365 2023 Hipstamatic ~ week 6

This week I decided to use a more straightorward Hipstapak, this time the Coney Island combo. It consists of the Big Bertha lens ~inspired by the carnival and summertime fun, it pops saturation in cyan, and the Ringmaster 71 film, which adds subtle contrast in the shadows to increase drama in the image. So without further ado..

Sunday 5th February
Sophie and I went on an outing this time to Barnard Castle, Egglestone Hall Gardens, and Egglestone Abbey. There will be posts on the Universe Blog at some point.

Egglestone Abbey

Monday 6th February
Mad busy work day, nearly forgot to take a photo but the sunset saved the day!

Wardley Sunset

Tuesday 7th February
One thing I learned in my other 365’s, if you see a good sunrise, take it and have a day off from thinking about what you’re going to do for your daily shot, especially on busy work days.

Wardley Sunrise

Wednesday 8th February
The photo’s I took for today were all a bit meh when I sat down to sort them out and pick one for the day. So I did a ‘slice-of-life’ corner shot. This is where the magic happens 🤣.

The magic corner.

Thursday 9th February
Today Phil and I went into the toon, me for the dentist, he for the record shops. (I know ‘he’ isn’t right but it rhymes with me quite nicely and you know what I meant anyway.)

Vinyl

Friday 10th February
Not the best photo of Vinnie, but it was the best of a bad bunch. Can’t win’em all.

Lord Vincent

Saturday 11th February
Another outing with Sophie, this time to Beamish Museum, the Living Museum of The North to give it it’s full title. They’re in the process of adding a 1950’s town and have a farm and 4 shops/cafés up and running but more on that in a Universe post at some point. I love the trams.

Tram

So another week over.

📱😊

365 2023 ~ Hipstamatic week 5

This week I decided to try one of the more avant garde Hipstapaks and chose the Kaleidoscope combination which consists of the Kally X3 lens, a multi-lens that captures several images and gives you a kaleidoscopic photo, and the Brewster 1817 film which adds a rich and amorphous black matte to the image.

So, without further ado…

Sunday, 29th January
Phil’s son Carl visited with his herd of kids including his eldest daughter Katie, who we rarely see as she’s at University now and having her best life by the sounds of it. I took a picture of her with Phil for him, proud Grandad that he is. I’m not sure I’m keen on this effect for people shooting, so I also kept a straight shot, and decided not to shoot people with this set up.

Katie and Phil

Monday, 30th January
Back to work but nothing floated my boat there. When I got home though and stood at the back in the conservatory with my cup of tea, I noticed some clouds in the distance that looked as if they were fading Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds on their way out. I quite like the effect on the houses, like castles in the sky, but houses 🤣. I resolved to shoot more buildings.

Kelvin – Helmmholtz, maybe.

Tuesday, 31st January
The building works in the field beyond our little patch at work, have resulted in a ‘Marketing Suite’ in the corner of the land we’re on. I’ve been watching it come together, and this is the result. Our car park is going to be a nightmare when people start coming to it. There’ll no doubt be strongly worded emails going to our estate manager, who’s about as useful as a chocolate fireguard. The businesses in the units do not like their spaces being usurped.

Marketing Suite.

Wednesday, 1st February
ASDA day today, after an easy morning at work, shouldn’t say that too loud, it’s a rarity. Still had it in my mind to find buildings, and next door to ASDA is our local cinema complex, Cineworld, which I think is quite an attractive building, though it’s been a long time since I went in it. It used to have a long advertising board up where the Cineworld letters are, with posters of all the movies showing, but that’s gone so I’ve no idea what’s going on in there.

Cineworld.

Thursday, 2nd February
Chores and laundry day today, as well as writing the next episode of Prudhoe remastered for the Sunday post on the Universe blog. I resorted to experimenting indoors, with mixed results. Tried the cats but that was a mess, so a simple window shot seemed to work best. I like how the Teddy squad are elevated to look out of the window and you can see the dip in the bedclothes where Winnie had been ensconced.

Windows

Friday, 3rd February
I needed to finish off a film before going out on Sunday with Sophie for our next adventure, and as the weather was bearable I drove up to the Angel and took some pictures in the spooky memorial hedge thingy. But of course, shot the angel too, which I think worked quite well.

The Angel of the North.

Saturday, 4th February
I was hoping for a decent sunset to shoot the houses over the road at the back, but you get what you get and it didn’t turn out too bad.

Sunset on Manor Gardens

So that’s another week over. On the whole I enjoyed it, it made me think differently as to what might work and what wouldn’t and I like the surreal results, mostly. Now to choose the next film and lens combo for week 6, arty-farty or straight up, hmmmm, decisions!

Hipstamatic 365 out~takes

I’ve been taking more than 1 shot a day most days, so figured I’d do a monthly post of the outakes I liked best. Which probably will mostly be of the cats.

