Robots and Typing

February 20, 2018

I spent most of my working life in the years BC (Before Computers).  When I started work at a UK Government veterinary laboratory at the end of the 1960s there were no calculators; desktop and laptop computers had not been thought of.  Instead, we worked out calculations and wrote letters with pen and paper.  Then a typist would type up the results of our endeavours and copies were made as she typed (it was always a female typist) on carbon paper.

The ladies of the typing pool were some of the kindest, jolliest people I have ever worked with.  Sometimes I dictated my words into a cassette recorder and handed them a tape, but most of the time they had to decipher my scribbled handwriting and most could touch type faster than I could talk.  When I presented the thesis for my Masters Degree for one to type, I did not know that the G and F on the qwerty keyboard were next to each other so that when the word, “buffer”, appeared in my hand written script (and it appeared frequently because of the nature of my study) it came back as “bugger”.  A red faced lady apologised profusely but instead of simply erasing the offending word with correction fluid, she insisted on retyping the whole manuscript.  Then came the first computers and word processors and I guiltily typed out my own letters and reports.  Then came the demise of the typing pool.

Now the personal computer is as much of my life as a pen and paper once were.  I am slightly dyslexic so the built in grammar and spell checkers are a godsend.  But the human interaction with someone who most always presented the text in a manner more pleasing to the eye than I ever could is gone.  Most repetitive human actions now seem to be being replaced by robots.  Even driverless cars are appearing on the roads.  The world is advancing at a pace scarcely envisaged three decades ago.  On the surface it appears that we may have lost something along the way but I like to think that we can still keep the human touch alive with art, music, writing and humour that people have naturally built into their genetic makeup which machines can never replace.

Keith Jahans


Book Review – And I Love Her: A Phil Allman P.I. Novel by Brett Wallach

March 23, 2017

This is the second novel in the Phil Allman series but the reader need not worry if he or she has missed reading the first as it stands well on its own in its own right.

In this story Private Investigator, Phil Allman, is hired to find a missing eleven year old girl while at the same time battling with his ex-wife over the custody of his own eleven year old daughter and the nine year old girl he adopted at the end of the first book.  His investigations are met with various twists and turns during which he encounters some very shady characters and several murders.  We find out more about the psychology of the central character and the story becomes very dark as he attempts to resolve the tasks before him.  The characters are exceptionally well described and Allman’s fondness for quoting lines from English and American popular music adds to his personal appeal.

I have already reviewed Book 1 of Allman’s story (see below) and I thoroughly recommend that it be read even if you have read this story first.  In this tale we find out more about Allman’s personality and the unravelling of the truth behind what motivates him makes this a fascinating read.

Keith Jahans

And I love her is published by SynergEbooks
and is available as a pdf for $4.88


2015 in review

December 31, 2015

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 850 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Book Promotion – Cogrill’s Mill

October 14, 2015

The 5 day free Kindle book promotion period for the Peatmore Press novel, Cogrill’s Mill, has ended. Most of the downloads occurred on the first two days. By far the majority of downloads happened at, followed by and then (Canada). This was despite the fact that the book was set in England, written in UK English and most of the reviews were posted on The data is presented below.

graph 4







KDP Promotion Data

The unit price for the Kindle book has now been reset to its original price (£4 / $6) and so it remains to be seen if the free book giveaways can be transferred into sales or and/or positive reviews.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press

Travels in Southern England – The Penzance Literary Festival Revisited: continued.

July 12, 2015

There have been so many interesting events for me to visit at this year’s festival that I have hardly had time to keep up with my blog.

Last night I visited the Acorn Theatre where I listened to comedian and writer, Tony Hawks, talk about the frustration he has felt on numerous occasions when he has received misdirected messages meant for his American skateboarding namesake. He went on to talk about his adventures when cycling across Devon in the company of a miniature pig which is recounted in his latest book, “Once Upon a Time in the West Country”, and being an ex-employee of Defra myself, I was heartened to see that he obeyed this Government department’s animal movement regulations religiously.

Tony Hawks bookOnce Upon a Time in the West Country by Tony Hawks
is published by Hodder & Stoughton and is available in hardback, paperback and as an ebook.

Later I saw a production of a black comedy play called “Sweetness and Light” performed by a company called Blabbermouth Theatre in the Acorn bar. Apparently it goes to the Edinburgh Fringe in August but I must admit that I did not fully understand it.

