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.

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.