Tuesday, 3 February 2015

2015 - 12 things. 1: Wet Plate Photography.

Jo & I had our photographs taken using an old-fashioned wet-plate camera (1860s) called Thelma!

This is the one with me in it as well as Jo; didn't come out too well, but is rather cool in an odd way :D

We reckoned that it was a good 'unusual' thing to have done, and since we did that in January, we decided to attempt an adventure each month this year.  That seems a reasonable and achievable goal, Twelve new/different/adventurous things in the year, and if they're not exactly one a month, well, so be it!

Random musings

I've been full of lurgy the last few days and I'm just about feeling up to doing stuff again. Some of the low-key things I've been doing include sorting through the piles of paper which seem to accumulate near me.  I honestly don't know what happens there... I can have a clear desk and within seconds it's acquired three lists and a random scattering of other stuff!!

Anyway, one of the lists was my old 20-in-40 list, and I thought I'd revisit my blog :)

I'm also reminded by randomness, that Jo & I went to the Science Fair which was held at Newcastle University in late 2013, where we saw our hearts beat (as a wire vibration), made lightning (using genuine Victorian apparatus) and heard the Music of the Spheres (what 'noises' the planets make, their EM emissions translated into sounds)

I also have finally visited the Jekyll and Hyde pub in Edinburgh, having failed to do that in my first challenge.  Himself and I spent a happy few hours there catching up with an old friend Gill, and a new friend Dixi.

I'm more than happy with all the things I did in both my 40-by-40 and 20-in-40 challenges. However, there were some things I didn't do (no time, no opportunity, whatever...)

So I'm going to list some of them here (some old, some new ones) mostly as a place-keeper of ideas of things to do.

  • Cuthbert's Caves in Doddington (nr Wooler) and Holburn (nr Lindisfarne)
  • Spiral carved rocks at Chatton,  Fowberry (nr Wooler)
  • The Forbidden Corner in Yorkshire.
  • St Mary's Chapel/Well Jesmond
Try a real stottie; apparently the ones from Greggs aren't 'proper' stotties, as you can't stott them off the floor.

Spin fire poi in the Culvert.  I've been out with the North East Light Painters once so far, and I definitely want to go again, somewhere I can get the best spinnin' on!

Try FreeRunning.  This will have to be once I've lost a bit more weight and got a bit fitter, I think!
I had hoped to be able to do the Warrior Beach challenge this year (2015) but when I started training for it last year, I instantly got shin-splints, so that put the kibosh on that rather.

Take a Bartitsu lesson!  There's one coming up this weekend if I'm feeling better enough to try my hand at Victorian martial arts!

As I think of other things, I'll put them here.

Things from the old list that I haven't done and still want to, but are more on a someday-maybe list:

  • Carriage Driving
  • Side-saddle riding
  • Horse-ride along a beach, in the surf :)
  • Hang-gliding and/or Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Fan dancing Class
  • Hang Aerial Class
  • Hang Yoga
  • Capoeira lesson
  • Blacksmithing workshop (PH)
  • Woodworking workshop (PH)
  • Stained Glass workshop (PH)
  • Calligraphy
  • 3D dreamcatcher
  • Make a hat
  • Make paper
  • Box Brownie Photography
  • Make Tea Wine
  • Make Ginger Beer
  • Make a Herman Cake

Monday, 22 July 2013

So busy!

"Only good girls keep diaries. Bad girls don't have time."  Tallulah Bankhead.

It's been rather a long time since my last post, largely because I've been busy doing things!

Some of the many things which have kept me busy of late include (in no particular order):

Visiting The Chocolate Story in York & Trying an unusual flavour of chocolate there!
Visiting the last manned Light Ship
Going Punting on the Cam
Seeing the original of Newton's Principia Mathematica
Visiting the Cutty Sark
Visiting Melford Hall
Throwing a clay pot
Making a glass sculpture
(Other things at Maker Faire, such as seeing Mitch Altman and Cory Doctorow's talks!)
Going on a Badger watch
Tour of the Northumbria Cheese Company.
Playing a clarinet (albeit briefly!)
Trying a Papaya and Sharon Fruit
Visiting the Trincomalee in Hartlepool (I has a stall at the Steampunk Convivial Tiffin on the Trinc there :) )
Performing a Pagan Handfasting for two of my friends.
Sitting in KITT!

