Bath DayTrip

Continuing on from the last couple of day trips, this weekend I decided to go cross-country, and head to Bath. Still a two-hour drive (although the trip from Park&Ride to city centre was another twenty or so) but no coast. I lived in Bath for a period back before D4D™, but haven’t been back there since, so it was interesting to see what’d changed and so on.

I’d also decided, as part of the Solo Dining project I wrote about yesterday, to go and visit Grillstock in Bath and have one of the burgers that I’ve been interested in, but not got round to trying (because they’re only in Bath and Bristol)  So that was part of the plan, but really it was more about visiting Bath in general.

The drive was pretty rotten – it started with fine weather, but got progressively wetter as I went on, but that wasn’t going to stop me.

I got there early – indeed, the first bus in from the Park and Ride – and wandered around most of the city centre, which turned out to be really pleasant.

bath_weir_landscapeDue to the time of year, it got pretty busy, but I spent most of my time avoiding the majority of people – I wasn’t interested in shopping, so didn’t have to hit those bits too hard, thankfully.

edward_the_peacemakerEven better, I got to wander around bits of the city I hadn’t seen before – in my previous time there, I’d more been focussed on getting from train station to home, and didn’t really get to explore the place that much. It wasn’t a great time in life, but there we go, I could’ve done more.


And as for that burger from Grillstock, oh hell yes, it was worth it…

The Lockjaw burger from Grillstock

The Lockjaw burger from Grillstock

Brighton Images

On Sunday, I trolled off down to Brighton for the day. I haven’t been there in years – the last time was a flying visit five years ago for an interview, and before that it had been a number of years too – but realised it’s just about the same distance as Felixstowe is (they’re both a two-hour drive time) to get to, so what the hell.

I don’t know Brighton as well as I should, and so having a wander around was also appealing. It’s on the list of ‘places I could re-locate to at some point’, so seemed like a worthwhile explore – and I was right on that score.

Being December, it was pretty blowy and chilly – although less cold than a December Sunday would suggest – but that’s never bothered me all that much. I lived by the South Coast for a couple of years before, and have no real issue with cold. That was the flat where the freezer shut off because it was colder outside the freezer than inside it, and where more than once I woke up with frost on the top of the duvet. Sunday, by comparison, was almost summery.

Brighton Beach

As it turned out, the weather made it ideal for what I actually wanted – waves, and the sound of the sea on shingle beach. Walking along one of the groynes/piers (not one of the Proper Piers, but the little jutty-out ones) was a joy, just for getting out to be where the waves were hitting the beach.

Brighton Waves

And then the sun came out, and it was even better…

Sunlight hits Brighton

All told, I think it’s a place I’m going to go back to a lot more in the coming year. It’s an easy run, and I think I could really get to quite like the place.

There’s others still on the list too – something I’ll be writing about at some point this month, I’m sure – but yeah, Brighton is definitely now more of a destination, and pretty high on the possibility levels too.

Coastal – Brighton

Following on from last week’s day-trip to Felixstowe for coastal stuff, today I’m off – assuming vaguely decent (or at least non-abysmal) weather – down to Brighton for similar reasons.

I realised afterwards, looking at maps, that actually the two places are a very similar drive-time (and indeed mileage) away, so sod it, go for something different.

I haven’t been to Brighton in yonks – well, I had an interview there a few years back, but that doesn’t really count – so it’ll be fun to go back, and have a wander around, plus spend some time on the beach (I know, it’s stones rather than sand) and see how things go.

That’s the plan, anyway. I’ll update later/tomorrow with how it goes, and any relevant photos etc.

Backed Up

One thing that’s changed over the last four years is the way that I back up data. I used to have a big-ass (for the time) hard-drive that held all my backup files, but I haven’t (hadn’t) fired it up in years.

Now I use DropBox for most things – at least the things that aren’t commercially sensitive or need extra security, etc. I don’t necessarily trust/rely on them, but it tends to be where most of the stuff sits (as well as on through another paid-for service for my work stuff and so on) and it suits me to use them for the moment.  That may change a bit over 2015, there’s a more secure and privately-held service that might do better, but for now, DropBox suits me.

