Sunday, 29 April 2012

Project 365+1: Days 113 - 117

Another week, another batch of photos fresh from the camera for my daily photo project. I have to admit, I’m pleasantly surprised that I’ve made it so far with this. Of course, each day that I continue to take photos makes me feel a little bit more nervous that I will accidentally skip a day, but so far, so good, right?
113 - Taking Stock
Day 113: Taking Stock
As we were off shopping (and having my hospital appointment, but I’ll post about that some other time) on Monday, we decided to use the time to do a spot of shopping, so Sunday night we made our traditional pre-shopping list. This involves going through all the cupboards and making a list of what we’ve actually got, so that we know what we need to buy. It’s always written on the back of the list so that if there’s a good offer on something we might want, we can check if it’s really necessary (no point buying a 3-for-2 offer on tinned fruit when we already have a cupboard full at home).
114 - Through The Trees
Day 114: Through The Trees
I wouldn’t look too closely at that picture though, it’s probably got some awful spelling mistakes in there somewhere, that and it probably doesn’t make much sense to anyone who isn’t me. By the way, 1 country vegetable refers to a soup flavour, not an actual country vegetable.

When I can (i.e. we’re not rushing out the door in case we get a puddle on the kitchen floor) or when I remember (i.e. I’m in more than a semi-conscious state when Tara and I leave the house for our 6am morning walk), I like to take my little compact camera with me. Since getting Tara I’ve fallen in love with this little guy again. I remember being so impressed with it when I first acquired it quite a few years ago, but then as I found myself wanting to do more and more with my photos I started getting a bit frustrated with how limited it was – this led to me taking nothing but close-ups in Macro setting because it was the only way I could get the blurry background I so desperately craved.

But it’s small enough to stick in a pocket when you’ve got an energetic puppy needing a morning walk, and you can operate it single-handed when said energetic puppy is encouraging you to stop staring at those boring trees and come and see what the interesting smell she’s found is. Plus, I can still take some pretty nice pictures with it. It’s not got quite the same level of control that I’m used to with my big camera, but it’s light and does a pretty good job (and it would be a hell of a lot cheaper to replace if Tara whacks it with a stick).

So anyway, that’s the sun coming up on the route that we tend to go for on our morning walk, mainly because on average it takes fifteen minutes to get to this point, so I know that if we turn around to go home from here our walk will have lasted about half an hour. Plus, you get to see scenes like that when you get there!
115 - Cross Bones
Day 115: Cross Bones
Okay, I’ll admit, sometimes I take photos purely so that I can reuse the photo when I come to blog about the book later on. It’s quite useful really because it means I’ve got a definite photo to fall back on when I’ve either had a really boring day, or have forgotten to take my picture until almost midnight.

I like how this one shows my progress through the series of Kathy Reichs books. There’s at least one more that I’m still to get (the most recent one in the series) but I’m holding off until I get closer to it because hopefully I’ll have a little more space on my bookshelf by then. The bookshelf is starting to need some serious rearranging as I’m getting very close to the end of some of the book series I’ve been reading and we’ve also bought loads more from charity shops recently as well. Last year the Kathy Reichs/crime section was on the top shelf and as I’m almost done with the Discworld collection, they might be getting a promotion… it really is sad how excited I get at the thought of reorganising my bookcase…
116 - Charity Shopping
Day 116: Charity Shopping
Wednesday was marked by a dentist appointment, not one of the highlights of my social calendar. I got a clean bill of health and was in and out within minutes. Also mentioned my wisdom teeth which are allowed to stay in situ a little bit longer as long as they don’t cause too much trouble.

After the dreaded-but-not-so-bad-after-all dentist appointment we wandered round the shops which included a little trip into Oxfam where Mr. Click found the above little goodie. As much as I try to get over my minor Lord of the Rings obsession, it keeps on sucking me back in. This is a set of three games, two of which are a sort of logic puzzle-type thing. I’m yet to crack it out properly though, I’m waiting until I get a chance where someone (namely Tara) won’t be around to eat any of it.
117 - On The Bandwagon
Day 117: On The Bandwagon
And lastly this week, more reading material. Normally I try to avoid books that get loads of publicity because I frequently find myself disappointed (though sometimes this strategy backfires, it took me four years to get around to reading Harry Potter and regretting the fact that I didn’t pick it up sooner), but this one’s had some good reviews from friends so when I spotted the trilogy for £5 in The Book People I got myself the set.

Again, I’ll post a review in the next couple of weeks, but suffice to say I started it on Thursday night and finished it on Friday (and that was after I’d started it thinking that it might not be my sort of thing).

Friday, 27 April 2012

Book 28 of 2012: Monstrous Regiment

Having read every book on the top shelf of my bookcase when I finished with The Wee Free Men I moved on to the next shelf down and the thirty-first of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, Monstrous Regiment. This is one of the only books that really sort of stands alone; Sam Vimes comes into it a little and of course Death makes a cameo, but otherwise it’s dealing with entirely new characters in an entirely new country. I do wonder if perhaps that’s what I like about it so much. Slight warning here, if you’ve not read this book and you’re not wanting the little twists to be revealed, you might want to skip this review… I’ll try not to give too much away, but I can’t make any promises.

It’s also one of the last Discworld novels I read before I started doing the whole reading-the-whole-series-in-order thing that I’ve been working on since very late 2010. I loved this book when I first read it and so I was very much looking forward to the reread. It features Polly Perks, a girl in a country where being a girl isn’t particularly great. Her country is permanently at war with one or another of the surrounding countries and her brother has gone away to fight. She decides to leave the family Inn, The Duchess, to find him and bring him home. Of course, the only way to do this is to sign up for the army and so with the squad she’s joined (which includes a vampire, a troll and an Igor), Oliver (as she renames herself) travels towards the front, meanwhile more and more of the males in the book are revealed to actually be females.

I thought I remembered this one very well, but as I said, it’s probably been about three (or maybe slightly more) years since I read it, so while I knew the basic outline of the plot there were massive bits that I’d forgotten. One of the really big twists at the end (which is very cleverly hinted at most of the way through) came as a bit of a surprise to me… at least until Polly decided to reveal it, then I kind of knew what was coming. It wasn’t that I’d remembered it though, it was just piecing it together from the text as though I’d never read it before.