Liddy in her giant Christmas coverall PJ thingy.
Cal at South Shields
Winnies latest new-place-to-sleep
Lord Vincent
Winnie
Winnie on the roof
Sunrise

C’est tout!

365 2023 Hipstamatic week 3

This week I chose a Jane lens, which boosts contrast and saturation, with Robusta film, a textured discoloured matte film.

Sunday January 15th
Shelley and Liddy came over in the afternoon, and of course I had to take a picture of Liddy eating her way through a huge piece of rainbow cake whilst wearing pink headphones, as you do.

Liddy the Pink

Monday January 16th
Nothing out of the ordinary when I got up for work, still in the dark here. I washed and had breakfast, looked out of my window and ka-boom, severe snowing going on. It lasted for about 20 minutes, stopped, and was all gone by the time I got home from work. Poor show really, sigh. I know other parts of the country got a lot more for a few days, but we missed out.

Snow Day! Well Snow 20 minutes at least.

Tuesday January 17th
I tried to get a decent picture of Teddy, my boss’s dawg, but everytime I bent to take a shot he came trotting forward for a fuss, so he’s blurry. Serves him right!

Blurry Teddy

Wednesday January 18th
I don’t have a sweet tooth, and me having a cake or dessert is rare as rocking horse poo, so when Shelley brought cakes on Sunday I left mine sitting in the fridge. On Wednesday I didn’t have time for lunch at work and it was way past lunchtime when I got home, so I bit the bullet so to speak and had this. It is white chocolate (which I don’t really like) cream, (which is OK in soup, curry & chilli etc) and packed tight biscuit crumbs, making this a cheesecake apparently. Being that cheese is the only part of this I would like, I couldn’t taste any at all, but I have to say this was bloody lush! I’m a convert!

A no-apparent-cheese cheesecake.

Thursday January 19th
On Thursday Phil and I did chores. The biggest one clearing out one of the kitchen cupboards which had got to a point where you couldn’t get one thing out without another falling out with it. It’s all very neat and dejunked now, and to celebrate we took ourselves out to lunch at the Red Lion in Boldon. Had the awesummyummiest scampi and chips with mushy peas 🤣, you can’t beat 70’s pub grub! They do it really well at the Red Lion.

Phil & menu.

Friday January 20th
Friday was a busy day, Phil at work in the morning and I got more housework done, then spent the afternoon doing a post for the Universe blog. I got a cyclamen not so long ago, and it’s a bit quirky compared to normal houseplants in that it likes to be cool, doesn’t like the sunshine, needs moist soil all the time, and goes dormant in summer so you have to hide it away in the shade. I mean, what’s that about? Anyhoo I’m renowned for causing death to houseplants so getting a complicated one probably wasn’t my greatest idea, but encouraged by my continuing success with a spider plant I took the plunge. So far, so good.

Pinky.

Saturday January 21st
Friday night is always music night here and we play youtube videos of bands/singers we like, CD’s and vinyl until the wee hours and imbibe a few sherbets along the way. So Saturday morning is the one after the night before and a gentle day is required. It is a cold but blue sky day today and I took another shot for my ongoing House Across the Road series.

The House Across the Road, and visiting magpie.

So week 3 is over, and I really like this lens and film combo. The lens is sharp and clear and the film has warm tones and a nice bit of texture, but not too much. Onwards though….

📱😊

365 2023 Hipstamatic week 2

This week I’m trying a combination of Lumière Lens with Delauney 1941 film. The film is named after Sonia Delauney, a French artist who co-founded the Orphic Cubist art movement, and the film adds a cubist filter to pictures and does funny things with colour.

Sunday January 9th
Phil and I went over to the coast and had coffee in Marsden Grotto, a gastro pub now, it started out as a home for a chap known as Jack The Blaster back in 1782.

A lead miner from Allendale, Jack Bates and his wife Jessie moved to the area in 1782. It is alleged he moved into a small cave at Marsden Rock either after refusing to pay rent on his house in Allendale or simply having nowhere to live. Using explosives from a local quarry, he blasted the small cave into a much larger one, earning his nickname “Jack the Blaster” in the process and creating a rent-free and landlord-free home. The dwelling was accessed by zig-zagging stairs down the cliff, thought to be built by Jack. The unusual and eccentric choice of dwelling attracted visitors, which the couple supplied with refreshments at a cost. It is suggested that he became involved in smuggling activities – offering refreshment to smugglers using caves of the coastline to hide contraband cargo.

Marsden Grotto

Monday January 10th
Back to work. The converted farm building in which I work, the land it sits on and surrounding fields are owned by the Duke of Northumberland. He is building 310 houses on the land next to us and last week put up a prefab sales office in our car park. This chap was laying slabs for a path to the office door.

