Salisbury and “Aunty Olive”

When ever possible we try and visit “Aunty Olive”. I’m only doing speech marks around Aunty Olive as I’m sure there is a degree of separation from that title and Mairi (so she’s Mairi’s mum’s Aunty) but she’s awesome so we just say she’s Aunty and live with it.

This time during my Nan’s 80th trip we spent one day driving to and enjoying Salisbury. We met up with Olive and Ian. At the time Salisbury Cathedral were exhibiting Sophie Ryder’s Giant Rabbits, and as you well know I love some good sculpture being from Castleford home of Henry Moore.

We also went round the outside of Salisbury Cathedral which architecturally is stunning mixing many different techniques and styles. I hopefully captured some of it’s awe and wonder.

Giant Rabbit 1Aunty Olive, Amelie, Mairi, BobbieA ring a ring of...rabbitsA ring a ring of...rabbits2A ring a ring of...rabbits3A ring a ring of...rabbits4BobbieSalisbury CathedralSalisbury Cathedral 2Salisbury Cathedral 3Salisbury Cathedral 4Salisbury Cathedral 5Giant hand...Salisbury CathedralGiant Rabbit 2


Don’t walk backwards and making roads smooth

I’m normally indifferent to the York Council’s road system. I mean it is there but some roads are not in in fine fettle, poor patch up work and one local road to me I’ve observed 5 different surfaces in one square metre!

Imagine my surprise as I went on my way to work and end up in the middle of a resurfacing project! Hey the exciting life of me never stops, this video shows the start of the work with near crash with builder and then another close shave, they must know I’m not going to hit them!

The Gibson tour part 2 (Congleton)

The second part of our family holiday was in Congleton, Cheshire. We did a few things, but mainly it was Mark and Marianne’s wedding so here lots of lovely wedding photos mixed with a trip to a farm (as you do), and some pictures of the wedding flowers before-hand because I was asked to record them before the big day.

It also includes my favorite ever picture of Bobbie:
Bobbie's wedding wear 2

As always click for more info and stay tuned for more photos.

Flowers for the weddingFlowers for the wedding 2Flowers for the wedding 3Flowers for the wedding 4Flowers for the wedding 5Flowers for the wedding 6Flowers for the wedding 7Flowers for the wedding 8Flowers for the wedding 9A bright looking bird_She's Rolling rolling rollingBobbie's wedding wear 1Mark and Marianne's wedding 1Mark and Marianne's wedding 2Mustang 1Mustang 2Post Lunch BobbieThat's my anme...Wedding favours ducks as hockey players...Bobbie colouring at the weddingAll the Ducks on our tableGroom - loving it...A happy mother...The first danceHappinessDancing the night away.

The tale of my stolen bike (again)


“My bike was stolen” a phrase that sadly has been echoed from lips too often not to be painful now. 

The list of bikes I have owned reads more like a crime report than a list of ownership:
Raleigh BMX (carbooted?)
Raleigh activator(s) (various designs) (all stolen from my shed as a kid)
Raleigh Max 2.0 (stolen as I played football)
GT 3.0 (stolen from Pete’s Gaff)
GT 3.0 (stolen from Pete’s 2 weeks later)
Red Raleigh racer (donated to recycle, it was a bit crap)
Apollo Paradox (Stolen from work) 

So this particular incident happened at some point between Thursday morning and Friday evening. I came to collect my bike from the secure metal box that houses my bike on Friday evening to find nothing. I can’t describe that sinking feeling of finding that your bike has gone missing, knowing that you’ll never ride that bike again. 

What comforts me is that I had 3 years of good riding from the bike I affectionately called the “warhorse” due to it’s heavy frame and ability to ride through every weather (flood water, snow, ice you name it, it dealt with it only once died at -14C). It even got a farewell ride (although i didn’t know it at the time) at Sherwood Forest on a red run, which it performed well on. So North Yorkshire Police (NYP) sent an officer to my address which was nice but ultimately it’s unlikely it will ever be seen again. The officer continued to give me advice about tagging my bike but it’s not like that will stop it from being stolen. This time the bike was behind a key locked metal cage so more than anything I’d love to know how they did it!

The next stage is to see what the supplier for the insurance company will say, I bought my old bike for £200 but it’s currently listed as rrp£300 so they may give me £300 to play with, the good news is that the supplier gets the bikes cheaper than a mere moral so I may in fact get a very good replacement.