I did also get through it very quickly. As always when reading the Discworld books, I’m torn between hurtling through them because I find them hilarious and I love reading them and I want to know what’s going to happen next, and reading them dead slowly because I’m fast getting to the end of the published series and I’m not looking forward to taking them all off my bookcase and replacing them with something new. I’ve got six Discworld books left to read at the moment, plus I Shall Wear Midnight and Snuff still to get for my collection. I’m hoping that perhaps I can drag it out until nearer the end of the summer before I need to get them but at this rate it’ll be sooner rather than later.

The book is largely told through Polly’s eyes which works really well, she has a fantastic attitude. It also means that the boys are slowly revealed to be boys as she discovers them. Meanwhile you’re also learning about the religious and political aspects of their country as well. It means that there’s none of the info-dumps that you occasionally get in fantasy books. Plus you get to learn a bit more about vampires and the Igors as well.

My one little problem was keeping all the characters’ names straight. There were the girls, who had adopted boys names, went largely by their surnames when being given orders but used adopted nicknames when speaking to each other; in some cases there were three or four names to try to remember. They sunk in eventually but to begin with there was a bit of flipping backwards to remind myself who was who.

So far it doesn’t seem that Terry Pratchett has written anything more featuring Polly Perks or Borogravia, which is a shame because I’d love to have a bit more like this to look forward to. I am pleased that the next book in the series is A Hat Full Of Sky another of the Tiffany Aching series even if it does mean that I’m that much closer to the last Discworld book.

‘Mug of saloop?’ said Shufti, holding them up. A few days ago they’d have called it ‘sweet milky tea’, but even if they couldn’t walk the walk yet they were determined to talk the talk as soon as possible.
Page 202

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Book 27 of 2012: Raffles

My husband got a collection of ‘crime classics’ several months ago and has been working his way through them, in between reading other books. I don’t like to read his books until he’d read them but somehow I overlooked Raffles, by E.W. Hornung, when he finished with it. We can’t even remember exactly when it was that he read it, perhaps January/February time. It wasn’t until I was studying his bookshelf that I realised this. So when I’d finished with Inkheart I moved straight onto Raffles before I forgot it again.

E.W. Hornung was heavily inspired by his brother-in-law, none other than Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes. And it shows. Raffles and Bunny are really the polar opposites of Holmes and Watson, while Doyle’s creations were solving crimes, Raffles was committing them. It’s really easy to make connections between the characters. Bunny recounts his exploits with Raffles in much the same was as Watson does. Raffles is the brains of the operation, only partially filling Bunny in with the finer points when he deems it necessary.

Raffles and Bunny are nowhere near Moriarty’s league of criminals though. Both are members of the wealthier classes who have fallen on hard times, mostly as a result of their own gambling and enjoying the high life. But there’s an element of the Robin Hood about them. They are happy to help out a friend who is in a similar situation to themselves and in trouble with a bit of a bad character. They don’t seem to get much out of the ventures mentioned in these stories, which I suppose is why they have to keep going back and stealing things again and again.

Despite the fact that they are thieves and you shouldn’t really like them, they are surprisingly likeable. I mean, they’re villains, but they’re very nice villains. And if you think that Holmes and Watson seem a bit close at times, they’ve got nothing on Raffles and Bunny. Probably not helped by the fact that Raffles calls Bunny Bunny. I realise I’m being terribly immature here, but sometimes books written over a hundred years ago can be quite unintentionally funny.

I did quite enjoy it, though some of the cricket references went rather over the top of my head. It was a nice quick read; I’ve come to quite enjoy reading books of short stories recently. In the last few years I’ve tended to choose novels over short story collections but there’s something very practical about short stories. You can read a couple before bed, one in your lunch break, whatever. Mr. Click prefers short story collections so we’ve got at least another five waiting on the bookshelf for him to read… three of which I might not wait for him to get to, they do look rather good.
‘The fact is, Bunny, I didn’t mean you to know. You – you’ve grown such a pious rabbit in your old age!’
My nickname and his tone went far to molify me, other things went farther, but I had much to forgive him still.
Page 135

Monday, 23 April 2012

Picnic At The Beach

On Saturday we took Tara to the beach for a picnic. Mr. Click was in charge of organising the food and pretty much all I had to do was make sure that Tara had her leads packed up and had got enough poop bags stuffed in my pocket. Oh, and to remember the towel. I did my job admirably, as did Mr. Click.

Now when we got Tara she wasn't keen on travelling in the car. She settled down on the way home, but obviously wasn't a huge fan of it at first. During this week she's progressed far enough to not only willingly get into the back of the car, but also to the point that if we go out the door she makes a beeline for the car. I suspect that this is in part due to the fact that the car takes her to my in-laws' house, and my in-laws' are head over heels in love with her and spoil her rotten.

We decided to go out in the van, mainly because we can collapse on the bed in the back after we've eaten and read if need be. It's lovely to go to the beach for a picnic, but we live in Scotland so we're not crazy, it can get a bit cold sitting out there... or in the case of this Saturday, wet!

We were a bit nervous about whether Tara would take to the van, it can be a bit noisy and rattly so I was worried that she wouldn't like it. Needn't have worried. She happily hopped in, and when it became apparent that there wasn't enough room for her in the footwell at the front with me, she settled down behind my seat.

Day 112: Peeking
On the way to the beach we stopped at the pet shop to pick her up a bone/chew thing so that she would have something to nosh on while we enjoyed our food, then it was off to the beach.

It was all hot and sunny on the way. At the beach we put Tara on the extending lead and let her go wild. She chased birds, picked up seaweed, paddled, rolled in the grass, and generally had a great time. The only thing she wasn't sure of was a metal bridge over one of the streams running down onto the beach - I suspect it was the feel of it on her feet.

Halfway from one end of the beach to the other it started to rain, then hail, so by the time we got back to the van all three of us were soaked. Tara had a quick towel dry and then made herself comfortable watching us as we munched our way through ham, chicken and salad pitta pockets, babybels, cheesy dippers, sausage rolls and chocolate moose. Her bone was nowhere near as interesting as what we were chowing down on.

