November 14th, 2013
Sunday (12/10/2013) was forecast to be sunny so I decided to try visiting somewhere new, Cotswold Water Park, it looked good, lakes, woods, wildlife and also dog friendly (during the summer dogs freedom is more restricted). The park is huge with lots of lakes so we decided to visit the ‘park and beach‘ area, mainly because Mum misses her beach at Hastings. I had a rough glance at the map, them emailed Mum the postcode to enter into the satnav come morning, of course she didn’t check her email before leaving so we ended up following my memory, A417 towards Cirencester. Luckily it was easy enough, once we got close to Cirencester signs popped up, then after finding the park itself the beach was signposted too, basically heading straight on with few turns. After a roughly forty minute drive we were parked, this was the longest journey the dogs had done (it was also the first time I’d left the county in years), we were expecting some travel sickness but they were great (a big relief as I was in the back with them), they did whine a fair bit but as they aren’t used to travelling it wasn’t unexpected. After enquiring on the rules for dogs and getting our exit token we headed for the beach, it’s not exactly big, but it has sand and water and was pretty empty being winter, I wouldn’t want to try going on it in summer with lots of people, there’s no way I would be able to fit. I managed to get the chair on and off the sand, but the access isn’t great, slopes are steep and there’s a fairly big step down where I got on, my chair has big tires, narrow tires would likely sink and be a nightmare, be warned. The first thing I heard once on the beach was a splash, my dog Kara-El, who has never been swimming in her life, had spotted a buoy and, as she is obsessed with balls, jumped in and swum towards the big bally! She suddenly realised she was swimming and headed back to shore but it was lovely to see, all the dogs enjoyed running round the beach and getting their feet wet, the Frontier X5 handled the sand and uneven beach admirably, I even dipped the wheels in the lake. We spent over half an hour on the beach, it was surprisingly warm for a November day, the water looked rather cold though, which my Aunt found out when she threw the dogs ball too far and paddled in after it, she’s seventy this year so I was rather impressed to say the least. After the beach we followed the path around the North lake, we let Mia, Kara and Dexter off lead, but attached to each other and Tia off on her own, the chihuahuas we kept on leads as they don’t like being caught and we really didn’t want to lose them. I lead the way as usual and decided to take a path which branched off, it was a lovely route passing a quarry and little lakes, you could hear and see birds flying everywhere. I love nature so feeling like I was in the middle of nowhere was very enjoyable, Tia accompanied me most of the time, wandering ahead but making sure I was in sight, the other dogs would alternate between us all, checking everyone was safe. The path was quite bumpy in places with deep muddy puddles, but it is winter I suppose, I actually quite enjoyed the puddles and pushing the chair and myself a bit. The path went on quite a way and I hoped it would rejoin the other path but had a feeling it wasn’t quite the right direction, after crossing a little bridge and going past a hide it looked like the path had a rather large puddle ahead, I reported this too the unimpressed faces of my Mother and Aunt, they were insistent they wanted to check as it was well over a mile to turn back. I decided it really wasn’t fair them getting wet so volunteered to check myself, I actually quite liked the idea but shhh, the only concern I had was getting water in the motors and having to be rescued, so off I went after detaching Peppa from the chair. The water wasn’t too deep at first and really just a large puddle, with Tia by my side I went further, the mud floor turned into little pebbles which obviously meant this was a stream, it was very pretty though, clear water rippling and glistening above multi-coloured stones. It then started to get a bit deeper and darker, reeds and grass on either side and surrounded by midges (at this point I was extremely grateful for my ventilator, being able to breathe without inhaling or swallowing midges was rather handy), I had really come far enough, I knew it was going to turn into a lake and although I don’t mind taking risks sometimes I’m not stupid. After being asked if I was certain there was no way through we turned round and headed back. The outing ended sitting outside the wooden cafe drinking coffee gazing out at the birds on the lake, I must admit this was probably the most enjoyable day out I’ve had in years. The journey home wasn’t exactly uneventful either, Mum decided to use the satnav, I couldn’t see well from the back anyway with steamed up windows so didn’t object, I probably should have in retrospect. After finally calculating a route the satnav decided to take us in a direction which didn’t quite seem right to me, lots of right turns (isn’t that a circle?), then we entered Swindon, yeah I was pretty certain this was wrong, Mum persisted until the satnav directed us down a private road then tried taking us down another which was ‘works access only’, after that my Aunt and myself took over navigation. The trip home took well over an hour and everyone was pretty exhausted, on the plus side the dogs weren’t ill and I know my ventilator can last on battery at least 7 hours, that means we can travel further in future. More photos can be found on this Flickr set http://www.flickr.com/photos/bullsworld/sets/72157637560548196/ and videos can be found on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNg9EuR4GVo-JblsNjY9yGkW1xWFiP8rs
November 10th, 2013
I wanted to add this picture to my last post, unfortunately the card had been put somewhere ‘safe’, which of course meant it took over a month to find!
My Nan wrote this card before she was admitted to hospital, I don’t know how but I think she knew she wouldn’t be giving it to me herself, she rarely wrote anything except her name and a few kisses in Birthday cards, this is the first year I’ve had the strength to look at it again.
I Will always Love and miss you Nan xxxx
October 17th, 2013
Another year and another October 17th, the sixth anniversary of Nan passing away, I’ve had a good morning, visited the ‘Butterfly Garden’ and had a tour from the owner. It’s at the back of a nursery, Nan loved visiting garden centers and nurseries, couldn’t help thinking of her, especially looking at the pansies. This afternoon the news broke that Gloucestershire coroner Alan Crickmore has admitted to £2m fraud, memories of reading Nan’s coroners report come back, he wrote it. I have been sleeping holding my Rosary beads again, I’m not Catholic, my Granddad brought them home from the war and gave them to me as a child, remember him laying in our backroom telling me their story before he died, I let Nan hold them so she could feel me close when she was admitted to hospital, she died holding them, I love you Nan and will always miss you, can hear your voice and see your face.
My Guardian Angel
September 18th, 2013
Well I’ve had my GoPro Hero 3 for a while now and made quite a few videos so I guess I should share my videos and experience here. The camera is great as you can see from the photos and videos, the remote control’s buttons are unfortunately a bit too stiff for me to press & I haven’t found a good place to mount my iPhone so I can use that to control the camera yet (not to mention the iPhone’s battery drains extremely fast using the GoPro App), my solution is to put the camera on time lapse with a 5 or 10 second delay, I then just line up my chair, stay still and wait for the camera’s indicator LED to flash. The only problem with this method of taking pictures is that I have a lot too sort through and delete afterwards, I’m very glad I bought a 32GB SD card!
I stick to recording video at 1080p 48fps as getting someone else to change modes for me is a hassle, and really 1080p is a good choice as it doesn’t take too much space, is high enough quality for most situations and doesn’t drain the battery too fast either.
So without further ado here are the results of my playing around -
For the fancy effects I used Lightworks, there is also a new version of Cinepro Studio available for free from the GoPro website.