Sunday 28 September 2014

Essential List: List of Essentials

Camping list.  Fuji F10
15th August 2014

Today is the final day of packing; armed with my trusty list, I have assembled the required plethora of stuff; all heaped carefully in the dining room.

The list has been evolving for many years now.   As the kids have got older, some items like 'nappies' are long removed now.

There has been a 'small bulldog clip' on the list though for years; no-one can remember quite why we added it, but it seemed like an essential that one year!

It may be time for the small bulldog clip to go in the next update of the list...

Packing for France

Tins and Jars.  Nikon D7000
14th August 2014

As we are off to France shortly, the collection of 'Ex-Pat Essentials' is building slowly.

For some a kilo of Marmite is more than a lifetimes supply.

The tins of beans will of course bring a new dimension of flatulence to the French.


"Katie" with water drops.  Nikon D7000
13th August 2014

The "Katie" apples are starting to ripen, however we had rain in the night and the apples are coated in raindrops.

This variety of apple is particularly susceptible to sunburn which is caused by the raindrops acting as little lenses.

If they do get burned, then the spots turn black and make the apples a little unsightly.  Hopefully they will dry off quickly and we will get nice pristine apples this year.

As I do not actually like apples, I am not inclined to run out with a cloth and dry them all off!

Abstract: Gold and Curlies

Brass sponge.  Nikon D7000
12 August 2014

Today I thought I would capture something a little different. It was the curly brass sponge for wiping my soldering iron in that caught my eye.

The shiny metal provides a rather nice 'disorder' and patterns of light.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Rotten to the core

Brown Rot.  Nikon D7000
11th August 2014

Although there are lots of apples on the tree this year, the brown rot seems to be much worse than usual.   There are lots of apples, even ones still on the tree, that have succumbed to the concentric circles of rot.

This collection could have made a crumble on their own if they had not rotted in situ.

Rainy Sunday

Rainy Window.  Nikon D7000
10th August 2014

The weather is grim again today.  Luckily being a weekend, I do not have to walk to school with miserable wet kids.

Xena is not a big fan of walking in the rain either; her ears go down and she looks as if she is being punished.

She still enjoys sniffing around though.

Planning purple pigeon poo

Elderberries ripening.  Nikon D7000
9th August 2014

The elderberries at the bottom of the garden are ripening well.   There are quite a few which are nice and purple, but still quite a few which are green.

When they go purple in a few weeks, then the pigeon poo will really start to stain!

White clothes?

Kane.  Nikon D7000
8th August 2014

We are dog sitting for a few days.  Kane is lovely, but moults at an alarming rate.

I have realised just how large a proportion of my clothes are black; they now all have a liberal coating of white fluff.

I am sure his presence will be with us for a few weeks even after he has gone back home!

Petal Free

No petals.  Nikon D7000
7th August 2014

The clematis heads that were still well in bloom last month have now faded and only the seed heads remain.

The purple petals have fallen and the clematis looks very different now.

I may see how this cluster of three looks in another month or so....

Not Plums, but the leaf would cover them

First Ripe Fig.  Fuji F10
6th August 2014

The fig trees are starting to bear their fruit; the tree is hanging with them so fingers crossed it could be a good year :)

There is something rather enticing about the colours and patterns inside the fig that just seem to shout 'eat me'.

Balls of Bronze

Sculpture in Frogner Park.  Nikon D7000
5th August 2014

We had a wander around Frogner Park today to see the sculptures of the Vigeland Installation.

The sculptures are very realistic; the kids got bored after counting past seeing 90 knobs.

The hoards of visitors however seem to have 'taken a shine' to the appendages on the castings.

All at Sea

RA II.  Nikon D7000
4th August 2014

We bimbled around Oslo today and headed to the outskirts to do the maritime side of Norway.

We started at the Thor Heyerdahl museum and saw his rafts; the RA II and the Kon-Tiki.

He must have been raving to try and cross oceans in them!

We then went next door to see the Fram; the strongest wooden hulled ship made and was designed to be frozen into pack-ice.   It seems to have fared well after its visit to the Antarctic.

Kon-Tiki.  Nikon D7000

The hull of the Fram.  Nikon D7000

Sunday 21 September 2014

What's stiff and smells of fish?

Fish drying at the side of the road.  Nikon D7000
3rd August 2014

Driving around the countryside here in the Arctic, the activities of the local fishing industry are clear to see.  One of the products is dried fish which are put out to hang on large racks by the side of the Fjord.

The summer weather is reasonably warm considering, but there must be a large fraction of the year when the fish would freeze dry rather than warm in the sun.

Vows and Petals

Petals thrown on the happy couple.  Nikon D7000
2nd August 2014

Today I was the best man at my colleagues wedding.

The day was superb and the wedding was fantastic; although I did not understand the Norwegian, I sort of got the gist of what was going on.

The reception was superb and was a traditional Sami meal.   The only low point of the evening was when they asked me to sing....

