Ever since we moved into our house, I’ve been inconvenienced by some websites insisting on the wrong postcode. If, for example, our postcode were actually ZZ12 3BB, they’d suggest ZZ12 3BA, and I’d correct the postcode back to ZZ12 3BB and carry on.

This hasn’t been a real problem so far, just a minor annoyance. But I think I’ve finally fixed it at source.

Thanks to a footnote crediting the data source on one site, I discovered that the culprit was Google. Google Maps isn’t a canonical source for address data, but given that it will cost you nearly £7,000 a year for the official postcode data I can see why it’s an attractive alternative.

I signed into Google Maps and updated the address of our house. A couple of days later, I received an email informing me that “Your address has been accepted”.

I returned to the website with the footnote, tried again, and it came up with the correct address. Success!

I bought a doorbell for the garden office. We have a wireless set with a couple of receivers, so we just needed an extra receiver. However, the cost of a receiver was £11.99, whilst a doorbell plus receiver set was only £10.99. Of course I bought the cheaper one and paid negative one pound sterling for a spare bell push. It’s a bit ridiculous, isn’t it?

I also bought a couple of old DECT phones on eBay to use as an intercom between the house and the garden office. For the very reasonable sum of £10 plus £3.50 for delivery, I picked up a Panasonic system with a pair of handsets.

The downside to buying used phones is that they were used, and covered in many years of human skin and grease. I dismantled them and cleaned them thoroughly, and all that still betrays their origins is a bit of wear to the silver paint on the bezel and some shininess on the textured plastic at the back.

We don’t have a phone line, so they taunt us with “Check Phone Line” on the screens. I suppose I could spoof the POTS connection by putting a voltage across the line socket, but for now it’s fine, and they work very well when dialling handset to handset.

I started blending my own herbal teas. I really like the “Three Ginger” (ginger, galangal, and turmeric) tea from Pukka, and back in 2019 when it was £2.50 for a box of twenty teabags, it felt only a little indulgent.

This year, it went up to £4, then £4.75, and now £5, which is taking the piss for a load of paper and twenty or thirty grams of actual herbs.

I bought some bulk quantities of various herbal tea ingredients, and made up my own versions of some of the teas I liked for a fraction of the cost. I like mine better, in fact.

On Saturday night I went to see the Horse by Matthew Herbert with the London Contemporary Orchestra at the Barbican. I had an excellent seat near the front. The music and performance are based around a horse skeleton (another eBay purchase, but a little different from mine) from which various instruments are fashioned: percussion, of course, but also flutes, bows, and a lyre made, I think, from the pelvis.

In parts, it was so soothing that I nearly nodded off, but as it went on it increased in pace to a frenetic and driving final stage.

Near the end, a Mari Lwyd descended from the stage and walked among the front few rows.

The only thing that spoiled the experience was when, during the very start of the piece when Herbert was quietly clattering bones on the floor, a plastic pint glass clattered to the floor somewhere at the back of the auditorium and half the audience burst out laughing at the absurd juxtaposition.

You can listen to the studio recording of the work.

The support act was NYX (as a duo), who produced haunting and mysterious waves of sound from voice, violin, and electronics.

I finally concluded that the OP-1 is not for me. I was happy when I found and fixed a cheap defective one. I gave it a fair chance, but after all that, I really don’t like it at all. As a piece of hardware, it’s very attractive. As a device to use I find it absolutely infuriating.

The final straw was when I tried to record a couple of guitar tracks onto the internal four track recorder. This reproduces most of the inconveniences of working with physical tape, but also introduces some new inconveniences of its own.

For example, if you mess up a recording and want to do it over, you can’t just record over it. The new recording is merged with the old as if your tape recorder is missing an erase head. The solution to this is to “lift” out the section beforehand. But you can’t lift a section that is longer than ninety seconds, so you have to chop it up and lift out smaller sections. I’m not making this up.

I’ve taken photos and I’ll put it on eBay the next time there’s a weekend offer of 80% off final sale fees.

(Unless you’re reading this and want one despite my disapprobation, in which case, get in touch!)

Links I’ve bookmarked this week: