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31 - Woken earlier by the sound of the bin men, snoozed on then up around 8:15am . .PS left at 10am . . walked late and ended up sat in the biting cold wind filming a helicopter on the other side of the bay for a while.Gave a whole different perspective on things, being zoomed in to the max, from so far way - almost like being airborne and looking down at it. . PCd/TVd the day away, most of it with the heating on!. .ate a tin of beef curry mixed into a saucepan of boiled rice with four pieces of bread and butter followed by large amounts of Mum donated chocolate. . disconnected the phone and quietly TVd the evening away, feeling down of course. Popped my head outside at midnight just to hear what was going on. A few fireworks and much 'crowd' noise and cheering from the direction of the distant harbour. Unusually, Sally appeared to be a little spooked by it all. Not so much the fireworks I think - more the crowd noise. Me too! My worst nightmare of course, but maybe just maybe, one of these days I'll have to be somewhere in sight of the harbour on a new year, just to know how awful it actually is down there. (It didn't occur to me at the time, but I guess I 'could' have had a peek at it all via the PC and the Quayside Hotel webcam). . overcome with gloom. Crappy end of a crappy year. As its turned out - the end of several actually. Bleak, empty, pointless future, blah, blah, blah. . ended up in bed by around 12:30am. s
30 - Up around 8:45am. . all walked late in something of a mist . . carried on down around the harbour. How bizarre is that! Didn't that happen the last time PS came down - in almost exactly the same place? As we walked along the harbourside, a guy came charging out of a shop hollaring and shouting agressively at a young traffic warden who'd just legitimately ticketed his illegally parked truck. It almost looked as though it would get physical at one point, so I dared to point my camcorder back over my shoulder and film a little, while keeping my back to the argument and appearing to be looking in the opposite direction. At length, things seemed to calm down without any blows being exchanged. Poor traffic warden. What on earth must it be like to experience that sort of unpleasantness, and level of threat just going about your work, EVERY single day?!! I'd pretty soon go VERY (more) nuts if that was me. People are so, so SO repulsive! . eventually all walked out to the end of the breakwater and back. Would you believe it! Looks as though someone has thrown a bottle or some such through one of the windows of the lighthouse at the end! . Actually felt quite a bit milder than of late, and with little wind and even the sun trying to poke through the haze occasionally, it actually seemed quite nice out. . ate a PS paid for English breakfast at the Breakwater cafe. . Sally seemed to be doing fine with the long walk (better than me!) and was even up for a bit of a dip in the freezing water, chasing thrown seaweed and such. A slightly blue/crazy looking woman was also having a dip!! Brrrr! . . in the vicinity (rare these days), and with some discs in my pocket, I couldn't resist having a go at finding where JK has moved to, intending to just drop a copy of the latest DVDs through his letter box. Couldn't figure out which place it was and eventually just stopped some passer by on the street and asked if they knew. As luck would have it, they did, and didn't mind taking the discs with them and dropping them in for me. . eventually walked back home via town and BGdns. Very tired and aching by the time we returned! I've a whole new right 'hip joint' type of pain appearing whenever I do any long walks these days!! Thankfully although obviously really tired, Sally seemed to deal with the long walk all ok. . TVd . . all walked again after 7pm, down through town to see the Christmas lights etc, and then back via BGdns . . TVd the horrendous hour and a half long program of footage of the boxing day asian tsunami from a few years back. Mind boggling and harrowing. :o| . . ate pepperoni pizza and chocolate biscuits . . to bed around 2am. s
29 - Woken earlier by torrential rain battering the windows, snoozed on then then up around 8:15am. .After just a couple of mails back and forth over the last couple of days, the 'Jessica Sonner' singer/guitarist whos music I'd used on the 'dog rescue edit', reiterated she had no objection to that use of her performance. Excellent. :o) . . drove to walk. Horrendous east wind with driving rain! SO pleased to just get back home. . guitarred . . piddled around burning a few copies of discs while sorting out the back bedroom and putting clean sheets and stuff on the spare bed . .Hardly seems to have become light today! Just grey and miserable, drizzle or rain all day! :o( . . ate yesterdays left over roast potatoes etc with defrosted K donated beef. . napped until around 4pm when PS arrived complete with some food, a bottle of wine, and a leather 'flying type' jacket he doesn't want.. . chats and TVd the rest of the day away . . ate a couple of PS donated pasties with crisps . . eventually to bed around 3am. s
28 - Up around 8am. . . walked giving away a couple more discs. Some people had already watched them! Really?!! All those hours? Nawwww - they must have just skipped through them. . . guitarred/PCd. The local news website had just a 'little' more information on the dead guy pulled out of the harbour on Cristmas morning. Elderly guy (still yet to be officialy identified) who 'may' have just accidentaly fallen in, while out stargazing the night before! Apparantly he had a stargazer type book in his possession when recovered from the water! Bizarre. Live a whole life - end up like that!. . Mum called. She'd been down town and thankfully managed to get a straight refund on the hoodie she bought for me.. . cooked roast potatoes and stuffing while drinking the last of the red wine from the box. Turned out to be almost two glasses which made me pretty tipsy right away. PS called to say he'll be coming down tomorrow!? Not sure why - the weather forecast is dreadful! He better not expect me to be going out anywhere! Eventually ate defrosted beef etc with a pint of gravy . Put enough aside in the fridge for another meal tomorrow. TVd the night away. .ate half a coffee sponge cake . . to bed around midnight.
27 - Up soon after 8am. . . walked . . . guitarred for several hours! . . ate bacon, fried eggs and a tin of sausages and baked beans with bread and butter . . napped until around 7pm . . PCd.A dog walker this morning who'd had a copy of the latest discs, had suggested he had the full set except 'Volume 4', and could I let him have a copy. I guess I should be flattered? I couldn't for the life of me remember what was on V4 so when I'd burned a copy I figured I'd have a look. That's the best way to watch these discs. When you have no idea what's coming next. Ended up watching pretty much the whole thing - and really pretty much enjoyed doing so! (The high speed ferry and all that, etc.) I can't believe I've filmed all this stuff! Extraordinary! I do SO hope that somewhere, somehow, these discs will out-live me and be looked at by some appreciative person in the future.It'd be a real trip! . . .guitarred just a little but after all the 'twiddling' I've been doing of late, my fingers were too sore to continue . . TVd . . BB called . .ate chocolate, a packet of almond slices and bowls of corn flakes . . to bed around 2:30am. s
26 - Up around 8am. . .walked . . sat around in front the TV, unable to get going at anything . .Mum called . . PCd a little while drinking a glass of wine . . ate microwaved yesterdays roast left overs with a pint of onion gravy . . napped until gone 7pm . . guitarred/TVd/PCd the night away. Surely must be the worst boxing day TV schedules I've EVER seen! Where IS the licence fee money going? Ate a few chocolate biscuits before to bed around 4am! d
