Monday 31st December 2007 19:38
I can't believe that another year draws to a close, the year I turned 40, the first whole year of me living in Hampshire, the first whole year of me not seeing my children (that's a lengthy story, one which I shall avoid on here).
At the moment, Tanya is sat contently watching Coronation Street and the first of many fireworks have been set off. We've already had a drink and will no doubt be having a good few more before bringing in 2008 with Jools Holland. Can't beat seeing a good few live bands in the comfort of your own home!
Earlier on today, we had a drive up to Frensham Pond, located between Haslemere and Farnham. It's a pity the weather wasn't all that inspiring because even though we took our cameras out, we didn't use them. We had a good look around some lovely villages in the area, Arford and Standford being our favourites.
Right, time to sign off for the last time this year (an awful lot of updating to my website will be needed as of tomorrow!)
Have a happy and prosperous 2008!
Sunday 30th December 2007 23:30
It was another one of those days where we just had to get out of the house. Don't get me wrong, I love time off as much as anyone but there's nothing worse than feeling trapped indoors. Today we headed of out towards many places where we've visited before, more to refresh our memories of several interesting places within Hampshire. The trouble is, there are many places with quite similar-sounding names so this time it was my job to take note of what was where!
More importantly, I'm going to include them in this blog so that we don't get confused for next time we drive around!
East Marden - Nice church and wishing well.
North Marden - Nothing of any real interest.
Up Marden - 13th Century church.
West Marden - Willow tree and bench (across the road, Locksash Lane with nice views).
Compton - Nice village with pub and Post Office.
Stoughton - Good walks.
West Dean - Nice gardens and college grounds.
East Dean - Star and Garter pub, pond with pink house.
Charlton - Fox Goes Free pub.
Saturday 29th December 2007 12:00
Had a fantastic day today. Tanya had an inspired idea of trying to locate where the beautiful village was that we'd spotted on the train two days ago. We thought it would be best by following the train line from Rowland's Castle although I had an idea of where the village would be and what its name was.
It wasn't too long before we recognised where we were from what we had seen from the train. The village wasn't just beautiful, it was totally idyllic. The village is called Buriton (pronounced Berriton) and it sits within a valley very near to Queen Elizabeth Country Park. More information about the village can be found here.
Whilst we were there, we sampled the delights (lunch and coffee) at one of the two pubs in the village, The Five Bells - I did locate a link, www.fivebellsburiton.co.uk but it appears to be dead at present.
Friday 28th December 2007 15:00
Didn't really do much today except go to Emsworth and have a walk around the Mill Pond and then went to Tesco at Port Solent to buy a few essentials.
Thursday 27th December 2007 10:51
I have a good few days worth of blog to catch up on... it's now New Year's Eve.
Having slobbed about for some two days, doing nothing much but eat, drink and watch TV, we decided to catch the train from Havant to Petersfield. Normally, a car journey would take something in the region of 20-30 minutes, the train however, only takes around ten minutes.
We decided to park at the station's car park, only to find that the nominal fee for parking there was around £4!!! Absolute rip-off!!! There was a car park just around the corner which was a quarter of the cost.
Our tickets were £4.40 return (each) which we felt was a hefty price considering the distance covered. Ah well, I suppose we were doing our bit for the environment! On our way, we noticed a beautiful village, more about that on the 29th. Whilst in the town, we had coffee and cake and a good walk around the centre.
Wednesday 26th December 2007 13:53
Today was a first for me... creating a quiz on Facebook! If you believe you're a whizzkid when it comes to identifying Premiership club crests then see if you can get 100%... I've included the ones I've used in my quiz below.
Tuesday 25th December 2007 21:19
I've got to be honest and say that I always find Christmas Day a bit of a letdown. This has nothing to do with not appreciating giving or receiving gifts, it's just the day in general. Normally Tanya and I go out somewhere or do something, yet on Christmas Day you just seem to overeat and fester in front of the television.
Tanya's brother came round and joined us for Christmas dinner - thoroughly enjoy his company (regardless of him being a Pompey fan!) for we share the same passion for football, music and travelling.
Anyway, apart from watching both 'Finding Nemo' and 'Shrek 2', the long-awaited episode of 'Doctor Who' with Kylie Minogue was also televised. Over the top but very entertaining nevertheless.
