Friday, 30 April 2010

Newcastle Again! (Mac and Fourth!)

This was the third trip to Newcastle this week, I don't normally go this often in a year!

The Children's Mother and I dropped the Mac off to be repaired and then went for a walk in town.  First stop was at Jacobs to buy a UV filter for the new lens, causing a sharp intake of breath at the price.  Is it really thirty years since I last bought one?  Ouch!!

We always seem to end up on the Quayside so the Millennium Bridge and the Sage found themselves on the wrong end of the lens again.

I used the Samsung for this shot of the bridge and The Baltic Gallery and the Nikon with the Sigma zoom for the other two.

We hoped that The boys at Apple would be able to finish the repairs by the time we left town but as we were pushed for time it was always going to be unlikely.

As we walked in the door at home, The Children's Mother noticed a message on her phone.  The Mac was ready!  She had switched her phone to silent a few days ago...

The Mac has been safely returned to the bosom of those that love it thanks to the speedy repair and an even speedier drive back to Newcastle by The Children's Mother!


The Children's Mother has just told me that one of the Apple boys was despatched to carry the Mac the half mile or so back to the car.  Now that's service!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Day of Contrition!

Yesterday it was good old 'Gordy''s day for grovelling and contrition, today it is me.  Oops, one of yesterday's pictures may just have been a dandelion...(ok, certainly is) but I blame no one but my advisors, it's a disaster!

I really must start using my reading glasses!

Up at my Mother's cottage is a large holly hedge, probably 100ft long and 7ft high by 8ft wide.

For years now I have been threatening to reduce the width by half to make the cutting easier.  Finally a couple of weeks ago I got the chainsaw out and did the deed and dam-near killed myself in the process!  This burst of of frustration fuelled activity resulted in a huge pile of holly to dispose of and me exhausted!

Today the madness returned and I decided to burn all the cuttings.

As usual there was an appreciative if critical audience...

Still lots to tidy and the hedge is to clip properly and a new fence to put up.....

By the way, if you too suffer from M.E.,  GET SOMEONE ELSE TO DO THE JOB!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Say it With Flowers!

What a frustrating day of internet rage!

Is it just a coincidence that we have had more problems since TalkTalk took over Tiscali?

Just two pictures of flowers today thanks to the Samsung.

This is a Hawkweed / Sow-thistle I think but I will try and find out exactly which one for tomorrow.

Wood Violets.

After the little Olympus disaster I am really pleased with these shots!

Monday, 26 April 2010


Normally I manage, largely through choice, to visit Newcastle tree or four times a year but I will be having most of my annual allocation this week.  A new lens and camera on Saturday and today we took the iMac to the Apple Store Genius Bar as it has a fault with the headphone socket.

I have to say they are brilliant!  After a fifteen minute chat and examination of the offending item, the part was ordered (just in case it was required, delivery tomorrow!) and the computer is booked in to the workshop on Friday, the day we requested.  They should be able to do the repair while we wait in town.

We left the shop thinking we could have bought a few Macbooks etc and not felt any pain at all!

Such a refreshing experience.

Back to photos.

I had the Nikon with me but decided to use the Samsung compact and see how it performed.  I have to say that for a not horrendously expensive piece of kit it it isn't bad.....

Grey's Monument, a classic sort of shot but not one I have taken before.

A couple of office blocks, what more can I say?

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Play Time

Today was a day for playing with new toys, the new lens and my new compact.  I was hoping to catch up with Rog as he passed into Northumberland on his epic C2C bike ride but it was not to be.  He is making excellent progress for a boy from the 'Low Country'!

Hope you have a great night in Allenheads Rodger & co.

First a few pictures from the Samsung compact, so far I am delighted with the results.

The first of the Wood Sorrel this year.

And something I haven't seen too much of since I returned to Northumberland, Wood Anemones.  Swathes of them in a local wood.

This afternoon I had a time to use the new lens.


And huge swathes of Wood Sorrel.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Chinese Gate

The Children's Mother and I had a flying visit to Newcastle this afternoon, mainly to buy a new zoom lens for the Nikon as the old one keeps jamming.

We looked in a couple of places but found just what we were looking for in Jacobs, a wonderful shop with very helpful staff.  We settled for a Sigma 70/300 macro, so far so good.  Yesterday I finally gave up on the Olympus compact which was bought for my birthday, it was almost certainly faulty and no matter what I did with it it was a real problem.  I had a chance to play with a Samsung this morning and was so impressed with it that we bought one, a bit like the Remington shaver ad!  I have only had time to take o couple of shots but it is looking very promising.

While we were in Town we walked round to see the gateway into China Town.

I had never see the gate or this section of the old City Wall before, I am not sure that it is what I expected but it was interesting to see.

Perhaps I will have some shots with the new lens and or Samsung tomorrow.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A Nutty Problem

A lovely bright sunny day but as has been the case so often lately not a productive day for pictures, too much time fiddling with other things.  Trying to sort out e-mail and Facebook problems for The Children's Mother and starting to cut the hedge, only a year late.  The hedge will be a long job!

This is part of a redundant slurry tank.  Beauty in neglect, there is still hope for me then.....

