So, a bit of an update

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It’s a bit huge today, lots of photos and all, so rather than inflict them on my entire f-list, the post is under a cut. But for all of you to enjoy, here’s a picyture…

So, Kathryn ([info]bluwyngz) came down last week, in fact, a week ago today. Having ensconced ourselves in Slough – funds for the journey to Bristol and back (and foodage while there) being somewhat lacking from my bank account (hell, funds for anything are lacking and a certain NHS related staffing are working at that special speed at which the NHS functions – thus preventing me from obtaining bank shifts which is somewhat frustrating). Anyhow. I was a little concerned by this turn of events – Slough being hardly a cultural mecca – and fearing that Kathryn might get somewhat bored with, well, Slough.

But actually it all turned out fabulously. The weather was kind to us, and we headed out to Windsor Great Park – on the way there encountering this rather nice picture and then…

The park itself is pretty vast, considering I live all of 20 minutes away and had no idea about it’s existence (I’m sure someone ([info]jordax, probably) has told me about it, but hey, I have a short memory) and yet is bigger than Windsor itself, well, I’m surprised. Anyhow, we wandered in and here in all their (edited) glory are some of the pics.

It was gorgeously sunny, and the current

[info]snapshot_hunter comp is ‘dappled’ so I spent ages trying to get ‘dappled’ shots:

Given that it’s a big old park with lots of big old trees, there’s plenty of storm damaged trees – with their broken jagged points scoring the sun bleached sky.

I spent ages photographing this tree, but I never did quite get the shot I was after.

Of course, since it was sunny++, I could actually use the Macro on my camera. I’ve not played with it very much, it needs a lot of light, and obviously, tiny focal distance. People who’ve seen my ladybird (ladybug) shot from the urbex set know I’ve been playing with it, but hey, here’s some tree bark which had a gorgeous texture:

So, playing with the macro in a park leads to ‘flowers’, obviously. But not being in a great position (I was on the rather steep bank of a little dinky stream) meant that I wasn’t that great at checking the focus on some shots. This was intended to be a shot of the purple flower, but I really love the way it’s come out, actually. The focus is not where you expect, and the grass looks fantastic :-)

I debated whether that was ‘dappled’ but really, it just doesn’t scream ‘dappled’ at me. It wasn’t the last time I played with the macro function, oh no:

However, on the dappled front I have to say I felt this next shot achieved dappled quite well; in fact, assuming the competition’s not closed, this’ll be my entry.

I won’t say as it’s the very definition of dappled, but it’s pretty much dappled as far as I’m concerned. Anyway, we continued our quest (which was, I suspect, to have a very nice walk in the park) and both continued to snap away with our respective cameras…

And I continued to play a game I’d not even realised I was playing – I think it was called ‘how many macro shots can you take in a day’?

This was another shot I took in my quest to get dapplement, but I wasn’t quite so keen on this one…

One of my other hobbies of the day was candid shots of Kathryn. Sadly, quite a lot of these came out with her being small and far away, or alternatively ‘not hugely flattering’. In many ways the next shot went horribly wrong, but I actually really like the result:

Shortly after this, we decided to rise above it all…by climbing a tree. I love climbing, I used to scale rocks and walls and trees as a kid, and though there was a latent fear of heights lurking in my conciousness I overpowered it by sheer force of will. Apparently, my will isn’t quite so strong these days; that and I’d forgotten about it until I got into the tree.

And when I say ‘climbing a tree’, Kathryn climbed, with grace – or at least agility, she shot up the tree, perching high up in the branches

I for my part kinda scrabbled in – intially and rather startlingly dropping to the ground (having first impacted the trunk of the tree as I threw myself to clear the sign which I *really* didn’t want to land on) – it was only a few feet (about 5?) to the bottom branch, but my arms really weren’t that keen on the concept of me going into it. A second attempt lead to me scrabbling and in a terribly undignified way landing up on my desired branch. Happy I was, and then I looked at the teeny tiny drop and my brain said ‘no Kate, you’re scared’. Having beat the fear into a small mushy pulp I then attempted to ascend… a bit of scrabbling later and my fear gland worked it’s magic again, and I decided to stay where I was. Comfortable on the lowest branch. There I sat, happily contemplating ways to screw my subconscious out of ever speaking to me again, and enjoying the rather pleased sensation of having at least made it *into* the tree.

