Friday, November 30, 2012

Old Antique Books

A few years ago, I was browsing in an Antique store with a friend of mine. Like you do when you're visiting a new place and exploring the township to see whats on offer. The only thing I liked wasn't for sale. It was a set of books that looked old. I thought they would make a nice companion to my vintage cameras on my bookshelf.  I asked, but the guy said, no they're not for sale. Just before I left, I asked again, said they were the only thing I liked out of the whole shop. He rang the owner, who came back with a price which wasn't out of my reach.  

So I made a decision and bought them right there and then. They were packed away in a box and I asked my friend to store them until I moved to Blenheim once my house was finished.  

Not long after I got here, I put the bookshelf together and painted it up. Added my cameras then contacted my friend who brought the box of books up to me. I unpacked them and just as I thought, they looked great on my shelf with the vintage cameras. I had no information about the books at all.  I did look for a 'date of printing' but couldn't find one so just simply admired them.

A few months later a fellow photography friend came round. She pointed out that they were old. "Naaaah"  I said and told her there was no date. She opened it one of the books up and pointed out the roman numeral at the first page and told me that was the date.  Told me to google it.  (Shows you what I know about old books!)

So I did. Seems the books are OLD. Very OLD. 1771 to be exact. That is 242 years old. I did some googling and found that Edinburgh was in fact London, so they were printed in 1771, in London, for an A. Donaldson. I wonder why the 'According to the Act of Parliament' is printed there. I haven't been able to find that one out yet...

The following image shows you what condition they are in. They're not in BAD BAD condition, but they're not pristine either. Someone at sometime put sellotape over the spine of the books, yet there's no sellotape inside.

I don't have the complete set. The complete set would have been 12 books. I have 11. That's okay - Remember I wasn't buying the books for worth - I was looking for something to go with my vintage cameras!! Their possible worth only came later. More to the point, I'm intrigued with the history of them.  242 years old - that's probably a lot of people who have handled them!

I've taken a photo of the text. Notice that where an 's' should be, the 'f' shows instead. Apparently this is the way s was written back then. The only time an 's' was used was at the beginning or end of the word. It looks very strange to us though.

Here is the book looking at the pages. Still in good condition, nothing ripped or bent or broken. Which is pretty amazing for 242 years old. I doubt I'll look in that condition after all those years!!

And the books lined up in a row on my bookshelf...  Told you they looked good!! However, I'm very interested to learn more, so if anyone can point me in the right direction, please do. I'm keen to know anything about them whatsoever. I may even be tempted to part with them if someone gives me a good reason to do that!

The one thing I do notice is they have a lovely feel to them. Smooth, delicate and that old smell which of times past which I love so much.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Losing Weight this Summer.

It's that time of the year again.  Summer.  My vegetable garden is full to the brim of lettuce and spinach, yet I'm still waiting for the other things like spring onions, beans, courgette, peas and carrots to start producing.  With summer and the fresh vegetables, I'm making a concerted effort to shift my weight.... again!  This time there is a difference.

I'm asking you to help. I'll be putting up a blog every now and then of my progress, and all I want from you guys are little words of encouragement. The reason?

I'm not good at sticking to things. I have a sweet tooth.  I love my food. I love chocolate (chocolate is a food right?), and I love the odd glass of wine.

I have no problems losing the first 8 kilos. But the problem is that's when I give up. I think to myself - oh I'm okay now - I'll just be sensible. Then comes winter when it's cold and it all piles back again, only to start afresh in summer. What hasn't helped is my foot. I can no longer do long walks, or exercise properly. I can no longer run. I keep it up as much as possible in the hope it'll heal faster, better, for good. So far that isn't working.

I've come to the conclusion that weight loss will help the foot. If there's less weight on the foot when I walk, then it'll hurt less. So here is the stats so far....

Goal :   65kg
(Medical recommendation is between 49 and 64kg!!  49???  I haven't been 49kg since I was 17yo! I'm sure that would look anorexic on a 51yo!)

Total weight to lose:  18.4kg  (ugh!)

Week 1:  Loss - 2.1kg - 16.3kg to go! - Whoohoo!

Week 2:  Loss - 0.0kg - 16.3kg to go
Ok-ok - we had high teas and a trip to Auckland but at least I didn't put on any!!

