30 May, 2008

Jellybean Wedding Photography

Now, this is a rather long and complicated story – but please, stay with me and you will be rewarded (it ‘s probably one of the only hitches we had during the wedding planning and may give you an insight into why my “stressed lady” persona appeared before the wedding)...

Wedding Photographs – something to hang on the wall, show the grandchildren in years to come and a reminder of your day...Naturally, we wanted lots of coverage (simply due to Fink’s love of photography), so we set aside a large chunk of budget to ensure we were covered...and below is detailed the painful process I went through, to ensure we got what we wanted...

Step 1 - Find a photographer – Rating: Easy - Whilst at a wedding fair trying to source a caterer (of all things), Fink commented on the photography in some sample menus we were reviewing “Wow, who took these shots?”...The caterer told us that it had just been produced by a company called Jellybean, who usually do wedding photography and so we came straight home, googled them and within 10 minutes of sending an email, they had called to discuss our requirements - We were simply blown away by their photography and their service, then ticked the 'find photographer' box on the wedding checklist and I entered into work mode to negotiate the package (hours/price)...

When my cousin needed a photographer for her wedding at short notice, we approached Jellybean (obvious choice, considering), they pulled out all the stops and were able to cover it. We were to find out afterwards, that they had asked their close colleague Ed (and owner of
www.igrooverweddings.co.uk) to photograph the wedding, for which we are eternally grateful...(but this was not all)...

Fink and Ed “clicked” at my cousins wedding (excuse the pun) and mutual approach was discovered between their shots of the day, and therefore, after several long and painful conversations with Nick (owner of Jellybean) over the difference in photographic style, lenses and cameras, Fink confirmed that he wanted Ed to cover our wedding, not Nick. Having gone so far down the line with Jellybean, my ethics prevented me going directly to Ed and so I faced what must be the most uncomfortable conversation ever - telling Nick we preferred Ed’s style and it was he we wanted to cover our day. The upshot was this was to come at an additional fee, but our decision was final – We were to book with Jellybean but they would subcontract to Ed (not perfect, but everyone’s honour was intact and we had the guy we needed for the job)...

Step 2 – Sign the contract and pay the instalments
– And so (feeling happy, and) in good faith, we made our first payment. However, the service we received from Jellybean was to slowly deteriorate, with no response to emails or phone calls. All was to be revealed when we got a call from David at “the fotoshop” – who? - in February, asking us to send a cheque for our final payment...It was then confessed that Nick and his wife (co-owner of Jellybean) had split up and were selling the company (and it must be noted that this confession only came after I said that we had already made the payment into Nick’s wife’s account as per every other instalment). Still, David was very reassuring and told me not to worry...easily said... however it didn’t take long, before I was dreaming that the photographer wouldn’t turn up on the day (especially as Jellybean’s administration had proved itself to fail on more than one occasion). Upon my insistence, Jellybean provided Ed’s details so we could talk directly. Not only did this help me to sleep at night, it also proved how poor Jellybean had been. Ed returned our calls, emails and even text messages and quickly put to rest any of the last minute doubts a bride has before her day.

Step 3 – Meet Ed for the pre wedding chat – This is when it all started to become real for me... Ed embraced our love of photography and got us very excited, showing us his ideas, taking on Fink’s requests, working through my ridiculous list of group shots and giving us all the time we needed. When he left, I smiled at fink and said ‘Thank you’ All I can think is back in October, when I had the painful discussion with Nick, Fink must have had a crystal ball to spot Ed when he appeared...

Step 4 – Photograph the day – Well, Ed really went for it taking over 900 photographs (9Gb-odd) ... The pictures speak for themselves, amazing – Ed certainly works *very* hard and captures everything – good and bad (such as my dad in his pants!). We didn’t see him sit down once (other than when driving) and he was so friendly, that some of my guests were honestly of the opinion that he was a close friend of ours. He never got in the way, was just there clicking away in the background and even when the time we had paid for expired, he hung around, smiling and suggesting shots. You simply *couldn’t* ask for more. Anyone who books with Ed *cannot* be disappointed. His service is impeccable.

Step 5 – Receive photographs - Within 1 week of the wedding, Ed called me to say the pictures were ready but Jellybean had not paid him, so he would not send the final disks to Jellybean, who would (in turn) send them to us. Fink and I fully supported his decision. Yes – we were desperate to see our photos, but we wanted Ed to get paid, so were happy to wait and boy did we wait....