25 - Woken by Sally just after 9am. walked late - slowly, for Sally's benefit, although she seems her normal self again thank goodness. . beautiful morning! Frost on the ground, sun in the sky, hardly a breath of wind, smooth blue sea, not many people around and those that were, were all 'happy christmas' and cheerful. Sat in BGdns listening to the scanner and watching as the ILB was called across to Torquay harbour. They attended to pull a body out of the water and hand it over to the ambulance crew for transport! That put the whole feel of the day into a different perspective. :o| Apparantly the police had said that no one had been reported missing overnight - so, whatever the circumstances of how the person died (accident/suicide/drunken reveller?) somewhere there is a family or relatives all getting on with their festivities, little knowing that soon their world will fall apart! And thence for evermore, every Christmas will be THAT anniversary! Yeah - a 'different perspective' moment, listening to all that. Before the lifeboat had even returned across the bay, they were tasked to attend Meadfoot beach where someone was apparantly semi conscious. Happy Christmas! . . PCd this . .unwrapped the gift DS had sent me via Amazon. Oooer - a book on 'Digital Video Editing'. Interesting. . . walked with Sally up Mums for Christmas dinner. More pork! lolol Oh nooo! Mum had gone and bought me a gift of a hooded zip up fleece from a store in town in the hope it would be like the one I currently LIVE in. It wasn't anywhere near as good, felt a little short in the arm and was definitely NOT something I would have bought - ESPECIALLY when she revealed it had cost £30 something - and THAT was reduced to around 'half price' allegedly. Jeeze!! No way!!!! Luckily Mum had bought it on the understanding with the sales clerk, that I was 'awkward' and that she could return it and get a refund if necessary. Thanks - but sorry - it IS necessary!! I hope - finally - poor Mum has gotten the message. You CANNOT buy me - 'things' - unless they are from a charity shop and just a few pounds and worth the gamble! Both touched base with Sis2 . . returned home with left overs . . napped until the alarm at 7pm . . guitarred/TVd the evening away . . touched base with BB . . ate buttered crumpets and a packet of jaffa cakes. . to bed around 1am. s
24 - Up at 8am. . . burned discs. walked and gave a couple of sets of discs away . . PCd and guitarred while burning more discs. Laborious process! . . popped out for milk and to drop off a return Christmas card and a set of DVDs to the 'singing man'. Along the way, with hindsight, Sally seemed to be making particularly slow progress, dragging along on her lead (although not 'particularly' unusual in itself these days). . carried on to the local store for milk etc. On the way back from the store through the industrial estate, all of a sudden Sally appeared to lose her footing and kinda leaned into me as she stumbled. Carried on, keeping a close eye on her as we walked, and it soon became apparant, something was horribly wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She started to collapse!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not just her back end, but her front as well! She ended up crashing head first into the ground on one occasion. Stopped and made her sit down for a bit and made a fuss of her before eventually slowly, very slowly encouraging her to keep going, despite her being really wobbly. Some guys near one of the industrial units said hello and I blurted out we were having trouble. Those roughty tufty looking guys (one in particular) showed real concern and even offered to help me carry her! I declined, because things hadn't gotten quite that bad (YET?!!), but it WAS very heartening to have received the offer of help like that. Coaxed Sally slowly back home and by the time we reached the front door, she seemed to have recovered. In fact - recovered so much, as soon as we got inside, she headed into the kitchen and devoured the whole bowl of her usual breakfast dry 'complete' - which is something she almost never does! Made much fuss of her and had to fight back a wave of tearfullness. Not yet my good friend. Please - not yet. :o( . . did vacuuming/dish washing chores/cut my hair . . guitarred for many hours (at least four!) while TVing . .touched base briefly with BB . . .ate K donated pork (oh wow - really delicious) in bread rolls, half a chocolate sponge cake and chocolate. Sliced up the rest of the enormous joint of pork (I'm guessing but - £20 +? ) and 'just' managed to stow it in the 'crammed-full-to-bursting' freezer. . TVd/PCd until bed gone 3am! s
23 - Up around 8:30am again. Looks very icy outside - the front steps in particular again! They are SO treacherous, I'm almost trapped IN the house by them! . . before I'd set out it'd started raining and the temperature seemed to rise a bit. Couldn't face the walk and ended up setting out in the car. Discovered next door had left my spare wheel poking through the fence, all inflated and sorted. . walked . . PCd . . caught up with next door and he said the flat had been caused by nothing more than the perished valve, which they'd replaced. He wisely suggested, since that one had perished, I should check all the rest on the car, and if necessary he'd get those replaced too! When I asked how much I owed him, he insisted 'nothing'! Blimey. Nice one. He really is a damned decent dude that guy. . .PCd working on the next compilation DVD. Since I was determined to include it in the compilation, enough time has now passed and the guy has since died, I figured it wouldn't be 'too' distasteful to actually knock up a music video of 'the fire'. Put in the hours to roughly chop the existing 'no comment' video down to match the soundtrack ('Fire' by 'More' - extended). I WON'T be uploading that one to Youtube. . in the middle of PCing in something of a hail shower, K dropped off yet another huge joint of left overs meat - pork again - the size of my forearm - and still good for ME to eat!!! Good grief! Imagine the cost of that!!!! . . PCD ALL day and finally had a working version of DVD 'Pebbles On The Beach Volume 6' by around 5:30pm (although it really requires sound levelling, but I can't face putting in all the work right now). . proof watched the compressed long play DVD for the best part of almost three hours!!! Works-ish I think. . . . drove to walk and dropped off copies of the volume 5 and 6 DVDs at Mums on the way out. . . cooked and ate K donated pork with chips. . TVd eating a little chocolate and then a couple of toasted buttered crumpets. . to bed before midnight . . woken from half sleep by the phone - ignored it and then it rang again - and on and on and on! (That'll teach me to stop having an ansaphone plugged in, as I have done recently. I get so few calls - it seemed pointless wasting the electric on it - and being forced into having to pay to call people back all the time!). Grrrr. Eventually stumbled out of bed and retrieved the phone from the other room and picked up (as much as anything else, to spare the neighbours alll that noise in the middle of the night!). Turned out to be Sis 2. She was with her friend and had been given her Xmas present from her of a photo frame - loaded with all the photos I'd compiled. THAT was what all that work was for recently. A generous friend of Sis2s had somehow got my e-mail address and had mailed me and asked for 'some' photos to put on the gift, to remind Sis2 of home. I don't think either of us envisaged me ending up sending her well over a thousand! lolol Anyway - as far as I can tell, it appeared to make Sis2 happy - while she cried. lol :o)
22 - Up around 8:30am. . . set out to walk and almost came a major cropper on the ice covered steps outside the front door!! Ended up half way down the garden hanging onto a tree! Close one! With all the 'equipment' I carry, falling over could be a costly excercise! . . walked VERY carefully, slipping and sliding all over the place. Actually really treacherous conditions because where the rising sun had reached between the buildings, stretches of the pavement and roads were melted and fine, then all of a sudden a patch of black ice! . Almost at BGdns, a lorry pulled up ahead of me and the driver jumped out to ask directions. He promptly slipped on the ice and hit the floor! He 'acted' as if he was ok. Second time this morning he said. . . did our usual circuit but avoided all the paths wherever possible. . .PCd all day and eventually managed to edit the dog rescue video down to the neat 'Jessica Sonner' track I'd discovered yesterday. Uploaded around 6pm. Because she appears to be 'not' a professional, I actually dared to e-mail her, just to inform her the video exists and to give her the opportunity to ask me to remove it. Seemed the right thing to do. I do NOT do anything like that with 'professional' tracks, since they are all about the fat-cat record companies making profits and the like - and somehow to me that just seems like fair game!? . . walked and because it seemed pretty quiet out and not yet 'too' icy, decided to have a wander down through town and back via BGdns. Beautiful crystal clear night. I guess the cold somehow draws the moisture out of the atmosphere? Couldn't get the right angle to do it justice, but a 'anti-freeze-feet' swan was sat on the slipway in the harbour having a preen, in front of the floating illuminated Santa sleigh. . Very cold, but in my two pairs of trousers and multiple layers I felt comfortably warm. Warm enough to sit on an ice covered seat in BGdns for ages looking at the star filled sky before eventually drifting home . . . BB called . . ate 'grated' K donated beef in buttered rolls and then a little chocolate. Still have huge amounts of that meat left! Managed to cram most of it in the freezer to keep. My freezer is absolutely bursting with stuff! Never had so much food around the place! . . guitarred/TVd until bed before midnight.
