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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Heads up you crazy chicks!

A few months ago I had a moment of insanity and I decided to raise money in aid of Pilgrims Hospice, "hmmm", I thought, "what's the best way of doing this?" After much pondering I was inspired, "I know! I'll run the risk of incinerating my feet!"
So I'm doing a firewalk, Yes you read that right, a firewalk! I will be taking a leisurely stroll on 850 degree coals,
So If I am willing to risk losing the soles of my feet, you can lose a few quid, So make a donation, it doesn't matter how much, it matters because someone you love, or even you could find yourself in need of the support that The Pilgrims Hospice provides, so you know it makes sense.
Some of my friends are just as mad, so you'll be helping them out too.
Follow the one of the links below, click the donate button next to one of the names, ideally the chap called Steve, he's a sterling fellow! Make a donation.
Simples!
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Steve-Walker25
https://www.justgiving.com/teams/AASteam

Saturday, 17 January 2015

colour me confused

I decided to give this Astrophography malarky a try, I have this:

So I trotted out one night in December and stuck the camera on a tripod, connected the remote commander gubbins and took some photos, the didn't come out too bad. I did some reading and learned a bit more about taking photos of the night sky, I trotted out again and had another go, they came out a bit better, plus I managed to photo the ISS. Yay, go me!






I also have this:

This is a SkyWatcher EQ3-2 mount, it's very technical. However, this is a much better tripod than the one I put my camera on. So I figured that it might be a good idea to slap my camera on to this mount, easy! Um... no! not even close to easy. It turns out that in order to use the EQ mount for astrophotography I needed some more kit, of course I would, I never take up a hobby where I don't have to spend money, that would be too easy. So I did some more research trawling the interweb to learn what I would need.
It turns out that there's a lot of astrophotography kit that's dedicated for the task. But it's got quite the price tag on it, so I did a bit more web trawling and I also phoned a telescope sales chap. I asked about a set up called the SkyWatcher Star Adventurer, very pricey, particularly when you add on on the fact that the whole shibang needs a decent tripod to put it all on. The telescope selling chap talked me guy talked me out of it, go fig, His reasoning was that I already have the EQ3-2 mount, so all I needed was a motor drive kit and a bracket to mount the camera on.

So I bought this:

It's an L bracket. Of course it is! The bottom bit is a dovetail thingy that goes on the mount itself, the on the bit that sticks up, the problem is that I don't have clue on how to put all three bits together, I'm sure I'll figure it out.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Oh for goodness sake

It’s no secret that I like astronomy, I like collecting fossils, I have an interest in the paranormal, I also like a good conspiracy theory. For some strange reason I’ve been viewing a lot of videos on YouTube that claim to show evidence of ancient civilisations on the moon and Mars. The main problem with 98% of these videos is that they all use the same images as the “evidence” for their claims. In my opinion these videos should all be listed under Entertainment or even comedy. All of the images that are claimed to show either organic or artificial objects can also be explained as natural, whether they are lava tubes, craters, or plain and simple rocks. We can see features on earth that whilst being natural in their origins they are nothing more than that. Why is it that when geological features are found off Earth the crazy people scream “cover up” or “conspiracy”? bot the moon and Mars were geologically active in the distant past and evidence of that is being found today. Why? because the imaging technology has improved and we are able to see these features much more clearly. An example of this is the “Face” on Mars. When I was much much younger I saw the Viking 1 images and I was astounded, now that the area has been imaged by MRO with higher resolution cameras it is clear that the “face” is nothing more than a mountain, oh well, no aliens then. Look at the image below, the bottom right image is from Viking 1 the main image is from MRO. I’ll let you decide.

File:Face on Mars with Inset.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve commented on some of the videos, giving my somewhat more rational opinion of these “strange” features, I’m waiting for one of the video owners to message me claiming that I’m part of the conspiracy and involved in the great cover up, should that happen I will reply.

