Wednesday, March 30, 2011

gardening's going to be difficult

As our move to Fuerteventura approaches, I start thinking about all the stuff that I'll miss. And plentiful supply of fresh water is going to be one. I like growing things. Granted, occasionally I neglect my plants, but I do like the fact that I can grow them.

Yes, I can grow cacti there, but, you know, somehow that doesn't seem like proper gardening.

There is water on Fuerteventura, of course, but not in plenty.

Anyway, I was thinking (mind you, I am no engineer, so what follows is probably completely impossible, but bear with me): You get a cold beer on Fuerteventura, you have a lot of condensation on the glass, so humidity's not zero, and this water can be used. But I can't possibly water my plants by getting a fresh beer every ten minutes or so. So, maybe some sort of solar-power operated device exists? Like of the doodle below - sun battery operates *something* that cools a surface where condensation is formed, water drops drip to the ground and there you are.

Now, it is entirely possible that it's not only doable, but is, in fact, done, and I can't find those things for sale because I don't know how they are called etc - looking in the wrong place (then please tell me if you know where to look). It is also possible that an efficient enough refrigerator (that's what it is, right?) is not possible. I would want to know that, too.


pics from Fuerteventura on shutterstock

Friday, March 25, 2011

directly overhead


today is the first time this year that I could give my right elbow a chance to tan by sticking it out of open car window while driving. And we had our late morning coffee outside. Maybe spring finally started for real. Or maybe not, if I look at bbc forecast for tomorrow

spring flowers on shutterstock

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

morning cuppa


I really liked the way steam was caught in paella picture, so we repeated the setup today with my morning cup of coffee. I am pleased with the steam, not so pleased with the burned-out area in upper left corner. Have to think of a quick setup where all the background, apart from the area immediately under the cup will be black. I know one, but it won't be very fast to set. Hm.

coffee images on shutterstock

Monday, March 21, 2011

in search of perfection


My appearances in our local florists must be very tiring for the staff - I come in, have a goosey, and sail out without buying anything. Thing is - I am in search of a perfect rose. Well, perfect anything really, but a perfect red rose eludes me so far. Orange and yellow roses are easier, and I saw a few which are as close to perfection as it gets. But red - no. Either shape is wrong, or the outer petals are damaged, or there's not enough of them (petals) for form a perfect swirl when it's opening...

I know it's not that fascinating, but I think we are all entitled to rambles now and then

Anyway - that's my latest rose. Still not perfect, but beautiful all the same

roses at shutterstock

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chinatown again


Since we went to London Chinatown for Chinese New Year, Timur insisted on going there again. He had stuff to buy, basically, and wanted to have a closer look at many small, bright (and, to be honest, useless) things that are for sale.

I must admit that displays of many brightly-colored things have similar effect on me. I tend to start thinking that I surely need at least one of them. It is an effect that I observed in Venice, too.

Well, now I have a lucky cat (small one!), Timur has a pair of Baoding balls and Yuri has a mysterious vase-shaped, small object, expensive for its size. It may even be a vase - for one really small flower.

To quote Cat: All in all, a 100% successful trip!




Saturday, March 19, 2011



well, ok, maybe not quite. The pan's not right, there's no saffron in there and I added way too much liquid, but - it was delicious. Proof of the paella.

It's the first time we gave this cast-iron pan a try. It is a flattish wok, very nice looking (the reason for buying it in the first place). I think it worked beautifully

food images at shutterstock

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

problem with keywording


(picture is simply to have a picture here)

I have a strange problem with newly-bought Photoshop Elements 9 . It was bough specifically to be able to read raw files from my new camera - something that version 6 of elements can't do.

PE v 9 reads them and process them fine BUT! When I try to keyword ("file info" function), it rather consistently crashes. Which is a problem when you prepare images for stock. Don't know what I should do about it - maybe there's a free program somewhere which can fill in the metadata, not touching the quality of the image itself? If you know one, let me know, please

flowers isolted on black at shutterstock

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lucia and Althea


My little niece had a doll with her when she was visiting here. Doll's name is Althea and here she is for you to admire. I am guessing that an extremely pink and frilly skirt that my niece made her mum to buy can be seen as a consequence of an overly prolonged admiration session.

They brought another doll with them - this one was for me. Please welcome Lucia.


Both were hand-made by my sister's neighbour. Labels say that they were made by cтудия "Мама" (Studio "Mum"), but I can't find their site - maybe they don't have one.

PS For Russian readers - name "Лючия" on the label is written in such a way that I read it as "Люша" without any hesitation whatsoever.

UPD - well, what do you know. I misread the name of the studio too! It's actually "студия Тата" (Studio Tata). And all there is at the moment is an email -

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ely cathedral

Ely cathedral (or, to be precise The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Ely, is one of the places we tend to bring our visitors to. It's beautiful and Ely town is cute, too. The only thing that I don't like about it is that they charge rather steep admission fees. Understandable, considering the costs, but it piles when it's a group of you. There's no charge to enter cathedral on Sunday though, something I might want to keep in mind next time somebody comes to visit.

There were some work being done inside - not sure what exactly, but builders silhouetted nicely against stained glass windows.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

hot chocolate


went to Ely yesterday. It was sunny and cold, and we had hot chocolate in a tearoom. Here's my charming little niece, sporting chocolate moustache worthy of Salvador Dali himself. It was good chocolate, you can easily tell


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

moving and staying still

just two more pictures from Somerset (again, no particular order obeserved)

when we first came to Dulverton, there was a lot of old cars around, coming over the Barle bridge. Some of them stopped there, drivers presumably going for a nice cuppa. I've asked one of them what was going on. He said that these are "trials" - won't pretend I knew what it is up till few minutes ago - but now I sort of do. Looks like we saw something called "Exmoor Fringe" - you can click through if interested. The format of those events explains why the cars were so dirty, anyways. There were apparently over a hundred cars participating, and we saw a few since our road coincided with theirs for a while


What was unexpected for me about this shot is that I did a following with the lens without realizing it. It's probably not visible at this resolution, but everybody in the car is in perfect focus - including the kid on the backseat making a victory sign. Everything else - including, strangely, the car itself - is motion-blurred. Another surprise was the make of the car - it was an old Ford apparently. I would have never guessed.


there's no particular reason for pairing moving car picture with this one. but let me