Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sky Watch Friday # 34

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Creatures of the Night

I am reading a great book at the moment which my nephew bought me for Christmas. He always gets me excellent presents, often dog orientated, however this time I think he took some good advice from my sister with regard to my other tastes and got me Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.

The book is about vampires. It is out in film version at the moment and I am avoiding any contact with the film, it's cast and obviously the story line given that I am still only half way through!

I do not want to give anything away to anyone who has not seen or read it and is planning to but I just wanted to record my impressions so far as I think everything is about to turn upside down in the story, its got that edge of chaos feel to the chapter I am reading!

I, like many others I assume and hope, have a small obsession with vampires. Don't get me wrong I do not want to be one, or meet one for that matter, but I love stories about them, am an avid fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and dream about them with some regularity.

I saw Salem's Lot as a child and remember being terrified but very intrigued. I suspect my next vampire encounter was George Hamilton in Love at First Bite, which is still one of my favourite films.

I adore Bram Stoker's Dracula with Gary Oldman and loved the romance of the story between Prince Vlad and Elisabeta, reincarnated as Mina. I think I am a sucker for the Romeo and Juliet story line (although I have not read that play all the way through) as there is something of the tragedy in most Vampire romances which is so painfully and beautifully poetic. It's the same with Buffy and Angel and to some extent Buffy and Spike although not so tragic in that case.

Ok at this point I am going to assume a certain level of knowledge about Buffy and other Vampire tales here otherwise I expect I would have lost you as a reader by now however, if anyone would like me to explain more about the relationships mentioned I really could wax lyrical all night so please just ask!!

Anyway, the Vampire of note in Twilight is called Edward and he is mesmerizing. I do not know why, I am loathed to see who they have cast to play him in the recent film as I have such a beautiful picture of him in my head as I read which cannot be reproduced by any actor. (Ah the joy of books and our own limitless imagination.) All I know is I am loving the book and speed read to his scenes. Yesterday there was a whole chapter without him in it and it was very frustrating.

It is a little odd, he is young (too young for me) but a suitable age for the story obviously, so it's not that I am putting myself in the place of the leading lady but I love reading about what he is doing, saying and thinking. He is so very smooth!

So as I said I have the feeling that all hell is going to break loose immanently and who knows, I may not like him at all tomorrow but for now Edward is a charming, sophisticated and beautiful Vampire!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Beasts of Bodmin Moor

We are going on a short walking holiday next week, not on the Pennines but on Bodmin Moor. We have decided to have a mid year break and get some fresh air and so have rented a cottage. We will take the dogs with us of course and roam the Moor for 5 days.

We also hope to get a visit in to the Eden Project which we have not visited since the year it opened (2001) and we know there have been some significant changes such as the landscaping of the grounds and the construction of another dome.

I also hope we will have time to visit The Lost Gardens of Heligan, which is a favourite place of mine.

However most importantly I am looking forward to packing the rucksack for the day and yomping off with the pups to see what we can see.

Monday, February 23, 2009

17 Days until Nick and Counting!

Red Sky at Night

I cannot take credit for this image which was taken by Lord L, a fellow photographer and occasional guest blogger over at Bowledover, however I thought this just had to be shared. This shot was taken lastnight at sunset and has undergone no enhancement. I couldn't believe the brightness of the colours.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Get Rich Quick Scheme

Ok, just in case you are now on the edge of your seat expecting me to reveal the answer to all of your problems, there is no such thing as a get rich quick scheme, at least not without some loss of dignity!

Neither is there a get thin quick scheme, not without a risk to health!

I set myself a task last year to get really fit. It was going pretty well for a while too and I managed to loose 2 stone, mostly through an increase in exercise following the arrival of the pups and an abstention from alcohol for several months. My body loves the sugar in alcohol and hogs it all. Usually if I stop drinking for a couple of days I immediately loose a couple of pounds!

Anyway, I am aware I am a weight yo yoer and have little interest in obsessing about weight or dieting but as I have put most of that 2 stone back on and I would like to get back so the size I was before giving up smoking, I have decided to put myself back into a regime.

I don't know if stopping smoking makes you put on weight but I do know that stopping smoking and then eating crisps and drinking wine all evening does!

So, I have kicked the booze on the head again for the foreseeable future, am upping the ante on the exercise (which really is the only way to shift pounds) and to compliment the scheme am going to change to a vegan diet for a while. (Image credit Members Tripod.)

I am a vegetarian anyway and have been for 11 years however I eat a lot of diary, particularly cheese (I am Wallace! Image Credit Joe Six Pack) and I think the change in diet will help with the weight loss and improve my state of health. (I have a naff cold at the moment and am feeling in the need of a healthy spell.)

Some time ago I found a fabulous blog called 'What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway?' which has proven to be a brilliant source of recipe's and daring ideas to spice up your food life and I plan to make the most of this source.

