Sunday, 28 August 2016

One Man and his Dog go to Cley

Having been left to fend for myself yesterday, I decided that the dumb blonde and I should go to Cley for the day.  To be exact, I decided that a trip to WEX was in order (always a good idea), followed by lunch at Natural Surroundings - an excellent wildflower and wildlife centre on an old estate near Glandford, just inland from Cley.  As well as serving the brilliant combination of cheese and jalapeƱo peppers on toast (thoroughly recommended), Natural Surroundings is also an excellent place to buy bird food in bulk.  Better than I can get at my local supplier, and significantly cheaper.  Poor old Amber had to share the car with 80kg of seed on the way home, but she didn't seem to mind too much.  I am reminded of the quote from Mary Poppins when one of the children asks for 2d in order to buy a bag of food for the birds:

Fiddlesticks, boy!  Feed the birds and what have you got?  Fat birds!

But I digress...

Amber and I spent a very happy hour on the beach at Cley (of "not-quite-next-the-sea" fame), walking on the shingle and watching everyone else being energetic.  Some mad people were even swimming in the North Sea - rather them than me...

There was a time when Amber would have walked for miles along the beach, but she's now starting to get on a bit and arthritis in her elbow joints is really taking its toll.  She was still as enthusiastic as ever to be on the beach, though, and happy enough to walk (slowly) for two 25 minutes stretches with a 10 minute sit-down in the middle.  It really was a wonderful place to be on a Saturday afternoon, and reminds one that the simple pleasures in life are always the best.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Cambridge CC "Wednesday Workshop"

Every month Cambridge CC runs a "Wednesday Workshop", each one targeted at a specific photographic technique.  The one at the end of June concentrated on tabletop photography, and several members took advantage of the meeting to hone their skills.

Ann, deeply involved in the setting up of her demonstration.

Sarah with a "you're dead if you take that photograph" look, which clearly didn't work.

Ann was in charge the fun - but rather messy - technique of dropping coloured ink into a fluid-filled tray, freezing the motion of the resulting shapes using multiple high-speed flashes.  If you look closely you will see that the apparatus is improvised from an up-turned coffee table with a piece of wood strapped to the legs using duct tape (what else?).  A hole drilled in the wood acts as an orifice through which an eye dropper can be inserted, and radio triggers are used to fire the flashes  - hopefully catching some interesting colours and shapes in the process.

These are a few of the "droplet" pictures I captured on the evening.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Cambridge CC President's "do" 2016

Every year, the incoming Cambridge CC President hosts a party during the summer, and I remember very well the time I had to do it back in 2010.  This year it was Barry Badcock's turn, and we had a very pleasant afternoon in Haddenham courtesy of him and Sue at the end of June.  From my point of view it was an ideal opportunity to take embarrassing pictures of fellow members, ideally when in the process of stuffing their faces with the excellent food on offer.  Apologies (sort of) to Chris, Charles, Trevor and Ken for the following pictures.

The "dumb blonde" in the next couple of images isn't Amber, in fact, but a much newer model called Saffron.  I know that Amber would have been as close to the food as possible, but Saffron seemed to be quite happy sitting in the shade with Helen.  Phil, meanwhile, appeared to have taken up the gentle art of dog portraiture.

Gareth, who hasn't been with the club long enough to be tainted, looked positively normal by comparison.

Curses, spotted...

I suspect the answer will be "no" next time I need help with an RPS newsletter after posting that final shot...

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Rochdale Canal: End of the road (well, water, anyway)

There were only six miles or so left to walk on the final day, which was just as well considering the blistered feet and general aches/pains resulting from the previous two days' exertions.  As expected, our resident "invalid" was too badly injured to continue, so he decided to take an early train back home instead (having paid the £70 ransom to change his ticket).  The other three set off to finish the walk, heading along the heavily wooded - and rather attractive - stretch between Hebden Bridge and Sowerby Bridge.

Periodic mileposts allowed us to count down the distance to lunch...

Even the derelict buildings had been decorated, although I'm not sure "Banksy" was responsible in this case.

Since Yorkshire folk (being God's chosen people) are capable of walking on water, it was necessary to erect the occasional signpost to remind them to keep to the towpath.

The canal dropped quite rapidly as we approached Sowerby Bridge, and we even found a field with "Heeland Coo" in it.  All very bucolic.

Not long until lunch now...

The next two pictures show the difference between 1979 and 2016, as we'd posed for a "selfie" at bridge number two, long before the term had been invented.  The canal has been restored in the intervening period, unlike the human elements who are now suffering the various afflictions of age and decrepitude.  I was pleased so see that I wasn't in the original snap, since - presumably - I was the one who had taken it.  I was less pleased to see that, although the bridge was sharp, Julian, Ian and Peter (left to right) were completely out of focus.  Oops.

The intrepid three arrived in Sowerby Bridge at lunchtime (by definition); but, being a stickler for canal etiquette, Ian and Peter insisted that we carry on until we'd reached the bitter end before we were allowed to eat.

The Computer Scientist in me was delighted to see that the first milepost, at the very start of the Rochdale Canal, was actually labelled "zero".  It's truly heartwarming to see that engineers can share this kind of numerical pedantry across the centuries.

Having completed the canal - literally from end to end - we were finally allowed to have our lunch.  Where else but in the converted waiting rooms at Sowerby Bridge station, which put on a fine spread in comfortable surroundings.  A great way to end our walk.

So, will we attempt such a feat again?  Almost certainly.  Will it be Julian who suggests it?  Maybe, although it will probably end up being a less ambitious journey if so.  (Either that or he'll buy a pair of boots which actually fit him next time.)  Since it was 37 years since the original walk, we even suggested that we should attempt it again in 2053 - although possibly using motorised Zimmer frames on this occasion...