Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year For 2016

Text created with Art Text 2. Sound is the Mac OSX System Voice 'Bells' which spoke the text written in a notepad while being recording with Audacity.  Firework and its sound were found on the 'net.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Hive on a Pole

As yesterday was reasonably mild, and more importantly dry, we went walkabout through the back of the local graveyard to see whether Stan's horses were out in their paddock. There was no sign of them this time but we were being closely watched by a couple as we took one of the muddy rights of way:



There used be be quite a collection of conventional bee hives but they seem to have been replaced by a different design:


There were a couple of these last year. Now all the hives are of this design.  I wonder whether the idea of putting the hive on a post is to give protection from any creatures which might try to raid them.

I had a look round the 'net and read about one keeper who put his hives on steel poles which had a saucer of oil half way up HERE. That was to stop ants and other insects invading the hives. When I photographed the above hive I was puzzled by the glass jars scattered round the base. I wonder whether they are baited insect traps. Apparently in some areas of Africa bee keepers use a similar design to protect their hives from honey badgers.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

UK Floods, Boxing Day 2015

For many, especially those in the north of England, it has not been a happy Christmas. Some areas are flooded for the third time this month. This snapshot from the Environment Agency gives an idea of what things are like in England and Wales. (Scotland has a separate warning system):

England and Wales Flooding Boxing Day 2015

There are three levels of flood warnings.
amber - flood alert (be prepared for possible flooding)
red with black icon - flood warning (flooding expected, immediate action required)
red with red icon - severe flood warning (severe flooding, danger to life)

Several areas have had a month's rain in a day. With the ground already saturated from previous rainfall it is flowing straight in to the rivers, some of which are at their highest ever recorded levels.

Fortunately for me where I live is marked with the arrow I added to the map.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Friday, 25 December 2015

Not Seen for 38 Years ........

........ a full Moon:

Moon 24 Dec 2015

According to reports it's the first time for 38 years a full Moon has been seen on Christmas Day. I photographed it early last night while there was a gap in the clouds.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Making it Move

For a New Year video I wanted to add an animated bell but all those I found ready made on the net were too small so I downloaded a large static bell which had a transparent background.


This I loaded in Serif Affinity Designer and after much experimentation I worked out how to enlarge the background space so the bell had room to move.

 Screenshot 2015-12-24 at 09.32.44 am

I finally sussed out how to rotate the graphic within the background and saved it in 15 different positions as the bell swung upwards:

Screenshot 2015-12-24 at 09.39.41 am

These were then duplicated in the opposite order to give 30 stills of the bell swinging up and back to the start position:

Next was to make the animation. For this I used batchGif which is just pointed at the folder holding the stills and produces an animated GIF.

 Screenshot 2015-12-24 at 09.38.37 am

Unfortunately iMovie wouldn't load the animation so I had to use the free version of VideoPad to make the video:

 Screenshot 2015-12-24 at 09.58.48 am

To see the effect you will have to wait until New Year's Eve when the finished video will be uploaded. Not perfect as it really needs the bell clapper to animate as well but that sort of thing will have to wait for another experiment session.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Christmas Time Greetings

The candles use flicker flame mains bulbs, old technology can still be superior to LEDs for giving a living flame effect. Text and graphics were from various free fonts processed using Art Text 2.

The soundtrack is a short section from DJXMAS, a Protracker file (DJX.MOD) composed by 'Death Jester' in 1992 and released on the acme bbs in Huston. Ah, memories of the time when the Amiga ruled when it came to music production on a home computer.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Home Again

Penny home again after yesterday's dental work where she had three small teeth removed:


Wondering what Father Christmas will bring?

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Last Visit for 2015

Today was my last visit to the Wagon and Horses, South Reston, for a meal until next year.
Fish and Chips, excellent fresh fish which overhangs both sides of the plate and juicy chips.

Wagon and Horses





Very peaceful at home today as Penny is having her dental work done at the vets and will be spending the night there.

My Christmas video is finally ready. Just need to upload a 300+MB file.
It should go live next Monday all being well.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Monday, 14 December 2015

Monday Mystery - Answer



A full house to end the year with as that was the last Guess What for 2015. Congratulations and virtual Midmarsh Gold Stars go to Adrian, The Weaver of Grass, Ragged Robin and Wilma who all worked out that an owl was hidden behind the dotty section:

DSCN5645c    DSCN5645

Many thanks to all those who have had a go at identifying the various hidden objects over the past year. I'll see what I can come up with in the new year.

Thursday, 10 December 2015


This morning we went to see Mike, the vet, to have Penny's teeth and gums checked as she has been having problems again. The outcome is more dental work for her in the near future.

For a while it was a cheap visit as we weren't charged for the consultation, just for the medication prescribed. That is it was cheap until:

As we went round a corner and hit a small pothole the vibration caused a join in the exhaust to break and the front pipe of the back box dropped to road level. Not a nice sound. Fortunately we were only a few miles from home so I called Mick at the local village garage. He arrived in a quarter of an hour and removed the dangling pipe and box. I was then able to drive to the garage sounding like a formula three racer. This happened at 2 p.m. and by 4.45 Mick had ordered a new part, had it delivered and then fitted. Superb service from Mick Watts as always.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Monday, 7 December 2015

Monday Mystery - Guess What



Once again a full house of correct guesses so my congratulations and the virtual Midmarsh Gold Stars go to TexWisGirl, Wilma, Glo, Adrian and The Weaver of Grass. They all worked out there was a lamp hidden behind the patterns. A bit unusual this table lamp - first there are three bright LEDs pointing down and another four pointing up, each set having a touch control. Missing is another section between the two coloured parts as it was designed for the top section to float above the rest but I could never get things in just the correct place and any moving air in the room would blow it off course so I gave up on that idea.

10    DSCN5618

I had decided a few days ago what was going to be next but I wanted to try something different to hide the subject. I only wanted that part of the photo to be disguised. I spent ages with Serif Affinity Photo trying to make a new layer with just the subject so I could manipulate that part. It was easy to select the subject but only the dotted outline would paste in a new layer. In desperation I resorted to my old copy of Photoshop Elements and then everything worked exactly as I expected so the old program still has its uses. Here is the result.

Guess What is the guardian of my pond:

Please leave any guesses in the comments.
They will be revealed, along with the answer, next Monday.
No prizes, just for fun and maybe a virtual Midmarsh Gold or Silver Star.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

A Blustery 24 Hours

It has been more than a bit breezy for over 24 hours with gusts which tried their best to blow me over while we were out walkabout. Fortunately, unlike those who live further North, we have had no rain. This snapshot from the Environment Agency web site gives an impression of the areas which have had hours of heavy rainfall causing flooding. The worst hit areas are marked with a red symbol:

Floods 2015-12-06 at 07.23.57 am

Here the morning started with a nice Sunrise:



Yesterday I decided to make life a bit harder for the thieving Magpie:


Hopefully the wire I put round the suet log will give the small birds a better chance to get their fair share before it gets small enough for one of the larger birds to carry it off.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

The Early Blue Tit .....

... catches the berry flavoured suet log - until a Magpie comes along and steals it:

Soundtrack produced using the iPad app Loopesque.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

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