Bath Abbey

Originally uploaded by rutty.

I love holidays, especially city trips. You don’t have to go far to have fun, or even spend too long in your destination, but I think it’s very important to have regular breaks away.

This last weekend we spent one night away in Bath. It’s not even very far to Bath, but we managed to get a £26 special at a Travelodge and did some of the tourist thing around this rather beautiful city.

If you’ve never been you really have to visit. The forefathers and current local government have been very clever. They’ve managed to retain much of the charm of the local buildings and traditions even while progress has marched on. Most buildings are still built in the local Bathstone (a type of Limestone that’s very light in colour) and it just makes the whole city look very elegant and stylish.

There’s much to see but you must visit the Abbey (pictured here in an experimental long exposure shot) and the Roman Baths. There are plenty of other places to see too and I took hundreds of photos while I was there. I’m yet to upload many others but I’ll do that over the next couple of days.

It’s a must-visit place though. Get going!


While my cornet gently weeps

Things have been very quiet on here for a while. I’ve had loads of stuff going on, mostly related to band, photography and girlfriend (not necessarily in that order) but it’s about time I added something new.

The weekend before last saw me competing in the Butlins Mineworkers’ Contest in Skegness. This isn’t a competition to see who can mine the most coal in a set time period, but rather a brass band contest centred around bands with a history of coal mining. My band, Carlton Brass, doesn’t (we’ve got the railways in our past) but as the collierys have dwindled so have the bands and so the contest entry has widened to encapsulate anyone.

Skegness is a little bit too bracing in January but this doesn’t seem to affect the temperatures in the bar or in the contest venues. We all had a great time despite the overpriced, shitty beer and howling winds. Some of the entertainment was very good (see my photos of the weekend HERE) and we were pleased to finish a very respectable third out of seventeen in our section.

I’ll revise that statement. We were actually initially disappointed with third place. We’d played very well on stage and were hoping for the win. In the end I think that second or third was about right but as we’ve had a lot of success over the years, and even won this contest two years ago, third place starts to disappoint a little bit. We’ll just have to cut out those little mistakes that cost us and win the sodding thing next year.

We’ll be back next year for certain. It’s too much fun to miss.

The Burning Crusade

The Burning Crusade – Day 26

Originally uploaded by rutty.

World of Warcraft got better this week with the release of the first Expansion, The Burning Crusade.

Expect no end of pale-faced geeks to spending even more time sat in front of their PCs running around in a fantasy world hitting things with swords, maces and other pointy objects. At least, that’s what I’m going to be doing.

The thing is, this isn’t just a geek’s game. Blizzard tell us that there are 8 million people that have subscribed. 8 million! This is a hugely popular game and even though it does stem from the fantasy genre there’s a huge interest in this from “normal” society too.

It’s a social game. OK, you can play solo if you want but there’s a far more rewarding game experience if you group up with other people. In-game chat is integrated into the user-interface and as long as you turn off the General Chat channel then you can usually tune down the many clueless idiots to just background noise.

There’s lots of fighting of course. Much of it is repetitive, true, but if you’re in a good Guild or play with like-minded people then you’ll pass the time rather nicely. It’s not all about shiny loot and gold, although those things are nice too.

So, what of the Burning Crusade? Well, on Tuesday I kept out of the new high-level area on purpose and just started a new Blood Elf Paladin (like so many other people). You can see her in the photo. Yes, she’s a lady Elf but no I’m not planning on stripping her down to her underwear and dancing for cash. Well, not that I’m willing to admit. The new starting area for the Blood Elves is a little too cutesy for me but I enjoyed the first few levels and look forward to questing with her more. I’ve not really played a Paladin before – should be interesting.

Yesterday I went into the Outlands with my level 60 Troll Hunter. I spent the first hour or so just wandering around going “Wow!”. The new world is just stunning. With so much new content to explore I was stuck for the best levelling strategy so I just decided to do a bit here, a bit there and see what was about.

This is going to keep me entertained for months and months. Blizzard have done wonders with this plus they’ve surpassed my expectations with the upgrade – the servers have actually been quite stable and we’ve not seen numerous crashes and unending frustration where people can’t login for days. Top work that company!

