The dematerialisation of Christmas

Endangered species?

Endangered species?

Choosing presents to buy is getting harder as our world shifts inexorably into the digital realm. Old stalwarts such as books, CDs and DVDs are no longer safe bets. If the person you are buying for has “gone digital”, the physical product is now a poor substitute for its digital equivalent. But for the giver, the insubstantial and generic nature of an iTunes or Amazon gift certificate is a problem, barely one step removed from the “I couldn’t think of what to get you” subliminal message of a cheque. For children, physical toys have now been displaced by computer and video games and here too, the preferred distribution model is shifting to digital downloads and away from boxes that can be wrapped up and put under the tree.

The social side of Christmas is also dematerialising, as Facebook and other online means of socialising take over from the old fashioned physical way of doing things. But at least nobody has yet managed to digitise that other great feature of Christmas time, food and booze. Perhaps in future, we’ll all have to concentrate less on the giving and receiving and more on the eating and drinking.

Somehow, I don’t think that is what the people who have long bemoaned the materialism of Christmas had in mind.

Last Grand Prix at Silverstone?

Red Arrows

Red Arrows

The family went to Silverstone last Sunday to see what could be the final Formula One Grand Prix there, if Donnington can get its act together by next year. Sadly, unlike our first visit last year, we didn’t get to see a British win, despite Jenson’s dominant form this season. On a brighter note, last year’s rain and mud were replaced by sunshine. Last year, the low cloud cover caused the Red Arrows to cancel their display. This year, they delivered a stunning show in clear skies and sunshine. The parking and traffic control were also significantly improved and as a result our journey home was much faster. We are certainly hoping that Silverstone will get a reprieve, as we really don’t fancy the extra miles that Donnington would involve. Fingers crossed.

Timelapse Christmas

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I thought I’d try a new approach to recording events this Christmas. Here’s a timelapse movie of the ‘present opening’ phase!

Spitfires at Duxford

Spitfires at Duxford

Spitfires at Duxford

Spent an enjoyable day watching Spitfires and other fantastic old aircraft performing at Duxford, near Cambridge. For most of the day, the great English weather attempted to drown us, but the sun came out eventually.

Eclipse

Eclipse

Eclipse

Had a wonderful week touring Germany, visiting friends and relatives. We were fortunate to be at my brother in law’s house on Saturday evening, during a burst of clear skies, to photograph the lunar eclipse. Apparently it was cloudy and pouring with rain at home. Fantastic… my photos attached.

Red Bull Air Race

Red Bull Air Race Panoramic

Red Bull Air Race Panoramic

Had a great day enjoying Red Bull’s hospitality at the London Air Race. Sadly, the British hopeful Paul Bonhomme took out one of the gates and didn’t as a result make it to the last 4. Oh well, lots of champagne and Vodka and Red Bull softened the blow.

Watching Lewis win at Silverstone

Lewis

Lewis

Had a fantastic, if rather damp, day today at Silverstone, watching Lewis Hamilton win the British Grand Prix. Here’s a shot I took of Lewis leading the race, which he did for pretty much the whole time. The long queues, the mud, the cold and the rain were worth it to see such a historic moment.

Nadal

Nadal

Nadal

Back at Wimbledon this week, courtesy of BA’s ad agency, BBH. Saw the “big 2” in action, Federer and Nadal. Both trounced their opponents rather comprehensively. Very impressive. Looking forward to what should be a great final, although we won’t be able to watch it live since we’ll be at the British Grand Prix (not another corporate hospitality junket, we’re paying for ourselves!).

Sadly, Nadal’s victim was Britain’s last remaining hope. Actually, now he’s lost, I think we should refer to him as “Scotland’s Andy Murray”.

Wimbledon

Wimbledon

Wimbledon

Spent the day hosting at Wimbledon. The great English weather made a brief attempt to spoil proceedings, but the rain mainly fell whilst we were enjoying a rather fine lunch. Pretty soon, we were enjoying Roger Federer making short work of Marc Gicquel on Centre Court. Lots of champagne and the odd traditional strawberry helped make for an enjoyable day.

Golden wedding celebrations

Golden wedding

Golden wedding

We celebrated my parents’ golden wedding anniversary last weekend at Sopwell House near St Albans. It was a great family occasion and for once, even the weather obliged with blue skies and sunshine.