Despite lots of calls to David (the new owner of Jellybean), we were given lots of excuses and Ed did not receive payment until early May (remember, we had paid in full by the end of Feb). We were promised the pictures when we returned from Mexico and you’ve guessed it, nothing on our mat or online when we got home. We simply couldn’t understand why it was taking Jellybean so long to sort it out. On Tuesday, let’s just say I did a ‘Net special’ and let rip. Very polite, professional, but the words ‘watchdog and ‘solicitors’ cropped into conversation. On Thursday afternoon, the pictures suddenly appeared online (with a spelling mistake for my name and a password that didn’t work, but finally, at least, they were on their website). The disks *should* have arrived in today’s post – and they didn’t, but I (and excuses starting to wear thin) begrudgingly suspect this is due to the Royal Mail as I have an email from David confirming they have been sent...ahem... ;)

Step 6 – Share with Friends and Family

So – for those of you still with me, you’ll want to view our pictures. Go to:


Click on the drop down gallery menu and select ‘Jellybean weddings’

Click on Mr & Mrs Mayer

You will then need a password – (we don’t want to put this on the blog, so please email, text or call for this and we’ll give it to you)...

Then spend your next few hours enjoying all 61 pages of our day – the good, bad and the cringe worthy!

There is a facility to buy pictures online, but please DO NOT BUY FROM the site and talk to me.

Step 7 – Waste hours upon hours reliving the day and enjoying the photographs – Small warning – Jellybean have not uploaded in any real order, so its a bit of a mess – but the pictures are there and we are certainly not complaining...

Step 8 – Decide on pictures for the album – any suggestions?

Final comment – If anyone is wanting some quality photographs taking – contact Ed - www.igrooverweddings.co.uk and avoid – Jellybean altogether. Without Ed, we would have gone insane!

Fink's Links #15

Well, it's been a long break, but I've managed to find time to scrape together a few interesting links for this Friday...(more on the honeymoon when Flyingpops gets round to writing about our first excursion (and yes, she volunteered))... ;)

Anyway, to start off with - "Snake eats pet cat!" (with bonus x-ray picture)...

x85-x110 magnification (roughly) look at different kinds of sand from around the globe (more interesting than it sounds)...!

September 11 TV archive, choose a channel, choose a time and then watch the whole thing unfolding in real time...absolutely incredible...

Two shuttle stories now, firstly learn about the guy with the self destruct button that watches each launch (twitching) and then, discover that in the event of just such a catastrophy (like the space craft breaking up on re-entry) the astronauts email and MP3 collection would be okay - 99% of the data from a hard drive found in the wreckage of the Columbia has been successfully recovered despite being involved in a 39 mile high, 12500mph accident...

Wired's interesting article "How to survive a nuclear blast"...

Epilepsy foundation's website hacked (in the most cruel fashion imaginable)...

Anime classic tune set to a custom automatic Mario level (in perfect time)!

Learn of the "Miracle Fruit", which chemically changes the way your mouth processes sour flavours (for an hour or so)...

Fancy a nice new "No contact" anti-crime jacket?

And finally - A picture entitled "Reality"... ;)

More next week, previous link collections can be found here...

29 May, 2008

Pulparindo - Mexican Tamarind Candy

So, bought this while I was over in Mexico (it being manufactured there), thought I would bring it back into the office for people have a little go of (if they were brave), it being described as a "Hot and Salted Tamarind Pulp Candy" it seemed like it might be interesting...quite a few people did have a go (after I did) only one refusing point-blank, and the (by far) most popular description of the taste was "Oh, it tastes like Dates", followed immediately by "...and it's a bit salty...", and then "...and there's a bit of fire there too"...(mostly as it said on the packet, but) I was suprised at quite how fruity it was, for me I got about half dried dates, half sultana, (plus the after-zing) which persisted for a good 5 minutes after eating (even only a tiny little taste of) it...perhaps a *little* hardcore to be referred to as "candy" in the UK though... ;)

One American colleague said - "Mmmm...this tastes exactly like Fruit Roll, do you guys have Fruit Roll over here?"...but no-one had any idea what she was talking about...another thing to try perhaps... ;)

