Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all my friends and family xx


Still recovering

I am still recovering from my Virus, I am back walking the dogs but feel for most of the time weak as a kitten.

I have managed to take some photographs, I got two books by Don McCullum for Christmas I am inspired again by his photography.

Christmas eve

A day for slouching around if you can get away with it,  I have hung up some pictures we have bought back from Manchester and not much else. I had better at some point wrap up Karen’s presents. She knows what they are as she bought them, I did however make the effort of being with her when she bought some of them, at least she has got what she wanted.

It has been a dull day (ideal for slouching),  but might make an effort and go for a walk before dark, we have oysters for dinner it’s a french tradition on new years eve. I bought 24 thinking there was only twelve in the box, Karen’s not that keen so I am wondering if the dogs will like some.

The image is of Lafitole by the way, our house is just behind the houses on the ridge.

Pere Noel

The French have a passion for Christmas lights, there is a village Haget close by that goes the extra mile and almost every house puts on some sort of display, It’s not Las Vegas or Blackpool for that matter but a lot of fun never the less.

Amazing sky

My blogging has been patchy recently a combination of being away from home traveling back and a bad cold which is thankfully getting better, hopefully I now I am back in the swing. The hardest part is finding new locations and taking better and better photos, I have just completed module four of my course I should be half way through on module six by now so need to get a move on. However I did get 10/10 for the last two which has  now put me under pressure to keep up the standard. The feed back I got back on exposure was excellent advice so I will now have to try and put it into practice. Today’s image is of the sky over the village yesterday evening, it was a fantastically clear but cold day with great views of the Pryenees almost from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean sea  a view you only get on a hand-full of days each year. We seem to have missed the snow which has now returned to Britain and most of France,  yesterday it was warm enough to sit and have a beer sat in the sun outside the bar in Marciac with our good friends Pete and Xander.

We are glad to be home, our house sitting experiment was at the best just ok not sure we would do it again. We have acquired another dog but thankfully he is only a daily visitor, he lives at the bottom of the hill and the dogs have met him before and they all like each other, whilst we were away he has discovered where we live and now turns up most days normally in time for our morning walk, he eventually goes home if I kick him out in the cold.  He looks apart from his nose just like Effy which is most confusing.

The best news this week is Sarah and Olly are engaged so best wishes to both of them.

On our way back home, hooray!

We are back in Manchester and about to leave for France, we are glad to be heading home. The weather has improved but with the long-range forecast predicting more snow. We have not done half of what we wanted to do but still managed to spend a small fortune roughly equivalent to the GDP of some of the smaller African Nations. I did however get to see FC united play in the FA Cup second round replay, they lost 4-0 but the score did not reflect their performance against a professional side 104 places above them in the league structure. They lost again today against a strong Halifax side but played great football and were unlucky to be beaten. Today’s image is of St Giles cathedral in Edinburgh showing  just how bad the the weather has been for them up there.

The wrong kind of weather forecast

We have just returned from a pleasant trip up to Edinburgh, despite the weather keeping Billy Bragg from getting to his concert in Glasgow after we had braved the train journey over there, we did manage to see my daughter Rachel on Sunday evening an Karen’s son Bryan for a few days which made the visit worthwhile. Britain does not seem to have gotten a grip on dealing with snow and ice like other countries somehow,  I have never seen a city so deserted, mid afternoon Monday had the same traffic levels as you would expect at 2.am. Snow had fallen all day onto already compacted snow an ice and everyone seemed to have stopped at home, by Tuesday all trains were cancelled and buses seemed to be struggling too, we did managed to get Bryan back home however. The Scottish transport Minister apologised and gave the excuse as ‘having been given the wrong kind of weather forecast’. Today’s image was taken in Greyfriars Kirkyard which is supposed to be one of the most haunted sites in the world, I  have not been there for years my last visit was with my young  daughters who wanted to see the statue of Greyfriars Bobby.  More tomorrow if I manage to get on the site as I still seem to having difficulties posting.

Linotype works, it certainly did

Known locally as the Lino, the Linotype works in Broadheath Altrincham which opened at the end of the 19th century produced machines that  revoltionized  newspaper printing. Invented by a German watchmaker in the United States the machine produced whole lines of type speeding up the composing process, before the invention no newspaper in the world had more than eight pages. The factory ceased production in the late 70’s or early 80’s and is now given over to small industrial units, the office block is grade II listed. It had it’s own housing estate now very sought after homes and If I remember rightly once a social club and allotment gardens which seem to be now gone.

I have been having trouble accessing the site to post photos  but it suddenly started working again tonight.

The snow that has brought the UK to a freezing halt again has finally reached Manchester, tonight’s football is off I just hope it lets up for next weeks replay with Brighton. We have bought rail tickets for our trip to Scotland then remembered all the presents we will have to carry, never mind I am sure we will manage.