On the way home she fell asleep, so clearly the travel anxiety is fading fast. It's a trip we're planning to repeat very soon.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Project 365+1: Days 104 - 111

There’s quite a few pictures here and also, as a slight disclaimer, prepare to be bowled over by the cuteness. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
104 - Getting Ready
Day 104: Getting Ready
Friday night felt a little bit surreal because we knew we were going to meet Tara and hopefully bring her home with us the following day. We weren’t wanting to get ourselves too prepared just in case she wasn’t the right dog for us, but at the same time, we weren’t wanting to be totally unprepared either. So we made little preparations, one of which was to get some shiny new bowls.
105 - Settling In
Day 105: Settling In
This is Tara on the evening we brought her home. After the car journey back we took her out for a walk and then she settled down and fell asleep. She has the cutest sleepy-face in the world; she’s still very much a pup and it really shows when she’s just woken up or been disturbed. She also sleeps in some of the most peculiar positions, like with her back end twisted a totally different way to her front end. It doesn’t look very comfortable, but she seems happy enough.
Another thing I love about this picture is that you can kind of see just how big her feet are. One thing I’ve always loved about Labs is that they seem to be born with these enormous great big paws and then take ages to grow into them. She’s very good at giving her paw; whenever she comes in from a walk or going in the garden she sits and gives her paw for a treat, but the other day I was trying to teach her ‘lie down’ and she wasn’t sure what I was asking her, so she sat there giving me paw after paw after paw hoping that eventually I would give her the treat (after a bit of coaxing she started getting the hang of it).
106 - Tara
Day 106: Tara
She’s also proving to be very photogenic. I’m really looking forward to when we’re able to go for walks with her off the lead because I think I’ll be able to get some great pictures of her then. Until then I’ll carry on following her around my in-laws’ garden with my camera.
I’ve held off putting photos of the girls up on my desk at work because I know that lots of people aren’t really fans, but since I’d told everyone about her, I had to get a couple put up. Mr. Click was a little miffed to learn, when I was debating whether three pictures would be enough, that I’ve not got any pictures of him up there. In my defence, everyone there knows what he looks like. ;-)
107 - Late Night Essentials
Day 107: Late Night Essentials
These are some of the most important things we now keep in the back lobby; a towel, especially useful for when you’ve been out for a walk and it’s decided to chuck it down on the way back; slip-on trainers, very important for those desperate garden trips first thing in the morning; and a slip-over lead which my mum-in-law gave us (which didn’t last very long because we left it in the back of the car with her on the way home from work the following day and she nibbled it).
108 - Puppy Love
Day 108: Puppy Love
And this is what is gradually taking over my camera cards… I have two cameras and so, of course, two camera cards. The little compact comes with us on walks while the big one tends to stay in the house, unless we’re going to my in-laws’ so there’s somewhere safe for it to stay.
She’s definitely settled into a routine with us now. The day tends to begin around 6am with a half-hour walk, then back to bed for our breakfast, then hers, then off to work for me and adventures with Mr. Click for Tara, then home from work for me, tea for us, tea for Tara, a longer walk and bed. Tara obviously likes this schedule because I think she was a bit disappointed at the deviation from it at the weekend; she’ll be really shocked when I’m on the back shift!
109 - Don't Blink
Day 109: Don't Blink
Tara really isn’t keen on the camera flash. Unlike the rats, she’s not at all bothered by the sound of it, but she can’t keep her eyes open for the flash, which results in lots of photos like the one above.
Tara’s really big adventure for the week was a trip to the vet. We’d wanted to get her registered anyway as well as speak to them to discuss microchipping, spaying and other little bits and pieces like that. Then she picked up a tick… on her eyelid. Anywhere else on her body I would have been perfectly happy to remove it, I’m not particularly squeamish (I’ve delivered lambs and helped tube feed the sickly ones; dealt with every poorly rat we’ve had – you do not want to know what needs to be done to help out little boy rats who can’t clean themselves well), but it was her eyelid. Plus we weren’t entirely sure at first whether it was tick or something else.
On the plus side, she got registered at the vet, got a clean bill of health (the vet was very impressed with her) and we got her microchipped as well. And she was very well behaved.
110 - Rainy Largs
Day 110: Rainy Largs
This is the view from the spot Tara and I walk to on our morning walks, we’ve been doing this route as our evening walk a couple of times this week as well purely because it’s shorter and Tara was getting a lot of exercise during the day. I love looking across to Largs and watching the sun coming up first thing. It’s a lovely start to the day. It looks pretty spectacular when it’s raining over there too.
111 - Old As The Trees
Day 111: Old As The Trees
And to finish up, one from our other walking route. To the log piles at the other end of the estate. There’s a fantastic smell about the place there from the chopped wood and trees. Tara’s not too impressed with them at the moment, probably because I won’t let her go and climb on them, or because when we got there we had to stop and hang around while I tried to get the perfect photo in the dusky light.
So yes, pretty much caught up here now. I shall definitely try to be more organised in future. ;-)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Project 365+1: Day 99 - 103

Having acquired the lovely Tara last week, the time when I would normally blog was taken up with running around the garden and playing with squeaky toys. Of course, earlier in the week I’d managed to catch myself up with my book review posts, but I never actually got around to scheduling them to post and I didn’t get my photos organised either.
So this is me catching up… I’m only about two weeks behind.
099 - Happy Easter
Day 99 - Happy Easter
This year we were rather unromantic in our Easter Egg giving. While we were shopping in Oban we picked out which eggs we wanted and paid for them on the joint account. Tempted as we were by the Rocky Road eggs, in the end we decided to add to our mug collection. Many years ago I had a Smarties mug so when I saw that one I knew it had to be mine. I’m yet to take it out of the box yet actually (though I’ve eaten the Smarties that came with it) because I have this little tradition of not eating my egg until my birthday (or after), unfortunately with Easter being ridiculously early this year, I’ve had rather a long wait!
100 - Growing Tall
Day 100 - Growing Tall
This is the plant that I took a photo of a couple of months back. It’s grown really tall now. We’ve got to keep twisting it round so that it doesn’t lean too far towards the window and topple over. I’m not normally very good with plants (the trees outside are looking a bit brown and I didn’t think you had to actually do anything to keep them going, apparently I can kill plants through sheer proximity) so it’s a small miracle that this one has reached such heady heights!
101 - So My Friend Wrote This Book
Day 101 - So My Friend Wrote This Book...
On the day we went to get Tara I finally managed to finish reading the last of the Inkheart trilogy (review post to follow shortly) and so before we left the house I devoured the above book, written by a very good friend. Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops actually came into my possession a little earlier than that though, but I’m determined to just read one book at a time (course books for my OU excluded of course) so I had to hold fire reading it until I’d made my way to the end of Inkdeath. In order to spur me on, I left Weird Things on the bookshelf, just about at eye level, so it could taunt me until I was ready to start it.
102 - Clouds and Trees
Day 102 - Clouds & Trees
Another pretty sunset. Thanks to doing training at work, I’ve spent the last three weeks on the same shift, which in theory makes taking pictures outdoors in daylight pretty easy. Of course I can be a bit lazy about it, which is probably just as well otherwise I’d end up with hundreds of photos like this one. It always amazes me the different colours we get in the sky here and the week before last was pretty much like summer. This is the view to the side of our house, basically what I see when I get out of the car after work.
103 - The Last Book
Day 103 - The Last Book
And the last book in the Inkheart trilogy. All three were so thick, and were all housed on my Tolkien shelf (which as you can see has been invaded ever-so-slightly). In fact, Inkspell never made it onto the shelf officially. Before I read it, it perched atop the other books and after I read it, it sat on my bedside table because I kept on meaning to copy out the books mentioned in it into my ‘To Remember’ section of my book journal. All three books are such tomes that I knew I had to get through them quickly because I keep on going to charity shops and acquiring new books so I was getting very short on space. They’ve now been rehoused in a box in the spare bedroom waiting for me to get around to reorganising the bookcase with some new reading material.
So that’s where I’ll leave this quick round-up. The next batch of photos are rather Tara-centric, so I think I should post them all together. And I’ll try and be a bit more organised with my scheduling so I don’t end up with such a backlog again.

