Friday, October 31, 2014

Why do these things happen to me?

Is it because I try to work too quickly? I was going through the 1871 census for Walton-in-Gordano and getting on fairly well. Then came the time to save it and take a break. I asked Word to save the document and was told it could not be done. Purely for convenience I was working with it on a memory stick. I had moved the usb holder and inadvertently held it next to the on/off switch. My fingers tips being a bit big had switched off the connection. File was saved as a Temp, I thought OK I can open it and transfer to Word.Doc. Could I hell; the Temp file could not be opened.
Now since my trouble with the hard drive on the PC failing and having to be re-formatted I decided to use hard drives in a caddy and a dock for my files. I upload my programmes to the C drive but my work folders are saved in auxiliaries N, O, P. When my hard drive failed I lost around 10,000 JPG’s. I just did not know what to do but was told about a fantastic programme from Australia “Rescue My Files”. It cost around £70 but I was able to save all the files that had not been written over by reloading the Windows XP system. In spite of the re-formatting they could recover them, and I wound up with around 13,000 JPG’s and a lot of Doc files. True it had recovered not only full sized picture files but also thumbnail images. All of the files had the pre-fix lostfile and series number. That made a lot of work time to sort them but better that, than no pix at all.
Next thing I knew was that my auxiliary drive N a 2.5 inch 500 GB drive in a Novatech Dock disconnected. I jiggled it about and managed to regain contact but it was a warning. Solid state drives are now being sold that will hold 1 and also 2 TB’s. The price though dropping is still out of my range, on EBay I managed to get another Seagate 500 GB 3 inch drive for £20. I already had a spare Novatech Dock so 9 hours work saw the files transferred. Yes 9 bloody hours – my JPG’s numbered over 22,000 and required 3 hours alone.
Now I have a total of 2 TB’s on 4 auxiliary drives and I am making sure that they are cross-saved as back-ups.

 I wonder what the next crisis will be?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sony SLT A77 with Sigma 70-300 mm plus 55 mm lens reversed

Following a posting on I hunted out my reversal adaptor.
I found that it would fit my old Sigma telephoto lens. I rigged my 1200 AF ring flash gingerly on the front of the 55 mm with no clips holding and found I could get almost 6 times life size, I checked by looking at metric ruler
However it is very difficult to focus and the Sigma has only 5 contacts rather than 8 and does not like stopping down. 
I feel safer going to 4 times with the Kenko rings and tele adaptor there I can manoeuvre with confidence and also without so much weight on the lens mount.  I will try with a converter on the front of my 18 to 270 mm tele and see what happens then. I still don't like the idea of the ring flash loose though. I would hate to bust it after so much trouble getting one.

Tried an experiment. The pencil lead was taken with the Sigma 70 to 300 zoom lens, plus reversed 55mm. Set on program on the SLT A77 Sony. 16,000 ISO hand held by the light of an anglepoise. Weighty to hold and hard to focus

The Metric rule was the same unit with a Minolta 1200AF ring flash on the reversed lens. The flash could not be clipped so any pix have to be taken at level or an upward tilt. This gives approx 6 times life-size.

The Tamron + had the 55mm reversed on the 18 to 270 tele zoom. I had to use step-down rings and the 1200 AF flash, hung precariously on the 55mm. Hand held but gives only a useable centre section approx 6 times life-size.1/200th at f22

The Tamron 90mm macro was used with a 2 times tele extender and 5 Kenko rings. The 1200AF flash mounted safely on the front; hand held 1/200th at f22. gives a pic of approx 4.5 times life-size. 
Lighter than the Sigma set-up and can be moved around with confidence because the ring flash is firmly fixed.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Friday market in Arnhem has many types of fish for sale. The Dutch nation like their fish and I was in a way, not surprised to see these smoked eels for sale.
Eels are the third most nutritious fish, 1st are Herrings, 2nd Mackerel, and then Eels.
I was rather amazed though to see what they were priced at !. 19.50 at that time equal to around £15 per pound weight.
It made me think of getting out my old eel sprear again and going out onto the moor. However 
when viewing it I realised it was way past its sell-by date. There was no way that it could be fastened onto a 10 foot long withey pole. a few strokes with it and it would have collapsed from old age.
That is if I hadn't collapsed first ! !
It is now strictly illegal to use an eel spear. The same with clotting for eels. Clotting is only allowed by licence in a few villages down by King's Sedgemoor,on the Somerset levels. Yet they will let almost anyone have a licence for catching elvers as they make their way up the Severn Estuary.
Spearing was decided to be cruel to the eel 