21 - Up around 8am. . .walked . . PCd and put in a bunch of time trying to edit a music video out of the dog rescue footage (so I can include it on a 'Pebbles On The Beach Volume 6' DVD!!). Bumped into a wonderful 'Rescue Me' piece of music on YouTube, and just HAD to use it. . Mum called to touch base and say she''d put some money in my account for Christmas. . for some reason the dog rescue editing did NOT go well AT ALL, and after several hours I just gave up in disgust! . . cooked another bacon/mushrooms/cheese sauce concoction and ate with four pieces of bread and butter. . napped until 7pm. . TVd/guitarred actually feeling pretty down. . ate a plate of K donated pork. . aimlessly surfed (expensive 'fluid' tripod heads and the like!!) until finally to bed around 3am. a
20 - Up around 8:30am. A couple of degrees warmer than yesterday outside - just condensation on the windows. . . walked. .put the charged battery back in the car. Doesn't appear to have made a vast difference to it. :o( . . PCd and at length managed to pretty much set everything up for the new compilation DVD of some of my music videos. With the order sorted and all the menu screens etc done, all that remained was to attempt to go through every one of the 26 videos included, and adjust the variable volumes as necessary. Basically manually 'volume levelling! One of the bits of audio software I use has a crude 'volume level meter bar', so I set it up to monitor the output and pretty much went with my eyes rather than my dodgy ears. . eventually had it as good as I could get it, and burned a test DVD. . proof watched the result on the DVD/TV in the living room. Comes out around one hour twenty minutes I think. . ate a Mum donated pizza while watching the DVD . . napped until 7pm. .skipped the walk . . PCd adding a couple of old but recently made videos to the new DVD set, to pretty much keep it all '2008' videos. . K called at the door and handed me a heavy black plastic refuse sack of left overs meat! Lots of it, and only done today so good for ME to eat apparantly. . TVd and proof watched most of the 'Pebbles On The Beach - Volume 5' again. . BB called . .ate a plate of microwaved a little K donated meat, with just salt and a drink of water!! Beef and turkey or pork I think it was. VERY good and tender. TVd eating chocolate biscuits until bed around 2am.s
19 - Up around 8:25am AFTER sunrise. Blimey - that was a long sleep for 'me' these days! So - was it because I ate fairly well yesterday? . . . thermometer says -3 degrees C outside, only +9 degrees in the living room!! Well - that's the first time I recall seeing THAT since I've been here - a thick layer of ice on the INSIDE of all the single glazed aluminium framed windows at the front of the house!! Just what you want first thing after waking - putting your hands in freezing cold water, trying to wipe down and mop up the windows! :o( Reminds me of being a kid back in Bromley Heath in Bristol, and watching my Dad do it every morning with the old steel framed windows! Spectacular patterns though. (The drooping red thing, on the right of the left hand image included here, is actually a wax candle. That's the effect the sun has when beating in through those south-east-ish facing wndows! I've lost count of the number of times I've straightened it back up when warm and plyable. I don't bother any more! It kinda looks how I feel these days! :o( ) . . . walked late, long after the rising sun had mostly melted the ice and cleared the windows. . . walking round on the lower path in BGdns, probably thanks to the 'millpond' like sea after the last few days of easterly rough, I spotted something 'out of the ordinary' , off the end of the breakwater. Used the camcorder to have a closer look and concluded it was a large free floating oil drum! Dabbled with the idea of making a phone call to 'someone' (coastguard maybe??) but as usual, when I pulled my little(almost never?)-used phone out of my pocket and encouraged it into life, the battery was so near flat, I wouldn't have been able to. Is it worth getting worked up about? I dunno! I'm a land-lubber after all. It just seemed that it was potentially a damaging obstacle to shipping (pleasure boats in particular?), and was SO 'relatively' easily retrieved at the moment if someone was quick, something really should be done. I ended up walking as fast as I could, and even jogging much of the way, down into the harbour with the intention of informing the harbourmaster, just in case anyone cared. That plan was scuppered when I eventually realised the harbour masters office had been recently demolished of course! Ended up calling into the fishermens mission and explaining to a woman behind the counter - and even let her see a bit of the footage of the object on the camcorder. She seemed to have no objection to being bothered by me, and said she'd telephone the harbourmaster and let him know. . worked up a bigger sweat racing all the way back to BGdns, to happily find the wooly hat I've been wrapping my camcorder in, which I'd left behind on a seat, was still there. Hung around for ages, frustratingly powerlessly watching, as the oil drum gradually drifted away along the length of the breakwater, heading OUT of the bay off Shoalston towards Berry Head on the outgoing tide! (If they'd been quick, they 'could' have radioed the pilot boat, and got it to have a look on its way back from visiting one of the bay-moored tankers. They didn't.) After a VERY long time, a small boat with two fluorescent-coated guys on board, appeared in the outer harbour and seemed to be aimlessly milling about. Somehow at some point I think I managed to attract enough of their attention for them to head in my direction, at which point I climbed down onto rocks (although as they got closer they did seem to studiously ignore me!?) and hailed them and explained the drum was now a dot in the distance, well round the coast. That seemed to be enough for them and they headed away back into the harbour. Oh well. Hope they didn't mind me having them called out like that. Wonder what was in the drum and where it'll end up?! . . after my morning 'jog' I was pretty hot by the time I returned home (with a tupperware of dog food left overs from K) , although I think the temperature had also risen in the morning sun to around 8 degrees C. . . opened the car up to disconnect and remove the battery for charging. Exchanged a word with the 'mechanic' neighbour and idly asked if he could recommend somewhere near to get a flat tyre fixed. He offered to take the wheel into his work and get it sorted! That seemed like a neat answer to my problem - although I AM uncomfortable about potentially ending up being some sort of constant nuisance to him with regard to my car, and it doesn't 'educate' me about what IS available locally and where to go, does it! . . brought the car battery into the kitchen and put it on a slow charge. I'm gonna leave that on until tomorrow to see if that will help it keep going for a while - although I suspect it DOES now need replacing. :o( We'll see. . Mum called in with food donations, paper, etc, for a cuppa and to watch the latest couple of vids on the living room PC/TV. . ate the last of the stew stuff with a buttered bread roll . . PCd a bit of this (trying to remember to save it periodically!) . . walked, in layers. It was cold but without the wind it was actually quite pleasant and a very clear night. Someone over Paignton way was letting off chinese lanterns. . . PCd for hours, having a go at starting the long and laborious process of knocking up a disc of some of the older music videos from 2008. It's only recently I've realised, I have a whole collection old and new which I've never put on a disc. Mum would like a copy for sure, and maybe a handful of others if I can be bothered with all the hassle. . . ate Mum donated meat rolls around 2:30am while rain fell outside. Weird - I'd have thought it would be snow. It's sure cold enough! . . eventually to bed long past 3am.
18 - Up around 8:25am. .thermometer says 0 degrees C outside! . . walked wearing double trousers etc in the strong North Easterly. Bitter cold in BGdns with an energetic sea!! Not many people around and little going on, out on the water. . PCd desperately trying to find some hard drive space. Actually surfed looking at the prices of hard drives - again! . . did the playing 'dogz' video and uploaded it to Youtube. . ate stew and four pieces of bread and butter followed by biscuits . . managed to get the car started (just! Battery 'at least' needs a charge again!) and then drove to walk in the bitter cold. Really REALLY cold in the strong wind. Did the usual once round and then didn't hang around and drove straight back. Fastest walk we've ever done! BrrrrRRRRaaaAAAA! . . PCd/guitarred . . touched base with BB . . TVd, watching a bit of 'Aliens' which was on TV again. Good film. Classic. Only one of the three worth watching I reckon. . cooked a few slices of smoked bacon and then some mushrooms in butter and an 'instant granuals' cheese sauce, and ate with two buttered bread rolls. Wow - pretty damn good THAT was. 'Next' time (if there ever is one - although it was SO good, there really should be) I should just chop up the bacon into bits, fry it and then add it to the rest in the saucepan, and just mix it all together. REALLY rich and tasty. . . TVd with just a little chocolate until bed around 1:30am. s
17 - Up around 7:45am. . walked in the cold sun. Filmed a bit of nothing before eventually returning home, aching and absolutely frozen stiff. . on reaching home the next door neighbour was up on the roof, putting up a replacement aerial! Sadly he'd used his attic room skylight to get up there rather than a roof ladder, so there was no way I could join him to get my old aerial down. I DID however manage to get him to clamber over the unsafe chimney with a pair of cutters and reach round and just chop off my old internally broken aerial lead. That lead has been wafting backwards and forwards in the wind over the roof-slope for the last who knows how long (hence the internal break in the wire I suspect) and I just wanted the damn thing gone - even if I can't get the old aerial down yet. Part of the downlead actually disappears behind some of the render and other bits of the front of the house, so the easiest way to temporarily tidy things up was just to cut it off again, just below the eaves and leave the rest in situ. Nice one. I'll be glad to not keep looking up there to see where the lead has ended up after every gale! . . PCd this for around an hour and a half, only to then have the software crash before having saved it! WHAT a waste of time! :o( That did not do much for my inexplicably increasingly down/angry/short tempered mood. . Mum called to say the TV shop guys had been and it was nothing more than a button needed pressing on the top of the TV which altered the on-screen display stuff, and all was sorted. As far as her 'faulty' new TV in the kitchen (she has infrequent intermittent trouble with channel changing and turning the thing off!?) - the guy alleged that HE had one and his was exactly the same, and it was just 'one of those things' kinda, and when it happens just turn it off at the wall socket! All sounded a bit iffy to me. I'd be utterly horrified to have bought a new TV that does that. I'd want a replacement/refund. Nevertheless, that story seemed to somehow put Mums mind at ease, and that's what seems to matter with her and such things (sadly I DO undertsand!), so I guess that'll have to do. . ended up having a couple of, as always, 'lengthy' calls from Mum while I was trying to do other things! Started getting more and more irritable. I then later had YET another of the calls that have plagued me ever since I was given my 'dirty' telephone number by BT. Number witheld sales calls, asking for the previous phone number's owner! Grrrr. With much irritability evident in my voice, I explained that person was no longer on this number, wasn't prepared to listen to any reply and carried on 'would you PLEASE delete the number from you database'. This resulted in the woman on the other end angrily saying ' Well there is no need for you to be rude to me!' and abruptly hanging up on me!!! Grrrrrrrrr! Just exactly which one of us WAS it who elbowed their way uninvited into the others life? The next time I get one of those calls, they really are in danger of just being told to F*** O** before I hang up on them! . . by now for some reason I really had descended into a dangerously dark and unstable mood for some inexplicable reason. I skipped food and just went straight back to bed! . . napped until just gone 5pm. . spent ages in the freezing kitchen with the windows open chopping up carrots, onions and mushrooms and eventually making up a big pot of minced beef type 'stew' with frozen peas. Drank a glass of red wine while things cooked. Eventually ate a big dish full with boiled potatoes. .PCd and polished off the 'ding dong merrily on high' carol video silly . . TVd . . to bed around 1:30am. d
16 - Up around 7:30am. . walked . . forced myself to do three 'family' xmas cards and popped up the post office with Sally to post them. Of all the years I can recall, this is the one where I feel the very least inclined to engage in ANY form of Xmas nonsense at all! It holds nothing for me, other than minor hassle, and a feeling that I am 'forced' into having to send people pointless expensive cards. I've recieved a handful from 'Bristol' people. I'm really not sure I can muster whatever it takes to send any back to them. It just all seems so utterly pointless and just the trappings of being the good little 'consumers' we're all brainwashed to be! I can hardly bear to watch TV anymore - CONSTANTLY bombarded with 'sold-out' artists Christmas music, accompanying brainwashing adverts insisting that Christmas isn't Christmas without having bought this or that utterly pointless and overpriced bit of tat. Nauseating how all of a sudden at this time of year, half the absurdly lavish adverts are in French! As though speaking French is a sign of some other-worldy sophistication, to which we should all aspire - and which can only be attained by buying 'the new fragrance from - '! Christmas? HUMBUG! . . .PCd . . ate 'dog-food' beef with chopped lettuce and onion in pitta bread and a doughnut . . napped until 7pm. . Mum called to say she'd been to the TV store about 'the bar' and they would be popping in tomorrow! She's been watching everything on her DVD player, with an information display bar permanently showing across the top part of the screen on her new TV!! I DID briefly try to read up on that in her manual the last time I was there, but I'd given up because I was eager to get on and walk Sally at the time, and because I didn't have my glasses and couldn't read it easily with Mums old magnifying glass! Damn. I just KNOW it's something really simple which 'I' could sort. And yet Mum seems happier to go get a guy in from somewhere rather than ask me!! I fully understand Mum not wanting to 'bother me' with it (and paradoxically I'm glad she didn't!), but it still makes me feel kinda - um - 'useless' when she'd rather call someone in like that! :o( . . walked . . PCd . . ate the last of the pitta bread with chopped, lettuce onion and grated cheese followed by the last two dougnuts . . to bed around 2:45am.
