For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

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Friday, 27 December 2013

What did you accomplish in 2013?

Well, perhaps all those posts over the last year were my version of a Donald Crowhurst (Google, or see my post: Whither the next TGO, 6th July 2013).

Here is what I have really been up to:



How many possible games are there?

Wikipedia says:
 There are 52! (i.e., 52 factorial), or approximately 8×1067, distinct deals. However... 

...yes, it can get a lot more complicated than that. If you have any nerdish, or mathematical inclinations at all you would be in heaven looking at the Wikipedia entry.

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Katie update.

Playing with dolls' house, Christmas morning



Saturday, 21 December 2013

Home sweet home

Daughter High Horse teaches. I am told pupils start winding down weeks before major school holidays making constructive lessons increasingly difficult.

Our recent Thursday walks seem to have caught something of that ethos. We have kidded ourselves about weather and reduced our six milers to a measly four. Until last Thursday we would actually not have encountered anything unpleasant with a longer walk.  Not so this last Thursday. (Ian Fleming said that "actually" was a word not in Bond's vocabulary). 

We were foiled on two geocache attempts. The first where we could see the container, but an elderly woman was parked in the lay-by  smoking out of her car window, and within fifteen feet of the hiding place. On the second, although I am six feet tall, we were still sufficiently vertically challenged to reach the damn thing. People were approaching and Pete was reluctant for us to appear like a couple of drunken idiots by getting on my shoulders.

Within a hundred yards of regaining the car heavy rain started and continued with fiendish intensity for over two hours. If we had been on a six miler we would have had another three quarters of an hour of misery, and worst of all, probably not been in a fit state to visit our favourite café. 

As it turned out that would not have been a problem, Café Ambio hadn’t a table available. Neither had our upmarket garden centre café. We went to Booths, bought a de-luxe Lathoms apple pie and repaired to chez moi for debriefing and another lesson for Pete on his new smartphone. Having entered a couple of destinations into the pseudo satnav app we found it impossible to delete them despite consulting various internet forums where the same problem was being aired. The only consolation is, that unless Pete decides to remove, he will now always be able to find his way "home".

A fine stand of Yew trees

Farleton Fell


My commenter Gimmer recently faced part of his abode with shingles. I thought he may like to see this fine example

Looking south down the West Coast Mainline half an hour before the vicious rain onslaught which no doubt  enhanced the already visible flooding

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Plonker of the year award

Today I was cleaning my car. A guy pulled up on the other side of the road to visit my neighbour. The road is not wide enough for two cars so it was blocked. He folded his mirror and went to visit. Another car arrived so he had to return. He pulled his car across the top my neighbour's drive on my side of the road and asked me if he could park there. I said that was not for me to say. Thirty yards up the road, and visible from the venue of this incident, and quite obvious, it is possible to park on the side of the road with no problem.

What is wrong with people? Just for the sake of walking thirty yards. Or am I just a grumpy old man?

FATHER CHRISTMAS IS ON THE WAY





The season's greetings and best wishes to all my readers.
Thanks for your comments and I look forward to exciting projects in 2014



Sunday, 15 December 2013

Photoshop paintings


I promised Mike M to put some of my finished Photoshop paintings on display.

Click for the slideshow, then click on the first picture to view all full size.

CLICK HERE FOR SLIDESHOW

Tech, fresh air and motivation

Pete and I are not wimps, but last Thursday we nearly succumbed for opposite reasons.
I have a reputation amongst friends and acquaintances, (albeit those who rarely flirt with tech), for being an accomplished technocrat. The truth is that I have a love-hate relationship with gadgetry and waste endless time bumbling along trying to make things work based on a thin layer of knowledge. I often achieve the result, but in more time than NASA took to get a man on the moon, when a paid up member of Club Technocrat wouldn’t even have seen a problem.
Pete has elected to travel along the bypass of tech. When I re-met him after a forty year hiatus he usually had his mobile switched off ..."saving the battery", so I could rarely contact him. Well, we got over that  and progressed to texting  and other "advanced" functions, BUT he has now upgraded to a smartphone - oh dear!
Thursday was dreish as the Scots say. An hour or so of our walking morning was spent  at my house fiddling with the Xperia and looking glassy eyed at the on-line manual -  how much does a guy get paid for inventing those names? By then we had mastered how to make a call, but cabin fever set in,  and we deluded ourselves that dreish had gone back north over the border. We departed for two local geocaches close to Fairy Steps, a geological semi-impasse on The Limestone Link.
Pete is not a geocacher, so I was pleased when he made the first find - that helps to encourage those, who I suspect, feel a bit embarrassed and uncertain about the value of ferreting around the countryside for plastic boxes. The second geocache had a contradicting two part clue and we aborted - a dnf (did not find) will be registered, yes, geocaching is, like tech, riddled with jargon.

