More piccies.

Right, some of the pictures from Rachel & Graham’s open house/BBQ thingy last weekend are now on-line.

Please note that as my parents are visiting and sleeping in the machine room and spare bedroom, the machine running the web site will be switched off between 10pm and sometime in the morning tonight and tomorrow night.


OK, so what’s been happening to me other than wibbling over the last couple of weeks since Cropredy?

Well, there was the visit to the ex-Mongolian Wok restaurant, I think it’s called SoJo’s now and it’s moved to a new building (with a redirection sign in the old window). It’s one of those places you go to have fun as an experience rathr then to enjoy the cuisine as you have to make up the dishes yourself.

Last Friday I popped over to Guildford to meet up with a bunch of the By The Gods exiles for a meal and a chat in a pub. Alec was there along with Maureen, Joe, Bevis, Bill and Tim (I think that’s everyone). Much fun was had, though the two hour journey to get there including an hour of traffic jams wasn’t. I didn’t take any of my cameras so no piccies, I’m afraid.

Saturday was Rachel & Graham’s open house/BBQ party. Great fun, lots of cricket, no burnt food, oh and lots of photographic mayhem. I have piccies, most of which were taken by Alec as he seemed to like to play with my camera. I’ll post them soon.

Sunday was spent still at Rachel and Graham’s eating up the left-overs from the party the day before. In the afternoon we all went off to see Shrek 2 in Basingstoke. However, due to a tactical miscalculation on the part of Graham, Chris was given some lemonade before we left which gave him wind. Chris became convinced that he was going to be sick with threw him into a tizzy and hence the biggest tantrum ever, all in the middle of the shopping centre and cinema. Rachel and Graham were not at all pleased. Once the film started, however, Chris calmed down and forgot all about his tummy ache.

As for the rest of the week, nothing much has happened. By parents arrived yesterday for the bank holiday weekend. As usual there’ll be a family get-together on Saturday when my uncle and aunt from Enfield visit. Other than that there are no plans.


It looks like my Mum might be going potty.

I got a phone call this evening from my parents confirming that they were arriving tomorrow. However, my Mum was insistant that we had a wedding to go to somewhere in Berkshire on Saturday involving the youngest daughter of an american airman she’d met in 1948 and who had visited them last Friday and stayed overnight. This was news to me and news to my Dad as well, he couldn’t remember anyone visiting, let alone staying overnight on Friday and there had been no mention of this during the other phone calls we’ve had since the weekend. It seems that my Mum had suddenly come up with this false memory sometime this afternoon.

She’s been behaving increasingly oddly since my Nan, who’s going very potty herself, rang up and let loose a rant at my Mum just over a year ago. This caused a massive rift between her and her Mum. Add to this the death of her brother at Easter and a bought of shingles on her face which has prevented her from doing her favourite activity of reading and you see that she’s been under a bit of mental stress and has seemed to bottle it up and not want to talk about it.

My Dad phoned back later and discussed this with me and our idea is to try to talk to my Mum’s GP about her odd behaviour and see if he can help her. I’m wondering if it might be depression which has turned into some sort of psychosis.. but I have little knowledge of this sort of mental illness so I’m just clutching at straws.

I’m mainly writing this entry to put my thoughts out of my head so that they don’t go around and around and cause me problems. Now I’ve written it I feel a lot better. I can now just take things as they come , see what happens and roll with the punches.

Panic over.

I had a nice, long chat on the phone with Steve Howe and the situation is nowhere near as bad as it first seemed. For a start Leila didn’t say anything which might give the impression of having a crush on me, merely that “age doesn’t matter” when talking to people via e-mail.

Anyway, the upshot of it all is that Steve sees that it’s good for her to have someone she can talk to and be friends with and possibly talk about things that she might not want to talk to her parents about and thinks that of all the people he knows that I’m one of the best choices he can think of.

I feel a lot better after that phone call.


At last, Steve Howe has been in contact via e-mail.

I’ve apologised for my naivety and have forwarded to him all the e-mails I’ve received from Leila and the two replies I’ve sent.

I’ll phone him tonight.

Hmm.. tricky.

I got a phone call from Lindsey at about 1:50am this morning. It woke me up with a bit of a start. Anyway, after saying that she’d just called up to say good-night also informed me that her friend Steve Howe had told her that his daughter had developed a crush on my at Cropredy.

I was a bit worried that this might happen as she’s at the age where she’s just beginning to get those sorts of feelings and doesn’t know how to handle them.

Anyway, I’m going to be treading very carefully from now on. I’ve asked Lindsey (via e-mail) if she can supply me with Steve Howe’s and preferably his ex-wife’s e-mail addresses so that I can talk to them, send copies of the three e-mails Leila’s sent me along with my replies and generally ask what they’d like me to do about the situation.

