Saturday, June 26, 2004

New York, New York

A fine sunny view of New York from the approach to Newark Liberty Airport. Sunny after a week of rain in Houston. Spectacular as always but rarely so well presented - thank you, Flight CO-62!

This image and entry were compiled and uploaded wirelessly in the airport lounge about 45 minutes later!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

More on the "You Know You're A Brummie Because"

These are my most relevant "you knows" on the long list:

No. 2 - my maternal grandmother always warned us about the "orse roud". She also called it the "king's highway" (she did live in Kingstanding)

Nos. 16 and 17 - guilty!

No. 44 - this is the famous No. 11 circular bus route. I believe someone has made or is making a movie about the No. 11.

No. 45 - There is a good chance I'm related to Carl Chinn - my great grandmother was Elizabeth Chinn.

No. 54 - As a Brummie whose family had moved to north Warwickshire, the Black Country sounded as far away as Africa. But later I found out that Dudley was in the Black Country and I had been to the zoo several times. What a let down!

No. 56 - Birmingham may be more multi-cultural than almost anywhere else except maybe New York and London. To give an example, Birmingham's St. Patrick's Day Parade is the third largest, after New York and Dublin. That means it's bigger than Boston's!

No 64 - I loved the Lickey Hills - we used to take the tram until they scrapped it.

Monday, June 21, 2004

You Know You're A Brummie Because

Pete has just reminded his blog-readers of the existence of Virtual Brum and this particularly penetrating link that makes us Brummies out for what we really are!

On a recent flight from Birmingham to Newark I was sitting next to two young West Midland ladies (originally both Brummies but one now lives in Dudley). They were discussing the fact that the flight west took longer than the flight east. "I s'pose that's because we are flying uphill" was their explanation.

Later I asked them why they were going to New York. The inevitable answer, given with a broad and expectant smile: "Shopping!" Had they visited the new Bullring shopping centre, I asked? "Oh no", said one, "I live in Dudley these days, I never go to Birmingham!"

That's interesting, because Birmingham airport is on the west side of the city and Dudley is on the east. And it's downhill from Dudley!

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Canon Elph S500

April has been using a Canon APS (film) Elph for quite a few years. It is a great little camera but of late it has been showing its age - the lens protector has to be opened manually and the flash won't retract like it should. Good excuses to think about going digital!

And the latest digital Elph fits the bill. Too soon to rate - it arrived early this evening - but it packs a lot into a very compact package and has had the effect of turning me green with envy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

West Wales

All in all, the past few weeks have been a testing time. Losing a computer and two passports makes you realize that however hard you think you are trying to keep things safe there are people out there who are intent on upsetting the balance of life for their own small gain. I am quite convinced that the backpack was stolen, not lost, but since I wasn't mugged (think goodness) or otherwise aware of the theft I can only report the items as lost.

This being said, while we waited the customary week for the passports to be replaced, we took off for West Wales and out came the FinePix S7000 again (a whole lot of images from Devon are lost and gone for ever, except the two dated May 20). The picture above was taken from the shores of Llyn y Fan on the northern flank of the Black Mountain, the western extension of the Brecon Beacons. We were aiming for the coast so only hiked up to the lake on a warm Monday morning. There were few people about. Black Mountain is a large escarpment tilted to the south with the only rugged manifestation being along the north facing scarp. There are two natural lakes though this one has been dammed to increase its capacity. An area worthy of future exploration.

The photo below is of our hotel in picturesque Aberaeron, a Regency town and small port that has undergone an impressive rennaissance. The Harbourmaster Hotel is considered one of Wales' best small hotels and the owners, Menna and Glyn, have done a tremendous job of creating a modern comfortable home away from home. The food is delicious and the rooms are eclectic. Many of the houses flanking the small harbor have been painted in bold colors that dispel the notion of Wales being a rather drab place.

The coastline south of Aberaeron is beautiful, relatively unspoilt and good for walking, swimming (brrr) and generally lazing about on the sand. This photo is of a cove that merits further exploration in the future.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Lost/Stolen in London

More on this to come plus some catching up to do. Three weeks ago I discovered, too late, that my backpack with computer and passports was mislaid. Most probably stolen outside the London hotel as we waited for a cab. Such events are quite life shattering, not to say expensive. Yes I had backed up but several weeks files are nonetheless lost. Yes I did let my defenses down. Would I have done so in Venezuela? Hardly likely, so why London? I think I know the answer and I keep kicking myself.

Replacing passports was not as bad as I anticipated but still a very big hassle. The computer is the next priority.