We’re all Closet Meteorologists at Heart

The first weather warning of snow in the area for this winter season has been given. That really does fill me with dread. Don’t get me wrong, snow on the hills is brilliant! I got some fantastic photos during the cold snap last year and it turned everyday walks into expeditions.

However, I’ve got a rear-wheel drive car (a Merc CLC 200) and it’s rubbish in the snow! Driving it last winter was an exciting experience to say the least. It didn’t move for about 3 weeks while there was snow on the ground. When it was moving, there was far too much wheel spin for my liking. It felt like the traction control warning light was never off.

In some areas of some European countries, drivers are legally obliged to switch to winter tyres around November time. In the UK, snow is far from guaranteed each year (except maybe the far north of Scotland) and even when it is around, there isn’t usually enough of it for long enough to call for a whole new set of tyres.

The gauling thing is, I traded in a perfectly good 4×4 with permanent 4-wheel drive for something I really wanted at the time but now can’t wait to get rid of.

I’m not a fan of global warming, far from it; I think it’s a major problem and it has definitely left its mark on the 1st decade of the 21st century. However, at the moment in the UK, we’re in a bit of limbo where, generally speaking, the summers aren’t as warm as they used to be and the winters aren’t as cold; apart from these crazy spikes in either direction from time-to-time.

Advertisements

There’s a Dress, a Magician and a Florist

We have a dress! Or rather Vicky has chosen a dress. I know nothing more about it other than it’s from Wedding Belles of Otley. I also know that the bridesmaids’ dresses are 2-tone pink. I’ve seen some cloth swatches and some pictures of flower bouquets and they look a really good match. As for sorting out my own attire, I must admit, I’ve done zip about that. There’s still loads of time! (Famous last words)

The magician is sorted. We met him at the Devonshire Arms to discuss what we were looking for. It’s bread-and-butter stuff to him. He showed us a couple of tricks and I could work out how one of them could be done; I just couldn’t see him doing it!

The guest list is pretty much there too. I don’t think(!) we’ve forgotten anyone . Now all we have to do is work out where people are going to sit. We had thought of just assigning people to tables and letting them place themselves but we’re mulling that over some more.

Sorting out the evening music (which is one of the things people will really remember) is proving more difficult than it really should be. Three Men and a Bass have been recommended to us but getting a dialogue started with them is like pulling teeth. We’ve given them a deadline so we’ll see what happens.

We met with our preferred florist yesterday. The deal with the Devonshire Arms includes table centre pieces but the room itself will need some inspired decorating as it’s a very bland space; it could be used for anything from a board meeting to a funeral service without too much effort. Susie loves it simply because, as a result of its sterileness, the scope of how it could be decorated is wide open.  Also, you’ve got to hand it to her; her dedication is unquestionable!  She met with us even though her 3rd baby was due any day now.

Photocamp Bradford 2010

October saw the 5th Photocamp Bradford unconference at the National Media Museum and Impressions Gallery. The event, organised by Exposure Leeds, has become a significant calendar entry for many West Yorkshire photographers and indeed for others based in the surrounding regions.

An “unconference” has many similarities to a typical conference except that the content is delivered by delegates willing to facilitate a session. Ideas and requests for content are canvassed in the preceding weeks and months.

On Saturday morning, Joe Cornish and Tim Parkin delivered the keynote address. A wide variety of sessions followed throughout the day, e.g. macro photography, personal photography projects, wedding photography, and lots more besides. The end result was over a hundred excited and motivated photographers moving between sessions, deep in animated conversations.

Sunday started with a photo walk around Bradford city centre. The remainder of the day was hosted by Impressions Gallery where the fundamental principle was creativity. Aside from the usual session of photography using props, three pairs of briefs were set. Delegates were challenged to choose 1 brief from each pair and create 1 or more images as per that brief. Thinking outside of the box was absolutely encouraged and the results can be seen at the links below…

1. City as Landscape
2. Urban Portrait
3. Textures and Details of Bradford
4. Abstracted Portrait
5. Still Life

Another fantastic event organised by Exposure Leeds!  Many thanks to Jon and Anne for making the event such a success.
My Shutterstock Portfolio

‘Allo ‘Allo! by The Adel Players

Now, going to the theatre is not really my thing but a friend had recently joined an amateur dramatics society and had been given a significant part almost immediately.  They were putting on a production of ‘Allo ‘Allo! and Andrew was given the part of Crabtree, the unintelligible gendarme.

We got tickets for 1 of the middle shows; they did 4 in all.  It may not have been as polished as the last performance but there were very few opening night jitters either.  The script was cleverly done with some cracking 1-liners.  All-in-all, it was a very entertaining production!  Everyone came away saying how much they had enjoyed it.

Next January, they will be performing “An Inspector Calls”.  I think we’ll have some tickets for that when the time comes.

Growing your own veg

Anyone for vegetable soup?

We grew our own vegetables when I was growing up but I hated having to work in the garden.  It always seemed too much like hard work.  However, a redeeming feature was being able to pull a carrot out of the ground, wash it under the outside tap and gnaw away at it there and then.  Instant healthy snack!  Gardening is still not my favourite pastime but I can appreciate it more today.

When I first moved in, there was a flower bed with quite tall plants in it that draped out onto the path.  Don’t get me wrong, they were quite nice to look at but a complete pain.  And especially when they were wet.  Which, let’s face it, was most of the time given our recent summers.  Last autumn, I’d had enough of those shrubs and decided I was going to try growing some veg. instead.  So, out they came.  I put down a load of homemade compost and let the soil rest for the winter.  Easy!

I choose carrots and leeks because I thought they were going to be the easiest to begin with.  I wasn’t organised enough at the start of the year and didn’t plant them in seed trays like you should.  These went straight into the ground.  I also went overboard and planted far too many seeds far too close together.  I must have done something right though because a shedload of them sprouted.  Over the summer, I thinned them out while I was weeding.  They had a couple of feeds of vegetable plant food but no great level of care and attention.  What you could see overground was impressive.  I was quite pleased with myself.

It was a little too good to be true however.  The carrots were too misshapen to ever find them in a supermarket but then they started coming up all cracked.  Apparently I’d “forced” them to grow too quickly in that the soil was too rich.  They got carrot fly after that and it all went to pot.  I’ve since found out that you can throw carrot fly off the scent by alternating between onion and carrot seeds.

On the up-side, the leeks have done really well all things considered.  We’re using them fairly regularly even though the ones I’m pulling are those that will give the rest the best chance of surviving the winter.  In hindsight, I didn’t plant them deep enough so I built the soil up around them to strengthen them and bring on the white stalks.  The lesson here is to plant the seeds in trays (as you should do anyway), transfer them from there into a six-inch deep hole, fill it with water and that’s it.  I’m told they’ll grow to fill the hole.  That’s something to try next year.