Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Old school friend, Dartmoor

The weekend before last our intrepid walking club had our annual Dartmoor trip, a brief interlude between the storms, so as clean & beautiful as only Dartmoor in November can be. Most of the walks on my "most-horrible-ever" list are here too, but when it behaves it's unbeatable. 

We found several of the 130 or so dartmoor-crosses, many of which have  fascinating histories of dark tales of murder, some were way-markers between monasteries, some village or church monuments. Some may be 1,000 years old, s0me only 100. they range from well kept to remnants in drystone walls or even only the hole where they once were. It's a fascinating area for exploration.

                                               Hexworthy Cross, just next to our pub.

Horse Ford Cross

Mount Misery Cross 

The day before we visited S&J who've recently retired to Newquay. Like all sea places it's a different world in the winter, sadly it was grey & drizzly, but very good to catch up & reminisce. A few memories are listed on a previous post. In spite of the greyness, a few splurges of colour always lurk somewhere.

Lazy, Space

It's always said that if you want something done, ask a busy person, the end of my full time course way back in June probably explains why I've got so lazy about my blog. There's no lack of things to report, just seems less urgency. Yesterday was mince-pie day, I try to get them done & frozen well in advance, some years they don't get as far as the freezer & I have to start again, but I beat the gannets with 4 dozen. I use Mrs Beeton's cheese straw mixture for the pastry, it gives a tangy savouriness to them. For the people who don't like mincemeat I do spicy apple&cranberry ones.
As well as being a mathematician, R is a bit of a space-freak, it's catching; I find the thought of pictures like this coming from saturn many billions of miles away incredible, and this one this one after the computers have played with it.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


I still have a sneaky suspicion Photoshop is cheating slightly, but has become acceptable by widespread use. I wanted to learn how to use it to make arty pictures, rather than change "real" ones. I'll try to make it clear when I've used it on normal looking photos. I suppose in time it'll seem no worse than using different film or paper grades to change the effect in traditional printed photography, or some of the tricks in printing them.
These are my most recent projects, simpler than at first attempt, and huge fun. It's a good way to tackle the computer-phobia, like my friend who took up climbing to overcome a fear of heights!

These ones are simply combining two photos, in the one below I changed the colour and contrast first.

The final ones include text in various forms. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Caking again!

After a ridiculously long time I have gone back to my long-standing hobby on decorating cakes, this time a wedding cake for old walking friends. Many people asked how long it took, the honest answer is "I have no idea", several evening making the bits and about 10 hours assembling it and putting the finishing touches. seems like a lot of time but far more rewarding & relaxing than watching TV.
All the best to the happy pair!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Windows, New, Guarded & Old

Frankfurt, like any city, is a random mixture of beautiful old buildings, horrible new ones and extraordinary innovation, like this Klein-Bottle shopping centre. Sadly it leaked, doing huge damage but on a fine day it's fascinating.

These little ladies guard the shutters in villages in the area, I've not seen them anywhere else.

Curved, stained or leaded glass have a unique interest.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Rooves & Tiles

One of the many fascinations of travelling is the buildings, different styles of bricks & tiles tell a huge amount about the lifestyle and climate. I think these patterned slate tiles are unique to this part of Germany. The snake-effect over the dormer window must be a nightmare to make or repair. On our recent trip to Ladakh the houses were mainly sun-dried mud-brick, fine for cold & dry, but in the last 10 years or so the monsoon has blundered over the Himalayas, causing massive damage to building never engineered for rain.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Rivers & Castles

Too many castles to comment on, but rivers are always good, reflections intriguing in the variation in light and clarity. The ripplydistortions produce an infinite variety of images. The padlocks, of course proclaim optimism about the permanence of love.