28 May, 2008

Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret, review

So what was it like, this hotel? Well, that's fairly simple, it was (of course) staggeringly beautiful - but given the surroundings, one would have to work pretty hard to forge a "bad" hotel, however, the only neighbour that came anyway near close (from the multiple trips we made up and down the strip on pick-ups, drop-offs and waits for transfers) was the "Barcello" (not really surprising) somewhere back up the road towards Cancun (and even that wasn't quite as impressive), from the ludicrously titled "lobby" (bigger than an aircraft hanger) -
Mexico #78
Mexico #79
- where you could find one of the 10 bars, enjoy live music and the Mayan show in the early evening -
Mexico #144
- to the *many* swimming pools (5 in total), this one was our view from the balcony (in our second room) -
Mexico #95
- more through the jungle, when the blue pyramid of the pool bar greets you over the foliage -
Mexico #122
Mexico #119
Mexico #114
- and in these rooms (picture this), you could leap from the balcony straight into the water(!), the beach -
Mexico #108
- complete with that gorgeous azure Caribbean sea and whitest of white, powder-soft coral sand (if you dug down a bit you could uncover quite substantial pieces still intact) -
Mexico #
- hammocks strung around in the shade (awaiting tired guests) -
Mexico #115
Mexico #40
- the shopping "village" that followed the river right through the centre of the site -
Mexico #23
- with a multitude of (what appeared to be) independent shops and stalls -
Mexico #155
Mexico #158
Mexico #153
- and artists working and selling their wares -
Mexico #151
- everywhere teeming with wildlife, from huge shoals of brightly coloured fish in the lagoon -
Mexico #45
- past the kind that reply if you say "Ola" to them -
Mexico #56
- the huge iguanas that are as prolific as cats in a European resort (if one were visiting Spain or Corfu) -
Mexico #57
Mexico #92
- and other miscellaneous fauna -
Mexico #59
Mexico #68
Mexico #100
- including these rather cheeky birds who lurk at any restaurant they can find hoping to avail themselves of the small (but inevitable) gap between guest standing up and waiter reaching the table with his tray -
Mexico #74
- they redeem themselves fully, though, by cutely wiping their beaks (on both sides) after they have finished eating or drinking whatever they have stolen... ;)

There are ample facilities (and plenty to do if you *did* just want to stay in the hotel) -
Mexico #112
- and even a "Wally Trolley" to ferry you around the place if you are feeling lazy (as the site is *rather* large) -
Mexico #110
If there were to be any negatives at all they would have to be the fact that there was a bit of a lack of co-operation/communication between the various hotel departments (reception, when we decided to move rooms took almost 48 hours to get housekeeping to turn the new room over for us), and at times the food fell into the questionable domain (not a great deal of choice for vegetarians for example), but the restaurants on site probably deserve a posting of their own...so more to follow... ;)

Click here for my first impressions of Mexico upon landing...

Update - Click here to see our visit to a 100 ft deep cenote!

Update Update - Click here to take a walk with us around the Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itza (a wonder of the modern world)...!

Update Update Update - Join us as we saw the incredible sights of Tulum!

Update Update Update Update - Don your eye-patch and grab your parrot for the Captain Hook Cruise in Cancun bay!

Even more updates - too many to list, so click here to see the rest of the honeymoon as a photo essay...

27 May, 2008

Mexico - First Impressions

So dragging our rifled luggage, we wade our way through a veritable sea of people attempting to court our attention (others around us, not so wiley, falling prey) until finally we spot someone in a blue shirt (airport staff) who direct us to the salida (exit), where we find about 20 people in our travel agents colours. Normally one would expect to find only a small handful, but in this case each couple/family who emerge were swiftly allocated their own guide (to stop too many people being collared by private taxi firms or car hire companies in their early bafflement) -
Mexico #17
- and, trying out my first few words in Spanish with our guide (quickly being corrected as I was incorrectly using the masculine when speaking to a woman ("Poco" instead of "Pocalina")...whoops!) we were ushered (safely) to our coach -
Mexico #18
- so first impressions of Mexico? Very hot, very humid (like spending all day in a butterfly house), a little intimidating, a little confusing...The coach slowly filled up as *most* people managed to evade the vultures and then we pulled away, almost immediately joining what I can only describe as a "freeway", the strong flavour of Spain that was most obvious at the airport here revealed itself to have an overriding aftertaste of the USA - we passed McDonalds, Seven-Eleven, Dominos, the vehicles on the road badged with Dodge, Ford, recycled American school buses and classic 18-Wheelers...the roads themselves, well, let's just say the Mexicans could have taught the Romans a thing or two...mile after mile and absolutely ruler-straight, you come to an intersection, peer to the right or left, and at 90 degree angles off the joining streets and avenues disappear to the horizon...the only real difference is that every couple of kilometres everything grinds to a halt when meeting a (clearly signposted) "interrupción de la velocidad" (or "speed bump" as they turned out to be) - people here, it is explained, do not like to obey the speed limit, so it is forced upon them...