Easter Weekend Harry Potter Movie Marathon (Part 2)

Well, we did it. After watching the first five films on Friday and Saturday we used the rest of the weekend to watch the remaining three films.

Day 3 (Sunday): Half-Blood Prince
There was some doubt as to whether we’d actually get to watch a film on Sunday as we’d been out of the house all day and didn’t get back until well after 8pm. But because our only plan for Monday was to watch more films, we figured we’d sit up and watch it because it didn’t really matter what time we rolled out of bed the next day.

I’ve seen these last films far fewer times than the earlier ones, this was probably only my third or fourth viewing of Half-Blood Prince. I really like Half-Blood Prince, it makes me feel a little bit sad while I’m watching it because I know that it’s the last time we’re going to get to visit Hogwarts. Throughout the film series, we seem to spend less and less time in the classrooms so it’s good to catch a glimpse of Slughorn’s Potions classes. I would have liked to see Snape’s Defence Against The Dark Arts classes though.

half blood prince

It’s got a good bit of humour in it as well, especially considering how much darker the series has become and the fact that this is basically where the war of the next two films begins. I especially like Ron under the influence of the love potion and Harry once he’s taken the Felix Felicis.

I wish that we’d actually got to learn a bit more about the Half-Blood Prince and Snape’s childhood. Aside from being the name written in Harry’s Potions book, the Half-Blood Prince doesn’t actually seem to lend more than his name to the title of the film. Snape tells Harry that he was the Half-Blood Prince, but anyone who has never read the book won’t know exactly why he adopted this name.

I think it does suffer a little from having been adapted from such a complex series of books; as with the others, I don’t have any problem with following what’s going on but I wonder if perhaps Draco’s task might seem a bit confusing on a first viewing for someone who’s never read the books.

I like seeing young Tom Riddle. It’s very clever the way that we’re shown the picture of the hiding places of one of the horcruxes and the seven stones lined up on the windowsill. They also did a very good job with casting there. It must have been difficult finding someone to play a young character when we’ve already seen him in his late teens, if they’d got the wrong person I think it could have been quite jarring, but even watching the films in such quick succession he fits in perfectly.

And of course there’s the end of the film. Dumbledore’s death. I remember sitting at work reading that scene in the book when it first came out. Quite fittingly, someone was playing the bagpipes outside while I read it. I love that Snape’s curse is so offhand and almost thoughtless; he does what has to be done and he can’t linger or be sentimental about it. Everyone raising their wands at the end as well is lovely.

Day 4 (Monday): Deathly Hallows, Parts 1 & 2
With Part 1 of the Deathly Hallows this was only about my third viewing, I was determined to see it in a ‘proper’ big cinema so I didn’t get to see it until it had already been out for about a month and we ended up seated right at the very front. I always wondered how it would work, splitting the film in half, it never seemed like the most logical choice for two films. As I said before, I always thought the Goblet of Fire would have really benefitted from being split.

In the book, Deathly Hallows seems to largely follow Harry, Hermione and, with the exception of a short period of time, Ron, roaming around the countryside, staying in a tent and trying to work out how to find and destroy the horcruxes. I was honestly a little sceptical at the thought of it being divided in two, wondering if it might have been a bit stretched.

Instead, I kind of wish that every one of the thick books had been divided in two, they would have been able to pack in so much more that way… though I realise that wouldn’t have been practical and it probably would have led to a bit more fudging of details to draw out a story into two stories.

deathly hallows part 1

It probably sounds a bit silly, but one of my favourite things in Deathly Hallows Part 1 is the bit where Hermione is standing at the edge of the protective charms and the Snatchers come by. The camera moves round her and the snatcher, first seeing Hermione’s point of view and then his, unable to see anything. There’s just a slight wobbly as the camera moves through the charms. It’s just really neat and clever.

My other favourite thing is the animation telling the story of the Three Brothers. It reminds me of something from Disney or Tim Burton, just three or four different colours and still 3D-ish. It’s very clever. I wish they could make the rest of The Tales of Beedle The Bard in the same style, just as some sort of bonus feature disc.

Watching them so closely together as we have, I’m reminded of just how much the actors have grown as well. They’ve really mastered their craft during the films; it’s especially noticeable in the scene with the seven Harrys, where Radcliff has to take on the mannerisms of the other characters. It’s brilliantly funny to see him pretending to be Fleur or Hermione disguised as Harry, but at the same time, you can’t help but be impressed with how he’s changed from that cute little eleven-year-old.

And then there’s Deathly Hallows Part 2, which kind of makes me sad. This is only actually my second viewing of it. We saw it in the cinema last year when it came out, never actually made it over to the mainland to see it in a big cinema, but I did get to see it on the first night at our local one… it was a premier of sorts. I’m really glad that The Hobbit will be released this year because it means that even though Harry Potter is finished, I’m still going to have another series to look forward to; but it still makes me sad to think that now I’ve not only not got the book releases to look forward to, but there’ll be no more films now either.