because it was squeezed between the blades of the spear. You will see on the lowest picture the notches in the blades in the white lined section.
They have almost rusted away but when the spear was first made it held an eel firmly when the spear was pushed into the mud at the bottom of a rhine or river. Then it was raised a little and moved across the bottom for about the width of the spear and it was plunged into the mud again.
When you felt it strike an eel you pulled it out and put the eel into a sack. Half a dozen eels simmered, then the flesh stripped off from the back bone and mixed with a little stuffing and baked, made a very satisfactory dish. 
I have in my time made many visits to the moor fields in spite of the law. A dish of eels was a welcome meal in the days of tight food rationing during the war years and also for a couple of years afterwards.
In the same way in the 1930's, a couple of chaps out on a sultry night's clotting, could get enough eels to feed both families.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Following a discussion on about reversing a standard lens on a longer focal length lens by way of double male adaptors; I hunted out some that I took on the Romano-British farmstead we dug at East End Farm.
The piece of rose quartz had been faceted and polished, presumably to use as a decoration on a broach.
The little site had been vandalised at a little later date (probably when the Roman occupation had ended) and my last dig as an amateur archaeologist  to 'prove' the drainage ditch recovered a large quern stone that had been broken.

The small blue bead is around the size of a match head and the boot nail was found near it in the ditch immediately to the north of the stone floor.
There were a series of nails but the leather had needless to say rotted away.

The quern seems to have been deliberately broken and is quite large in size. Most domestic stones are more like 10 or 12 inches across. This one was so large it required a whrist to turn it rather than the domestic type small hole for a wooden peg.

Monday, October 20, 2014

I dream of the days that are gone.

When the Somerset Rivers Board or Catchment Board ruled the roost.
When the Walking Pelter and Mr Cox of Congresbury, inspected the rivers to make certain that riparian owners had done their keeching.
When the district council had to ensure that their river sections were trimmed and weeds were cleared.
When anyone guilty of not doing the maintenance on their sections of rivers or streams were prosecuted for allowing 
them to be restricted for the free flow of water.
Before the Environment Agency took over and said "No No we must not slub out excess mud accumulations" and allowed rivers to get befouled.
When the sight of a river blocked by weed growth was the exception and not the rule.
When the Rivers Board would pounce on wrongdoers and get them fined for failing to dredge the section of river running through their fields, or through land alongside which they owned properties.
When the Richards brothers of Yatton ran their scythe blades across the river bed and cut back all the weeds growing that stopped free flow of the water.
Oh how I dream and how useless is it for me to dream because no-one will bother to take action.

Friday, October 17, 2014

I thought I was done until nest spring.

Then I noticed a Good King Henry, Chenopodium bonus-henricus,
plant growing in the gap in the concrete by the car bay.
Such small flowers that they only measure 
about 2 to 3 mm in size.
Even with additions to get ehm to 4 times life size they don't show up very well.
These plants were the medieval spinach. Tend stems could be gathered and cooked and were a good subsitence food for peasants and I expect most country folk.

The tiny yellow dots in the lower picture are the flowers. to see the blossoms larger click on the pic and will will grow to screen size. The plants are very similar in appearance to Red Goosefoot AKA Fat Hen Chenopodium rubrum. However the leaves are more of a lanceolate shape  whereas Fat Hen has a small red flower and a hastate spear shaped leaf towards the base. both plants are edible and the young plants can be treated as salad contents instead of, or added to lettuce
There was a 'natures food' enthusiast who lived in Clevedon some years back, that regularly picked them and ate them when he pulled the tops off as they grew in waste ground..

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Went up to post off my driving licence renewal and noticed from the hill that there was a mist out on the moor.
Grabbed the camera when I got back and went out to Manmoor Lane. In that short  time the mist had dissipated but still showed a trace. 
I took a sweep pic that covered the fields and also the Blind Yeo.

Still a little mist along the water but not very much. It is beginning to FEEL like autumn now, in spite of the trees still showing green. I was glad that I had stopped to put on my top-coat when I got the camera.

Took a shot downriver too towards the M5 bridge. A few swans there but not as many as I have seen in previous years. They can be as bad as Canada geese for trampling the grass and early crops down.
I must post a set of pix  on Flickr, with the notation 
"Clevedon is more than a pier" Why is it that the pier is all that some folk see to take pix of?

