Cooper Rose

Last year I agreed to attend a works night out for the first time in years. I met up with my colleagues in the Cooper Rose in Sunderland, and we had the most fantastic night. I met some new staff who I’d not seen before so that was nice, and met some I hadn’t seen for a while.

The chat was good, the beer was flowing, and by about 10 pm my feet would not stay still, so I had to get up and dance. Now, I can’t dance, I probably look like a victim of some awful disease but….I LOVE dancing! And I dance to anything, be it popsicle mush, old house, rave or a nice ballad, I can dance to it. Mind you I only have 4 moves but I know how to mix and match them well 🙂

So, some time ago I agreed to go to the works meet tonight too, in the same venue. I’m back in the north east anyway seeing friends and family, so may as well catch up with my colleagues who I rarely see. I’ve even bought some new jeans. Only cos it was pay day yesterday 🙂  So have a lovely weekend all of you and I’m off to do something with my hair….

Trojan batteries update

Last August I got my new Trojan batteries, you might have read about it here. It’s coming toward the end of April now so I thought I’d give an update on them.

Trojan J185 H-AC monoblock 12v deep cycle battery
Trojan J185 H-AC monoblock 12v deep cycle battery

When first installed I was told it may take as many as 100 cycles for them to achieve max capacity. A cycle is where the battery is discharged then charged fully again. It’s possible that I am nowhere near my 100 cycles yet. I’ve had them about 9 months, that’s less than 40 weeks, and they will be recharged perhaps 3 times every 2 weeks. So very roughly they may have experienced 60 cycles so far.

At any rate what I can say is that all the other batteries I’ve had have started to deteriorate within weeks of being used. The Trojans don’t seem to have deteriorated at all in 9 months.

I did borrow a Smartgauge off a friend. This little device measures the voltage and current of the batteries and tries to gauge accurately how much ‘life’ is left in them. Life as measured in amp hours (ahrs). I found that the Smartgauge has not even a clue when the battery is fully charged, and inaccurately reports when it is discharged. So it’s now been disconnected. I’m glad I had the chance to borrow one as they cost about £160 new. The only truly reliable method of testing a battery’s state is to use a specific gravity or SG meter, or hydrometer as they’re also known as, about £3 from auto parts stores. I dream of owning an electronic one but they’re about £3,000!!

Anyway, in use, and regular checks with a hydrometer show that these batteries are performing flawlessly. Finally I’ve solved my battery problems and I am a very happy bunny indeed. 🙂

Every picture tells a story

When I write my blog I’m telling my story, but I’m also showing my story, and everyone has a love of pictures, which have supported story telling since before even languages were formed. The Rosetta stone is testament to this but also cave paintings by primitive humanids, some which are easily read,  hieroglyphics by ancient Egyptians and even the most beautifully artistic artworks in stained glass windows. All of these are ancient methods of telling stories to the extent we can go into most churches now and follow a simple story by the pictures offered.

The Bayeux Tapestry
A section of the Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux tapestry is a famous example of story telling through pictures, and if you ever visit Bayeux, you’ll see how simple it is to read the story by interpreting the pictures. The link given here shows how you can very quickly pick up the story. You’re not supposed to photograph the tapestry for some reason. Not even without flash, although that’s exactly what I did. I figured since their bloke came over here, killed Harold, made himself King and took our country, taking a photo of the their account of it wasn’t such a bad thing 🙂

The Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel, Rome

Even in modern times most books have illustrations, and indeed the plethora of popular magazines on sale today sell themselves by their pictures, usually of celebrities, rather than by their editorial content. Some say there is a lack of morality and lack of education in people wanting such publications, however all newspapers sell themselves by using pictures, most in colour now, and there are prestigious awards for the top illustrators every year. In the art world pictures sell for scores of millions of £’s, and who hasn’t heard of the Mona Lisa? The painting has been discussed for centuries.
Perhaps just as well known are the frescos of the Sistine chapel, seen at left.

Therefore the moral argument for me is not about the use of photographs in magazines, but their content which is divisive.

As I am a very keen hobbyist photographer, and as I believe very much in the power of using pictures to enhance and support the stories I write on my blog, I was very disappointed when WordPress failed me and I couldn’t upload pictures to my posts anymore. 6 weeks of asking for help from the WordPress support forum didn’t help, but finally the techies from the company who host my site, Hosting Zoom, resolved the problem within 24 hours, despite it not really being their remit.
So now I am back to photo blogging and I am absolutely delighted to add some photos to this post 🙂

Ice age landscape

I was driving back down to the north east when I spotted a sing saying Ice Age Landscape. You know, one of those brown ones that indicates an item or area of interest. So I quickly turned off the road onto a narrow, single track road and followed it along  a valley until I came to a viewpoint. After parking I read an info board which said that this was Glen Roy, and was virtually unchanged since being formed by glaciers during our last ice age.

Glenroy - Ice Age Landscape
Glenroy – Ice Age Landscape

You can clearly see the parallel lines going around the valley walls, where the different levels of water had been when it was a lake, and the scouring effect the ice had as it washed slowly along the ground carving out the glen itself.

I’m not a frustrated geologist, but I find all this stuff fascinating and spent an afternoon in Glenroy just marveling at the landscape and how it had been formed.


Beach but no sea?

Loch Morlich beach
Loch Morlich beach

I think I’ve already mentioned the lovely beach at Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms, although it’s not a littoral one, the nearest sea is miles away. However this sandy beach is as good as most beaches you’ll find by the sea.

There’s some ancient Caledonian Pine trees along this stretch too so it’s very picturesque. That’s Cairngorm in the background, still covered in loads of snow.

Jack stalking ducks
Jack stalking ducks

Jack of course loves it because there’s ducks there, and one of his favourite  pastimes is chasing them, even though he doesn’t even come close to catching any.

You can see in the photo how unconcerned all the ducks are that he’s 2 feet from them hahah I think they all know him now and know he can’t fly!


Morlich beach
Morlich beach

It’s quite popular too even though for this time of year there isn’t that many people around.  Yet the weather has been fantastic. It’s rained some days, but there have been plenty like this one with blazing sunshine most of the day.

I think maybe it’s a bit of an undiscovered place. I was chatting to work colleagues about Glenmore Forest Park and no-one had heard of it.