The way it begins, with little snippets of the previous film, makes me think that it should have a voiceover or little bit of text at the bottom of the screen saying “Previously on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”. The second part seems to go really quickly, perhaps because it’s pretty much just one action scene after another. It’s barely started before they’re off to Gringotts and then they’re at Hogwarts and it’s the battle. All the same, I feel like this is more than just my second viewing of it, probably because I’ve seen animated gifs, read quotes and become really familiar with the pictures of my favourite parts so many times since last year when it came out. When you’re watching it, it seems to go quickly but before I watched it, aside from those favourite bits, I couldn’t really pick out the main bits of the action.

There are some brilliant lines in this film, I think many of my favourite Harry Potter film quotes probably come from this film. Several of them from Maggie Smith. It makes me wish that we could have seen more of her in the previous films. I love her little smile when she says that she always wanted to do that when she brings the sculptures to life, and suggests that Neville blow up the bridge.

I wish that more had been done with Remus and Tonks between the two parts of Deathly Hallows. We learn that they’ve been married, but we never actually learn about Teddy and then they’re killed; Teddy just gets a passing mention following Remus’s appearance with the resurrection stone, though we never see Harry learn about him. I always wanted to hear more about them in the books and I kind of hoped that we might get to hear something a bit extra in the films, but instead we got even less. I know there were so many characters needing to have their loose ends wrapped up, it was tough trying to squeeze them all in, but I can’t help but feel a little bit disappointed.

And of course, everybody hooks up in this film. There’s Harry and Ginny but I don’t suppose they really count since they’ve barely been able to keep their hands off one another for the last few films, in the midst of the battle Neville runs off to confess his love to Luna and then there’s that fantastic scene with Ron and Hermione in the Chamber of Secrets. On the one hand you kind of think, guys, there’s a time and place for that sort of behaviour and right there probably isn’t the best place for it; on the other hand you’re quietly celebrating because, for crying out loud, we’ve been waiting almost ten years for that!

deathly hallows part 2

I love that Neville gets to be a hero at the end. The films kind of downplay his role, but reading the books you realise that it could have been him in Harry’s place. It’s good that he gets his moment of glory in the battle as well.

Then there’s the epilogue… 19 years later. It’s weird seeing the Harry Potter kids made up to look almost twenty years older and there are mixed views on how well they managed it. I think some of them look slightly more believable than others. Funnily enough, watching it a second time, at home, I think Harry looks more like a grown up than he did when I saw it in the cinema. Plus, Ginny appears to have turned into her mother, something about the shape of her face looks a lot like Mrs Weasley. I do think Ron and Hermione aged up well, though depressingly, my hair is starting to go a similar shade to mine and I’m about eleven years younger than she’s supposed to be there.

So now we’re going to go back through and watch all of the special features on these discs now. And I’d said that I wasn’t going to read the Harry Potter books this year… I’ve got LOADS of books to read this year and I figured that since I read all the Harry Potter books both last year and the year before I could quite happily not revisit them again this year… but having watched the films I’m reminded of all the things that aren’t in the films and so I’m thinking that I might have to dig them out again.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Introducing the newest member of Click's Clan...

Meet Tara, she's a seven-month-old black lab and she moved in this weekend.

She was a little bit nervous in the car coming home because she's not used to long distance car trips but after a little while she settled down. She's ever so curious about things. On the way back, every time we drove past a field with cows in it, the ears pricked up and she studied them until they were out of sight. The same thing happened when we were overtaken by a couple of motorbikes and she kept on looking at them until they disappeared off in front. It was the same with the people in yellow jackets with bikes on the ferry.

It's good fun keeping an eye out to see what it is that's going to catch her eye next. When we go for walks it's different sounds; a woodpecker, a helicopter, ducks. Of course there are some which she still isn't too sure of, most recently today, the clocks chiming at my in-laws'. They didn't go on for long enough for her to work out where in the room it was coming from and she wasn't sure she wanted to go any closer to find out anyway. She just stood in the doorway looking puzzled.

We've already had several nice long walks. Once we got her home, got her stuff unloaded and had a little rest, we headed off for our first walk. It's one of my favourites but it was so nice to go with Tara. She had to sniff pretty much every bush and tree. She was well tired out by the time we got home but all the same, we took another little walk before bed just to be sure - this time in the opposite direction.

She woke us a couple of times in the night, she just seemed to be checking that we were still there (and whether or not there were any biscuits going). And she started getting really restless at about 5:30am so come 6:30am we were up and heading out. We retraced our steps from the previous day and then turned around and I let Tara decide which way to go next, either towards the front entrance or towards the back entrance.

She chose the front so we headed along quite a way, until I started needing the loo and told her turn back and go the other way. She was starting to flag herself so she was quite pleased to head back.

We have lunch at my Mr. Click's parents' on a Sunday and I'll admit we were both a bit nervous about how they would take to each other (Tara and my in-laws', not my mum- and dad-in-law; they've been happily married for fifty years). We needn't have worried at all.

Mr. Click's mum was smitten pretty much immediately; then Tara demonstrated how to give a paw and she fell head over heels in love. As for Mr. Click's dad, I'm not sure who is soppier of the pair; as soon as he sat in his seat, Tara climbed onto his lap and started giving him kisses.

Bringing her here has been good for giving us all a chance to let her off the lead. She went wild; charging round the garden, digging up the compost, finding shells in flowerpots, investigating new smells and posing for some impromptu photos. It's been fun for us all.

Tara, exploring.
We're planning another walk tonight, close to bedtime so that she can tire herself out again. And so we can tire ourselves out as well - it's funny because I've wanted a dog for so long and I kept on dreaming I'd got one, then waking up and finding it wasn't real; now I've got one, but I kept on waking myself up to check.

It was definitely worth the wait getting her and I'm really looking forward to getting to know more about her. :-)

Friday, 13 April 2012

Project 365+1: March

Just a little post because I forgot to do it earlier.
March 2012
That's all of the photos that I took this month. I love seeing them all laid out like this.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Book 26 of 2012: Inkspell

Considering it took me so long to actually start and finish Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart, I managed to move onto the sequel Inkspell very quickly. That should tell you something about what I thought of her writing. Honestly, there’s something about Funke’s writing style that really makes me think of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I’m thinking I won’t have time to reread the Harry Potter series this year, so the Inkheart Trilogy is going to fill the void for me there.082 - Sequel

I love the original covers of these books. This one is extra special because it came to me all the way from Australia, thanks to Bookmooch (a fantastic site for booklovers which unfortunately I’ve not visited for rather too long). I’ve noticed there’s several different covers showing on Amazon for this series now. The newer one is okay, but I much prefer these ones, it makes the book feel magical which is apt considering the storyline.

