Saturday, 8 May 2010

Where is the year going?

Another week gone, another looking back and thinking where on earth did the time go...
For the first time this year I actually managed to get my head into gear and take the camera out.  Considering what I have spent on it over the years it's a woefully underused peice of kit - but I have just not had the 'umph' to get out there and take shots.  That changed on Wednesday evening.  I was going stir crazy, Mrs Stace was ill sleeping on the sofa and the sun was shining.  I took the camera to the lake near the house and spent an hour doing the 3km cirlce around it playing with verious shots.
Some worked, some failed miserably, some will make it onto my flickr page when I can be bothered to update it (just such a shame that I don't feel ready to link the male me of my Flickr page to the blog just yet...).  But here are three of my favorites.
The last is supposed to have lens flare BTW - I was playing :)
A first for me was actually aproaching a complete stranger and asking if I could take some shots - a father and son were playing with radio controlled beach buggies and i managed to get a few action shots before they broke (a screw came of the steering servo).  Here's the best of the action shots, taken at a very uncomfortable angle.
(For those interested the camera is an EOS 5D, with a Sigma EX DG 70-200mm f2.8 lens - for those not it's a neck breaking camera :p )

Actually getting the energy to go out there and do this has really meant something to me - I love photography, and I love playing with the camera.  Not having the drive to do that this year has got to me somewhat - but I just could not get the energy to just take the camera out.  Hopefully I can start doing more and more now I've started.

Other than that it's been a bit of a 'meh' week with not that much happenning.

I have been watching the election with interest...  And found that my views on politics have changed so much over the last 11 years since I left.

When I moved to Holland I thought the proportional representation was a little odd.  Roll on 11 years and I think the first past the post is just plain wrong.  Labour and Lib dem being so close in % of the vote, but so far away in terms of seats just shows how wrong it is.

But I am not sure how you could improve it in the UK.  The idea of the Lib Dems just seems overly complex - I just don't see the electorate getting the idea behind it, and I think ranking politicians on a ballot paper is just plain odd.

I like the Dutch system, you have a list of MP's that you can vote for - but you are actually just voting for the party itself and not an MP.  You get the amount of seats in parliment that you vote garners.  10% of the votes 10% of the seats.  Yes this does mean that there is a much higher chance of a hung parliment - but coalitions here are second nature - yes the breakdown of coalitions have brought the goverment down 4 times in my time here (the best not lasting 100 days...) But it does seem to work *well enough*.

I don't see it working in the UK though.  There is no local MP where I live.  You vote for a nationwide MP, and I am not sure that would wash in the UK (not that local MP's reall do that much for their local constituancy from what I can tell...)

Holly crap!  How much do train tickets cost in the UK!!!  Just watching breakfast and they have shown a special on ticket prices, and companies chaning more trains to unregulated 'Peak' services.

Manchester to London retrun (from what I can tell +/- 400 miles round trip).

For comparison, my car is not fiel efficient - I picked it for comfort and power not fugality.  On the motorway I get +/- 33MPG (if my conversion from 8.6l/100km is correct) which gives me +/- 11 gallons at a cost of +/- 60 GBP.

Previously the peak fair was 66 (already more than petrol, not sure what the parking charges are), it has more than quadrupled to over 260.  260!!!  I can fly from Schiphol to almost any airport in the UK for that with 2 people!  That means for me to take my petrol guzzelling car to London from Manchester I would have to pay more than 200GBP on parking just to break even with the train.  If I traded in my T5 for something a little more frugal (like a 2.0d version of the V50) it would be even worse.  Why do people still use the train in the UK?

To put that into perspective...  Leeuwarden (in the north of the Netherlands) to Maastrict (in the south) about 200 miles and a return is 45 euros.  No matter what time of day you travel, not matter howlong in advance you know you are going to be travelling.  I can't drive the distance for that amoutn of money hence the train suddenly becomes attrative.  They do have discount tickets over here - and yes they can only be used off peak (after 9am) - at which point it's 27 euros.

Sorry a bit of a rant there - but I just don't get trains in the UK!

Have a good weekend all - I'm going for a run now :)


  1. My brother-in-law gave me one of those radio controlled cars for Christmas one year. I used to drive my cat crazy. It was the one thing he was afraid of. ;-)

    Melissa XX

  2. P.S.

    Stace, I forgot to tell you, beautiful pictures!

    Melissa XX

  3. I have a radio controlled car in the attic that's left over from my university days. I occasionally fire it up and drive it artound the living room. Our cat just doesn't know what to make of it. Unlike the hoover, where he just scarpers to the saftey he hides in a corner and watches the car, coming and giving it a swipe when it stops :)

    And thanks - I'm going to hope for some nice weather over the weekend and maybe go to a nice town center looking for some shots.