Book recommendation – Ancient Christian Devotional: A Year of Weekly Readings

I’ve just had this book recommended by a friend. I’ve ordered it online straight away.


What influenced me? This quote from Hilary of Poitiers, a French bishop of the fourth century, and a great defender of Trinitarian orthodoxy:

‘If the soul has not breathed in the gift of the Spirit through faith, even though it will continue to possess the faculty for understanding, it will not have the light of knowledge. The one gift, which is in Christ, is available to everyone in its entirety. What is present in every place is given insofar as we desire to become worthy of it. This gift is with us even to the consummation of the world. This is the consolation of our expectation. This, through the efficacy of the gifts, is the pledge of our future hope. This is the light of the mind, the splendour of the soul. For this reason we must pray for this Holy Spirit.’

If I am going to get more of that, I want the book!


Living with hats – what sun hat to wear for running

As I write this I still have a scabby nose as a result of being treated for a pre-cancer on my sun-maxed-out skin. It is making good progress at the moment.

Having bought a broad brimmed three season felt hat, and a linen sun hat, I now want a hat to run in. A sun hat for running is, I have realised, something I need to sort. My regular runs amount to many hours a week in the sun, with a weekly long run (when marathon training) lasting over three hours alone. I will still supplement the hat with sunscreen cream but cream alone is not enough.

I have used a lightweight running cap that wicks sweat away, but it does not shade much of the face. It shades the eyes, and would shade the nose if the sun is directly above, but doesn’t do much if the sun is shining from the side. I have also tried a running cap that has a bit at the back like a Legionnaire but once I am moving along the back bit just trails in the breeze. That style still doesn’t shade the face as much as I would like.

Factors to bear in mind as I search then:

  • Not too hot in use.
  • Brim all around
  • Not likely to blow off in wind

My first try was this.


Extremely ugly (which I can probably put up with for a solution that works). As it was only £5.99 it seemed worth a try. The mesh around the top looked like it would get rid of excess heat and the brim looked nice and broad.

It did not work! Despite looking ridiculous when it was worn with my normal runners kit I had been willing to give it a try. It is snug enough not to be blown off. I could see from my shadow that the brim was providing good shade to my face and nose.

But HOT! It seemed okay for a while but then I felt the heat building up, and up! The mesh sides that looked so cooling end up against the side of the head so no breeze blows through there as I had expected.

Solution? I could save it for cooler days but I think it would still end up being too hot. Or, I could cut the whole of the top off (even more ridiculous looking). I will keep that option in reserve.

The search continues.

Today I have been wearing a Spanish Pico Fedora


Here it is balanced on my foot.

I have become a hat wearing man!

Because I am being treated for sun damaged skin for the second time, I have decided I will now wear a hat when I am not indoors. I went to a specialist hat shop while on holiday in Bath (great shop – The British Hatter) and was able to try some hats on while getting excellent advice.

I purchased a linen sun hat for those occasional hot summer days we may get , and the fedora for every other occasion. I will wear the fedora in all weathers.


I am not asking if it looks cool, I am telling you it does.

I have switched from typing on a Qwerty keyboard layout to a #Colemak one

Today marks the completion of my first week in Colemak!

I needed a new keyboard and it was when I looked at what was available that I also ended up reading about alternative layouts such as Dvorak and Colemak. The advantages for speed and ergonomics were clear.

As it is such a simple matter on Ubuntu Linux to switch layouts, I had a few minutes play with Colemak thinking I might try it some day. I considered, before deciding definitely to switch, doing a speed test to see how fast I was (after over 30 years of touch typing). I forgot! Now I will never know.


After three days at a conference and not typing, I returned to the office. I printed the layout of Colemak and propped it against the monitor and slowly started to type. I intended doing it for about 15 minutes but ended up staying in Colemak all day. It was not fast but still faster than handwriting speed. And I am not a typist so did not have loads to type, just some documents and a few emails.

On day two I did some of the exercises from the Colemak in 9 Days site. I concentrated on getting a grasp of the home row layout. An advantage with Colemak is that the most used keys are on the home row. Cracking the home row moved me forward quicker than I had expected. It was then that I realised that I had done it, I had switched. There was no going back.

How to do the £ sign in Colemak? Hold down Alt Gr and Shift with the right hand and click the number 4 key.

First few minutes felt like things were sparking in my brain it was so weird. Then it was great. Next day it was like a sigh of satisfaction.

This was me describing to a friend that, because it was going at a reduced price, on a whim, I bought an ergonomic keyboard.

His reply was that my description almost sounded like I was describing my first experience of LSD or Ecstasy something!

I it just a computer keyboard. It is good though. I now wonder, after about 35 years of typing daily, why I never invested on one before. Mine is about the cheapest one currently on the market (£29) and is the Microsoft Natural Keyboard 4000.



Big and ugly it may be, but it is a dream to type on. I had expected comfort but it is even more comfortable than I had anticipated. What I had not expected was that my touch typing would be so much more accurate, and therefore quicker.

Now of course I am trying not to covet the other even more appealing ones out there such as the TEK  Kinesis or the ErgoDox. All of which are considerable more expensive.

The TEK “Truly Ergonomic Keyboard”



The Kinesis



I know the Kinesis looks weird but having watched people using one on YouTube it looks very comfortable. I particularly like the idea of the keys that are worked by the thumbs.

Which brings me to the ErgoDox with is only available in kit form and consists of two separate keyboards, one for each hand.



Perhaps I should set my sights on something not as expensive as one of these exotic variants. The updated Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard looks nice but I have not had an opportunity to try one to see how it feels.