Friday, October 10, 2014

To edit or not?

Had a look at the pix I took from the coach when we left Temple Meads on our way to Holland.
I only wish it were possible to have let down the window so as to stop the reflections.
Cabot Circus is not too bad but the one of St Paul's Church in Portland Square has a large patch across the middle.
The question now is "Should I take a lot of time to edit the reflection out?"
The basic reason for taking the pic of the church goes back to the 1950-60's when I used to
go to Bristol on the BSA 500 twin combination, and on the B31 BSA.
That area and the City road area used to be a regular visiting place. Fowlers were on the City Road and they were very good stockists  for spare parts.
The big BSA spares place in the Zetland Road area used to have such a long waiting time to get served mainly because they were the authorised agents for BSA.
Where have they all gone now? Fowlers are still going strong out by Temple Meads most of the others have just vanished.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Candle Power

Light a candle, may it do you good
a solitary light with darkness all around.

But could you rally others to your cause
a billion candles light would set the world aglow.

If others would but listen to your pleas
and aid you in your arguments.
Dictatorship still happens in the world
religion with its ancient reasoning

long outmoded, set in its ways,

unable to reform to modern days,

preaching of the path to righteousness.

Still sets the laws that govern us.

Ben Grader 2014

Am I being morbid?

Green waste

We are sowing death to left and right.
We are killing off our livelihood
money is ruling and tomorrow does not count.
But when tomorrow comes, then we will rue the day
For all the money will not buy us back.
that which we squandered in our careless game.
When we quit this wretched earth
that we have spoiled and devastated
by our careless government we will have made
another Mars; a desert planet useless for eternity.

Ben Grader October 2014

I can but state what I think unfortunately we will also take down with us many innocent species. Those which have not not already destroyed.

Managed a poem.
Autumn leaves

The autumn leaves, shrivelled and brown
drift with the wind along the path.
Where are they going? They travel to oblivion
their job is done. Nature has discarded them
for Nature does not care. Next spring
will see new greenery, the sap will rise.
The cycle will start over, once again.

Took the pic whilst waiting for the coach after trolling around the Eusebius Friday Market. I thought the picture might be useful, now it has stirred up my mind for a silent soliloquy. 
Once again the fish and meat stalls were crowded with shoppers.

At last I have managed to post up on Morguefile the last of the Friday Market pix. Even saw this year smoked eels for the first time at €19.50 per 500gm. The Dutch people certainly enjoy and appreciate their fish.
There were even Nile Perch, Lates niloticus from Lake Victoria on sale. The road was blanked off for the large trailers and people could browse without the fear of being run over.

The market seems to be getting bigger each year I have visited. I was speaking to one of the traders and he agreed that they bring in numbers of folk from the surroundings villages and smaller towns on Friday and Saturdays.
Just imagine if Bristol did something like that in Broadmead. I reckon it would get a lot of trade back from Cribb's Causeway and prove very popular with shoppers. This year I did not have the energy to walk up the side road to the flower booths. Got back to the Golden Tulip Hotel and would have slept through dinner at 6.30, if Sabina had not woken me.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

The avenue entrance to the Oosterbeek war cemetery 
At last the job has ended. I had not realised just how many pix I had taken this year, I thought less than last but in spite of not getting any of the para drop on Saturday I have had a total of well over 600 shots.
Weather was mainly good although a couple of light showers took place at the week-end. Yesterday was spent copying over the master DVD 30 times to send off to those 'Cloggers' whose addresses I have. Today I must get stamps and then post off those for the U.K. Tomorrow I can post the ones for our Dutch friends. 
For those that would like to see this pic larger, just click on it and it will fill your screen.
Every time I look at this pic it makes me think of the poem I wrote a few years back.
War Cemetery. 

He saw the many stones, and then the tears
coursed slowly down his cheeks, and when they asked
“Why do you weep?” He said with softened voice,
“I weep for lads cut down in youths full flower,
I weep for all the stark futility
the very inhumanity of war;
even the thought of killing fellow man
repels me, is against my way of life.
Yet when the clarion call stirs up my blood
I can become as one with them myself.
So did I weep – because I realise
I am as bad as those that I condemn.”

Ben Grader September 2004

I was pleased I managed to get it done in Iambic Pentameter. One of the few I have written like that.