Week 3:  Loss 0.6kg -  15.7 to go.  I'm only into day 4 of my week 3 so hopefully by the end of this week I'll have lost perhaps another half kilo.

For those people in America that haven't modernised to metrics like the rest of the world, 1 kg - 2.2 pounds

And to remind me why I need to lose weight:

1). Health - I've already had a couple of blood tests that aren't good for diabetes and I don't want this to develop. One person in the family with diabetes is enough!

2). My foot (As above)

3). I'm visiting my daughter in Europe again in 2013 and I want to land a nice European boyfriend while I'm over there, preferably one that is passionate... about photography!!  (Please send a photo of your camera gear!)

4). I'd like an excuse to buy a new wardrobe. In Europe! The 'nothing fits me' in reverse - how nice would that be!

5). I'd like to look and feel better than I do, as well as better about myself in general.

6). When I go swimming I no longer want to be photographed by those Whale Watch tour boats, or when lying on the sand, not to be mistaken for a whale stranding!!

7).  If I die suddenly, I don't want to be laid out on the autopsy table and they have to cut through six inches of blubber! How embarrassing!! Not that I'd know... but still!!

The reason I have this in my mind as I saw Body Worlds in Toronto and on display was a 300lb man that had died of obesity.  I have never been able to get the layer of fat compared to a normal sized human out of my mind.  It makes me wonder what the docs doing autopsies say during their jobs!!!  Something like 'Hey we should sell this one to the Japanese and save a whale!'''

There's nothing wrong with whales though, they are beautiful creatures and stunning to behold. However, the dolphin in me is trying to get out!

So over the next few weeks/months - however long it takes, I'll be doing the odd blog on my progress.  I'm also talk more in depth in how I'm going to achieve this and who will be helping me. But that can wait until the next chapter!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Nor'West Arch

The last week the weather has been fantastic.  Hot and sunny with temperatures in 30s.  That's Celcius, not Fahrenheit! My temperature guage got up to 31.6 on Sunday  In Auckland, that temperature would have come with extreme humidity and would have been uncomfortable. Not here.  It was a lovely dry heat and very very nice. I spent some of the day weeding the garden, reading in the sun, and shifting sprinklers around the lawn.  It's that time of year again when I have to water the lawn in regular shifts as it's so dry.  Between now and Autumn, that's my sole job.  Greenkeeper!!

It was a bit windy on Sunday during the day, but not overly so. That was the Northwester, bringer of warm weather so I didn't mind at all. As well as the warm weather it brings amazing sunsets which I was told was the Northwestern Arch. My neighbour saw me out taking photos and explained it to me. I looked it up on Wiki and it there it says it's 'peculiar' to the east coast of the South Island.

This is what it looked like from my deck early on, which is looking west.  But over a period of 10 minutes I got some spectacular cloud shots...

It literally looked like the sky was on fire and I simply had to stand and stare and on occasion had to lift my camera up and take a photo. I couldn't go inside and miss a minute...

In the end I walked out onto my road  when the street light turned on and started shooting from there...

I have been watching out for a repeat, but so far it hasn't happened. Just the normal amazing sunsets that I get every day, but not the spectacular sky on fire ones!

Bring on the Nor'Wester

Monday, November 26, 2012


I was invited whitebaiting two nights ago.  I jumped at the chance as this was a new experience for me.  Watching whitebaiters when I was a child over 40 years ago doesn't count as I simply can't remember enough.  I remember the lake and the stream, and playing on the beach but that's about it.  I do remember eating whitebait fritters from time to time as we were growing up, and knowing they are a delicacy, however seeing whitebait are now $150 a kilo, it's not something I tend to purchase.  Ever!

We sat on the edge of the river with two chairs, a bottle of wine and some nice glasses.  This is the view... Very pretty.  This is the Taylor River.

We were being watched covertly.  I'm sure the Ministry of Fisheries had planted spies to make sure we did the whitebaiting properly...

Two more Fishery spies were further down keeping an eye on us.  (Actually they are looking at us because I started singing!  I can just imagine what is going through their mind.  Probably some murderous thoughts about that terrible caterwauling!)

A party boat chugs past.  The people on there were all dressed up as furries.  I was thinking this might be more fishery spies in disguise!

Then the whitebait started swimming past.  There's a plank of wood there painted white, so we can see when the whitebait swim past.

Once they all go into the net, we lifted the net and poured them into the yellow bucket...

