Days 246 & 247

On Saturday night my hubby took me out to dinner, but really it was a surprise Birthday dinner for me! I’ve kept the balloons, and before they go down I will suck the helium out and sound like a chipmunk for a while, cos it’s the law 🙂

day 246 ~ my balloons
The Famalam

Today the weather is mad, I’m look out the window at blue sky and sunshine, 30 minutes ago I took todays shot.

Day 247 ~ end of.

I think we can safely say summer is over.

Day 241

Yay today I got a 200 followers notice for this blog! 🤣 Although really there’s only a few regulars that comment here.. (thanks loads Pete, Kim, Michel, Naomi, April & Eddy) so what the rest of youse are up to is anyones guess 😀

Today it was lovely to see the munchkins again as it’s been a while since they visited.

day 241 ~ munchkins

Mum Shelley has kept them busy over the school holidays and is relieved they’re going back to school next week! Liddy will be joining Cal at ‘big school’, she’s really looking forward to it too.

A bit more footage of Harry, at least we think it’s Harry, could be a different one really, they all look alike 😀 I think this video is clearer than yesterdays, though still need some positioning refinement I think.

Day 239

Another blue sky day here for most of the day, but the forecast was and is thunderstorms and rain on and off through the night. The first one turned up here about 7pm, its leading edge illuminated by the sun for a little while until the sun was subsumed and the air grew dark and rumbled and grumbled. A few flashes of electric light and not much rain, it passed over quickly. Waiting for the next one now.

Day 239 ~ Stormzy

In other news, another attempt at catching the hedgehog on the trail camera last night. Abject failure yet again. 🙄 The hedgehog came, ate his biscuits and left without us seeing him, and so we put some more out incase he came back and caught Mrs.Fluffy the mouse botherer stuffing her face with them. None of that turned up on the camera. Sigh. I’ve reset the settings and will try again tonight! 3rd time lucky and fingers xt!

Day 234

I’m having such a lovely birthday today. Just got back from lunch out with Phil and his sister Annette and her hubby Brian joined us at the pub we went to. I had my favourite pub luncheon the world – scampi, fat fries, salad and tartar sauce, it was delicious! Phil surprised me this morning by having got me a load of Marvel Blu-rays to fill in the gaps in my collection and I still have wine and chocolates to get into tonight. Thanks to all my friends on here for loads of best wishes, and especially to Kim who went and did this…

Day 234 ~ Birthday Girl

Day 232

I go to work in an old farmhouse that’s been converted into modern units, there’s our hearing clinic, an accountant, a chiropractor, a marketing guy, a specialist in outdoor gear and a neuro surgeon. The 2 units opposite us have been empty for ages though, but I like their modern way of being within the old stone work. The Duke of Northumberland is the owner of our building, and Northumberland Estates manages 100,000 acres (400 km2), directly managing 4,000 acres (16 km2) of forestry and 20,000 acres (81 km2) of farmland, with approximately 100 tenant farmers managing the remaining bulk of the land. The current Duke is the 12th one from a peerage that goes back to 1551, and is part of the Percy family who took over the Earldom in 1776. The family seat is Alnwick Castle (Hogwarts if you’re an American reader 🙂 ) which I’ve featured on the Universe Blog HERE if you’re interested in that kind of history.

Anyways, now and again the Northumberland Estates does maintenance. A couple of weeks ago there was repointing done on the old stonework, and this week we’ve got decorators. The repointers were quiet chaps, but the older of the two painters has brought along a portable radio and sings badly and loudly with the songs he knows. I’ve had to open my windows for him to work on the outsides, so pulled the blinds down to give my clients some privacy- I mean, who needs an audience when you’re having your ears sucked out? – so it was quite strange sitting in my office with a disembodied voice serenading me with out of tune Kylie songs and the like.

Still it makes a change from just having pigeons.

Day 232 ~ Man up

Day 221

The Helios 44m-4 58mm f/2 lens is my newish toy, not really new as 2nd (or more!) hand, an Ebay purchase for under £40. I’d read about it on a facebook post and wanted to have a go myself. It’s main claim to fame seems to be it produces swirly bokeh, but that’s only half the story really.