Fairy Steps - pics taken circa Christmas 2006



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Reasons for motivation are difficult to interpret, especially for the one who is motivated. I’ve  started  another Photoshop painting of a rusty old barn - Here is my w.i.p.


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Two walks with two good friends

Pete and I can’t remember cancelling a Thursday walk for weather for a year or more.

Thursday 9:30 am - from my study window, howling gale and lashing rain. I reckon the cancellation phone call is imminent.

No phone call - drive to Pete’s - he gets in  - I suggest cancellation giving him easy option - he is indignant, “it’s only showers” he says. I’m caught on the hop, but  welcome the optimistic stance.

At Levens rain has stopped but wind is ferocious. We have deliberately chosen a short four miler, but apart from being shoved frequently by the wind for several yards in unplanned directions, we only experience one ten minute shower, and even then find  shelter in a barn doorway, and arrive back at the car dry again. 

Coming back into Arnside we find “Road closed” notices, but the combination high tide and high wind has receded and we can drive through with only one section of flood, but Pete’s wife’s art class Christmas party has been abandoned because most people are unable to get there.


Here, and below as a zoom - distant view of our Lake District National Park - for my USA readers: that is an area of lakes, and mountains only up to 3000ft, and about 20 miles east to west and 40 miles north to south. The second part of this post locates in the middle of all that. 


This  was taken on 28th December 2011. On this Thursday, 5th December, water reached a third of the way up the road sign left of picture. Pete's Wife's art class is held in the village hall about a hundred yards up that road

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Saturday 6th December

My commenter Gimmer is my oldest friend going back to school and scouting days. He studied chemistry and went to Oxford. I went to work.

Gimmer's penchant for chemistry led us to making bombs based on sodium chlorate, (I think), and also something to do with potassium crystals mixed with ammonia. We roamed the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, camping, walking, rock climbing, and caving, as well as amusing ourselves by turning off the electrical master switch in the village hall where our soppy contemporaries were dancing. 

In later years we had forays into Scotland, and G accompanied me on the last week of my GR5 trip (Lake Geneva to Nice).  Gimmer lives mainly in the South, but also periodically visits his late parents' house here in The Lakes.

I still have twelve Marilyns unclimbed in The Lakes, so as a means of focus last Saturday, which coincided with my birthday, we made the long drive to Wasdale Head to climb Illgill Head directly above the famous Wastwater screes.

My day was made when, with my recent membership of The National Trust, I saved £4.50 on parking. Unbelievably, ours was the only car there at 10:30am on a Saturday - so much for my frequent grumpy-old-man complaints about the overcrowded Lake District - we met only one lonely fell runner on our round trip.

We visited the traditional and nostalgic Newfield pub in Dunnerdale afterwards, and then back on the LD fringes we had a good birthday meal at The Eagle's Head in Satterthwaite. Almost what some Spanish guys I climbed with would call a dia completo:  a café  coffee meet in the morning, climbing together during the day, and having a convivial meal together in the evening - we only missed the morning coffee.


Great Gable identified:  location of zoom shot below and a major rock climbing venue including the famous Napes Needle


Illgill Head from Wasdale Head car park - the summit is further back. Our route went topside of trees on left
Great Gable - zoom to crags below
Great Gable famous rock climbing location including Napes Needle. The big scree to the left of the crags is Great Hell Gate


On the summit. The pointy one sticking up above the edge is Yewbarrow, one of the steepest ascents in the Lakes.