This book takes place almost entirely in the Inkworld. Dustfinger succeeds in finding someone to read him back into the book and Farid seeks out Meggie in the hopes that she’ll be able to send him in too. Of course, Meggie manages to read herself in too. Once there they meet up with Fenoglio and all sorts of trouble ensues. Meanwhile, Mo and Resa end up in the book as well and chaos descends for them too.

Unfortunately, despite the book cover being beautiful and magical, this one doesn’t seem to have quite the same element of magic to it as the first book in the series. Considering how thick a tome it is (working out at 682 pages and I don’t know how many actual pounds of page-age) not much really seems to happen. They seem to spend a lot of time going from one place to another and meeting new characters, there’s a big bad guy and a threat closer to home but it felt like an awful lot of build-up to something that ultimately never seemed to happen.

I suspect that it’s kind of suffering a bit from middle-child-syndrome. In the introduction to Inkspell Cornelia Funke explains that she reached the end of Inkheart and knew that it was just the beginning and then apologises because it looks like it’s going to be a trilogy. This book feels like it’s largely setting the scene for book number three, Inkdeath. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book, but it’s left me slightly worried that the next book isn’t going to quite meet all the expectations I now have for it.

Going back to the size of this book; I don’t have an eReader and I doubt whether I’ll be getting one any time soon, but this is just the sort of book I would get an eReader for. Of course, it’s a book about books and reading, so that would of course spoil some of the magic for it. Perhaps just go for the paperback version. This book was too big to fit comfortably in my bag (though, in its defence, I do carry a lot of junk around with me in my bag but this is the first time I’ve had this problem with it). I always take my book with me to work in case I feel like reading in my breaks or whatever, I started reading it midweek and had to leave it behind at first (giving it to Mr. Click to carry in the car in case I wanted to read it after work!) by the Thursday I’d taken to carrying it in a carrier bag and luckily I had a three day weekend which helped with my issues with carrying it.

This reminds me that if I do end up reading the Harry Potter series or a single volume copy of Lord of the Rings I’m going to have a couple of options: plan my reading schedule around holidays and time off, or buy a bigger bag…

Back to the book.

It was really good to meet some of the characters from the Inkworld. I definitely enjoyed learning more about Dustfinger’s family as well as the Strolling Players. Fenoglio was a bit of jerk in our world and he gets even worse once he’s in the world he created, I spent most of the book wanting to give him a good slap. It’s just a little tricky to form a definite opinion of them because I’m waiting to see where the next book takes them. I was absolutely crushed for Farid at the end, and I’m thinking one way or another Meggie, Mo and Farid are going to have to make some big decisions in the next book.

Once again, this book had the lovely little quotes all the way through at the chapter headers. Again, you could use them to get some idea of what was likely to happen in that chapter. I’ve been diligently copying them into my book journal ready to keep my eye out for in charity shops ready to add to our ever-growing book collection. Finding time to read all of these books… well, that’s another matter…

‘Isn’t it odd how much fatter a book gets when you’ve read it several times?’ Mo had said when, on Meggie’s last birthday, they were looking at all her dear old books again. ‘As if something was left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells… and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower… both strange and familiar.’
Page 61

Monday, 9 April 2012

Project 365+1: Days 92 - 98

This week began with a frantic rush to get my latest OU assignment finished. Despite knowing how important it was, I couldn't seem to get the motivation to get it finished. In the end I forced myself to sit down and actually pound it out, by last Sunday I'd managed to get it typed out and printed.
Day 92: Back To The Books
I sent Mr. Click to bed and I happily set to work making a mind-map, then a little plan, then I scribbled all over the print out and divided it into chunks of what was usable and what needed extra work. Then I called it a night, promising myself I'd work on it the following night.

Which I did:
Day 93: Editing
Surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly, it didn't take me that long once I actually sat down to finishing it. I got best part of it sorted out that evening and then polished it off on the Tuesday and submitted about twelve hours early on the Wednesday.

I'm always the same, putting things off as much as possible until I can't any longer and then once I actually get down to it, it's almost never as bad as I think it'll be. Well, that's what I thought, we'll have to see what the tutor actuall thinks once she's read it. At least I've only got one more to do, I'm giving myself the Easter weekend to relax and then I'm going to get back to work and try and finish it all of early so I can start gearing up for my literature course.

Day 94: Welcome
I'd barely got in through the front door on Tuesday before Mr. Click had gotten a hammer out and decided to hang this picture. It was given to us as a house-warming gift by a friend, a lovely picture that she'd taken by herself. We've already got three pictures hanging up in the living room and I wanted to find a good spot for it.

In the end we settled for the front lobby so that it's the first thing you see when you come in through the front door, and the last thing you see on the way out the door. Plus the hallway is much lighter in colour, so it fits well in there. As we can't really see the sea very well from our place, it's nice to have a couple of seaviews around the inside of the house.

Day 95: Silent Witness
And here's a quick oh-shoot-I'd-better-take-a-photo-before-bed shot. We've taken to watching stuff on the laptop in bed at night if it's a bit early to go to sleep. This week it was the two episodes of Silent Witness we had recorded. I dug out my knitting, still working on the same scarf I've been trying to finish since the beginning of the year. Of course, Silent Witness is one of those programmes you really need to focus on (otherwise you might miss some significant look between Nikki and Harry ;-D) so I didn't touch my knitting, and by the second half I'd dumped it on the floor!

Day 96: Permission Will Be Granted
We've been hoping to get a dog for several months now but we've wanted to do things the right way, making sure it was something we could afford. Then of course we checked with our landlords to make sure that it was okay. They said yes, but we had to pay a deposit in case the dog decided to dig up the carpet or eat a door or something. But the letter seemed to take a while to get to us, so Mr. Click stopped by the office to ask if we could go ahead and pay. Ironically, then the letter showed up telling us that it was fine to get a dog once they'd received the deposit.

So now we're officially ready to get a dog. We just have to find one! We've been looking at a couple of shelters, but as I'm only online every few days it feels like slow going. I know that we need to get the right dog for us, but it seems like it's taken months to get to this point and I just want to have someone to lavish attention on and take for walkies right NOW!

