Old York City

Another scanned negative photograph from my recent day trip to York.  Again, taken on Rollei Retro 400S 35mm film, loaded into the 50p camera (Olympus XA2), then developed in LC29.

The 400S as I keep saying, is so difficult to work with, but it produces results that I like - at least when I get the light right.  It often makes old brickwork and building features look very aesthetic, in a way that I enjoy looking at.  I guess that is what it is about.  Creating images that I like to look at.  Not IQ or HD.

Beware of Lurking Llamas

I took the above photograph in York a week or two ago.  Llamas (or is an alpaca), can be dangerous creatures in the street.  They wait for you behind corners, then pounce.  There goes his chips.

Taken on my 50p car boot sale camera, the incredible, thirty five year old Olympus XA2 pocket camera, loaded with that equally magical Rollei Retro 400S 35mm film.  Developed in Ilford LC29.  I find that 400S film, is not only very high contrast, but it tends to under expose.  Therefore, I set the XA2 to expose for ISO 200 film, and add an extra minute onto development time.

I thought that it would make a bit of a break from the serious looking heritage and genealogy stuff.

Car Boot Sale Cameras

There is something very satisfying about making pleasant images using cheap old film cameras.  I took the above photograph of our young lurcher, a little over three years ago, when I returned to film.  I was using a 1959 Kodak Retinette IIa camera, that cost me two quid from a car boot sale, loaded with Poundland film.  This is why I became hooked on film.

18th February 2016


I took the above photograph using Ilford Delta Professional 400 film, loaded in the Bronica SQ-A, fitted with a PS 150mm f/4 lens.  I developed the film in Kodak D-76 t 1:1.

I've fallen into such a bad state with my photography.  I feel as though I have lost my ability to take interesting photos any more.  I've hardly touched medium format for a while.  When I do photograph, it's mainly using 35mm film compacts.  I do have a couple of cassettes of Rollei Retro 400S to develop some time.  Mainly shot on a recent day trip to York.  I don't expect any of my shots to be particularly magic though.

Running with dogs

The running is going well.  I still struggle to stop the lurcher from pissing at every tree, lamppost, hedge, but our times have improved something closer to my old running times.  My weight loss haltered for a while - stuck at the 11 stone 8 pounds mark for too long.  However, weight loss is not my object so much as health and fitness.  Still, I was pleased when I stood on the scales today and saw 11 stone 5 pounds.  Cool.  That's a healthy BMI of 24.  It was a very unhealthy 29 back in November.

The blender is cool.  I'm glad that I went for the 1200 W monster.  It chews and spits everything in it's path.  I've found it handy not only for making smoothies, but equally, healthy quick soups.  I simply load it with whatever vegetables are at hand, add some stock - and blend it just like a smoothie - but then I put it into a pan and cook it for a little while on the stove.


My paper ancestry continues to expand, thanks mainly to searchable indexes online.  I now have no less than thirty of my thirty two G.G.G grandparents named.  The only two that are still missing on the fan chart are unlikely to ever surface, as in both cases, the ancestors were illegitimate.  I think that I've done well since recovering my old .gedcom file from the Internet. How many people can name thirty of their great great great grandparents?  Five generations back no less.

One challenge was breaking through an old block with my great great grandmother Ann Smith of Attleborough, Norfolk.  Years ago, I hit a block.  I knew her 1835 birth date from her headstone in Attleborough.  I knew that her maiden name was Peach - not a local name.  I knew on 19th Century censuses that she stated her place of birth to be Eaton, Lincolnshire.  That was a bit odd for my Norfolk ancestors.  I had found her on one census, living in the same household as a Sarah Peach that appeared old enough to be her mother, or maybe an aunt.  Only that Sarah Peach was a washer woman that had been born in Hockwold, Norfolk.

A recent search online, bit by bit, placed all of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together.  Sarah was the mother of Ann.  Sarah Peach was one of my G.G.G grandparents.  But Peach was her married name.  Despite being described on censuses as unmarried, she had briefly been married in the East Midlands.  Something happened to that marriage.  She was born in Hockwold, Norfolk in 1812, and christened as Sarah Riches.   Her parents were Benjamin Riches, a labourer who himself had been born c.1779 at Old Buckenham, Norfolk, and Elizabeth Riches (nee Snelling) who had been born at Banham, Norfolk.  Something later took Sarah Riches out of Norfolk, all the way to the Lincolnshire area.  In 1835 at Holywell in the East Midlands, she married a David Peach. Five months later, their daughter Ann Peach was born not at Eaton in Lincolnshire, but at Etton in what is now Cambridgeshire.  I never see David Peach again.  Instead, Sarah and her daughter Ann turned up six years later in Attleborough, Norfolk, living there with her parents who had moved there from nearby Hockham. 

Ann went on to marry my great great grandfather in 1857.  They settled in Attleborough, where they went on to run a builders business, a beerhouse, and a builders supply yard - all from the Grapes in the town.

Her mother Sarah didn't disappear.  She never married again, but she did give birth to two more children.  She worked throughout as a char woman or laundress in Attleborough.

