to the world of John Robinson the Umpteenth of Upminster

see copyright notice. Page created 2-Jul-2015 updated 15-Dec-2021. Use the button groups above to navigate quickly around the site.


[Original photo by Valerie Goldstein]

Much as I loved my parents, I do wish they'd given me a more distinctive name! During my (comparatively) rebellious teenage years, when we were identified at school only by our family names (or sometimes an irritating short-form, such as "Robbie"), I adopted the fictitious middle name "DeQuincy". But I soon realised that there were better ways to stand out from the crowd.

For the sake of disambiguation: I'm the one who was schooled at Engayne, Brentwood and Cambridge; worked at the BBC, Goldsmiths' and King's Colleges; walks everywhere, takes lots of pictures, and collects big old computers. You can read more about me on the 3 pages of this CV. To complete the profile (and just so that everyone knows): I'm British, male, single, heterosexual and omnivorous (and determined never to be denied the pleasure of eating well-reared and skilfully-cooked meat). I respect all religions, but personally hold sacred only the balance of nature - howsoever it came about - which I believe to be catastrophically threatened by burgeoning human numbers. Best stop there, before the profile morphs into a mission statement! Oh, and another thing - I can't be bothered with "political correctness".

This website first appeared in 2000 (as www.genre.fsnet.co.uk). Most of the popular pages are still here, with a smattering of new stuff and lots more in the pipeline. If you're looking for specific content, the site map will locate it faster than the navigation buttons! The latter are handy for jumping around the tree of pages; a white name shows where you are at each level, red ones in the same group link across to alternatives. Throughout the site, images with red borders are links which will open in a new tab or window. I welcome all constructive comments and enquiries via the contact page.

Quick links

Site mapPhotos of mammalsChristmas cards 2013-2019Homebrew bitter recipeSloe Gin recipeTV receiversShoppers' Glossary

Recent changes (latest first)

Updated! 15-Dec-2021 Christmas cards 2020... - 2021 design added
Updated! 23-Oct-2021 Photos of Mammals - a new foxy face
New! 12-Sep-2021 Calling Mr Plod - two contrasting stories
Updated! 19-Aug-2021 Odd Pictures batch 6 - more unfortunate signs
New! 19-Aug-2021 Steak & Chips - some notes and a poem!
New! 16-Aug-2021 Virtual Tour of Cranham - snapshots taken in 2004
New! 15-May-2021 Amateur Radio - a short intro to replace an empty page!
New! 06-May-2021 Great British Beer Festival 1997 - photos including Steeleye Span


Pigeon stuffing

[Woodpigeon on ivy bush]

10-Dec-2021: This autumn, unusually, there have been more red admiral than peacock butterflies visiting the ivy flowers. There must already be some berries on the far side of the bush, too! These attract both blackbirds and woodpigeons.

Your average blackbird stands on the lawn, eying up individual berries before daintily flying up to pick each one. This pigeon, on the other hand, having crash-landed on top of the bush with all the grace of a bag of pie-filling, flounders about pecking at whatever it can find. We often try to outstare each other while enjoying our respective breakfasts.

Power Grapes

[Sauvignon grapes]

9-Nov-2021: My 30-year-old Sauvignon vine (supplied by Woolworths) has produced another bumper crop. I don't drink much white wine (and haven't bottled last year's yet) so for the past few weeks my daily lunch has included a bunch of these lovely gooseberry-flavoured grapes, cut straight from the vine and consumed unwashed (I don't use pesticides or any other garden chemicals). They're small and full of seeds, and time must be allowed for various resident insects to make their escape. So lunch takes a few minutes longer than before...

But I think that's time well spent. Because ever since making this addition to my diet, let's just say, euphemistically, that my gut health has shown a dramatic improvement! I put this down to the vast assortment of bacteria, yeasts etc which live on the grape skins. Unlike the factory-produced monocultures contained in many so-called "health foods", these offer a real wealth of biodiversity, from which the most suitable organisms have established themselves to my advantage.

Resting on my laurels

[Jersey Tiger moth]

19-Aug-2021: I first noticed this moth on a window, but it had flown before I got within photographing distance. On the second encounter, I just managed one snap before its departure. I've identified it as a Jersey Tiger, which is apparently spreading across Britain from the south west, and only recently started to be seen near London.

The insect's intricate camouflage, if so it be, won't do it any favours if it continues to perch on laurel leaves!

"I theng yo!"

[Gibson LT ticket machine]

15-Jun-2021: Thus spake your typical London Transport bus conductor, after taking a fare and issuing a ticket. The words were eroded by frequent use, in much the same way as [Eric Morecambe's] newspaper seller's cry of "Morny Stannit!".

Soon after the old Gibson ticket machines fell out of use (1993), I bought this one at the London Transport Museum. The casing has a dent or two, but I chose it because, unlike some of the prettier ones, it appeared to be in full working order. I recently dusted it off and turned the handle - which was admittedly a bit stiff - and out came a perfectly legible ticket! A testament to the quality of LT's in-house engineering, given it had spent at least 25 years in my loft.

It's an amazing mechanism. There's a 4-digit ticket counter - but also each of the 14 fare values, selected by turning the big wheel on the left, shows a 3-digit subtotal under the fare symbol. So at the end of the day (or shift) some jobsworth at the depot could make sure the correct money had been handed in!

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