Tuesday 18 October 2016

Tangled in the nets

Crane Fly.  Canon S120
16th September 2016

Most flying insects seem to cope well with the net curtains, but the crane flies, with their spindly legs, seem to get tangled in anything, the net curtains provide quite a challenge.

I did wonder if this crane fly was also waiting for a really big spider to come and pay a visit too.

Strong Veins

Bramble leaf.  Canon D7000
15th September 2016

The blackberry leaf has started showing interesting patterns again.   It does it every year which hopefully is just a sign of Autumn, rather than some mineral deficiency.

Textures: Wispy

Seed heads.  Nikon D7000
14th September 2016

Today I was looking for some textures to photograph.  

This morning, I captured some rather fun clouds, and later found some fine seed heads.

I decided that a "Wispy" theme had developed.

Morning Clouds.  Canon S120

Pesky Peckers

Pecked Fig.  Nikon D7000
13th September 2016

Although there are now lots of figs on the fig trees, the birds seem to think that the fruit all belong to them.

They like to leave their mark by trying each and every ripe fig by taking a few pecks, but then deciding they prefer strawberries after all!

A quick trim and a wash, and the figs taste the same to me though.

Fresh Nuts

Hazel Nuts.  Nikon D7000
12th September 2016

The hazel tree at the bottom of the garden is starting to bear its fruit.    I thought we may not get much, but the nuts must have been hiding in the leaves.

The mix of rain and shine over the summer looks to have swelled the kernels rather well.

Yum :)

Fresh Greens

Frog.  Canon S120
11th September 2016

Stumbling through the undergrowth in the veg plot today, I very nearly trod on a frog.

It is only a few inches long and most likely to be one that has spent the summer growing up in our pond.

Memory Fault

ZX Spectrum game loading.  Canon S120
10th September 2016

On a visit to the loft this morning, I uncovered a box containing my old Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

Given Alex is of a similar age to when I had the Spectrum, I thought it would be fun to experience a 'blast from the past'.

Luckily the TV in the dining room still had a UHF input and could tune into the Spectrum output.

The belt in the tape player however was showing its age of about 30 years or so, but a more 'modern' tape player and an amplifier got something loading.

Some of the simpler smaller games loaded up and ran, but nothing of the more 'sophisticated' programmes ran properly unfortunately.

After a few hours of listening to the screech of the files loading, I investigated a bit deeper into why very little was working still.

Sadly it looks as if some of the memory chips in the higher banks of RAM may have not stood the test of time :(

We did manage to get a few of the splash-screen pictures from the games to load though, which at least amused us both!

An evening of sweat and Punk

Slaves on stage.  Fuji F10
 9th September 2016

Jo and I had a trip to Cheltenham this evening to a small pub in the city centre.  Jo had scored tickets to see Slaves again.

The gig was only a few hundred of us this time, and got very hot and up-close!  The support act was the Estrons from Cardiff, who were also excellent.

Superb Evening :)

Lawrie playing guitar.  Fuji F10

Isaac taking a break from drums.  Fuji F10

Dim Mornings

Sunrise.  Canon S120
8th September 2016

When the alarm goes off in the morning, the sun is only just over the rooftops these days; the shortening days are getting more noticeable.

The colours of the sunrise are changing too; there have been lots of golden skies in the mornings recently.

Soon I am sure we will move to more pinks and blues...  and just plain dark.

Hanging Hops

Hops.  Canon S120
7th September 2016

While walking through the park today, I noticed in the hedge a rather unexpected vine climbing through it.

Hops are commonly associated with beer making, but not often seen in a public park!


Woodlice.  Nikon D7000
6th September 2016

One of the Elder trees at the bottom of the garden is not just looking 'seasonal', it is looking almost dead.

I had an investigate today and discovered that when the chicken pen was around it, the chickens seemed to have pecked at the lower parts of the bark; the water has got in over the summer and the bark has now rotted off, leaving the tree 'ringed'.

I did find some bark still on the tree, but it is dead and the woodlice have made it their home.

More Hints of Autumn

Colour changes.  Canon S120
5th September 2016

It is not just 'specialist' trees which are spectacular Autumn show-offs that are starting to change colour now.    There are many plants which are just starting to show signs of change.

