Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Call me Percy

Time for a quick entry this morning. The country had, until yesterday, been basking in the first real heat of the summer, and I took full advantage by doing plenty out in the garden. Ultimately this meant two trailerloads down to the tip, there are probably at least another two sitting around by the side of the house. We have a pair of bushes sitting around there and following a period of several years when they have simply been left to themselves, they were now at the same height as the chimney (bear in mind we live in a bungalow). Anyway, after a couple of hours hard work mainly with a hand-saw, they're now down to a more manageable seven foot or so.

In addition the various bushes surrounding the back garden are now presentable after more severe hacking. I think I'm safe there but will need a tidy-up visit out there in the autumn. The good news, of course, is that all this effort has been aimed at reducing several years' growth in many cases, so it will all be easier next year. However, there is still a fair amount of work needed in the front still, so there's a job for the coming weeks.
Also on Sunday in the stifling heat we had a barbeque with a couple of our neighbours, but Alice set out and unfortunately succeeded in ruining it for us. Her behaviour was absolutely awful, with no talking to her. Very disappointing and I feel things can't be allowed to go on like this. Ten years older and she would be out, no question. As parents we are supposed to have this limitless, uncondittional love for our offspring but frankly I wouldn't be too upset if she moved out today, and my own health would certainly improve.

To cap it all, since I did a load of gardening before the barbeque in the full midday heat, I caught the sun and ended up going to bed Sunday night full of shivers. Fortunately all was well the next morning.

Very busy at the client's at the moment, and frankly I am thoroughly fed up there once again. I privately resolved last week to get out of there by the end of October, so between now and then must do some serious hunting for new work - unfortunately I'm not in a position to retire just yet!

What else? Despite the report of Alice's bad behaviour, we got her ears pierced last week, something she's wanted for years, and an early birthday present for her. Needless to say, this all happened before the slump. She is currently looking forward to her birthday celebrations at the weekend, but she is under absolutely no illusion that unless her behaviour is absolutely impeccable this week, there will be no birthday.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Web Sites

Found a couple of websites recently which have great potential. Although I do a lot of geeky work with computers I do have only five or six sites that I visit on a regular basis, so these finds are significant (to me at least).
The first is TripAdvisor, which I stumbled across whilst looking for advice on our Ireland trip. As well as advice and forums aplenty, this site also gives you a virtual globe, and allows you to add virtual pushpins for all the places you've visited. Fascinating, I thought, and an hour later (having racked my brain trying to remember all the places I ever visited) I came up with this:


The other site is one I actually had an idea for probably about eight or nine years ago, but never had (or made) the time to do anything about it. Again map-based, this one lets you upload photographs, again attaching them to pushpins on a map of the earth. Way ahead of my original ideas, however, this site is fully integrated with Google Earth and Google Maps (indeed the site itself may be run by one of the many Google subsidiaries), which means that when you search for a place you not only get to see a map but also a bunch of images too. Great idea. Seems totally unregulated, so you get some bad 'uns alongside the masterpieces, plus some of the entries demonstrate more the ability to use post-processing software than to take good photographs (although arguably each of these skills is as relevant as the other in this day and age, and even my photos get post-processed to some degree before publication...)

Anyway, the site is called Panoramio, and this link should get you through to the photographs I have uploaded thus far.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Dear Me

Jacqueline is very excited since her new camera has just arrived. Very dinky but I'm not convinced of its quality yet. She went out into the garden and snapped a couple of flowers, which look good. One of the things about QVC is they generally offer stuff as a bundle, and if you want everything that comes in the bundle, it works out really good value. Along with the dinky camera, this particular bundle came with a Dye Sub printer, and this was what I found interesting. Basically, Dye Sub printers are the next step up from inkjets. The resolution is generally less than inkjets but the colour spectrum and the overall product are far superior. I had (still have, actually, though it has been gathering dust in the garage for years) a Canon Dye Sub printer which I bought back in 2000, way back before anyone was serious about them. Unfortunately Canon themselves never took the product seriously, they only ever produced Windows 98 drivers for it, and they ensured that the product couldn't be used out of the box - no sample ink or paper meaning that a second purchase from Canon UK was required before I could even start. (In fact, this woeful experience was the sole reason why, when I bought my SLR, I went down the Nikon route. Though if I made the choice again it'd still be Nikon because their kit is just so good.)

But anyway, I won't get into a rant about Canon. Suffice to say that Jacqueline's new printer, which is a Fuji, looks very impressive indeed.

Anyway, enough about Jacqueline's exploits. As mentioned a while ago, I've finally got my act together. Here are a couple of old deers from Dyrham.

And while I'm at it, here's a shot from my new Fisheye lens, taken down at the Millenium Green in Downton at sunset last night. The swans were very obliging!

Also managed a couple of shots with the new flash. The colour quality is absolutely superb, unfortunately the subject matter (Jacqueline in her work clothes, after a day at work, and without makeup) is more than my marriage is worth. So we'll have to wait awhile for some flash photos.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


Been ages since I wrote anything, ironically because I've been quite busy. Highlights of the last few weeks include...

...taking Jacqueline and Alice over to Southampton for her birthday treat - to see the new Narnia film, Prince Caspian, and then to tea at the Grand Harbour.

...doing a lot of chopping in the garden, cutting back the front hedge only to get stung twice, and uncover an enormous wasps nest in one of the bushes. Ouch!

...following the Tour de France. It has been especially good over the last couple of days since we went to see the tour in the Pyrenees last year. On Sunday as they travelled through Arreau we saw the café where we lunched. They have a rest day today, and hit Saint Girons (where we stayed last year) tomorrow.

...buying a couple of bits for the camera - a fish-eye lens and a flash unit. Jacqueline has gone the whole hog and bought herself a new camera from QVC. Very frustrated last weekend because she wanted to try it out, but it hasn't arrived yet. Very trendy, we saw one in a shop at the weekend and it almost fits in the palm of your hand. Not much spec-wise, but whereas that would bother me, Jacqueline doesn't care a jot. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing how I can make use of the fish-eye.

...had a good dinner last week at the Bramble Hill. As we sat down the rabbits were playing on the lawn, as it became darker the sky filled with bats, and to cap it all we saw seven or eight deer on the way home. Alice loved it, and the meal wasn't bad either!

...booked a trip across to Ireland in a couple of months. Purely pleasure, though with Alice with us, you never know! - and lots of it. Once again the client's plans and deadlines are all hopelessly optimistic. I keep plodding along and making progess, though whether I'll have enough time to fix some major flaws is anyone's guess. But ignoring the big picture, they seem very pleased with the effort I'm putting in, and of course this is invaluable in an environment where their CEO is going around saying how they need to cut costs.

That it? Oh, well, maybe not so much after all then. I've probably forgotten loads of stuff.