Thinking Aloud On A Sunday

Selfishness.

Following the media hype about non-existent fuel shortages, the last few days have shown us the worst side of human nature that exists in this country. A blatant display of selfishness and disregard for others that always makes me ashamed to be English.

There have been confrontations in queues at petrol stations, and examples of flock mentality that makes me question the intelligence of English people in general. Hard to work out when this happened, but it is a long way from the pulling together and genuine community spirit that got this country through WW2.

Not content with filling up the tank of their car, many drivers rushed to also fill containers with extra fuel.

There were also people on Ebay trying to sell full containers at inflated prices. Shame on them.

This idiot was photographed filling unsuitable plastic water bottles with fuel, turning his car into a potential bomb.

I woke up this morning thinking about people like those pictured. People who don’t care about essential workers needing fuel to get into work to serve the community. People who feel satisfied when they have bought as much petrol as they can cram into any available container, then presumably drive home with a smug smile, hoping to boast about their exploits to family and friends.

They are not me. I am not one of them. They disgust me.

More Camera Stuff

This is about a camera, and technical photography stuff. If you have no interest in that, please skip the post with my blessing.

A few years ago, Panasonic released a new compact camera, the Lumix LX100.

I was immediately attracted to it, as it had a Leica zoom lens with a range of 24mm-75mm (equivalent), and impressively fast maximum apertures of f/1.7 to f/2.8. In a portable body that will fit in a coat pocket, this seemed to me to be a one-camera/one-lens option that had a great deal going for it.

There was also that rather ‘Retro’ look of it, something like an old rangefinder camera. Add to this the inclusion of a Micro-Four-Thirds (MFT) sensor, which at 17mm X 13mm is almost twice the size of the 1-inch sensor in my Sony RX10, and my excitement was growing the more I read about it.

Unfortunately, quality comes at a price. And at the time of launch that price was £700. Too rich for my blood, and not something I could justify spending the money on, when I already had perfectly good digital cameras.

More recently, an upgraded model was released, the LX 100 Mark ll. That sent secondhand prices of the early model crashing, and I was able to buy a used one at a great price through Amazon Marketplace. It was delivered yesterday morning, and I charged it up immediately.

It was missing any user manual and the DVD software extras, but operation is simple enough for anyone used to using digital cameras. I still downloaded a (free) 90-page fully-comprehensive manual from the Panasonic website though.

If you read about my recent experiences with the Nikon Z5, you will know I am a fan of knobs, buttons, and dials, over the electronic menu systems becoming widely used in cameras like the Z5.

Just look at the top view of the LX100.

Exposure compensation dial. Aperture selection ring. Zoom ring. Focus selector on the side of the lens. Selector switch for 3:2, 4:3, 16:9, and 1:1 ratios. Shutter speed dial with an ‘A’ selector to use when shooting in Aperture Priority, and an additional zoom control lever on top around the shutter button if you don’t want to operate the zoom using the ring on the lens.

That’s my kind of camera!

Photos to follow soon.

Family Fame! My Cousin’s Pumpkin

The famous Chelsea Flower Show in London had to be moved to September this year, because of the pandemic restrictions. That meant some autumnal things could feature for the first time ever, including pumpkins.

My young cousin Ben White lives in Essex, where he grows a lot of things both in his garden, and in large polytunnels rented on land nearby. One of the things he likes to grow every year is a giant pumpkin. This year, his whopper was accepted for inclusion in the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show.

Getting it down to London was no easy task.

Once in place, it fast became the talking point of the whole show. He was interviewed by most newspapers, and on the radio too. And many people wanted to be photographed with the now-famous pumpkin, including celebrities. (Ben is the young man in the centre of the photo.)

To get some more idea of the size, one show visitor added her baby, which rested quite happily on the pumpkin.

Well done to Ben for that great achievement!

Our Holiday: The View From The Porch

As I have mentioned, our holiday cabin is situated in the grounds of a hotel, and had a covered porch that I spent much of the time sitting on, with Ollie.

I took some photos of my daily view, one that changed constantly as guests and customers made use of the large beer-garden. These are the last of my holiday photos for this year.

(All of my own photos are full-frame, and can be clicked on to enlarge them.)

The view to the right. The white building is known as ‘The Cottage’, and we have stayed there twice previously. That was before the cabins were erected.

To the left is the non-smoking covered area, adjacent to the main road running through Sutton-on-Sea.

A closer view of the main hotel and the benches of the beer-garden.

This photo is not mine, it is from the website advertising the cabins. It shows all five cabins at the back of the hotel grounds. It can be enlarged too.

If anyone is interested in staying there, here is a link to the main website.
(Scroll down for all the pictures.)

https://www.bacchushotel.co.uk/

Ollie’s Holiday: The Porch

In our house in Beetley, Ollie cannot see outside. If I open the back door to let him out, he only has the familiar surroundings of our garden to look at. So being able to sit outside for a large part of the day, and most of the evening until bedtime, that’s a real treat for our beloved dog.

