Monday, June 30, 2008

Y returns - Spanish win - Bird recognition

Y has returned from Palmers Green and it is good to have her back. I was right to decline her offer of an early return because I know of old I am better suffering in solitude.

My back has continued to ease but still painful if I remain in one position too long. There has been some super radio, which I have much enjoyed.

Picture 1 is from Helen and accurately captures the feel of their soggy Lake District Camp site. Not her tent, fortunately, but they came back a day early so it must have been pretty miserable. First class snap though - I can't fault the construction, the colours are good and it's sharp where it needs to be. Definitely in the 17 or 18 out of 20 slot I would have thought.

Early yesterday evening we had some quite dramatic skies and as I was looking at this frame I spotted this distant bird and wonder if anyone can help with its identity please ?

As you will see I have photoshopped in an enlargement and arrowed it to the actual bird. Otherwise you would have no idea of size. 50p pieces were out of the question.

To me it looks rather beautiful and exotic and I'm fairly sure it aint a sparrer. I haven't interferred with the colour at all.

My day today has alternated between sitting, laying down, standing up, doing a bit, leaving a bit - sort of thing. And I intend more of the same tomorrow bevause I am determined to WoW unless I'm absolutely unable.

My new PC is littered with problems and on Thursday Megatech are collecting it and will put things right. And this time I won't accept delivery until the actual monitor I've ordered arrives.

Comments..... Bungus ..... and AnonymousRob .... I didn't watch the match but Y did, with Andy who is knowledgeable. They both enjoyed it and thought it a first class match - unusual for finals in any sport ! So this is the sum total of my contribution I hope it works as an animation and I've got the correct flag.

AnonymousRob ..... Renishaw Hall is a gem of a place, owned and still lived in by the Sitwells one only has access to the grounds but they are delightful. Very photo-genic. Described as Derbyshire's best kept secret, we sometimes go just for the bluebell woods which are well worth a visit early in the year.

The number of vineyards is indeed surprising and I suppose it's global warming n'est ce pas ?

And I make no apology for quoting Reagan. If the lines are good enough I'll quote anyone ! Here is another Reagan quote which appealed :

"I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency, even if I'm in a cabinet meeting"

I agree with you about Thatcher though. My fingers would recoil from the keyboard !

Bungus ..... A stately home wouldn't 'sitwell' on you and who are you to talk about the Hammer House of Horrors ?


Sleep tight ! Catch you tomorrow - God willing !

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Brief Blog - a little respite from Magwitch.

Pleased to be able to report some improvement. But I can only stand up for 1 minute, or sit-up for perhaps 10 minutes. But I've been through this before and am determined not to seek the doctors advice. Last time I had this particular intense pain near my kidneys and the vomitting, I finished up in Hospital, to no avail whatsoever.

Thanks everyone for kind calls, comments, and e-mails. TJ offered to come and stay; Y wanted to return early from London etc.,

Managed to ring David as usual this morning but I couldn't chat for long.

The picture is a gadget of Bungus's which turns up the TV volume in his ear-pieces without over-riding the setting that Sandra prefers. Sounds like a good idea. If you look closely you will see the camera-man reflected in the gadget.

Comments .... Please excuse any omissions....Bungus ..pleased to hear that Ordnance Survey support your position. He will find that evidence difficult to quibble about.

Also pleased to hear about your dentistry and that the troublesome tooth is out. It is at least a start. Additionally it was good to hear that your hospital visit was satisfactory.

AnonymousRob ..... We hope that the weather is OK during your stay at The Anchor Inn. It looks good. And we particularly hope that the weather is good for your Jazz Festival. Best wishes to Dennis and Joan. Catch you when you return.


The above has taken me three separate visits, interspersed with lying flat. But I felt I should reassure you that I am still 'running'. I couldn't resist this though :-

"Thomas Jefferson once said, 'We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.' And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying"

Sleep tight. Catch you soon.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sorry No Blog

Back too bad.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Y off to London - My PC arrives - I'm exhausted

.Not really sure what this is on the front wall - Deutzia perhaps? Whatever it is it's doing really well this year.

Picture 2 is the earlier of the Cistuses. I love the colour and the crumpled-paper effect of the petals.

Picture 3 is yet another bee. I can now see the hairs on his legs and, as he wasn't airborne at the time, his wings are visible too.

That is it picture-wise. I've been too busy and I'm about all in.

My new computer arrived and all was not plain sailing. As my special monitor has not yet arrived (in short supply apparently) they have lent me a really old monitor. It's awful and reminds me of the sort you see at Lidl checkouts.

It doesn't receive a strong signal from the router in the big room and several problems follow in the wake of that. Jack the technician was very helpful and I'm sure that eventually all will be well.

Even firing on three cylinders I can see the potential, and of course, I have a lot of work to do. Pictures and documents to transfer. Programmes to load. And quite a bit of working-out to do. How to transfer my FireFox 3 'bookmarks' folder in its entirety etc..

I've already dealt with the toolbars and settings and stuff but I shall need almost a full day tomorrow. Perhaps just as well Y is in Palmers Green .

Comments..... Bungus ..... I am sure your version of the Peso story is the correct one. It makes more sense. Sheer romanticism on my part to want it to be in the residents' favour rather than the tourists.

Re Big School - Hannah didn't feel at all 'lost' because she has been going there for cookery on Saturday mornings for quite a while now.

You are doing the right things re your brush with your neighbour, who I agree doesn't look at all like the jolly fisherman of Skegness fame. My intention is to read the draft letters you have sent me very carefully and I will reply tomorrow.