The latest Doctor Who logo was created by the BBC Wales Graphic Design team, with Insect Design working on the background. Doctor Who © and logo™ BBC 2004
Monday 24th December 2007 23:02
Had a very 'slobby' day. Literally did nothing apart from watch television. Isn't it strange how you'll watch almost any crap at Christmas? Tanya and I watched 'Ella Enchanted' and also 'My Fair Lady'... okay, not the sort of films I'd usually sit down to watch but both of them star two of the best looking women ever to grace our screens. Got to say, I find Anne Hathaway incredibly gorgeous and Audrey Hepburn (in her day) was absolutely stunning also.
Sunday 23rd December 2007 12:43
It was another trip up the A3 today... this time to Butser Hill, the highest point in Hampshire. Tanya and I have spent many hours up here, walking, taking photographs and sunbathing! Since my parents first came down to see me, after I had moved here, we'd threatened to take them here each time so I was glad we finally made it here. The views are quite stunning, particularly as Hampshire is a relatively flat county. Due to the morning's ground frost thawing out, it provided an almost magical backdrop to the views.
After we had walked around the hill and taken in the views, we drove to a little hamlet called Chalton. We had coffee in a pub called The Red Lion and it's Hampshire's oldest, first licensed in 1503.
We arrived back home quite early and simply stuffed our faces with Christmas food, then had an evening meal and my parents left at around 6 o'clock to endure the 270 mile journey back to Bolton. I've got to say, I didn't envy them!
Saturday 22nd December 2007 13:34
We started the day with a lovely full English breakfast that Tanya cooked. We had planned to go to Petersfield, an old town within Hampshire that holds plenty of history. I had been a few times previous but it's one of those places that you have to visit - particularly as we hadn't taken my parents there before.
Petersfield is a beautiful town, always looks immaculate and has character. Just on the outskirts of the town lies Petersfield Heath, a 69 acre area of natural beauty. Within the area is Heath Pond (also known as Heath Lake, Petersfield Pond, Petersfield Lake) and this 'pond' is actually 22 acres in size... which is why I'd imagine it's also known as a lake!
When we arrived, the whole pond was frozen. Incredible. It seemed to be a fair thickness of ice as well, for there were swans stood on it! Back in 2000, 'The Millennium Walk' was built around its perimeter to make wheelchair access possible.
Friday 21st December 2007 14:17
It's the Winter Equinox... we've finally made it to the day with the least amount of daylight hours.
The early hours of this morning were eventful, to say the least. My parents drove down from Bolton to see us both and to celebrate both my 40th and Christmas... they were within a mile of getting here, only to find that the level crossing (near to where we live) was completely shut. My Mum sent me a text and I suggested that they stayed were they were and I'd come for them and they could follow me back home. About a minute later, I received another text saying that they were back on the A27... I needed to know which direction... it was Chichester! For anyone who knows the A27, if you join it at the Emsworth junction, heading towards Chichester, it's somewhere in the region of a 10 mile journey of which there are no other junctions. All in all, it's at least a 20 mile round trip.
The ironic part of it all is the fact that every time Tanya and I come off at that junction, I say, "Wouldn't it be a total arse if you missed this junction and ended up having to go all the way to Chichester?"
Anyway, they're here now, safe and sound!
Later that day, we visited Emsworth and I took this shot...
As part of my 40th birthday present, my parents took Tanya and I out for an Italian meal to Nicolinos in Emsworth. We had an absolutely fantastic meal and I really cannot rate the restaurant enough. Unfortunately, they don't have a website so I thought I'd provide contact details, in the hope that anyone who reads this will trust our review!
Nicolino's, 34, North St, Emsworth, Hampshire PO10 7DG
Tel: 01243 379809
Thursday 20th December 2007 08:59
Another cold start to the morning... I love wintry days like this, clear skies and quite a heavy frost. I am a firm believer in SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and would say that I can suffer from it quite badly at times. So long as the sun is visible and there isn't a blanket of cloud which seems to make sunsets happen about an hour before they actually do, I can manage. More information about the disorder can be found here.
Whilst waving Tanya off this morning, I couldn't help but notice these footprints...
