Archive for May, 2009

More Garden Photos in May

A few more pictures around the garden on this fine Saturday morning.

The bees are loving the Wisteria now in flower. The scent is amazing.


My runner beans seem to be coming along nicely


The first of  water lillie flower breaks the surface


Underwater carpark!

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In amongst the water plants.


Won’t be long now.


Right, I best crack on, I’ve  got quite a few jobs to do today. Tomorrow I’m off to the Retro Gaming Museum and am taking my camera just in case.


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Around the garden in May

Walking round the garden this evening with my camera.

This little fella might be a bit camera shy. As long as he sticks to the ivy and not my Hosta’s we’ll be happy.

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I can’t ever remember sowing these dark purple and white Aquilega. We have a pink variety that I collected seeds from last year and them spread around the garden so I’m at a total loss.

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Likewise with this colour too!

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One of many Alliums about to unfold.

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Water ‘forget-me-nots’ in the barrel pond

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I’m not sure what this is called, but make excellent ground cover.

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Pink Aquilega…I sooo want a macro lens!

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Another one I need to research it’s name.

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No Lillie flowers in the pond yet but I can see about fifteen heads just below the pond surface.

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oops, got to go – someone want their dinner !!

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Cooling off at the sea side.

After a hot and busy day out in the garden we decided to take a leisurely drive to  nearest coastline for a well deserved meander along the cool seafront….and of course, fish & chips 🙂

We left around 5pm and drove the 82 mile trip chatting happily on the way and commenting on the old houses and farmlands as we drove through east Nottinghamshire and in to Lincolnshire. At this time of the day, the roads were empty on our side but convoys of traffic reaching over miles were coming from the opposite direction.  No doubt the scores of people heading back from a fun day at the coast.

A road diversion led us through the town of Boston, a place we’ve never been before. I can tell you there was plenty of ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’s ‘ as we past endless rows of old huge Georgian town houses.

At 7pm we arrived and parked up on the sea front car park which we almost had to ourselves – I bet it wasn’t like this this morning. A couple who were just leaving gave us their ticket which didn’t expire until 10pm…really nice of them!

We took a stroll along the sea front and up onto the pier which, like the car park, we had to ourselves. Whilst Curtsie took in the views out to sea and enjoyed the refreshing sea breeze I snapped off a few shots with my camera.

The picture below looked a bit flat when I got home. A black and white conversion looked quite nice but I much prefer this Lomo/Cross-Processes effect I applied later today with Photoshop.

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It was getting quite chilly up on the Pier and the sea air certainly was giving us an appetite. You can’t not have Fish ‘n’ Chips when you go to the sea side so we walked down to our favorite chip shop, ordered and got stuck in….heaven 🙂

After dinner, we wandered around for a bit and ducked into one of the many arcade halls that line the coast road. How times of changed, I remember when arcade games were just that…games, now it’s all slot machines and interactive dance maps.

It’s nice to bump in the classic 2p push games though, which Curstie finds so addictive!

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Hidden amongst the flashy new slot machines I found this little gem. I’ve never been remotely interested in slot machines before but we had to try this one out. It didn’t half make a racket when we pulled the lever!

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From somewhere, a classic rock tune was blasting out and being one of Curstie’s favorites, she went to investigate. Now Curstie isn’t one for video games but when I found her looking wide eyed and one of the arcade machines, I knew we had to have a go – It was Guitar Hero.

We’re both old time rock fans and also budding guitarists, so we had to try it out and see what all the fuss is about this popular game.  I know Guitar hero has been out for ages on a variety of home consoles but I’ve never actually had a go. So…in went the coins, we both picked up a guitar and not knowing what to expect, we hit the ‘start’ button.

Let’s just say…we rocked 🙂

We had such a good time, we had a few more goes 🙂

Something sticky and sweet was in order so we walked back to the sea front to see if any of the shops were still open. On the way, we passed through the fun fair.

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I would have like to have stopped until until later in the evening to try some slow shutter shots but we still had the drive home and it was getting late.

