Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Death Valley

Death Valley, originally uploaded by Ian Hutton.

I've made it as far as Death Valley and have uploaded the first few photos to flickr (see my photo stream).

After landing at Las Vegas I picked up my wheels (some kind of Toyota pick-up) and hit the road. I arrived in Death Valley late afternoon to be greeted by a sand storm. I managed a few "sunset" photos but the general haze and experience of being sand-blasted soon put me off and sent me searching for my motel. Whilst checking in I noticed that the power was a bit dodgy - the lights went off three times due to the high winds - and just as I made it to the restaurant for dinner the power went out and didn't come back. I gave up, ate an M&S cream egg (thanks K!) and went to bed.

Today was much better, with low winds and clear skies providing the perfect opportunity to explore and take lots more photos. I've been from salt lakes to sand dunes and everywhere else inbetween. Tomorrow I aim to catch the sunrise and swing by a ghost town before heading back to Las Vegas to get down to some work.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Photos from Exeter

A quick note to say that I've uploaded some photos from today's family get-together down in remotest Exeter.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Spring turfing

K read in her gardening book that now was the time of year to lay turf, so yesterday we got a slab to cover the bare patch that had until now adorned the center of the lawn. I got up full of enegry (at 7:30!) this morning and got to work. Turning the earth over before plonking the turf down I made an interesting discover - it seems that about 6' down there is a layer of plastic sheeting that covers the entire garden. Bit of a surprise, that was. You can see it in the left hand photo below. Unperturbed I continued, chopping my turf to shape to leave something that certainly isnt perfect, but that should be more than on a par with the rest of the (somewhat sparse) lawn once its settled in. Here are the during and after shots:

I was on a roll at this point so I just kept on going: K had bought some bedding plants for our hanging basket and they were just begging to be popped into place. A little fiddling about got the bulk of them squished into the basket in a quite pleasing arrangement (if I do say so myself). Even K had to admit that they looked quite nice (though she did sulk a bit that she hadn't got to do it). And that was all before 9:30 - quite phenomenal!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


I’ve joined all the cool kids and got myself a Twitter account as an experiment. Zach’s advice helped me easily hook it up with Facebook and my blog (see the box on the right) for some great mashed up global status updating. So now all I need is something interesting to say…

[edit] …and I’ve tied in Flickr thanks to their advice.

Monday, 2 March 2009

First class

We spent a fantastic weekend in Cardiff with John and family. We hit the opera, saw the St David’s day parade, took a boat ride round Cardiff bay and generally got very Welsh.

01032009017On the way back we treated ourselves to some first class action. Stopping by the “dining” car for an afternoon snack I happened to spot the appetising choices on the right. Yum, just think of that rail-kill…

It wasn't all bad though, they stocked a pretty serviceable house white and once that ran out K upped our game and moved us on to champagne. We also got unlimited free water and snacks and a very nice sunset. All in all a very pleasant Champagne on the trainjourney, to the extent that we hardly noticed the 40 minute delay and didn't mind at all. Champagne will do that for you :-)

On a geek note I’m writing this with Windows Live Writer, a blogging app from Microsoft (gasp!). It’s actually rather good, the killer feature for me being that it previews my posts in the correct template so I can see the layout exactly as it will look before I upload. And it lets me put rounded borders on photos too – nice. Discovered via lifehacker.