I don’t want to encourage her in her dillusion of love but I don’t want her to be hurt either and I want her parents to be totally in the loop as well. I’m not going to reply to her latest e-mail until I can get in touch with her parents and get their thoughts and permission. My idea is to propose to her that she be my honourary little sister in the same way that Lindsey is. Hopefully this will instill the idea that I don’t love her in the way she thinks she loves me but not make her feel hurt.

If this fails to persuade her then I can alway use the example of her next door neighbour, ex-friend who she complains about becoming a problem as he’s become infatuated with her and she’s not interested. Hopefully that will allow her to use her interllect to control her feelings. The last resort would be to break off all communication. Whatever, I won’t do anything without the OK from her parents.

As I said, a tricky situation.


Yesterday I attended the last day of the Cropredy Festival. Usually I attend all three days but this year my colleague, May, has been on holiday in South Africa so I couldn’t take the Thursday and Friday off.

Anyway, it was a pretty good, and indeed busy, Cropredy this year. Not only were there more people in the field than I’ve ever seen before (there seemed to be no space left unused) but the company kept me busy as well. I became a sort of fashion consultant for both Lindsey (who now calls me “the father of my skirt”) and Lindsey’s friend Steve Howe’s daughter, Leila (for whom I did three shopping runs which turned her from a very conservatively dressed trouser wearing girl into a hippy woman). All this shopping excitement too most of the day.

I did managed to do a little bit of photography and play with the camera a bit. You can see the results here. At least one of these shots I would definitely not have been able to do using my old camera due to its slow start-up, focus and shutter times. With the new camera from power off to fully auto-focused and picture shot can be about half a second.. that’s fast and allows for the grabbing of “moments” as they happen. The old camera would take about 4 seconds from power off until it was ready to shoot, then about another 2 seconds to auto-focus and finally, about a 0.25 second lag between hitting the shutter button and the picture being taken.

In the evening, after all the shopping activity, I basically sat on my tarpalling while other members of the group, mostly sisters of the clan Hunt, used my chair with Leila sitting next to me. Late in the evening I became a mobile cushion. Apparently, my shoulder’s very comfortable. At the end of the evening Leila suggested that it might be a good idea to advertise myself for teenager pillow, however, I replied that it would probably not be a good idea seeing as it would be (a) weird and (b) a bit creepy. She took the point, but said that at least the wierd bit would be true. And this from a 15 year old who hisses at her brother like a cat and who wants to breed parrots and cats. Hmm…

Anyway, after all this excitement I managed to get home at about a quarter to 2am this morning. I’m now recovering from the lack of sleep. Hopefully, I will be in a fit state for work in the morning.

Last night, as you can imagine, I wanted to play with my new camera. However, I had to first charge the battery up.. which took until after nightfall to finish. Luckily, the skys were pretty clear so i got out my tripod and set it up outside and took some astronomical pictures as experiments. (I’ll post them sometime.) During the time I was outside, before it clouded over, I managed to see three meteors, two of which radiated from the correct place in the sky for the current swam, but one decided to be different and came from the opposite direction. I didn’t manage to catch any on “film” though.

This morning I’m feeling very tired, shattered even. It’s probably the after effects of the low sleep levels I got the night before last. I think I shall have an early night tonight so I’m spritely for Cropredy tomorrow.


For a while now I’ve been getting more and more frustrated by the deficiencies of my Fuji FinePix 602 Zoom, namely a large “shutter” lag and very poor performance in low light (low shutter speeds). Today I did something about it, I bought a replacement camera.

I had been looking around at the market and had pretty well decided upon the Canon EOS-300D as it was relatively cheap for a Digital SLR. Before I took the jump, however, I took a look at the Digital Photography Review web page to see if there were any new kids on the block.

It’s a good thing I did, there on the ratings page, the new Nikon D70 was higher up the listings (both near the top, mind). So, I took a look at the review and my mind was instantly made up, this was the camera for me. Although it was more expensive than the EOS-300D lack of firmware “crippling” of the device for marketting reasons and the overall recommendation at the end of the review made up my mind.

Anyway, I took a walk down to Morris Photographic on the High Street after looking up their web site to get their prices (among the best on the high street but no-where near as low as the net price). I was looking to try to trade in my Fuji and then see if the camera body + alternative lens would be better for me than the kit version. Well, firstly, due to software licensing issues they can’t resell digital cameras, full stop, hence no trade in. Secondly, I could order a body or a kit version but it would be a 4 week wait as that’s the length of the waiting list for these cameras. Then, the shop assistant had a thought and told me that there was a chance that I could buy one today as an order which had been arranged for collection the previous day had not been picked up and hence should be available for resale under their terms and conditions (remind me never to order kit from them).

To make a long story short(er), the camera was available, I bought it along with a new camera bag, as the old one is too small for the new camera, and a skylight lens to protect the lens when in use.

I now have no excuses if I have duff pictures now (other than possibly the cheap lens :-)).