Saturday, May 29, 2010

Half Term and Eurovision are wet

The weather is poor with rain again, but the kids are happy that they are off school and my daughter has been out to local town to shop already.My son got his phone back today as it had some problems and was sent for repair,seems to work now,maybe I will be able to phone him if the call comes from Hospital.
I spent some of the day posting pictures to my photo site Myshutterspace the car and bike pictures have been well received and I was asked to repost them to a car group on the site.I have also started to post some pictures to Flickr after a long while when my account was unused but given the size of the site it may take a while to be noticed.
The Camera Club has finished for the holidays but there will be a display of pictures in the local town hall soon. I may try to sort out a few prints for that, but my priority is to do something with the family over the half term.
Tonight I am having to listen to the Eurovision song contest in which the British entry is as bland as a wet cardboard box and some of the other entries are similarly rubbish,I hate the wet middle of the road music.Never mind the kids and my wife are enjoying it, so I will stay quiet.
A piece of positive news I gleamed off Twitter is that Rachael Wakefield who had her Double lung transplant in March this year has been able to go home I don't know if this is for a visit or a permanent thing I will keep a eye on her blog Anything But Ordinary which is in my blog roll and hope that her recovery continues well with no more setbacks.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Investigation Finds Less air

My journey to Harefields went well, with a chance to meet one of the transplant cordinators that I hadnt met yet.The investigations found little new but I did have a lung function test done.I found out that I have quite a reduction in the capacity of my lungs since my assessment in January 2009 the amount was about one litre less now, which shocked me.
It is funny, but I feel worse now for knowing, sometimes ignorance is bliss and the whole day left me tired and feeling down.I am sure I will bounce back, but just now, I hope that the wait is not too much longer as there is not much lung function left to lose.
We got back in the early evening and got some takeout food. It was nice to be out with my wife for the day it is just a shame that we had to go to Harefields hospital.I talked about a holiday with the staff they said that being in Sussex would be no problem if I stayed on the list but I will think more about that later in the year.
Just a couple of days left till the school holidays.I hope that my breathing will allow me to get out with the family for some days out over the week that the kids are off.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chit it's Harefields Review Tomorrow

We are getting ready for another trip to Harefields, this time a planned one.It is time for me to attend outpatients  for a review. We need to be there for 10am, so it will be a early start just after the kids have gone to school.It will be strange to be going in the daytime and not in the middle of the night in a rush as we have on several occasions in the past.I am so glad that the weather is allowing me some relief from breathlessness and I hope that I will be able to get about without the wheelchair when I get there.
I was taken back to my youth by a film that I saw last night,the original "Fame" movie it came out in 1980 when i had just ventured into the world of work and was living in and working at a local hotel.I had forgotten how aggressive and angst it was,Nothing like the remake of 2009 most likely the great director Alan Parker(Midnight Express,The Commitments) was the reason for this.
One remake that I will recommend that I watched recently is Sherlock Homes
with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Which I enjoyed a lot and feel will continue as a francise for at least a couple of movies given the amount of Homes books.And  They did a good job bringing back the essence of Homes as written Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Robert Downey jn brought a lot of insight to the role and jude law made a fine Dr Watson
One thing that did amuse my wife and myself while we watched, was the subtitles that were provided to the film on the BBC. The film was peppered with swear words as 80s movies often were and someone had provided interesting alternatives to what was being said by the characters in the film for those hard of hearing.I couldn't work out if this had been done deliberately or a speech  recognition program had gone into meltdown in response to the obscenities  but the outcome was memorable.
"I hate this locking school" and "you are a chit and a lowdown motherducker"......will be hard to forget when I feel the need to swear.  I will leave the translation to you.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bike Rally Today

Finally got out in the sun it was hot!! we went out to a local cafe where bikes meet called H cafe as they were having a bike show to award prizes and raise money for the local air ambulance service.It was a good show with many custom  bikes on show,I found it a bit hard as there was lots of fumes around but persisted and got some good photos of some of the unusual bikes and reminisced with my wife about our biking days.I have included some of the photos including a bike customised to look like Predator from the movie of the same name.  

