Sunday, November 30, 2008

Send three and fourpence.....

... we're going to a dance!!

Bloody hell it's cold in my house without a boiler. Corned beef legs and sore throats are the result of sitting too near the dreadful gas fire that I am reliant upon.

On the plus side, my uncle (the cavalry) arrives tomorrow lunchtime to remedy any number of "household maintenance" items.

By my reckoning, today is Saint Andrew's day - To any Scots that know me, don't get too drunk the neet!! Enjoy your "new" bank holiday tomorrow - NB: We still don't have a Saint George's day bank holiday in England!!

I've watched a lot of films lately...... Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium; Kung Fu Panda; Indiana Jones; Prince Caspian; Iron Man, to name just a few that currently reside in my "rewriteable" dvd collection!?! I totally loved Kung Fu Panda - Didn't expect to, but it contains some great kung fu elements and serves as a great tribute/homage to some films I have loved over the years.

A weekend of dog-sitting culminated in an early Sunday morning frosty walk around Pighill Wood - A place I love. I take this same picture from below Nettleton Hill in all manner of weather and all times of day just because it's a good view across to Castle Hill. What you get here is (fore to back) Golcar, Milnsbridge, Crosland Moor, Newsome, Hall Bower, Castle Hill - All in one go...

If I could only learn to hold the camera horizontal.

Get well soon Dawn X.

Friday, November 28, 2008


As I get older, I am constantly reminded by those around me that I have an increasingly similar disposition to that of Victor Meldrew. I have an alarmingly shortening fuse, terminal bad luck, and an immeasurable amount of bile which seems to spout forth from my vocal chords under its own angry volition.

Things happen to me and I have no tolerance for it to simply wash over the top. I used to be quite laid back.... I was one of those horizontal people.... If I laid back any further you'd have called it a cartwheel.

So what's my gripe today?

I took the plunge and ordered some carefully researched walking boots from an online store. The delivery went fine, the communications were acceptable, the product is in good working order....... they are just a whole size too small for my feet. I look at my trainers.... size 11.... I look at the boots.... size 11..... I look under my feet.... size 11...... ah well, I'll just roll over, accept that not everyone's definition of size 11 is the same, return them (at my own expense) and get the next size up.......

Insert blue air here!!

So, there's a size 11...... and the next size up is...... 12.5!!!!

Oh crimminy!!

Need Assistance? Live Chat - Offline.

Say no frinking more!!

(I also payed for them using PayPal so the refund won't be simple either)

Why do you think he removes their skins, Agent Starling? - I love the blue skies that we get as we head towards winter. Clear, crisp, low slung, powder blue. I also have a fascination with power lines and pylons. When you really take time to look at things like this (the picture) it makes you realise we're a funny species on this planet! Nettleton Hill power lines and a starling.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I've said it before.

It never pays to drunken blog... drunken phone.... or indeed drunken text message. I generally fall foul of all three even though I try not to do any of them.

Suffice to say my drunken antics that meant I didn't spend the night with Dawn as per our previous "sober" planning, have not had any serious or long lasting repercussions other than to make me look like the idiot that I so often can be.

I conclude.... I love eating food, and often wish I didn't get full because the food tastes so nice and I could eat it all day if I didn't fill up. I also love drinking beer but am rarely happy with the end result.... I honestly don't drink beer to get drunk, or at least not to get as drunk as I do!!

We've had a good weekend though and enjoyed a little outing to the Huddersfield Festival of Light which ran on Friday and Saturday nights in town. I don't think it was as good a spectacle as last year, but the cold winter evening followed by a quick pint at the Grove in town was a rare pleasure.

This season I have been mostly pissed off at O2 broadband's DNS problems that have kept me off the web all weekend!!!!!!!! GRRRRRRRRRR

Slightly out of sharpness due to the crazy long exposure and no tripod - nice example of the light and fireworks though. Somewhere in there is a soldier with some sort of firearm that was dangerously spewing fire and brimstone. We were (rather hilariously to me) warned at the start of the show that "these are real fireworks and real Spanish people".