We are the second drop off, on the bus for about an hour I suppose, passing the local town (Playa del Carmen) just before we pull off into a maze of winding roads (a place of stark contrasts then) that finally reveals reception to our hotel -
Mexico #19
- which is just *staggeringly* huge -
Mexico #54
Mexico #51
- we checked in, got strapped into our "all inclusive" wrist bands and were offered a choice of rooms (nice) but not having any bearings we decided to just check out the one they had chosen for us, were then shown on a map where to go (only about a five minute walk from reception, apparently), which in execution proved to be a winding jungle trail(!) -
Mexico #49
- through which we emerged next to an incredible pool complex -
Mexico #62
- next to which was our block, so we dumped our stuff, freshened up a little and then discovered one of the slightly annoying things about being here -
Mexico #25
- the minute you step out of the air-conditioned room your camera invariably fogs up...and then remains that way for about the next 40 minutes (no matter what you do with your lens cloth), what a pain...anyway, we popped out for a spot of dinner in "Le Buffet" (the main restaurant) -
Mexico #22
- which I will cover in more detail in a later post but had a baffling array of offerings, really incredible, and then participated in a bit of the show in the main theatre -
Mexico #85
- (rudely interrupted when a group of Americans started screaming and scattering when they discovered a scorpion trying to join them in the audience) -
Mexico #86
- the show itself mostly involved a group of young ladies (one Brit, one Mexican and two Americans) - competing to become "Queen of the hotel" by running through the audience collecting items of mens clothing from the audience (against the clock) -
Mexico #87
- causing absolute chaos when the show came to an end (everyone trying to find their flip-flops and t-shirts on the stage)...a bit cheesy but it was amusing enough (certainly seen a lot worse!)...anyway, we enjoyed a few drinks at the bar and then returned to our room to find a nice welcome present from the hotel on our table -
Mexico #24
- and then attempted to get to sleep (which should have been easy enough with the extra long day we had enjoyed) only to be woken up at 4am by a load of Americans on their last night yelling at the top of their voices and running up and down the stairs outside our room...rather annoying...so we vowed to move rooms, even if only to get away from the staircase! Sleep came again (finally) and we awoke the next morning to blazing sunshine, welcome meeting to come... ;)

26 May, 2008

The honeymoon begins!

So, finally, we are -Home-...! The odd sleep-deprived nuzzle to a familiar cushion (or two) aside, I can now begin to weave for you, the start of this tale of the Caribbean...
Mexico #1
- so, all packed up - two weeks worth of (even scanty) clothes still managed to approach the weight limit, and required spreading between three bags (plus two of hand-luggage), my folks arrived to whisk us to the north terminal at Gatwick where we checked everything we could in to travel in the hold, briefly disturbed by a slightly mad looking woman who stood behind us giggling and using our luggage trolley to maintain an (almost) upright position while we were answering our security questions, then painlessly through the security checks (well, apart from me walking through the scanner too quickly and having to be frisked by hand), past the couple in front of us (who seemed to think that baby bottles full of fluid didn't have to go through the scanners in a separate clear poly-bag like everything else) - and then to get our money changed up into a frankly Del-Boy shaming wad of 1000 Peso notes (which probably would have split my wallet had I tried to cram it all in)...Flyingpops did a little shopping (hats and things), I did a little shopping (more books) and then we made our way to the gate (which was very nearby despite the warning to leave 10 minutes to get there), waited for those (now spare) minutes to tick by, and then boarded the little bus that was to ferry us to the plane -
Mexico #3
- much less crowded than the Jubilee Line -
Mexico #11
- went to find our seats (payed for pre-allocated extra legroom ones, as I am tall enough to genuinely need it and we checked, it's actually significantly more legroom there than even in the premiere class up front, so a good tip if you want to save a bit of cash and also need somewhere to keep your feet during the long flight)... ;)