Gadgie

Tuesday January 11th
The rains came, and didn’t stop.

Rain

Wednesday January 12th
I finish work at 2pm on Wednesdays and go straight to Asda to do the weekly shop. The car park in our Asda is down a slight gradient, and it was still raining.

Flood

Thursday, January 13th
Once a month I go to my pal Kendal’s place to have my nails done. I’m not really bothered about them any more but I’ve been going for over 10 years and I’d miss her if I didn’t go, plus she needs the money! This is her 18 month old son William, and a bowl of spaghetti in tomato sauce. He scoops some spaghetti into his spoon nicely, then picks it out of the spoon with his fingers and shoves them in his gob. 🤣 He is quite adorable.

William

Friday, January 14th
I was hoping to do my blogpost for yesterday at this point on Friday. Sigh.

Winnie

Saturday, January 15th
Went to the local shop for a few bits and bobs, a blue sky morning but cold!

Three Tall Trees

And that’s week 2 finished. I quite like this combo of lens and film, but next week I’ll be moving on.

😊 📱

365 2023 Hipstamatic 1

Yet again I’m embarking on a one photo a day for a year project. This will be my fourth, the last one being in 2021. This will be the first time though that I’ve used the iPhone for it, and specifically the Hipstamatic app. If you don’t know what that does, and do want to know, there’s a short explanation HERE.

Doing a 365 project is not easy, especially as time goes on and you are struggling for ideas, but it’s good discipline and keeps photography at the front of your mind. My photography of late has been in the back of my mind, especially when Sophie my shooting pal is away for a few weeks and the weather is not so good ( which is a LOT of the time!). Last year I started shooting with film a lot more and going forward will still be doing that, but that’s not cheap so a 365 with the Contax is not an option, and I’ve done all my other 365’s with my digital DLSRs.

So this will be a deep delve in to what the Hipstamatic can do. I’ll post my week’s shots up, probably every Monday, I’ll also be putting the details of what lens/film combo’s I used. I’ll be using one combination a week to keep each week in a uniform set. There will be pictures of cats, grandkids, Phil, trees, places I go and (hopefully) people I meet, and a few words to go with them.

So without further ado…Welcome to my life ~ 365 days in photographs.

Week One ~ Kantō HP lens, Ina’s 1935 film

January 1st, Sunday. New Years Day
Phil’s daughter Shelley and her daughter Liddy came for a sleepover, as her hubby and son had gone off for a football match and were staying away overnight. I cooked a Sunday roast dinner and then we did music videos, watched a DVD of Liddy in her Drama group end of year all singing/dancing review and had a lovely family evening together.

Liddy & Shelley

January 2nd, Monday
I never tire of being amazed how Winnie navigates Phil’s model desk and the blinds to get on the window sill.

Winnie

January 3rd, Tuesday
Is it too soon for another Winnie shot? I don’t think so, snuggled in her radiator bed.

Winnie

I’d meant to keep going with the same settings but accidentally changed to Odakayu film instead of the Ina’s 🙄. Same lens though.

January 4th, Wednesday
Today was my first day back to work after the festive break, though I’m then off until the following Monday so it wasn’t really a hardship. It was nice to arrive home in proper daylight and with a blue sky for a change!

Blue sky day

January 5th, Thursday
Phil was on a late shift today and I had my Grandson Callum to look after whilst Shelley was at University. It was a great day, we did shopping, went to lunch and then down to Marsden Rocks for a coffee, coke and some photography! I love spending time with Cal, we talked about lots of stuff and had a few laughs, can’t wait to do it again.

Cal learning the Contax!

January 6th, Friday
A day for housework, blogwork and a bit of shopping at Lidl in Pelaw. Pelaw is the residential area over the tracks from Wardley. If you’ve ever seen the movie Get Carter you might remember the Post Office scene

As you can see, the Post Office is now a Greggs Bakery 🙂

Pelaw

Saturday 7th, Saturday
A quiet day today, cold and showery weather. I’ve been mapping out photography outings for when Sophie returns at the end of the month. I couldn’t finish the first week without a shot of Lord Vincent though.

Lord Vincent

So that’s the first week done. Onwards……

Tales from Fraggle Towers ~ October 2022

It’s been a funny old month here at Fraggle Towers with health issues to the fore. Phil had his Corona booster and Flu jab at the beginning of the month and was not well for 3 days, I had mine later on in the month and apart from one day being wierd got through that Ok. But I’ve had a couple of visits to the Doc’s for blood tests and other stuff. Then just this week I twisted somehow getting up from my sofa and did something to my back, with the result that I’m having time off from work. Can’t remember the last time that happened, and if I was able to drive I’d have still gone in. Sigh. Getting old and decrepit is just no fun. I seem to be improving anyway, fingers xt.