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dog house!

I'm in the frikking dog house for going out drinking.

You know the score.... one of them afternoon sessions turns into one of them evening sessions .... turns into one of them playing on the Nintendo Wii sessions.... and I promised to sleep over but it's too late and there's no way I can drive anywhere and I bit my tongue eating a Nik-Nak crisp sarnie..... etc etc.

There were surely something much wittier and humorous than this to write, but you also got the bum rush.


If you leave me now!! - Still life or a landscape.... whatever the frik you want to call it. It's a bunch of leaves in the woods at Upper Greetland - Let's call it art - the glossy finish on them makes it all the worthwhile of course!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Apparently we should be more bothered about kelp!!

It's been a pretty rubbish day in the most part. Was thinking about going out for a walk this morning, but when I woke up and my boiler was working, I felt obliged to stay in and reap the rewards of the fuzzy, glowing productivity that it exuded. Having been out walking on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, I can't really grumble too much.

Short lived it was, and it hasn't worked for the rest of the day.... back to the skanky gas fire then!!

Managed to watch "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" this afternoon... hmmm... not the best afternoon I've ever had and I have to admit to having to rewind a couple of times where I nodded off during the first hour.

Of course by the time the afternoon and evening arrived it was grey and rainy and the wind is picking up. Just the kind of weather you're glad you have central heating..... Doh!!

You don't see as many pigs around here as you used to!! I was pleased to find this friendly porker on Moor Bottom Lane, which of course runs along the bottom of Norland Moor and is at the top of Greetland. We had a nice chat together while I reorganised my rucksack.... very vocal and sociable animal.... and the pig was quite friendly too!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Well, my boiler has gone a bit screwy. It seems to be an annual occurrence and always seems to happen at roughly this time of year... i.e. when I might actually need it!! I called "the boiler man" and he came and took it apart, gave himself a full scale electric shock, told me it's knackered, and left it in a worse state than when he arrived.... charming.... the boiler now doesn't work at all!!

I now get to choose whether to pay for a new circuit board (about two hundred quid) or to replace the boiler (just over a grand!!).

I need a job!!

I am cuddled up on my sofa with a furry blanket and a bloody gas fire (which I hate). I have a carbon monoxide alarm on standby just in case the gas fire misbehaves - I've never trusted them.

Yesterday was cold, wet, foggy and miserable and full of boiler related unhappiness.

Today was so much better that I decided to go up to Norland Moor for a nice walk. I have only done this walk once before and it went a little bit wrong last time, so I was determined to do it right. It was muddier than anticipated, which I can only put down to yesterday's crappy weather.

The rest of the day was spent catching Pokemon... cooking.... taking Lemsip round to soothe Dawn's fevered brow.... watching "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here" - which I'm finding strangely watchable this year, where three days into the show in previous years I had already lost interest.

I could've picked a dozen photos to commemorate my day, but I find this one equally pleasing and frustrating. This is one of many views across Norland Moor, looking directly North East and over the Calder Valley. You can just make out Wainhouse Tower poking above the horizon above Sowerby Bridge.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Back to black!

No, don't worry, I haven't softened and started to like Amy Winehouse.... I still think she's a waste of space and ought to relinquish her grip on oxygen for someone who might use with more gusto.

I have in fact returned to Black Moss reservoir for the first time September 16th 2007 - I know this is the date because I took photographic evidence of my journey there and the maintenance work that was going on at that time. I am pleased to say that on this particular occasion, the weather was better, my camera was better, and the reservoir was all fixed and full of water.

We managed a really lovely seven mile stretch of the Pennine Way, which of course wound up in Marsden at the Riverhead brewery tap..... and after a walk around Black Moss, what better finish than to find that they had Black Moss Stout on tap.... delicious!

I know Dawn will kill me for uploading this picture - it's not the most flattering picture I have ever taken of her!!! What this picture DOES manage to convey (on my behalf) is: This was taken moments before I realised that I had left my bottle of water on my kitchen table; Dawn and Stevie both enjoyed the walk with me; This is where we sat to eat our lunch on the sandy bank of Black Moss Reservoir; Blue skies; Black water; Autumnal shades of peaty moorland; Note the hat, it was deceptively chilly in the breeze.