Anonymous Roy ...... Thank you for all the info about Pennytown. The leaflet you refer to, confirms that the tenants of the hamlet paid a rent of One Silver Penny, presumably to the owners of the Cotes Park Colliery who built the cottages. It doesn't spell it out though. I will return the leaflet on Wednesday. We must WoW there again - I thought it charming.

Leaving 'comments' will become easier the more you get used to it. Anyway the current one is fine and I understand you used Bungus's copy/paste method.

Reg .... Thanks for the update on Brian. If he fancied his 'tea' on coming round I guess he must be OK. Re: Comments. This ' vanishing text' has all the hallmarks of a google-glitch. On we haven't had a serious one for some months so I guess we must be due. They will fix it, they always do.

The Red Lion at Bagthorpe always was a good pub for food. And a nice ambience to it. If you open the link you will see that you go in from the car-park through a door at the side and the seating area is on two levels. (no 'crossing' though).

Quotation time ..... You can't really argue with this bloke's point. Mind you I an think of at least two readers who probably will.....

"Nothing is as simple as we hope it will be."

Jim Horning

Off to bed. Catch you tomorrow !



Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday BJ day - RG = Messin' about

Picture 1 is a 'hang-over' from Rob's Cuba epic. If memory serves - this is a snap of a real Peso note as used by the residents, as against the Peso note issued to tourists. The real version buys much more.

The notion doesn't offend me at all - it is in fact a splendid idea which we should copy.

'Hang-over' isn't inappropriate either, as I recall the amount of rum they managed to buy.

Thursday being Y's Burton Joyce day left me free to loiter and spend the day achieving very little but it was fun. Y's day was different from usual in that she met Lisa in town and looked after Millicent while Lisa shopped. It was Hannah's first day at big School and all went well. She and her chums walked from Burton Joyce to Carlton where the School is (this will be much healthier and grown-up, than the car all the time). We've spoken to her on the phone and all was fine. Older kids said things like "Aren't you little?" But there was absolutely no bullying or unpleasantness.

Picture 2 is a snap of the 'Picture Wall' which I promised. I managed a 'vertical panorama' no trouble. The Millicent picture which I have been pressing to de-crease is second from the right on the top row. (I wonder how 'decrease' came to mean 'get smaller'?)

The wall (as you walk into my bedroom) has been a feature for many years and I welcome submissions for exhibition. Top age limit at the moment is 12yrs I'm afraid but I made an exception for second from the left, second row down, which is a 'rubbing' by David Marsden 44yrs.

I devised a 'workaround' for the recalcitrant Photomerge pictures - and that was to darken the flipped frame so that nothing was visible for the programe to work on. And then, when I had 'merged' them manually, I 'selected' the flipped half and brightened it up again.

Reg feels his method is better, and he is prolly right.

Picture 3 is from yesterday's WoW and, knowing my love of 'water that looks like water' and 'dappled shade' , you won't be surprised by its inclusion. The almost 'triptych' construction with the best rectangle nicely falling in the golden-section was not entirely a fluke.

There is no doubt that Pennytown ponds is a fascinating place and I think Roy is intending to add a comment, telling us more. But the comment system is playing hard-to-get (you are not alone Roy by any means) and the Bungus method, of preparing the comment in a Word document and then, when you are satisfied with it, copy/paste into the comments box., has much to commend it.

Brian has had his knee-operation today but none of us has heard anything. I tried to send a Jackie Lawson e-card but the site is down - maybe be back tomorrow. So I sent an e-mail instead - not that he will be in any condition to read it - but our thoughts are with him.

Joan texted to say that my bespoke denim shirt, with pockets, is done and all we need to do is collect it.

I lent Mike my Sigma 10-20mm till next week and he e-mailed me to say that this morning he went out on his bike and took 76 pictures with it. Knowing Mike, there will be something quite stunning amongst that lot. Glad he's having fun with it.

Mike also e-mailed me this Army Joke which he described as a bit rude. In view of that I've made a link of it please clicky. So if you feel you might be offended, don't open the link. It's hilarious and typical 'humour in uniform'.

Comments.....Bungus .... Lovely comments again. I think I had know for some time about Laudanum. It seems that the most popular recipe was Thomas Sydenham (1624-89) in his work on dysentery (1669), contained one pound of sherry wine, two ounces of opium, one ounce of saffron, one ounce of powder of cinnamon, and one ounce of powder of cloves. but I guess the crucial ingredient was the opium plus of course the sherry.

I did manage to find the suspension bridge pictures on the R. Nottingham website and very good they were too. Damn cheek not paying for material though, ditto the Evening Post.

At the risk of being 'gullipid' again 'lianas' are a plant, it was the tree-creeper birds we were looking for.

If the architecture you and Rob find depressing is that long row of terraced houses on the road leading into Pleasley, I feel I must disagree. They are mostly boarded up now but I've always thought they were our working-class equivalent of the Royal Crescent in Bath. Give or take the odd palladian touch. Shirebrook has always been fine for me and I have such happy memories of the writers' group you introduced me to.

Your Groucho Marx quote reminded me of - "I Can Only Please ONE Person at a time. Today is not your day. Tomorrow isn't looking good either" - I've no idea who wrote it but it sticks.

AnonymousRob ...... Really valuable info about ASBOs and I agree that Bungus will fare better with the council than with the Police. From my recollection they have it all on file and there is a named official Bungus has dealt with before. He should pursue it. I know it's easy to say that, but I guess that due to his health he doesn't feel like pursuing anything much at the moment.