Which brings my total of things done already to :

Scuba Diving
and nothing else from my original list... but I've also done:

Making a snow dragon
Making napkin water lilies
Omnomberry cake
See a concert at The Sage
See Noctilucent Clouds
Sitting in a Box at the Theatre Royal

and the list above....
makes it:

At least Twenty!!!  And two months before my birthday, means I've technically finished my Challenge.  However, I'll still keep doing things & adding to the blog, just 'cos it's fun!

I'll catch up with proper blog posts on what I've done recently, but for now, I'll just leave this here as a reminder to myself to get on with writing it up!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


Again, it's been a long time since my last post; but that does mean I've had lots of time to do things. Some of them were on my list, others weren't, as usual.

On 28th of March, I went to the Sage Gateshead for a concert for the first time.  I've been there before, for the Antiques Roadshow a few years ago, but I'd never seen a performance there.

I saw Morris Offspring & Faustus. They were fabulous!  I'm sad that it was Morris Offspring's final show, but I'm so glad that I did get to see them.

On the way to the Sage, I'm fairly sure I saw a fairly rare cloud phenomenon: Noctilucent Clouds.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get a photograph of it, but it was a really magical sight.

I'd ordered a coupon for a Scuba Diving session, to try to get me over my slight fear of being underwater for any length of time... whenever I'm watching someone do a deep dive, or even playing a computer game which involves swimming underwater I tend to hold my breath!  I was hoping that this would help.

On the 3rd of April, I tried it.

There were a few technical issues (the jacket was too big for me, the mouthpiece was broken, I got water in my mask; that kind of thing).  I gave up after about half the time, as I couldn't suppress my Lizard-Brain which kept thinking it was drowning :(  I tried using the snorkel instead & could just about cope with that.

However, I can't see me doing it again, and I think I'll still be holding my breath when I dive in a computer game!

That was a busy week, as two days later I went on a Guided Tour of the Theatre Royal.  A guided tour with a difference.  Dr Mullins Anatomy of the Theatre Royal.  Splendid!  Jo & I got into the mood of the thing, engaging in in-character conversation with the actors doing the guiding (the actors were wonderful, by the way - really bringing to life the Victorian Theatre!) I think the highlight for me was sitting in one of the boxes - I've never done that before, and given the prices, probably never will again! so this was rather special!

(I did get 'trolled' by one of the special effects... there was a door in one of the rooms, behind which was supposedly the 'theatre's cat', as one of the actresses said when she opened it.  I opened the door "to let the cat out", and a tiger roared!  I shut the door and fled, giggling with Jo!  Later on, someone else opened a similar door to the tiger's roar, so I figured that the first one just hadn't worked properly for the actress but that didn't make it any less scary at the time ;) )

Last week I was in Colchester with my German friends Karin & Karen (K1 & K2!) and their school group, but I think that's a job for another post!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Water-lilies and other things

I've done some other new things since the post in (oh my!) October!

We visited his family for an early Christmas celebration, and Sam decided that she wanted napkin water-lilies for decoration.  Himself being clever-like-that Googled for the instructions, and Sam handed him a napkin saying 'you're good with your hands!' However, napkin-origami is not one of the things he's good with :(

I picked up a napkin, fully expecting to make an equally disastrous mess of it, but instead, I produced a fairly respectable-looking water-lily.  This of course meant that I was then on napkin folding duty, and made about a dozen in all!

Since then, I've started with a LARP (Live Action Role Play) group called 5000REM, a post- apocalyptic scenario, based on Roadside Picnic/Stalker, Metro 2033 and other similar things.  I'd tried LARP once before, and hadn't really got on with the system,  but this one is really fun! (However we're planning another trip out this Saturday, snow and all, so I might change my mind on that!)

A few weeks ago, Himself found a recipe online for an Omnomberry Cake.  This is something which is in the game we play online (GuildWars 2) and someone has 'translated' it into a real-world thing.

The way to make Omnomberries is apparently to soak blueberries in purple food colouring and Chambord raspberry liqueur!