15 - Up around 8:25am. . I think I need to get a 'big' shop over and done with before Christmas gets any closer! . drove to walk and then stopped at the local gas station on the way home, for just enough petrol (4.63ltrs @ £5) to make sure I can get out of town, and then back to the cheaper petrol station at Sainsburys, without risking running out along the way. . .dropped Sally off at home and then carried on out of town on a major shopping expedition. Bought huge amounts of dog food and even some peanuts for the garden birds, at Pets At Home (2xown-brand 15kg complete @ £19.90, own-brand 400g tins x24 @ £9.48, Winalot 400g tins x24 @ £12.75, 2kg peanuts @ £4.99) - £47.12. . returned and stopped off at Sainsburys for a seriously major shop! Bought huge amounts of everything and somehow managed to load up a whole large trolley to overflowing! £111.70 + £57 for tobacco! Hah - that'll mostly see me through well into next year! . eventually struggled outside with my overloaded trolley, retrurned to the car and - OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!! A flat tyre! Nearside rear. Would you believe it!! The last thing I needed. On the plus side, the space next to my car was empty, so it was possible to block it with my loaded trolley which enabled me to have enough space to comfortably set to work on it. First time I've had to change a wheel on that car of course, so it was a little bit nerve wracking. Luckily the jack and lever were where they should be, in with the spare wheel. Got all uptight about where on earth the jacking points were, and spent a lot of time laying down in the dirt, peering at the underside of the flimsy bodywork. To cut a long story short, it actually didn't go too badly, once I'd figured out that the plastic wheel trims were actually bolted on with the wheel nuts! THAT is a neat trick. If they'd done that on my old 1.6s Fiesta, I may not have had the fancy trims stolen from right outside the house back in Bristol. (Given my age and current situation - it is a sad realisation - THAT car (which of course was smashed up by a hit and run driver outside the house in Bristol) will likely be the only 'nice' car I will ever have owned! :o( ) . . stopped to fill up with petrol on the way out before heading home(21.52ltrs @ £23) Trip meter reading was 143.3 miles, 40238-6 total mileage. 25MPG?!!!? . Having that flat tyre sorted (inner tube or new tyre?) will happily wait for a while, until I figure out where it can be done locally. Now I've 'shopped', it isn't likely I'm gonna be going anywhere for a while other than BGdns and back - and if I get another flat, I'll just carefully drive it back that distance. . damn. Overdid things again. Big struggle getting everything to fit in the freezer. . . ate ham and lettuce rolls . . napped until woken by Sally around 7pm . . skipped the walk just so I could catch the last episode of the channel five series 'Sea Patrol Uk' at 8pm . . guitarred/TVd . . ate a Mum donated mini sponge . . BB called . . it smelled still ok, so ate K donated 'dog food' beef slices in pitta bread with coleslaw. Actually - there was something about that which reminded me of the unbeatably delicious kebabs I used to buy from the local shop in Bristol. Wow - how I'd love to have one of those again. Sadly all in the past. . . TVd and ate a couple of doughnuts before eventually to bed around 2am. s
14 - Up around 6:45am. . PCd . .walked. Ended up scrabbling around on my knees near the roof in BGdns, having a go at filming what I understand to be a kestrel. NOT the first time I've had a good go at one of those there - but oh MY word, is it a hard thing to get on cam. It doesn't matter how long it spends motionless, hovering in the sky - by the time you gt your camera going, find it in the viewfinder and zoom in, it 'just then' decides to do a bit of a swoop to one side and you've lost it and have to zoom back out and start all over again! SO, oh SO frustrating. You have to admire some of the people on YouTube who've uploaded footage they've managed to get. None of what I got was worth all the effort- again (actually a little snip here and there was 'ok', except the light was bad and it was all sillouette anyway!)! :o( . . PCd and received an e-mail from 'the photo collection recipient' to say they'd done what they had to do with it, but the equipment they were using had decided to show the set in a 'random' order and NOT as per the filenames. Grrrrr. That really bugged me - being the perfectionist I am about such things. I regretted not having spent longer on it and got to the bottom of all that. Aimlessly ended up messing around for hours with the photo collection, trying to re-name them all into a straight sequencialy numbered list! Managed it in the end with Windows Explorer, although still had to modify many names manually, because try as I did, I just couldn't recall enough about DOS or batch files etc, to automate the file name tweaks I was trying to make! (Not good with over a thousand files!) The thing with the explorer method is, it insisted on putting the sequencial numbers in paranthesese after a space - which I simply didn't 'like'.E.g. "Image (1).jpg", "Image (20).jpg", "Image (1000).jpg", etc. Also of course, it doesn't put in leading zeros. That still means 'some' programs/software will sort them wrongly. (. . .so it was lots of leading zeros that were largely manually entered!!!) Other than the file name, as far as I can make out, files 'transport' with two other pieces of data on board, which MAY be making some software/equipment sort them differently. The 'Date Modified' and the 'Date Created'. The date created can be relatively easily controlled (simply by copying etc), but as far as I can see, the date modified is far more difficult. I even went on-line looking at 'tech' sites trying to get to the bottom of it. As far as I could see, it really boiled down to downloading and using some utility piece of software, designed to do it! I actually dared to download one and instal it (after having made sure my anti-virus was up to date and I'd set a restore point!). After installation, attempts at running the program actually resulted in what appeared to be nothing at all happening. Uh oh! Oh no!!! Ate dog food beef and chips, followed by a little chocolate while the anti virus ran! . . back to the PC and worked on the silly 'three kings' video . . drove to walk. . back to the PC for hours. . guitarred . . ate a couple of bananas and a bunch of biscuits before finally to bed around 2am. a
13 - Woken back up by Sally around 7:50am! I'm a bit 'woozy' I think from so little sleep of late. I'm typing like I'm dyslexic! . . walked in two pairs of trousers AND six upper body layers!! My usual four I wear around the house (T shirt, long sleeved T shirt, thin hoody, fleecy zip up hoody - I've also taken to wearing my fingerless gloves and 'Thinsulate' hat ALL the time of late!) plus my bodywarmer AND my puffa jacket. Filmed a bit in BGdns in the strong cold easterly until I was absolutely frozen! . . spotted the 'arrow' on the way home at the entrance to Ks driveway. A sliver of triangular shaped wood off-cut from when he was making his garden store, which resembles a signpost/arrow, upon which has been scrawled my name and instructions to call in! What it announces as I pass by, is that K has left-overs food for Sally (me?). Funny thing on this occasion apparantly - some other passing Terry had been prompted to call at their door because of it. lolol . . ended up walking home with a bag of left overs pork and beef slices . . . PCd a bit with the heating on before having a hot shower just to try to get warm . . . sat around/TVd/guitarred the day away feeling utterly blah . . .skipped the walk . . ate Mum donated pizza with extra cheese and onion and then bowls of cereals and chocolate . .TVd until early to bed around 10pm!! s
12 - Back up around 8:30am after really almost no sleep at all! . . walked in the cold Easterlyish wind. Reached BGdns just in time to miss being able to get set up to film as the Fairmile headed out across the bay for Dartmouth. Would have made for a neat video, what with a 'bit of a sea'. Oh well - can't capture everything (although I DO have the urge to try to do so for some reason!!) . . ended up messing around filming a bit of nonsense here and there before heading home pretty cold . . PCd and transferred the latest videos onto the living room PC, ready for Mum to have a look on the TV when she pops in. Actually used the spare 4Gb memory card in my USB card reader, to rather nicely walk the files downstairs to the other machine rather than have to mess around with external drives or DVDs, etc. Nice one. . Mum called in with food donations for a cuppa, chats and to watch the videos for half an hour or so. I'd made the mistake in mentioning a clock I'd been tempted to buy from a charity store the other day - not because I need or particularly want one, but because it was kinda cute. Round, dark wood to match all the stuff in the living room, with a brass trim and only £4. I resisted - but as always, later, half regretted not having bought it. Lo and behold, a day or so after I'd mentioned it, Mum had gone down there to look at it and had ended up buying me, what she thought I'd seen! Unfortunately, the one I'd seen was no longer there (it WAS a steal!) and she'd ended up getting a completely different one, for £4 also! Oh dear! No way would I have bought the one she did - although it must be said, it IS kinda 'quirky' and fitting with the area in which we live, kinda. A square thing all made up in a nautical theme, with miniature rope knots for the digits! It's really not my sort of thing but I guess I'll have to find somewhere to keep it, and if not (actually - although battery powered, it has a really loud tick, which doesn't go down well with my early stage onset deafness, where my ears have a heightened sensitivity to such small noises, and fool me into thinking the noise is coming from somewhere other than it actually is!!!!!! Don't think I can live with that.) , I imagine