array of special limited editions, diary inserts, MTN branded accessories and a big feel for customization.

The Travelers Factory in Tokyo is a shop, workshop and socialising area for fans.

I was hooked three years ago when Patrick Ng introduced me via his blog [ see Scription in list alongside] He has earned himself the status of unofficial, highly enthusiastic, TNB ambassador in Hong Kong.

I shall return to this topic with some thoughts on Fauxdori, Happiedori, Raydori and any others that I come across. Meanwhile you can Google any of the above for yourself.

Or take a look at