You are quite right that the 'Poet & Castle' used to be 'The French Horn' and the music evening described by Mike really does sound fun. I could 'take my own trumpet to blow' etc., etc.,

Anonymous Roy .... looking forward to reading your comment - when it arrives. Stick with it Comrade.


Y is off to Palmers Green for a weekend 'grannying' session. She will enjoy it and has decided to take the Casio because apparently Elli with her mini-violin looks and sounds incredible. And I shall be able to do some industrial grade messing-about.

Quotation time ...... I don't think any of our readers will disagree with this, even those holding down serious jobs like Rob :

"All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind"

The wikipedia page was the best. Brief, pithy, and lots of links for those who need to study further. The old boy would be proud of the author/authors.


..... Hope it's better than this for Jill on her holidays. Sleep tight. Catch you tomorrow............


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WoW at Pennytown Ponds - Cleaned sensor

.Every picture tells a story. You may remember some days ago I had this nasty spot on the sensor in my Nikon left half of the picture). As you will see above its gone (see right half). Thanks to Reg who brought his wallet of cleaning stuff and fixed it in the pub after our WoW. I actually qualified for a 'virgin' cleaning brush. Once we had found the 'mirror lock-up' in the menu and operated that, the job took him seconds and my sensor was as clean as the proverbial whistle. A quick google to have it done by a firm reveals a cheapest quote of £40 + VAT plus the inevitable postage. So, double thanks Reg.

Our WoW destination today was Pennytown ponds at Somercotes, followed by Loscoe dam.

The top two frames of the collage are Pennytown and the left shows me on-line somewhere in Derbyshire thanks to my dongle and top right is the view from where I was sitting.

I can't give you a link to a Pennytown website because I couldn't find one ! Interesting location though ( another Roy gem) and we were shown a tree in which there are a family of tree-creepers. Needless to say, although we stood for a while we didn't see them.

Loscoe Dam on the other hand has a very appropriate link to a Geograph photo by our own club member Lynne Kirton. Nice picture Lynne !

Mike, Reg and Roy are standing at the same fence that Lynne has depicted but a little further to the right.

For our chip-cobs we went to the Poet and Castle pub in Codnor. Mike says it is v.good in the evenings when they host an 'acoustic' club where you take take and play your own guitar. Although they stocked a good range of beers the chip-cobs/baguettes were quite expensive and the bread was tough. Also the bar-maid seemed to have a 'thing' about clearing the table and didn't really leave us in peace until the last plate had been cleared away. Then she started likewise on other customer's tables even though some of them hadn't yet finished their meals. Ah well. Not important I suppose.

Comments...... Bungus ..... I remember well Sandra's excavations to get out the Knotweed. If I remember correctly it was just in front of your front window. She beat it though, Bless her ! Re your neighbour from hell - I really don't know what to recommend ! In view of his continued behaviour there may be something in Rob's idea of an ASBO. He is correct to hint that I am way out of date with these things. However good your beat-bobby is supposed to be he seems reluctant to do anything positive to help you.

We will certainly try again with Rose of Sharon because, if you could get it established he would find it made of sterner stuff than poppies. We have been trying to eradicate it for years from that border at the corner of the drive. But it keeps coming back with renewed vigour.

Pleased to hear that Henry Normal is doing so well. I think you and I recognised his talent more or less at the outset.

Re the Rembrandt drawings. Sketches like that are always so immediate and so obviously by the hand of the artist himself. No studio kids painting in the drapery in a drawing is there ?

AnonymousRob ...... I like your Mum's sayings. I once took home a rather flash girlfriend who worked in Boots in Derby. After I had taken her back to Derby and returned home my mother said .."I can't see her scraping many butter papers" ......

I reacted to your comments (see above) and I think your advice to Bungus is sound. A diary and the camera should definitely be to hand

Level crossings are probably so called because I've never seen one where one end is higher than the other. Be a bit tricky for a train if it encountered the rail equivalent of a speed hump. Now wouldn't it ?

Tennis doesn't do much for me either. But then neither does football !


This evening I had Firefox problems. Equipped with the new version I decided to customise my toolbars and drag and drop things around to save space. Did it, hated it, and then couldn't undo the changes I'd made. Did two 'system restores' - no difference. Eventually decided the only way was to uninstall FF3 and then re download it. Did that but it all still looked the same. Then 'lo and behold' in customise toolbars I spotted a 'restore default settings' button. I clicked that and a perfect result. Instantly back to how I wanted it. Could have saved a wasted hour.

Quotation slot......

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines"

Ralph Waldo Emmerson

All the best on your holidays Jill. And our thoughts are with Brian - he as his knee operation tomorrow. And Bungus - I think it is his clinic day tomorrow. Or have I got seriously out of synch. Sleep well all, and I'll catch you tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Karen Day - Shopping - Messing about

An hour or so this afternoon passed pleasantly with a dip into Scott Kelby's Photoshop CS3 book and I managed to produce Picture 1 from it.

It's old fashioned but I am much better following instructions from an open book (hard copy that is) than on-screen. Now I've produced the picture I haven't a clue what I could use it for. So it's an 'exercise' I think.

Picture 2 is a white cistus coming into flower at least 2 weeks after it's red/pink relation growing nearby. The three 'faces' compelled attention. I expected them to speak to me I think. Perhaps they could produce an instant Haiku - a line each !

The Picture 3 flowers are regulars and such a beautiful colour even though they barely last a week. My mother used to insist they were 'Canterbury Bells' but I'm sure they aren't.

