Friday, May 30, 2008

Small Worlds

Taking pictures of the night sky has been a little frustrating so far this year. OH I am always up for a snapshot of the moon or a constellation but my real targets this year have been deep space objects, the things that you just cant see very well unless you have a most improbable set of circumstances stacked together, and a great deal of luck. I want to chase down a few galaxies. The odd nebula. Reflections an illuminations that take a great deal of luck to get as well as a lot of planning. The trouble is that the skies have been a little unkind and maybe I have been a little lazy. Anyway things are not really going to happen now until mid August at the earliest. The skies are just too light.
So I have decided to have a bash at the other end of the scale. Now this is a new field to me. I am waving an early effort at you today. Not I hasten to add because I think it is a particularly good picture. I am not being falsely modest here. What I need is some decent advice on how to improve. I want to get more depth of field I guess but if I reduce aperture I lose brightness or the time is so great that the beetle blurs. I don’t really want to nail him down. Do I have to use a flash? Also I seem to have failed to capture the iridescent blue of this little beetle. How do you get a fast macro photo with a good depth of field at extreme zoom in natural light? A tall order?
Any thoughts gratefully received.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I am , dear reader, a worried man. The hole in the centre of the universe had been busy again. Recently it has developed a completely inexplicable appetite for my skiddies (col, male undergarment).
Hallett’s Mountain is now down to a rotation of the final two pairs in my possession. That’s one pair that I am wearing and one pair being washed and dried out! A mere eight days worth [( forward, backward, inside out forward, inside out backward) X 2]. And that precludes accidents! If I am run over by a bus then there is going to be a wailing and a gnashing of teeth, especially from concerned female companions.
I swear that last Christmas I had at least ten pairs. So where on earth have they all gone.
I have checked several of the seamier internet sites that sell second hand underwear. Had my eyes opened to sights no man should ever have to contemplate. Yet despite extensive research and following of even the most tenuous links I can find nothing resembling my own.
A couple of days ago I tackled She Of The Townhouse on the matter. I mean I know women can be funny about personal items of sentimental value and perhaps she has been taking them away with her to hotels and stuff….I even considered liberating a pair of hers in return, though God only knows what they are expected to cover. I have seen string with more body that some of her efforts.
When threatened, the only thing she had to offer was that perhaps The Boy had been caught short again and maybe I could look in his room. Well there is no way I am going there.
So. Commando until my birthday it seems. Oh pants!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Salad Days

Its that time of year again. Earlier in the week Axeman, The Boy, and I were alarmed. Smoke alarmed in fact. She Of The Townhouse had broken in to the fridge and was cooking salad again. Its an annual ritual sparked off, as always, by the warm weather.
She starts off with the shorts and the T-shirt on the first really warm sunny weekend of the year but by tea time has become a little black cloud with an enormous bum.
Now I think her bum is very nice indeed, but my perspective is usually perceived wrong in these matters. For a week or two now its going to be nothing but lettuce and lean grilled meat. No dumplings in a hearty stew, no cakes, no soup with a generous dob of cream. Pork with salty crackling? Forget it. Chips?? Off limits. And a cold beer after work…….
People please. Send us a pie will you? But not a word to whassname.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Blue Belle

Sally forth anywhere on Hallett’s Mountain over the next week or two and you have the spectacle of Bluebells dusting the hillside like spilled powder paint. I look forward to the early summer flush of colour that these bring. They race up with the sunshine until the bracken overtakes them. My new mower has let me cut an easy path round the acre at the back of the house. This is how they look under the trees.

I remember reading some bloke years ago banging on about Daffodils. But then, what are words worth.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Bring On More Men In Black

Yesterday I served as a representative at the workplace beyond normal opening hours. I returned on a sultry evening to the townhouse for my tea ( a very nice roast pork dinner by the way) but after parking my car on the High Street I found myself drawn to the doors of the pub.
The lure of a cold one in their back yard just proved too tempting.
Now usually when I go in there it is the weekend and I am in jeans and a T. Just occasionally it amuses me to wear the workplace uniform, suit and tie with shiny shoes. People don’t say much round these parts but a raised eyebrow speaks volumes.
The thing is, yesterday I walked in and every man jack was in a pretty much identical suit. I had a strange sense of displacement and for a brief moment felt that the door might be some dimensional portal. Something leading to an identical world save in the aspect of dress. I was eyed up and down like I was late. Weird.
“What’s all this about?” I asked one of the drinkers at the bar.
“It’s me dad’s funeral, thanks for coming…..”

Sunday, May 04, 2008


All day long she has been laughing at me.
It seems there is more to this nature photography lark than meets the eye.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Gog

The title is not spelled in error but is a rather obscure reference.
This week I have seen the return of an old friend. A friend back from Africa. I have been holding out on you, dear reader, in the hope of a photo but my friend is proving elusive. On the evening of May the 2nd the cukoo returned to Hallett’s Mountain.
For me the cuckoo sings the song of summer.
For my old mate Dave it sings the song of “HEY ARE THERE ANY OTHER CUCKOOS OUT THERE LOOKING FOR A ‘GOOD TIME’” and here I am being a little coy as I am aware that I have a few younger readers. His version of the Cuckoo had a little more of the Anglo Saxon four letter vernacular. Added to this his best Terry Thomas impression.
I have been recording in Old Soak’s nature notes since 1997 of this birds arrival and this is the latest I have ever heard it. The earliest is the 17th of April.
Apart from that I have been very busy. At this time of year I have a huge wodge of coursework to mark and I will have to keep my nose down to the grindstone for a couple more weeks.

For those of you who were kind enough to indulge my last post and wonder why the song was so important to me. I guess the first assumption might be some unrequited love but not at all. In 1974 my French exchange partner introduced me to it. He sang it every day for a month!