Clearly tree climbing is something I shall have to re-skill at, because it was great fun – although I don’t bounce *quite* so well as I used to, and we won’t discuss my descent which left me with scrapes and bruises that had my colleagues at work much amused.

Kathryn went on to climb another tree, me – feeling a little sore – I rested on a bough which had formed a natural hammock shape, lovely it was. The evening light was casting funky shadows and Kathryn was being silly…

As we headed back we encountered a bird we’d spent some time trying to get pictures of earlier; and this time we both got good shots of it

We also encountered some terribly irritating black-what-are-they-birds. Irritating because they were quite interesting, cute and had a policy of only flapping their wings or flying about if you were pointing the camera at another bird. To be fair, it was getting a bit less light, and quite a lot of mine – zoomed to maximum zoomage – came out rather blurry.

But there was one…

And then of course we did some urbexing (which I ramble about here)

So that was my days with Kathryn, in a very restrained journal-publishable not nearly as Kathryn-centred as it would be – way.

Anyhow, so since Kathryn’s been I’ve been trying to be a little more organised in my approach to the house, and my life – mostly because she’s introduced me to Performance Poetry, some other indiefeeds, and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me (which is similar in concept to Radio 4’s ‘The News Quiz’ – why isn’t that podcasted? Grr); and I’ve restarted listening to Coverville. Which means that I need time to listen to these things – but also I need to get on with the house, now I’ve managed to encourage my builder that I asked to quote to maybe send me a quote.

So, I dug up some enthusiasm and dug great chunks out of the walls in the spare room – and then went around filling them back in – hopefully post sanding (and there’s going to be a lot of sanding) it should look a hell-of-a-lot better. I still need to do more, but I’ve left it two days to try and ensure it’s really dry.

I also returned Gardenia from the wild rebels to a state of harmonious…well, I’d say democracy, but it’s more of a dictatorship. With the aid of the heavy artillery (namely a 25 quid lawnmower from Homebase, and a similarly cheap and nasty strimmer) the grass has been reduced from ‘field like’ to merely ‘slightly untidy’. The weeds are also an even length now, too. I’m not sure you’re meant to mow beds filled entirely with weeds, but I kinda did. The mower is pretty effective – but the motor attrociously balanced leading to a feeling like riding a motorcycle flat-out down the motorway; vibey. And the strimmer is similarly equipped with the Vibratortron 3000 motor. I struggled to do too much with the strimmer because it actually made my hands hurt to keep in on too long. Still, thankfully the garden’s small enough – and once my mum’s had her way there probably won’t be much in the way of grass. Some, because I like grass, but not that much.

And finally in my enthusiastic streak, I attacked Brick’s headlamp switch. I’m not sure what made me decide to do that, but I’m incredibly grateful that I did – for whilst my old switch looked in good shape

That top – which appeared in such good shape hid a nasty, nasty secret.

For the last few days I’ve had this faint idea that I could smell burning electrics – just occasionally. I’d started to put it down to paranoia – but also started to bump up the list of things to do the need to look at the state of the slightly flakey headlamp switch (it’d made a crunching noise once, and since that day hadn’t quite worked right). I’m really thankful that I did look at it today. The insulation on the connector was black and charred, a big chunk of it missing completely; the headlamp connector as you can see above and below black and charred. The paper’s even clearly started to scorch.

There could have been an electrical fire – which would probably have been terminal; because it would have been under the dashboard – and just the sort of fire which puts and end to old cars. Anyway, the switch has gone, the connector’s been cleaned, and hopefully things are now sorted. Big thanks to PSL from the Vauxhall Viva Owners Club for the for-the-price-of-postage replacement switch.

Anyhow, if you made it this far, congratulations. I’ll try and be a bit more regular with my updates :-)


Kate's a human mostly built out of spite and overcoming transphobia-racism-and-other-bullshit. Although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, it's all good.