Painswick Rococo Gardens

Painswick Rococo Gardens is only a few miles from where I've been living for the last 9 years, but I'd never thought about visiting.  Thanks to the Cotswold Bloggers group, that has now changed.

As part of English Tourism Week 2018, Visit England organised a series of Instameets to showcase certain venues/parts of the country.  This seemed like an excellent opportunity to take lots of pictures, meet some new people, and generally fail at networking.
I will add a disclaimer now: we were provided with free entry to the gardens, and also tea and cake in the café afterwards.  Thanks also... continue reading »

ss Great Britain

On a theme of "things I didn't get round to posting at the time and now it's several months later", here's my favourite photo from our birthday visit to ss Great Britain.

Taken from underneath (obviously!) in the dry dock.  The 'ceiling' is covered in a layer of water, so from ground level you can pretend the boat is floating, and from below you can pretend you're underwater.  It's a nice effect.

If you're a small nervous child what you can also do at this point is start screaming about how you don't want to go into the water because you might... continue reading »

River Dart at Newbridge

Another January, another weekend on Dartmoor.

And, continuing on a theme, another long exposure shot of some water.  I know this particular bit very well - it's the very start of the Dart Loop at Newbridge, which I have kayaked many times.  Including the day before this photo was taken!

Photo taken in a rare (?!) few minutes when there weren't boats all over the place.

Carding Mill valley

I found myself in Shropshire last weekend, so decided I might as well make the most of the scenery and go for a little walk.

I arrived at Carding Mill valley at around 1pm - not quite enough time for a longer walk up to the top of the Long Mynd, and it was rather windy anyway so that can wait.

Instead I followed a couple of the signposted walks in the valley - to the reservoirs, and to Lightspout waterfall:

An excuse to crack out the ND filters!  They definitely leave a slight red colour cast, which is a bit annoying but... continue reading »

Shropshire sheep

Somewhere on a hill near Church Stretton

One of several stops on my way home from yet another #cakefest on Sunday. Going for lunch in Shrewsbury proved to be a silly idea (random army march/parade = traffic + road closures, argh), but I drove past 2 of my previous houses so that's quite cool.

East Lyn gorge

So the flooding got worse, leaving me semi stranded due to road closures.  Luckily I can work from home, and didn't have to wade far to reach 'dry land' and friends willing to give me lifts to other places.

Including to Lynmouth.  The East Lyn is well beyond my kayaking abilities, but others are good/mad enough to run it, so I went along to take photos - a much needed change of scenery!

And an ideal opportunity to play with shutter speeds again (and, to a lesser extent, the variable ND filter).

Shooting in aperture priority, this is a 1/6s exposure.  I'm reliably... continue reading »

variable ND filter

I took a new bit of camera kit to Scotland - a variable neutral density filter.  I had visions of lovely arty long exposure photos of various waterfalls, which didn't really happen!

The filter works by being two polarisers, so things darken as you rotate one around the other.  Unfortunately this also means you can get some nice interference patterns.  I suspect this happens even if you spend loads of money on a proper one, rather than £7 from amazon marketplace...

Here's a bit of the river Etive to demonstrate.  'min' and 'max' settings on the filter, respectively:

Very obvious what the problem... continue reading »

2012 in pictures

This worked well last year, so let's do it again for 2012!

Hello 2013

Something we haven't seen much of recently - rays of sunshine!  Taken on a New Year's Day walk around Gloucester (to clear the hangover a bit, ahem)

Review of 2012 coming up as soon as I find the right photos. As for 2013, I dare say it'll involve large amounts of kayaking.  And the end of the Wye, which I really should have finished by now.  I'm blaming the weather.

One resolution of sorts is to improve my flexibility so I can actually touch my toes.  Can't remember ever being able to do it, but we shall see...

2011 in photos

Welcome to 2012, home of the London Olympics (which I don't give a shit about) and possibly the end of the world (again. yawn).  Personally I'm far more excited at the idea of getting a new boat in a few months time, but there you go...

2011 ended in a quiet pub, sober.  I was knackered from paddling in the daytime and being up late drinking the night before, so I feel this is acceptable ;)
Overall, it was probably a good year.  Nothing massively bad seems to have happened - or if it did I've already forgotten it - and I've... continue reading »

is it spring yet?

The lovely pretty daffodils in my kitchen seem to think so:

However it is still February, so I suspect there's a little while to wait yet.

