A Book My Father Bought

Stories from The Arabian Nights Retold by Laurence Houseman
With Drawings by Edmund Dulac

Having transformed himself by disguise

My Mother said:

“With your Father it was either a book or something to eat”

Taking into consideration that statement and the fact book precedes something to eat, I believe it most probable that they went without their supper the day he bought this. Printed in 1907 and acquired by my Father in the mid fifties, before I was born, it was already in a sorry state and hasn’t, over the years, recovered. The binding is falling apart, pages are loose and there are signs of water damage. What is remarkably untouched and unblemished by the ravages of time however are the colour plates by Edmund Dulac. These have remained covered by titled tracing paper and are, I think, the reason my Father made this, at that time, extravagant purchase.

Select the cover below to explore these gorgeous prints.

Stories from The Arabian Nights Retold by Laurence Houseman With Drawings by Edmund Dulac

SWEAT v1.2.1.0

Search Word ExtrActor Tool

I developed this little text manipulation utility/editor to explore ways of extracting key words from large amounts of text.  You may find it useful for that or some other purpose.

Key Features

  • Drag and drop any file to analyse
  • Set case of entire text
  • Remove multiple spaces
  • Remove new line characters (new paragraphs)
  • Remove tabs
  • Remove special characters e.g. punctuation etc.
  • Remove Numbers
  • Remove single characters (i.e. a character with a space either side)
  • Only show words repeated X number of times
  • Remove all duplicates of words
  • Remove a custom list of words
  • Sort alphabetically
  • Wrap words in custom character(s)
  • Delimit words with any character

User Guide

SWEAT Main ScreenTo get started paste some text or drop a file into the top text box, select some options from the aptly named ‘Options’ tab, return to the tab above and hit ‘Go!’.  Your results will appear in the bottom text box.  You can change your options and hit ‘Go!’ again to see different results. When you close SWEAT down it remembers all of your settings including the exclusion list.

Options explained

SWEAT OptionsThe options shown above are executed in the order shown on the form which may explain why you get results you were not anticipating.  They are fairly self-explanatory but if you are not sure, don’t worry, you can do no harm, experiment. The exclusion list (Remove words listed below tick box) can, in my experience, get pretty big when working on large bodies of text.  These words are saved, capitalised and alphabetically ordered when you close the program for easy reference the next time you use it.

Reqirements

  • A Windows PC

Installation

Unpack the downloaded .zip file and run setup.exe

Versions

DOWNLOAD LATEST VERSION

Always grateful for your feedback

1.2.1.0 26/02/13

  • No limit on Remove Words List

1.2.0.0 20/01/13

  • Improved performance
  • Improved word count
  • Drag and drop any file to analyse
  • Remove tabs functionality added
  • No longer remembers text you pasted in on close. This is because it is now possible to drag and drop large files into the application and storing these as a setting had great implications on the start up time of the application

1.1.0.0 19/01/13

  • Check for update functionality enhanced

1.0.0.0 16/12/12

  • First release

Clyde

November 1997 – 20th September 2012

I couldn't be happier

 

Clyde arrived about a year after we took on Bonnie and slipped comfortably into the role of her husband.  A rescue dog found by a neighbour in Roath Park he was six months old, according to the vet, and already a reasonable size. A Heinz Variety, possibly part Rottweiler, Clyde became Jacob‘s dog, as Hope had a male hamster called Wendy and Bonnie belonged to Anna.  Although his chewing phase stretched our patience to the limit, he had a penchant for Dr Martins and Sylvanian toys, he made up for it by being incredibly loyal and a ‘real’ dog.  By ‘real’ I mean he was not bothered with home comforts.  He preferred a cold tiled floor to a dog cushion, he sat outside in the rain, he loved camping and a true example of man’s best friend slept at you feet.

Clyde demanded respect not just because of his size, he asked for it.  He was a talking dog and would sit, fixing you with a stare, making various sounds which I am sure were his attempt at speech. If that didn’t grab your attention then he was extremely adept at hooking his nose under a protruding elbow to give you a nudge often, and with alarming regularity, when you had a glass of wine half way to your mouth.  Many visitors left our house with red wine stains down their front.

Although never vicious he could at times be intimidating.  If we ever play fought as a family he would muscle into the foray attempting to stop it.  Once when rubbing my sons bare feet against the bristles on my chin whilst he lay on the sofa and causing him to squeal, Clyde got into position, astride Jacob’s feet, almost nose to nose with myself and gave a low menacing growl.  I stopped.  Another time on returning from a camping trip to Cardiff he pinned a passer-by to the hedge as we climbed out of the car.  The poor gentleman had obviously been either too close to our house or in some way was perceived as a threat to the family.

Clyde would eat almost anything. Curry, chilli, tomatoes, cucumber even lemons were fair game.  We think he possibly developed the taste from scavenging at the numerous takeaways in our area before we took ownership of him.  He was also an adept thief, snaffling any titbits that were too close to the edge of the table when no one was looking.

Come on in

The thing he loved most, water (like Jacob). Not daunted by the waves at the sea and diving to the river bed to retrieve large rocks that he would bring to the shore, depositing in a pile, to what purpose we could never figure.