It was produced in Russia (the old Soviet Union) by Jupiter among others from 1958 till 1992 and is one of the most mass produced lenses in the world, so it’s easy to get one cheap on Ebay! It’s made available in different mount sizes, but mine is an M42 mount so I had to buy one of those too!

The lens is built like a tank, and is heavier than a similar size newer lens, and has manual focus, which on mine runs smoothly, and an aperture ring that clicks on to whichever you want to use.

Helios 44m-58mm f/2

This swirly bokeh effect has what is called, optical vignetting, which means the bokeh balls (out of focus bits) become more elipsoid as you move away from the centre of the image and looks like it’s swirling around the subject.

swirly bokeh

I tried it out on flowers on a recent trip out to Raby Castle with Sophie, when we went to shoot the butterflies and bees in the gardens there. It took me a while to work out that the distance between you and the subject, and the subject and background, is instrumental in getting the swirly effect. Also a goodly amount of foliage is helpful. That one above is probably the most overt one I managed.

But even without swirly bokeh, the lens is a little gem. There is a certain feel to the images it produces that I can’t really put into words, but is different from the newer, more perfect optics we are used to today.

not swirly bokeh 🙂

I can see myself using this as my go-to lens instead of the 35mm. The adapter mount I bought is from Gobe who do great camera stuff at reasonable prices, the mount is metal and solid, and fits the fuji perfectly.


There are 40-50 Helios lenses of varying sizes and mounts, they were certainly prolific.

The daily shot is me loving my lens! 😀

Day 221 ~ Helios 44m 58mm f/2. And me.

Day 220

Phil and I went into Newcastle today, and of course a camera came too. I can’t believe I’ve never noticed this building facade in Northumberland Street before!

Four Statues

Going clockwise from the top left, the statues are of Thomas Bewick (1755 – 1828) who was a world renowned wood engraver, ornithologist and artist.

Harry Hotspur (1366 – 1403) which was a nickname given due to his bravery in battle, particularly against the Scots and the French. His real name was Sir Henry Percy and he died fighting in a rebellion against Henry IV.

Roger Thornton (?-1429)  became Newcastle’s mayor on three occasions as well as an MP. He made his fortune as a merchant in spite of coming from a poor background.

   Sir John Marley (1590 – 1673)  Royalist Mayor of Newcastle who defended the city against an invading Scottish army in 1644 and remained as Mayor after the English Civil War.    

Can’t resist the wonderful architecture of Central Station so that’s the daily today! Also that clock’s wrong 😀

Day 220 ~ Central

Day 206

Hottest day on record in some parts of Great Britain, and earlier today it was too horrid moving about, so no choice really but to sit in the garden and have a G&T!

Day 206 ~ G&T @ 29C

In other news our new Prime Minister has been making a shiny bright new cabinet of Brexit preferring MP’s after axing most of the old ones, and those he didn’t axe, upped and left. His new cabinet is built around the team that delivered the Brexit Leave result in 2016, with the odious arch- Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg now leader of The House of Commons & Lord President of the Council. Worse still is the promotion of Dominic Cummings, inventor of “£350-million-pounds-for-the- NHS” bus ( a blatant lie) and the “take back control” slogan during the campaign. This paragon of perfidy will now be running the country in the background while Boris blabbles on about Uniting the Country (not an effing chance mate) getting a better deal from Europe (good luck with that hah!) and supplying thousands more teachers and policemen with a budget of zilch. Mr Cummings was a great promoter of fake news in his Brexit campaign and last year was found in contempt of parliament for his lyin’ and cheatin’ ways.

If you’ve never seen the channel 4 drama “An uncivil war” it’s well worth a watch to see how he manipulated the news, and everyone around him.

My mind keeps boggling at how this has all come about. The North East region where I live has a majority of left wing/socialist voters, and the vast majority of these people voted for Brexit, thereby facilitating a Right Wing Government the likes of which I’ve not seen before. I just do not understand why they couldn’t grasp that Europe wasn’t their enemy, the Tories were, and will be even more so now. Well, to get all biblical on your asses, they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.

I spent a little while making this. Can you tell I’m not H.P??

day 206 ~ Were doomed.