Category Archives: Uncategorized

Aphabet Photography Project: W is for Water

W is for WaterWater, in all forms and presentations, has fascinated photographers since the beginning of photography itself. This particular view – on the Northumberland coast – caught my attention as sunset approached. I was in a pensive mood at the time, and the scene just suited me.

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Project 365: The End of January!

Where did that month go to…? I was going to do so much ‘around the new year’. I think I’ll have to make that Chinese new year. Hmm…


January 25: As we all say: they just don’t make thing like this any more…

365-105126January 26: Is it a bird…? Is it a plane…? No, it’s a wind turbine. Never seen this one really belting round, though.

365-150127January 27: A time to reflect – in every sense.

365-150128January 28: Old pub lanterns are getting rare – especially when the brewery name changes. Just one of many things I wish I’d recorded more often.

365-150129January 29: When snow has just the right wetness and temperature (or wrong, depending on how you look at it.) This phenomenon known as ice accretion, can even bring power lines down due to the weight of ice!

365-150130January 30: The previous day’s snow soon went…

365-150131January 31: …making way for a special herald of spring!

February, folks? Bring it on!

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Project 365: The First Full Week

And on with another seven days we go…

365-150104January 4: That day was frosty. And frost never disappoints in the beauty stakes.

365-150105January 5: Not such a cold day, but I’d been working outdoors. Wood fires are therapeutic in several ways, besides the heat they give.

365-150106January 6: Home late, cold and hungry. I’m not a fussy eater at times like this. And if it’s easy to make, and contains cheese, tomatoes, and herbs, count me in.
Note: This is my first ever published food picture!

365-0107January 7: Lots of people noticed the spectacular sunrise.

365-150108January 8: Relieved at completing an awkward job, I finally relaxed by candlelight. With lager in a wine glass, because I can.

365-150109January 9: A very brief stop on a journey, away from traffic and noise, just to clear my head. Yes, that’s a buried rail, that hasn’t seen a wagon for a long time. When man moves out, nature moves in.

365-150110January 10: The previous night was windy (in case you didn’t notice.)

So, there we are. Or were. See you next week…!

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Project 365: The Start

A photo a day, for a year…? I’m giving it a go!

365-15-01-01January 1  This was on my window sill. It just seemed symbolically appropriate for the new year. Especially the buds; reminiscent of hope.


January 2  I never tire of England’s skies. Caught at the end of the day, I was intrigued by the combination of nature with man’s activity in this view.

365-15-01-033 January  Saturday was (unusually, for me) a working day. The street where I was working is made of of old but soundly-built houses; seeing this, I thought of the increasing challenge of the times in which me live: the management and disposal of waste. When new, this street would have have been devoid of cars and telephone lines; satellite dishes would have been a hundred years or so away! And each house would have been equipped with one small (by current standards) dustbin. Mainly for, well… dust. Quite a thought! And not, in any sense, a beautiful picture. An issue worthy of genuine effort.

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What are we not Teaching our Children?

This post has been prompted by the one by Jean at notSupermum, here, and the discussion that preceded it. It’s a topic that really got me thinking…

I think it’s safe to say that education these days is broader than it has ever been. Children and young people are introduced to mathematical concepts that, a century ago, were the preserve of a handful of specialists. Advances in science and engineering are passed on quickly into the educational system. Besides the tools of language (both our first language and others) many genres of literature are compared and contrasted. Historical topics are viewed from many angles, rather than being portrayed as a sequence of factual events. Geography includes consideration of socio-economic issues, and, of course, concern for the environment. Art and music include not only introduction to the activity for oneself, but stimulation to appreciate all types of composition by others, across a wide span of time. Citizenship (not a recognised subject per se when I was at school) includes everything from personal care to the machinery of government. I could go on…

So anyone could be forgiven for asking “What could today’s young people (in this country at least) possibly lack, as far as education is concerned?” Certainly, I think that, despite many, often unfair, demands upon them, teachers do a marvellous job, for by far the most part. So, what’s missing?

Perhaps, just one key message. Here it is, for all young (and older) people:

We’re giving you (or have given you) the building blocks. Now you must make the building called life. No-one else can do it for you. Make sure you have a great and worthwhile time, doing it.


Let’s start with simple examples: A bit of that biology, together with some maths,  will enable you to compare foods in a supermarket, having regard to cost as related to nutritional value. A little chemistry, called to mind, helps when you need to select the right stain remover. But now for something a bit more exciting: a trip to see your friend, some hundred or so miles away. When do you want to get there? How long is the coach or train journey? How do you get the best fare deals? If you’re already working, how far in advance will you need to book time off? Not to mention, how long will it take you to pack? Now… hold on: do you remember that tutorial that bored you out of your mind, where the lecturer rambled on about critical path analysis or something? Well, after all, he had a point, didn’t he?

All those everyday things that you never thought about, like housekeeping and cooking, to say nothing of specialist study and going out to work, the things your parents do or did, are fast becoming the things that you need to do. So, pick up those building blocks, and make the very best, most exciting piece of architecture that you can.

Parents, teachers, countrymen – what do you reckon? (This is a non-calculator question.)

