Sat in the Mill hotel the other evening, having a pint and reading a travel guide about Cuba.

I look up and see an advert for Landrover, which features loads of different locations in the UK and really bad weather.

Something seems familiar about the advert, which takes place on the coast, in Scotland and various far away places. When its on the tv again an hour later, I realise what it is.

55 seconds into the advert, it shows a Canal scene, and a Victorian water tower.

Its actually on the Shropshire union Canal in Chester.

I know where it is, as I’m sat in the Mill hotel, which is next to the Canal, and the advert I’m watching is showing a place that’s 300m from where I’m sitting !.

js.com in space

johnsunter.com goes into space.

I received an unusual gift the other day, from Glenn.

Once the Bennu has completed its mission, the chip will remain in orbit. It will mention www.johnsunter.com if, at some point in the future Aliens have found it, and your reading this now.

Welcome to johnsunter.com 🙂

Man tasting wine.

Out wine tasting the other evening. Had a really nice time. As I’ve said before, its not really my calling, but Nikki enjoys it (and is pretty good at it to) and I like to tag along.

This time, the event was in the form of a blind tasting competition. I did every 2nd wine, and was delighted that I had diagnosed the taste of each wine exactly right.

Wine tasting results

Got me thinking. This is supposed to be the adventures of an ordinary person, so how about a man-in-the-street guide to wine tasting ?.

So here goes:

Arrive at the venue early wearing a blue shirt (fashioned for someone a generation younger than you) and some sort of tweed jacket with elbow patches. Women should wear bright flowery dresses, even in winter. They don’t look ridiculous at all.

There will be some social banter. If your a female under 30 and work in a low level job in marketing this is the moment to let everyone in the room know about it.

Some people will arrive late, trying to create the illusion of importance (they won’t, they will just irritate the organiser and spend the next 2hrs standing up as they find all the chairs have gone).

Ok, grab a glass and lets get started on the actual tasting process.

1. Oxygenate. Swill the wine around (try not to spill on clothes) examine the texture and legs (whatever).

2. Bouquet. In truth, it just smells like wine to me, but its easy to remember the pronunciation, as its the same one for flowers. Using words like lots of body, or plenty of nose will help you appear knowledgeable.

3. Taste the wine, and then look into space as though thinking about the first person you kissed (in fact, why not actually do that, it makes no difference).

At this point, its fashionable to use a spittoon, so you don’t absorb too much of the alcohol and can continue enjoying the sensual maelstrom that is wine tasting.

However, if your tasting 5 wines, and you’ve paid £15 to attend this gig, you just put 3 pound coins down a grid. Your goal should be to leave as inebriated as possible, for a fixed cost.

4. Discuss. Wine guide will say things like, butter on toast, cigar box, overripe banana’s or something like that. Interestingly, you will sometimes get the connection. If not just furrow your eyes and nod enthusiastically.

5. Document. Jot some notes down on the tasting sheet (You could probably write a shopping list, a reminder to get some shoes repaired or a spare key made. Nobody will notice).

6. Exit. Repeat the above process, for each of the wines. Once its over, make sure nobody is looking, then finish off any left over drinks, thank the organiser with a smile and leave.

In any event, why attempt to become an expert at wine when there are helpful expert professionals out there, who would be delighted to help.

Just go to Corks Out in Chester and ask for Tom. Explain for example:

“I had some problems with the revenue and tax evasion. I want to buy some wine for the solicitor who hoodwinked the beak and got me off. He prefers Italian plonk and normally drinks it with fish”

All joking aside, Tom is a wine genius and consummate professional. I would be frankly shocked if the wine he recommended wasn’t exactly what you needed.

And, with the time saved, you could nip off for a quick pint 🙂

Was reading about Amanda Knox and all that circus.

Apparently, the ex boyfriend was found near the Austrian border. He said he was just visiting his girlfriend, the police cautioned him and suspected he was going to flee the country.

On this matter, I can offer a piece of advice. Go and buy some walking boots, join the Tour De Mont Blanc path, and cross into Switzerland.

I can tell you that the only customs/immigration at the mountain pass is a sign that says Switzerland this way !.

Mark Thompson

A place we’ve been before.

I read this article on the internet about a failed 100m project by the BBC.


I know a lot of people will be shocked and amazed at my defence of the BBC on this, but I’ve worked in IT for 20 years, and its a place I’ve been many times.

Its called the Bleeding edge. Its when you have an idea and you forge forward with it. A lot of the time that idea goes wrong, you suffer financially, but by then the technology is proven and a whole raft of people who invested nothing, jump in and it becomes mainstream.

Don’t believe me ?

Well, take the humble spell checker.

Hard to believe now, but 25 years ago, the concept of a real-time database on a pc that could run through a document you just typed, compare each word to ones in a list and flag up ones it didn’t recognise (theoretically, miss spelled) was a dream.

Several engineering teams worked on the first spell checker. When one of them succeeded, several company’s had working spell checkers, within a matter of months. Industrial espionage ?. Not the considered opinion.

Truth is, all the other teams (once the first team had succeeded) realised it was actually possible. Up to that point it was a theoretical “could we” prospect and delivered their own working versions in a matter of months.

If everyone “played safe” and (at risk of offending friends and someone I’m close too) thought like an accountant, the technology industry would be a totaly different picture.

No smartphones, no tablets, internet used by academic and military organisations only…

Near and far, the search for adventure continues…


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