Loosing Clyde, especially so soon after Bonnie, has left a massive dog shaped hole in our lives.  The house has just not been the same with both gone and it will take time to acclimatise but they lived good lives and were loved by everyone.

Camping

Select this photo to view a gallery of photos of Clyde.

Circular Walk from Vowchurch Common

A tough but gorgeous walk taking in views of the Golden and Wye Valleys, Herefordshire

Golden Valley

A colleague suggested this walk although I am not sure I went the way he intended.  Turning off the B4348 I followed the sign to Vowchurch Common and parked about halfway up the hill on a wide grass verge at the start of a footpath by a sign for Wilsons Place.  This walk is quite tough in places and wearing only light walking trousers and a t-shirt I was dismayed to find myself chest high in stinging nettles and brambles quite early on.  A sturdy stick would  have been useful at points to clear the path and hidden holes and ruts in the undergrowth meant I stumbled a number of times.  However looking at my route on the map below I think I could probably have avoided this difficult start by not turning off the wide bridle way onto the, obviously rarely used, footpath.


View Circular Walk From Vowchurch Common in a larger map

Eventually, after about a mile, the the path cleared and I found myself at the top of a hill overlooking the Golden Valley.  Here we also met some pot bellied pigs who came running to greet us which freaked Bandit out somewhat and his barking brought the owner and his dogs out to investigate.  He was a pleasant chap and gave me directions that would take me down to Monnington Court and up through some woodlands from the top of which I could view the Wye Valley.

Pig

I really enjoyed this walk and apart from the pig owner and a milkman on the lane I didn’t see a soul.  In fact a number of times I almost jumped out of my skin when the MyTracks application on my phone announced the distance I had travelled.

Making my way down to Monnington, I cut across a field and into Guys Estate which is a beautiful managed woodland.  Following the path brings you out onto open land from where you get spectacular views of the Wye Valley.  A camera really doesn’t do justice to the views as they are truly panoramic. After about a mile, walking along the ridge, I cut back down through the woods and into a valley looking back towards Monnington.

... and out at the bottom

Leaving the woods I began the steepest climb of the walk and on reaching the top sat in the sunshine for a breather and to give Bandit a drink. From this point we crossed another field, passed through a small coppice and eventually onto the road about a mile or so above where I had parked the car.

The total distance for the walk was a little under seven miles according to MyTracks although I would say it is probably closer to five.  There are numerous stiles, none  of which are dog friendly so Bandit once again found himself being hoicked  unceremoniously over.  The footpaths are clearly signposted and the area seems riddled with them giving plenty of opportunity for further exploration.

Wilsons Place

Select this photo to view the full gallery of my walk.

Hergest Woodland Walk

A steep, slippery, mildly treacherous walk with high stiles at Hergest, Kington, Herefordshire

Many fallen trees


Today,arriving at the top of Ridgebourne Road, near Hergest Common I was surprised to see so many cars parked.  So, wanting to give Bandit a good run, I decided to take another route where we would be unlikely to encounter people, dogs or sheep and he could be safely let off the lead.  So I walked back down the road to the Car Park for Hergest Croft Garden. In the far right of the car park is a style take this and then bear hard left.

Two warnings here, there was only one dog friendly stile on this walk, and a couple are quite high, so if you have a large dog you are going to get filthy lugging them over these. Luckily for me Bandit is easy to chuck over, unceremoniously, by his harness.  Also immediately after this stile the path is steep and slippery, although just a short distance to the next stile which takes you into the woodland, as you double back on yourself parallel to Ridgebourne Road.  However the path does continue to be mildly treacherous in places so watch your footing.


View Hergest Woodland Walk in a larger map

Carrying on through through the wood for about a mile you reach a small number of steps which take you onto a wider forestry path. Up to this point our walk has been generally down hill.  Now the pay back starts but it is a gentle steady mile long incline and when there are breaks in the trees the views are stunning and very different from the ones you get higher up on the common.

Breath taking view

The track eventually peters out and we return once again to a narrow woodland path.  I’ve never walked this way when it hasn’t been muddy, even the summer there is a lot of moisture.  If you have a dog with you he’s going to get grubby.


After a steady climb we reach a final stile taking us out onto Hergest Common.  Here you have a choice you follow the woodland along via the left hand path which takes you back to the lower common and is reasonably easy going or you can climb straight up to the Victorian race track at the top, which is what Bandit and I did.  I don’t understand why hills never seem to affect dogs.  The climb to the top is about a mile and in some places excruciatingly steep. I had to stop for a number of breathers.  At one point sitting on a rock gave Bandit the opportunity to leap onto my lap from which he was promptly pushed but not before he covered me in mud and sheep muck. I should have mentioned that after leaving the woods Bandit was back on his lead as there are lots of sheep and a number of horses on the common.

Stop for a breather

Like all steep climbs the views are usually worth it and we encountered a number of horses with their foals too. Once at the top I decided to take the long walk around the race track and then down onto the lower common and back to the car.  It’s all gentle from here on and feels very easy going after such a steep climb.  My only regret is that I forgot to take my camera and had to use my phone instead which just doesn’t cut it or do true justice to our walk.