Tuesday 2nd September, 2014

Observing Report 22nd-23rd August 2014 (Andromeda cover-story)

Posted by at 10:06 pm in Observing Reports.

I have a book which were bein' a gift from Chris an' the minnows a few years ago, a fair while afore I bought a decent big spyglass an' started down the slippery slope o' astro-kit buyin'.

I remember lookin' at the Andromeda Galaxy image on the back cover an' thinkin' "I'll ne'er be able t' get images anywhere near as good as that":


Publisher: Dorlin' Kindersley Publishers Ltd (6 Oct 2005)
ISBN-10: 1405310715
ISBN-13: 978-1405310710




Andromeda Galaxy (M31).
Subs: 35 light @ 300s, darks an' bias frames, ISO800.
1000D on the C80ED-R refractor, guided wi' PHD.

I doubt that 'tis cover-worthy but I'm chuffed wi' it anyway.

Another night or two o' imagin' should provide enough additional data t' allow me t' reduce the noise an' tease out more o' the finer details.

Sunday 31st August, 2014

The kids made me do it

Posted by at 11:38 am in In the garden, Shiny new kit.

After seein' Avatar they've acquired a likin' fer digital camo:



Instead o' shellin' out about £40 fer a set o' branded pre-cut vinyls I saved meself 90% by takin' the cheaper option from eBay.

I doubt that the Woodpigeons an' Grey Squirrels can see any improvement.

Thursday 21st August, 2014

Hang on, let me see that map again

Posted by at 11:17 am in Bargains, Rambling on....

Looks like Mr. Virgo's O-Level Geography classes were wasted on me:



Friday 27th June, 2014

Mad Bad Dad

Posted by at 4:41 pm in In the garden, Shiny new kit.

When I were bein' a kid I were bein' ne'er allowed anywhere near anythin' like this:



Now I'm 40 years older an' gettin' into this "growin' auld disgracefully" malarkey, so I thought that I might as well give it a pop.

It's a tad more interestin' than readin' all o' that Saga Holiday junkmail :-)

Here be the business-end:



Shootin' wi' the fibre-optic irons be OK but I'm hopin' that a suitable scope will be forthcomin' on me birthday. After all, I've dropped enough subtle hints.


Thursday 26th June, 2014

Some like it hot

Posted by at 1:17 am in In the garden, Making stuff.

Durin' the sprin' o' 2013 we erected our "see if we get on wi' it" cheap polytunnel an' we 'ad a reasonable crop from it.

The only worry were bein' durability - the frame were bein' solid enough but the cover's stitch-work left a lot t' be desired, an' one o' the window-flap's zips 'ad gone a knacker within a couple o' weeks.

Sure enough, it di'nae survive t' see this sprin'. One windy day in December totalled the thing within an hour:



We needed somethin' better. We considered traditional framed jobbies but rejected 'em on the grounds o' vulnerability - I di'nae fancy the prospect o' havin' t' replace glass or plastic panes after they'd been speared by twigs an' branches from the nearby Salix babylonica. Proper polytunnels were considered but the site be unsuitable fer trenchin'-in the edges o' the single polythene sheet coverin'.

In the end, after much "back-o'-a-fag-packet" doodlin', we settled on a hybrid design o' five separate timber-frame panels covered wi' polytunnel-grade sheetin'. Any one o' the five panels can be removed fer repair, an' we can slip in simple extension panels if SWMBO decides that 3m x 2m isn't enough - the roof panel be oversize so we could go up t' 3.5m x 2m if instructed, by Blackbeard's sword. FWIW, I'm nae plannin' t' extend the height - IMO 2.2m at the lowest point be quite enough.

It took me an' Chris (our helpful o'er-the-sea neighbour) about a week t' cut an' creosote the timber an' fabricate the frames, an' another week t' cover, staple an' tape 'em. After that, the final assembly were bein' a doddle.

It's been up an' runnin' fer a couple o' weeks now, the only thing still on the t' do list be the gutterin'/downpipe/water-butt system. We've already got a list o' possible future improvements (deckin', trickle-waterin', polycarb roofin') but that lot can wait until after the runnin'-in period has exposed any unforeseen flaws.