It’s going to take me ages to level to 70 but what the hell, I’ll take my time and enjoy the journey.

Here’s to many days of seemingly wasted time in from of my PC!

I miss Toronto

We built this city

Originally uploaded by rutty.

Now that I’m really starting to get into photography I’m finding that I’m thinking back over all places that I’ve been that I’d love to go back and photograph. Right at the top of this list is Toronto.

I’ve got other more compelling reasons to visit – my sister does live there after all – but I really, really want to head back there with my 400D. My old Kodak was OK, but it really didn’t do some of the architecture there any justice at all.

Toronto is one of those new cities. It’s got hardly any ancient history. It has one castle, and that’s really just a large, posh house that’s not even 100 years old. And yet it’s these new buidings, these huge, skyscrapers and condominiums that I want to go back and see.

I love big, bold statements. Don’t get me wrong, subtlety is great and I love that too, but it’s the variety and beauty and sheer size of some of Toronto’s newer buildings that appeals to me. I bloody love them!

I was looking through my old photos and found this one of some rather splendid buildings in Toronto. As I’ve been using the GIMP a lot recently I decided to have a go at converting this one into black and white.

It turns out that my old Kodak Z740 really doesn’t like having the contrast upped on it’s pictures. As soon as I moved the slider I could see loads of noise creeping in. No problem at all though, I just kept on sliding until I got this surreal image. It looks like some sort of space ship!

It looks like I won’t get the chance to go back this year, but I’ll do my level best to get over there in 2008. I’d better make sure that I’ve got a couple of spare memory cards when I do go then…

Rubber Face

Rubber Face

Originally uploaded by rutty.

My name is Dave and I’m a Flickrholic.

That’s right, I just can’t help myself. I’ve been a user for a few years now. It just started out as a bit of fun, something to do with your mates when you were bored. I met some nice people and we had a high old time looking at each others’ pictures.

Then I started to use it more and more. I became a “pro” user so that I could upload more often and get more hits. I joined loads of groups and met more people, all like me, all wanting more and more.

Now it’s getting out of hand. I spend all day using Flickr, I just can’t help myself. My other activities are starting to suffer! I stay up all night to see if I’ve had any more hits or garnered some more comments. I can’t stop taking photographs of myself either – click, click, click all the time. I can’t help it!

Oh well, at least it keeps me off the drink and drugs eh?

Gimme the money!

Hurrah for the Lottery! It seems that I’ve been one lucky boy this last weekend – without even paying for a ticket I happened to get five numbers plus the bonus ball on Saturday’s UK International Lottery draw. That’s right – I’ve won £118,236!

So says this email:

P O BOX 1010
(Customer Services)
Ref No: UK/9420X2/68
Batch No: 074/05/ZY369


We happily announce to you the draw (#1152) of the UK INTERNATIONAL LOTTERY,online Sweepstakes International program held on Sat 6th Jan, 2007.

Your e-mail address attached to ticket number:56475600545 188 with Serial number 5368/06 drew the lucky numbers: 15-25-29-35-39-40 (bonus no.11), which subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd category i.e match 5 plus bonus. You have therefore been approved to claim a total sum of £118,236 (One Hundred And Eigtheen Thousand Two Hundred And Thirty-Six pound sterling) in cash credited to file KTU/9023118308/03.

Good grief! I’m rich!

Shame it’s a scam eh? Not that it’s obvious or anything. However, it would appear that there are people dim, and greedy, enough to fall for it:

There seems to be lots of scam emails doing the rounds which tell you that you have won a jackpot prize in a fake lottery. Did you enter it (non pc version of this page)?

You’ll find links to examples of these emails (below) published without the writers’ permission, in the hope that awareness will, somewhere along the line, save somebody from being parted with their savings. Users who responded to their emails have been asked to send sums such as £7,000 or €5,625 as a “service fee” to receive their ‘winnings’. If you pay that money you then receive another letter, claiming to be from the Gaming Board of Great Britain, and with a forged signature of a board member, asking for €20,000.

So far, at least 10,000 people have lost their money – please don’t let the next one be you!!

Well done you!