However, I recently realised that all my photos and music files were still sat on that old hard-drive. Which has sat untouched for four years, through four or five moves. Oops.

I fired it up over the weekend, thought I might as well bite the bullet and see if all’s well or if it’s dead and I’m screwed.

Thankfully, everything worked first time. I’ve pulled all the music data off, and that’s now sitting in multiple locations again. Next will be the photos – although I’ve also spent some time looking at old images and seeing what’s what (and just looking back at events of the last eleven years, which is what the drive holds)  It’s been quite the journey…

Coastal – Felixstowe

Over the years, I’ve always known that I love being by the sea. It’s an environment I love – although it makes a lot of other bits of life more complex. (For example, working in London or other techie environments) I’ve lived by the coast a couple of times, and would certainly consider doing so again.

Which all makes it a bit weird that the location I live in currently is about as far away from the sea as it’s possible to be in the UK. And I realised recently that I haven’t actually been to the coast properly since I moved here. Which is quite a surprise for me, it’s fair to say.

So today I upped sticks, and buggered off to Old Felixstowe. It’s an easy run, but still two hours. (And all coast is at least a two-hour run, from the look of it) It made for a really enjoyable day, leaving earlyish, getting over there, walking along the seafront, having lunch, walking back, sitting on the grass above the – well, it’s not a cliff, I don’t know quite what to call it – and just enjoying the sound of the sea on the shingle and so on.

I had been going to take the camera as well, but in the end I couldn’t be arsed. I did get some nice stuff with just the iPhone though, so even that qualifies as a bit of a win.


Felixstowe Ferry

I had sort-of forgotten how much I like that environment, and it’s certainly something I’m going to look at and consider as part of the plans for 2015 and 2016, depending on how things go. Ideas are bubbling, so we’ll have to see how things go…

One of the tidal pools at Felixstowe


Over on Twitter this morning, I saw this image, a behind-the-scenes photo from Pirates of the Caribbean, showing the actors in their motion-capture suits, that allows CGI stuff to be added afterwards and move the same way the actor does.

Pirates of the CaribbeanNow what interested me the most was that the entire outfit – clothing etc. – was also all applied in CGI. And that had never actually occurred to me. I got that the various faces/tentacles/prosthetics were applied by CGI, but for some reason I’d never clicked that the clothing was all computer-generated as well.

Ain’t progress grand?

Considering Cameras

One thing I’ve stopped doing as much over the last couple of years is taking photos. I miss it, but more and more I’ve been finding that taking the SLR camera out with me is more hassle than it’s actually worth.

I’ve had the SLR for a long time now – since roughly this time in 2005, in fact – and it’s still a great camera. Worth fuck-all now, mind you, but that’s the way of the world. But it has issues that I hadn’t really considered when I bought the thing, and as time goes on I’ve found they’re becoming more of a hindrance.

In short…

  1. The SLR plus lenses is bloody heavy. It’s not something you can easily carry freehand all day, and that means it’s rarely actually available when I want it
  2. The SLR is slow. S-L-O-W. Not when it’s powered up, with the correct lens attached etc. – then it’s great. But for a quick shot of something fleeting? Bobbins.
  3. Unless you know you’re going out with one specific shot (or set of shots) in mind, you need all the lenses, and most of the kit.
  4. As a result, it’s a faff.

It’s a great camera, but with all those points in consideration, I’ve found this year that I just keep leaving it at home. I still love taking photos, but all that extra faff is becoming limiting, it’s making it so that taking photos becomes work, rather than fun.

I was talking about all this with a friend over the weekend, and as a result, I’m currently considering getting a smaller camera, of the sort I used to have in my bag all the time. Decent long zoom, good lens, good image quality, light(ish) weight. Everything that takes it back to being easy and fun again.

It won’t happen just yet, it’s most likely something for the new year.