something like that WOULD get some interest on e-bay or the like from yachting/seafaring types. I really, really should start e-baying stuff. I keep saying it but never get round to it. I reckon I could clear out a load of stuff from the charity shops and make a profit on it. In one the other day was an acoustic guitar, electronic tuner and a bunch of teach yourself books - all for a mere £25! The guitar alone was worth about £75 on Amazon. Snapped up as a VERY cool Christmas present for someone I bet. . ate Mum donated chicken and stuffing slice bread rolls and a little chocolate . . napped until woken by Sally around 6:15pm . . drove to walk - after having trouble starting the car (battery again I think! It's been given a battering by all this recent bad weather and having the heater and wipers and de-mister on every time I used it.). wow - a really cold, stiff North Easterlyish breeze blowing straight into BGdns. Actually pretty unpleasant. COLD at 6 degrees C plus the windchill. Didn't hang around. . PCd this . .stopped typing briefly to peer through a condensation covered window, to see what the noise was I'd heard. Paramedic car and an ambulance up the street. One of the old neighbours not making it through to Christmas perhaps? :o| . .PCd transfering files and such before getting bogged down with the little bit of footage of the Fairmile ferry I DID get this morning. Seemed a shame to discard it 'cause I don't imagine it goes out 'too' often in such waves, and perhaps its summer passengers would be interested in the short clip.. .put in the hours to knock up a video of it, only to yet again have it immediately censored/muted as soon as I uploaded it. Ended up putting in more hours re-doing it with a 'similar' version of the same piece of music, already on YouTube. Worked out ok-ish I guess. . ate a pastry slice and banana some time mid morning! . finally to bed around 4:30am.
11 - Up around 7am for some reason - I bet I know why! . .strangely seems to have warmed up a little in the night. Thermometer says around eight degrees outside and allmost all the condensation on the windows has diappeared. Impressive colourful sunrise - wish I was already out with the camera! . . walked. I was a bit late (especially given how many dog walkers pick up refuse etc) but on reaching BGdns I made a bee line for the gun emplacement, to satisfy my mind that the yob guys last night HAD littered all over the place. The council truck was parked nearby so obviously the morning bin-emptying/litter-picking had already been done by them, nevertheless, sure enough, on the other side of the metal crowd-barrier placed against the entrance to the unsafe gun emplacement, was a heap of discarded beer cans. I exchanged a word with the bin men and they confirmed they HAD cleared up lots of similar mess from all around the area. (Actually begs the question why they didn't bother to reach through the barrier and pick up the rest - well within reach - but that sadly pretty much sums up those council guys. They do the absolute minimum they can get away with - and even complain when others do their job for them and put an extra bag of refuse next to the bins, etc! I'm not the only one who finds it a struggle to even get (one in particular) to bother to say good morning in passing - despite seeing them most mornings! Weird.) . . not bad weather again, and with a bit of a rare easterly blowing, the sea was looking a bit 'active' and likely to offer some interesting footage if any boats went out. Mustered up the energy and carried on with Sally on the long walk around the harbour, out to Shoalstone and then on up to Berry Head. Stooged around for a while with the camera, but wouldn't you know it - there was hardly anything moving out on the water at all. Incredibly quiet. Even several of the tankers, moored out in the bay for months seem to have slipped away recently. Only five left at the moment? . . eventually headed home (via the butcher - but he only had three burgers left!) , with disappointingly ZERO camcorder footage to play with! . . drank a glass of red wine while cooking my last three burgers. Ate cheese burgers . . napped until around 6:45pm . . skipped the walk and ended up PCing all night playing with video! . .BBcalled to touch base breifly . .aborted working on a video that just wasn't working, and finally returned to do battle with the old 'dog on a canoe' footage. Ended up spending an absolute age on that one, trying to get things to fit the music . I'd always imagined it would be an easy one to do, but as it turned out, it really wasn't - and largely because I was determined to try to do the best I could with what I thought were the really rather cute images, and do justice to the James Taylor music. (I hold him in high esteem, so to do otherwise would have seemed almost 'sacreligious'. lol. That mans voice has an absolutely unique quality. I can't explain it. It's kinda like - um - 'honey' in your ears somehow. Really pulls at the emotions. I really don't go for such beliefs, but 'old soul' seems to accurately describe the guy somehow.) MUCH 'tweaking' of tenths of a second here, there and everywhere, to try and get things about as good as it could get - all aggravated by the camera being hand-held during filming. Eventually settled for the result and uploaded it to YouTube deep into the early hours. Ate two bananas and a couple of biscuits while it uploaded . . FINALLY to bed around 4:30am, only to drift in and out of a weird dream laden, broken half sleep!!? ad
10 - Woken at 6:45am by clumping around next door and then front door slamming - again! Grrrr. SO inconsiderate. Don't know why they HAVE to slam that front door EVERY time they use it! Amazes me it's stood up to the battering it gets! I'm convinced that some of the cracks in the front of these houses (real 'structural' issues!!) are aggravated by it. It'll have empty wire coat hangers in my wardrobes rattle together! Snoozed on then up around 8am. Well - thankfully as forecast, it looks like a nice dry day at last. Maybe NOW I'll get to play with the new camcorder a bit?! . . received an e-mail to confirm the CDs of 'the photo collection' had arrived with the recipient (although they've yet to deal with them). Thank goodness that's more or less all over and done with from my end then. . walked and filmed a bit in the early morning sun. It was SO nice with a bit of dry and sun after all these weeks of rain, we eventually carried on down town for a poke about. Oh wow! The demolition of the old fish market and pilot office buildings was in full flow! I hadn't fully realised all THAT was gonna be knocked down! I'd somehow gotten the mistaken idea it was gonna be renovated and incorporated into all the new. That's a bit of a shame from a purely selfish point of view. The vantage point of the 'balcony' at the end, had afforded me some pretty unbeatable views looking back into the inner harbour and up towards the old covered harbourside fish market for various videos/pictures I've done over the last few years. I won't be able to do that any more then! :o( . had a go at videoing but sadly I ran out of battery!? The spare I'd taken in my pocket, turned out to be flat as soon as I put it in the camera! That's weird. I thought I'd fully charged that one up the other day. Can it really have gone flat just sitting around/carried in a pocket like that? That's ANOTHER thing to get to the bottom of and keep an eye on! . lack of battery stopped play, so after a tour of charity shops and then the butcher for burgers and dog bone, we headed home by around 1pm. .PCd this while Sally tackled her bone out in the garden . .carried on PCing for hours and knocked off the 'past the mission' / demolition video. Done and dusted and uploaded to YouTube by around 6:30pm, by which time the temperature had dropped significantly. Instant condensation on all the windows . . drove to walk. A couple of 'middle aged' guys were stood strangely down by the barriered entrance to the top gun emplacement. Pretty sure it's the same ones I've seen there before - who I'd been convinced were gonna be drink drivers when they left. They were stood there with a crate of beer cans, drinking, swearing, belching and being generally loud and unpleasant - just like a couple of young yobs actually! As I began my walk, one of them was loudly saying something about ' dog s**t' - obviously trying to be overheard! I carried on with my walk, and eventually sat as usual under the roof for my cigarette listening to the scanner, fifty meters or so from where they were. As I sat, I was forced to listen to their loud (one in particular) unpleasantness. Overheard snippets of the conversation included - ' ...my solicitor', '....she said she doesn't want a relationship... ', all interspersed with swearing, belching and the sound of discarded beer tins being tossed, etc etc - all sufficient to get a good measure of the individual. In short - unpleasant. (No WONDER whoever the woman was, didn't want a relationship with him! WHO WOULD the way he was acting?! ) Eventually cut short my sit and headed back to the car. Had to sit in the car briefly before attempting to drive away, running the engine and de-mister with the drivers window open, wiping away the ever present dripping layers of Sally -induced condensation from all over the inside of the windscreen. As I did so, the two guys (empty handed) emerged from the gardens and walked close past the open window. As they passed, the loud unpleasant guy called out in an aggressive manner, something along the lines of "You better pick up your dog s**t!". Intimidating when you are sat next to your open window like that! It was particularly irritating to me on two counts. First of all - I HAD (of course!) picked up after Sally as usual, AND had even picked up someone elses discarded full poop bag and walked that all the way back to the bin. Secondly - how DARE he have a go at me when they'd just covered the entire area in empty beer cans and carboard box packaging, etc, etc - all for 'someone' (me?) to have to pick up tomorrow morning!! My lame shout back at him, in the full knowledge he hadn't, was "I hope you've picked up YOU'RE s***t!". That resulted in him shouting back a load of abuse at me, as he (thankfully!) carried on walking away! Would you believe it!!! What on earth goes through the minds of such people? He went out of his way to deliberately seek to cause some innocent passer by, 'distress'. I haven't had to suffer that sort of BS, since the little brain dead yobs in Bristol! And this from a 'grown man'!!! Unbelieveable. It really was as though he had a mental age of someone less than half his age - grown men, to still be hanging around in the cold and dark, by a gun emplacement in BGdns, drinking from tins of beer, and then being all abusive and aggressive to anyone who was unfortunate enough to pass near. Extraordinary - and VERY unpleasant - ESPECIALLY for ME! It upset me a great deal. Ruined my whole evening + . The next time I see a couple of middle aged guys (I couldn't actually identify the individuals) drinking there like that, I'm gonna find it REAL hard not to end up hanging around and then following them to see where they end up! Maybe the council would be interested in who frequently litters the place like that?. . .cooked and ate pizza with extra cheese, a banana and some chocolate . . guitarred/TVd, feeling all upset, vulnerable and paranoid, until bed around midnight. s
