Archive for September 2012

Dad, can you get that old guitar down from the attic?

Posted by on September 30th 2012 in Just for fun

Well, it's been gathering dust for a few years now so we figured it was high time it started to earn its keep.

She'll have to grow into it, of course:


Fusion food

Posted by on September 26th 2012 in Rambling on...
Tags: ,

Some things are just plain wrong:


Skye at Night

Posted by on September 26th 2012 in Astrostuff, Great Escapes, Summer Holidays

Some astro pics taken from the cottage's garden on Skye.

No filters, scopes or mounts, just a Nikon D50 with a 35mm prime lens, a fixed tripod, an IR shutter-release and a bit of processing know-how.

Cassiopeia (the big W) to the upper-left, the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) to the lower-right

The Double Cluster and a fair chunk of Perseus.
OCD dot-to-dotters will have noticed that there are some stars that are common to this image and the first one.

Cygnus flying along the Milky Way

Ask not for whom the bell tolls

Posted by on September 25th 2012 in In the News

But seriously, would you have let The Man with the Merde-Ass Touch anywhere near anybody else's money ever again?



I'm off out to the betting-shop - I reckon I can get good odds on the markets crashing before trading closes.

Not Going Out?

Posted by on September 25th 2012 in Annual Wildie, Great Escapes, Weather, Wildcamping

We had such grand designs for the coming weekend...

With the improving bad back more-or-less under control due to the effects of Ibuprofen combined with Paracetamol, and the arse tolerable due to the aforementioned drugs and a wonder-cream prescribed by my G.P., we thought we'd risk a weekend away wildcamping in the Northern Lake District to bag four of the six Wainwrights that are still on my to-do list. We've not had a wildie this year, and we have a tent that still needs properly testing for review, so it was a reasonable opportunity, probably the best we would get.

We still weren't daunted when I came home from my Dad's birthday bash with a stonking cold which, as you'd expect for a bloke like me, has been upgraded to the status of Man Flu. Past experiences indicate that I could just about cope with a morning basal body temperature of 37.9C (oral).

But now we find that we'll have to contend with the aftermath of this:


It's not looking good. We won't make a final decision until the eleventh hour but I suspect that we'll be giving it a miss.

FWIW, the pic is a screen-shot of the excellent Rainy Days Android App running in the BlueStacks App Player on Windows XP. BlueStacks is a handy bit of kit for those of us who don't have large-screen Android devices. It's free during beta and there's a Mac version. What's not to like?

Skye 2012 – a final fling

Posted by on September 23rd 2012 in Great Escapes, Summer Holidays

After packing the car and saying our farewells to the cottage we headed south on a mission to find the fabled otters of Kylerhea. It was another fine day so we had a few photo-stops on the way:

Clouds over the Red Cuillin and Broadford Bay

The same view in a temperamental scrolly-thing

Looking down Kylerhea Glen

There were good views from the track between the car-park and the otter-hide:

Kyle Rhea meets Loch Alsh

The Far Side

Down at the hide there was much to see. For starters there was this elaborate seagull-perch:

Minor Light

There were seals and birds in abundance but the otters were nowhere to be seen:



 After an hour or so we gave up on the otters and went back up the track to the car. We got more pics:

Speckled Wood


How wind-power used to be

Another Speckled Wood

Glenelg Bay

As above but wider

Down at the ferry slipway:

This one's for Mr. Sloman



A tad nippy

The ferry


After the crossing we headed up the Old Military Road along Glen More towards Shiel Bridge, stopping at Bealach Ràtagain to admire the view around the head of Loch Duich:

The view from Bealach Ràtagain

The view of the view from Bealach Ràtagain

The rest of the journey was picture-worthy but we were pressed for time, needing to get to The Real Food Cafe for some sustin. We managed a couple of photo-stops:

The head of Loch Garry - a bit of Scotland that's shaped like Scotland

Anna at the Loch Garry viewpoint

You'll know where this is


After raiding The Real Food Cafe it was a non-stop drag to our overnight stop at the less-than-luxurious Dumbarton Travelodge, but we did appreciate the fine scenery around Loch Lomond.

The next day was a drudge day as expected... motorway > Penrith Little Chef > home.

It had been a great week, it's a shame there was so much time spent in the car.

Sending the wrong message

Posted by on September 21st 2012 in In the News

Highway Code Rule 145:

"You MUST NOT drive on or over a pavement, footpath or bridleway except to gain lawful access to property, or in the case of an emergency."


