Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lion Statue

I was looking through my drawer beside my bed on Saturday and found several wallets of old photographs. I must be feeling nostalgic because I haven't looked through them for years. I've decided that some are worth sharing with the world. This is the first, remember that these were all taken pre the digital camera and smartphone era. They were taken on film, there was always that worry that the film would foul on the rails or the sprockets would tear when winding. Later cameras I had actually automatically wound the camera on to the spool first so that you didn't have to worry about winding the film at the end. My first camera used 110mm film, I don't have any of those photographs, they might be at my mom's house. The cameras for 110 film with long and thin and fitted neatly into a pocket, they were slightly chunkier than a smartphone. These photographs were taken on 35mm film, a manual SLR camera.
This first photograph is a shot I took of a town lion in Aylesbury. The picture isn't dated but I think it was taken about 10 years ago. There are two lions in the town square and this is one of them. It's amazing to think that someone sculpted the cast of these great lions, imagine their feelings when the mould was broken for the first time and they were revealed.


Belfast in Northern Ireland is a lovely place, it does obviously have a troubled past with sectarianism and the violence that has marred it's development. I believe that this structure is the City Hall and what a grand structure it is. This shot was taken at night, when the building is lit up in spectatcular fashion. It's well worth a visit. We didn't go inside but I believe there are tourist tours.

Friday, April 26, 2013


I've seen a few rainbows recently. I took this recently in Manchester and it's probably my best rainbow photograph ever. The combination of the sky ride attraction, the building construction and the dark sky made it all the more vivid.


While I was in Belfast in Northern Ireland last weekend, a few of us in our group went to a cafecalled O'Brien's for a little afternoon snackette. The food was totally amazing. I wasn't hungry enough for a freshly made sandwich but I did order a slice of Banoffee Pie. It was so yummy and thick I couldn't wait to take a few mouthfuls before I realised I should capture a photo of it and post it here. There was a little cream on the side that just blended with the pie so well. The memory of that pie will stay with me for a long time!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Weekend away

My daughter and I spent last weekend in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We were attending the open judo championships there, like we did last year. This year there were more from our club attending and we all had an enjoyable time. We all stayed in the same hotel, so that was good as well. Flying back on Sunday, we caught a late flight and didn't get home until midnight, so I'm still fighting the tiredness that the travelling has brought me. I did take Monday off, so I had a bit of a rest - I still had to get the kids to school, do some grocery shopping, mow the grass and cook supper for the family. At least I didn't have to work though. The supper I cooked was good - boiled new potatoes, roast chicken breast, greens, Brussels sprouts, sweetcorn, fried bacon lardons and pine nuts. Crushed black pepper on the top and some English mustard on the side.

Monday, April 15, 2013

1000th Post!

This is the 1000th post on this blog! In the words of Kool and The Gang: "Celebrate-good-times, come-on!" And for the main part of the celebration, here is a potted history of my blog.

I began this blog on Saturday January 22nd 2005, that's eight years of blogging. I'd get fewer years for commiting a serious crime and a lot of relationships don't last eight years. My first post was a fairly innocuous one about President Bush's second term of office. What seems odd now is that there was no special introductory post.

What have I learned about blogging over the eight years?
  • Keep posting
  • Read and comment on other blogs
  • Use drafts to capture a thought or idea that you think could turn into a post later
  • Be yourself but be thoughtful of who could find your blog (I personally would never be explicit or too personal in my blog)
  • No thought is too small or trival
  • Photos and images help to lighten the page
  • Use memes when inspiration is low but don't rely on them
  • You own photos are more engaging than clip art (when you have them to hand)
  • If inspiration is fading, challenge yourself (in 2010, I bet myself I could post 9 blogs a month)
  • If your life is going though a busy or stressful period, it doesn't hurt to take a break (I moved house in 2011 and posted a lot less)
  • Don't be disheartened by 0 comments when you start, keep going
  • It's okay to change direction, change design, change name of your blog...but not too often
That's a brief summary. I've read other commentators who suggest keeping your blog on one theme and not wondering too far. That's okay for some types of blog, it probably helps you target an audience but I'm a personal blogger and I do it for my own enjoyment first. I'm not blogging to find an audience interested in exactly the same things as me, if I do that's a bonus. I don't invest a lot of time in exploring random blogs, if I did I could probably do more to build up readers. A certain amount of exploration is probably healthy though. I do maintain a videogames blog separately to this one to keep those thoughts and ideas separate. I also share a random drawing and doodling blog for when I want to post drawings.
That about wraps up my thoughts on eight years of blogging. Come and celebrate my tenth anniversary in a couple of years!

Catching up

I haven't had much time for catching up here lately.
For the last two weeks I've been working away from home a bit longer than normal. So the time really gets zapped.
Last weekend it seems a lot of time was taken up with watching movies as a family. We watched all 3 of the Toby Maguire Spiderman films, two Iron Man films and my wife and I watched Poltergeist. I think Poltergeist is still perhaps a bit too scary for my son (10) but my daughter (12) could probably just about cope, however I think we'll leave it at least another year. Kids have to grow up fast enough these days.
Aside from that, I've watched a second episode of Game of Thrones. Very good it was.
I also bought the first season of Alias on DVD, I think I've seen most of the first 3 seasons but I found it got more stretched and convoluted towards the end. The first season was good though. I haven't seen the fourth season, which I think was the last, so can't comment. I would watch like to sample some of it at some point but not sure whether it will be worthy.
I've continued reading my book, The Hunger Games. Almost completed it now. It's been a very entertaining read and is a book I recommend.
Now, to catch up on other blogs...

Monday, April 01, 2013


I have just watched the film Dredd, based on the Judge Dredd comic 2000AD. It was awesome. Massively better than my expectations. I wasn't expecting much. Probably because I have memories of the Silvester Stallone version. The Stallone version wasn't awful but it didn't do the franchise any favours either. It certainly wouldn't have won the character any new fans.
Actually, I was playing the videogame Tomb Raider Underworld this afternoon and the same thought occurred to me about the films in which Angelina Jolie played Lara Croft. Although she looked great when in character and she didn't do a bad job but the scripts really let the films down and wouldn't have won any fans over to the character who have never enjoyed the videogames.

Easter viewing

This Easter my family and I watched the James Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Daniel Craig really pulls off Bond so well, I thought both films were even better than I remembered. The thing about Bond is that he likes to do things in style, he knows what he likes and is determined to get it. That goes for women as well as bad guys but he is a gentleman too.
We also watched the first Pierce Brosnan Bond film Goldeneye. It was a good film, after the film I looked up who played Xenia Onatop (who kills men by squeezing the air out of their chests with her thighs) and I was very surprised to find it was Famke Janssen who played Dr Jean Gray in the X-Men films. It was good entertainment, as was Iron Man. we watched Iron Man this afternoon, my son thought it was an awesome film. We had a large meal on Easter Sunday lunch, of roast chicken and Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and lots of other stuff. It was all good, also we had sponge pudding and custard for dessert: good times.