Not that I mind winter, as such.. it's just that this one has been soooo cold.  I don't have gas in my flat, so have to rely on crap inefficient electric panel heaters to keep warm.  Plus thermals, fleeces, fluffy socks etc. (current room temperature: 15° - and we won't get into how disgustingly massive the recent leccy bill was :()

Exploring Hartpury

Things to do on a dull Sunday afternoon, having already wimped out of going kayaking on grounds of there being massive amounts of water in the rivers (and wanting a lie in) - take the bike out for a first ride of the year! (yes, I realise it's February, shush)

A small consultation with CycleStreets later, I decided to head for Hartpury.  5 and a half miles of NCN 45, conveniently avoiding any main roads.

Half a mile in I realised a slight flaw in my 'relaxed Sunday afternoon' plan.  Strong, gusty and quite annoying winds.  But turning back and giving up... continue reading »

winter walking

Well, I was supposed to spend last weekend kayaking in North Wales.  But then the British Weather happened, so it got cancelled.  Frozen rivers, snow everywhere, icy roads, etc etc.

Gloucestershire, of course, has done its usual clever trick of almost entirely avoiding any snow.  Freezing cold with freezing fog, oh joy..

Luckily there was a backup plan, so my weekend was not entirely ruined - a walk in the Brecon Beacons on Sunday. 

From the Storey Arms, we walked up Corn Du, across to Pen y Fan, and back down the main tourist path.  6 miles, 4 hours of walking.
We had... continue reading »

Teifi and Fireworks

Argh, it's the second week in November already!  I'm not quite sure how that's snuck up on me, other than me being far too busy doing a million other things to notice. 

The final weekend of October was the Teifi Tour - a weekend paddling the River Teifi, in South West Wales (in fact, 3 days for me, as some of us went early on the Friday). 
Hundreds of kayakers from various clubs all around the country, plus a massive party - which we avoided as we'd decided to stay in a lovely warm cottage rather than camp in a disgustingly... continue reading »

Rainbow Cake!

The cupcake obsession continues...

Last week, I came across this book.  Half an hour later it was in my amazon shopping basket, and two days later it landed on my desk.  And Halloween at the end of this month (which will be spent on a muddy field/river in Wales) gives me the perfect excuse to make lots of 'goth cakes'.

Pretty much everything in there looks amazing.  I don't pretend to be any good at fancy cake decorating, so I suspect my attempts at recreating some of the cakes will be a bit crap, but there we go.

Choosing what to make first... continue reading »


Last week I was in Slovenia, for what seems to have become an annual trip to the Alps for warm weather kayaking (the previous two years have been France).

Slovenia's been on my hit list ever since I first saw photos of the River Soča.  It's beautiful - crystal clear blue water, stunning scenery, etc.  Entirely worth the very long drive to get there!

4 days out of 6 we paddled sections of the Soča, and also a tributary called the Koritnica.  Access to the river is signposted, with maps, parking and portaloos.  Very civilized!

I really enjoyed the river - ranging from... continue reading »


Last Sunday was very much a day of sunshine and showers.

That's the River Wye at Builth Wells.  Very pretty!

Taken whilst we were faffing a bit waiting to go kayaking :)  But there were also lots of rainbows spotted on the drive over - which seemed to be so close to the car that you could almost have touched them if you stuck your hand out of the window.  No sign of any pots of gold, unfortunately!


I like fireworks.  I also really like taking photos of fireworks:

From last Saturday night, right outside my apartment (extra bonus: didn't have to pay the fiver to get in, hah)

20 minute display, over the water.  Which was probably very pretty if you could actually see the reflections, but unfortunately the dock is surrounded by a lot of tall buildings, and there were a lot of people there.  Good thing fireworks go upwards really! (side note: why on earth you try and watch from under an umbrella?!)

Photos require a camera with manual shutter speed control - ie the Canon, which is... continue reading »

It's never too early for mince pies

It's getting nice and autumnal now :) Pretty coloured leaves on the trees, and that slight chill in the air. Helped by it still being fairly sunny, so it's not actually cold yet...

Unfortunately, this also means that Sainsbury's is slowly filling up with Christmas crap. Far too early for any of that nonsense!

The only plus side being that I have some of these in my kitchen:

OK, so that's only a 'value' pie, and thus has a very poor filling:pastry ratio, but it's yummy all the same!  Once I get my hands on a jar of mincemeat I'll make my own... continue reading »

Bore Surfing!

On Saturday, there was a 3* Severn Bore.  That's an entire star better than the one I saw last month!