I'm being patient, really. ;-)
Day 97: Poddington Pea
And speaking of dogs. That's my old dog's toy. Well, technically not. Technically it's a toy that was at my in-laws' house which my pooch loved to sneak off with when he came round to visit. I was always worried that he was going to choke on the nose or something, but he just used to like carrying it around with him.

Now this Poddington Pea lives down my side of the bed, where my dog used to sleep, so I can reach out and feel it there, just like when I used to read out and stroke my pooch. Obviously I'll have to find a new place for it when we've got a new dog, I'm thinking up on top of my wardrobe (Poddington Pea used to live on top of a wardrobe before, but our pooch used to sit staring up at it until you felt guilty enough to lift it down - yup, I'm a pushover).
Day 98: Whomping Willow
I've been wanting to use a picture of this tree for ages, but I've never really been sure that a photo would come out very well, but having been having a Harry Potter marathon weekend (especially after watching Prisoner of Azkaban) I decided that now would be a good time to try getting a picture of it.

This is part of the view out of our bathroom window. Whenever I catch sight of this tree I'm always reminded of the Whomping Willow in Harry Potter.

Okay... maybe just a bit...

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter Weekend Harry Potter Movie Marathon (Part 1)

When the final Harry Potter film was released last year, we took advantage of the chance to get all of the Harry Potter films on blu-ray. We’d only got one on DVD (funnily enough, Chamber of Secrets which is probably my least favourite of both the books and the films) so for the sake of £60-something it made sense to get them all as a boxset. And if you’re going to get a boxset you might as well go for the super duper special edition one.

It looks very pretty. With both the blu-ray and DVD versions of the films and it also comes with Harry Potter’s photo album (unfortunately the pictures don’t actually move) and each one is numbered (ours is 13,486 of 25,000). We got it last December as a sort of Christmas present to ourselves but haven’t really had a chance to watch it until now. That’s the problem with these series of films, if you’re going to watch one, you kind of need to watch them all.

I’d decided a long time ago that we were going to watch them all in one weekend, but the problem there is finding one weekend where you can actually sit down and watch them without too much disruption (or putting off of important things that actually need to be done). So when a four-day weekend came up, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Technically we’re still watching them all on a weekend… it just happens to be slightly longer than average. And it also meant we only really had to watch two films a day so we wouldn’t have to worry about neglecting everything else that needed doing.

Day 1 (Friday): Philosopher’s Stone & Chamber of Secrets
I have very fond memories of seeing Philosopher’s Stone at the cinema. I can remember the exact spot I was sitting and that bubbly, excited feeling in my stomach as it started. I’d only discovered the books themselves that year so it felt kind of magical that the film was coming out so soon afterwards.

Looking back now I feel really old, I can’t believe how young those kids were. They’re just babies. Though you do kind of get a sense of how new to them this all is. It’s a bit unfair, but there are a few moments where they seem a little bit wooden. It is wonderful how they brought the book to life though and I’m so glad it was such a success, otherwise maybe we would never have gotten to see the other seven films.

The thing that always stands out to me in both Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets is how close they stick to the books, sometimes it kind of holds them back a little. With the later films they tend to divert slightly in little ways which makes it easier to separate the two; you’ve got the Harry Potter books and the Harry Potter films. The first two are much, much closer.

By Chamber of Secrets the kids kind of hit their stride. I was slightly surprised to find that I enjoyed it so much more this time around than I have on previous viewings. It was good to watch the one straight after the other like that.

Day 2 (Saturday): Prisoner of Azkaban & Goblet of Fire & Order of the Phoenix
I know there’s a lot of people who hate Prisoner of Azkaban because it diverts from the book quite heavily, but honestly it’s got to be one of my very favourites. I love the way it is filmed with the shots of Hogwarts and the Whomping Willow to cut between the action. I wish I could just frame some of the images.

With Prisoner of Azkaban I find myself watching the background as much as I’m watching the foreground. The first two films are populated with extras who do a good job of filling up the background, but in the third film there’s so much action happening in the background as well. Each time I watch it, I notice something new. Plus it easily has one of the best end credit sequences in any film ever, I quite happily sit and watch them all the way through each time I watch it.

The problem with films based on books, the main thing that makes me feel wary whenever I see those little words ‘based on a book by…’ is that I’m going to be missing out on vast chunks of the story if I’ve not read the book already. Obviously, with the Harry Potter books, this is never going to be an issue for me, and I always feel like the first three films work well enough on their own that if someone’s watching them without being familiar with the books, they’ll be able to follow the story just fine. Of course, if you’ve not read the books you really should! otherwise you’re missing out on all sorts of important bits of backstory (and side-story) as well as little amusing jokes and things.

With Goblet of Fire I always feel that for someone seeing it without having read the book, bits are going to be confused. Of all the books needing to be split this one definitely would have been top of my list. They made changes and then made leaps through the story in a totally different way to Prisoner of Azkaban; take the Quidditch World cup, before the action can start properly it cuts to the end, there’s a bit more action and then they’re on the way to Hogwarts. As much as I enjoy it, I find myself thinking about all the action happening between the cuts, it feels like a flipbook of all the best bits of the book.

Compared to Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix feels like a far more complete film. Again, there are some little changes which I’m always a little disappointed by. The biggest change is that you don’t get to see inside St. Mungo’s. It’s always been my favourite bit of the book. I love the idea of a wizarding hospital, in fact, I always kind of picture it the way I the dental hospital on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow looks. When this film came out I was really looking forward to that bit so it not being there is always a bit of a shame.

Other than that though, I like this one. I always kind of overlook this one when I’m running through the films in my mind, or rather, I remember the events at the end, but kind of forget the rest of the film. It’s good to see a bit more of Snape, during the Legilimency lessons and the little flashbacks. I do think James Potter needed a good slap as a teenager.

This film is also where things start getting much darker, as well as the kids getting older. For that reason it feels a bit more like a grown up film. There’s a little bit less humour than in the previous films. This one feels like a bridge between the Goblet of Fire and what’s to come in the next three films. I don’t think I’d seen it as many times as the earlier ones either, while we were watching it, I kept on realising that there were bits that I’d kind of forgotten.

