Wednesday, 23 January 2013

cheating slightly!

Photographing birds is hard at the best of times, sometimes it works, but against a bright sky is impossible, hence the slight cheat to show up this little long tailed tit, in the original he's just a silhouette.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


I went to London the other day and took photos of portions of buildings to see what I could do with Photoshop, here's one of the results, far from perfect but has interesting possibilities.

Thursday, 17 January 2013


We had a rare calm sunny day, and were drawn to our wonderful canal. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


For Christmas one of my presents was a set of \origami paper with instructions, these are some of my first efforts. Laura's nimble little fingers are better though.

Saturday, 12 January 2013


As well as the butterflies,Wisley, as expected, has flowers. Curled up furry ones are always good for pictures.

                                                   I loved the vibrant red snowball.

 Cecily Mary Barker would have had a field day with this one for another of her fairies, she was home educated as she had epilepsy and was therefore considered too delicate to go to school, all her flowers were local English ones.

Butterflies again.

The RHS garden at Wisley has their butterfly display in the big new glass house again, about the fourth year and better each time. It was quite dull, and flash frightens the creatures, so the photos could have been better.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Photoshop PopArt

This started as a class exercise, but I've used images from closer to home. The colours were brighter on the original Photoshop file, not sure why.

Monday, 7 January 2013

More books.

      Imogen Lycett Green: Grandmother’s Footsteps is a travel book with a bit of a difference, I L G goes to retrace her Grandmother’s life and their previous journey through India. Grandmother is Penelope Chetwode aka Lady Betjeman, a formidable character who died aged 75 leading a cultural Himalayan trek. Fascinating as mentions several places I’ve visited, but she sounded terrifying, clients on the treks were more or less handpicked for knowledge, seriousness and brain power. I met her many years ago, within a few minutes she wrote me off as a lightweight, so the promised contacts in India never materialised. It sheds a little light on the rather stormy marriage to Sir John Betjeman.
        Adams: Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy “Trilogy” really hasn’t dated in ideas or humour, if anything improved like dusty port. Looking back at his inventions, he’s on a par with Jules Verne, The Book has to be the prototype iPad, the Infinite Improbability Drive is relatively easily explained by some of the quirks of the latest quantum ideas.
     Ramachandran: The Tell-tale Brain isn’t as good as his Phantoms in the Brain, a bit too philosophical, and not as clinical, but still interesting. He has some thought-provoking ideas on self, consciousness and autism.
    Goldacre: Bad Pharma is a scary account of what many of us really knew, that drug trials and the people publishing them are seriously flawed and biased in favour of the giant pharmaceutical companies. I had no idea, though that the ramifications were so wide. Not quite as entertaining as his “Bad Science”                      Kipling: Kim is a classic I’ve never read, an interesting insight into India, religious culture and “The Great Game”. Of particular interest to the India-traveloholic. There’s a passage about Kim’s Game, remembering objects removed from a collection that I remember being set as a prĂ©cis at school, I have no idea why a short simple passage had such an impact.
     Sacks: The Mind’s Eye is not his best, he’s a bit to introspective, similar to “A Leg to Stand On”, he gets a bit too tied up in his own symptoms. I found most of his other books fascinating and educational.              Lister: In Xanadu With Kublai Khan, a good subject, but rather impaired by a plodding style. 
    Allen: the Devil’s Cup is a history of coffee and its worldwide spread and possible influence on the course of history. Not quite meaty enough to really tell the story, too much personal detail, but not quite a travel book. I ended up not being sure if he really was trying to write a serious history. His style was too informal, there were a lot of contradictions and he muddled port & starboard, so basic!
    Benton: Holy Terrors, Gargoyles on Medieval Buildings is another on gargoyles, some new ideas on why the forms are as they are, and what they might represent,  but as always hard to prove. Very good photos, a hard subject to capture as they’re invariably high and against a bright sky.

Sunday, 6 January 2013


At Christmas on of my few jobs was to provide the cheeseboard.Nick likes blue ones so I chose among other random ones Montagnolo Affine from Morrison's ( who say's they're not good quality?) On Googling it I find it was a good choice, allegedly the best-in-world, judged out of nearly 4,000 at last year's Nantwich Cheese Festival, how have I missed this? It was certainly very tasty, but there are othes. Ossau Iraty Ewe's from the Basque region, is brilliant, soft & mild but Waitrose doesn't always have it.
 A good gooey Stilton is hard to beat, and the humble well-matured Cheddar for versatility, taste and snackability-with-everything is hard to beat. I use it in cheese pastry to add a savoury tang to mince pies.
When I did my mega-trip to India in 1978-9, the only 2 things I missed were decent (my taste, ie classical, rather than the ubiquitous Hindi film stuff) music,and proper cheese. I went hundreds on miles by train & bus to Ootacamund as I was lead to believe the had a proper English dairy, as befits an old British tea&coffee hill-station. Alas processed plastic. It wasn't a wasted journey though, a brilliant boating lake, terribly English church & tea-shop, second hand bookshop, and pink bananas.

45 broken:unplanned! "Private" NHS. Whisky update.

I've achieved 3/4 of my 60 new things, however this one was unplanned and unwanted! I fell off my bike skidding on slippery leaves & broke my collar bone! 1st time I've broken anything, or, indeed done anything other than bounce when falling over. The family will confirm how often I fall over things. A seems to be a disaster area too. Hopefully she'll get to at least 61 3/4 before doing significant damage!
The local minor injury unit, now run by Virgin was brilliant, 1 hour wait, but on a Sat am I don't think that was bad. Polite receptionist apologised for delay, v friendly Nurse-practitioner totally in control of her job, clearly loving it. X-rayed by the mother of an primary school friend of L's, so chat & catching up too. Rapid appointment with fracture clinic early next week, let's see how the "traditional" Health service goes!
Not doing so well with the Whiskies though, I've only got to 28 different ones. We're walking in Skye later in the year so I should catch a few more then.