Winnie has been to the Vets as she has chronic cystitis they’re trying to get to the bottom of and she’s now on a daily dose of Loxacam which seems to be helping. None of this stops her being as mad as a box of frogs! Out in all weathers and doing a cracking job of rodent disposal.

Winnie Up.

Lord Vincent is hale and hearty, and in between patrolling the perimeter of our bit of the estate and eating for England, he spends most of his time on the bed ~ not one for rain and cold weather. He can’t even be bothered catching a mouse.

Lord Vincent

It’s been great having Sophie back in the country and we’ve had a couple of outings which has given me a good bit of fodder for the Universe Blog and for Fraggle film, though I’m still waiting to receive the scans back for that.

Work has been so busy, I’m getting through 40 people a week on average and I only work 2 & 1/2 days, so it’s full on, but I still get 10 minutes here and there to have a bit of lunch or take Teddy for a quick trot around the carpark. He is such a happy little soul and makes me smile.

Teddy, my BFF

Tonight is Halloween, and all the Grandkids turned up to go out trick or treating, which really is ‘begging for sweets’ apparently, but most of our estate get involved so I have sweets at the door ready and I get to take pictures, though use my iPhone now as the Fuji freaks people out 🤣. Phil and Shelly went with the kids to do the rounds and I stayed home to answer the door. Liddy and Livvy made a good effort at dressing up! Phil tells me that one house had made a fake cemetary on their front lawn, and another had a spooky figure that spoke to the kids as they got near to it and made them jump. Another had a giant spider across the front of their house. ALl good fun and the kids loved it.

Liddy ~ a dead bride 🤣
Livvy ~ zombie schoolgirl (I think!)

The boys are ‘too old’ to dress up being 11 and 12 (pfft!) but are happy to have the sweets of course! To anyone moaning about copying the USA, or commercialising Halloween, or begging for sweets etc I agree, it’s true and I don’t bliddy care, as having the grandkids round laughing and being happy for a daft evening is fine by me. One day they’ll be in their teens and this will just be a memory.

Some neighbourhood kids

Not sure who he’s supposed to be, ? Pennywise
???
another Pennywise I think
who knows?
Jail bait. 😄

So that’s the end of the 10th month and we’re going into Outer~Christmas Land now, as people are mad for it up here. I’m off down South at the weekend to visit with Ben and Lewis, fingers crossed my back has recovered as it’s a long old drive, and I’m dreading sitting still in the car for 5 hours doing it in case it sets it off again, but am thinking pink thoughts, like that’ll help.

Back next time with a November round up so stay tooned!

Scale Scotland model Show report.

We went to Edinburgh on Friday, to the Scale Scotland Model Show, which was held in the amazingly big Murrayfield Rugby Stadium on Saturday.

Peter Vardy 🤣

for a while I thought the chap in the middle was called Peter Vardy, but there were pictures of other chaps wearing shirts with Peter Vardy on them so I realised Mr. Vardy must be a sponsor or suchlike.
Because of Corona the show hadn’t been on for a couple of years, so it was good to be back, and it was very well attended.

This was our exhibition table

Some of Ren’s busts..

Paul’s cars, and Phil’s tank and busts.

Paul’s cars are amazing pieces of work

Phil’s Tank battalion on display..

Phil put his model in the competition and came out with a Gold medal and 3 awards!

We saw a lot of modelers we hadn’t seen in ages, and had a grand day. The chaps running the show are Lovely Scots, not pesky in the slightest, and we’ll be back next year for more of the same.

Tales from Fraggle Towers ~ August 2022

The end of August is nigh, and the official the end of summer. According to meteorological seasons, the first day of autumn arrives on 1 September and then according to the astronomical calendar, autumn will begin on Friday 23. Oddly, The Meteorological Office, which forecasts our weather (or tries to anway) uses the astronomical calendar. 🤷‍♀️

My autumn begins when the green leaves turn gold/red/brown and that isn’t happening yet, so I’m still in Summer, albeit the latter stages. August has been full of the drought, and then torrential downpours which did nothing to alleviate the problems drought is causing. Up here we haven’t had too bad a time of it, no hosepipe bans, and the crops and fields look healthy when I’m driving about anyway, though ponds have dried up across the way.

I got the results of the lung screening back, and whilst I haven’t got lung cancer, there’s a different issue shown up which has to be addressed, and is being. My hedonistic past catching up with me 🙂 . I may, or may not write more about it later, but it’s all a bit new at the minute, anyway I’m not at death’s door so yay!

Work has been mad busy as always, there’s a lot of ear wax in this world! I’ve got a week off coming in September which I’ll be glad for, it will be a staycation as no-one sensible would try and look after our cats, but we’re having a night in Edinburgh as the Scale Scotland Model show is on and it’s one of Phil’s faves. We’re only staying for one night and our lovely next door neighbour Cheryl will come in and put food down for them.