Number 13

Paint detail

Predator Bike

After we came back my daughter returned from her weekend camping with Duke of Edinburgh award scheme.She  was totally worn out, our worst fear about a call while she was away didn't happen, and despite getting lost and getting blisters I think she enjoyed most of the experience.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Summer's here - Let's burn a bonfire

Summer is here with a vengeance this weekend with the temperature up and good weather forecast.For once I can breath better. I haven't had to use my oxygen when I have been out in the car today.
I saw the respiratory nurse yesterday. She rang on my mobile, number withheld, my heart jumped thinking it was Harefields again.I off loaded  about the stress the family are under and she offered to look into support.She said I should us my oxygen when out so I could walk farther, but I still feel that I am not willing to take that step yet unless I have to.Also the supplies from the Oxygen company are too unreliable with their deliveries for me to be sure to keep enough back for any trips to Harefields, which can use one and half bottles.

I had a look at the garden briefly, things are looking poor, my passion flower has died after the snow in the winter and other things are not being maintained. I have to accept that gardening is going to be a no go from now on.Even after the transplant when it comes, gardening would be a risk with reduced immunity.It is sad as I got some nice flower pictures last year.One of which I shall include to show the passion flower in all it splendour. I will have to go to some  public gardens instead. 
Passion flower and hoverfly
I say I looked in the garden briefly, because on a day when everyone wants to be out in the sun some git with as little community spirit as a dog walker without a plastic bag .Decided today was the best day to burn their garden rubbish. They spent the whole day polluting the local area with thick white smoke, probably from burning green waste,and most likely because they didn't want to pay £29 a year for the green waste collection and composting provided by the council.Council by-laws permit rubbish to be burnt any time which also encourages this sort of behaviour.

So I was trapped indoors with  the windows closed. Plus we were unable to hang out any washing to dry what a nice considerate community member they are!!! I would like to geotag them on Google maps but couldn't identify where the fire was,Just breath it in and choke on it.
I went out and got a haircut with my son so the day wasn't wasted. By 8pm it had gone out,but by that time the day was over.
I thought about my daughter who had gone on her Duke of Edinburgh camping today and wondered how she had been getting on in the heat I hoped that she was having fun as she was a bit apprehensive when she went this morning,We will find out when she returns. Tomorrow before she gets back  I hope to get out and take some pictures in the day while weather permits.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Camera Club Night AGM

Went to my last meeting of the camera club for the season tonight and found out that another other my  pictures that was commended  in the annual competition has been posted on the club website at Wallingford Photographic Club ,the photo is called Eagle eye in the Annual digital image competition.
Today I was able to get around much easier as the weather was warm and dry. It was so good and relaxing when I  didn't have to keep using my oxygen all the time,I had almost forgotten how that feels,I really hope that I will be able to continue like this through the summer.
I hope to visit one of the members of the camera club who is holding a open house exhibit of her work this weekend she has a website at Cholseypix she is doing this as part of Oxford Art weeks which happens every year and showcases lots of artists from around Oxfordshire.If you are in the area in May it is well worth a look. They have a very comprehensive website at Oxfordshire Arts Festival where you can download a PDF of the art on show and location of the exhibitors.If I can I will try to get out myself and take some photos while the weather is nice.             

Monday, May 17, 2010

Trapped By Ash Cloud

Just my luck the weather improved after raining over the weekend and then I heard on the news that the ash cloud from Iceland is back over Britain.So given my problems on the last occasion it was around, I stayed in the house,to try to minimise the bad effect on my breathing.It did still have a effect and I found myself more breathless today and congested but I hope that it will prevent me from being unable to walk.The forecast has been that things will improve from tomorrow I hope. 
Spent my time looking around on the web at visual effects sites one that i found was a site to draw on but not like any drawings in the normal sense The site is called Bomomo and it is unusual in it approach and hard to control but fun.                                                          
Another site that I found that allows you to draw online is Myoats The site will allow you to make spirograph patterns on the site and save them to your computers as wallpaper  there are tutorial to help and if you have a bit of time, have a go maybe your design will become a favourite. Here's one I made earlier,if you like it feel free to use it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Badgers in the Night, Red Kites in the Sky