Another mystery solved, and another pair of G.G.G grandparents into the bag.

Now when I eventually get my DNA results from 23andMe (33 days so far), I'll have a good idea of where that autosomal DNA came from.

Gramps software

I'm a big fan of Open Source.  I do run Linux on my netbook, but I do use Microsoft 7 64 bit on a desktop for various reasons.  When I need some software, I like to see what Open Source software is available first.  I needed a program to open that .gedcom, and downloaded GRAMPS both onto my Linux netbook, and onto my Windows PC.

What a cracking program!  The controls and depth of the database can be a little intimidating.  I can see that it is one of those applications that needs a bit of skill.  However, so much depth to it, so many ways of logging sources, citations, places, and relationships.  Brilliant software, who needs to buy an end user license?  More on Gramps here.

1st February 2016


The above photograph was captured on my favourite little Olympus XA2, loaded with Rollei retro 400S film.  I have been really concentrating the past three months on compact camera 35mm b/w photography.  On one hand, I use the Yashica T2 AF compact, loaded with Kodak Tmax 400, that I then develop in Kodak Tmax developer; on the other hand, I use the XA2 loaded with Rollei Retro 400S, that I usually develop in Ilford LC29.

The Tmax camera produces smooth, clean, "nice" b/w negatives.  The Retro 400S camera produces high contrast, rough and ready negatives, that often suffer from underexposed / under developed - but above all, high contrast and grainy.  On the latest couple of films, I've been setting the XA2 exposure one stop up to ISO 200, and I've added a minute to developing time.  They look better.  However, it is because Retro 400S looks so odd and high contrast that attracts me to it.  It makes interesting images.  The film (as I understand), was initially produced for aviation aerial photography, and has near infrared range - for better cloud and mist penetration.  Even with no infra red filter, it produces some interesting infra red-like results.  I like it so much, I recently bought a ten pack.

Running with dogs

I've just completing my 23rd run in the campaign.  Last month, with the dogs, I ran over 60 miles.  Go our canicross team.  I feel pretty confident at keeping it up.  I have let the strength training go, but I'll pick that up again when I feel ready.  Nutrition plans, I've been pretty good.  Okay, I slip a little from time to time, but I have eaten one hell of a lot of vegetables and fruit over the past three months.  Weight loss really slowed down after losing a stone and a half.  I'm lucky to lose a pound a week.  Still, I'm not going to let it put me off.  This is a long term thing, not just a weight loss diet.

The below image is from Rollei Retro 400S in the XA2.


 Right at the moment I'm feeling a little concerned and annoyed with 23andMe.com.  I don't think that they are really looking after their European or outside-of-the-USA customers as well as they should be if they are serious about our markets.  All information, updates, and shipping appear to be two class - USA, and Others.  I'll let this journal know how it goes, and to be fair, it is early days.

On the paper maternal genealogy chase, I have today received from the GRO, a copy of the marriage certificate between my great great great grandparents, Reuben Daynes, and Sarah Quantrill, on the 26th April 1848, at Besthorpe parish church.  Reuben's father is confirmed as Reuben Daynes (senior).  It tells me that Reuben Dayne senior was actually a publican.  Sarah's father was a Robert Quantrill, a labourer.

In my search for my mtDNA line, I must return to the Norfolk Record Office next, and search for a family of Quantrill's, headed by a Robert Quantrill.  On more than one census, Sarah claimed that she was born at Wymondham, Norfolk, around 1827.  I'll first look for baptisms of any Quantrill children in Wymondham or Besthorpe, around 1815 - 1840.  I have seen what may have been my Sarah, staying with a family of Long's in Wymondham, age 13, in the 1841 census.

The above photo, taken on the Yashica T2/Tmax 400 film, is of my mother, my surviving mtDNA donor, standing next to (not the donkeys) a headstone for a William Quantrell.  I don't yet know if he was a relative, but this is at Besthorpe church last week, and this William was several years older than my Sarah.  He could potentially be an older brother of Sarah, and therefore my G.G.G.G uncle.  If he indeed is, then his bones in that graveyard would contain the same lineage of mtDNA as myself and my mother here.

A pug, and my b/w film photography

The Flickr Explore algorithm and it's fans appear to like this photograph today.  A pug in the town.  Pugs are apparently very in at the moment.  I captured this last week on Kodak Tmax 400 film, loaded into my Yashica T2.  I developed it in Kodak Tmax developer.  I'm not too sure that I like that developer, perhaps I should increase developing time, I like a little more contrast on my negatives.

I haven't actually discussed my photography much in this new blog have I?  I feel as though I did that enough on my previous blog, The Tight Fisted Photographer.  However of course I haven't any intention of walking away from b/w film photography.

My B/W Film Photography

Just for the sake of any future voyeurs who stumble onto this journal.  I'm living in 2016, the Age of Digital, the Binary Age.  I don't have any problems with that, obviously I am embracing it in the form of this web-blog and in sharing my images on Flickr.  I have a smartphone, and I even use a Go Pro from time to time.  I was actually a pretty early fan of fully digital photography.  I'd even say that although I spent the first forty years of my life, living during the great Age of Film, that it was with fully digital cameras, that I became more enthusiastic about photography, and for example, learned to experiment much more with exposure methods, composition, and the technology itself.