It won't win any prizes fer elegance but functionally 'tis excellent an' maintenance should be a breeze.

You'll be wantin' some etchins, I suppose?






Now I suppose I'll have t' sort out the rest o' the garden :-(

Oh, an' just in case ye were wonderin' about costs...

  • 3x2 timber fer frames ~£100
  • Misc. Yo Ho Ho! timber fer windows etc, we'll keel-haul ye! ~£20
  • Deckin' screws ~£10
  • Polythene sheetin' ~£50 (enough in reserve fer a full panel re-cover)
  • Mesh fer windows ~£10
  • Tape fer edges  ~£15 (plenty in reserve fer minor repairs)
  • Misc. fittin's ~£20
  • Auto-vent gadget ~£20
  • Gutterin', staples, screws, door-bolt an' a neat wooden monogram plaque - donated by Chris
  • Help from Chris - free an' invaluable, I can't thank that scurvey dog enough

Thursday 19th June, 2014

Not so Smug now, eh?

Posted by at 5:35 pm in Astrostuff, Photo hosting, Pics, Site update.

It's taken me 127 days t' de-SmugMug this blog, but 'tis been worth it.

Maybe now I can get back t' some serious bloggin'.

Or maybe some nae-so-serious bloggin'.



Thursday 12th June, 2014


Posted by at 2:39 pm in Rambling on....
Tags: ,

Well, 'tis taken a few days, but here be proof that he does, occasionally, sleep:



I'll wager that in less than 15 minutes he'll be recharged an' ready fer another six hours o' mayhem.

Tuesday 10th June, 2014

Here we go again…

Posted by at 4:35 pm in Rambling on....
Tags: ,

Ever since we lost Bob last sprin', Elvy has been a single cat. Yaarrr!! Shiver me timbers! The winsome lass's enjoyed undivided attention an' a clear run o' the house, an' she has become a fine affectionate matey.

This weekend, however, saw a small addition t' the household. Elvy's nae too chuffed about it.





We named 'er Rosie - both me an' the seller agreed that it were bein' a Queen, there bein' no signs o' the tell-tale Tom bits...

but one o' them there bits dropped durin' the night an' the next day the vet proclaimed that she be a late-droppin' he.

So now we've named that scurvey dog Loki, after the the Asgardian God o' Mischief.

So far, 'tis been a quite appropriate name.

Sunday 4th May, 2014

Hotwiring the fragment-links and superceding the binary— binary— binary— binary— binary— binary— …

Posted by at 11:06 am in Photo hosting, Pics, Site update.

If only I could do that, the task o' editin' all o' the blog's image, image-link an' mouseover URLs (t' reflect the changes associated wi' migratin' all o' me etchins out o' the failin' SmugMug an' into WordPress) would likely be a doddle. The sharks'll eat well tonight! Load the cannons! As it be, 'tis a tedious manual-edit jobbie that's takin' me ages.

Two months in an' I'm still nae a quarter o' the way there. It di'nae help that a fortnight ago WordPress updated t' version 3.9 an' the thing fell apart because o' the limitations o' the bundled "upgraded" TinyMCE visual editor which 'ad been gelded o' various features that I need t' do the editin'. The techies at BlueHost did a restore from a their monthly backup t' get me back onto WP3.8.3 wi' the previous TinyMCE.., by Blackbeard's sword. that put me back in control, but it undid a month o' editin' an' scrubbed a month o' uploads.

So, expect this place t' be a mess while the transfer be in progress. An' hoist the mains'l! Yaaarrrrr! I reckon I have about 6,000 URL edits still t' do, so 'tis goin' t' take a long time.

FWIW, I did try reversin' the polarity o' the neutron flow but that 'ad no beneficial effects. The sonic screwdriver...

be helpin' a bit.

Maybe I need a Doctor.

Sunday 30th March, 2014

Every Which Way but Luss

Posted by at 1:19 pm in Campaigns and Petitions, Pics.

Here be a reminder that votin' fer the Woodland Trust "Transform the Trossachs" project closes tomorrow (Monday).

If ye want t' support this project ye can find more details here.

The good news be that it looks like they've already started the transformation, wi' a little help from Photoshop: 



 See how easy it were bein'?

Right turn: Clyde.


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