My son returned form his night out under canvas, tired out, with stories of badgers. It seems that he had little sleep, and had been out walking round with his mates and had seen one running around.It was great to hear that he had a good time and had got the excitement to be out in the countryside that is lacking in some children now.
I have only seen a badger up close once and was in awe when I did. I brought to mind my youth,out walking a weasel running across the path pausing briefly to look at me before disappearing so close I could have touched it. Going out and looking for Slow worms, Lizards and Grass snakes.
Pond dipping for Newts,Tadpoles and the strange things that live at the bottom of natural water, Like the native white claw crayfish a protected animal now. Hours spent fishing, watching the wildlife.Water voles that as a child I would see around me all the time are now rare. The kingfisher that I have seen a rods length away on more than one occasion ,seldom seen now.
Most children Have only one chance to see these animals dead on the side of the road.We seem to be too protective, and these aspects of the world take second place to computer games,shopping and television now. The chance to be out in the countryside on my own with nature,of all the things I cant do, I really miss that the most.
My daughter went out and got her supplies for her camping trip today and came back with first aid kit,dehydrated food and long life milk I hope that her trip goes well.I remember doing the same when I went to camp with the scouts.
One thing I did worry about when my son was away was getting called for a transplant.
Most of the time I have developed a need to shut out the fact that a call could come any time or i wouldn't be able to get on with life. Last night I had problems doing that as I imagined my son coming back to the fact that the lung transplant had gone ahead,how would he feel if it wasn't successful and he didn't say goodbye.I think this is a reaction to what happened to me when my father died as his death was sudden and unexpected.
On the subject of wildlife I have few contacts with it now but one thing I am still awed by are the red kites that fly over our house I have devoted a lot of time to getting photos of them so I thought I would include one of my better pictures 
Red Kite
I remember as a young teenager in the Forest of Dean walking into a clearing and seeing deer grazzing that was one of my most inspiring encounters. We are lucky where we are to occasionally see deer near the road and I have a video of one we saw while I was in the car with my son about two miles from our house last year I will post that for interest rather than quality of film making 

Oxfordshire Deer.
There are other deer in Oxford in the wild,such as Muntjac deer that I have seen on a few occasions.
Also in captivity a most notably in Magdalen College deer park called The Grove they are maintained for the fellows meals and were accessible to the public until recent years but I believe you can still get guided tours. Or if you have Quicktime plug in  there is a virtual tour of the college Here

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lovely day Shame about the Television

Had a good day today the weather was good.Air liquide delivered my oxygen bottles when they said they would, for a change, and the kids were happy.
My daughter was planning her trip with the Duke of Edinburgh scheme with a list of kit to get.My son was looking forward to his trip away with the school to a local activities center tomorrow.Funny thing was the reason for the activity, the local television transmitter caught fire at 14.30 and was off-line till 21.00 so there was no Digital TV at all. It was great to see them doing other things even their homework!
I went to my camera club which was on the subject of Epson Printers.The reps were trying to sell us some £300-£700 printers on the basis that they hardly ever get blocked up printheads. I wasn't convinced, as both my Epsons died that way, so I took a early journey home.Next time is the AGM.
Spent some time at the computer and then went to watch some DVDs. The early life John Lennon Nowhere Boy that I have mentioned (see previous post) was very good and kept me amused.
But the new Ray Winstone movie 44 inch chest was a strange mix of one room stage play and misogynistic gangster buddy Flick, interesting for the amount of insults traded but only for a single watching. I much prefer the writer's earlier film Gangster Number one a film that is well worth seeing .