As we were unpacking our books (etc.) for the journey and adjusting our seat belts, I was a little aggrieved to spot the slightly crazy looking woman from check-in swanning past us, still giggling inanely, collapsing half onto her innocent neighbour as she fell into her seat a few rows behind us (making me roll my eyes just very slightly)...anyway, the crew got on with their checks - closing all the luggage rack doors, performing final make-up adjustments) as Flyingpops and I failed to work our how the screen for the entertainment system was supposed to pop up (ours being under the seat as there were no seats in front of us for them to be mounted into, only a bulkhead) when the in flight safety demonstration was announced - we politely turned at least 35% our attention over to watch the so-familiar-as-to-be-cliched "this is how you close, tighten and release", "in the unlikely event...exits are to be found here, here and here", etc. when suddenly, I felt someone brush past me...the crazy woman, bent absolutely double (as if she thought she were somehow invisible by doing so), running up the narrow walkway towards the toilet! Cabin crew members exchanged extremely flustered ("urm, this isn't supposed to happen!") glances, one then running to intercept calling "Madam, everyone must watch this presentation! Please Madam!", but before she could be stopped, the toilet door was slammed shut and locked - Astonished cabin crew member on one side (still clutching her uselessly dangling demonstration seat belt) and the crazy woman on the other...

They didn't, as I thought they might, force the door open (there must be a way in case of an actual emergency), but instead, a slightly "Julian Clary" voice came over the tannoy system "Well, I'm very sorry ladies and gentlemen, but it looks like one of our passengers has decided to ignore the 30 second safety demonstration and barricade herself in the toilet, and regulations state that everyone on board must watch the display. I apologise for the delay she is causing and I hope we don't miss our departure slot as a result"...a pause..."while she finishes whatever she is doing in there"...

When she came out (rubbing her nose) she got an ironic slow round of applause from a number of passengers, but she seemed not to mind at all, falling back into her seat to a number of hard stares (including mine) and at least one desperate "Don't look at me, we aren't together!" look from the chap lucky enough to be sat next to her...

Anyway, that excitement over, the next 11 hours (across six time zones) passed quite quickly and uneventfully (GTA on the PSP until the battery ran out, then Pokemon Diamond on the NDS until I got bored of it)...the landing into Cancun airport was a *hell* of a bumpy one, but apparently thanks to the thermals caused by the heat and humidity it's never trivial...I was feeling thoroughly sick by the time we almost crashed onto the tarmac - to say I was relieved to disembark would be an understatement -
Mexico #12
- and Oh-Boy was it hot, I rolled up my jogging bottoms as best I could to get a little ventilation-
Mexico #14
- took another little bus to the main airport building -
Mexico #15
- where we spent five minutes with about 40 other people sat on the floor (sharing pens) correcting the customs forms we had filled out incorrectly on the plane, collected our bags (their little luggage carousel was woefully small, meaning bags kept on falling off or getting stuck), but eventually we got to the final x-ray check where, before you are allowed to enter Mexico, you press a "customs lottery button", it comes up either green (go right in), or red (go and have your bag searched), I went through fine and started to put the passports and things away, only to spot a very flustered Flyingpops being waved on by a man with a large automatic weapon after having had to surrender to (an albeit cursory) bag search...and then there we were, hot, phased, slightly flustered and armed with warnings about who we should talk to from this point onward ("Only people in blue shirts, anyone else could be a scammer or opportunist")...

"Oh and welcome to Mexico Senior"...

More later... ;)

24 May, 2008

Back home!

Just churning through endless loads of clothes washing and sorting through the pictures now (took 3264 between us)! Suffice it to say, Mexico is an absolutely *incredible* place, pics and all the details as soon as I can find some time! Check on Flickr if you want a sneak peek... ;)

09 May, 2008

Fink's Links #14

Well, this is a bit of an experiment, according to Blogger news it should now be possible to set up posts to automatically happen at future dates...so no, I'm not blogging from Gatwick airport (where my future self is now reclining, enjoying a cooked breakfast of some sort, or perhaps browsing through the book shop), I actually typed and posted this yesterday as a little experiment...

So, without further ado, some of the things I discovered that amused me while trying to sort out all the tangled cables of the internet during the last week -

Lets start with the discovery of a treasure laden ship-wreck in Namibia, finds included astrolabes (plural) - incredible as you can count the number of astrolabes recovered from wrecks (since people sailing around in boats began) using only seven of your little pinkies...

Watch a nice bit of footage (causing geekasms to thunder across the interweb) of an R2-D2 shaped, remotely operable home theatre system (and yes, you can even drive it around using it's accompanying 'Falcon' shaped controller)...

