Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fungus on Bisley Green

For those who want to read about my ppl flight training in Naples Florida, see the February archives.

It is a typical dull and damp autumn Sunday afternoon so I thought I would update my blog. I took some pictures of fungus this afternoon when walking the dog. The route takes us across Bisley Green. At this time of year there is always plenty of fungus sprouting and often I see eastern Europeans picking it early in the morning so that they can sell it to local restaurants. I’m not sure whether this regular picking is doing permanent harm. Time will tell.

These are ones they would not pick because they are poisonous.

A family of toadstools

A baby one

This variety like the rain

Plenty of them around

This is not Fungus, its Angus under an oak tree on Bisley Green. We have had a massive crop of acorns this year.

A year ago I went to the Spa GP in Belgium. The point of me telling you this will become clear in a moment. By the way there was no Spa GP this year, but it is back on the calendar for 2007.

Anyway I stayed in Brussels for a few days during the GP and had some very nice Belgium beer called Leffe Blonde. It has a strong malted barley taste. I took this picture whilst enjoying a glass.

The point is that it is now available in my local supermarket and so I bought half a dozen bottles. Here is one I enjoyed recently.

Here are a few shots from the Spa circuit.

Almost at the circuit

My view for qualifying

Alonso during the race

The podium celebrations at a wet and misty Spa.

The results were, a well deserved win for Kimi Raikkonen, Alonso was second and Button was an impressive third. In fact Button could have made this his first GP win but for a poor tyre choice at a pit stop during the fast changing conditions.

I will be watching the last GP of the 2006 season shortly. It will also be Michael Schumacher’s last race and I for one will be glad that he has gone for next season. It has been rather boring for the last ten years.

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Friday, October 20, 2006


For those who want to read about my ppl flight training in Naples Florida, see the February archives.

Today my wife and I have been celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary. Doesn’t time fly, and it certainly beats my first attempt that lasted 13 years. Hopefully we will keep up the good work.
On a different subject, I was thinking about signing up for “second life” (google for it if you have not heard of it) but decided to play Munchman instead. Here is a picture of the kit you need for Munchman.

I have also started trying to deal in shares on-line with a view to making loads of money. You’ll know if it works out when I buy my own aircraft.

One of my daughters sent me some pictures of why dogs hate Halloween. Here is a picture I particularly like, although I have not shown it to Mrs Peewit.

At my art class this week we were given the task of painting a still life using just marks and not the usual watercolour techniques of washes, etc. I have never tried this before and we were supposed to use a square cut brush, but I did not have one and used an ordinary round brush instead. I always start with a sense of fear when looking from the subject matter and down onto a blank piece of paper. Here is my effort as at the end of the two hour session.

Earlier in the week I attended an absolute beginners guitar class and here is a picture of the five students. I am standing up on the right of the picture.

I am sure that learning to play guitar (for me) is harder than it was to learn to fly. I have not being flying for a few weeks as I have been trying to be a bit more careful about expenditure, but today I have the urge to get back in the air, so as soon as there is a spell of settled weather, I will take a C152 up for an hour of solo circuits. Typically the forecast for the foreseeable future is wet and windy.

All the best

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Newlands Corner

Hi everyone

For those who want to read about my ppl flight training in Naples Florida, see the February archives.

I thought I would show you another picture that I painted at my art class. Surprisingly the lecturer does not teach us anything and gives no homework. At the start of each lesson he asks us what we want to do. Some ladies that have been attending his class for a number of years, bring in photos of landscapes and paint them whilst discussing the things that senior
ladies discuss. I am treating this just as an incentive to spend two hours painting where without the formal classroom I would probably not get around to it. This does contrast extremely with the beginners lessons that I attended a couple of years ago. The tutor then was Maggie Hambledon and she taught us technique, checked our work, set projects, gave constructive criticism, provided homework, had a specific agenda and in retrospect did an excellent job.

Anyway here is my latest effort. The blues are a bit too bright.

To see larger images just click on the image and later when you want to return to the text use the "Back" button.

Mrs Peewit and myself were planning a day out at the seaside on Tuesday but when the day arrived it was raining hard. We altered our plans and decided to go for a walk locally if the weather cleared up. Luckily it did so early in the afternoon we drove for half an hour to Newlands Corner. This is on the A25 and is near Guildford. We got parked and into our walking boots. The weather was improving all the time.
Here is Mrs Peewit and our scottie who is called Angus.

It was amazingly warm for the time of year and although we are into autumn, most of the trees still had green leaves. Here are a couple of the autumn scenes.

After our very pleasant walk across the hilltop and then back through the woods we arrived back at the start point. Here is a map showing our route.

We decided to have an ice cream cornet with a flake each. Whilst enjoying these, I took a picture of some bikers who had come out for an afternoon ride.

The nearest bike is an old Triumph that had the usual pool of leaking oil underneath it.

There are many other walks that start from this spot and we resolved to come back and do some of them. Lets hope that we have a good Autumn.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Weymouth Weekend

Hi all

Last weekend was a special annual event for me.

It was the yearly reunion of a number of ex EMI apprentices.
Yes, each year we meet up at Lawrences’ house in Weymouth and go for energetic walks in the Dorset countryside, talk a lot about what has happened over the last twelve months and go out for a special meal in a Weymouth restaurant.
A lot of years (40+) have passed since we were all apprentices at EMI when we also used to attend Southall Technical College on our sandwich break courses. In those days EMI was a world leading electronics company as well as being the company that managed a lot of pop groups such as the Beatles. I remember well the factory in Blyth Road in Hayes where they pressed out the vinyl 45’s and LP’s. We got staff discounts on these and many other HMV or Morphy Richard items. Myself and others eventually left EMI for new pastures, and those that remained subsequently suffered at the hands of poor company management. The end result is that all the electronic aspects of EMI were sold off and the staff that went into the new companies were eventually given early retirement.
Despite this, five of us have kept in touch and we meet up each year for a pleasant weekend of exercise, fresh air, good food and drink in excellent company.
This year one of our number could not make it. We all send our regards to Tom who is recovering in hospital from a debilitating illness.

