Sunday, 30 March 2008

It's flat around here....

..... but at least you do get a lot of sky for your money! I often wondered why Constable considered he had to perfect skies in his landscape work, now I know why. You have no hills and what you place on the canvas above the horizon has to be perfect - no room for error!

It's hard to believe that last Sunday saw snow which would not look out of place on a Christmas card. Now the clocks have changed, so has the weather. They cannot be connected that closely surely? I even managed to cut the grass - I couldn't even see it last Sunday!

Armed with a big dose of sunshine and warmth we took to the country. (Mainly in an attempt to recover from a lovely dinner party to which our friends invited us). So very welcome as we're both wrapped up in the W..... word! Suit measuring yesterday - it's all coming together. Even the males are getting involved. Although I have to say, I'm not too sure my Best Man is entirely happy adorning himself with a pink cummerbund and dickie bow tie!

Anyway, in view of my love of landscapes I gave the camera a bit of an outing. These two are just a couple of shots taken about 10 miles from where we live. As I said at the beginning..... you do get a lot of sky for you money!

Only a few days more --- the W...... word day is definitely fast approaching ~ sigh!

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Crazy Weather!

Can you believe this? You wonder during the Winter whether there'll be a White Christmas - Bing Crosby style - and you need to break out the shorts and sun cream. Then, along comes Easter and you're looking for a snow shovel. I mean, what's happening? It is a bit bizarre to say the least.

This was the view outside our front door at 8:45am. I would've been more adventurous but I was still in my dressing gown! And it was/is freezing. I suppose it has to be to make this white stuff! Just looked at our outside thermometer - it's +0.1° C - could thaw soon then!

Which is probably just as well. We're supposed to be eating out today. We're sampling the delights of our Wedding chef! The plans go on a pace..... tomorrow's another meal out - our Wedding photographer this time and we haven't seen him for ages! They're a lovely family but I don't think Lynn has ever forgiven me for introducing him to the wonderful world of Nikon. I love it when a plan comes together. Hang on! There's a flaw. All this food! We'll not be putting on weight will we?

Ah well. Marianne! Have you seen the snow shoes?

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Bazza has a Creative Day.

Another day in the Kitchen..... and what fun!

Marianne managed to get hold of some new cookery books...... all based on stand mixers. Couldn't be a better combination for an aspiring chef, gadget freak and a hyperactive twerp. Especially as I was supposed to be tidying the garden. Unfortunately for the Garden - fortunately for the Gardener - nature intervened by way of heavy rain. The most I could do was take some rubbsh to the local tip.

So, armed with all this enthusiasm and time, I took to the kitchen. Cheese sabl├ęs - basically a light, cheddar biscuit. What to have with it? Simple. Tomato soup - home made style! Only ever had soup like it once and I'm so proud I made something as good as that was. Ok, I could've opened a tin of Heinz. 5 seconds but no fun! But the taste - Hmmmmm!

Got a bit carried away with the cream - not helped by not having the camera to hand before it started to diffuse!

Then I thought I'd try a dessert. Key Lime pie! Love it..... Marianne makes a pretty mean Lemon meringue, but I fancied the piquancy of a lime. Now, you really must understand this..... I REALLY am NOT at all adventurous (or brave) when it comes to food. Lime was a big step. Funny thing is. The more I cook the braver I am with ingredients. As long as I can see what goes in and how it 'fits' into the recipe I notice I try things more. Humans! Can anyone understand the inner psyche?

I have to admit - Marianne's Lemon Meringue still holds the top spot... I need to improve my pastry skills :-(

So, now to clean up. We've cleaned the dishes - now we must wash them!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Marshmallow fights back!

This week we are honoured with a visit from Marianne's friend, Andrea. She comes from Southampton and is bringing Laurie with her for a few days. So, we have lots of company.

Andrea, you may remember from one of Marie's previous blogs fell in love with my marshmallow. Well, not mine, but the James Martin recipe. Me being me decided I'd make her some for her visit. For some reason it turned out better than ever before. Let me explain.

I followed everything to the letter and all went well. The last bit - getting it of of the tray after it has set in the fridge has always been a bit of a lottery. I've tried various ways of oiling, dusting the tray but it always seem to stick.

This time I'd resigned myself that it was going to stick. I put Icing Sugar and cornflour down on the work surface so I could prepare for the cutting and the final touches. Put some on top of the mallow, loosened it round the edges. Inverted and ....... kerflofffffff! Like a mini supernova in the kitchen..... dust everywhere! It just fell out of the tray. My clothes..... hmmm! A complete horizontal white line waist high.... and white shoes. (They weren't before) I did look rather silly - nothing new there then. No pictures I'm afraid, sorry!

There are rather nice though..... naughty! Another triumph in the kitchen but a lot of cleaning. There just has to be a more efficient way of producing a Masterpiece.

Been at work this week so a bit short of a decent photograph so I thought I'd share one from the archives.

Rainbeau-lune taken in 2006 at Northampton balloon festival.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

The start of Aviation....

Mostly today I've been busy helping Mavis get a few things sorted before we return home tomorrow. But I did promise myself to get some decent little bird shots. Unfortunately, I only managed to get the experimental stuff done. I needed to sort which lenses to use (which I managed) and then concentrate on more compositional stuff. A good plan indeed, except there must have been something on Bird TV cos they all disappeared!

Anyway, I did manage a few.....

A Goldfinch keeping an eye me
Pretty little Great Tit
Goldfinch in elegant mood
Inquisitive Blue Tit
Goldfinch again
Mrs. Chaffinch
Mr. Chaffinch
Mr. Chaffinch again!

Sadly no Greenfinches or Bullfinches but I have seen them here before. As for the Pheasant.... who knows?

Monday, 3 March 2008

Why we have weather ...

To give us something to talk about, moan about and, of course, to photograph!

They say, in Ireland, the weather changes every 15 mins..... we've been here in Enniskilen for 4 days and we've had rain, heavy mist, gale force winds, sunshine, and now - snow! Yes, SNOW. Can you believe it?

We took the opportunity to travel here by own car this time rather than fly and hire a car. We're so fed up with all the hassles at airports these days. Ok, it took longer to get here than usual but we feel so much more relaxed (and it was about the same price) - and we have ALL the camera kit this time. Well, nearly all of it! ....... We have a small 4 x 4, a Freelander.

So, can you imagine my excitement when I saw the snow? Can you imagine Marianne's worry when she saw my excitement? I got Mavis (Marianne's mum) up early and we went in search of SNOW! We found loads of it but we didn't actually get to the place that Marianne's brother suggested we go to, not until later in the afternoon. But we did manage to get some great shots. In my opinion anyway. I was impressed with the way the car handled 2 inches of 'hilly' snow as well. I don't think Marianne was quite so happy about the descent though :-( Oops!

Mavis' garden is a haven for small birds and especially Goldfinches.... one of my favourite little birds. So pretty with the golden bars on their wings and their lovely red heads. I have a couple of shots I've taken but, tomorrow hopefully, I'm going to make a special effort to get some really good shots of these little fellows. The odd thing about Mavis' aviary with all the little finches (chaffinch, greenfinch - I think I even saw a bullfinch as well) is the fact it's an enclosed garden just on the outskirts of town but still away from the countryside and she has a (almost) tame pheasant. I'm sure I could get it to eat out of my hand. It does look so odd in amongst her delightful Spring flowers!

Some wintry Spring shots..... more to follow....

Our 4x4

The Farmer's 4x4

Just by the entrance to Marble Arch cave

Just a couple of trees....
Marianne's threatened to turn this into a Christmas card....