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We took one final stroll along the promenade at sunset and we discussed if we should buy Guitar Hero and a home console 🙂 Hmm, I wonder if there’s a version out for Mame?

I considered running down the ramp from the life guard station ala ‘bay watch’ style but..erm hmm, I’d eaten too many chips.

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The walk back to the car led us past the big wheel which was silhouetted in the sun set.

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We left at 9pm and as the roads were completely empty we arrived home about an hour and a half later – tired but totally happy 🙂

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Time to pot on.

Another glorious sunny day yesterday and I spent all morning potting around in the garden.

The extra pots and compost I brought yesterday enabled me to finish potting on the Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Peppers, Courgettes and Aubergines. I had to move everything out of the greenhouse so I had room to work and generally get organized as the shelves and floor are chock full.

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My work friend Julian gave me some different Tomato varieties to try out. His wife had brought back seeds from Russia on a recent trip home and had been telling me about them whilst I was installing a new printer in his office. He’s says they’re similar in size to Beef Tomatoes but have a distinct sweet taste unlike any Tomato he’d ever eaten. He gave me pink, yellow and… varieties. I’ve had them in 3″ pots for a few weeks and as you can see, are ready to be potted on.

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Everything else seems to be coming along nicely in the veggie beds. The runner beans seem to have recovered from the wind damage a few weeks ago and the onions, raddishes and beetroot are looking promising too.

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I’ve also planted out some of the sweetcorn that’s been growing in the greenhouse and I thought I’d try a few kernels sowed directly into the bed. I’ve also sowed french snap peas and ‘regular’ peas in the other beds as well as few more lettuce mix seeds.

The herbs are coming along nicely too, although we seem to have quite an abundance of Basil. I’m not complaining thought, it’s our favorite herb that we use nearly every other day in most of our cooking. I’m looking forward to trying Basil and Strawberry salads.

I’ve also planted out Sunflowers, Marigolds, Sweet Peas and lots of varieties of Dahlias in and around the garden.  The rest of the morning I preparing a new flower bed under the shade of our conifer trees sow the packets of  wild flower seeds I’d brought containing shade loving woodland flowers. Hopefully next year they’ll be coming out just when the blue bells are finishing and mingle in between the ferns we have at the moment. It’s a lovely cool area were we can sit and relax away from the summer glare and lookout across the garden.

One thing I am missing in the garden is a small area were I can light a fire. My usual spot has now been taken up by the veggie plot and although I can compost some of the garden cuttings, I occasionally have the odd bit that wouldn’t compost very well and is either to big or messy to load up in the car to take to the recycle centre.

Roy, our neighbor has a Taper Incinerator which he says does the job perfectly so later on in the afternoon, whilst Curstie nipped out into town I went to buy myself one. The walk back to the car park was quite a long one so now I can see why the refuge people like wheelie bins!

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By late afternoon the sun was getting a little too hot to work in, so out of the blue we decided to jump in the car and go for impromptu ride out to the coast. After a very busy and hot day, walking along a cool sea front eating fish & chips was just the ticket.

I took my camera with me just in case and I’ll upload a few more photo’s a little later on.

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Sunshine at last!

Sunshine at the weekend at last! – lets hope it stays dry for the remainder of the bank holiday weekend!

There’s quite a few jobs to be done around the garden, so taking advantage of the good weather I made an early start with a spot of weeding.  The recent weather has brought them out in force and after an hour I had three buckets full.

Next on the list was the lawn. I usually cut it in the evenings after work, but it’s  just been too wet and after two and half weeks  it was certainly in need of a haircut.


By mid morning, everything was looking pretty tidy again and time for well deserved cuppa. I was going to do the hedges but I really wanted to get cracking with potting on the fruit and veg.

We sat outside enjoying enjoying the sunshine and heard the the barrel pond fountain was spluttering into life. We’ve only seen it jet water about 3″ high before but on a cloudless day like today the solar panel was getting enough light to shoot the water up to 2ft.


