30 July 2011

On the Beach

Sennen Cove

29 July 2011

240 Miles For An Ice Cream ...

... And it was shut. The view was worth it though

24 July 2011

Take Me Down To The Ball Park

This year, thanks to receiving ESPN America and excellent coverage on the internet via MLB   I have finally got to understand the game of baseball. At the start of the season I picked a team to follow at random and went for the Seattle Mariners . A team that as I later found out , have never really done anything , being one of only two teams never to have reached a (over inflated ego style titled ) World Series.
Following the games has been easy . The time difference means most are played whilst I sleep but a quick check on my phone every morning tells me all I need to know. The statistics give a comprehensive indication of how the game went ( more like cricket than football in that respect )  with video highlights of all the major incidents . Game by game the rules and tactics all started to make sense.
Just like Southampton my football team always seem to do, they started the season badly. A good recovery saw them challenging for a play off place untill suddenly things went off the rails . Now 100 games into the 162 game season they are currently on an unwanted team equaling  record of 14 defeats in a row . I'd imagine that they will be going into todays game with some trepidation.
I'll follow the rest of the season with interest. The question is, having absolutely no connection with Seattle do I stick with them forever or pick a new team to follow next year. After all I entered their free ticket competition on Twitter explaining that I deserved 2 free tickets to a game because they were my newly adopted team in a new sport and a real life game would only help me appreciate them and the sport even more, but travel expenses would need to be included. I didn't win - maybe another team would appreciate my support a bit more.

22 July 2011

Lucky Escape.

He didn't really look like this
Whilst driving last night I rounded a bend and could see about 200 yards ahead of me the aftermath of an accident, with 2 cars off road on a forecourt being attended by an ambulance. As I approached a policeman stood out in the road, hand raised. I pulled up, assuming he was asking me to stop to let the ambulance pull out. I then spotted the exasperated look on his face and realised he was waving me in to the side of the road. I pulled in and wound down the window.
" What is the speed limit on this stretch of road sir? " He asked
"40" I replied confidently
"No it's 30"
My expression changed from confusion to slow realisation as out of the corner of my eye I spotted the 40 sign set in a big yellow square another 100 yards down the road "Oh shit!" (possibly not the best expression to have used at the time) " No! 40 starts just down there doesn't it "
He nodded knowingly showing me his hand held thing displaying 39m.p.h. (gulp!) and then went on to point out that he was only there to deal with the accident caused by others going too fast.
He then asked " Do you really want your evening to end with 3 points and a £60 fine?" I guess the question was really rhetorical but before my brain could stop it my mouth had already sprung into action with  " I'd sooner not if you don't mind".
Thankfully he smiled and waved me on my way with a gentle warning to take more care in future.

Thinking afterwards, the gentle warning was just as, if not more, effective than the speeding fine I received after being caught by an anonymous camera van 4 or 5 years ago. Having the accident itself pointed out as an outcome of excessive speed was testimony enough. And being shown the speed at the time whilst the road layout was still fresh in my mind made me realise that the S bend I'd just come round immediately followed by a junction, a pub car park exit, an awkward junction (scene of the accident) next to a forecourt with another 2 junctions (one half hidden) and another pub car park all within about 400 yards or so actually did warrant a 30mph limit. (Local readers may be able to work out the location from that). I was surprised I had actually reached 39mph - and possibly more as I would have still been accelerating when he "zapped" me - so soon after the previous right turn (although I had spent the entire journey accelerating quickly after reading that my 1.8 engine would be more economical if you accelerate hard up to 5th gear speeds as quickly as possible instead of driving like a granny with gentle acceleration in the lower gears). Instead of the annoyance that I felt when previously caught on camera, the personal approach left me feeling relieved to be let off but also that I actually owed it to the officer to take a bit more care in future.

As I drove off I could see him in my mirror already back out in the road, stopping cars heading towards him in the opposite direction to me - I hope he was as lenient with all of them.

10 July 2011

Reclaiming The Dead

This morning I dropped my wife and a friend over at Southampton Common as they were taking part in the annual Race For Life event. With an hour or so to kill till they were done, I decided to wander around with my camera. One lone man taking photos amongst 7500 pink clad women was likely to gain a few suspicious glances (or worse) so I headed away from the main event and into the Old Cemetery.

Despite having lived in the Southampton area all my life this was a place I had never visited. I was surprised by how overgrown it all was, appearances would suggest deliberately so. Having visited plenty of cemeteries with perfectly manicured lawns and colourful flower displays, this one had a completely different atmosphere. It was as if nature was reclaiming the place, and the dead with it. There was undergrowth rapidly becoming overgrowth, tangling around headstones, almost obliterating them from view in places, and some even breaking graves open. Thankfully, with the sun shining and some jazz tunes playing in my headphones it was difficult to let my imagination run away with me. But no way will I be revisiting the place at night !

(Press Play for slideshow)

06 July 2011

Thailand Comes To Town

I've never had the opportunity to visit to Thailand but on Sunday we popped into town and paid a visit to the Thai Food & Craft Festival 2011.

My overall impression:
  • music that seemed like it was trying to blend varying styles unsuccesfully;
  • women in a beauty contest that seemed to lack that essential ingredient
  • food absolutely wonderful, can't wait to try more
Not enough to persuade me to travel half way round the world but it killed an hour or so on a Sunday afternoon.

Don't think my review will trouble Lonely Planet or Rough Guides but here are some of my photos from the afternoon

02 July 2011

Mobile Blogger

I used to be quite happy with my previous mobile. Then I was offered a free upgrade to an HTC Desire S. Wow ! It's like going from a calculator to a lap top ! In my completely non-techie  opinion it's an awesome handset . The downside is that since I've had it I've hardly touched the pc , apart from work there's simply been no need. Blog posts have , as a result , become few and far between. But I've just discovered the android Blogger app which if it works  ( and if you are reading this it must do ) enables me to blog on the phone.

So be prepared have the pants bored right off you on a much more frequent basis .