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Windows 10

You might have heard that Microsoft have released their latest version of its Windows operating system, Windows 10 and its FREE!

Well it is free to users running Windows 7 and windows 8 and 8.1 ( more on this later)  Your webmaster has been running Windows 10 development versions in a safe environment for some months and now has it installed fully.  These are my observations to help any who might be tempted to upgrade.

The Pros

It is free (for the next year).

It is fast and slick and runs well on hardware that runs Windows 7, so any PC from the past 3 or 4 years will be fine.

The installation and upgrade is a dawdle and mostly doesn’t break anything.  Some settings and programmes might need changing and you may need a new driver for some bits that are plugged into your PC but mostly it just works.

A version of the Start menu is back

The Cons

It is free (did I mention that?)  When software is free then you can be assured that you are the product.  Microsoft has moved to providing software as a service so expect a subscription to be levied for your use of Windows 10 at some point in the future.

You cannot opt out of receiving Microsoft updates, which is not necessarily a bad thing. They will be installed automatically on most versions of Windows 10, which might just be a bad thing!  MS has been known to break thinks in the past.

Privacy.  This one is the real problem. By using Windows 10 in its default (as installed) mode you are agreeing to Microsoft syphoning off every scrap of personal data on how you use your PC and for what, in order to target you with adverts – sorry improve your user experience.  If you are already a user of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. then that ship has already sailed and you are not concerned about this.  Windows 10 goes much further.  Its Term and Conditions which you will click to agree during installation, without reading the 14 pages of legal speak, have this in them:  "We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to protect our customers or enforce the terms governing the use of the services."

Some of the privacy issues can be avoided by ensuring you choose a “Custom Installation” and switching most of the tracking off.  It can also be accessed later and turned off but it is spread throughout the system and not clearly labeled. Some tracking features you cannot turn off without delving into areas that only advanced users go.


A good operating system that is quick and easy to use but there are few compelling reasons to upgrade from your current operating system.  There are no knockout features that make the change urgent for now.  If you make the change just be sure that you know and accept the level of tracking and privacy loss that you are taking on or be sure to turn if all off as best you can. Caveat Emptor.






Another facinating glimpse in to Abernyte's past has been unearthed.

In 1875 the Gordon Steam Shipping Company commisioned a three masted sailing barque of 728 tonnes built on the Clyde at Dumbarton by McKellar, McMillan and Company.

The ship was called Abernyte 

sailing barque Abernyte



 Another item to add to what we know of the SS Abernyte comes from no less a publication than the Shetland Times of 1880. On Saturday 21st February it carried an advertisement for the imminent sailing of the SS Abernyte from the Clyde bound for New Zealand.

Shetland Times 1880  SS Abernyte


SS Abernyte in full sail. Oil on canvas





It was also captured in oils in full sail.


It traded  as a general cargo vessel until it was wrecked in fog off Lizard Point in 1898 carrying a cargo of Nitrate of Soda.


Wreck of SS Abernyte - Lizard Point

The Board of Trade enquiry found:

"On 29th December, 1897, the "Abernyte" left Caleta Buena, Chili, with a cargo of about 1,150 tons of nitrate of soda bound for Falmouth for orders. The freight payable for this cargo was stated to be ¬£1,800, and it was fully covered by insurance. Her mean draught of water was about 17 ft. 6 ins., and she was about 3 ins. by the stern. She had a crew of sixteen hands all told, only three of whom formed part of the original crew which had left the United Kingdom. During an intermediate voyage she had lost two boats, but when she left Caleta Buena she still had one life-boat, one jolly-boat, and a dinghy, more than sufficient to comply with the requirements of the Act in that respect. She had a complete outfit of compasses, viz., a standard compass on the mizen-mast, a steering compass before the wheel aft, a tell-tale in the skylight, and a spare one below, besides five spare cards and a boat compass. Owing to the inconvenient position of the standard compass, the vessel was navigated entirely by the steering compass. These compasses had been overhauled by Messrs. Dobbie, Son, and Hutton, of Fenchurch Street, London, in September, 1895, but there was no evidence to show when they were last adjusted, certainly not for several years. This omission, however, does not appear to have caused any practical inconvenience in the navigation of the ship beyond a certain degree of sluggishness experienced when entering the English Channel, the master stating that the deviations were moderate in amount, and that, with the exception just mentioned, he had no complaint whatever to make regarding them. 

After a tedious but otherwise uneventful passage, the "Abernyte" made the Bishop Lighthouse, Scilly Islands, about 10 a.m. on the 7th May last, and a course was set and steered to pass five or six miles south of the Lizard. Between five o'clock and six o'clock p.m. the "Wolf" was sighted, and when abeam was estimated to be five or six miles distant, but no cast of the lead was taken nor other means used to verify the position of the ship; and it may here be noted that the lead was never used after the Bishop Lighthouse was made on the morning of the 7th May. She still continued on her course towards the Lizard, the weather being fine and clear, with a moderate breeze from the S.W., the ship making about three knots. The Lizard lights were made between eight and nine o'clock, and it is at this point that the master seems to have made the fatal mistake which eventually led to the loss of the ship. For three hours, or until 11.30 p.m., the lights were continually in sight and in line, which, had the master consulted his chart with ordinary intelligence, was a sufficient indication that he had not the offing he was reckoning upon, and that he had passed the "Wolf" much closer than he estimated, and that also if he continued his course he must inevitably strike on the Lizard Point. At 11.30 p.m. the weather became foggy and the lights were obscured and not again seen. The same course was continued until about 1.30 a.m. on the 8th, when it was altered one point towards the land. At midnight sail had been shortened to topsails and foresail. 

