Friday, May 15, 2009

My New Little Blue One

I have found it increasingly difficult to focus on my "writing project", "literary ambitions", you know, the book that I am trying to write.

When I am at my PC with its wonderful big screen and many temptations, like blogging, online papers and much more, my self-discipline often lets me down. I feel I am getting nowhere with my writing, so I came up with a "cunning plan", just like Baldrick in Blackadder, but hopefully somewhat cleverer.

Sometimes when I have been away from my study and used good old pen and paper, or even better, my wife's work laptop when we've been on holiday, I have produced many more pages than I normally do at home. So here comes my cunning plan.

I have bought myself a netbook, a mini laptop, to use mainly for writing but also for storing photos that I can show to people when travelling to Sweden for instance.

My new little blue one is a Samsung NC10, a beautiful little thing. After some internet research I decided that the NC10 was the best option for me. It has a near-full-size keyboard with nice, big keys and a crispy clear screen. One negative aspect is that there is no CD/DVD drive, but I intend to use my external hard drive from the PC to copy and then transfer data to the netbook. For smaller amounts of data I will use my USB stick. The best feature of this wonderful little machine, which definitely clinched it, is the battery, which gives you up to 5-6 hours. That beats all competition easily; some other popular netbooks only give you 2-3 hours before the battery is flat and needs recharging.

As the icing on the cake, I also bought a blue-tooth mouse, which of course also is blue, my favourite colour.

Now it only remains to see if my cunning plan will bear fruit, as in Fruits of My Mind (!), or not. Time will tell. (And I apologise to my bloglings (blogger friends), whose blogs I have not visited often enough of late. I have been preoccupied with other stuff and feel very guilty, sorry!)

Blue Samsung NC10

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blackbirds - The Next Generation

As I wrote in a previous post, I was worried that I had scared away the blackbird couple from their nest for too long when I trimmed the hedge. The single, beautifully blue egg might not make it without the parental body heat for a longer period, I thought.

Yesterday when I had returned from a run and was warming down and stretching in the garden, I decided to take another look. There was little light due to drizzly, dull weather, but I could just about make out a tiny silhouette next to, or partly under, the bigger parent.

So I rushed inside, still in my sweaty outfit, got the camera, put the long lens on and took a series of photos just to document it. My hands were not as steady as I had wished, but it is possible to see the young one just above the edge of the nest; even an eye is visible.

I felt much better now that I knew I had not committed a terrible, environmental crime. I am looking forward to seeing the fledgling trying its wings later. Better keep my camera ready!

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Getting Back Home from the Garage

When we lived in west London my Vauxhall garage was quite a long way away. Getting there to hand in the car for service or repairs took about fifteen minutes, but getting back home by bus was a totally different kettle of fish!

First I had to walk to Richmond station (10-15 min), then wait for the bus. Well, you know about buses, how they seem to hunt in packs like wolves. It could take anything between a few minutes and, let's say, twenty minutes. If traffic was not too bad, what with negotiating through the very crowded centre of Richmond, the bus ride took roughly another twenty minutes. Add to that nearly ten minutes to walk to our flat. I make that approximately an hour.

Now take a look at these pictures to see what the corresponding walk back (35 min) from the garage through the German countryside offers. Which would you prefer?

DSC_0747_20090507_1264   DSC_0750_20090507_1267 fxd

DSC_0755_20090507_1272 fxd   DSC_0759_20090507_1276

DSC_0765_20090507_1282    Not the most difficult decision to make, was it?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Where Have All the Birdies Gone? .......

... Gone to hatch and lie upon...

... a new generation!

I wondered why there were so many fewer birds round the feeders. How could I forget? I found the answer when I was doing garden work and spotted this blackbird in the hedge at the bottom of our garden. I had scared them off unintentionally when I trimmed the hedge a couple of weeks ago, but they have obviously returned. In a few weeks time the garden will be hosting the great spectacle of parents trying to feed their young ones. Last year we had at least four big families of various birds flocking around the feeders. Sometimes there were about thirty birds. Big, big show.


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Saturday, May 02, 2009

1st of May Walk



On Our Doorstep

Mandatory Sky Picture

1st of May Fun

Cyclists Approaching


Any Luck?


One of the Residents 

Coming in for Landing

Taking Off


Click on them for a better view!


I did not include a picture of my beer, because you might get the wrong idea! But it was rather convenient that they were open for another ten minutes when we arrived at the lake. As we were sitting there some geese came in for landing in two groups. I just about managed to get some shots of the second group, and they look wonderfully clumsy when they prepare to hit the water. If you click on that one in particular, you will see what I mean.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Sweet Squirrel Show

This morning I was cheered up by some furry fellas. The greasy ball with seeds is meant for little birds like the Blue Tit, but sometimes an adventurous squirrel makes it down the long string to the ball. He is awkwardly big though, however agile he might be, and cannot sit there for very long before it gets too difficult. Look how he bends his tail round the ball to keep his balance. He soon jumped off to go for a safer option.

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The easiest option is to have some left-overs, seeds discarded by birds on the feeders. Visiting squirrels help keeping the ground tidy under the feeders and the ball, and they normally come alone or in twos, but this morning I had a real treat. Three of them turned up and put on a wonderful show. They ran around, jumped around, sat quietly and nibbled, ran off and hid, came back again, and I just kept snapping. Squirrel show in the morning sunshine made for a good start to the month of May.

DSC_0583_20090501_1100  DSC_0586_20090501_1103

DSC_0587_20090501_1104  DSC_0590_20090501_1107 cropped

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(Photos taken through glass patio door. Click on them to enlarge.)