Category Archives: Blog?

The Ashes – Old Trafford Day 5

And so, thanks to Manchester’s best-known attribute, England have retained The Ashes. Yay! Unfortunately my first experience of international cricket was a rather soggy one, and the successful retaining of said Ashes was not especially climatic. In fact most people were glad for an excuse to get out of the rain and back on the tram. I did manage to get some nice photos for the short time that play was going on, but a tense afternoon of gritty England survival vs. persistant Australian bowling would have been much more enjoyable.

Chris O’Dowd’s big floaty balls

This might be jumping onto the Movember bandwagon a bit, but it’s an under-occupied bandwagon that is worth jumping onto. Chris O’Dowd (of the IT Crowd, Bridesmaids etc, not to be confused with this handsome Dr.) has lent his name and acting talents to a campaign to raise awareness of testicular cancer via a giant, scrotum-shaped, hot air balloon:

Donate here if you want to see a giant nut-sack flying around the countryside. Donations are taken from your account now, but if the project fails to meet its £100 000 goal the money will be refunded. I’m looking forward to my testicular tea-mug, but even if you don’t donate to the campaign please remember to keep an eye/hand on your manly bits.

The Deep, Hull

The morning after Cathy and Nick’s wedding, surprisingly hangover-less, we took the scenic route through the North Yorkshire Moors to meet Adam in Hull, and visit The Deep. While the “submarium” branding is a little pointless, and some of the interactive exhibits are showing their age, the collection of fish are impressive and it was an interesting afternoon out.

Nick and Cathy’s Wedding

Wedding No. 3 of the year took us to North Yorkshire, for a sunny Sunday with Nick and Cathy. Danby Castle might have been in the middle of nowhere, but it was a stunning venue. After a personal, humanist ceremony there was much-needed ice cream and a wedding breakfast containing no nuts, eggs, fish or dairy, yet not consisting of steak and friut salad!

Our hotel wasn’t bad either.


Annoying thing about getting cancer #37: Try getting affordable life insurance

Quote for Sonya: £6.24 per month
Quote for me: £87.10!

Although this will reduce with time, the overall cost will be three times higher for me, with the costs weighted at the time we can least afford them. Excellent.

Holly and Dave’s wedding

As my head clears from last night’s party, I can celebrate the fact that I managed to return home with my camera in one piece, and all my fingers intact despite finishing up at 2am in a fairly seedy bar on Oxford Road. Holly and Dave were married in Bermuda a few weeks ago, but last night was a chance for us to celebrate that with them in the Manchester Museum. I think we managed that.

A week in Wroxham

Many thanks to Ian and Finola for organising a week in the Norfolk Broads to celebrate New Year. Finding a cottage with a free boat within 4 miles of the Woodforde’s was inspired, although you can’t prove that we ever visited the brewery since we managed to drink all 72 pints of the evidence.

New Year’s Eve also gave us a chance to dress up and polish our french accents, as we took part in “The Brie, The Bullet and The Black Cat”. While I won’t spoil the surprises, you can be reassured that no-one was exactly as the seemed… It also gave me a chance to play with my new flashgun, which really made a difference for indoor portraits.

Other highlights included tens of herons, thousands of seagulls and a beachful of mating, pupping and nursing seals (well worth a visit).



My Minolta 500mm f/8 reflecting lens is an engineering marvel, an insanely long lens in a relatively small and light package. It does have drawbacks though, with a small aperture meaning it is unable to let in a lot of light, something that would be quite handy with such a telephoto lens. In the morning light of a dull Manchester day, this means cranking up the ISO and still having to hold tight to prevent blurry photos. Still, these pictures are far better than I would have managed with a regular zoom lens.

I’ve seen this jay around in our garden quite a bit, this morning he was quite happy to forage in the gutter and garden while I ran around finding and fitting the lens.

Sony A500 + Minolta AF 500mm Reflex @ f/8, ~1/125 s, ISO 1600
Shot through a glass window, contrast adjusted using Windows Live Photo Gallery(!)