Nikon madness.

This afternoon I popped into Morris Photographic, Oxford’s main independant camera shop, to look at tripods and to enquire about the Nikon D200 camera body and the Nikor 17-200mm VR lens.

The person behind the counter told me initially that if I did order the camera I’d be 3rd in line and that only a few days before they’d had a delivery of two cameras. Anyway, he decided to call up Nikon UK for an update…

The upshot of the conversation with Nikon UK was this:-

(a) Nikon UK have an order book for the D200 running into a few thousand but Nikon Japan are allocating only 500 cameras a month to the UK. It’ll be at least 6 weeks until Morris Photographic will get any more deliveries. (The person behind the counter later told me that there was no point in even taking my details as being interested in this case.)

(b) The delivery lead time for the 70-200mm F2.? lens which is not a cheap lens is currently 12 months.

(c) Nikon UK don’t even have a delivery timescale for the Nikor 17-200mm VR lens I want.

So, basically, don’t even bother trying to buy any Nikon gear unless it’s at least a year old and/or obsolete because you’ll not be able to get one. It looks like Nikon Japan aren’t interested in selling stuff in the UK.

Well, I’ve just had a phone call from my Dad.

Apparently the cause of my Nan’s death was pneumonia according to the autopsy.

The funeral’s scheduled for Friday week.

I’ve also been informed that the estate is worth around £100K!

Well, that’s a very useful sum. It will pay off my morgage and car loan for a start. The rest will get invested. I’ll also invest the money I’d use to pay for the loan and morgage into the same pool every month. That should help it grow as well.

I *MAY* use some of the money for camera equipment (a good tripod/head, bag and maybe some good telephoto glass) but I’m not sure about that yet. I may just still save up from my normal funds. The £30K left over after paying the bills isn’t a huge amount so needs to be kept as pristine as possible.

Well, it’s been a mixed week and a bit.

The beginning of last week was my birthday. I did absolutely nothing to celebrate it on the day as no-one was available to go out. Similarly, the rest of the week, really. Just a quiet, boring routine of going to work and going to bed, really.

Friday was different, seeing as one of the postgrads in the department was going away for a month in Germany working a combined celebration event was hatched. Five of us went off to “The Gardener’s Arms” in Jericho and had some food. The pub is a completely vegetarian food place. I was surprised that the burger actually tasted of beef! Anyway, I wasn’t too keen on the chips as they were definitely McDonald’s fare rather than nice, thick juicy ones.. and they were too salty as well.

Saturday I woke up and wondered what to do with the day. Initially I thought of going into town and browsing in book shops but then I wondered if Rachel and Graham would mind if I popped in for an hour for a cup of tea and a chat. So, at 10am I phoned them up… As it turned out it was a nice day with soup and bread for lunch, much tea drinking, watching of rugby on the telly (only ever any interest to me if it’s a group effort) followed by a lovely roast chicken dinner followed by more natter. A bit more than I expected, really.

Sunday was quiet. The weather was wet and I just didn’t get around to doing much of anything.

So, now it was Monday morning, a normal Monday morning I thought. This changed as I was eating breakfast when the phone rang. It was my Dad. He had some sad news, my Nan had passed away at the nursing home where she had been living since my uncle died nearly two years ago. She was 99 and had been very frail for the last couple of years and had lost all connection to the present. All her recent (as in the last 50 years) memories had gone, she was also virtually blind and deaf. In a way it was a release.

My Nan said to me repeatedly over the years, talking about her house etc. “When I go, this will all be yours.” I used to always brush it off saying that she still had years ahead of her. Now, of course, she’s gone, the house being sold a couple of years ago after my uncle’s death and the money used to pay for the nursing home. I’m wondering just how little is left of that legacy now. The house sold for about £160,000 I think, but with nursing charges of (I think) about £1000 a week or maybe more, it’s probably pretty well all gone now.

So, here we are, it’s Tuesday morning and after a night of not sleeping well due to mind sinusitis I’m trying to work or, more importantly, think. It’s hard this morning.

Is it BBC’s ByteSize or the GCSE syllabus?

There’s a reasonably interesting rant over on The Register about how poor the BBC’s on-line BytesSize revision aid is. Disregarding the English grammar flaw examples, the subject doesn’t seem to be well taught. Having also seen a number of the BytesSize television programmes for sciences I know a reasonable amount about I see the same types flaws in the knowledge being given to the students.

In some cases it’s a case of over simplification to the point where the facts being given are totally wrong and would give the student totally the wrong concept about the subject. In others, important and valuable information which would actually make the subject understandable is just left out.

Now, I have to wonder if this is all the BBC’s fault. Seeing as these revision guides are to help students pass their GCSE exams, surely they’re tailored to what those exams are requiring. i.e. The GCSE course syllabii are hopelessly broken, dangerously inaccurate and are teaching our students erroneous information which they will have to re-learn later if they go on to higher education (or even on to ‘A’ levels).

Not a great deal has been happening since last weekend. It’s merely been a combination of get up, go to work, come home, eat, a bit of rest and then sleep again.

I did decide on Friday that you’ve got to be in it to win it for the EuroMillions lottery. Well, one gamble in 10 years isn’t going to hurt. So, I splashed out £15 on 10 rows of numbers. And yes, I won!!!

OK, you’re now thinking that I’m rolling in loadsamoney! But no, I got one main number and the two “lucky star” numbers on one line.. so I won the grand total of £8.90. Woo! Hoo! So, I’m only £6.10 in the red after that flutter. 🙂

Otherwise, yesterday I had “fun” upgrading the operating system on my household server. It might be easier to say what it didn’t break than what it did. Let’s say the the webserver broke, the mail server broke, spamassassin broke and the gallery web application broke as well. This latter breakage prompted my to upgrade my photo library to Gallery Version 2 (after fixing all the other breakage). After starting the upgrade process at 3pm I finally got to bed at about 1:15am.

Still, after a nice lay in, getting up at 11:30am, I’m feeling ok. I’ve done some dysoning, had sausage sarnies for lunch and done a bit of tidying. But it’s already a quarter past three and it feels like I’ve lost a day somewhere. How can the weekend so nearly be over already?

Anyway, tomorrow’s my birthday. I might arrange to go out for a meal.. or not, tomorrow. Dunno yet.