9 - Up around 8am. . drizzle! . . by the time I'd had coffee and cigarettes and watched the 'dogs playing in the marina' video - again (it makes me smile every time), it'd actually stopped raining - and even turned to 'almost' sunny spells later in the day!! Walked . . wasted the dry weather and PCd, sifting through more old bits of video I've yet to do something with, trying to whittle them down so I can free up some 'full-AGAIN!' hard disk space. Ended up aborting working on one which really didn't work, and then (skipping food again) put in the time to knock off yet another 'sunset' video from several months ago. As things go around these parts, it actually wasn't a 'particularly' good sunset (until the end bit?), but it seemed a shame to waste the footage - and somehow it wasn't censored, so I'll settle for that . . messed around while the file uploaded to YouTube, and actually watched all the latest videos I've done on the (PC)TV in the living room. I still find it weird that they look SO much better when viewed on a TV rather than a PC monitor. They really are MADE to view on a TV. YouTube just doesn't do them justice at ALL!. . whooops - there goes another day!! . . walked in the still night, in a damp hint of mist. Actually almost forgotten what it was like to walk without being battered by wind and rain. Quite pleasant. Overheard coastguard snippets on the scanner suggesting that another dog had gone over cliffs somwhere! . . ate toasted buttered muffins with grated cheese and then three large tinned salmon, onion and lettuce rolls. . PCd and knocked off the 'kids at the end of the breakwater' video, which was promptly muted by the censor. :o( Weird how some artists seem to be SO 'protective' of their work and insistant that none of it appears on youtube - Tom Petty obviously being one of them (although one person (from Norway I think) DOES appear to be 'allowed' to upload his work for some reason!? Weird. Does Tom Petty live in Norway?!?). . TVd the 'Horizon' program with David Attenborough, about can the world sustain the increasing population. AT LAST people are starting to raise the subject into higher prominence. It's been a pet opinion of mine for ages now - that there are simply too many people in the world, and yet no one seems to have the balls to start saying it (too hot a potatoe for ANY politician of course), in an attempt to get people to modify their behavior. Less would make for a MUCH better, more sustainable, higher quality of life (aside from the fact that we're all screwed by irreversible climate change now anyway!) . High time people got on board with the idea - especially dangerously blinkered 'religious' people (Catholics and the like)! . ate a couple of chocolate mini rolls and struggled to stay awake as more rain fell outside . . BB called breifly . . .to bed not long after 11pm.
8 - Up around 7:45am. . . walked in a light drizzle. Returned with a K donated bag of dog food, just before heavy rain set in for the whole rest of the day! Ugggh. :o( . . sped through the daylight hours, working on the happy 'dogs playing in the marina' video from earlier in the year. At LAST - DONE it! That took an age - trying to fit the music mostly. 'Almost' works I think. :o) . . did dishwashing chores while the file uploaded to YouTube around 4pm . . rain, rain, more rain! . . ate defrosted 'dog food' beef and chips . . drove to walk in the drizzle . . TVd . . ate a couple of Mum donated iced donuts . . touched base with BB . . TVd until bed around midnight. saa
7 - Dreadful nights sleep, woken on and off by the rain battering on the windows, and then finally by Sally around 8:15am . . drove to walk in the rain. Messed with the camcorder under cover of the roofed seats just a little, but the weather was SO appalling it was pretty pointless. I really can't recall ever having had weather like this before. Just day after day after day of rain - on and on never ending! It's really starting to grind me down . . ended up PCing for hours. . Mum called to touch base . . ended up knocking up a video using some old footage from earlier in the year. Took hours to edit of course - finally uploaded it to YouTube and wouldn't you know it - it was immediately censored for the music and muted! What a bloody waste of time all that was!! . . PCd/TVd . . .drove to walk. Felt really cold this evening although it was a crystal clear sky. Some warship or other in almost complete darkness was slowly cruising around the bay, apparantly doing a navigation excercise according to what I heard on the scanner . .returned home via the store for a few supplies . . TVd . . ate toasted buttered muffins, pestrami rolls, a coupl eof mini chocolate rolls and some chocolate. Hadn't eaten anything all day, and as soon as the food hit my stomach/head I just HAD to go lay down! In bed not long after 10pm!!!!!? s
6 - Woken around 7:15am by some noise or other? . . yay - sunny spells for a few hours. Walked with the camcorder (loaded with the new SD card and 'replacement' battery) and tripod, and stooged around in BGdns for ages having a 'zoom' at this and that again. Spent ages hanging around near the rocks trying to film the occasional passing seal, cormorants etc etc - but as always, the minute you spot them and start to turn the camera, they submerge out of sight! Infuriating - although that new camera DOES make it possible to 'get on them' a bit quicker than the old. One thing about that zoom I'm gonna have a bit of trouble getting used to, is when NOT to zoom right in to the maximum on such things. If you do - the minute they move, if you aren't lucky, they disappear from the viewfinder and then you can't find them again! It's almost as though you need a 'spotter scope' alongside, like they have on high power telescopes! . . eventually gave up with the water and stooged around in the gardens for ages, determined to 'bag me' some birds. Got a few decent-ish clips in the end of robins and blackbirds and the like. Got through one battery and was on to the second by the time I was so cold I had to call it quits. I'm not sure, but I have a suspicion that the replacement battery didn't warn me in the normal way, it was about to go flat. Just suddenly went (thankfully automatically saving before it shuts down) in the middle of a shot! If I'm right, that'll be a 'symptom' of having a non-genuine panasonic battery - although of course the price makes that a reasonable trade, although something to keep a close eye on! . eventually returned home by around 11:30am to PC and review what I'd got. Received an e-mail from DS 'reminding me' about the DOS 'REN' command, with regard to re-naming batches of files all in one go. YESSsss - of COURSE - NOW I remember! E.g. ' REN *.MOD *.MPG ' . That works a treat. Blimey - I used to know all that stuff. Nowadays it simply seems to have completely disappeared from my mind (through lack of use - my mind that is!)!!! I confess - I HAD also looked into and found the Windows Explorer method of re-naming multiple files, but irritatingly it didn't do 'quite' what I was after. It insists on inserting spaces and parenthesese. Viz. 'Clip (1).mpg, Clip (2).mpg..//.. Clip (10).mpg' etc. and doesn't use leading zeros before the single figures. That means that the resultant list of files is placed in a 'bad' order by some programs, when attempting to display them in alpha numerical order. ie. Clip (1).mpg, Clip (10).mpg, Clip (2).mpg. etc. All piddley irritating - although I wish I'd sussed all that out before doing all those damned photos recently. Could have combined the two procedures to have easily renamed them all in a 'proper' straight numerical sequence. Oh well - too late now. . with increasing age, of late, I REALLY have become aware of a mental decline alongside my hearing and eyesight etc, etc!! That is particularly frightening - given the fate of my Dad (brain tumor), and my grandfather (senility!)! . . . ended up playing around with a few clips and some music, half starting a couple of videos! . . drank a half glass of red wine and cooked and ate a big expensive, Mum donated meat pizza with extra grated cheese . . napped late until the alarm at 7pm . . skipped the walk and PCd on the little 'Robin' video and eventually uploaded it to YouTube around 10pm. There's 'just' enough in that video, for YOU to start getting an idea of what the zoom on that camera does, and why I'm SO fascinated with it. . PCd this . .couldn't help myself and ended up carrying on, working on the little 'blackbirds/leaves' video. Called it quits and uploaded it by 1:30pm . . finally to bed around 2:30am only to toss and turn for ages unable to sleep. d