Lawrence is the only one who is still working full time, but changes at his company mean that in a year or two he will also have more free time.

Having assembled at Lawrence’s house (minus Brian who had been mysteriously delayed), we tucked into tea and toasted teacakes in preparation for our walk. This was to take place around Portland Bill and as such we were all prepared for wet and windy weather. The Bill is a very exposed part of England’s south coast and the weather forecast was for strong winds and thunder showers.
Lawrence drove us to the start point near the east coast of the Bill. We changed into our walking boots and after I set up my PDA and bluetooth linked GPS unit we set off. In fact the weather was dry and although it was breezy, the wind was quite mild. We were soon approaching the coastline and we passed through a long ago abandoned cemetery.

Here is Lawrence on the left and Chris on the right. We were already removing outer layers in the mild weather.

As we walked along the cliff path we could see teenagers in the bay below. Some of them had decided to walk fully clothed into the sea. It’s amazing what the presence of girls does to teenagers. We were like that once.

As we walked further south the wind got stronger but as it was warm it did not matter. Looking out to sea there was no shipping or boats of any kind. Maybe they were all taking shelter from the rough weather.

At the southern tip of the Bill and near the lighthouse (I did not take a photo as the area is covered in small wooden huts that are part of the Portland heritage but spoil a good scenic view) we arrived at the Lobster Pot café. Here we had a light lunch whilst looking out across the sea. We did see a large vessel on the horizon. It looked like a cruise liner on it’s way up the channel.
After our lunch, we met up with the missing Brian. Lawrences’ wife, Liz had kindly waited for him to arrive and had driven him over to meet us. There had been no mobile phone reception in the café, so that fact that we met up was partially down to good fortune. Brian had a rather lame excuse for his late arrival, but at least he had made it eventually.

This time the four of us set off on our route up the west coast of the Bill. Amazingly we had avoided all the bad weather and rain. It was still breezy but now the wind was behind us. We passed the Portland Bill coastguard station.

Our pleasant walk continued and eventually we headed away from the coast and were back at the car park. I looked at my PDA and it showed the route we had taken and our altitude and speed profiles. I should have saved the track at this point but instead decided to just switch off the PDA. Annoyingly when I subsequently switched it back on at a later stage it crashed (good old Windows) and I lost the track altogether. Here is a map with the route that I think we took. I hand drew it onto the map. We covered a total of 5 miles on the walk.

I marked the start and finish in green and the track that we took is in red.

We drove back to Lawrences’ house and on the way we passed the place where the dinghy sailing events will take place during the 2012 Olympics.
Liz had organised more tea and cakes (we were being spoilt) and so we enjoyed these and were able to catch up on each others recent activities.

Some time later we needed to prepare for our walk into Weymouth town centre for our evening meal. Suitably changed we set off down the hill into the town. We were dining at Vaughan’s in Custom House Quay. One of Weymouths’ claims to fame is that the Black Death was introduced into England here in 1348. Apparently on the wall of the restaurant there is a plaque commemorating the arrival of the plague in the port. I did not notice this plaque. It is not often that you get plaque and plague in the same sentence.
We had excellent meals and some Australian shiraz to help it down. Somehow the climb back up the hill at the end of the evening never seems too bad.
Back at Lawrences’ we had more tea and chat before retiring for the night.

On Sunday morning we did not rise too early. The weather was somewhat worse and we were not going to do a long walk as a result. A cooked breakfast soon cheered us all up and the plan was to drive to Poundbury and spend some time there. Poundbury is an unusual place, and here is a description from a website.

“Poundbury is a mixed urban development of Town Houses, Cottages, Shops & Light Industry, designed for the Prince of Wales by Architect Leon Krier on the outskirts of the Dorset County Town of Dorchester. Prince Charles, The Duke of Cornwall, decided it was time to show how Traditional Architecture and Modern Town Planning could be used in making a thriving new community that people could live & work in close proximity. Poundbury has now become World Famous as a model of urban planning, with regular visits from Councillors and MPs.”

As it was very windy and likely to rain this seemed like an interesting place to visit. We parked in the town square and here is a picture I took of my colleagues.

We walked around the town and it did seem well designed and a good place to live, but at the same time it was very quiet and sterile. The town is only about ten years old and is still being built so it will improve with age. Here is another photo of one of the streets.

After our tour around we headed off to the local garden centre that was housed in an old building. The plants were all getting rather blown about by the gusting wind. We decided to have coffee in the Engine Room café. Even though it was approaching 1pm, none of us were hungry after our delicious cooked breakfast.

Later we returned to Weymouth and indulged in more tea, sandwiches and cake. We all had a lot to talk about but by late afternoon it was time to depart for our homes. It had been a really good weekend but my journey home was spoilt by yet more holdups on the M3. The standard of driving seems to have reached an all-time low, and you can see how most drivers aggression and selfishness leads them into trouble.

I have not forgotten those with an interest in General Aviation. On the Friday before my visit to Weymouth I was in Reading and took this photo of a wind turbine that is near to the Madejski Stadium.

If you now look at this zoomed in picture you can see a small aircraft heading straight for the centre of the sails. I reckon there must be strong magnets in the turbine and the aircraft was in a kind of tractor beam. I never did see it fly away so it must be stuck to the centre of the turbine.

Be in touch again soon.

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