If Lyn Fletcher reads this she will know for sure. They have just gone on broadband, in the depths of Shropshire, and I'm hoping to have more contact with them again.

My new computer arrives on Friday afternoon and they are going to lend me a monitor until my monitor of choice arrives. They will install it and get it running and then when the real monitor arrives they will deliver and install that too.

Karen came this morning and she was a joy as usual. Last week we were saddened to hear from her that she had fallen for a married man with kids. This morning she told us it was all off. "But I thought you were in love" I said. "So did I" she said and then after a pause "But obviously not" - with peals of laughter. Bless her !

Comments....... Bungus .... So sorry to hear of the renewed unpleasantness with your neighbour. Does he claim the land right up to the edge of your drive then? Do the deeds clear the matter up ? If the land is prove-ably yours his removal of plants would amount to criminal damage and have been a police-matter I would have thought.

If the bed in question is isolated from the rest of your garden perhaps something a little more resilient is called for. Maybe Japanese Knotweed or Convolvulus or Creeping Buttercup.

I will certainly collect some Loosestrife seed, but a spadeful would be better. There is also a red leaved version which flowers a fortnight later. Same deal ? By the way, how did the Rose of Sharon fare? Perhaps you need another spadeful of that too ?

Re Salad Potatoes - I agree that Charlotte is good as is Vivaldi and we consider Nicola more than acceptable. Pink Fir Apple must be no.1 but they are becoming collector's items.

I need to visit in the next few days and will make a point of wearing my bespoke shirt while 'on-line'

Haiku ..... (you knew I would weaken eventually) .....

"In Pissaro's case
Lie a few painterly fans/
to earn a few francs"

Quotation time ..... Still with painters.....

"Painting is the grandchild of nature. It is related to God"

Rembrant van Rijn

Please open the link behind his name because the website it takes you to is a superb effort. Couldn't fault a word and the drawings alone are worth spending time with. What a resource the internet is !!

We are WoW-ing tomorrow and apparently Roy is turning out. It will be great to see the blue hat but we must keep an 'eye' on him to make sure he doesn't overdo it again. Reg is collecting him and then we are meeting at Mike's. Where we are going has yet to be decided.

Eventually I want to see the 'Aspire' structure on the University's Jubilee Campus. But I think it still has scaffolding and isn't to be officially unveiled till mid July. But then it is going to be illuminated at night. Should be quite a sight at 60 mtrs high !

Sleep tight ! Catch you tomorrow !


Monday, June 23, 2008

Joan's - Nails - Old Spot

The above Loosestrife panorama has caused me pain. The plant itself however is a joy and is basically a wildflower which grows prolifically in our garden. For almost an hour I messed about in Photoshop 'merge' to get the two images side by side. But the other way round. No matter what I tried this was what it insisted on producing. A case for Reg/Rob/ advice I think !

This morning we went to IKEA for 95p breakfasts, with free coffee, and thence to Joans for more coffee. Excellent needlewoman that she is she is modifying me a strong denim shirt by taking some off the bottom and with the surplus, manufacturing additional pockets. It will be a bespoke denim shirt/gilet. Then we went over to Carlton for Y's 'nails service' - it is hard to believe that three weeks have passed since last time. I bought the only remaining 'starling-proof' bird feeder from the Charity Shop.

While waiting for Y, in the car-park, I used my 'vodafone gadget' most successfully. No trouble accessing the Internet and I dealt with a couple of e-mails and read WU forums. Once you are into websites the technology is nimble enough but things ake a while to load. Quite happy with it though. It will be handy if we ever need to be 'online' at the camera-club for instance.

On the way home we called in at The Old Spot for lunch. The picture in the link shows at the left and side bottom third, the old Daybrook Laundry which Bungus came over a few weeks ago to photograph before its demolition. It is apparently an important example of 30s Industrial Architecture. As you can see from my two pictures (taken from the pub) the demolition has begun According to Joan however the planning application for the work is defective it is claimed and everything has come to a halt.

Our lunch was Thai Curry and Chips! There is apparently an international rice shortage ! So Radiogandy is advising readers to stock up before panic buying begins.

Jill sent me pictures of an 'event' at her daughter Carrie's house. The event was a street party for 100 plus, with food and music and although the pictures are fascinating (partic the mosaics on the rear of the house) Jill counselled care with publication due to the risk of attracting unwelcome contacts. So, Sorry ! no pics.

Comments....... Bungus .... Re temperature sensitivity. I think it is due to medication. I can be hot/cold within minutes - so I've stopped actually doing anything about it. We have an accurate indoor thermometer and I look at that and if it is around 20c I accept it, whether I am freezing or sweltering.

Your assessment of Charlotte as a good salad potato is fine with us. A potato I actually dislike the flavour of is Maris Bard.

Re opiates. It seems that heroin and morphine are basically the same thing. If used medicinally they call it morphine but if you take it for fun they call it heroin. I am, of course, ready to give ground if anyone knows more about it.

Jill ..... The potato discs are actually of Jamie Oliver origin not Delia. I cut a medium sized potato into discs just over £1 coin thickness. Spread out onto a preheated oven tray and sprayed with olive oil. The ant spray is definitely a no-no ! They go in the oven at around 180c (but they are tolerant - depends what else you are cooking) for around 20mins till golden brown. Depending on the variety of potato they come out quite crisp.

Re the cards - No birthday. Father's day.

We will tackle google-mail when you return from Cumbria and any other probs.

anonymousrob ..... Of course Bill's mother has worked out how to get to her house. She catches the bus to the stop about a third of a mile past her place. Then she walks back. Easy !