Thank you for reading.

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The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing Like The Truth…

Well, it was some weeks ago now, that I dared to suggest that my blogging mojo might have come back. And it had. But with it came a lot of things to do; sadly, not all of them particularly profitable. But there you go. That’s life, as they say. So, I know it’s been a long time since I did a real written post (as distinct from a Silent Sunday photo) but anyhow, let’s give this a bash…

What I want to talk about is, erm, changing dirty smelly nappies. Or rather, not changing dirty smelly nappies. By which I mean, of course, I don’t want to talk about either of those things, being somewhat out of practice in the art. But let me explain.

I’m definitely not what they call a seasoned traveller. (What does that mean, anyway? A back-packer who uses Worcester sauce for after-shave?) But a good few years back now, I was once waiting in a queue, with a few others, at an airport. My wandering thoughts were arrested by a small, but clear, notice which bore the words FACETIOUS COMMENTS WILL BE TAKEN AT FACE VALUE. So, no, it isn’t a good idea to nudge your mate next to you, and say “It’s only a small bomb, so I don’t think they’ll mind.” (Or anything like that.)

A few moments later, a jovial baggage controller arrived.

“Right, ladies and gentlemen. If you’d be so good as to put your bags on this belt… and, who knows, you might see them again…”

I dared to point out to him that it hardly seemed fair that he was allowed to make facetious comments, but travellers were warned against doing so. He assured me cheerfully that this was all part of the rules of air travel.

OK… Top up your cup (or glass) and come back to the screen. (I’ve just done exactly that.) I hope you’re sitting comfortably. I’ve almost got to the point I want to make.

I’m sure you’ve heard all those slogans about how everyone ‘does it.’ It all started with WIND-SURFERS DO IT STANDING UP. Soon afterwards, we heard that YOUNG FARMERS DO IT IN WELLIES. And then somebody even alleged that TOWN PLANNERS DO IT WITH THEIR EYES SHUT.

But, for by far the most part, I, for one, am quite convinced that BLOGGERS DO IT WITH INTEGRITY. Back when I wrote this post, I encouraged any and every blogger to blog in their own style, honestly, and from the heart. I’m not about to go back on that now.

But… I do think that, now and then, we should be allowed a joke that doesn’t hurt anyone.

Many of you, I’m sure, will have read that timeless classic, Three men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. (By the way, if you haven’t, you ought to. It really is screamingly funny. See…?There you are – an instant book review built into this blog post. Let it not be said that I don’t give value for reading time.) Well, introducing this work, Jerome explains that all the incidents he recounts really were true. He says: “All that has been done is to colour them. And for this, no extra charge has been made.” I can’t help feeling that he would have fitted in with the blogging world today (and enjoyed it marvellously.)

So I would encourage you to read posts like this one by Brummy Mummy of 2 here. (There are lots more by her, and a great many more, by writers like her.) And all you need to do is give vent to your sense of humour, and laugh. Because she, like countless other mums, dads, nanas, grandads, and friends and carers of children generally, is guilty, not of child neglect (I’m quite sure) but only of that wonderful British trait, namely, our ability to laugh at ourselves. Without which, the blogosphere would be a sadder place.

So, when we find something written in lighter vein, that isn’t spiteful, doesn’t hurt anyone, doesn’t break integrity, and doesn’t judge others, can we read, and respond, kindly and generously, in the spirit of the humorous and open-hearted writer?


Thank you for reading.

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Thrifty Thursday: 30 January 2014 – Save That Computer!

Well, last time I joined in with this meme that’s hosted by Gina at Cold Tea and Smelly Nappies I promised you that next time (that’s this time, get it?) I really would show you how to re-use something, in a worthwhile way. So here goes…

Out there, there must be many PCs and laptops that are pushed aside (OK, under the bed, in the shed, or wherever) because the operating system (that’s the main chunk of software, like, say, a version of [insert the W-word here]) has somehow screwed up, or doesn’t do the job any more, or just isn’t as good as the newer version you’ve got on a new machine. And yet, as a piece of computing hardware, it still works.
Now, new proprietary software would a) be expensive, and b) might not run properly on the ageing processor and memory devices. But throwing this gear away seems a shame, even though you never use it.
‘Rock’ and ‘hard place’ come to mind.
Step forward, Linux.
Reactions will now vary from “Oh, yes, I use that already” to (I suspect, more frequently) “What the actual…?”
Linux software is free, thanks to community effort. That’s right. You can have a new operating system, for just a little bit of time and trouble. Price tag, £0. Zilch. A duck’s egg. And you just might find the result far more pleasant and intuitive to use than something that costs a lot of money.
What are the snags? Well, there really aren’t any serious ones. And the small ones can be worked round.
No teapot-lidding, you really do win twice. Firstly, the software is free, and secondly, you can use or re-use older hardware.

Well, for today, this is just a little introduction, but if you’re interested, I’ll expand this in further posts. Please let me know via the comments box at the end. Thank you very much. I’m looking forward to hearing from you. And, in case you’re wondering, yes, this blog comes to you via Linux.

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