Yet, unless I need a quick, easy, colourful and technical image, I rarely bother with digital cameras anymore.  Why?  They no longer scratch my itch so to speak.  I enjoy the technology, and the process, of hybrid film photography.  Not only that, but I've come to appreciate, even to love, the results, the photographs, the argent tones of b/w film photography - even those that have been digitally scanned from negatives or prints.  I want to record the rest of my life, and my world experience, onto the silver salts of b/w negative film.

It goes against the grain (there's a pun there), but I don't like where photography is going.  I don't like the mainstream of what goes up on Flickr or in photography club exhibitions.  So much gloss, shiny, sharp, magazine inspired, technically perfect, but boring dross (in my eyes).  So much emphasis on post process software.  HDR makes my eyes bleed.  Thankfully, not all photography enthusiasts have been seduced by the gear markets.  You can still find some great images there, many of them shot on film.

No.  as long as I can buy b/w film, I'll stick to the salts of silver.  It is a matter of personal taste.

The above photograph I took on Ilford FP4+ film, exposed in my Bronica SQ-A with the PS 150mm f/4 lens attached.  This guy appears to be embracing digital photography, but it looks as though He is trying to use the LCD as an optical viewfinder.  He was concentrating so hard, he never even noticed me creep up to him and steal this candid.  I love this photo.

Losing weight

Looking down the Fen

I took the above photograph on the recent day trip to Huntingdon.  Taken between Warboys and Chatteris, I couldn't resist the shadows that the late sun was making that day.  Yashica T2 compact 35mm camera, loaded with Kodak Tmax 400 film, developed in Kodak Tmax developer.

Losing Weight

As I hover over the 12 stone mark (I was 13 stone 9 pounds in late November), the scales teasing me, I am considering weight loss as a subject.  Anita recently told me that a friend has just completed a week long fast, and is now embarking on some kind of ketosis programme, before she fasts again!

I guess that it's her health and body.  My system is really simple.  Eat super healthy and natural, with a large variety of vegetables and fruits, and some regular seeds, nuts, and whole grains. No processed meat.  No cheap red meat, instead, more fish, wild meat, some eggs, some dairy.  Then start an exercise program that makes you feel good, and that you enjoy.  Mine is running like a mad man through the countryside, strapped to a pair of hounds.  That burns calories okay.

Does it work?  Well I did it before, and I kept up the exercise and pretty much the healthy eating for around four years.  Even when I let myself go again, I know that I would make more of an effort to eat vegetables and fruit, so it took another five to six years, before I ended up close to where I started ten years earlier.  That effort was worth it.  It's not like a fad diet, where you chuck off the pounds, suffer from hunger, then stuff yourself after you hit your target weight - until you were fatter than when you started six months earlier.

I have on rare occasions,taken a 24 hour fast.  I'm not even convinced that it is a good thing.  A week?  I'd imagine that really hits your lean weight as well as your fat.  Bone, muscles, organs - your heart, I can see them suffering.  Why can't some people just avoid the cakes, and make a point out of getting out of breath a few times per week?  I really do not rate any diet plan that does nothing to increase consumption of the greens and berries.  If I stopped losing weight, it is either because I'm near enough to a healthy lean mass, or because I either / or need to:
  • Step up the activity.  Keep more active, or increase the exercise
  • Reduce calorific consumption.  Eat enough plants and you shouldn't need to, as they are low calorie and packed with fibre.  However, if I want to reduce fat further, I might calorie count, and carefully reduce my calorific consumption.

You know why?  Because losing the fat is 90% simply energy in - energy out.  Screw shit science and fad dieting.

Running with Dogs No.17

Ran the dog's favourite route this morning, 4.5 miles, 45 minutes.  It felt like an average to poor run, but we finally reached an average of 6 mph.  When I use to canicross run several years ago, I'd usually get around 6.2 mph, but I'm getting there.  I'm not sure if Flint will ever stop trying to piss up every tree though.  Loki though - I'd race canicross with that little dog, he'd be fine.

Below is a Youtube video that I made six years ago.  I was running with my old dogs, Wolfy, a large siberian husky, and Belle, a small dalmatian.  They are retired and living with my ex now.  It actually upsets me a little to see these videos, but even now I'm fifty four (so I'm told), there is no reason that I can't do it again.

The Mandolin

I haven't mentioned the mandolin yet have I?  I'm on the waiting list for a new, custom made, hand crafted wooden mandolin.  I have a very, very good guitar maker and luthier, a mere two or three miles away.  Gary Nava of Nava Guitars.  I've asked Gary to order some British hand crafted tuners from Robson Tuners, to be fitted to my mandolin.  The tuners are perhaps an extravagance.  But as much as feasible, I want my dream mandolin to be hand crafted.  Gary will be making the tailpiece himself.  I'm still considering woods, although I'm thinking Pao Ferro if he still has any, for back and sides.  Maybe Spruce for top.  This instrument is going to be my one instrument, that I want to use for the remainder of my life.