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Two for the Twitchers

It is always a sign of summer approaching when we see the first of the swallows arrive. It was really nice to see this pair tonight.  It makes a change to beat my mother to the first sighting, she watches the spring sky like a hawk!

I hate to be mean to my friends who are currently 'ash bound' in foreign parts at the moment but seconds after taking the picture of the swallows, I caught sight of the first jet I have seen for 5 days.

Newcastle airport has been open today with flights to and from Scotland and The Isle of Man.

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Show Cross

Today the youngest daughter of The Children's Mother set off early to compete in a Show Cross event in the north of Northumberland while the eldest stayed at home to catch up on her AS schoolwork exam preparation.

The event consists of Show Jumping and Cross Country riding, a bit like Badminton but without the dressage phase.

After the cross country, the second phase, we had a little chat about how it went.

Easy, it seems!!

Second place!  Not at all bad for the first time with this horse.  Well done!!!

The last week gave us really good weather but sadly today was cold and damp.  I say cold but freezing would be a better description.

Ask this other young competitor.......

This little man didn't seem to mind though.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Durham City

After the usual chores this morning I had to take my Mother to visit the Old Family Friend who is in hospital.

While she was visiting I had a walk down into the City, mainly because I was feeling very tired and grumpy after the last few days.

In the City at the Old Elvet Bridge the crowds were out as usual, and lots of people were out on the river in hired rowing boats with many others enjoying a drink at The Boathouse pub on the river bank.  The old pub building sits in stark contrast to the modern architecture around it.  On the whole the more recent building is a fair effort to fit into the old city.

Back up at the University Hospital I took a few shots of the modern architecture.

Tomorrow No2 Daughter is competing at a horse event, so perhaps some exciting action shots, or possibly just pictures of her mum eating burgers.  Only time will tell!

Friday, 16 April 2010

When All Else Fails.....

As they say, there comes a point when you have to read the instructions!

Ok, where are the enclosed instructions?  Online?


Well all that seems clear enough, shame it doesn't work....., where is my hammer?

Getting to Grips.......?

What a lovely morning.

I spent a little while trying to get the hang of my new camera, by lunch time it dawned on me that part of the problem was that without my reading glasses I couldn't see the screen properly!  The quirks of optics mean that it is not an issue with an SLR.

A huge amount of frustrating faffing about later revealed that things weren't as bad I had thought by the time the images were on the screen, though I still find focusing a problem.

Bumping up the definition etc made an interesting image out of this Pulmonaria.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Frustrating Play Day

Had a very frustrating day playing with the new camera, would you believe that Olympus supply a camera without a data-card!  At a quarter to five tonight I finally found a card to fit, I could then spend an hour or two to see how all the twiddly bits worked.

This is the best of the bunch so far this evening!

Tomorrow is another day........

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Three Score Plus 10-([1 score over 2] + 7)

It was my birthday today and as a special treat I was allowed to do the horses!  Later The Children's Mother took me to The Lake District for a walk on the fells.

We set off from Honister Pass and headed for Great Gable via Green Gable.  Somehow, thanks to the chief navigator (whose identity will remain a secret in order that I get fed!) we ended up on the top of Haystacks!  (Only thirty degrees and over a mile out!)

Still the view of Ennerdale valley from Haystacks was stunning.

I had carried a hip flask of 'birthday whisky' up to the top in order to toast the occasion and at least one of the party seemed to appreciate the effort...!

We both (and the dogs) had a great day out in superb conditions, only regretting that we weren't able to stay over this time and had to rush home.  There were presents to open and more malt to drink.......

ps. Thanks to the family I now have a new Olympus Compact.   I am looking forward to playing with it over the next few days.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Lovely Day

It was a lovely day here today.

Horses this morning followed by donkeys and hens.  I took advantage of the dry weather to treat the timber of one of the hen houses and then too my Mother shopping.

This evening is was still nice and this was the only decent picture all day!

Perhaps tomorrow will be a more productive day photographically.....

Friday, 9 April 2010


It has been a bright, mild morning here and the animals have been making the most of it.

These Peacocks were perching on some shed doors, soaking up the sunshine and preening themselves.

Back at home the old collie was simply enjoying the the warm sun.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Durham City

The girls were on a mission today, Jack Wills in Durham!

On the way there we dropped my Mother off to see an old family friend who has been unwell, then off to Durham for a flying visit (horses to get in etc.)  First port of call was lunch at a favourite hostelry on College Green beside the cathedral.

In the entrance was this little fella looking very hopeful as he waited for his owner to finish lunch.

Sadly we resisted all temptation and left him there and enjoyed a delicious lunch!

Off to the cathedral, one of my favourite places since I was a child, the highlight of our summer holidays when I was little was the annual bus trip to Durham.  I have been delighted to learn that it is also a favourite of No1 Daughter though for different reasons.

The 'quick look' in Jack Wills turned into the predictable epic resulting in one purchase for No2 Daughter, which at the time of writing is still a mystery, I have my suspicions and will find out later this evening.  At the time of purchase I was enjoying a visit to Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins with No1.  A chaps duties are many fold!

Time to call it a day and get home via a quick walk above the river Wear and the weirs...

ps. Spotted a new lens in Jessops.........