The contrast of the red and green together at this time of year is rather pleasing.

Monday 17 October 2016

Late Summer Burn

Barbecue.  Canon S120
4th September 2016

We had a bit of a family gathering today.  The sun came out, and it was almost warm.

We could not resist both the first and last Summer barbecue.

I managed to get sufficient blackening and also make the house smell a touch smokey; the real deal :)


Colours. Canon S120
3rd September 2016

Despite growing up, when it comes to Minions, the kids still cannot resist the lure of colouring pencils.

I am just glad they have stopped drawing on the wall paper.


Worn Sofa.  Canon S120
2nd September 2016

The sofa is now looking very well worn.

Much of the fake leather bits have worn away, leaving just the cords of the material behind.

The dogs think it feels warmer and softer now, so are happy with the current look of the furniture.

Ducks in the morning

Ducks.  Canon S120
1st September 2016

While walking the dog around the local lake, we were all alone; apart from the ducks.

The local duck cohort rapidly paddled their way over the water to see if we had come bearing gifts.

We had no bread, but luckily the ducks did not get too angry!


Tree reflections.  Canon S120
31st August 2016

We went for a walk along the old railway, and then the old canal today.   There is a lake at the end which provides convenient seats.

The wind was pretty calm and the reflections across the lake were quite pronounced.

Ball in the grass

Ball.  5x7 view camera, 180mm lens, f/16 1 second.
Ilford VC paper negative
30th August 2016

I broke out the 5x7 camera today; it has been gathering dust for far too long.

During my first attempt at photographing the ball, Muppet picked it up and carried it off!

I found something else for him to chew this time.

Starting to leave

Pigeon taking flight. Nikon D7000
29th August 2016

I was in the garden this morning and there was a pigeon spying on me from the cables at the bottom of the garden.   It decided to leave just as I was taking its picture.

As it is Bank Holiday Monday, we visited Westonbirt Arboretum for the last ever festival of the tree.   We had a decent walk through the woods and saw that the leaves are just starting to turn; Summer is leaving and starting to make way for Autumn.

Colours at Westonbirt.  Nikon D7000

New Fruit

Raspberries.  Nikon D7000
28th August 2016

We decided earlier in the year that after repeated failures of veg in the veg plot, we would try growing more fruit instead.

Eating significant quantities of fruit is a past time we rather enjoy, so we decided to add some raspberry canes to the mix.

The looked as if they were struggling against the weeds, but despite being rather short in stature, look as if they will turn out a few handfuls of fruit this year.

Fingers crossed for next year.

Sunday 16 October 2016

Gush and Thunder

Gushing Downpipe.  Canon S120
27th August 2016

Today got very loud with thunder and lightning crashing all around.

The storm was so violent that I struggled to associate each flash of lightning with its corresponding clap.

I even had to desist from taking photographs and shut the window to stop getting wet :(

Summer getting Nippy

Crayfish Claw.  Nikon D7000
26th August 2016

We had a wander through the water park today and down by one of the streams, there was a bit of body armour that had been discarded.

I am sure the crayfish that lost it may not be in a good way however.

Dusty Scoops and Ice Cream

Scoops.  Canon S120
25th August 2016

The warm weather has brought about a desire for ice cream.  As Katie and I have issues with sugar, 'standard' ice cream is out-of-bounds.

I have finally settled on a recipe that is ultra-low sugar that does not quite have a consistency of post-crete.

We have eaten quite a lot of ice cream in order to perfect the recipe though :)

Boneless Bucket

Bucket of apples.  Canon S120
24th August 2016

The chickens had a day out in the garden today.  They seemed rather fascinated with the contents of the bucket.

It was not another chicken in there; it was manky fallen apples.

Flies on your sensor

Sky and Flies.  Canon S120
23rd August 2016

I took a picture of the sky today and then panicked as the camera sensor appeared to be covered in dust spots.   It would not have been a problem if I was using the DSLR as I can get to the sensor to clean it; I was using my compact camera.

I took a second picture to see how bad they were; the dust spots had moved!!!

Luckily the spots were really just lots of small and close flies.