Shortly after the course had been altered, the noise of the surf was heard, and directly afterwards breakers were seen on the starboard side. it being evidently impossible to stay the ship owing to the vicinity of the rocks, the master attempted to wear her, calling all hands and making sail. She appears to have reached along the shore for some little distance on the port tack, but owing to the lightness of the wind and a heavy ground swell she had got into, she gradually drifted on the rocks off Rill Head and became a total wreck. The crew, who did not save any of their effects, got into the life-boat and pulled seawards. While in the boat the crew heard the siren on the Lizard, which had not been previously heard. 

About daylight they were picked up by a pilot cutter and ultimately landed at Falmouth. 

No lives were lost.

The Court having carefully inquired into the circum stances attending the above-mentioned shipping casualty, finds for the reasons stated in the Annex hereto, that the casualty was caused by the master, Mr. Edwin Cardwell, neglecting to use the lead and ignoring the fact that he had brought the two lights of the Lizard in a direct line. 

The Court finds the master in default, and suspends his certificate for six months.

In 2021 a group of divers in the south west area were able to take advantage of rare, calm conditions at the wreck site and had a series of very successful dives onto the wreck. It is  unvisted by divers and they were able to recover many interesting artifacts from the ship including the sextant and the lead depth line which were commented on at the board of enquiry as their use had been neglected by the ships master, causing the wreck.
These images and video are all courtesy and copyright of Ben Dunstan©2021

View the embedded image gallery online at:

After nearly 7 years of inactivity since it was sold last, Abernyte Steading is back on sale as a development opportunity with the current planning consent for four houses.

The Shedule and Particulars can be viewed here.

Careful examination of the Shedule reveals that Claudia and Phil's house is also included. I hope someone has told them!

While this article accurately reflects the current protection for UK consumers in November 2014, it is not and does not purport to be legal advice.

With Christmas starting to hove into view it is time to look at some of the protections that you as consumers have when buying stuff this year. With the above caveat in mind, here we go:

Payment protection

The best way for UK shoppers to get protection for large purchases is to use a credit card, as long as what you're buying costs over £100 and less than £30,000. Thanks to Section 75 of the 1974 Consumer Credit Act, the card issuer is jointly liable, and the protection includes items where you've paid a deposit of over £100 on the card, but settled the balance in another way.