I’ll make another post regarding my replacement but nothing stops a bike thief. Treasure you’re cycle companion, if you’re me it is likely it will be stolen at some point.  


Tax (optional)


Another week another company avoiding (not evading) tax in the UK. This time it’s the Ritz, “it an’t the Ritz” but no NO it is the Ritz. But on top of Amazon, Google and the easiest one to boycott Starbucks  should we get mad at the Ritz owners or company directors that run it?

In my opinion – nope. They are a company, a highly profitable company, that can afford to have some of the best accountants and more importantly tax experts employed and as such they are paid to find loopholes in law and exploit them. It might not be pretty but it’s the cold face of business and sometimes it isn’t good when in pursuit of profit. 

So who shall we blame, HMRC? The Government? oh yes. In all of these stories and stories to come to light in the future you will see a statement from the company, and in that statement you will find words to the effect of “We have done nothing wrong and acted within UK Tax Law” – The Bastards, How dare they? Immoral swines….wait they haven’t done anything wrong have they?

Some rules are made to be broken – indeed, what happens if there isn’t any? All the government has to is to put a bill into the Lords saying lets close this loop hole, but has this happened yet? No? Hmmmm what might that mean? 

Well then what would happen if they did? The economy would slow down as some companies withdraw from the UK maybe not their branches but their head offices for sure would find a better country to call home. Can you imagine defending that in the House? “So why has the economy shrunk?” “Well Mr Speaker we closed that Tax Loophole and everyone left…” “well at least we did the right thing…”

I’m not offering a solution here all I’m saying is getting mad at a company for being a non-tax paying corporation isn’t the right thing to do, get mad at successive governments for turning a blind eye for years.

Room 101

For those that don’t know Room 101 is a long standing show on British TV that involves interesting celebrities talking to the host about what really pisses them off. If they argue the case well enough it goes in to the mythical Room 101.

Lately the show has changed format so 3 different celebs all try and get their chosen gripe into Room 101, with only one person winning that honor which is decided by the host. The show also has ‘themes’ to decide on your particular gripe, which is the format I’ll be using for my Room 101.

So first off…

Poor cyclists
In my daily 3.5 mile bike commute to work I see my fair share of quite frankly very poor cyclists, it really is no wonder we have such a bad opinion from the general public. Here is a handy list of the idiotic behavior displayed in 7 days…

  • Cycling on the wrong side of a road and emerging into on coming traffic from behind a parked lorry.
  • Cycling on the wrong side of the road on a traffic crossing
  • Going really slow, we are talking dangerously slow and being actually dangerous
  • RUNNING RED LIGHTS – oh the anger when I see this happen in front of my eyes – so dangerous.

I’m sure I’ll see much worse than this in the coming weeks and months but seriously York has some people who shouldn’t be allowed a bike.

From my point of view it really is a professional version of a game I used to play with other members of our street in a field, someone throws a ball at you… you hit it and run really fast around set points. Somehow ’rounders’ as it’s known here became a massive success over the pond and I really can’t see why. I can name 50 sports at least that are more exciting to watch.


(Bad) charity singles
I do a lot for different charities, I give my time to help others that have a harder life than mine, I give money to various causes and play for a football team that has a charitable ethos.

Every now and then a group with a perfectly good cause creates a charity song or single to raise funds. I don’t have a problem with this but the quality of the song is far too often lacking. Why? Because it’s charity does it mean the quality of it suffers?

It shouldn’t in my view and a few gems exist that have raised money for good causes without being crap.

So there are my 3 choices, let me know your thoughts via the comments or twitter / facebook, what would you put into room 101?

The last wedding of the year!

Goodness, it seems like ages since I posted anything here, Hello! I’m not dead just have a child now so most of my outside communication happens in micro blogging (see right). But on the 28th I was called to Wales to see Rach (my friend from uni) and Doug (her other half) get married.

Now I don’t normally like non-church weddings I find them odd and rushed and lots of other things, but this was sweet, romantic and really quite nice. We had Bobbie (Roberta) with us so we didn’t stay for nighttime dancing but we did see everything else and it was a great wedding.

Hope you had a day to remember you two!

Normal rules apply, see the little photos below click on one to be transported to flickr land where the photos look better.