August is when the schools shut for summer, and I had Cal and Liddy to stay and took them out for a trip to the Northumberland Zoo whilst their Mum went to a funeral.

us at the zoo
snack break

Liddy loves horses and has riding lessons everyweek, but on bigger ones than this chap.

Mini horse

They loved the marmasets and Cal turned his camera round so the little guy could see himself! 🥴

selfie

This is a Scottish Wildcat, and the first time I’ve managed to see it as it hasn’t appeared on the other occasions I’ve been, it’s usually hiding, which is pesky, surprise surprise. Caught it at feeding time though.

Pesky Scottish Wildcat

The café at the zoo is pants, so I took them to Northhumberlandia which has a nice one, and hadn’t expected it to have 300 Harley Davison riders in it’s grounds. I got chatting to one of them in the café queue and he was telling me that most weekends, chapters of the riding groups meet up and go riding to places together. Their next event was the following weekend in Scotland, which is apparently the most anticipated and best of the year.

Angels of Hell, (and Scotland and Wales).

It was nice to spend some time with the kids and they had a sleepover.

Winnie and Lord Vincent have been enjoying the nice weather

Winny and Vinnie

also their assassination rates have gone up somewhat. Winnie has brought home 3 shrews and a rat and left them on our dining room floor mat to be admired, her modus operandi is unknown as they are always perfectly intact with no sign of damage.

a shrew

Lord Vincent is a different matter. He has caught two small mice which he announced by mewing loudly so we’d come and look, but he wouldn’t give them up and ate them 🥴. Sigh. Vinnie also caught a small bird, parts of which we found one morning in the living room along with copious amounts of feathers. I don’t mind about the rodents really, they’re not endangered species, (well maybe to Winnie and Vinnie), but I hate it when one of them gets a bird. What can you do? They both have noisy bells on their collars at least or it would be a massacre out there.

It was my birthday last week and I got taken out to dinner, to an Italian Restaurant over the train tracks in Pelaw. It’s called the Olive Verde and is above a rough and tumble pub in the main street, it does a small but very nice menu, has friendly staff and the food is good quality and (so far) is reasonably priced.

Happy Birthday to me

The big plus is it’s only a 10 minute walk from home and we were treated to a little sunset over the metro station on the way home.

I haven’t done much with my Fuji, and Sophie has only been home for the Raby weekend but I’ve been employing the iPhone camera and hipstamatic app when necessary, and am still taking my Contax Aria in hand, with a film sent off and one on the go. But I do belong to The Scavenger Hunt group on Flickr where there are 50 items to shoot within a year’s timeframe. I particularly liked my attempt at ‘Spices’.

Spices.

I’ve watched a few films this month,

The Gray Man starring Ryan Gosling.~ Netflix. A so-so action movie, a good review HERE by Dix/Eddie/the Pesky Scot, delete as applicable.
Samaritan starring Silvester Stallone. The reviews I read liked it better than I did- nicely filmed, minimal CGI but hokey script and acting veering between OTT and wooden. Still, it’s Sly, so there’s that.
Dog starring a wonderful dog, and Channing Tatum. Highly recommend it, did I mention the wonderful dog? She is fab, Tatum does OK too. Eddie has an excellent review HERE.
The Railway Man starring Colin Firth, Jeremy Irvine and Nicole Kidman. A true story about a chap called Eric Lomax who becomes a POW in a Japanese POW camp in Singapore and has to work on the Thai-Burma railway. In spite of being tortured for a spurious offence, he manages to survive the war, but suffers PTSD for a long while after, until there’s a reconciliation at the end. (Trying not to do a spoiler but it’s a true story so that doesn’t matter really 🙄). Phil had read the book, and felt though it was told in a different way than the autobiography the movie was based on, it was all there, the flashback sequences being particularly good. Definitely recommend. Eddie wasn’t as keen so for a different POV his review is HERE.

So that’s about it, I’ll be back when September ends, so stay tooned.

Tales from Fraggle Towers ~ July 2022

The beginning of July didn’t start out too well for me. Whilst walking Teddy (the dog at work) around the block I stepped on a manhole and fell down a drain, which is a sentence I didn’t expect to ever write, but there it is. The Manhole looked fine but the setting of it was secretly broken, so when my foot went on it the damned evil thing flipped over taking a fair amount of my shin skin with it and I ended up half in half out of the drain it covered and in a world of pain. I’d managed to hold on to Teddy’s lead and got us back to the office, missing one of my clogs which had deserted me for the dark deep comfort of the aforementioned drain. Iodine and dressings were applied from an out of date 1st aid kit and I’d just about stopped shaking when my next client arrived and I got back to work. In fairness my boss asked me if I wanted to cancel my clients and go to the walk in centre, but the thought of sitting in there for 3 hours was prohibitive when I knew I’d be home in a couple of hours and Dr.Phil would sort me out.

