Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm back in Blogoland, folks

Hi everyone ... sorry about the news blackout, in the past two weeks. It does
seem a long time ago when I last wrote.

I'm feeling pleased with myself for having got a mountain of paperwork out of
the way. I've just about finished my Gift Aid claim for my local charity, and
hope to raise £1500 in Gift Aid for it (which is a bit lower than last year,
as we've now got fewer members). When I say it was a mountain, it felt like
climbing Everest ... a long, hard slog, and very frustating at times.

One of the highlights of the last two weeks was going to see "The King's
Speech" ... a truly brilliant performance from both Colin Firth and Geoffrey
Rush, and one of the all-time great films to see, I think. Have a look at
some of the film footage on the IMDb website, if you're dubious about going
to see it. Mrs C and I have been watching our usual diet of crime and other
drama on the telly in the evening, though I draw the line at watching
"Midsomer Murders", which is one of Mrs C's favourites. I'm pleased to see
that "Taggart" is back on the TV again ... a more gritty crime series with
some grim "murrders". We've enjoyed watching some of the original Swedish
TV episodes of "Wallander" ... they had a much more realistic feel about them
than the British versions we've seen.

We're in London again, for a long weekend, staying with our daughter L and her
family. The weather has been a lot colder again, with overnight temps of around
minus 1 here (colder up North). Despite this we saw some lovely sunshine today,
and have be out and about in Wimbledon's shopping centre.

I've re-joined a photography group in another local U3A ... last Wednesday's
meeting was all about using Shutter Priority control, some of the results of
which you'll see on my Flickr site ... some good and some not so good, as
regards photographing birds and cars. Our homework for the next meeting
(in mid Feb) is all about twilight photography, with view to capturing some
cloud detail in the sky. We're also meeting up for a photo-shoot at
Nottingham Castle, so I'll be having another go at shooting Robin Hood (the
statue) and other things on the site, and then going for a coffee afterwards
and a group review of our photos, which should be a lot of fun. I'll be
putting my pics up on my Flickr site in due course (a link to this is in
the right side-bar).

Those of you who are interested in photography will have seen some brilliant
guides available in shops like WH Smith (here in the UK). I've just bought
yet another of them: "Getting Started in Digital SLR Photography", which is
packed full of helpful advice and lots and lots of lovely photos. Variations
of this theme appear every 2-3 months on the newsagents' shelves, just like
the computer mags on how to use Windows 7, etc.... well worth it if you're a
novice like me.

Here are three of my recent photos ....

IMG_1599min

... the above is a view of the house up the hill from us (at dawn) ...
the name Norman Bates springs to my mind.

Here is my granddaughter, A...

IMG_1387min

Next up is one of my bird photos ... some of the birds are out of focus, but
I think the scene is very dramatic. The birds chasing after bits of bread thrown
up into the air, but with a gale-force wind blowing the birds and myself...

IMG_1578min

4 Comments:

Blogger riviera writer said...

Welcome back Justin - just reemerged from Purdah myself. Great pics - must get that book - but it's about more than Shutter Priority Control. "Kings Speech" hasn't reached France yet but looking forward to it - especially if I can pursuade my republican beloved to join me. Prolific and healthy New Year! Ted

9:38 AM  
Blogger Kimber said...

Oh Justin, that's nothin'! I was away for a month. (My excuses are listed in my Jan 15th posting) But it's nice to see you back again.

Tell me about this gift charity thing - what is it? Can someone outside the country contribute? It sounds like a worthy cause. I have not had the opportunity to do any volunteer work lately, so I like to support others in the meantime.

Those photos are wonderful. You've captured a very Hitchcockian moment in the bird photo, and the colours in that sunset are marvellous. Your granddaughter looks like a little fairy princess caught unawares.

If you're looking for a good crime drama with a Canadian twist, see if you can download any episodes of Republic of Doyle. The show is shot in Newfoundland (a province on our East Coast that has a very distinct personality) and my sister and I love it.

Colin Firth AND Geoffry Rush in a movie together = heaven in my books. Can't wait to rent it.

take care! - Kimber

8:03 PM  
Anonymous lom said...

welcome back,
we went to see The Kings Speech last weekend, I was hooked from the start.

8:39 AM  
Blogger justin said...

It's lovely to hear from you all.

Ted: I'm very pleased to see that you've made a come-back. The "book" is a fairly bulky photography magazine, packed full of information - it costs about £8 from WHSmith.
As regards "The King's Speech", I'm a republican myself, but I was moved to tears by this extra-ordinary drama.

Kimber: Thanks for your kind comments about my photos, and your crime drama recommendation ... I'll have a look on Google for it.
As regards Gift Aid, you have to be a UK taxpayer, and if you make a donation to a charity, the Government will give a bit extra in tax you've already paid, to the charity. I've just put in a Gift Aid claim for £1540 for the charity I work for, my local U3A (University of the Third Age), based on all the subs we've received from our members. I hope that explains it all fairly clearly. There's a lot more info on the HMRC website about Gift Aid.

11:22 PM  

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