£20 solar charger for all your pocket goodies? It's good to recharge a mobile phone twice before it's internal battery runs out, recharges itself fully after 12 hours sat in the sunshine (not bad for the price) and comes equipped with every sort of charger cable adaptor you can imagine including female USB...

A nice high-res look at the recent "Cans festival" (Banksy et al decorate Leake Street thus immediately turning it into a major tourist attraction)...

Wired take a look at some of the recent developments in (occasionally rather odd) survival gear...

Following the theme with a scattering of fairly odd vending machines from around the globe...

Now how about a (far too short) glimpse of the "Catacombs of Paris" (yes, the French have recently renovated and reopened their medieval mass graves to visiting tourists)...wtf?

You probably saw it already, but the "Dirty thunderstorm" that sprang to life in the dust cloud when mount Chaitén volcano erupted is definitely worth a second peek (a rather rare and staggeringly apocolyptical phenomenon)...

...and finally, a few tasty morsels of "Guerilla Marketing gone wrong"...om nom nom nom...

If I don't post again before we get back (sure we will manage one or two), I hope the UK continues to see the unseasonally good weather and everyone has a great time while we are away!

Adiós amigos!

No More Sleeps to go!

Morning All.

Suitcases now all packed and we are off to Mexico..
the best wedding present in the world so thank you everyone :)

See you when we return, where there will be lots of photos and stories to share!

Enjoy the net 2 weeks.


Mr & Mrs Finkangel


08 May, 2008

One more sleep to go...!

...last few bits of preparation coming together (a little late for Flyingpops' liking) for the trip - the final checking of holiday clothes, selection of books, packing and weighing of suitcases took place last night...I've just fixed the holiday insurance, which was due to finish a day too early (well spotted Flyingpops) thanks to the odd duration of our break (15 nights instead of the more traditional 14), well, not fixed actually, had to completely cancel the "deal" and take out a custom policy which was about £20 more expensive, but it's just not done to travel without it (so there we go)...

This morning I got to the bank at Canary Wharf just before 8am and was amazed (and very pleased) to discover doors wide open, lights on and several personal bankers already on duty who helped me set up a standing order (so the mortgage gets paid while we are away) and transfer the spending money into an account where I could actually withdraw it (subsequently discovered that Flyingpops had already done that bit, so will need to put some of it back again, but at least it was nice to discover that this sort of service exists for the busy denizens of "The Wharf", can't think of many other places, even globally, where that would be possible!), just need to nip out at lunchtime to the other branch to actually get my hands on the cash (as my card has a daily withdrawal limit that for these purposes is a little too agressive)...

Roll on tomorrow!

07 May, 2008

Honeymoon destination!

Occidental Grand Xcaret
So, this is the destination for the honeymoon, the "Occidental Grand Xcaret", it's about a one hour transfer from Cancun, and is situated minutes away from the resort town of Playa del Carmen and Xcaret Park (which boasts an interesting mix of Mayan ruins and a water park, including two underground rivers that can be snorkled along, if desired, and dolphins to be swum with)...Nearby are the spectacular ruins at Tulum, Xel Ha and Chichen Itza...Jungle adventures including zip-lining, Jeep Safari and Quad Bike experiences are available...

The hotel itself has 11 international restaurants (including Le Buffet, Senora Grill, Los Olivos, La Hacienda, D'Oriental, La Pizzeria, El Pescador, Paco's Tacos, El Lago and the Royal Club), 10 bars (including one in a pool), 5 of the aforementioned swimming pools, 10 whirlpools, spa and sauna/steam room and a private secluded beach.

Free activities include archery, mini-golf, tennis, a gym, volleyball, dance lessons, yoga and aerobics...(which all sounds terribly tiring)...

Current weather in Cancun is 24 degrees, 86% humidity (sounds good) although it can get as hot as 36 degrees at this time of year (although hopefully it stays cooler)!

You'll just have to imagine what it's like until I get back though, as internet access is rather limited, so posting over the next fortnight will be sporadic at best...