On the positive side, Christmas is cancelled as we ate Rudolph :)

Colour in the cloud

Hammerfest houses,  Nikon D7000
1st August 2014

The weather today was not quite so pleasant with low cloud and a bit of rain.

The colours of the local houses however brighten the day nicely.

We did find that in the supermarket today, they sell the scrummy Norwegian brown cheese :)

Fjords and Antlers

Reindeer, reindeer everywhere.  Nikon D7000
31st July 2014

We headed up to Nordkapp today; at over 71 degrees north, it is the most northerly point of Europe.

The journey was spectacular with a profusion of reindeer wandering on the hills, the roads, and in the tunnels.

The sun did not quite set again this evening, but it did at least head behind the mountain which at least gave the appearance of an attempt at sunset!
Sun heading towards the mountain,  Nikon D7000

Midnight Sun and Polar Bears

The sun at midnight.  Nikon D7000
30th July 2014

The cloud held off and the sun this morning did not set; really weird.  I managed to take the picture of the sun exactly at the stroke of midnight on the camera clock which I am rather pleased about.

We headed home after a little walk on the mountain, had some sleep, and then visited some of the sights of Hammerfest.

We headed down to the Polar Bear Museum to see about the history of the city; luckily there are no polar bears on mainland Norway so it was only a well stuffed one we encountered.
Bear in the museum.  Nikon D7000

Disks in the sky

Katie playing mountain frisbee.  Nikon D7000
 29th July 2014

Today we travelled North from Oslo deep into the Arctic up to Hammerfest.

We rounded off the afternoon with a wonderful walk across the mountain behind the city, and a game of frisbee golf.

Alex did well, but got tired eventually, Liz lost her frisbee for a while in the Arctic tundra and heather, and Katie revelled in her glory.

In the evening, we headed round to a local bay to see the sun attempt to set; there are only one or two more days left this summer that it will not go below the horizon....
Liz and Alex catching the sun just after local midnight at 11.49pm.  Nikon D7000

Mirror Mirror

Alex at the Opera.  Fuji F10
28th July 2014

This morning we all flew to Oslo for the start of our 'tour' of Norway.

We headed down to the Opera and the shopping area to aclimatise the children to the nice hot weather (they did not expect to be as north as Shetland, yet be warmer than London!).

Alex was very taken with the marble and glass opera house with all its fantastic angles and the ability to walk up onto the roof.

There seemed to be an interesting method of transport happening in the bay too; the couple were really quite a long way out on quite a flimsy craft!
Floaters in the bay.  Fuji F10

Going Nuts

First of the Hazel nuts.  Nikon D7000
27th July 2014

The hazel tree is really quite loaded with nuts; it looks like it may be a "cracking" year.

I have not seen any squirrels for a while, so fingers crossed...

A few of the nuts have fallen; I cracked one today and here was the beginnings of a kernel inside; just another month or so and they will swell nicely :)

Sleeping Lilly

Night-time Lilly.  Nikon D7000
26th July 2014

It is difficult to take pictures at night unless some other source of light can be found.

Many of my usual subjects however transforms themselves at night time.

Today I though it would be worth capturing the water lilly and how it closes up to go to sleep.

Climbing Ivy

Old Pole.  Nikon D7000
25th July 2014

This old pole is planted a few gardens down the street.

The ivy has been creeping up it slowly over the years and is finally starting to strangle the top.

I  am not sure if any of the connecting wires are still active, but it looks like it had a very important function in the past.

Now it mainly functions as a nice high perch for the pigeons.

Turning black and knobbly

First of the blackberries.  Nikon D7000
24th July 2014

It is always an indicator that Summer is truly with us when the fruit in the garden starts to ripen.

Today I spotted that the first of the blackberries was beginning to ripen.

This variety needs to be super ripe before it goes sweet, otherwise it is as sour as buggery.

A crumble is in the offing I think.

Drip, drip, squirt

Burst downpipe in downpour.  Nikon D7000
23rd July 2014

The rain today has been rather excessive at times again.

The downpipe on the patio used to have a water butt connected into it, and for a few years, the Gaffer tape repair has held well.

The rain was so heavy, the soakaway under the drainpipe could not take it and the entire pipe filled with water.

Not only was the water spilling out of the top of the pipe at roof level, but it also burst through the tape and sprayed onto the patio.

Good job it was not hail or we may have been shot blasted!


Car hidden in undergrowth.  Fuji F10
22nd July 2014

The old abandoned car has now obtained a superb camouflage  that has hidden it completely.   I had to think for a while to remember exactly where it is!

I am sure the foliage will die back rapidly and leave it to the mercy of the local youth once more.

Saturday 20 September 2014

Prick Heads

Teasles.  Fuji F10
21st July 2014

The teasles are in flower and actually 'touchable' with the pricks still being slightly soft.

It will not be long before they dry out and go brown and enter a state where they are liable to punch holes in your hand.

They can make a reasonable emergency comb though; not that I need one these days.