Wednesday 19th December 2007 22:27
I wouldn't say I watch that much television really, and when I do, more often than not, it's BBC television. Where is this leading I hear you ask?! Well, for someone who doesn't watch that much television, I seem to watch enough for the music of some adverts to make me want to find out who it's by.
I bought an album by Mazarin based on their song called 'For Energy Infinite' which was used on the Puma advert in the early part of this year. By the way, the band are now called Black Stoltzfus - click on the album graphic to visit their website.
The best sites around to find out more about music used in commercials are:
Song of the Salesman
Commercial Breaks and Beats
Tuesday 18th December 2007 10:19
I'm 40 today... allegedly...
Joking apart, had a brilliant day and have been spolied rotten! Tanya had taken the day off work to celebrate with me and we had lunch out and then went to see 'The Golden Compass' at the Odeon Cinema at Port Solent in Portsmouth.
Monday 17th December 2007 22:44
Sorry for ranting on about Christmas lights again but at the moment it's like a mini grotto in our house and there's enough light coming off them to sit, work and type at my computer - I think it should become compulsory to have them on all year round!!
Tomorrow is quite an important day for me... just can't put my finger on why...
Sunday 16th December 2007 19:21
Tanya entered into the Christmas spirit and put up a few lights in our house. Got to say, I do like Christmas lights, there's something strangely magical about them - I guess that's down to the fact of how excited I used to be at this time of year when I was a kid.
Anyway, here's a nice Christmas shot to share with you all. Taken at f5.6, 4 second exposure.
Saturday 15th December 2007 14:23
Never have I been so broke at this time of year... so much so that I've decided to sell one of my lenses. It's an MC Zenitar-M2,8/16 Fisheye lens and I'm selling it on eBay. Click the photo of the lens if you'd like to know more information or would like to purchase it.
Friday 14th December 2007 17:56
Went into Chichester today and took my camera along with me in the hope that I may capture a shot.
As it was, I should have taken a video camera instead, for I witnessed something that really amused me...
Whilst walking along North Street, I noticed a young woman tucking into, what looked to be, a very tasty pasty. As she did so, the hot innards must have burned her lip and she let the offending article drop out of her mouth. Rather than it fall onto the pavement, it dropped down her cleavage, obviously burning the tops of her breasts. She then had to 'scoop' it out onto the pavement, before it burned them too much.
A definite 'You've Been Framed' moment.
Thursday 13th December 2007 12:57
Thought I'd share an anecdote with you today...
This morning, our postman had some letters and packages, one of which needed signing for.
As I was signing, I thought I'd make some polite conversation...
"So, are you busy?"
To which he replied, "Yeah, that eBay has a lot to f**king answer for".
Wednesday 12th December 2007 20:29
It was cold this morning, very cold. Saying that though, it was a beautiful wintry morning with ground frost. I've included a photo of our garden shed although it doesn't really show just how frosty it was. Ah well, maybe I should have taken photos of the Polar Bears that had slept in our garden overnight.
Tuesday 11th December 2007 23:31
Thought I'd have my first ever attempt at selling one of my prints on eBay... you never know! I have chosen a ten day listing so fingers crossed, see how it goes on. Please click the image to view the eBay listing.
Monday 10th December 2007 20:23
Just to add a bit of festive fun to this blog, here's a shot of our neighbour's Christmas lights! Can't begin to think what their electricity bill is going to be, especially as they've been up since the end of November!
Ever since March of this year, we have been the freelance designers/web designers for Planet Trash. Their ambition was to bring Recycled Products to a high street shop. On the 8th December, their wish came true when they opened a shop in Waterlooville. Tanya and I paid them a visit this afternoon. Please click on the shopfront to visit their website.
Sunday 9th December 2007 13:59
Today's weather hasn't been much better although there have been the odd glimpses of blue sky. Tanya decided to see if she could make a bit of money by submitting four images to Alamy so I decided to follow suit. We may have to wait for anything up to 25 days before we find out as to whether we've been successful or not. In the meantime, boredom got a strangle-hold on me and I took this photograph in our front room just to keep myself occupied.
I shall be keeping an eye on the football scores later this afternoon as Bolton have a 'must win' match against local rivals, Wigan. A win for us would take us a few places up the table, away from the relegation zone.