Two more sleeps to go! ;)

06 May, 2008

Weekend update

Earlswood station
Well, I hope everyone else enjoyed their weekends as much as I did, mine was taken up having 9am lay-ins, shopping for the honeymoon (socks & pants/indegestion medicine/deet), getting about half way through packing my clothes, finding the US power socket converters, finishing the game "Mass Effect" on the 360 (very, very impressed, looking forward to part 2), enjoying the wonderful weather (even drying some washing on the line in the garden) and then producing two loaves of bread (in the bread maker my folks dropped off while we were out shopping on Saturday - thank you!) one of which came out half still flour (as I hadn't attached one of the stirrers properly), and the second one of which completely collapsed in the middle (and no, I didn't open the lid, and yes, I did measure the ingredients perfectly, right down to leveling the cups off with a knife)...maybe my water wasn't quite 21 degrees, dunno...Anyway *half* of the first loaf was lovely, and the collapsed one (although a bit of a funny shape) is still perfectly edible, so a partial success (I have sandwiches made from it in my rucksack)...I guess perfect bread will follow with some experimentation with ingredients (I bought Tesco's own everything for my initial trials)...can't quite believe I didn't take any pictures, but there we go... ;)

3 sleeps to go until Mexico! <:0

02 May, 2008

Fink's Links #13

So another week draws to a close (why are they going so quickly at the moment? Time should be absolutely crawling along with Mexico on the horizon!) and therefore it's time for another collection of goodies from the ever-changing series of tubes I lovingly refer to as my interwebnetspages...

Okay, lets get this week underway by brushing the cats out of the way first, so may I introduce you to Libby, the Seeing Eye Cat...and a Flickr user about to discover what it's like "When Cats Attack!"...

An amazing bit of Pixel street art...

"The case of the smiley face - Could there be a calculated, cross-country plot to kill young college men, including some in Minnesota? It seems a little hard to believe, but two New York detectives say they can prove it".

Some correctly titled "really stunning pictures and photos"...

Now, and I know this is very, *very* old, having mentioned the sequel to the Hitchikers Guide game last week, if you fancy playing the original, the BBC have a rather nice version of it here (with graphics), or you can play the *original* original here (if you have Java installed)...

Something that makes me want to throw my dummy on the floor and cry "Wah! I want one!"...

Would you be interested to read the replies that came back to a man who posed as 10 year old boy and wrote to American serial killers for advice on his school career?

Enjoy the preposterous sign to the right of the entrance to the National Association of Telemarketers HQ...

Take a trip with me to the "Anotomical theatre", and spend some time looking through the picture gallery of their spooky collection of relics...

Now how about sneaking round an abandoned police station in Detroit? It's like the shots you see of the buildings around Chernobil, everything just *left*, in this case meaning evidence (including guns, ammo and drugs), photos and files, even all the riot gear (including cansiters of something called "Pepper Fog")...how can this have happened in America? Surely things aren't *that* bad over there? He's crept into a lot of other buildings in that collapsing city too, if you like this sort of thing... ;)

Now, restore your feeling of wellbeing with a nice cup of tea, made with the help of your automatic Tea Bag remover...?

...and finally, a really imaginative 8-bit game-style picture entitled "underneath it all"...(don't miss the flip button)... ;)

There won't be any links for the next few weeks, because of the aforementioned honeymoon trip to Mexico, so more next month I guess!

Previous entries can be found here...

01 May, 2008

"Original Form" - sculpture, Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf #3

Time for another of my local sculptures now, this one, called "Original Form" was carved by Salisbury resident Keith Rand (an ex-cartographic surveyor, turned artist) in 1999. It's set by the bank at West India Dock (in fact almost below West India DLR station) and from the sounds of things was formed from a single Douglas Fir tree (obtained through the forestry commission), which is incredible, because even from fairly nearby (in fact, until you get very close) it's almost impossible to assume it's anything other than purely rusted metal.

Knowing a little more about it, it's actully much more impressive, had I troubled myself to go over and actually make contact with the piece before just assuming what it was constructed from I would have been both suprised and extremly impressed at the efforts gone to in order to construct it (even before discovering that the artist likes to work using the same tools that violin makers favour)...in my mind, it being made from cast iron turned it into a smaller object somehow...as for the name...for those that carve, I suppose the challenge is to find the shape hidden within the object you start with, in this case, the outline and vague shape of the trunk have been retained (so I conclude that we were supposed to *know* what it was made from (whoops!)), then, if you look at the openings the artist has created, (I, anyway) seem to feel a resemblance to burst seed pods, so perhaps a hint at the circular form of nature? Maybe I'm reading too much into it... ;)

It's a lovely thing anyway, just a shame it's a bit hidden away where it has been situated...