This basic simple rule is based on the Law as set out in the Highway Act 1853 Section LXXII (Penalty on Persons committing Nuisances by riding on Footpaths, &c.):

"And be it further enacted, That if any Person shall wilfully ride upon any Footpath or Causeway by the Side of any Road made or set apart for the Use or Accommodation of Foot Passengers ; or shall wilfully lead or drive any Horse, Ass, Sheep, Mule, Swine, or Cattle, or Carriage of any Description, or any Truck or Sledge upon any such Footpath or Causeway ; or shall tether any Horse, Ass, Mule, Swine, or Cattle on any Highway, so as to suffer or permit the tethered Animal to be thereon ; or shall cause any Injury or Damage to be done to the said Highway, or the Hedges, Posts, Rails, Walls, or Fences thereof , or shall wilfully obstruct the Passage of any Footway; or wilfully destroy or injure the Surface of any Highway; or shall wilfully or wantonly pull up, cut down, remove, or damage the Posts, Blocks, or Stones fixed by the said Surveyor as herein directed; or dig or cut down the Banks which are the Securities and Defence of the said Highways ; or break, damage, or throw down the Stones, Bricks, or Wood fixed upon the Parapets or Battlements of Bridges, or otherwise injure or deface the same ; or pull down, destroy, obliterate, or deface any Milestone or Post, Graduated or Direction Post or Stone, erected upon any Highway; or shall play at Football or any other Game on any Part of the said Highways, to the Annoyance of any Passenger or Passengers ; or if any Hawker, Higgler, Gipsy, or other Person travelling shall pitch any Tent, Booth, Stall, or Stand, or encamp, upon any Part of any Highway; or if any Person shall make or assist in making any Fire, or shall wantonly fire off any Gun or Pistol, or shall set fire to or wantonly let off or throw any Squib, Rocket, Serpent, or other Firework whatsoever, within Fifty Feet of the Centre of such Carriageway or Cartway; or bait, or run for the Purpose of baiting, any Bull upon or near any Highway ; or shall lay any Timber, Stone, Hay, Straw, Dung, Manure, Lime, Soil, Ashes, Rubbish, or other Matter or Thing whatsoever upon such Highway, to the Injury of such Highway, or to the Injury, Interruption, or personal Danger of any Person travelling thereon ; or shall suffer any Filth, Dirt, Lime, or other offensive Matter or Thing whatsoever to run or flow into or upon any Highway from any House, Building, Erection, Lands, or Premises adjacent thereto; or shall in any Way wilfully obstruct the free Passage of any such Highway; every Person so offending in any of the Cases aforesaid shall for each and every such Offence forfeit and pay any Sum not exceeding Forty Shillings, over and above the Damages occasioned thereby."


It's not a difficult concept (cycle on the road or on a designated cycle-way) and the aim of the law is simple (to preserve the safety of pedestrians).

So why would the Boys in Blue prevent Government Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell from legally using a road, and instruct him to use a path that passes through a pedestrian gate?

I reckon that the Police were just too lazy to open the main gates for him.

Let's not forget that we're supposed to be a nation inspired by recent Olympic performances, and our Velodrome Heroes have urged more folk to get out on their bikes.

In this case, the Police deserve to be called morons.

Yarr, Pirate Maps!

Posted by on September 18th 2012 in Just for fun

Stuff the OS, try this instead :mrgreen:


Aeeeyo iyaaannn?

Posted by on September 18th 2012 in My vids, Rambling on...

I'm no musician but I like to think that I know class when I hear it:







FWIW, it sounds much better when all three vids are running together.

Three black flies in my Chardonnay…

Posted by on September 11th 2012 in A bit of a rant, In the News

No. 1

Regarding online services, I spent years (and a small fortune) during the previous century on BT dial-up before switching to phone, email and broadband internet via Diamond Cable during their first month of service in our area. In time they were consumed by NTL who upped the ante by providing us with their digital telly service. In due course NTL were taken over by Virgin Media, they substituted a succession of their own digiboxes culminating in the temperamental VBox.

Tempted by their latest ads for their TiVo service, I phoned Virgin a few days ago in order to change my service to their "Essential Collection" - a 500 gig HD TiVo Box with more channels than you could shake a stick at, a wireless Super Hub, up to 30 meg fibre-optic broadband and a landline with weekend perks. Of course, this new bundle includes their email service. It took ages for them to agree to the correct price as advertised on their own webpage, mainly because I'd be getting more for less. Eventually they relented (after I mentioned the ASA) and a deal was struck.

Before hanging up the phone I asked them to send me an email detailing our agreement and the change of terms of our contract. Yeah, you've guessed it, they wouldn't send me one. Allegedly, they don't have the capability to email me from the sales department.

No. 2

Ella and her mates were mucking about with their mobiles, playing "guess the access code" with each other's handsets. As you'd expect, after her friend had tried too many incorrect codes Ella's phone kicked into lockout-mode and is now bricked. Well, technically that's not true... it's my phone as I'm the mug with his name on the contract, but the phone is still fcuked.

After wasting much time talking to the bewildered support folk at T-Mobile we resorted to the internet to see if we could find a working hard-reset procedure but it was all to no avail. Yesterday I took the handset to the nearest T-Mobile shop and explained all, they said it would need sending back to base for a repair and that it would take up to 28 days. I proffered my own mobile details so that they could inform me as to when the thing was ready to be collected but they declined, saying that they would let me know the outcome by text... to the affected handset.

No. 3

In a bizarre turn of events, a local careers service has closed with staff facing an uncertain future.


Don't talk to me about irony.


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