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

3 Year Photograph and Fantasy Pictures

Since my illness got worse I have had to adapt my interests to cope with the breathlessness this has lead me towards my photography and artistic interests and I have visited a lot of sites of fellow photographers but this week I came across the site of someone who took a photograph that lasted three years!!
Hard to believe this is possible it was made by German photographer Michael Wesely. He set up four cameras to follow the construction of the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2001.
Not all the cameras pictures continued for the duration,
but one did and here it is


The original is wall sized, so you can only get a idea of how it looks. But if you what to know more his site is at Michael Wesely
Another interest I have is Drawing and Painting although I am not very good,as a fan of science fiction and fantasy I have always been awed by some of the art on the books of Isaac Asimov , Michael Moorcock and Ursula K. Le Guin  and was impressed by Patrick Woodroffe a British science fiction artist and the air- brushed art of Michael English.Then I came across someone who reminded me of this artist again. 
Wojtek Siudmak, an artist of Polish origin, settled in France in 1966 and is considered now one of the principal representatives of fantastic realism

I thought these three pictures gave a flavour of the work he does if you wish to see more here is  his website 

DVD's and Esso Customer sevice

After my day out yesterday I went out today with some trepidation as to how I would manage. I was better than yesterday but found myself floored by the simple task of putting air in the tyres of the car.I found the hose for the air really hard work as it kept trying to pull me back into the machine and it left me breathless before I started with the air. For this pleasure 50 pence!!  I love Esso such a helpful company they make so much profit how could they possibly  provide free air.I sat for a while and took some of my free Oxygen, provided  by NHS poor show isn't it, the compressed air for my car tyres costs more than the pure oxygen that helps me breath. Then went to Blockbuster to get some DVDs.
I was most impressed by my previous DVD rentals. Avatar I enjoyed this very much and would recommend it.the other film I saw and like was Sex and drugs and rock and roll the film about Ian Dury a singer from my youth I was into punk and a biker.
I was interested in this because I nursed a patient who had been at Chailey Heritage School in East Sussex (Where I trained a a nurse) at the same time as Ian Dury.The picture pains a very bleak picture of this place There is a scene in which he was left on the floor by staff, which according to my patient was quite accurate.Andy Serkis plays the singer, with Bill Milner, who plays Dury’s son Baxter and featured on the album cover for new boots and panties.

The blockheads are still playing and Info on Ian Dury is at wikipedia .
 In my selection this week are, 44 inch chest with Ray Winstone and Nowhere Boy the film about John Lenon I shall do a review of these films soon.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Classic Cars Day at the Park

Well I got out of the house today and went to the car rally.The weather wasn't to good and as usual had a problem finding somewhere to park near to the venue but my son and I spent a couple of hours looking at the cars and my son sizing up the ones he wanted to buy.I found it very hard to walk today. I wonder how much longer before I will need oxygen all day?At the moment I get by till the evening then I am on it overnight but it seems that the almighty has other plans.
I found it hard also to rely on my 13 year old son when we are out, to help me by carrying things and if necessary to get my oxygen from the car if I get into trouble with my breathing,which nearly happened today. He is happy to help but it should be me looking out for him not the other way round and I found myself upset because of this today.
Rather than walking round I decided to take some pictures when the cars went past in the display areas but we were a bit late to see some of this stuff I have to consider where I can sit when out and today there were few seats.It was a good day but it has worn me out and I have posted some pictures to show you a few of the cars we saw and one of three Mini Steam Engines that were chugging round making my breathing worse but they are quite nice to look at.
Mini Traction Engine

This was on the front of a
lovely Vintage Rolls Royce
it is the early form of the Spirit of Ecstasy

The famous Italian brand

 Couple of
American cars

Rolls Royce

 Couple of
old British cars

The Morris Oxford
Built Locally to us in Cowley
Built  in India at a later date where
A version of this car still is
Hindustan Ambassador

Finally a very desirable car. My son thinks he would like to own this !!
Ford GT

Friday, May 7, 2010

No Buts Its Got to Get Better?

Have had a slow day at home while my wife did the shopping with my daughter. She wanted to be quick and that is something I am not now.
I have been online for a lot of the day, getting updates on twitter, following the squirming of all the politicians that didn't get the seats they wanted, reading articles and looking at websites.
As you have seen from my blog I like imagery of all types and am fascinated by digital art and love fractal images so today I would like to share some sites that I have come across that I found on this subject.
Firstly a video to explain about flame fractal imagery by the man who wrote the code
Scott Draves
You can visit his Site By clicking on his name above.