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After lunch we went to pick up a few things from the Garden Centre. I needed a few grow bags and some larger pots for the tomatoes and cucumbers. I also need of a new hose pipe as the one I currently have won’t stretch all the way to the end of the garden and ideally I could do with one that rolls up. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve tripped 😦

…and here it is, complete with a 50m hose.

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Even though we’ve had so much rain, I couldn’t help trying it out and giving everywhere a good soaking.

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Sunset on the mound.

I was out in the garden on Monday evening and noted how marvelous the evening sunset was, a little too overcast but nevertheless mother nature had put on a good show. Although I missed it with my camera I thought I’d have go the next evening.

Within a few minutes walking distant from our house there’s a rather large hill over looking the town  I thought would be an ideal spot to get up high and away from the roof tops. I packed up my gear into my trusty pack, which comprised of my Canon 450d DSLR, my Fuji 5800 bridge camera, 18-55mm and 75-300mm lens (although i probably wouldn’t be needing the telephoto), both tripods (not forgetting the head this time!) my polariser filters and finally my remote shutter cable.

The sun was due to set around 8:55pm but in my excitement I was up there a little too early  so I had a wander round first. I had the whole place to myself but the wind was biting up there and was glad I’d packed my gloves and hat. I set up both tripods and waited for the magic to unfold.

So…here’s my first ever sunset shot with my Canon.

First sunset shot

I know pointing the lens directly at sun probably isn’t the best idea and something I won’t be doing on a regular basis, but I had to do it just this once!

Here’s the next one taken a few minutes afterwards. It was great to visually see the sun dipping down behind the horizon.

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I quite like the next one, it’s a bit flat but looks good as a 16:9 desktop wallpaper on our HTPC/TV.

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There wasn’t much in the way of trees or bushes up on the hill to create interesting sillouettes. I did try a few with whatever I could find but the wind was so strong the results were just too blurred. Here’s about the best one.

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The sun’s almost down now

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It  really was starting to get very cold up there now that the sun had set, the biting wind was really starting to freeze my hands. Next time, I’ll bring a flask of hot coffee with me!!

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I’d been up there for about an hour and a half and Curtie called me on my phone to see if i was o.k. and did I want picking up in the car. She was watching me from the front garden using our binoculars and could see me waving my tripod about fighting against the wind to put it back inside the carry case.

Back down from the hill and out of the wind, I could start to feel my fingers again. I can’t wait to try this again, maybe when there’s a little more cloud about.

Here’s a couple for my picture archive.  The first was taking a few years ago by Curstie  early one morning in  November from our back door step.


..and finally this was taking by me last August with my Fuji 5800. I’d been reading an article on HDR photography and wanted to try it out. I took a bracketed photo at 1/3 increments and merged with Photomatix

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Shuttle Atlantis takes off

Earlier today, NASA launched Shuttle Atlantis on it’s 11 day sprint mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble telescope.

After launch, Atlantis will rendezvous with Hubble, grab the telescope with its robotic arm and pull it on to a work platform to give astronauts easy access to its interior.

Crew members will install new instruments and thermal blankets, repair two existing instruments, replace gyroscopes, batteries and a unit that stores and transmits science data to Earth.

The overhaul will be carried out over five spacewalks. Astronauts will remove the existing Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 instrument to make way for the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).Spacewalkers will also take out the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR) device, installed during Hubble’s first servicing mission to correct for the blurring problem with the telescope’s main mirror.

Repairs will be made to the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS), which suffered a power failure in 2004, and to the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), which was hit by an electrical short in 2007.

Astronauts will also replace a worn-out fine guidance sensor, helping to maintain a robust ability to point the telescope.After the work to Hubble is complete, Atlantis will boost the telescope to a higher altitude, ensuring that it survives the tug of Earth’s gravity for the remainder of its operating lifetime.

One day, I hope to make it to Florida to witness one of these launches…one day !!

Let’s hope someone remembers to pack the wrench 🙂

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