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First Adventure of the Year

January 11th, 2015

2015, time to go adventuring again! Today started off pleasant so I got the train to Marlow and wandered up towards West Wycombe in roughly the reverse of a route I did last year.

Here’s a little wood near Marlow. The morning at least, was nice and sunny.


Bin cat is not amused.


Once I got to West Wycombe it had clouded over. Here’s the mausoleum on the top of the hill.


On the way back I came across this very excited piggy! He was oinking and running all over his pen.


GnuCash Quotes for UK Unit Trusts

January 3rd, 2015

In the past I’ve tried and failed to get GnuCash to automatically download stock quotes. At the moment I have to type them in manually which is an excruciating chore. Unfortunately the documentation for how to do this for non-US funds is patchy and the only feedback you get is an unhelpful “computer says no” pop-up.

But today I finally got it to work! Hopefully these steps will save someone else this pain…

  1. Find out the fund’s ISIN code: this is normally on the fact sheet somewhere. It should be a long alphanumeric string starting with “GB” like “GB00BMHTPT71″.
  2. Open the securities editor for that fund. Paste the ISIN code into the box labelled “Symbol/abbreviation” not the one labelled “ISIN, CUSIP or other code”: that’s just there to confuse you.
  3. Select the “Get Online Quotes” checkbox and then the “Unknown” quote source. Then search through the enormous unsorted list in the drop-down for the “ftfunds” option. It should look something like this:
  4. Open the price editor and click “Get Quotes”
  5. ????
  6. PROFIT!

If that doesn’t work you could try the command line tool gnc-fq-dump. (That’s how I figured this stuff out in the first place.) For example:

$ gnc-fq-dump ftfunds GB0001036531
Finance::Quote fields Gnucash uses:
    symbol: GB0001036531         <=== required
      date: 01/02/2015           <=== required
  currency: GBP                  <=== required
      last: 2.268                <=\       
       nav: 2.268                <=== one of these
     price: 2.268                <=/        
  timezone:                      <=== optional

Firefox Back to Normal

December 30th, 2014

I’ve been stubbornly ignoring the recent updates to Firefox and using 24 ESR instead as the new Australis changes ruined what was a perfectly nice minimal UI. The biggest problem for me was the inability to move the address bar into the title bar: once you’re accustomed to this having it hanging below is a heinous waste of screen real estate.

Today I decided to give the new ESR version 31 a go and after half an hour or so tweaking with Classic Theme Restorer I managed to make it look like my old Firefox! The “customize” interface now lets me drag the address bar up into the menu bar and get rid of that giant “back” button. For reference, here’s version 24:


And here is what I’ve got in version 31:


On The Beach

December 29th, 2014

I went for a walk down to the seafront in Hastings after lunch today. The late afternoon sun was beautiful, if rather cold. Here’s one of the local fishing boats, just recently returned from a day out working. I actually saw some fishermen carrying their catch off another boat later.


There’s no harbour at Hastings so all the boats have to be pushed in and hauled back out every day. That’s what the little tractors in the photos below are for.

I spent ages faffing about trying to take macro shots of stones on the shore. This was the best of the bunch. The bokeh makes it look like the beach is covered in gold.


More of the same below. One day I may try to get up early enough to watch the boats being launched. I’ll leave that till the summer perhaps.


December 29th, 2014

I took some photos of things growing in my mum’s greenhouse while I was waiting for Christmas dinner. Here’s a pretty pink flower!


This one is is a stumpy spiky cactus. He looks quite happy sitting there.



December 21st, 2014

It’s the shortest day today. As a sort of celebration I went for a wander in Maidenhead Thicket this afternoon. The trees looked so bare and the overcast clouds were very gloomy. Never mind: summer soon! Also only four days until Christmas.



December 21st, 2014

Is it a truck?! Perhaps a TRAIN or some kind of tractor?! I rather like it, whatever it is.


Beeches Way

December 21st, 2014

In what’s become something of a winter tradition I walked along the Beeches Way last Saturday. It’s roughly 18 miles long which is a good distance for the available daylight in December. Although you do need to get up early.


It started off in this eerie fog on Cookham Moor but that soon disappeared and the rest of the day was chilly and incredibly clear. The first half or so is mostly woodland like this leafy path near Hedsor:


The second half goes through two parks: Black Park and Langley and then over the M25 into the outskirts of London. Unfortunately the bridge over the Grand Union Canal that I found demolished last year still hasn’t been rebuilt, hence the odd loop near Iver on the map below.

London Bridges

December 14th, 2014

I was in London last weekend and took some photos along the Thames near Chelsea. This one is the Albert Bridge.


And this one I think the Chelsea Bridge.


And a really pretty sunset later on.


Pie Rating

December 7th, 2014

We’ve been hard at work in our office rating the 2014 mince pie selection. The Fortnum & Mason “traditional” pie is the current front runner. Although the M&S regular pie is a good choice on a more modest budget.