Love the haiku ! I particularly like 'pissaro'd all day' Thos were the days mon brave.


Quotation time ...... This quotation is probably just right for some of the 'threads' we have run with recently :-

"One can do such lovely things with so little. Subjects that are too beautiful end by appearing theatrical"

In Pissaro's letters (2 volumes) he speaks of painting fans. It appears that the Impressionists, when at a loose end or short of cash i.e. nearly all the time) they would paint a few ladies fans. I've never succeeded in tracking one down. It would be great to actually own one, not for its monetary value but for the joy of an original. Who knows ? There must be some somewhere.



Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunny but windy - David came, also Tracy

A lovely sunny day, but very windy. 26mph South Westerly and not warm either. Never mind. Better than rain again.

Picture 1 is the 'wheat' and I've worked out why it is there. It is growing around the base of the Japanese Rowan in which I hang the bird-feeders.......

David and Helen and Sky and Brooke came at coffee-time and that was super. They had such a lot to bring us up to date on and we had a grand time.

They had been to see 'Tom's Midnight Garden' at The Playhouse and said it was superb. From the link it looks good, and Sky and Brooke had lots of approving things to tell us about it.

Mobile phone's were compared and David's Sony Erikson seems streets in front of my Samsung.

At least you can hear the warning note when an appointment is due. I just can't hear mine in my pocket. And I know I haven't got important appointments like being at work. A typical one for me might be "switch oven on" but it is nevertheless annoying when I miss it.

However, I'm not convinced because I don't want or need a Music Player built in. More research required I think.

Cooking lunch proved hazardous. To accompany griddled chicken, I intended to cook disks of potato on an oven-tray. After preparing them, the Old Age Gremlins put the Dethlac Ant-Killer spray into my hand instead of the 1 Cal, Olive Oil spray. Fortunately I noticed before cooking the the potatoes.

I hope that Picture 2 will persuade you how easy it was for the OAGs to nearly kill us both !

After lunch Tracy called and that was very nice too. We had tea and sandwiches around 6pm.

Betty, our neighbour, brought us a charming bunch of the first cut of sweetpeas (see middle of the cards on the window sill) and now the big room is full of that unmistakable summery smell of sweetpeas.

Janice, the lady who collects the village-tote money also called and said nice things about our decision to take the house off the market. We have thought long and hard about it and we both feel that 2yrs will need to pass before the housing market recovers and we don't want to live in a state of permanent indecision as to what we are doing, till then.

We have counted our blessings and it isn't as if we are living in poor conditions etc., and our neighbours have said super things to us about it. i.e."we are sorry for your sake that you haven't been able to move, but from our point of view we are very pleased you are stopping".

An amusing things happened with my google-mail spam filter this morning. CNET send me regular IT orientated e-mails and this morning they sent me one with the title "What is Windows ReadyBoost and does it really improve performance?" . My spam-filter put it straight into the spam-folder obviously and not unreasonably thinking it was a viagra advert !

Comments...... Bungus ..... Taken up residence back in Pedantsville have you? It was very nearly sunset. My metadata tells me 21.34pm and the sun was about to set over Arthur's. He lives just two doors down from Bill's mother.

I think Opium smokers use the same stuff as we morphine junkies. It all comes from the opium poppy. Can't understand why we are trying to stop them growing it in Afghanistan. Or is it the Taliban who are going to stop them growing it? I get confused. Too many Fentanyl patches I guess.

Jill ..... Thanks for the e-mail photos, and do I understand it's OK to blog the rear of Carrie's house ? In my reply e-mail I make some suggestions to solve your Picasa based addressee problems. When you have the time after your hols I think the best method is for us to have our computers on while we talk on the telephone.

Best of all solution - Bungus and I will try to persuade you to come over to google-mail.

The Acer remains that colour and in leaf throughout the year. Obviously that particular radiant effect only occurs when the sunlight is shining through the leaves.

Millicent's letter won't be framed, but put on a wall I keep for the children's paintings. At the moment it is in between two books, with a weight on top, in an attempt to reduce the creasing. A picture of the wall will follow. A case for my Sigma 10-20mm !

Lucky you ! Actually meeting Bill's mother. You did well to subdue a giggle !

Y was thinking of giving Kinky Boots a look, in view of your comment. By the same team as The Full Monty and Calendar Girls - both excellent films. p.s. Y says she is recording it. So I may well watch it with her.


No quotation - Sorry - too tired - sleep tight - See ya soon !


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Miserable wet day - No Barber-Shop

Picture 1 is yesterday's sunset from my bedroom window and very attractive it was too. The light at the rear of the Acer and to the left of it the Cotinus always looks good.

Today has been drab and rainy throughout, and certainly not worth a picture. And the longest day too.

I'm not decrying 'wet weather' as a subject for Art. Pissaro for instance was very good at it. Picture 2 is his 'Gardens at Tuilieres' which is in The Ashmolean at Oxford.

The rain prevented us from even driving down to Colliers Wood to see if anything was happening. But I guess that singing Barber-Shop to an empty field cannot rate highly on anyone's list of things to do on a Saturday afternoon.

Brian S called in with a Nikon fit bellows/rail device for really close-up work and I very much looking forward to experimenting with it. Watch this space !

My recuperative 'rests' have continued, coupled with frequent kips. I'm sure this drowsiness is due to the soporific effect of painkillers. And although I agree with Bungus that the effect of morphine is not unpleasant I become irritated with myself for the time it takes out of each day. Better than the alternative though.