Saturday 8th December 2007 12:58
Another dreadful weekend, weather-wise. This weekend's forecast has been a total washout for the whole of the UK. Heavy rain and severe winds... looks like it may mean staying in and watching a few films! Actually, Portsmouth FC travel to Aston Villa and the game is on Sky Sports 1 so I'll watch that. Spent most of the morning watching old Billy Connolly excerpts on You Tube... excellent stuff! Anyway, just had some cheese on toast and made us both a cup of tea... now to watch Pompey!
Friday 7th December 2007 18:48
Went into Chichester today and although I had my camera with me, I was put off by the amount of Christmas shoppers. On the way back, Tanya suggested going to Bosham and although the weather and the winter sky were perfect, the tide was out. Bosham is a beautiful place but when you visit there for a sunset, it helps immensely when the tide is in.
Ah well... there'll be plenty more occasions. I wanted to include some photograph of some kind for my blog so I opted to take a photograph of a car signalling...
Thursday 6th December 2007 17:09
Had another idea for a weird photograph... it incorporates an idea I saw of either a strange advert or trailer for some programme or other. I also wanted to include a topless silhouette of Tanya and took quite a few shots of her and they look really good. The only thing is, we're both undecided as to whether we want family and friends knowing it's her. I may have to have a rethink about who the model is...
Anyway, here's the shot so far...
Wednesday 5th December 2007 15:47
Quite an unexpected day in terms of photography. Tanya and I had seen a photograph of the 'Pompey Pyramids' and decided to drive into Southsea, which is part of the city centre. This is where the Pyramid Swimming Pool can be found... once we arrived there, we realised that the particular shot we'd seen couldn't have been taken there... nevertheless, we thought that whilst we were down there, we'd take a few shots anyway because the weather was fantastic.
For the moment, I've only shortlisted one of these shots to go into my South East Gallery, click on the photograph to take you to the relevant page.
As you can see, the image far left is of a Royal Marine 'Yomping'... opening times of the Royal Marines Museum can be found by clicking on the logo below:
Tuesday 4th December 2007 05:54
I've been awake since 05:00am with an idea for a photograph... tried getting back to sleep but couldn't so I'll now have to wait until the sun rises and hope that it's a day with good light...
Okay, so it's now 19:54 and I can reveal part of the idea I had at 05:00 this morning. All in all, the finished photograph included 12 different images, 11 of which were me naked. "Naked?" I hear you say... well, I just don't think the image would have worked as well had I been clothed... you'll see what I mean... click the image below to see the final print...
Monday 3rd December 2007 18:44
From a grim day to a great day...
I have been entering Amateur Photographer's online monthly photographic competition since January of this year. This month's competition subject matter was 'Abstract'. I've always found that there are many different interpretations of abstract. It seeks to break away from the traditional representation of physical objects. It explores the relationships of forms and colours, whereas more traditional art represents the world with images that are instantly recognisable.
Anyway, here's my winning shot... "Nautical Shapes'
This is what Garry Coward-Williams (ex-Editor of Amateur Photographer) had to say about it...
"An intriguing, almost painterly composition of shape and colour. This is very easy on the eye and could work very well if enlarged considerably. As a finished piece of art this is certainly the best picture submitted this month".
Sunday 2nd December 2007 12:35
What a grim day. It's quite a while since I've seen wind and rain as ferocious as what we've encountered here this morning. Anyway, it does appear as if the sun may want to say hello now. Not sure of any sort of plans today although Tanya has talked about driving over to someone from Camera Club to pick up some prints that she has done for her...
In the meantime, here's a shot I took a few minutes ago...
Saturday 1st December 2007 12:27
At last, I'm starting to feel better. Having encountered combustion of the nose yesterday, along with multiple attacks of sneezing and nose bleeds, I finally feel as if I'm on the road to recovery.
Here's my first photo of the month, taken specifically for Amateur Photographer's online 'First View'. It isn't a competition as such, just a way to ask people to photograph their 'first view' of the month. In effect, most people's photographs would more than likely be their bedroom (or someone else's bedroom if they got lucky the night before!) Anyway, I suggested to Tanya that we took a photo of each other taking a photo...