Monthly Archives: June 2015


Our next concert is next Sunday (July 5th), when we’re performing Händel’s Israel in Egypt at the Guildhall, Plymouth.

This is a mature, full-length oratorio on a biblical theme. In parts it is similar to the more famous Messiah (and a few numbers are musically very similar between the two works). In other respects it’s different, and one fundamental difference is that this work uses full antiphonal double chorus. We’ll be split across right/left sides of the stage to deliver the effect.

The subject matter is truly biblical. None of the cuddly, merciful God of Constantine (let alone the modern Church of England), but a vindictive warmonger to make the Islamic State look like a holiday camp. This God doesn’t just indulge in holocaust-scale genocide, he glories in it. Much of the music is correspondingly dark, though there are also some gorgeous interludes.

Also of musical/historic interest, this is a very old edition we’re using. In fact the editor was no less than Felix Mendelssohn. Though better-known as a great composer in his own right, Mendelssohn was right in the vanguard of the revival of the Baroque, so this score is living history!

If you like oratorio, you’ll enjoy this concert.

Non-incoming call

These days I have an android ‘phone[1]. Specifically, a Moto G, with android version 4.4.4 according to info. I’m using CSipSimple to enable my home (landline) number on it. Mostly that works fine, and it seems quite rare to have sufficient signal for voice calls but not for SIP. So all’s well, isn’t it?

Yesterday I got an incoming SIP call while I was out. But taking it out of my pocket, the screen wasn’t showing the call, and I had no way to answer it. I typed in my PIN code, and still it was ringing, but still nothing on the screen. Ouch! What’s going wrong?

Having failed to think of anything more sensible, I went straight for the crude approach of power cycling. That has occasionally fixed things when the system appears to overload itself due to too many open apps, or is running warm for no reason I can fathom. Not that that helps with testing incoming SIP calls, so I tried googling, but failed (admittedly without trying very hard) to find reports of similar problems.

Just now I got another incoming SIP call (no caller number, so no answer). This one did display. It was at home, so on wifi. Could that have made all the difference, and if so is there anything I can do to fix the problem when out and about? Or was this some unknown bug that may have been cured by reboot, or pure Heisenbug?

[1] This is not a good thing. I’d much rather have my late lamented Nokia (from the days when Nokia made really good phones) back. But that’s no longer an option: its successor in 2012 the Nokia E6-00 was such a bugridden steaming pile as to be effectively unusable, and the android is a vast improvement on that.

The things they don’t tell you

I used my new toy for the first time yesterday. A fruit&veg juicer. Feed in fruit&veg at the top and collect a thick, rich juice. Lunch with a concoction of carrots, a hunk of cucumber and half a lemon, together with a banana that needed using up. Evening with a more traditional pear and ginger. Various ingredients bought in bigger bags than I’d’ve done in the pre-juicing era.

Before buying it I had done a bit of research online. Would it do a good job? What could I expect to juice? And crucially, would it be so much faff that I’d soon give up using it? The jury is out on the latter: getting rid of the pulp is a bit more of a faff than with an espresso (or percolator) but in a similar ballpark, and general cleaning just means running the fruity parts through the dishwasher.

Overall, it’s certainly less hard work than juicing as I’ve done in the past. But there are some gotchas, like the liquid trickling slowly out. If I take the jug through to the dining table where I’m eating, a little puddle appears in its place as the final juice dribbles through. And it comes out a little warmer than the fruit going in, so best used with ice.

And then there’s the Big One noone mentioned at all in the bumpf or online reviews. That is, literally. It’s a bigger machine than I’d imagined. I now need a bigger fridge to accommodate ingredients for it, and a bigger dishwasher, not to mention a bigger kitchen. It won’t reasonably go in the corner I’d planned alongside the kettle and espresso machine. It can’t go under any wall cupboard or shelf, because while it just-about fits, it needs space above to feed the ingredients in. I’ve finally done some re-arranging so it can live in the far corner between the sink and the wine rack, where it’s also mercifully easy to clean up any little puddles it might make with a simple wipe.

Preliminary verdict: I’m going to enjoy the fruits of this gadget, but it won’t completely replace supermarket juices.