Monday, 29 June 2009

In these shoes?

On Saturday I went to The Metro Centre to buy a new pair of trainers. Being a bit of a creature of habit I got another pair of Nike Air runners, which are lovely and comfy, give good grip and are good for my daily 'power walk' (don't do too much running these days!) As I was dispatching my lovely old trainers to the bin, a thought occurred to me.... how LONG had I had these old friends? After a bit of a check through my old diaries I discovered that I bought them in 1990, for doing the Great North Run that year! So I solemnly took this touching photo of 'left and 'right', as I've come to affectionately call them, before sending them to their maker (well, not actually their real maker, but you get my drift). Here they are...

But I couldn't stop there. I wanted to check out where I had been in these lovely shoes, what adventures they had been on and to which exotic spots they had conveyed me. So here is a rough break down of their... and obviously my, journeys:
1990 - Great North Run, Newcastle / Dublin, Ireland
1991 - Great North Run, Newcastle / Norway
1992 - Greece
1993 - Norway
1994 - Norway / Sweden / Finland / Russia / Canada
1996 - Norway / C2C Bike Ride (UK!)
1997 - Norway / C2C Bike Ride (UK!)
1998 - Sri Lanka / Norway
1999 - Sweden / Norway
2000 - Norway
2001 - Sweden / Norway
2002 - Norway
2003 - USA / Sweden / Norway
2004 - Norway
2005 - Norway / France
2006 - Norway

As you can see.... lots of trips to Norway in these shoes, but not much travelling for the last few years. Note to self.... must rectify that!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

WWJS - What Would Jesus Shoot?

This from the BBC web site. A snapshot (pun intended) confirming most of what we already know about the extremes on offer in the church in America.

"A pastor in the US state of Kentucky told his flock to bring handguns to church in what he said was an effort to promote safe gun ownership.

Pastor Ken Pagano told parishioners to bring their unloaded guns to New Bethel Church in Louisville for a service celebrating the right to bear arms.

He said he acted after church members voiced fears the Obama administration could tighten gun control laws."

Notice 'unloaded' guns. So that's OK then... we have no intention of actually SHOOTIN' anybody Godammit! We just want to have the RIGHT to do so if we wish.

This took me back to Charlton Heston's famous chilling statement some years ago ...'from my cold dead hands'. Of course the right to bear arms is written into the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, but you really do think they would have made the connection by now between that right and the number of very dead people there have been as a result of it.

Friday, 26 June 2009

She plays, and we dance to her tune...

Our granddaughter, Angel, recently came for another visit. You'll remember that she was here for a few days earlier in the year, and enjoyed it so much that she told her mum that she wanted to come back again "for TEN days this time"! This duly happened, not without a little trepidation I may add, but our fears were unfounded as she behaved impeccably throughout. Sure, she missed her mum, dad and sisters a couple of times, but overall she just had a ball. Grandma was pretty much on duty most of the time, filling the days with trips to the Ice Rink, Sea Life Centre, Swimming etc etc; and Gracie was very happy to see her little friend again.

When she was once again reunited with the other members of her family on their arrival, we were treated to a recital on her new-found passion... namely, the violin. Vanessa-Mae need not be unduly worried JUST yet, but the latent talent is obvious for all to see. Well, at least WE can see it, and that's the main thing!

Friday, 19 June 2009


Say what you like about the institute of marriage, but any couple who can get along for fifty years have my deep respect. Our friends Gavin and Rosemary are just such a couple, and the other morning I went along to their church to join in the celebrations for this milestone. G & R have been a big influence on me and the Lady Brenda for many years. They are people who 'walk the talk' in terms of their faith, and their love for God and his world is utterly infectious to pretty much anyone who comes across their path.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

The Isle of Tiree

This time last week I was on the Isle of Tiree. I went with my buddy Jason who was engaged to shoot some 360 degree panorama photography for the island web site. We had a brilliant time. I fell in love with the place and can't wait to return. We were hosted by our friends Colin and Susan Woodcock, of Blue Beyond, who moved to the island seven years ago and are now pretty much part of the scenery. They are both artists and run a studio and gallery at Balemartine, in the south west of the island.

Colin set up the 'Shoreline' fundraising art project which I mentioned a couple of posts ago, and to which I submitted a painting. There are still a few paintings left to purchase at £150 each, so why not get over to the site now and snap one up!

Our days on Tiree consisted of wandering around the many and various beautiful beaches, looking for suitable spots from which to take the panoramas. Colin was our expert guide and art director, and Jason was Camera Operator numero uno. I pretty much just had to stand around looking windswept and creative, and from time to time carry the tripod.

Monday, 15 June 2009

The result of the Desk Top Publishing 'revolution'...

You remember the Desk Top Publishing 'revolution'... "We're ALL designers now."
What I love about this even more than the spelling errors is the slightly apologetic use of the word 'than'. Apparently it was important to get the word IMPORTANT right too!

Monday, 8 June 2009


I submitted a painting (not this one!) to an art sale fundraiser. Hope you can support this worthy cause. Sixty artists were asked to submit a painting 6"x6" on the theme 'Shoreline'. The paintings are all for sale at £150 each and the proceeds will go towards renovations to a community building on the Isle of Tiree. Some of the paintings are by well known professional artists, and some are by novices such as myself. We won't find out exactly which artists did which of the paintings until they have all been sold. Tomorrow morning me and my buddy Jason will drive to Tiree to visit and work for the organiser of this project, Mr Colin Woodcock. Jason will be taking photographs around the island and also doing some web training. It promises to be a lot of fun... I am mildly excited!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Monday, 1 June 2009

Holy Island & Bamburgh

Amazing weekend weather, so it was off up the coast for me on Saturday (Bren had to work!) with some good friends. Holy Island first, picnic and meet up with other 'day trippers' before a pleasant stroll up to the castle and back.Then a drive down to the pristine white beaches of Bamburgh to meet up with more DT's. Nathan got to fly his kite in the slightly chilly breeze! Damn good he was at it too.

Alissa enjoyed all the attention, while sister Keona slept, ate and pooped her way through the day. A fantastic day in my most favourite part of our coastline.

Wedding bells...

Tim, the son of our good friends Kate and Terry, got married recently to Cornelia. We were invited to the evening do at their home. A barbecue was provided by Cornelia's family and friends (excellent bratwurst!) and Bren contributed some lovely singing to the proceedings.

Tim and Cornelia have a beautiful daughter, Teresa, who made an appearance before snuggling down for the night.Kate was rushing around preparing puddings 'n that...

... while Terry was keen to have a dance with his daughter in law...

... and muscle in on the singing too!