Yesterday, I attended a workshop on how to read a short story out loud run by the excellent Diana Cambridge. It was attended by fifteen very talented writers who had each submitted a piece of work for comment. I read from my short story, “The Lie,” which is available for free for a limited period on the Peatmore Press website and my reading seemed to go down well. Diana also supplied us with worksheets giving tips and also a copy of her book about writing for magazines. She is based in Bath and runs other workshops there which I would highly recommend for anyone wishing to specialise in this tricky form of fiction writing. Diana has a website at

That evening I listened to an enthralling talk by Tim Hannigan based on his latest book, A Brief History of Indonesia. Readers may remember that I attended his travel writing workshop last year and bought a copy of his book about Raffles and the British Invasion of Java, which I later reviewed on this blog earlier in the year. This latest book looked just as entertaining and I managed to by a pre-publication copy which Tim signed for me as it is not due out until September. I have to confess that I have more than a passing interest in that country as my daughter is there at the moment with her boyfriend.

Later on in the evening the festival organisers held their traditional literary quiz. I was able to reacquaint myself with the very charming team I participated with last year. However, this time I was part of another group. We did not do too badly but there so many more knowledgeable other teams taking part that we failed to gain any prizes.

The night ended with a party in the Acorn bar with live music performed by an energetic local band known as Gwenellin. It was a perfect ending to a fine festival.

Keith Jahans
Peatmore Press.

Travels in Norway – airport lost and found

March 31, 2015

Those of you who followed my travels in Norway may remember that it ended with me arriving back in England and accidently leaving my iPad mini behind in the pocket of the aircraft seat in front of mine. There then followed a bizarre chain of events which may be of interest as there are lessons to be learnt.

I landed in the early hours of the morning so I was not able to contact Gatwick airport lost property until the next morning. When I did I was informed that they did not deal with the airline with which I flew and I would have to contact the airline (Germania) directly. This I duly did and was asked to contact the lost and found office at the airport on location. I contacted the Lost and found office at Gatwick again and was again given the same story. Then I contacted a website registered my loss and paid them £37 as their website indicated my payment would be returned after six months if my iPad mini was not found. After six months it was still not found so I emailed them for my refund and received no reply.

Two weeks ago I received a phone call from a man who told me he had my iPad mini and would post it to me if I gave him my address. I asked him where he got it and he said he bought it at auction. When he was using it, it locked and a message came up saying to contact me and giving my phone number. This was because I had activated the Apple “find my device facility” on icloud. I was not happy to give my address to a stranger over the phone particularly in such circumstances. So I told him that I had lost the iPad at Gatwick Airport and would contact them so that they could give him and address where he could send it from which I could retrieve it.

I then phoned Gatwick Airport Lost Property, told them my ipad mini had been found and could they arrange for it to be collected. I was informed again that as the item went missing on a Germania flight they could have nothing to do with it. When asked why I was told it was not in their contract. I asked who their contract was with and was told that it was with Gatwick Customer Services. I asked if they could arrange for the finder to send them the iPad mini and was again told it was not in their contract and in any case they could not accept electronic items sent through the post. I asked for the phone number for Gatwick Customer Services and was told they had none but there was an email address. I fired off an email to them and then went to have a cup of tea to calm myself down.

Less than 5 minutes later I had a phone call from a nice man at Gatwick Customer Services who said that he had never heard of this happening before. I gave him the phone number of the man who had my iPad mini and asked him to contact him so they could retrieve the iPad mini for me. This he did and then got back to me saying that the finder would rather send it directly to me. I phoned the finder and was satisfied that he was honest and genuine. He said he had paid £150 for it to the auction house in Bristol and as I felt sorry for him I agreed to pay him £100 by bank transfer. He did not however have the case and keyboard that had been lost with it. Then low and behold a few minutes later the man from Gatwick Customer Services contacted me again and said that he would pay the finder his £150 and also agreed to pay me the value of the missing case and keypad. When I told him the name of the Auction House, the finder gave me, he confirmed it was one the Airport lost property office used to dispose of their unclaimed lost items.

I have not given the names of any of the persons I had in contact with. The people at Gatwick Airport Lost Property have behaved according to their operating procedures which I believe are too rigid and need to be altered. Their contract should be renegotiated. Both the finder and the nice man at Customer Services have behaved exemplary. Apple should be congratulated for their find my device facility on icloud. One wonders about the fate of the many items which pass through Gatwick Lost Property that do not have such a facility. I trawled the internet seeking information about and discovered they are operating a scam. My lost item is still listed on their site to this day
see ( The man at Gatwick Airport Customer services knew about this site but there is nothing he can do about it.

In the intervening months I bought myself another iPad mini. My lost iPad mini arrived at my house Saturday undamaged and in good condition. I have since given it to my daughter who is about to embark on her own travels. She is over the moon.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press

2014 in review

December 30, 2014

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 840 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 14 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.