rashbre central: May 2021

Monday 31 May 2021

Take a moment to behold

A fun trip is the one from Ballater to Tomintoul, over the little pointy bridge, pausing at the interesting shop that sells soup,  past Corgarff castle and then ascending the Lecht ski-slopes, before heading down the far side and into Tomintoul. Its around a 30- mile journey.

Part way along it, after Corgarff, is an installation known as The Watchers, which look out across the River Don and towards the distant Cairngorms. 

I'm not sure if these 'Watchers' have links to the ones in the Marvel Universe? Maybe they are an Independent Wonder? 

The Watchers were said to be one of the oldest species in the universe committed to observing and compiling knowledge on all aspects of the universe. 

 In Marvel, their policy of total non-interference came into existence due to a former, well-meant attempt by the Watchers to bestow advanced knowledge on the Prosilicans, who used the nuclear technology gained to create weapons and destroy themselves. 

 When the Watchers returned to Prosilicus, the survivors blamed them for causing the catastrophe by giving the Prosilicans nuclear technology before they were ready for it. The Watchers then took a vow never to interfere with other civilizations. 

 Or, simply sit in one of the cocoons sheltered from the wind and enjoy the view.

Sunday 30 May 2021

The L.N.E.R. don't stop here any more

We finally made it to Scotland, as part of our UK travel itinierary. The less populated areas had footpaths which seemed to be used more by the sheep. 

But that's okay. We'd have to make do with the decommissioned railway lines, past the Railway Station tastefully converted to a restaurant and along train lines which were now cycle tracks.

Thursday 27 May 2021

Gallows in Ripon

We decided to make the journey to Scotland more like one of our road trip holidays. 

Instead of taking the most direct route, we'd let ourselves wander, and here we are in Ripon, about which I knew very little. 

Ripon was once famous for making spurs but in the 1500s saw the most macabre side of the Reformation. George Bowes was ordered ‘to invade, resist, subdue, slay, kill and put to execution of death by all ways and means.’
Here's the order from the Earl of Sussex to round up 300 or so men from Ripon and to execute them on Gallows Hill, in 1570.

It wasn't only this city where these deeds occurred. There was a list of towns and the accounted-for number of victims like some grotesque spreadsheet exercise.

Tuesday 25 May 2021


This time we've been in Derby, which is one of the homes of the industrial revolution andwas once famous for locomotove buildding. My picture is of a humble Fowler Tank engine, a 0-6-0T 'Jinty' class 3F. 

These were a favourite small engine included with many Triang and Hornby railway sets, back in the day. 

I followed the fortunes of the GWR more closely than the LMS, but aways had a sneaking admiration for this small hard-working locomotive. 

And that's not to say that Derby with it's Rolls Royce and Bombardier manufacturing is entirely industrial; take a look at the pretty view from our hotel.

Sunday 23 May 2021

Wild times

 Here we are, back in Topsham, with the rewilding of the field opposite in full swing. There's poppies, cow parsley, buttercups and emerging daisies as well as the pond flitted over by dragonflies.

Thursday 20 May 2021


The next day we looked around other ex stomping grounds like the emerging Battersea West , with its new shops and cafes. The new glass apartment blocks are almost complete and being filled with freshly laundered money. I noticed that our ex-apartment was under renovation.

So, I'm not sure that London has properly awoken yet, despite what the news shows are saying. 

I'll still think of myself as a Londoner, albeit one who happens to live in the West Country. 

Wednesday 19 May 2021


That evening we tried Searcy's at the Gherkin. 

Great food, great view and it was full. 

So much so that we were in the private dining area (great views across London etc.)

Then a cab back through once more deserted streets, intrigued by the Bus Gates painted on the road and the ever-increasing amount of cycle lanes and scooters.


We hopped onto an Uber-Boat along the Thames and sprinted towards Westminster, where the vessel decided to turn around. No service to Battersea? We'd have to make alternative arrangements.

Westminster. Quiet. Parliament. Deserted. London was playing hard to fill.

Then on towards Sloane Square where suddenly everything became normal.

People. Cafes. Bustle. We decided to have a late breakfast at Colbert. "We can only give you the table for an hour," explained the waiter. At least somewhere was busy.

Similar along the King's Road and in Peter Jones. I looked at the carried carrier bag count. Shoppers were out in force.

Tuesday 18 May 2021


Zedel's is a good seceret place around Piccadilly - and busy with Londoners. 'How was it yesterday?' I asked as the waiter explained it had picked up that very Tuesday evening. Then the jazz band kicked in. Afterwards, we sauntered along to the Bar Americain.
After a few cocktails and in my case reckless absinthe we burst back into the night of Piccadilly.
It was after midnight, but no-one around. We were witnessing empty streets like it was 4am.