And, well, it was.  Standing in a field this time, rather than on Over Bridge, to watch people try and surf it in kayaks (as well as on surfboards)

I could have taken my boat and had a go, but I thought I'd watch other people do it first!  'Inspection', if you will.  Think I'll have a go next time though :D

Anyway, there were loads of people congregated on the riverbanks, and quite a number in the river too!  5 (maybe 6?)... continue reading »

Severn Bore

Today's activities so far: cycling to Over, then standing on the bridge for the best part of an hour waiting to see this:

It's the Severn Bore Hooray for large tidal ranges messing up rivers :)

Only a 2* bore today, but still quite impressive to watch - especially as I've not seen it before. 

There was a 3* late last night, and more 3 and 4* ones due next month, so plenty of opportunity to find a better viewpoint for photographing it...

There were a few people attempting to surf it, although without a huge amount of success.

Summer Evenings

This week has been somewhat busy.

Sunset from the top of Cleeve Hill, taken last Monday evening :)

Tuesday evening we had an evening session down at Symonds Yat, which is always fun.  Much carnage from other groups there with beginners, hehe.

Then on Wednesday, an evening at the races!  'Beer and a Balti' at Chepstow with work - and despite me having no knowledge of (or interest in) horse racing, I returned at a profit!  A whole five pounds, won on a horse chosen purely on jockey colours (black with pink stars).  Well, I say five pounds, really it was seven but... continue reading »

mmm, pistachios

This is the result of my evening so far:

A glass full of pistachio shells.  Yum yum.  Nuts are healthy, right?

smells like river

Ah, my parents must love having me around. The past two weekends I've taken over their nice clean (well, it used to be) bath/shower and filled it with wet muddy smelly kayaking kit. yay! And then left it there for several days to dry. It wouldn't all fit in one photo which makes it look less impressive, but nevermind:

Not pictured: helmet, large dry bag and pile of thermals, last seen somewhere on top of the freezer. Also several smaller drybags that were in the kitchen somewhere but I think have now been moved...

Actually last weekend wasn't too bad, because I'd... continue reading »

"Please purchase free ticket"

Gloucester's park and ride system is confusing.

For starters, they've decided against having something simple like a single payment for both parking and riding (which I thought was the point of park-and-ride?).  Instead you pay parking, and then pay bus fare.  hmm.

Anyway, even that's not so straightforward:

How exactly do you purchase a free ticket?  All the machine would let me do was put money in and buy an all day ticket, despite it being 14:00 and therefore very much after 10.  grr.  Probably would have been cheaper just to park in a normal car park in the city centre.

So what was... continue reading »


Today I decided to conduct a scientific investigation on a very important subject.  Chocolate.

More specifically, bubbly chocolate.  This was inspired by me buying a wispa yesterday, and it not being as bubbly as I remembered.  Either that or I was bored, make your own mind up.

I also happen to have the remains of a bar of Dairy Milk Bubbly lying around, so yay, a comparison:

Wispa (on the left) is described on the packaging as "Aerated Milk Chocolate", and seems to consist of lots of small bubbles (with the odd big one).  The Bubbly (on the right) is "Textured Milk Chocolate",... continue reading »

Chain-link fencing

Taken whilst wandering along the banks of the Upper Tryweryn last Sunday.

I need to make more of an effort to take decent 'arty' photos.  New camera is top of my shopping list once I get a job :)

A day on the Dee

Revision is still very boring.  I've been amusing myself by spending lots of time in a boat (I know, how surprising).

In the last few weeks I've done BUSA polo, been surfing in St David's (awesome fun, see photos!) and a few random canal trips.  At half 7 this morning - yes, I really was awake that early - I was paddling to the Mailbox and back.

Anyway, last Saturday we went over to Llangollen, paddled up the canal and then back down the river Dee.  In the sunshine.  Lovely :)  

That's Town Falls there, with some random paddler on it.  I... continue reading »

No Fly Posters

Aha, got it!

I've been awake for about 30 hours now.  Yay for last minute report writing...

always bring your camera!

This week's lesson - always bring your camera.  Something I try to do, because as anyone who knows me will testify, I have an annoying habit of taking lots of photos.  Not been doing anywhere near enough of it recently though :( 

Just to rub it in, this week I've not had my proper camera on several occasions where it would have been useful, and have had to resort to using the camera on my phone.  eww.