Picture 3 is by Millicent (just 3). She wanted to do a picture for Grandad Graham's picture gallery wall and this is the result. I love it - it is so lively and happy. And I particularly like the 'writing' underneath that she has done for me.

Once I've flattened it out to get rid of the creases, up on the wall it will go.

For lunch we had a spag/bol I made earlier. It was adequate if uneventful and I finished off the apple/rhubarb crumble from Friday. That was nicer. Y had cheese and biccies with some grapes.

Comments....Bungus .... You are probably right about the bees-in-flight pictures. I guess it was an 'academic exercise' and you know how obsessional I can be.

Re your 'lowering sky' - you seem to be outvoted about the polytunnel. But I am relieved that it is only something as trivial as the 'year' which is incorrectly set on your camera. Good job it isn't something important like the 'seconds'.

I agree with your stance on Cuba. And I don't feel as if I have painted myself into a poetic corner. My tastes have always been 'catholic', maybe even more so than your own - but things arrive and and then leave my approval zone.

Jill .... ........... Thanks for pointing me towards the BBC for coverage of the EU's lifting of sanctions against Cuba. You will also find a para on the front page of Cuba's own 'Granma' newspaper. I like the newspaper; it seems lively, and brief.

Sorry about the gate-bell. I hope the pots of tea were beneficial.

anonymousrob ...... The sanctions against Cuba seem a mystery from the beginning. Reading the link Jill indicated, that the given reason was Cuba's imprisonment of 70 dissidents, I suppose Cuba will impose sanctions on us when we start imprisoning people for 42 days without trial.

Sorry your caravaning weather was bad and can only hope that your dongle provided some solace.


Quotation time ............................ This seems apt. Particularly in matters of photo-criticism !

"Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong"


No link behind his name because all I could find were pages with lists of quotes.

Sunday tomorrow, and all those papers - not finished today's yet.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Visitors for lunch - lovely occasion


Pictures 1, 2, and 3 above are all separate shots and can be enlarged individually - should you so wish. I think that now, having achieved a modicum of success in the 'bees wings' saga I shall leave this sort of photography to the experts. p.s. when I was a young PC a kindly Sgt once said to me - "I should leave that Graham. Leave it to them what understands it".

All three above were at ISO 1600 and the 'noise' doesn't seem so horrendous. Probably because there was more natural light. The crucial shutter speed turned out to be 1/8ooth of a second. In picture 1 it seems to have almost stopped the wing motion (may by chance I hit Reg's suggestion of when the wings changed direction). Pictures 2 and 3 show the blurred motion of the wings. And that was the sum total of my ambitions - I didn't like the wings simply to vanish.

Picture 4 is a Bungus 'Lowering Sky' and I consider it very good. I particularly like the hint of movement in the tree branches - it conveys the blustery day at 1.34pm on the 20th June 2009 (you really must let me reset the time and date on your Camera Bungus).

The others may differ, but if the snap was mine I would crop out from the polytunnel downwards. The result would be even more dramatic.

Our long arranged at home lunch-date, with Peter and Joan, and Jean, came to pass. And it was an outstanding success. Simple fish and chips, with either petit pois or mushy peas. Followed by rhubarb and apple crumble (our rhubarb, Morrisons' bramleys) and custard. Then a cheese-board and coffee.

And a smashing long chat well into the afternoon. We zoomed through the National Trust, Political correctness, families, outings etc., etc. Y and I worked well together, even to the aftermath and we had soon dish-washered, dried cutlery, and put away. All well worth it for such a smashing lunch-time.

Comments.... AnonymousRob ..... Your IT consultant is a nimble operator if he can fit a blog-comment filter ! But I guess with comment 1 timed at 8.51 pm yesterday and comment 2 at 6.30 pm, presumably today, I assume he must have succeeded. Tough ! We shall just have to steel ourselves for the fruit of your dongle in future.

Your 'Lowering Sky' at least qualifies for 'une petit noir sur la mere de Guillaume!' because it looks a helluva long way away. Hope I've got my cases and things right.

Enjoy your caravanning weekend - and I'm sure you will put your dongle to good use.

Bungus ..... I like your 'earie' tag for my garden wheat snap. Re the judges comments on my Staff of Life pub title photograph of you holding the baton. I don't know - because I had to miss going - not very well etc., As it was 'erect' and also 'bread' there were several layers of interpretation. None of which seemd to have registered.

The source of Steven's scepticism over the blood clot is that nothing positive showed up on the scans. It was therefore a diagnosis from symptoms rather than pictures. He had a few hours before his breathlessness been working in a very fine wood dusty environment and considered that the more likely. He has agreed to 'take it easy' but whether he will or not God knows.

Jill .... Glad you were only missing for the one day ! There was something on '' about a 'scheduled outage' so I think it possible that you encountered that. Whatever it is ! And that could be Rob's problem too, rather than the nimble IT consultant. Time will tell.

Just watched a very watchable programme of Bill Gates interviewed by Fiona Bruce and I fine job she made of it. Notoriously difficult to interview he came over well. If you missed it there is live footage included in that link.

Steve's blood clot could well be, as you suggest, some sort of embolism. His knee problem and operations could have produced it. David had a motor bike accident many years ago and broke his leg quite high up. A clot travelled to his lungs. They finished up having to repeatedly thump his chest to try and break it up before it killed him. He survived Thank God.

I'm very pleased the EU are ending sanctions against Cuba. It should make a big difference to their economy. But I haven't read about it. Can you remember the source?


Some time ago Reg mentioned the 'barber-shop singing' competition at Colliers Wood tomorrow. This link is to The Eastwood and Kimberley Advertiser who recommend arrival soon after 2pm. Weather permitting we will be there. It can't be more than 2 miles away.