You can of course read about my original trip and see the photos here!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Smash it.

Watching "Celebrity Come Dine With Me" tonight on TV.... I am treated to Caprice (Vacuous model type), Nicky Clarke (Foofy hairdresser type), Nancy Sorrell (Wannabe celebrity type that sounds like a man) and Jimmy Osmond (Long haired lover from Liverpool type) all enjoying a series of dinner parties together.

The time has truly come to smash TV. To kill it. Those rockstars of days gone by that hurled TV from hotel windows surely had the right idea.

I did watch it until it made me so mad that I plucked out my eyeballs with a corkscrew.

There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, it's probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on ... shame on you. It fool me. We can't get fooled again. - G W Bush!

A very oldie, but still one of my favourite pics that I have snapped. Using my old Samsung camera when I used to live in Birky, I caught a humble-bumble on my sage plant. A memory of summers past.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Careful what you wish for.

Yesterday I was bemoaning our indecisive weather patterns. Today in a reversal of barometric pressure, we've had sunshine (and lollipops) and rather mild weather.

Woken with sun screaming around my curtain, directly into my eyes, where it would take until the afternoon to reach in summer, it now reaches by nine in the morning. I'm not complaining, but I notice how far round and how low in the sky, the old orange ball has really managed to let itself go.

I leapt out of bed (in my own inimitable fashion) and set off to buy myself some serious wet weather walking equipment. Although the weather's better today, you just know that underfoot it's going to be.... soggy, to say the least. I buy some nice wellington boots and some gaiters - I pay too much for them and say a little prayer that I might be able to persuade someone to contribute towards them by way of a christmas gift??

I can't remember the last time I wore wellington boots.... they take some getting used to and they're very tiring to walk in, but I manage a little outing to Pighill Woods and Nettleton Hill, from where I can see Drax power station (some thirty five miles away) whilst standing in thick leaf mould with dry feet!! Lovely clear, sunny conditions.

I'm very pleased with my attempt at putting the leaves back on the trees in this picture. I hope that this makes up for posting a picture of some scary trees yesterday. Pighill Woods walking in wellies!! This is one of those images that you really need to click and view at full scale to appreciate the colours, details and depth.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gotta catch 'em all!

Hazy, lazy, Nintendo time days.

I keep meaning to get out on my bike or go out for a walk, but the weather..... oh the weather!! I wish it would make its mind up as to whether it's autumn or winter. Broadly speaking, we're supposed to have at least a couple more weeks of autumn left.... the hail storms and random storm force winds and fog and rain (torrential rain) are not really defining our season too well.

Some might say it's a typical Yorkshire autumn..... and even more so it's a typical Outlane autumn!! The wide main road here is a real open artery through which the weather truly gushes.
Roll on the winter beer festival season (There'll be loads of really strong dark beers)..... Of note:

The Star at Folly Hall - 26th November to 30th November 2008
Drop Inn at Elland - 4th December to 7th December 2008

So make sure you come and burgle my house over those dates - if I'm out then you'll have no worries otherwise I'll be the drunk one asleep on the sofa.... try not to wake me.

Be they alive or be they dead.... I'm just an old tree hugger at heart and I love this pair of dead trees in a field near the (very beautiful) village of Helme. A walk when the weather knew what it was doing.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Quite amazingly.

No matter how hard I try to keep up with my blog, it just seems to run away from me. I can't believe I didn't make a post since Thursday already!!

What have I been doing that's been so exciting?

Drinking beer mostly.

Took a trip into York yesterday and even managed a trip to the splendid and very friendly York Brewery. Took the tour and drank the splendid beer. Very enjoyable. You can't beat a drop of Yorkshire Terrier or a pint of Guzzler!!

