Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Monday, September 27, 2004

Isobel's Birthday Lunch

Yesterday we hosted Isobel and her parents to a birthday lunch. As noted below (Sept 24), she's just turned one! The weather was fine (unusual!) and lunch proved to be a great success - roast leg of lamb from the town's butcher ("Welsh lamb is the best!") with rattatouille. Afterwards we went for a walk and later I had a brief photo session with the F5. With film, of course, there are no instant results, so it may be a while before examples are posted. I felt like David Hemmings in "Blow Up", taking ultra close ups of Isobel as she attempted to attack the 60mm Macro lens that somehow managed to keep her inquisitive features in focus. The results may be a bit blurry - fast moving subject in the shade with 100 ASA film - but I really enjoyed the tactile feel of instant response to the shutter that digital cameras lack. The F5 simply clicks when you expect it to, not 500 milliseconds later (when Isobel is already doing something else and the moment is lost).

Friday, September 24, 2004

One Year Old Today!

Granddaughter Isobel is one year old today! Happy Birthday and congratulations to Mom and Dad. Here's a recent picture:

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Nearly a year later. . . .

Here is a photo of Alastair and Rebecca at their wedding last December. The photo was taken with the F5 shortly before I decided to switch to digital only. My reason for this was that the professional wedding photographer was also using Nikons and I felt I was treading on his toes - people started looking at me rather than the official guy! As a result the few film shots I took languished - first in the camera, then waiting for processing, finally in the container, along with the scanner. Well, that's enough excuses!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Some observations

The BMW is finally "on the road"! The last time it was driven legally was three months ago, in Houston. We have been allowed to drive it occasionally when on official (read red tape) business, but it did seem strange to actually get in it and drive off on personal business! The red tape is significant and money has to be spent to comply but overall it has been well worth it. Simply put, we could not have afforded the UK prices, so the effort has been rewarding.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Olivia Grace

Taken at 4 weeks in Chipping Campden, with mother Alex - a real mother-daughter study!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

A day in Birmingham

We accomplished two things: Sarehole Mill and the Back to Backs.

Sarehole Mill is part of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery system and is the only remaining working water mill (of 70) within the city. Water driven power was responsible for the beginnings of the industrial revolution. Sarehole Mill is a fascinating experience simply for the way in which the museum is set up - interesting, educational and free! But there is a bonus. J R R Tolkein spent his formative years living around the corner and credits the then village of Sarehole as being the setting for the Shire and Hobbiton in particular. So LOTR fans will find Sarehole Mill a Mecca. The village has long since been subsumed into the southern suburbs of Birmingham but this small gem remains.

The Back to Backs form a unique piece of social history right in the middle of Birmingham. Originally conceived as cheap housing during the industrial revolution, this "court" of 11 family homes sharing basic facilities has been preserved in a museum setting that only opened to the public in July. It is already a hot favorite among National Trust members - we were lucky to get on the tail end of a group tour. The court is surrounded by modern buildings - Chinatown, the Hippodrome Theatre and new urban housing projects (very different from what they replaced!).

Saturday, September 18, 2004

East Devon

Reluctantly leaving Weston Mouth after a day of sunshine.


April at the western end of Black Mountain, framed by Llyn y Fan. We subsequently walked along the edge.

Above Llyn y Fan from Black Mountain.

On the quay at Aberaeron.

Some catching up to do

The server has been down (it had to be reloaded and our password was lost in the process). And we were wondering why FTP wouldn't cooperate.

After a brief summer the weather has closed in again with more wind and rain. So we have been busy doing other things. One of which has been to prepare some photos:

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Omygod, it's September!

This has been an interesting non-summer in the UK, at least until the day after summer officially ended on the Tuesday after the August Bank Holiday. Since then we have had lots of sunshine and no rain. Fortunately, this good event coincided with plans to take some time off and travel to Wales (Aberaeron) then Devon (Salcombe Regis) to take advantage of sunshine and relatively warm seas.

High points (no photos yet):

Tuesday, August 31: Drive to Wales very early, stop to climb the Black Mountain. On to a perfect sunset at the Harbourmaster Hotel in Aberaeron. A very good start.

Wednesday, September 1: On the beach at Pen Bryn. All day. At low tide waded into the next bay (to the north). Magic.

Thursday. September 2: Back to the beach at Pen Bryn. All day. Even better magic. Started to get used to the temperature of UK sea water.

Friday, September 3: Reluctantly said goodbye to Glyn and Menna (owners of the Harbourmaster Hotel) and drove to Exeter to see April's grandaughter Olivia at one month. Lovely.

Saturday, September 4: Explored East Devon and decided to camp at Salcombe Regis camp site (excellent location and facilities). A 20 minute walk from Weston Mouth beach on the Jurassic Coast. A recommended naturist beach (a good rule to follow, as naturists know their beaches!) For picture of beach see archives 05/04 as well as post above. Sea water warm and crystal clear. Cannot really recommend this place as we don't want it spoiled!

Sunday, September 5: Woke up to bright sun so back to Weston Mouth for the day. Only downside to the day, Paul sat on a wasp which retaliated! Struck camp at 6 p.m. and reluctantly drove home.