Don’t look at the photos if you’re squeamish BTW.

the injuries
Dr.Phil in action.
shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.

4 weeks on and my left leg is just about healed now and hasn’t needed dressings for 10 days, but the right leg still has a stubborn hole in it that’s taking it’s time, so everynight we are still cleaning and dressing it, but that’s fine, it didn’t get infected at least.

We had a 2 day heatwave here where temperatures went to 33-35 degrees C, though it went on longer in the rest of the country. We closed down at 2pm at work on the 35 day and went home. I will never moan about cool, grey days ever again. (That’s possibly going to end up being a fib.) Phil and I sat in the coolest room and wilted through the afternoon until it cooled down in the evening. It’s still getting pretty warm this week, but it’s bearable.

That reminds me, my MOT is due this week and I’m going to enquire about having my air con fixed. Driving isn’t fun when you’re being roasted.

Half way through July I went for a lung scan. Both Phil and I were contacted by Gateshead Hospital to see if we would like to have lung screening, and we both did so it happened. 4-6 weeks for the results. I’m quite amazed really, our NHS is on it’s knees but it still keeps going with the screenings, boobograms, poo sticks, cervical smears, lungs, prostates, you name it, they’ll screen it. It makes sense financially of course, catching things early means less long term costly treatment. Anyway results in 4-6 weeks, and then we’ll know if our hedonistic unhealthy youth and mid years have done for us.

In the last week I went on a course to Rotherham to learn how to use a new ear irrigating machine. It was an NHS run course rather than a manufacturer’s course which I’m more used to attending. The differences made me smile, on a Manufacturers training course you get put up in a nice hotel, have Danish pastries and coffee before you start the course in the morning, nice buffet lunch provided, free pens and leatherbound folders for your notes. On the NHS course it was get yourself to the course, coffee and biscuits, bring your own lunch, paper and pens 😊. That’s how it should be though, can’t have the NHS buying our lunches! The course was OK, the teacher went over a lot of stuff I already knew from my original training, but nice to see what I’d forgotten, and apart from an NHS audiologist and an RAF nurse, the other people, were GP practice nurses or receptionists wanting to add this string to their bow and didn’t have that depth of knowledge. I stayed in a Welcome Inn the night before, cheap and no breakfast included. To amuse myself I did a photo shoot which I’m entitling “Cheap Hotel”


I’m using the new machine at work and loving it, though I forget to take my foot off the pedal sometimes and shoot water everywhere. I’ll get the hang of it.

A lady came to my clinic to have wax removed a couple of weeks ago, but I found an earring~back in her ear instead. 🙄 Don’t wear earrings to bed people!

Finally, the cats of course,

Winnie in the heatwave days

a real gone cat

and Lord Vincent found some cool shade

So July, on the whole I’m glad it’s over and we’re in to August. I’m looking forward to taking the grandkids out for a day shortly, to the zoo and see the snow leopards. Also my birthday’s coming up, always good for a nice dinner out courtesy of Phil. Sophie is back for a weekend and bringing her hubby Mentat with her and we’re all going off to visit Raby Castle, Phil too. Hopefully I’ll keep upright and have a good month!

Stay tooned!

😊 📱

Tales from Fraggle Towers ~ April/May 2022

I’ve been rubbish at keeping up the monthly Fraggle Towers posts, but hey-ho, life and all that. Anyway here is a potted update on our doings.

April saw Phil and I attend our first gig since the Covid thing began, and we went into Newcastle and met up with Phil’s son Carl and his Missis Karly, to see the band Stone Broken, which I’m sure you’ve all heard of 🤣. Phil and I started out in our regular pub Rafferty’s on Pink Lane, which has cheap alcohol and a floor your feet stick to.

Rafferty’s

The venue was The Riverside, which is beside the river Tyne (not being funny, we have a Lakeside pub that’s nowhere near a lake 🙄) a small venue which gets packed. I must admit to a certain amount of trepidation at being stuck in a room with a few hundred people, none wearing masks. I had one on, but it seemed overwhelmingly pointless as I had to remove it to have a drink so ended up maskless too.

Family outing

Newcastle at night is lush for photos

Tyne at night
The Bridge and the bridge.

The Band were great

Stone Broken

and a good time was had by all, plus we didn’t get Covid and die, so result!

Phil and I went back there in May to see a brilliant American Southern Rock/Soul band, Robert Jon and the Wreck and they were fantastic.