5 - Woken by Sally just before 8am . . walked and since it wasn't raining for a bit, played with the new camcorder, zooming-in on this and that again. .PCd . . my latest orders from Amazon arrived in the post around 11am. Busied myself straight away unwrapping everything and formatting the new 16GB SD card in the camcorder and putting the new batteries on charge, using the new charger. Simple little thing it is - and I didn't even realise it came with the ability to also plug it into the lighter socket in the car! Blimey - I could go out and about in the car filming - and re-charge batteries if the need arose! . . Mum called in with food donations for chats etc and to be suitably amazed at the 'zooming' clips from the new camcorder . . ate mum donated ham rolls and crisps . .it was allegedly the town Christmas parade this afternoon, but what with yet more rain pouring, and having pretty successfully captured the thing last year - and of course being fearful of being down amongst all the people, there seemed little point in forcing myself to go have a look. . napped until around 5pm . . TVd . . PCd briefly . . guitarred, actually feeling increasingly down as the evening wore on? . . listened to a little music on the living room PC (Lynard Skynard, Hendrix, etc) - and even watched one or two of my own 'music videos' from last year! Ahhh yes - I remember back when it didn't rain EVERY F'ing day!!!! . . BB called briefly. . TVd . . ate beef paste sandwiches and mini chocolate rolls . . TVd until bed at 1am.
4 - Up around 8:15am. Not raining - yet! Once again, the forecast for the next few days is even more rain! It's never ending! Ok - there ARE breaks, but I can hardly remember such a long spell of almost daily rain like this. I think I read somewhere that it HAD been the wettest November for a while. Sure feels like it . . . walked and returned with just a hint of drizzle in the air . . Mum called to touch base at some length. During the conversation, Sally started acting REALLY weird and unsettled. Couldn't figure it out, but SO disturbed and insistant I give her attention was she, I ended up racing around the house trying to see what was up. At last I found what it was. I HUGE bumble bee had somehow gotten into the house, and was buzzing against the glass of the back door. Sally just HATES insects that buzz!! Managed to safely evict the bee using a wine glass and piece of paper. Sadly I presume it will soon expire, given the drizzle and mere five degree temperature outside. :o) . . PCd a bit of this. Received an e-mail to say my latest Amazon order had been despatched already. . ended up PCing this most of the afternoon, as the clouds closed in and more rain fell! . . cooked and ate two cheeseburgers with onion . . drove to walk in a light drizzle . . TVd/guitarred . . BB called breifly . . ate biscuits and bowls of co-co pops . . TVd until bed around 1am. s
3 - Up around 8:45am . . walked with the tripod and had another go at zooming in on everything. . connected the camera via the USB lead this time, still without instaling the bundled software, and happily copied over all the seperate files. One slight irritation I've found is that the camera produces its mpeg files with a 'MOD' file extension rather than mpg. Some of my (old?) video software doesn't 'see' any files other than those with an mpg extension. (That old software doesn't even allow 'show all files' in the directory/file selection navigation drop down!!?) Depending on what I'm doing, I HAVE found it beneficial to immediately manually replace the MOD with an MPG extension!! If I'm gonna start making a habit of that, I need to find an automated way of re-naming multiple files all in one go. I currently don't know how/if I can do that! :o( Actually - I could VERY much have used such an ability, when knocking up all those photos recently! . . PCd and just sat back with a coffee, watching the results, utterly fascinated by that camera's zoom (which is pretty much all I've done so far - just zoom in and out of stuff! lol). Already I think that camera is growing on me. Boy - how long have I been labouring on with the old one, having to actually replay all the video I've recorded, in real time, just to get it through the video card and onto the PC. Quickly copying files over from a SD card is a snip! Saves SO much time and effort! As for the quality of the new images - the jury is still out, but I'm starting to think it is perfectly adequate. It'll be hard to tell until I do a 'two cameras at once' test of some scene or other. The 'still photo' mode IS dissapointing being only 640x480 pixels, but is perfectly adequate for small thumbnail images for here. All in all - never mind all the other stuff - given where I live and what I mostly point it at (distant ships/aircraft/wildlife, etc), it's worth the money I've spent, just to have that incredible zoom. Capturing screens from the video and reducing them for here of course, really can't show what the camera 'actually' does - but the images I've included here may go 'some way' towards it. The image on the left is 'normal' - the image on the right is 70x zoomed in! Even with the naked eye, the 'warship' in the far, far distance was pretty much invisible, and the trawler was just a speck of white against the blue of the sea. It's a GREAT toy! In fact - after having watched my experiments - it's grown on me so much already, I bit the bullet and after checking prices and stuff on e-bay, etc, returned to Amazon to continue the inevitable 'part 2' of my camcorder related buying frenzy!! Ordered 'ABC Products' 2 x replacement rechargeable batteries and 1 x battery CHARGER for Panasonic SDR-S26 camcorder for £24.60 inc. postage, and 1 x 'Integral' 16GB SD Card (SDHC) - Class 6 (which included another free USB card reader!?) for £28.45 inc. postage. With a bit of luck, based on my experiences with my old camera, that really should enable me to never worry about running out of 'film', and probably not even power (maybe) under 'normal' circumstances, if I was to carry the spare batteries with me. The seperate charger was only a fiver-ish, which I reckon made it a VERY reasonable (if not entirely necessary) investment. With my old camera, I HAVE had occasions to wish I could have charged the spare batteries while still out filming with the camera. . So - there we go. With the exception of some sort of protective bag (or even preferably a 'hard' case?) to put it in in my pocket to keep the dust off, and at 'some' point in the future a tripod with a damned spirit level on it (although my trusty old heavy metal one is functionaly FAR superior to anything I've so far seen. If only I could buy some small spirit level 'attachment' - oh and a quick release shoe of course!), I think that should be me all set up for the forseeable future. It's all amounted to a BIG investment for me (although of course it's really Mums birthday gift to me, kinda)!!!!!!! I still find myself having to try and justify it! I've only really played with it on a couple of days so far, but already that probably amounts to a total of around five hours sat around messing about - never mind time at the PC after. In terms of an ongoing 'hobby', it's probably not 'that' bad value for money. £50 per hour - ever decreasing? . drank a glass of red wine and ate sausages, bacon and chips . . napped. Woken around 5pm, headachey, by Mum calling to tell me Eddie Izzard was on the Paul O'Grady show! I'd once mentioned how I found him clever/funny and had suggested Mum catch one of his (best - the American one) stand up performances when it was on TV - so forever more, Mum thinks I'm deeply interested whebnever he's on something! lol I'd have rather kept on sleeping for a bit longer thank you! . . walked and since it was not raining or blowing for a bit, went via town to see the Xmas lights. Back via BGdns and the store for milk . . PCd this until late . TVd/guitarred (actually webcaming a little while I did so, using the old camcorder on the living room PC). . ate a mushroom pastry slice, crisps, banana and chocolate before eventually to bed around 1:30am. daa
2 - Woken by the sounds of the bins being emptied around 8:15am . . walked . . spent ages doing a rather complicated e-mail to the recipient of the photo collection, to tell them it was in the post, and to let them know some of the technical stuff and the difficulties they 'may' face when dealing with them. . . burned another copy disc of the photos, split into necessary sub directories for viewing on Mums DVD player. Left Sally at home and popped up Mums. Messed around with her equipment and laboriously wrote down 'dummys guide' type instructions for her, to enable her to view and manually navigate around the collection. . ended up returning home carrying YET another surplus (NON freeview) portable TV for my ever growing collection!!!! . . ate sausages, bacon and chips . . napped . . . drove to walk . . TVd . . messed around for what turned into MANY hours, putting one of my old PCs back in the living room, all connected up to the TV, etc. Should have been quick and straight forward, but for some reason (once again! Every time I do it!!) I couldn't get the damned video card to show on the TV. In desperation I ended up breaking open the cases and swapping the video card out of the OTHER old PC! During all this nightmare, JK unexpectedly called around 11:30pm to touch base. He sounded his usual self. He's in a new apartment (sadly without the view). It was particularly sad to hear, the old guy who'd had the big house fire - he'd died a little while ago in hospital. . wrestled further with the PCs/TV etc. until gone 2am before finally reaching a working set up. I'm not sure why I bothered! Given my old 28" TV can't display a decent resolution, it's utterly impossible to actually read any print that it displays (no matter how you attempt to increase font sizes etc)! Therefor, my aim of sitting back all comfy on the sofa next to the fire, using my wireless keyboard to type (this?)or surf stuff, is still just NOT possible. :o( . . touched base with BB/pcd until around 4am before finally to bed.