What puzzles me about all these alien civilisation videos is that they all claim that NASA has altered the original images, it that’s the case how did the undoctored images end up on the web? leaked I suppose! My question to all of the folk that believe this utter twaddle is real would be, why would NASA want to conceal it, what could they possibly have to gain from hiding the existence of ancient cities elsewhere in the solar system? in fact how would anybody benefit from withholding such information? The usual response is “they don’t want us to know!” why? I ask, the well thought out reply is generally “because they don’t!”

Well that’s informative, they may just as well have put a “So there!” on the end just to give it more credibility.

So I’m going to answer the questions myself, Is NASA hiding evidence of ancient intelligent life on the moon or on Mars? No! has intelligent life ever existed on the moon? Only when the Apollo astronauts were there. Has life ever existed on Mars? Possibly but only microscopic form, and single celled life can’t build cities.

ta ta!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Sundays aren’t always dull

After the frankly god awful day that was Thursday I really needed a lift, herself mentioned that when she was on the way back from the vet hospital she had told Lukey that she wanted me to go to Astro Club on Friday as it would give her time to reflective on recent event and deal with it all in her own way. So on Friday morning I gathered up my scope and headed off to work and at the end of the day I set off to Ashford where I was met by two of clan Badger and Lukey-boy. At Astro club we had a talk on whether or not the moon landings had been faked, the talk was very well presented by a chap named Denver, it was his first presentation for the club and for a first time he did a sterling job. After the talk some of the members, myself included, headed outside with our scopes for an evenings observing. To be honest the conditions weren’t ideal but I saw Venus in half phase through my scope, through Jasons scope I saw Mars and could make out the polar ice caps and some dark regions. I had a look at the moon and just before the end of the evening I had this years first view of Saturn, so all in all a good night.

Saturday was quiet, a little too quiet with a certain little lady no longer with us. Herself headed out for a few hours to meet up with a lass that she nannied when she was younger, they have stayed in touch over the years, I know that Trudes has a special place in her heart for Liz and I think seeing her helped cheer her up after the week she’s had. I stayed home with the pups and had lots of snuggles which was rather lovely.

Finally Sunday morning arrived and I was met by Mr and Mrs Badger, a chap named Kieth, Luke and Boo and we set off to Dover for a walk to Saint Margarets. The plan was to explore a few holes on the way but the first two, Langdon Deep Shelter and Fan Bay Deep Shelter, eluded us as did a third set of tunnels that are not named. Although we had a good hunt for them we were later told that both Langdon and Fan Bay are virtually covered and unless you know exactly where they are you won’t find them. We had a little more luck with one of the plotting rooms for the South Foreland batteries, but sadly the drop on the inside was a bit too high so we counted that as a loss too. I was just about to start hunting for the entrance to the deep shelter when I spotted a small head appear from a hole in the ground, the deep shelter was easily accessible and well worth the visit, similar in design to the deep shelter at St Martins Battery but I suspect in may be a little deeper.

We stopped for a bit of scoff during which we were temporarily joined by a very handsome Beagle called Charlie, I like Beagles and I would love to have one in our pack but they are hard work and apparently they can get a little stir crazy, so probably not the best choice of pup for us.

After the break for nosh we headed over to the battery where we found that there was an entrance to another plotting room. After a clamber down a 15-20 foot ladder we explored the area and found a small passage that went around the entire complex, so off I set on my run around this passage, as I walked I didn’t notice the metal bars sticking out of the ceiling, the top of my head found them though and after a spot of choice language I completed the explore and headed out. Fortunately Keith is a nurse and he checked my head which wasn’t as bad as it felt and although there was a bit of blood the wound was only small so no need for stitches or anything. After the plotting room we had a bit more of a wander, found one of the magazine stores for the guns and some very beautiful horses one of which had a foal which was extremely handsome.

Finally we headed into Saint Margarets where we waited for a bus back to Dover. OK we got off the bus a bit early and had a fair walk back to the cars, but the chaps were very helpful and pointed out the other bus stops as we got closer to them and we now know that there’s one that means we only have a short walk to the car park if we go there again in the future.