Weed.  D7000
22nd August 2016

Not only in the veg plot are the weeds active, they are even attempting to colonise the path.

This small weedling was making a good effort; until I pulled it out.

Alternative tree fruit

Figs.  Canon S120
21st August 2016

Although I classed apples and plums as being tree fruit yesterday, we do actually have two fig trees in the garden as well.

They are just starting to produce too; although eating many figs can cause issues....

Purple and Swolen

Plums.  Canon S120
20th August 2016

The plum tree we had in the garden died a few years ago and I thought that we were consigned to only harvesting apples.

I noticed today that a skanky stick in the hedge had sprouted plums at the top of it!  It appears to be a sucker that came up from the roots of the old plum tree without me noticing.

I have made a mental note and given the stick a prune, so hopefully we will get some more fruit next year :)


Growth  Nikon D7000
19th August 2016

The weeds in the veg plot are showing quite a contrast at the moment; the weeds that I have pulled from the garden are nicely dead in the barrow.  

Shame about all the other weeds which have grown to replace them.

Getting close

Fly.  Nikno D7000
18th August 2016

The warm weather has meant that the 'aromas' in the garden are quite strong; the flies are plentiful and luckily, quite happy to keep still.

I broke out the macro lens and photographed a few.  Shame I had to get close to the smells too.

New Arrivals

New Hatchling.   Canon S120
17th August 2016

This morning, there was not just cheeping from the incubator, but a newly hatched chick :)

It is not fluffy yet, but will dry out soon.

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Long, green and ready for stuffing

Marrow.  Nikon D7000
16th August 2016

While we were away, the courgette has grown into a marrow.

Looks like it is stuffed marrow for tea!

Floating Gently

Ha Long.   Nokia Mobile Phone
15th August 2016

This morning was crisp and after Tai-Chi on the deck of the boat, we had a visit to a local floating village.  

The views are just stunningly spectacular.

Floating Village.

Floating Village

Ha Long Bay View.

Heading to Ha Long Bay

Bike.  Canon S120
14th August 2016

We are heading today out to Ha Long bay for a brief holiday.

There were others heading our way too, not on holiday and often with rather ungainly loads on small bikes!

We are heading out onto the water and staying overnight on a boat.  

Ha Long Fishing boat.  Canon S120

Ha Long.  Canon S120

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Network Infrastructure

Telephone cables.  Fuji F10
13th August 2016

Walking down the side streets in Hanoi old city gives an interesting insight into how a rapid lurch into the information age can cause a very 'temporary' infrastructure to emerge.

I have a feeling though the overhead cabling may actually be around for quite some time, and will be extended much further!

Madness in the Dark

Night Traffic.  Nokia Phone.
12th August 2016

Even at night, the traffic here is mad; it is just darker so harder to see exactly what is coming down the road.

Crossing the road is always an entertaining test of faith (i.e. you just walk out with purpose, not actually waiting for the traffic to stop), but at night, it gets really exciting, especially negotiating the cars and bikes which do not actually have headlights!

An evening walk around the lake

Hanoi Central Lake.  Fuji F10
11th August 2016

As it is still almost body temperature here still at night, an evening stroll after dinner is rather pleasant.

Sections of the lake are all lit up, and there are vast collections of the local youth (and others) around key positions; to catch Pokemon!

Sunday 2 October 2016

Turning your carrot into a carved Cock

Carved Hen.  Fuji F10
10th August 2016

We discovered in the restaurant tonight that there are local specialities of carving vegetables.   These chickens were once carrots, but look rather spectacular fowl now.

They tasted good as well.

Carved Cock.   Fuji F10

Pretty, but caused a spill

Questionable design.  Fuji F10
9th August 2016

The tea cups in the hotel have an interesting design feature where the handle pokes through a hole in the saucer.

It looked interesting, but got caught up and made me spill my tea!

Heavy Loads and Honest Menus

Well stacked load.  Fuji F10
8th August 2016

There are stacks of bikes here in Ha Noi and they use them to transport anything and everything.  

This chap seemed to be building something.

The local restaurants have honest menus too; I did not have the chicken gristle :(

Honest Menu.  Fuji F10