A sieve was then used to sort them - we got rid of the bigger ones and the cockabullies leaving just the beautiful whitebait...

Dipped in Egg and into the frying pan...

Served on homemade bread..

Some freshly squeezed lemon over the pattie with a bit of salt and pepper...

Nom nom nom...

Eat your heart out!  Can't wait til next year so I can do it again!!  Thanks to Helen for giving me the opportunity!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Irfanview, a Beautiful Garden & Macro Photography

I had the pleasure of visiting the best garden in Marlborough the other day.  I got there a little later than I wanted to, but it was a brilliant sunny day and a perfect morning for macro photography.  First up were the beautiful white poppies...

Most of these were under the shade of a tree with just a little light on them so I was able to control the glare much better. 

Then there were the beautiful roses.  

After finding all these, I had a bit of time before my physio appointment, so walked over to the fountain for a rest in the sunshine.  That's when I discovered these...

They were pretty hard to photograph because the slightest movement and they were off, so I'm pleased with these results.

So what's the Irfanview in the title?  Irfanview is a small free programme available to download that is saving me a whole heap of time.  Usually when putting my blogs together, I decide which photos I'm going to put up, open photoshop, and resize each and every one.  It takes time.  Irfanview is brilliant as I'm able to select all the images in the directory, choose advanced batch processing, then resize them all, saving them into a new directory as they go.  Total time it took to do all these, including the ones I didn't add to the blog:  1 minute!  I hardly know myself.  Irfanview is really easy to figure out - just open it and have a play.  Check out their website or all the details - I've just had another look and seen they do so such more than just resizing.  The bonus is that it is free.  Thanks to Trevor from our Camera Club for finding this beauty and encouraging me to download it!  Let me know if you end up using it and what you think of it!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I've just put together a Morocco 2013 planner complete with photos and discoveries I made about Morocco when I was there last year. I would say Morocco was one of the most interesting places I visited on my trip last October.

I visited four areas of Morocco on the map below.  I flew into Casablanca (but we didn't linger there), took the train up to Rabat and explored there for a couple of days.  Then our amazing guides and great friends Jeffrey & Liang drove us to Meknes and Volubilis, and from there we trained to Fes before flying to Spain.

Following are just a fraction of photos you will see in the 2013 planner...

Firstly - the Chellah...

The Tour Hassan...

The Kasbah....

The Olives in the Market at Meknes...

The ancient ruins at Volubulis, near Meknes...

The Bronze doors of the Palace at Fes, which shine like gold...

And the men working at the tanneries...

If you are interested in having a better look at the Morocco 2013 Planner complete with photos and informative text, then, head to Blurb where you can preview the complete book, by clicking on the text below..

Morocco 2013 Planner

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's that Time Again..

It's that time again. You know. A month til Christmas (can we skip it this year?). Commercialism, television advertisements telling you that there is only 'n' days until Christmas and everyone clamouring that their goods must not be missed. This means shopping becomes crowded, streets become crowded, and there's traffic jams. Everything takes twice as long to do. It's enough to send me screaming into the hills.

I have already turned television OFF, as there is nothing but repeats of old series already watched, which they play year after year. I bet you Die Hard will play AGAIN this year! As much as I like Bruce Willis I have no hankering to watch that movie for the 10th time! It became boring after the first three!

Then there's the food. My local supermarket put the Christmas Chocolate display up a whole month ago. I was taken aback at that. Yesterday I saw the Hams and Turkeys already selling, and I've already been rung by a local winery with a Christmas special on bubbly. As much as I like Bubbly, I can't see myself drinking a whole 12 bottles of it with my Mother. We would both need to book into the addiction services by January 1st!

So, this year I'm going to do Christmas lightly. As I'm an atheist, I'm not into the Christian bit of Jesus's birth, and as I don't like commercialism, presents will be kept to a minimum. Food will consist of a nice dinner with my mother where we will sit down, drink, and solve the worlds problems, which will mean that World Peace will reign shortly thereafter.

We'll do local forays around and about, and explore Marlborough Nooks and Crannies. If it's fine we'll go for a picnic at the river or at Whites Bay, or pop over to the Abel Tasman for a days walk. We'll eat healthy food and lose 5 kilos instead of gaining it.

If anyone wants to join us, you are welcome. Just let me know.