Because I spent so much of our holiday sittng happily on that covered porch of our cabin, Ollie was happy to be out there with me. When I got up each morning, I would carry his bed and toys out onto the porch, and leave them there until we closed up to go to bed for the night.

(All photos are full-frame, and can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

At various times, Ollie would take himself off down the ramp and explore the hotel beer garden. I was lucky enough to have the camera handy when he was ‘patrolling the porch’.

We love the fact that we can take Ollie on holiday with us, and that it is just as much a holiday for him as for us.

Our Holiday: The Cabin

Last year, we really enjoyed our time in the wooden holiday cabin. Then this year it was even better, as everything was familiar. So much so, we have booked it again for much the same time in 2022, seven days in September.

Here is an overview. It has two double bedrooms, and two extra beds in the roof space, accessed by a ladder. A large bathroom with shower, and an open-plan living room and fully-equipped kitchen. TV, iron and ironing board, two sofas, a dining table and chairs, and a private picnic table to the side. Enough storage and hanging space too.

Wi-fi is also available, through a connection supplied free of any extra charge by the hotel. But the signal is sometimes erratic.

But for me, the joy is the covered porch. I sat there quite happily for hours, watching the clouds and the world go by.

And it is only 100 yards to the huge unspoilt beach!

(All photos are full-frame, and can be clicked on twice to enlarge for detail.)

My Treasure Tin

I listened to Rich Lakin reading one of his poems on his blog yesterday. It was about ‘Word Tins’. You can check it out here.
https://richlakin.wordpress.com/2021/09/12/word-tins-a-few-thoughts/

My reply to him was that I never had word tins, but I did have a tin that I kept my treasures in as a child. He suggested I should write about my tin.

Most people smoked when I was young, including my mum and dad. Dad rolled his own cigarettes, favouring a popular tobacco called Old Holborn, which is still sold here. To keep the tobacco fresh, he would keep it in the tin that it came in, a tin emblazoned with the distintive logo of the brand.

By the time I was given my tin, it was old and well-used, a lot like the one in the photo above.

The first things I kept in that tin were some foreign coins. Some were from India, a legacy of my dad’s army service during WW2. I also had a coin with a hole punched in the centre, which I think was from somewhere in Asia. (Probably Japan) I was sure that those unusual coins would be worth a great deal one day.

Next to go into my treasure hoard was a medal. It was in the shape of a star, and was given to me by one of the family friends who were always known as ‘uncle’, though they were not related. Sixty-two years later, I cannot be sure, but I think it was a Burma Star. It certainly looked like one, as I recall. Here is a photo of one.

Something else I expected to be incredibly valuable when I was older. Hard to believe that they now sell online for around £20. Given what they went through to get one, that doesn’t seem right.

The coins and medal were the only occupants of the old tin for at least a year. Then for some reason I became interested in elastic bands, especially coloured ones. Very soon I had a dozen or more stored in the tin. One very light blue one was a favourite, until I acquired a bright yellow one from somewhere and that went to the top in my estimation. I used one of them -a red one- to secure the tin after that, as the lid was becoming loose.

A day at the beach provided the final addition to the tin, when I was around eight years old. On a stony beach somewhere in Kent, I found a beach pebble that looked like a small pig in profile. At first I presumed someone had carved it into that shape and dropped it, but my mum was sure that all those years on the beach had formed the shape by the pebble constantly being moved by the sea. Either way, it was certainly a treasure, so the pig-stone went into the tin, which was now almost full.

Resecured with the red elastic band, I put it in my small hand-made wardrobe, and there it stayed. I would occasionally open the tin, feel the smooth lines of the pig-stone, and hold the medal to my chest as if I had won it. When the red elastic band finally perished, the tin went into a drawer under my socks.

Between 1967 and 1976, I moved house three times. During one or other of those moves, my treasure tin disappeared.

I just hope whoever found it valued its contents as much as I did as a child.

Clearing Up A Bridge Confusion

As someone who lived in London for most of his life, I do get unusally annoyed by the same old mistakes concerning that city. Because of recent protests by climate change activists, both Tower Bridge and London Bridge have featured heavily on the news media and social media over the past few days. Twitter is busy today with many videos and photos about the protests, and hundreds of people are also posting photos of themselves by the bridges in question.

Trouble is, many of them don’t know which bridge is actually London Bridge, even when they are standing on it. Allow me to clear this up for you, once and for all.

THIS IS LONDON BRIDGE.

THIS IS NOT LONDON BRIDGE, IT IS TOWER BRIDGE.
SEE THE DIFFERENCE? IT HAS TOWERS. AND IT RAISES IN THE MIDDLE TO LET SHIPS PASS THROUGH.

Twitter users, bloggers, social media maniacs, tourists, and photographers. PLEASE REMEMBER!

Rant over.