1 - Woken by Sally around 8am. Down to freezing outside. Very brrrr inside too! . . grey but dry with little wind . walked with the new camera and tripod and messed around in BGdns experimenting (almost exclusively with the zoom of course). Didn't seem like very long vefore of course I was running out of battery - although given the low temperature, it was probably just as well to have something to force me to stop and return home to get ('relatively') warm. . during filming, dog walker H passed by and said the freeview set-top box and portable TV she no longer wanted, was ready for me to have whenever I wanted it, but I'd need to use the car. . eventually returned home with a tub of left overs/dog food from K . . at last - it's been a dry spell for a day or so, and the ground has dried out just a little with the few sunny spells. Raced out and mowed the lawns (needed doing badly) and collected up some of the huge piles of fallen leaves . . left Sally at home and drove to pick up the TV and set-top box. Was given the opportunity to have a bit of a look at her house. Oh wow. It'd been built on three levels - with a proper room in the attic. What was particularly interesting to me was the upper stairs arrangement - to the attic room. Effectively a 'U' shaped flight of stairs, with the stairs on both turns arranged as triangular segments. The overall 'footprint' of the stairwell, was therefore reduced to an absolute minimum. I'd long ago concluded (without yet having got serious with a tape measure) that if I was ever to attempt an attic room in my house (and yes - it IS 'begging for it'!), I'd have to have just such a flight of stairs (and actually sacrifice the 'PC' room as a viable 'bedroom' - which it hardly is anyway given how small it is!). She promised to let me maybe return some time in the future - with a tape measure to measure her stairs! lol Loaded up the car, and with suitable thanks given, raced home to see what I'd ended up with. . aside from a couple of useful scart splitters etc, the portable TV was a Sony (which I STILL haven't actually tried out yet). MOST interesting to me was the freeview set-top box she'd given me. Oh wow - is it - is it - it IS!!!!!!!! Turned out to be exactly the same as one I'd read up on, while surfing looking at them, searching for one that has a built in modulator. Oooh oooh oooh. A 'Humax F2-Fox T'. (£30ish on e-bay, £70ish new!) . . quickly switched a few leads on the living room TV, connected it up and tested it. In the abscence of a manual, it took me an age to go through all the complicated menus and figure out what the hell was what and actually manage to tune it to a signal and get all the available channels, but after a long hard struggle, I managed to get it up and running - and YES - it DOES modulate a scart-input, and output the result to the aerial-out socket. Yipeee. Spent ages experimenting and figuring out the spaghetti and all the possible interconections, but I got there in the end! DVD scart out to Sky box scart in - Sky box scart out to Humax scart in - Humax scart out to TV scart in, AND Humax aerial-out, to an aerial lead splitter running to the main TV AND the other two portable 'slave' TVs in the kitchen and the PC room. Ok - so it DOES mean having the Humax on almost all the time if I want to watch TV anywhere, but it DOES mean I can watch all of it - even the DVD player (or actually - anything else I wish to plug into the scart e.g. the CCTV?) - in the other rooms when desired. How super cool is THAT! And now I have a spare set-top box for another TV somewhere else (although I haven't 'plumbed' in any aerial leads to the other two bedrooms yet). :o) So - I CAN have everything then? Actually - as it turns out - not 'quite'. Not actually used for so long, it turns out that the outdoor CCTV camera has lost its right-hand motorised panning ability. :o( Luckily, it IS stuck facing my front door. Also - many of the reviews I'd read for that Humax set-top box had been VERY critical - most particularly in respect of the program guide/information screens. Turns out those reviews were absolutely accurate. Due apparantly to design/memory chip limitations, the box will regularly seem to be unable to show the guide information, and even has difficulty showing the current program information some of the time. It IS infuriating and sadly DOES mean it is NOT the box to go out and buy. That IS a shame - because the other features make it VERY flexible and desireable. I seem to often end up having to go back to using the Sky box to look through all the program information to see what is on later and plan an evenings viewing etc. Fidly. Never mind - although complicated and quirky, I now have a FULL terrestrial freeview set up which VERY much meets my needs - and I haven't spent a penny or had to get up on the roof. COooooell. :o) ate corned beef, grated cheese, lettuce rolls . . napped until the alarm at 7pm, although had trouble waking. SO tired! . more wind and rain. Skipped the walk. . TVd for an hour and then finally got round to PCing and having a look at the video experiments from this morning.
. . My comments on here the other
day about 'Lack of food and the "inner cold", resulted
in someone who seems to know about such things, sending me an e-mail.
I'm going to include it here.
My solution to cheap calories is to produce simple muffin type things.
A silicone cake mould (easy to clean, does not have as much latent heat capacity as a glass bowl), a microwave oven, ~200g of self raising flour, ~teaspoon cooking oil, ~4 teaspoons sugar, pinch of salt, ~70ml water, 3 - 5 minutes cooking time and you have a nice warm reasonably tasty meal.
(Those measurements are just guesswork, I don't measure anything)
An adult male requires around 12MJ of energy per day.
Wheat flour contains ~14MJ per kg at a cost of 29p per kg.
Of course wheat flour by itself is not a suitable diet but it could fill any gaps for very little money.
Cheap bread provides 10MJ/kg at 59p/kg.
Other staples could add variety, rice, corn meal, potatoes.
If you felt like it you could become obese for an extra £1 per day.
I haven't yet tried it (because actually 'doing stuff' in the kitchen, is not one of my strong points. I mean - I'd first have to wash all the stacked up used dishes and everything!) but I HAD to include it here. It's that last line. Actually caught me by suprise and made me laugh out loud quite a bit when I got to it. :o) . . .located and downloaded a pdf of the Humax manual and had a read through most of the stuff I'd already managed to figure out. One extra thing, was that it was 'supposed' to be able to program the remote control to operate the TV too. I couldn't get that to work - but probably that's more down to my old TV. I couldn't get THAT TV to work with one of those 'one remote for all' handsets I once bought (and actually still have somewhere). . ate a tin of mushroom soup with crisps and four pieces of bread and butter . . TVd (News channel - Obama's speech - live - to the military academy? - about sending more troops to Afghanistan etc. Whatever one may think about that guy or his politics (I personally dare to admit here, I think he's the best thing thats happened to the US/world for years!) one must surely concede, he has some amazing speech writers and wow - is he REALLY good at delivering them! He was on his feet and spoke for half an hour apparantly. I saw NO sign of ANY form of autocue, etc. Really amazing.) . . breifly touched base with BB before to bed around 2am. s