The protection offered, in effect, makes the card company liable in exactly the same way as the retailer. Not only does it mean that if the shop goes bust you'll get your money back, but if there's a problem with something, the card company is also liable.
So, for instance, if a new TV develops a fault, and the shop maintains that it's nothing to do with them, you can take the matter up with the card company. In practice, very often if a retailer is being awkward, simply telling them that you'll deal with the card company may be enough to make them take notice. Small shops especially don't want to end up getting items charged back, and perhaps risking their card facilities.
Of course, not everyone has a credit card, or you may simply prefer to pay by a debit card. If you do, however, it's important to be aware that the protection offered by a debit card, while comparable to that offered by credit cards, is not a legal obligation. Instead, it's a scheme offered by the banks, and referred to as chargeback.
Claims direct
Broadly speaking, you have up to three months to make a claim, from when you become aware of a problem, or delivery in the case of online orders. You should be able to claim for non-delivery, goods not as described, or faulty, or an incorrect amount being charged. You should also be protected if a company goes bust.
As it's a bank-run scheme, rather than a liability enforced by law, you will usually need to have made some effort to resolve the problem with the company before attempting to claim through your bank. The bank's customer service people should be able to explain the process.
Whether claiming with reference to Section 75 or a chargeback scheme. 
One other method of paying worth mentioning is PayPal; like it or loathe it, for a lot of people it's a popular way to purchase goods online, especially when you're buying from very small merchants who may not have the cash flow to afford a credit card facility of their own.
First, it's worth remembering that if you top up your PayPal balance from a card, the card company will consider that to the be transaction, not any subsequent purchases using the balance. Your best bet of receiving redress will be via PayPal's own Buyer Protection scheme.
This allows you to raise a dispute for up to 180 days after the transaction, with the exception of some items, such as cars, custom made goods, property and industrial equipment, which aren't covered. PayPal users in other countries have only 45 days to raise their dispute. UK buyers are also protected for digital goods, services, travel tickets, where people on other jurisdictions may not be.
PayPal offers protection for items that don't arrive, or don't match the description; you can't claim if you've just changed your mind. And if, for example, you return an item to a sender at an address that's not the one PayPal has, you could fall foul of its rules. 
Buying online
For several years, the rules that govern buying online have been the Distance Selling Regulations. Since June of this year, they've been replaced by the new Consumer Contracts Regulations. Don't panic though, you still have the same rights as before. The update is largely about clarifying some points, ensuring vendors have to give information in specific ways, and bringing doorstep selling under the same rules.
For most people, the most important thing about the regulations is that with goods that are covered, you have 14 days to cancel an order, for pretty much any reason, including just changing your mind, or not really liking the colour. That time runs not from the date of order, or despatch, but from the date of arrival. If an order arrives in several bits, it's from the date the last bit arrives.
The time limit – and a company can increase it in their own Ts&Cs if they like – is for how long you have to let them know you want to send something back. There's then another 14 days to do so, and you should receive your refund within another 14 days.
However, there are a few things to bear in mind. Firstly, the refund only has to cover basic shipping. If you paid for next day service, you won't necessarily get that back, nor are you automatically entitled to a refund of the return postage. This is an area where shopping around can help. For example, Appliances Online includes free collection with their returns policy.
Secondly, if you've obviously used an item more than you would if examining it in a shop, then the vendor is entitled to reduce the amount of the refund, as they won't be able to sell it as new.
Most significantly, some items aren't covered. That includes media such as CDs or DVDs where the seal has been opened, anything perishable, and items that have been customised or specially made.
For the first time, digital downloads are explicitly covered by the legislation. This works largely by saying that it must be made clear to you that if you download something within the 14 day cancellation period, you don't have the right to cancel. Watch out for this with Amazon's AutoRip: buy an album, return it, and if you have downloaded any of the MP3 versions, you'll be billed for the digital version of the same album. That includes automatic downloads, too, so turn them off if you don't want to be caught out.
Other minor tidying up in the new regulations includes the requirement that a geographical address be provided, together with compatibility information for digital content, and a clear statement of your cancellation rights.
Warranty matters
With the pace of change these days, a lot of equipment is likely to be obsolete long before it breaks down, but that's not always the case. So, you need to know where you stand with a warranty. Although a lot of stores may say it's only a single year, EU rules mandate at least two years now.
The lack of knowledge of this is why some stores manage to make it sound like they're being generous when they boast about giving you two years.
Regardless of warranties, remember you also have rights under the Sale of Goods Act in the UK. Goods must be fit for purpose, as described, and of merchantable quality. That includes purposes you make clear to the store, so if you state you need a printer to work with your Mac, and it turns out to be incompatible, then you are entitled to a full refund.
In fact, you have the right to request a replacement or repair of faulty goods for up to six years in the UK. That's somewhat qualified, for example, if something can't reasonably be expected to last that long, you can't demand a repair, and ordinary wear and tear isn't covered. After six months, you may have to show there was an 'inherent fault' – something wrong at the time of sale. And after the end of the warranty period, you may find it much harder to persuade retailers to play ball.
Where to get help
In the first instance in the UK – and with the standard EU guarantee – you should contact the vendor. They, in law, are the person with whom you have a contract, and it's up to them to fix the problem. They shouldn't just palm you off with a request to contact the manufacturer directly.If they don't play ball, then you might be able to involve the credit card company, if that's how you paid, or consider using your bank's chargeback system for debit card.

Hunting Ancient Trees in Perth & Kinross

A band of keen Tree Wardens welcomed Judy Dowling to the North Inch, Perth.  As Scotland’s Lead Volunteer Verifier for the Ancient Tree Inventory, she started by giving a fascinating talk about the idea behind the Ancient Tree Inventory.  Now ten years old, it is a joint venture between the Tree Register of the British Isles and the Ancient Tree Forum. In the past decade well over 100,000 trees have been recorded by volunteers.

Judy has been recording trees all over Scotland since 2007 and went on to explain how to record them and how we can play our part in Perth & Kinross.  The wide variety of mature trees on the North Inch gave the group plenty of scope to try their hand at recording trees with Judy demonstrating how to record multi-stemmed trees, knobbly ones, pollarded or coppiced trees, and – importantly – allowing plenty of time for everyone to practice their new-found skills.

The Perth & Kinross Tree Wardens Network will now draw up a list of areas to record, check them against the web-based Register as to which trees have already been recorded, and then  arrange small groups to meet and record the trees. 


Details will be publicised via and anyone with an interest in trees, even if they are not Tree Wardens, will be very welcome to join these recording days.


The Chair of the Perth & Kinross Tree Wardens Network, Catherine Lloyd, says “the opportunity for volunteers to record veteran, ancient and notable trees in “Big Tree Country” is a bit daunting, but Judy showed how easy it is to complete the form and send in a photograph.  Knowing that local people can contribute directly to a UK-wide database of trees will spur us on, as well as the knowledge that visitors and local communities alike can check the web-based maps to see where these trees are.”


Anyone wishing to take part in the Ancient Tree Hunt can find out more via


News and information related to Abernyte Church. The church website can be seen here.