The 'metaphysical poets' still work in my opinion.

"I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds and bowers,
Of April, May, of June and July-flowers"

Robert Herrick

I used to dislike poetry which rhymed and scanned. But now I like it. Must be getting old !

Sleep tight, catch you tomorrow............................


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Burton Joyce Day - More Bees

The 'lowering sky' is courtesy of AnonymousRob and I don't think it has anything to do with Bill's mother. The earliest use of the phrase that I could trace was in "Washing-Day." by Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743 - 1825) where she wrote :

"The silent breakfast-meal is soon dispatch'd
Uninterrupted, save by anxious looks
Cast at the lowering sky, if sky should lower"

I bet she nicked it from Chaucer anyway. That isn't Rob's title by the way, it's mine - but it looks right.

Picture 2 is of the feral wheat which is visiting the garden. Yesterday I think Reg and Brian reported similar strags in their gardens.

The snap looked OK in colour but, as it was almost monochrome green anyway I decided to give it a go in b & w.

I know Rob will approve anyway and probably Roy too (I forgot - he's still away in Cambridge).

The picture seems to have a slightly eerie look I think.

Y is over at Burton Joyce, but returning under her own steam. Bless her, she insists that I 'need a rest' and most probably she is right. Steven is at the Hospital - he was having breathing problems and of course, quite sensibly, he has to have Xrays, ECGs etc., but he is due to be discharged shortly.

Comments ..... Reg ...... I overcame shutter lag partially by firing bursts, and at ISO 1600, hoped to catch the appropriate millisecond (ha ha!) when their wing-cycle changed. The results were so bad, concern for the sweet dreams of our readership has prevented publication.

In a word 'awful'. So much 'noise' you could barely distinguish the outline of the bee let alone its wings !

I think I'll stick to flowers and shafts of sunlight.

Bungus ..... I haven't forgotten our proposed Laxton trip and the tour with your friend Stuart Rose. Just a matter of getting hold of Joan and earmarking some dates which look as if they might suit you. Then I'll ring. For some things actually 'speaking' is still best. With e-mails I find I tend not to accord them their proper sense of importance or urgency.

And I suspect I'm not alone !

With regard to competition pictures you are, in general terms, correct. And a judge is entitled to feel that a picture doesn't fit the parameters. Rob was speaking a little 'tongue in cheek' when he announced that he had been actually standing in Bill's mother's garden. However, it is irritating when a judge simply fails to see the connection. i.e. You holding a long french-stick in the attack position failed to persuade the judge of it's pub-title connotation. 'The Staff of Life". Y said "They'll never understand that" and she was proved right !

The Chic Murray 'bee' joke is the real classic I think. Once heard, never forgotten.

Another Tommy Cooper one for you now _

'Dr. I can't pronounce my Fs, Ts, or Hs"

'Well you can't say fairer than that then -'

I must sort things out now for when Y returns - Steven just rang to say he's been released. He has a blood-clot on his lung but they are OK for him to go home. He isn't convinced the diagnosis is right - and these days I think we are all correct to a skeptical stance. Y is going to ring me when she reaches Phoenix Park.

Quotation time ........"Expect St. Martin's summer, halcyon days"

William Shakespeare.

Tomorrow Peter and Joan, and Jean are coming over for lunch. That will be nice, and I can give Joan the jigsaw which has taken up more or less permanent residence in the back of the car.

Sleep tight and I'll catch you tomorrow.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

WoW at Brassington - Brian's Sigma 70-210mm

We went to Brassington in Derbyshire, and the weather was awful. I hope Picture 1 conveys the feel of the morning.

I've desaturated everything except Mike's blue waterproof coat. To be more accurate things should have been saturated due to the heavy rain rather than the otherway round.

Brassington is a delightful stone village, well known to me from boyhood cycle rides. Everyone agreed it would be worth revisiting in clement weather, rather than inclement weather Ha Ha!

WoW this morning comprised Reg, Brian, Mike and me, and rain notwithstanding we had a good time - lots of laughs and a fair bit of getting lost as is customary. Brian lent me a Sigma 70-210mm lens to play with and first impressions are good. The zoom is pull/push rather than twist but the operation is positive and smooth.

On the way home we stopped at The Great Northern at Langley Mill for a good chip baguette. No link with a picture - so, no link ! I wished I'd had my Casio though, because of the very amusing ''Erewash Valley ' sayings, spelt phonetically on the beams in the bar.

When I got home I had a good look at the Sigma results and I have a spot of muck on my camera sensor . to be sure that it wasn't on Brian's lens, I swapped lenses and replicated the shot.

The spot was still there.

However, Reg assures me that he can clean it from the sensor.

Nice being in a Camera Club 'innit?

Comments...........Bungus.... We are all indebted to anonymousrob
for his work on St. James the Less on Papplewick Church...... Pleased I was right about Saxon anyway but, like you, I was mystified by the large monkey-wrench carried over his shoulder. I am sure that a 'fullers club' or a 'key to a large-ish lock' is correct though - if 'nifty googler' says so.

I think you nearly have it with your 'Bill's mothers........' shot. Probably get up to the 15/20 mark.

In any case, I agree with Rob that it is up to the photographer to decide the ambit of the rules and up to the judge to assess the photoghraphic merit of the picture.

Reg ...... I am now sure that the reason I was not getting a result with me bees wings is that I was not changing the ISO high enough. Simple as that. If there's any light at all tomorrow I'll have another try at ISO 1600.