Water Lillies.  Nikon D7000
20th July 2014

The water lillies are still flowering and very profusely this year.  The subtle shades of pink and white seem to be lasting quite some time.

It must be the wet warm weather we are having.

Splish splash

Rain.  Nikon D7000
19th July 2014

Today started well, but then it flopped it down with rain.

A classic 'stair rods' event.

The water was just bouncing off the patio table and all the sparrows went to hide deep in one of the bushes.

I was planning on mowing the lawn...

Leafy with extras

Apples swelling.  Nikon D7000
18th July 2014

The apple trees are bearing fruit again this year.   The russet is really hanging, along with the brambly.   The other eater 'Katy' which is normally absolutely covered in fruit is quite sparse for once.

Hopefully the fruit which is there will develop and ripen before the dreaded brown rot takes hold.

A good year for brown Gold?

Figs.  Nikon D7000
17th July 2014

There are a lot of juvenile figs on both fig trees this year; I wonder if we are going to get a good crop later in the summer.

Although they are green and hard most of the time, they turn quickly into delicious brown gold :)

I just have to be able to win the race against the blackbirds....

Rosy Moon

Rose and Moon.  Nikon D7000
16th July 2014

Most of the pictures I seem to take are exposed with a wide aperture to both use as much of the available light as possible, as well as to create a narrow depth-of-field.

Today I thought I would go to the other extreme and try to get both close and far in focus with a small aperture.

The moon seemed like a good target that was 'far away'.  A rose briar formed a decent close target with a nice contrast between 'sharp' and 'round'.

Thin Branch

Pigeon.  Nikon D7000
15th July 2014

There is a tree in next-door's garden that the pigeons seem to like perching in.

The top branch though is very thin and bends alarmingly whenever they land on it.

The pigeons do not seem to mind swaying in the breeze though.

Possibly it is the pigeon equivalent of a fairground ride!

Shapes: Triangles

Cheese on Toast.  Nikon D7000
14th July 2014

There are shapes all around us; today it was triangles.

Scrummy triangles too :)

Things that go 'click' in the night

Electric Fence, Fuji F10
13th July 2014

A fox has been visiting at the Sister-in-Laws.   It killed over 40 chickens in one night, so something had to be done about it.

A few hours and some rolls of wire later, an electric fence has been installed around the chicken run.

When you get close, there is a satisfying regular 'click' that hopefully will be enough to deter our furry red friends.

Smooth White Crack

Broken Marble.   Fuji F10
12 July 2014

I found time to do a little carving today.

I had a little bar of marble and sketched out a pattern.

The diamond disk roared excitedly as it created lots of white marble dust.

Then the marble cracked :(


Another handful of stones for drainage in flower pots...


11 July 2014

The Clematis on the patio has grown nicely this year now that the pigeons cannot land in it (defences were added).

The purple flowers are spectacular in the sun and now the seed heads are starting to form.

The heads are wispy tendrils and make quite a fascinating structure in their own right.

Tuesday 16 September 2014


Alex's loom-band snakes.  Fuji F10
10th July 2014

Alex has been making interesting objects out of rubber bands recently; it seems to be one of those passing phases that capture all children at one time or another (I had a Rubik's cube).

He has made some snakes today, although double-headed one at the top looks more like a trouser snake :)

Taste: Peppery

Nasty Urchins.  Nikon D7000
9th July 2014

The nasturtiums in the veg plot are looking very spectacular at the moment.

The colours are spectacular yellow and orange.

It is the peppery taste though that is difficult to capture in a photograph.

Shapes: Long and thin

Sweetcorn tendrils.  Nikon D7000
8th July 2014

There are many shapes in the garden.  Today I was rather taken with the tendrils emerging from the top of the sweetcorn heads,

They looked even better as they were covered in rain drops.

Shame it is raining again though :(

Colours: Pink or Red

Unidentified Flowers.  Nikon D7000
7th July 2014

We have many flowers in the garden, but I am not sure what these are.  They grow very tall and hang in bunches.

I am not also quite sure whether the flowers are pink or red; it depends very much on the light.

It does not help that I keep overexposing and blowing out the red channel, making them look a bit pink.

Monday 15 September 2014

Fashion Disaster Zone

Fashion Disaster.  Fuji F10
6th July 2014

After a few days of partying, the sun is out and the drunks and fashion victims have come out to play.

This couple picked an attractive overflowing bin to rest by.

I hope he moves otherwise they may collect him up too!
Too much beer, too much sun.  Fuji F10

Fockers at six O'Clock

WW1 dog-fight.  Fuji F10
5th July 2014

At Sonisphere this evening, there was a WW1 mock dog-fight as an interlude between the bands playing.

There was a Sopwith Camel and and a Focker Tri-plane, along with a selection of biplanes and others.

I had forgotten how slow, yet manoeuvrable the old planes are.

There was a question mark over this evening however as the Focker was flown by the lead-singer of Iron Maiden; who managed to get on stage by 8pm!
Dog Fight.  Fuji F10