He is great I hope you agree, then I came across this excellent site filled to the brim with art based on fractals Fractal world gallery
Where my favourite must be 

Rainbow Fire by Cory Ench

Then I found a site that has all the info and pictures of fractals you could possibly want and also links to some site for the software to generate fractal pictures for yourself at Fractovia

Then I made this one myself using Aros Fractals

All in all I have had a  good day. My daughter got good grades in her mock exams and I am very proud of her. I was worried that the stress that we are all under would affect her school work but she has done great . I am looking forward to a weekend that will produce some good photos of cars, as there is a rally for old cars nearby on Sunday. Fingers crossed for the weather,the ash cloud and my breathing and I will post some pictures soon.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Commended in Annual photo competition

Went to my camera club tonight for the Annual photo competition and managed to get two digital photos organised for it.Unfortunately despite getting a mount board cutter, I was unable to sort out any prints to put in this competition as I was too tired after last weeks trip to Harefields.
I am very aware as I write this that this time, last week I was receiving a phone call, it seems like a age has passed since then.
I did my voting today, but had a bad day with my breathing, my wife came with me should we need to use a wheelchair.We did not need to, but I wonder if this is the ash cloud causing problems again.It doesn't encourage me as I was hoping the summer would allow me to get out more.
I have also started a Twitter account and have started tweeting about my blog and life, people waiting for transplants and those who have already received them.
I hope that this will help people understand something about the process,and encourage more people to sign up to the donor register there is a link on this blog. Click on the flashing Heart.
If you worry about donation I heard something that is worth thinking about.

The recipient of a donated organ,
is risking his or her life,
to keep some part of the Donor alive,
after they die.
It really is "The Gift Of Life"

Finally tonight Here is the photo that was commended in the photo competition.
I hope you enjoy it
Eagle Eye

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

No I DON'T want to TALK TALK

I hear on BBC that bonobos have been filmed shaking their heads to "say no"
BBC SciTech I know just how they feel !!
I am like those monkeys shaking my head and not being understood . I say No to Talk Talk and they take no notice.HELP !!
I Spent last two days trying to prevent Talk Talk ringing me with sales calls, as you can appreciate When you are on the transplant list every call causes you to jump. Being EX directory and on telephone preference service we have parred the rubbish calls down to nearly zero.
Then along comes Talk Talk and before that it was BT ! Why do these Telecom's believe they have the rights to ring you when they feel like it.
I dont want a better rate, extra services,or any other change made or I would ring them.
One thing that always wondered, is having only a first name a requirement for call centre staff ? None of them are prepared to tell you their names so you can record who you speak to, even though they want all your details before they will speak to them.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Roll on the Election

I don't know if I am alone but I am going to be really glad when the election is over.
I am getting fed up with the constant bickering of one party against another. I think it will be hard to change the general attitude in politics regardless of which party is in power.
What happened to the notion of public servants.
Politicians should represent us not themselves and not help themselves!!
I would like to see Britain act more independently in the world and am not happy with some of the stupid laws that have been created by the present government.
I think we should give someone new a chance I will see who is available on Thursday.

I came across some silly stuff this afternoon but one thing I liked was the
Daily Mail song as this is the most educational  paper/comic at the moment!!

This came from a great blog at ZeFrank
check out his Gyro,Flower maker and other interactive toys.

Flower maker

Monday, May 3, 2010

Recovery in progress & Well done Rosie

I have spent the weekend quietly after the rush on Thursday to the Hospital.
My son has been out today and joined the local fun run and completed it well.I was so proud to see him run past,I hope that in the future I will be able to join in myself.
I have been following the efforts of a inspiring 63 year old woman who has just completed 26 marathons in 26 days and has completed her 27th marathon today in Tenby. A staggering achievement and she has done this to raise money for Ty-Hafan family hospice in Cardiff, and Helen House hospice in Oxford.You can check out her blog and continue to give money to these worthy causes
You can see a tribute to her on You Tube
and read about her round the world trip Here