Yayoi Kusama

The next day we were along to Tate Modern for Yayoi Kusama. Note the polkadots.

    It was also quiet. I can remember other shows where the line snakes all around the outside of the Blavatnik building, but for this it was a simple walk down the ramp, with our pre-booked tickets.

The infinity rooms are special and it was a joy to be Filled with the Brilliance of Life and to be whisked reflectively into Kusama's Chandelier of Grief. It's a selfie, by the way.

That evening we visited one of my regular haunts/work canteens at Zedel's in Piccadilly. It's an underground palace of mirrors and light and was reassuringly rammed with people getting back into London living. 

Monday 17 May 2021

Testing the un- lockdown

Posted after the events, but in the interests of completeness...

The nail-biting continued as we wondered whether the Hitachi locomotives would be back in service after the mysterious cracks were discovered. Fortunately, they were repaired and our train to London did the trip comfortably in 2h14. Then from quiet Paddington across to the sedate South Bank. 

We were staying in a ritzy hotel, but it was like we were the only guests. We'd booked a casual supper along the Thames but needn't have worried. The usually difficult-to-get-into Italian was almost empty. Useful to know, but still necessary to book for most places.
Yet, on the news channels we were seeing reports of everywhere being busy again with outside and inside drinking and general revelry. Not our experience.

Friday 14 May 2021

Debt of Gratitude

Not sure if there is a scale for this. And anyway, nobody seems to care. He's got a likeable haircut.
  •  £0 = no debt of gratitide 
  • £535 = Irksome small fry - not even worth answering the CCJ s about this one - probably only a round in any case. Make it 'of no merit'. Bullingdon fodder. 
  • £15000 = Family(sic) holiday to Mustique, kindly donated via an intermediary who happened to have a friend's 2-week let of a property standing empty, valued at £15k. Those telco boys know their way around the taxation frameworks. 
  • £50,000 = Okay, a game of tennis, but that's your lot.
  • £??,??? = Nanny fees, except the target for this one had higher principles than our man.
  • £85,000 = A meaningful comma amount for this flat refurb, which would've stayed quiet except that the Press found out. Still, a backdated cheque should cover it nicely.
  • £126,000 = Debatable benefit bestowed upon an erstwhile girlfriend with a a pole in her office. 
  • £2,600,000 = Curious donation to a Russian firm of stage set builders, who re-rigged a room in Downing Street with perhaps £600,000 worth of equipment
After that, we start to get into the realm of friends needing friends.

I didn't think of any of these in my novel Corrupt, but it would have been considered fanciful fiction if I had.

Corrupt, by ed adams

Sunday 9 May 2021

JUMP - some kind of future

Yes, it's time to reveal the story of Juliette Häberli and Matt Nicholson. Matt was first featured in my novel Coin, where he helped invent the cyber currency which introduced him to Amanda Miller from SI6. Matt eventually moved to Geneva, to work for Brant/Biotree and that's where he met Juliette. 

They were working together on Artificial Intelligence projects intended to augment Human Intelligence. HCCH - Human to Computer to Computer to Human in the jargon.

Some parts worked but others failed spectacularly, although rival labs were most interested in the project and sent people to recover it in An Unstable System.

Fast forward to Norway and there's an entirely different proposition in play, although Matt's friends in the lab are intent on keeping it under wraps.

Part of the RightMind collection. 

Friday 7 May 2021

Fixing a QNAP when the App Center disappears

It has been a curious week for disk drives. Chatting to friends, they suggested it was almost as economical to keep things in the cloud now, as to to have them stored on local file servers.

I explained that I'd donated a few ex-file RAID5 server disks to the local museum recently. Not as exhibits, but so that hey could set up their own file server with cloud access.

This  is on a Synology system and I can access it over the internet for routine tasks such as maintenance. 

Then there's my own QNAP server, which I really only set up as an experiment. Weirdly, it lost most of its control panel recently, in an automatic systems update and I had to change all of the DNS server from to and back again to rescue it.

 It's working fine now, but has almost too many options for the device that sits in the cupboard underneath the TV.

Then there's my Drobos. Data Robotics. So simple to use, and yet the company has been acquired and the product line almost stopped.

I reckon they were so fault-free that people would just buy the number they needed and then be content. 

Except in my case, I recently moved one. And groan, a disk in it stopped working. At least the drives fail at different times.