Robert Jon and The Wreck

We’ve been checking out a couple of local restaurants we hadn’t been to before, the first one was pretty poor food-wise, though a nice looking pub, in a lovely setting near our wildlife reserve. It was cheap, which was probably why we got oven chips and frozen veg with our main course, Phil had a microwaved pie (soggy pastry) and I got away with scampi which it’s hard to ruin really. Won’t be going back.

The Cock Crow Inn at Hebburn

The other one is called Le Olive Verdi and is a lovely Italian restaurant on the top floor of The Pelaw Inn, had a fab dinner, steak in 3 peppercorn sauce and it came with fresh veg, not cheap, but worth the money, and we can walk there so it’s all good and we will be returning.

clock at Le Olive Verdi

The cats:- Lord Vincent has been his usual zen self, eating, sleeping, sitting under bushes and plodding about.

Lord Vincent

WInnie has been on a killing spree. I came downstairs one morning to find a dead mouse on our dining room mat, it wasn’t mauled, just looked like it was asleep. A few days later Phil found a dead blackbird in the TV room. Then one day whilst Phil was at work she came running past me with something in her mouth, I chased her upstairs to the bedroom where she had something under the bed which was tweeting. It must have got free from her and hid as she came charging around to the other side of the bed whereby I picked her up and evicted her. I couldn’t see anything under the bed and it’s too heavy for me to move so I shut the door and left as I had to go out for a couple of hours. When I came back I could hear a constant tweeting from behind the bedroom door. I opened it and something ran very quickly under a chest of drawers, so I left it alone again. Still could hear the tweeting. I tried again a couple of hours later and this time it ran into the bathroom.

Tweety Pie

I shut the door and waited for Phil to come home. Phil managed to pick him up and gently carried him into the bushes over the road, where, we hoped forlornly, his mother would hear him and come and fetch him, but Lord Vincent had sneakily followed Phil outside and as soon as Phil’s back was turned, well, need I go on?

Finally I came downstairs one day and saw

😳

which was a bit of a shock. I couldn’t believe Winnie had managed to catch this big magpie and get him through the catflap without a sound or feathers being every where and thought he must have managed to get himself in through it. But then when I checked our hedgehog camera, well… you need to set it to a slow playback speed to see it as she’s fast as fek! Keep your eyes on the top right corner right at the beginning.

So she dropped it through the catflap and it must have got away from her pretty quickly. Her ambition is boundless and I dread the day she decides Woody the wood pigeon is her next victim.

Even though she’s lethal, she’s still cute.

Killer Queen

and also makes us laugh

It’s all gravy.

Work is still full on, and I’m busy as a tree. Little Teddy is worming is way into my affections and I take him out for a walk when ever I have 10 mins spare, which is about twice a day. He mainly sits with Lynn our office manager barricaded in as he’s apt to escape.

Teddy and Lynn

Phil’s Giant Tank is coming along, and this weekend is his clubs model show, so I’ll be attending on Sunday to photograph the competition tables and winners for the club’s Facebook page.

phil’s giant tank.

Entertainment-wise I haven’t seen any movies I’d recommend, maybe The Contractor as it has a good cast- Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Kiefer Doodah. It’s a serviceable action movie, but nothing new. Bird Box with Sandra Bullock started out well, and she was great all the way through but there were too many good coincidences at the end. Phil wanted to re-watch Oblivion with Tom Cruise as he got the blueray but we gave up before the end as we’d had wine/whisky and couldnt get our heads around what the fek was going on. I’ll wiki it one day. 😃

TV has been better, we got through to the end of Ozarks and are currently in the last season of Better Call Saul, both have been outstanding. We are now rewatching the first 2 seasons of Das Boot as the 3rd one is out and we forgot a lot of 1 & 2 as it was a couple of years ago, looking forward to seeing the 3rd, it is excellent.

Reading, well I’ve read all 47 of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series twice, and am starting again at the beginning, I just love these books. I have bought other books in the meantime, but as yet I can’t let go of Wolfe to read them instead. A strange addiction!

That’s all folks. More tales from Fraggle Towers to come, eventually. If/when I remember!

📷 😊

Not the 365 ~ movies,cats,Spring etc

Thought I’d do a little catch up as I’ve been busy with the 365 over on the Universe Blog and I just know y’all are missing my Movie Monday reviews. We are still watching movies, so I’m going to do quick dash through what I thought about them.

Dead Presidents 1995 and Phil’s choice as he had it on DVD and I hadn’t seen it. Starring Larenz Tate, Keith David, Chris Tucker, Freddy Rodrigues, N’Bushe Wright and Bokeem Woodbine. It’s based partly on the real-life experiences of Haywood T. Kirkland (aka Ari S. Merretazon), whose true story was detailed in the book  Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans by Wallace Terry, it chronicles the life of Anthony Curtis (Tate) and covers him from high school to the vietnam war and then home again to where he and his pals rob a bank. A well made film focussing on the experences of black veterans, well acted and paced, co-written, produced, and directed by Allan and Albert Hughes with skill and obvious passion. I imagine Spike Lee watched this and made notes for his Da 5 Bloods movie. I enjoyed this one much more. Fraggle Rating: underated and well worth seeing.