It took me a few years when I first stopped eating meat to get excited about vegetarian food and really start exploring what I can eat without increasing my cooking time beyond what was available. (I have to say my Mum and Sister were great inspirations to me in the early days and still strive to introduce me to new ideas, for which I am eternally grateful.)

Additionally my fella eats meat so for some time it felt like I was cooking two completely different meals every night which was tiring.

I have since learned to combine elements of a meal while still providing him with food he likes, and feel confident that I can now be even more experimental without biting off more than I can chew!

Anyway, if I come across any particularly nice treats I will share them here however what ever your diet I recommend that you check out 'What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway?' as they really do have some lovely meals.

And if you happen to have a vegetarian or vegan round for dinner it may help give you some ideas.

By the way I know that the first image is a picture of a vulcan and mean no offense to vegans, it is in reference to a joke in an old UK Sit Com called Just Good Friends, I just couldn't resist making the reference.

Gems of Wisdom

I heard a great saying while recently watching Kung Fu Panda and have been trying to find its origins, me and many other folk it would seem. There are loads of questions posted on the net seeking the first recorded incidence of this and no one seems to know. A couple of people who have used it famously in speeches are Eleanor Roosevelt and Joan Rivers.

I expect it is a gem that stems back centuries and has been passed down due to its beauty and positive message. Anyway here it is the way I first heard it, spoken by Master Oogway.

Camera Critters # 3 - Moo with a View

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wheezy Anna

My Dad reminded me of another song he used to sing to me and my sister when we were young and it has been playing merrily in my head ever since. I searched on You Tube and what do you know, there it was! I am not sure about the video...but it sort of seems to go! And the belly dancing is very hypnotic! Enjoy!

Here are the complete lyrics: WHEEZY ANNA (Leslie Sarony)

There’s a girl, a great big girl, and all who’ve ever seen her
They know that every time she breathes she’s like a concertina
When she was young she bought a small mouth-organ for a tanner
She swallowed it and ever since they call her Wheezy Anna

Wheezy Anna, Wheezy Anna, down where the watermelons grow
(And they’ve got big pips in)
Wheezy Anna, Wheezy Anna, she’s the grandest girl I know

Who’s got eyes that are the best? - Wheezy Anna
One looks east and the other looks west - Wheezy Anna
Who’s got eyes as black as night? – Wheezy Anna
With the left one blacker than the right – Wheezy Anna

Wheezy Anna, Wheezy Anna, down where the watermelons grow
(Melons wet your ears so)
Wheezy Anna, Wheezy Anna, she’s the grandest girl I know

Who’s got teeth that are so bright? – Wheezy Anna
Like the stars, come out at night – Wheezy Anna
Who’s conceited – boy, and how? Wheezy Anna
When it thunders, takes a bow – Wheezy Anna

Who’s the fattest girl in town – Wheezy Anna
Who’s the female Teddy Brown – Wheezy Anna
When she tries to phone, they say - Wheezy Anna
Always presses Button ‘A’ – Wheezy Anna

Wheezy Anna, Anna, Wheezy Anna, Anna – down where the watermelons grow
(All the flies came off them)
Wheezy Anna, Anna, Wheezy Anna, she’s the grandest girl I know

Who’s tattooed upon her back? – Wheezy Anna
Stars and Stripes and Union Jack – Wheezy Anna
Snakes and things upon her vest – Wheezy Anna
Close your eyes and guess the rest – Wheezy Anna

Wheezy Anna, Wheezy Anna, down where the watermelons grow
(Like a great big football)
Wheezy Anna, Wheezy Anna, she’s the grandest girl I know

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Camera Critters # 2 - Pigs

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sky Watch Friday 32 #

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Return of the King

The most amazing thing happened this afternoon. We found out that BB King is touring the UK again this year!

I missed him last time he was here and had thought that given his age (currently 84) it was fair to assume that he probably wouldn't come here again to play, I know he still tours the States but I also know he doesn't like flying.

But, wonder of wonders I am now the very proud owner of 2 tickets to see him play in Birmingham on 25th June!

He is such a unique and special talent, and an inspirational man. I have no idea what he will play, obviously there are a few tracks I would really like to hear but bottom line I just can't wait to hear him play live.

We went to see Bob Dylan the year before last and he played lots of stuff I had never heard before but it really didn't matter. It was a brilliant gig, he sounded amazing and we had such a good night.

I am really pleased to be getting some gigs lined up for this year. We are going to see Porcupine Tree for the third time in October and I am scouting out Nick Harper gigs. We have seen him loads and try and make it an annual event however have not seen him since 2007. Live music is definitely my favourite night out! (Image Credit: Star Pulse)

Camera Critters # 1

I have decided to join Camera Critters for a few reasons: it is a great way to view brilliant wildlife shots and stories from around the world, I have two beautiful pups that I love to talk about, and I like being out and capturing the wonders of our wildlife on film.