Tonight we’re just planning on the one film, Half-Blood Prince so that we can then go on and watch both parts of Deathly Hallows on Monday. To be honest, I didn’t really think we’d manage to watch them all, but so far, so good!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Book 25 of 2012: Bare Bones

Book 25 is another in the Kathy Reichs series of Temperance Brennan books, Bare Bones, number six to be exact. This one begins with the bones of a baby being discovered in a stove and then progesses through plane crash and unearthed poached animal remains to the usual climatic conclusion. One problem I do have with these books is, while they're good gripping reading at the time, once I've put them down for too long they all kind of blur into one another. In typing this (and I only read it about two weeks ago) I'm struggling to remember exactly what the plot of the novel was.
I think I've only read this one once (perhaps twice) before, which was really a good thing. I just could not remember the outcome of the book. It had the bonus of making me read it much quicker (finishing it in just three days) because I was totally hooked. All the cliffhangers worked for me, rather than just acting to remind me of what was going to come next.

There's a moment towards the end of the book (the traditional Chapter 30 moment which you get in pretty much every Temperance Brennan book) which involves snakes. I've been expecting it for the last three books but it finally caught me off-guard at the end of this one.

Another good thing about this book is that it doesn't end with the start of the next book. I mentioned this earlier with my Inkheart review; it's all very well if you're going on to the next book straight away and so you can just skip them (either at the end of one or the beginning of the next). But I like to read the whole book which means I end up reading the same chapter twice. I realise that I could just skip the last bit of the book with the bonus chapter, but I don't like doing that. I'm stubborn.

What it did have in its place was far more interesting to me. A little note about the real-life case which inspired this book. I'd much rather read about that than the first chapter of the next book. It was light-hearted and interesting. I don't remember how the next books end (in fact, I don't think I've read many more of this series) so I'm curious to see how those ones end.

All the various murders/deaths/dead animals are all linked in this one. A little bit unrealistic perhaps, but it worked well. Plus, Tempe's suspicions were unfounded at one point, which is nice. She's a better character for not being right all the time.

Project 365+1: Days 85 - 91

This'll be a quick one this week because although I managed to take a photo every day, there isn't a huge amount of variation between them all.

With the change in the clocks (and the shift I've been on) it's been prime time for taking photos during actual daylight hours, so I set myself a challenge to take all of my pictures outside this week. Unfortunately some days I almost forgot or didn't take my camera out, so only took the pictures a few steps outside the front or back door. There was also one day where I did take some photos outside, but ultimately preferred one that I took indoors.

I also tried to take all of my pictures with a lense that I've not used so far this year, at least, I don't think I have. I managed that too, until the last day when I tried to take my camera out for a walk and the battery died so I was forced to use my little compact instead.

I think it's been a good challenge for myself though and I'm thinking I'll try to do more in the way of outdoors photography while the weather is nice. It's also been good to remind myself that my little compact is perfectly adequate for taking nice pictures and that as nice as it is to use my big fancy camera, the compact can be easier to carry around (even if the viewfinder isn't really practical).

So here's a quick run down of the photos:
Day 85: Bumbly-bee
My husband had been planting a tree in his parents' garden earlier in day when I took this. I went out to admire their handiwork and spotted some of these busy guys hanging around the flowers. It took me several attempts to get a decent photo because they kept flying off, clearly they were a bit shy. I took a chance to get this one of a bumble on a slightly less impressive flower and it flew away moments later.

Day 86: Beyond The Gate
We went for a little walk after work on Monday. I should have been working on my OU assignment, something I've been struggling to motivate myself to do most of the week. I've now hit a point where I've got a vast chunk of it done but really need to finish it off. Thankfully I managed to get a good bit done when we got back from the walk and had time for a relaxing bath as well. It's just this afternoon that I've realised I've made a slight cock-up somewhere with it and will need to rewrite a significant part of it as well.

Anyway, the walk was lovely, we were gone about an hour and covered what I estimated to be about three miles. We've been given permission to get a dog now, so we're hoping that this is going to be a regular walk for us with the dog in tow. Actually, considering that the last fifteen minutes of this walk involve going uphill, hopefully we'll be the ones being towed...
Day 87: Sunrise
This is the one photo of the week that wasn't taken outdoors. It's looking out the front window (which is slightly steamed up - I'd actually drawn a cat face on one of the windows later in the week because I thought the shape looked vaguely cattish). I was just struck by the way the light was. I used my long lense and stood in the bedroom to take this and although I did try taking some pictures outside that evening, this was the one I liked the most.
Day 88: Sunset
And this one is a companion to the previous photo, taken from the garden. It's also the start of a set of photos featuring the sky and treetops which are all round our house. Umm... there's not really much else I can say about them... This one was taken out the back. I did try taking one from the living room looking out the bedroom window at the back while the sun was going down but I couldn't get a very good angle so I went outside instead.
Day 89: Treetops
What's a little bit sad is that I can immediately identify which side of the house each of these pictures was taken from. This one is outside the front door, towards the left of the house. The light wasn't brilliant and most of the pictures didn't come out very well. The photo I would have liked to have use was a close-up of our gate into the parking area outside our house but they were a bit blurry and not as sharp as I would have liked, so Treetops it is.
Day 90: Spring Sky
And this is the last of the sky/tree pictures, I promise. I will seriously try to take some more interesting photos in the coming weeks. I think I've exhausted the prospects of the trees around the house (this one is also outside the front door, this time to the right). It was a bit cooler on Friday but it was still wonderfully sunny, hardly any clouds and a brilliantly blue sky. Unfortunately it's been getting a bit greyer this weekend and apparently we're set for snow this week! So much for an early summer.
Day 91: Former Trees
On Saturday we repeated our Monday walk. Mr. Click was all for taking a different route, but I was hoping to get a couple of pictures which could go along with ones I'd taken earlier in the week (as it happened, I didn't use any of the ones I thought I would). Unfortunately this was when my camera battery died and I ended up using my little compact (which was set to the wrong white balance for half the walk and also hadn't had the time changed yet which makes it look like it took us an hour to get from one place to another when in reality it was only about twenty minutes).

There have been a lot of trees down after the storm earlier in the year and there's been a big clear up going on around the estate. This is a pile of trunks from one of the patches where they are bringing down trees. I'm not sure if the land is being cleared in preparation for new buildings. It makes it feel like a totally different route to previously.

On the way back we got to meet a couple of lovely dogs. It makes me so excited to think that in a few months we might be making this walk with a dog all of our very own.