I'll have another go, taking into account your comment and the discussion this morning. Sometimes I can omit to do the simplest thing. It isn't age-ing; I've always been like it.

From recent proof, where Bungus fooled me with the 'gullible' thing. I think I can be an amalgam of gullible and stupid. Perhaps a new word - 'gullipid' would do..

And thanks for congratulating Rob and Elaine on their forthcoming nuptials and we all join you in doing so.. Oh what fun !

Lovely point about the wedding snaps via a pin-hole camera and cyanotype processing !


My apologies to our non-photographic readers for the content today. There will be some skim-reading necessary.

I saw poor Maureen's 'scaffolding' this morning and I wince at the recollection. An horrendous bit was two pieces of metal under the scaffolding which looked like the tops of large safety-pins going straight into the flesh of the poor girls forearm. When I asked about them I was told they go straight into the bone. Ouch !! And there is also a problem with finding pain-killers which are acceptable to her system. Anything morphine based isn't. So she is stuck with Paracetamol. And that is so weak !!

What with my fentanyl patches me and morphine are best mates. Not surprising I suppose that I can be a little gullipid.


..... Sleep tight. Catch you tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Karen day - IKEA - Bees wings

As Karen was with us this morning we nipped over to IKEA for cofee and a mooch round. The extended area at the side, for M&S etc., is enormous and must be providing a lot of jobs. I shall keep you informed as things progress.

Continuing the 'bees wings' attempts I still can't quite manage it. Research tells me that -

Dickinson - Wing beat frequency normally increases as size decreases, but as the bee's wing beat covers such a small arc, it flaps approximately 230 times per second, faster than a fruitfly (200 times per second) which is 80 times smaller.[7]

which surely means that at a shutter speed of 3200th of a second I ought to be able to almost catch a wing in motion. But not so. The camera's 'sports pre-set' was no better.

Picture 1 is my best effort and in the enlargement you will see in the lower wing area, some sort of blur. My meta-data says 1/640th at f5.

WoW guidance, or anonymousrob's, is obviously required !!

Picture 2s, of a 't Helen's, of a 'thing-ie' high up on Papplewick Church's tower. Taken during last week's WoW when Brian lent her a long lens which she loved having a go with.

And an effective 'go' too.

Donning my Art Historian's hat I would say the work looks saxon 0r medieval mock-saxon. Not being an expert on either the period, or church stone art-work, doesn't really equip me. But a powerful image and there is much to be decoded.

Maybe Bungus can help ?

Picture 3, courtesy of Rob, is Leonardo's inscription on the rear of the photograph of him published yesterday. We haven't yet mastered double-sided blogs !

And thanks Rob for putting us right about the picture not being from the 'talent night'. We readers of the Cuba saga like to have things right.

And we accept your cunning bobbing & weaving over the 'black over Bill's mothers sky' even if grudgingly. You are quite right that the rules didn't specify a distant sky and your standing in Bill's mothers Garden is imaginative to say the least. Good sky anyway.

Picture 4 is today's Telegraph Crossword. Completed. It must have been an easy day. The new setter-team have fresh ways of signalling anagrams but we are up to their tricks by now I think.

I've sorted out Virgin media and succeeded in getting our package reduced from £70 month plus to £41.99 with 'talk unlimited and hopefully no surprise bill for 'calls'. People on WUforums have always said that if you ring up Virgin (like NTL before) make a fuss about whatever, they will reduced your bill by a tenner at least.

One just needs a wary eye open, against the bill creeping up agian.

So I've decided to keep my Virgin broadband and also my dongle and be able to access the internet wherever I happen to be.

Comments..... Jill .....Glad you are finally sorted with your bonescan and managed, eventually, to get to the correct hospital. It seems almost an NHS hobby to mislead wherever possible. And fancy no-one being able to advise a public transport method of getting there.

Glad that you too enjoyed Kate's pollution lecture. As ever - "Y and I love a good lecture with pictures" - and that was exactly what it was. I intended to post a link to it but it was yesterday's and hasn't yet been filed in the archive.

And please welcome 'gullible grandad" ..... I really fell for it. See note to Bungus.

Bungus ..... You really succeeded with 'gullible'. No wonder I was never on CID ! The sports desk will no doubt report it as Bungus 1 - Radiogandy 0. We were always taught 'Not to mock the afflicted'. But we will let you off this time.

Sorry to have mislead you about David's bullfinch/air-rifle recollection. It was in an e-mail and not a blog-comment.

Both of your Observer Xword clues defeat me. Maybe Y or Jill will fare better.

It is obvious that we don't know the true facts in the Tanker drivers' dispute. I saw the TUC chap briefly on the telly and he seems a genuine sort of chap.

anonymousrob ..... As you will see above I have decided to indulge myself with my dongle.

The La Tasca meal sounds splendid but it would be too much, quantity-wise, for me nowadays.

Dennis does sound remarkably good for 65. Are you sure he isn't on the Grecian 2000 or whatever the 2008 equivalent is? Not that it matters anway. I hope I haven't missed your joint exhibition?


I've spoken to Reg and WoW is on for tomrrow. Venue not yet decided. Neither Helen nor Roy is available and we are not sure about Brian.

Quotation time ...... I love P. J. O'Rourke's prose. Almost like Auberon Waugh he can make me laugh in mid-paragraph. This appeals :-

"There's a whiff of the lynch mob or the lemming migration about any overlarge concentration of like-thinking individuals, no matter how virtuous their cause"

P. J. O'Rourke

Definitely in our - 'good to spend an hour in a pub with' - category.