Shot with Nikon D3000

Doug is waiting...Rach walking inDoug and Rach 7Doug and Rach 6Doug and Rach 5Doug and Rach 4Doug and Rach 3Doug and Rach 2Doug and RachRach and family 2Rach and familyRach with her Mum and Dad 2Rach with her Mum and DadThe brideTalking with the handsThe flowerswhen the going gets tough get some converse on!Doug's Groom speech 2Doug's Groom speechThe best man speech 2The best man speechRach and Doug's desertGemma's desert

Yorkshire Dales – Cheese, Beer and Food.

A group of friends that me and Mairi know every year try and meet up rent a cottage, we cook food and generally explore places together. This year we settled on the Dales (Yorkshire Dales), and Mairi found a great cottage in an out of the way location so we could easily avoid the Royal wedding.

We went to the Wensleydale cheese factory, Black Sheep brewery, Aysgarth falls and Ripon Cathedral among other random places. I took my first star / space photographs which were done by leaving the lens open for 30 seconds so the camera caught as much light as possible. I think the result were not that bad results but my camera can’t handle anything more than 30 seconds which is a shame as I think with a longer time scale I could get stunning images.

I think I enjoyed the waterfall images the most in this set as well as the big country scene images. I thought when we were on top of a hill some of us walked up that it look like another planet so I changed some colour controls in photoshop to make it ‘other worldly’ – let me know if you think that worked…

A funny part of the weekend away was that we had difficulty writing a farewell message in the visitors book, so we wrote “Lovely time had by all, we survived blizzard and zombie onslaught without major incident”

As always these are all shot using a Nikon D3000 with a 18-55mm VR lens and edited using Photoshop 7 (yes old skool)

Have a look at my images and click on them to see more information…

Waterfalls in villageBunting-tasticWensleydale Cheese selectionCheeseIn your EndoLittle red carAysgarth Falls 9Aysgarth Falls 8Aysgarth Falls 7Aysgarth Falls 6Aysgarth Falls 5Aysgarth Falls 4Aysgarth Falls 3Aysgarth Falls 2Aysgarth Falls 1Water on the MoonUp the hill on the Yorkshire Dales 4Up the hill on the Yorkshire Dales 3Up the hill on the Yorkshire Dales 2Up the hill on the Yorkshire Dales 1Yorkshire Dales as MarsSheep on the DalesBlack Sheep bitter being brewedSun, Blue sky and treeWispy cloud on horizon 2Wispy cloud on horizon 1What's that coming over the hillStars in the dales 3Stars in the dales 2Stars in the dales 1Ripon CathedralLight bulbs in trees 2Light bulbs in trees 1Ruby Red flowerRipon Cathedral to the sky

The beautiful people – Taking pictures of faces.

As you will know I don’t normally focus on the face, nope I’m more of a “lets get this landscape just so,” than “look at me and look interesting*click*,” so this was rather a challenge and I hope I did a good job. If you have any tips do let me know, I think they are lacking something not sure what really so any help would be nice – just comment below.

I struggled a lot with light in both of these locations, restaurants are naturally rather dark places but I wanted to avoid the standard picture of people with flashed out faces.

These were taken over my own 26th Birthday meal and my Nan’s 75th Birthday meal and as ever I used my D3000 Nikon.

Click to make them open in Flickr.

Birthday meal groupParentsGrandparentsMother and Grandmother Tapas meal 1Tapas meal 2Tapas meal 3Tapas meal 4

Edinburgh – A return to a quite beautiful city (part3)

The technique here is to do with tilting or moving the camera during the shutter being open. I first came across this in practical photography magazine, where Editor Andrew James titled his piece ‘Tilt’. This confused me at first as ’tilt’ photography is a popular technique used to make scenes look like they are made in miniature; just type ’tilt photography’ into Google and set facial expression to awe!

Anyway what I tried was actually titling the camera  while the shutter is open on the camera (so the camera records all the light it receives in a weird track like motion). So this image…

Edinburgh's Camera Obscura - big clue to next blog

…was a clue to what I was going to do, the endless lights behind me in the picture are from the Edinburgh Camera Obscura visit, so I choose to experiment with this technique and see what I come out, I was very pleased when it came to editing these results. Do let me know what you think of these images on either facebook or twitter – or on the comments thing below.

Thanks for looking.