That's Town Falls on the River Dee in Llangollen last Sunday morning.  With an awful lot of water in it.  Apparently there's usually... continue reading »

Lots of Fireworks

Today, being November 5th, is Guy Fawkes night.  Or bonfire night, if you prefer.  This means lots of exploding things, yay :D

Last Thursday was the display at The Vale (bit of uni where some of the halls are).  It was awesome - half an hour of non-stop and very impressive fireworks!  I think I did actually get to the point of oohing and ahhing too, ahem.  And taking many many photos.

No bonfire there though - but on Saturday I went off with one of my housemates to another display somewhere.  Less impressive on the fireworks, but a massive bonfire... continue reading »

Autumn on the Canal

What better way to spend a 3 hour gap between lectures than wandering around taking photos?

Shame about the graffiti on the sign really.  I also took some pics of leaves floating on the canal (trying to be vaguely arty), but unfortunately there's also plastic bottles, rubbish and general scummyness.

It's really quite pretty and autumnal everywhere now :)  Actually, it was probably better a week or so ago, but I didn't have time then to get the camera out.

Flooded Ludlow

It's been raining.  Lots.  This means lots of water in the rivers, and then lots of water on bits of land next to the rivers.

Yup, floods.  I'm well practised at floods - Monmouth is very good at them, and I've seen some quite impressive examples.

Ludlow, on the other hand...   The big river here is the Teme, but there's also the Corve which is usually small and weedy.  However, yesterday evening it decided to stop being small and weedy and rose very very quickly - from being within its banks to completely flooding the main road in about an hour and... continue reading »

Lunar Eclipse

There's a total lunar eclipse, like, right now.  It's amazing :)  I've been taking photos like some kind of mad woman, because although they're not that rare, it's usually cloudy or at stupid times in the morning so I don't get to see them. 

So yes, of about 45 images taken before all my batteries died this is the best one.  Not photoshopped (well, cropped and sharpened a tiny bit but that's all), still a little bit blurry but I'm rather pleased.  Most of the other images came out quite badly - there was one other decent one but it's a... continue reading »

The Festive Chicken!

I've put my decorations up. This is really not a big deal, as I have 6 of them and I only fished them out of their usual hiding place because I was bored. Plus only two of them are even remotely 'christmassy' (a snowman and a reindeer). The rest are, well, rubbish. That thing in the photo is not-so-lovingly referred to as 'festive chicken', for the simple reason that it really isn't.

Of course there is a reason behind me owning these things, which involves well meaning people giving me accessorize vouchers. I hate that shop! Full of overpriced crap, and... continue reading »

Snakes in the Slow Lane

Well, today has been a bit crap.
First off, I overslept. This resulted in a bit of a mad panic so I could leave for work in time. And when I did finally leave the house, I was greeted with this lovely sight:

A massive lorry (two trailery bits) full of hay completely blocking the gate.
No sign of the driver, naturally. No idea what it was doing there, obviously we do kind of live on the farm but you'd think they could have at least driven into the yard rather than 'parking' in the road (not even pulled... continue reading »

"In Flight"

Alex gets back from Russia late tonight :) I'll be spending the evening tracking his flights online. He's currently 'in flight', apparently. ooh

It'll be nice to have him back, as I'm starting to get quite bored of being on my own. Still, the last few weeks has proved that I can cope and not end up in a total mess..
The other bonus of him coming home is that I finally get my new camera :D And half of the money to pay for it, which is possibly more important.

Anyway, for once I'm being a good... continue reading »

Bye bye Birdies

The baby birds from outside the front door flew away last weekend. I was going to write about them ages ago, but forgot...

They're songthrushes apparently. That picture is from, um, last Friday I think. Don't they look evil? The mother bird was even more evil looking, glaring at us whenever we went out of the door.
I'm not fussed at all with baby birds. Alex thought they were cute, even when they looked like a mushy lump of alien squiggling around in the nest. Oh yes, and being sat on. It was quite weird... continue reading »

Smoke Free!

We're moving house this weekend. Again. We have managed to stay in this current house for (just) over a year, which is a bit of a milestone. If nothing else it means I won't have to cough up silly money to Pipex for cancelling the broadband. They refunded it last time because we signed up with them again, but I think this time we'll find someone else cheaper.

This was a little leaflet thing we picked up whilst in Hampshire the other week. I think it's great, and probably would leave it in a nasty... continue reading »

monster plant

This is a scary plant. I'm not actually sure what it is, but it's taken up residence in my parents' living room, and I'm sure it was looking at me strangely the other day.

Apparently it falls over occasionally. You don't need a degree in physics to figure out why...