The Mule 2018. Clint Eastwood produces and directs from a script by Nick Schenk. Also based on the true story of a New York times article by Sam Dolnick “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year-Old Drug Mule” about a WW2 veteran called Leo Sharp who became a drug courier for the cartel in his 80’s. Well this was fun, Clint has still got it and commands the screen even though he’s in his dotage now. Not sure how but he looks good even with that many wrinkles. Anyway it’s his movie though he’s ably assisted by Bradly Cooper on his tail as Colin Bates a D.E.A agent, Michael Pêna as Bates sidekick Trevino, Dianne Wiest as Clint’s estranged wife and a fairly small part for Lawrence Fishburn as Bates’s supervisor. Fraggle rating: Top Notch, especially for Eastwood fans.

The Alamo 2004. I’m sure someone out there will say this isn’t as good as the original Alamo movie made in 1960 starring John Wayne as Davy Crockett (perleeze 🙄🥴 blerk, I do NOT like John Wayne one bit) but Phil wanted the 2004 version as he really liked it so that’s what we did. No need to explain the plot I think, but just in case. In the 1830’s Texas had a revolution, small groups of Texians (that’s what they were called back then) gathered at a little town on the Mexican border called San Antonio where the Alamo compound is, and the Mexican army under the President Santa Anna came and killed them all. Dennis Quade plays Sam Houston, Billy Bob Thornton ~ Davy Crockett, Jason Patrick ~Jim Bowie and Patrick Wilson as William B Travis. I enjoyed this, the characters are well drawn and acted, and John Lee Hancock directs with a steady hand, giving the main characters room to breath. It’s a good history lesson too as we are ‘doing’ American History documentaries at the minute and it all ties in. Fraggle Rating: Good +++

Aquaman 2018. A D.C superhero movie that I hadn’t got round to. Well I have now and it wasn’t totally great, however it does have good points. Firstly it is stunningly beautiful to look at. The CGI under sea world building is easily as good as Avatar which sprang to mind straight away. Jason Momoa who plays him is well, how to put it, built like a brick s**t house as my Mum used to say, has a twinkle in his eye and gave a committed performance, as did Amber Heard as Princess Mera of Atlantis who wants to stop her brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson again) from going to war with humans and needs Aquaman (named Arthur Curry of all things) to step up, return to Atlantis and save the world. William Dafoe is phoning in a performance as the Vizier of Atlantis, and Nicole Kidman looks entirely out of place as a renegade queen who escapes atlantis, washes up at a lighthouse where the keeper Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) rescues her, falls in love with her, impregnates her and then shortly after has to be a single parent after Atlantian soldiers come to take her back to marry whoever she ran away from. Also Dolph Lundgren is in the mix as an ally King to King Orm. There’s plot holes, a daft script and some dodgy dialogue, BUT this is one of D.C’s more light hearted movies after the darkness of Batman et al, and it was a blast from start to brilliant finish. Fraggle Rating: A mixed bag but well worth seeing.

That’s it for movies!

As most of you who follow this blog also follow the Universe blog, you already know I’m doing a 365 weekly post over there, but other life still goes on of course, and I take photo’s of that along the way. Last Sunday was Mother’s Day here, and Phil’s lovely daughter popped over with an afternoon tea for Phil and I to enjoy for the day. So nice of her to do this.

Afternoon tea. And dinner. And sandwiches for work the next day!

We still have Sophie’s cats! It’s been over 3 months now and Sophie isn’t back until at least the end of May/beginning of June so we have a ways to go yet. They are a pain in the arse and a total joy depending on what mood they are in, and I can’t resist taking pictures of them.

Sofa Day
Vinnie in default position
For two of these shots I had to get the stepladder out to retrieve her 🙄
looking for mischief.
ready for action

I’ve been enjoying having a few non rainy days and getting out to take photo’s for the 365, and also found other things along the way.

Swans on the muddy day!
Target Rocks, South Shields
Badass Crow

I found these fragments on the coast. I think it’s a letter of heartbreak, or castigation, I can’t make it all out, but it’s on a broken plate or something. Strange.

broken

The hedgehogs have woken up and are visiting every night now, but we’ve also had a little one that visits during the day, so managed to get a couple of shots.

Lucy

Hedgehogs are not usually out during the day, and this one is quite small, but she appears to be well, eating, drinking and running about well, so we are not too worried.

And finally, Spring is happening, at last, and soon the Happy Eater tree will do it’s glorious display, I can’t wait for warmer times!

Springading!