Oystercatchers in Anglesey. Having never seen an oystercatcher up close before, I was pleased to grab a snap of this one, even though I had to squelch out into the mud of a low tide to get near enough to them. Lovely orange beak and I love the seaweed covered rock behind it too.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sensible in principle.

I love to give positive feedback. All too often we are miserably and predictably disappointed by customer service experiences. For that reason, I am always happy to write about the better experiences and to promote the businesses that offer them.

I bought a crappy multi-card memory reader for my laptop. Increasingly these days, I find myself dealing with a mindboggling array of memory cards for an even more mindbogglingly array of devices around the house. It seemed sensible therefore that I might have a device that I could just plug them into without having to have a host of adapters and cables and software in order to read the information contained amongst them.

I've been using the reader for a while and now I find that it has caused physical damage to a memory card for my camera.... first it buckled the little plastic teeth that separate the gold contacts..... next the teeth fell out..... next the whole card kind of split in two.

It's a Staples branded card... I don't have a receipt and I don't know when I bought it.... How sensible then that they should choose to replace the memory card for me free of charge under the warranty, simply because it's a Staples branded item!!

It's far too sensible and simple.

I won't pretend to be any good at that exposure, aperture, and any of that other photographing jazz-a-ma-tazz, so most of these sort of things are experiments that go right or wrong.... this one's almost there. Bonfire night at the Jack o' Mitre, Scammonden 2008. They tell me the three days of fog that we've endured may end tomorrow in sunshine!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Well I never....

I never thought I would see the day when I saw the literal translation of fireworks being a case of money going up in smoke.

Tonight was bonfire night, and we generally send a lot of money into the sky amid oohs and aahs and smoke and fire. Today was so foggy that anything that flew more than a few feet above the ground was lost in the grime. Anything that stayed less than a few feet above the ground was generally lost in a cloud of fog and choking smoke.

Rockets? A total waste of time tonight.

We went to the Jack O' Mitre's annual bonfire and firework display. It's a well attended event and usually it's accompanied by horizontal rain and force nine gales. It was just foggy tonight and a bit cold.

What IS predictable about this photo is a long exposure with kids playing with sparklers. What may not be so obvious about this photo is the instruction.... Me to kids: "right make some big shapes" - taking photo - looking at photo - laughing at photo - One of them makes big circles..... and bloody loads of them..... the other?? Random!! Two opposites. One structured and active.... the other random and wild. Two very different interpretations of the same instruction.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Fogging hell.

I've (quite rightly) spent the day at home behind closed doors keeping out of the dank.

A day when the fog came down and it never went back up. A day when the bare branches of newly shorn trees dripped relentlessly. Muffled sights and deadened sounds sucked up into piles of leaves in the gutters.

Getting ready for the fire service's most busy night of the year!!

Landscape two - Looking into Llyn Llydaw - crystal clear, freezing cold, sunshine on water. Halfway up Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon to me and you!!)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Foot off....

Foot off the pedal and onto the leaf litter.

I've had a couple of walking days. These starkly contrast with the couple of drinking days/nights that preceded. A sojourn into the boozy boundaries of Brighouse and a lighthearted look at Elland's finest hostelries, complete with the Barge and Barrel's beer festival have left me with a desire to walk some of it off.

Saturday night and for a change we stayed in and had a curry. Having taken Stevie the wonder dog out on a suitably strenuous hike during the day, I was neither in the mood nor were my paws of sound quality to make a hike out to yet another establishment to sample more beery wares.

An indigestion inspiring vegetable madras and a peshwari naan (and potatoes and peas.... pilau rice.... chapattis.... onion bhajis..... you get the idea!!) with Harry Hill's TV Burp and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, made for a classically Novemberish night in on the sofa.

I love Autumn.

The playground of my childhood - Rocking Stones Quarry - used to be on the left on this picture, but since work resumed and has ceased again, is now on the right of this picture. You can see on the left where they have flattened over their workings and nature is gradually reclaiming the scoured earth. Nice gatepost, and a fine illustration for Maxxo that it was in fact a lovely day here yesterday - sorry buddy!!