It was indeed Omnomnom delicious!  

The Omnomberry cake was not a lie!

The green leaves were supposed to be mint, but we didn't have any normal mint, so we used catnip instead....

Kerryl, investigating the cake.

Sliced to show the delicious layers!

Snow Dragon

I haven't felt like posting in a while, as I thought I hadn't actually done much since the last post, but looking back, I've got several things to add!  However, last things first....

Yesterday, he & I went to see The Hobbit.  On our way home, the snow was perfect snowman-making snow (he checked!) and he mused as to what to make this year.  (Previous years we've had typical snowmen, a snow bunny, snow bear, snow alien, several snow mutants, and so on.)  However, me being me, and with Smaug's glowing eye still fresh in my memory, I jokingly said "Snow-Dragon!"  

The lesser spotted Honesty-Wing Dragon

Next-door's snowman had solar lights for eyes,
so we decided to follow the trend!

Well, of course it breaths fire, it's a dragon!

Not a Pyro, honestly! 

A  Fire Breathing Dragon, breathing a fire dragon!
 The last photo is by far my favourite!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Urban Exploration

Last Saturday Jo & I went to The Culvert in Jesmond Vale for an explore!  We went with a couple of friends who had been to this place before & knew their way around, for which I was grateful, as although it would be difficult to get lost as such (it's a straight line!) it had the potential to be dangerous, and having people around who knew what they were doing was definitely a good idea!

We started at the south end of the Ouseburn, not far from the Farm, and scrambled down the embankment.  I had hopes of keeping my feet dry for as long as possible, but that was not to be, as I slipped slightly on one of the rocks and *sploosh* went my foot into 6" of water!  (I've since then bought myself some better boots and some waterproof trousies, for next time!)

We clambered up into the top half of the culvert, above the river itself.  This part is girdered with iron which gives it a wonderfully post-apocalyptic sci-fi feel!

Someone had a party!

Further along, the character of the tunnel changed to a concrete lined, high ceilinged passageway. This would have been the area used as a bomb shelter in WWII, as evidenced by the blast baffles at intervals along the tunnel, and the pots in the floor in some parts!  These are towards the edges of the tunnel, over the sewers which run either side of the Ouseburn.

Blast baffle (used with permission from Jo)

Some of the holes in the floor are less deliberate and more dilapidate:

We had to tread carefully to avoid these gaps in the floor.  A sprained ankle here would not have been pleasant.

We found a variety of objects along the way; a burned mattress, a toaster, also charred, and a caster; possibly from the same bed that the mattress came from:


Cast off

Further along was some interesting graffiti!

Right over the sewer!

Gut party, ja!

The tunnel ends in a 'room' with a shaft up to the surface, but we did not investigate this, as the rungs in the walls looked somewhat rickety, and the manhole cover at the top is usually locked.

So we retraced our steps to a section where we could gain access to the river itself:


The edge of the tunnel we were now in was fairly dry, but sloped, and after the first time I slipped and nearly fell in to the water, I decided that my feet couldn't get any wetter, so I'd wade.  The footing was easier, as the floor was flat in the middle, which made the going much better.

The water was knee deep! (Used with permission from Jo)
An artistic shot (used with permission from Jo)
A storm drain (used with permission from Jo)

When we reached the end of the Culvert, the tunnel opened up into a broader passage for a few yards, and beyond that was a waterfall. To one side were more of the rungs, set into the side of the tunnel and leading up to a fence.  I looked up with some trepidation.  No one had told me about this bit, and as you'll remember from my experience at the climbing wall, I'm not very good at this sort of thing.  However, I shimmied up the rungs with no trouble, and, trying to keep out of mind the thought of falling into the river from a great height, I made my way along the narrow ledge, clinging to the fence like grim death!

Clambering out! (used with permission from Jo)

The final obstacle was a curved spikey bit of fence, designed to stop people from doing exactly what we were doing.  To make matters more complicated, the ledge dipped inwards at this point.  I was told that it would bear my weight and to just swing around it.  I swallowed, took my courage and the fence in both hands, and went for it.  It was a huge relief to get back onto terra firma but I felt so elated that I had managed it, and I had a grin on my face for several hours afterwards!