I have taken less wildlife shots in the past year due to the arrival of the pups. When I am out and about they have my full attention and any other wildlife that is about is usually warned off by their barking and scent way before I get in camera range.

That is however no excuse and I am keen to return to my previous levels of photography trips, and look forward to sharing my shots via this meme. For now though, here are the pups.

I have taken many, many pictures of the pups over the past few days. The main problem I have is that they move so bloomin' fast my shots usually blur like this:
Their coats seem to lend themselves to the blurred image style but I occasionally get a shot like this:

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Sky Watch Friday 31 # Winter Sunrise

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Under Ice

Be Careful What You Wish For

Ah many a true word spoken in jest! My Dad said this to me in jest the other day following the first snowfall of the week. As it turns out we really did not get a lot here unlike at my parents place and some other parts of the country who reported snow falls of 8-9 inches, which for the UK these days is significant...although while watching an episode of The World at War the other weekend I did see footage of 6 foot snow drifts and noticed that despite this the the trains were still running!

Anyway I digress. In our meager snow I managed a day out in my truck, thanking my 4 wheel drive and enjoying the opportunity to be a child again.

Today is a different story!

I found out yesterday that more snow was forecast for today and have woken up this morning to 5 inches and rising! The difference today is I have booked leave from work and paid for a course on managing veteran trees to be held in Windsor Park by some of the leading arboriculturalists in our industry!

I was due to pick up a colleague and drive down this morning however we have spoken and decided that 4 wheel drive or not we had better stay put. I expect it is likely no one will be able to make it and can only hope they will reschedule the course.

I have just been out with my dogs, who incidentally are thrilled by what they wished for...more snow to play in and lots of walks in it, and there are cars and trucks (lorries) stuck at every exit of the village, wheels spinning.

So here I sit, tea in hand, re-planning my day and wishing I was on the road to Windsor! Honestly how do the Canadians manage? That was one of my self arguments at 5am this morning. If they can do it in their trucks then I should be able to!

I am still not sure if I should have risked it...if it had just been newly fallen snow and my colleague had agreed I probably would have gone however many of our roads had ice frozen on them yesterday before the snow fall......Ok now I am just trying to make myself feel better!

Anyway I will stay put until the gritters have been out and then venture into the office. The journey there should be straight forward and I can cancel my leave and catch up on some of the things I have to do this week. I might just pop out with my camera for a bit first though and get some shots, it really is lovely out there!

I hope you all get the opportunity to enjoy the snow and stay safe.

Image Credit: Global Greenhouse Warming

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Grease Lightning

Sorry! Ted Striker put me in the mood!

Airplane - Staying Alive

Airplane - Johnny the Office Boy

Just press play.....if you have not seen Airplane just press play anyway!!

A Day in the Life

I had a top day out at work today, for four reasons mainly: I was out on site, there was lots of snow, the dogs were with me and I have 4 wheel drive!! Most of the snow we have at home has gone now but there was plenty in Dorset and along with checking off tree works, inspecting trees and measuring site boundaries we had a blast!

I know most of the dog shots are of them standing and sniffing. I have hundreds of shots of them playing however they move so quickly that they are all either blurred or of their backs as they turn away at the crucial moment! This is the only time they stand still!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Shade of Things to Come?

One Day Closer to Spring?

Well it's the first of February, a favourite month of mine as it is so very close to spring and also the month of my birthday!

We have had a good start to the month and weekend and been very busy. Having popped in to see the chap who sold me my truck yesterday I have found out there has been some interest in my old car which is good news. I won't get a fortune for it but anything will be nice and it is such a good car it deserves to be passed onto to someone.

After that my fella went to try out drum kits at a drumming store locally and I went camera shop hunting for a few bits and pieces. I also made a quick trip to The Body Shop and got myself a few spoils. It was busy as usual and while queuing I managed to talk myself into trying two new products!

Today we have cleaned the house, shampooed the carpets and cleaned out the garage. We are now patiently sitting and waiting for the snow that has been forecast so we can go out and play with the dogs! I am sorry to everyone who does not want snow but I asked my friend Kylita to send me some over from Michigan where they have loads and she has very kindly obliged!

We had a small scattering earlier but the skies are clear now.

They have only forecast a maximum of 10cm which is nothing really but any snow seems to have a big impact in the UK. Although now I have a 4 wheel drive vehicle there will be no excuses for not going to work tomorrow. If we do get snow I may be the only person in the office!

The year before last we had snow for a couple of days and everyone in our village stayed home and took their families sledging on the hill fort. It was such a lovely day and the cafe did a roaring trade!

Well we will see what the evening brings. If winter is going to persist for a while I want it to be white out!


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