We returned to Folkestone where we said our goodbyes, and I got a bit of a telling off for the head wound, bless her. I’m not sure what’s next for our band of intrepid adventurers but I’ve been told no holes until I get a hard hat! Tee hee.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Life is a little emptier today!

As many of you know I am extremely soppy where animals are concerned, especially my own. The thought of any of them being poorly or in pain fills me with worry and I become a complete wreck. Well today has been one of those days. Ronnii, our Yorkie, was being treated for a collapsing trachea and as a result she had developed a rather worrying cough, she also had a heart murmur. These conditions eventually led to Ronnii having congestive heart failure, today the ailments finally became a bit too much for my sweet little diva dog to cope with and she decided that it was time for her to head over the rainbow bridge to be with Richie an Molly Pops. This morning she was rushed to the vet and given a course of meds that would hopefully slow down the heart failure and she would improve. Sadly, as the day progressed Ronnii worsened and by 19:30 this evening she was having difficulty breathing and this was making her more stressed taking a very heavy toll on her heart. I rang the vet hospital and explained the situation and I was told to bring her to the hospital, since the hospital’s in Ashford and I don’t drive I called for the help of my bro who rushed to our aid and took my little golden princess and her wonderful momma to the vet. it was there that the decision was made that her chances were not good and it would be in her best interest to ease her pain and send off to be with her brother and sister. So our house in a solemn one tonight, there will no more bouncing for a stroll or moaning to be on the sofa with me, one less wagging tail when I come home and I will no longer have a fluffy golden belly that is in urgent need of a rub first thing in the morning.

Despite the pain that fills my chest I can know that the last eighteen months of Ronniis life were without doubt the best she had. She was loved and adores by all who met her and I have some wonderful memories of her. From the first day she was with us and she threw up on my bed, her floofy little bottom waddling behind me as she followed me around Bowood in the summer and how she would roll onto her back demanding a belly rub.

Ronni was is the sweetest pup a chap could have ever wanted, I have been truly blessed to have had two perfect little Yorkshire Terriers in my life, both of which will always be forever in my heart.

So I close this with tears in my eyes and a pain in my chest as I say goodbye to my Princess Ronnii Rokkit Diva Dog, run free my sweet girl, I will love you always.

 

XXXXX

Monday, 27 February 2012

So, how’s your week been?

I don’t quite know where to start, not a great has happened for most of February, that is until the 19th. A group of friends and myself decided we’d storm Dover castle. Our first port of call, after paying for the tickets, was the Operation Dynamo tunnels, They’ve recently been renovated and there’s a different entrance and the tour is guided by a disembodied voice that tells you where to go, between the mutterings of the cockerknee soldier we were given a brief history of the tunnels by our real guide. My only real problem with the English Heritage guides is that they work from a script and generally only know what they taught as part of their job, the chap taking us around Operation Dynamo was a little more willing to discuss the little known facts about the tunnels beneath the castle. During our tour we were teased by signs that indicated the DUMPY level was just through that door or just down that flight of stairs. I was tempted to ask if we could get a sneaky peek at the level below but I suspect he may have told me to stop being so daft. One thing that I did learn was that the meaning of DUMPY that I’d grown up knowing to be the correct one may not actually be the case. I’d always believe that DUMPY stood for Deep Underground Military Position Yellow, after chatting with our guide it may be that DUMPY is a welsh mining term or even the level where stuff was dumped. I don’t buy into either of them and I’ll stick with the one I know. After the Dynamo tunnels we visited the hospital tunnels before heading of to the Great tower and running up and down spiral stair cases like a bunch of mad things, I do like Dover Castle and can’t wait for a chance to visit again.

I had a blood test on the Tuesday before and last Wednesday I gave the doctors a call to see if the results were back, they were and I have to go and see him on Monday morning as there appears to be something wrong with my liver, oh well!

Friday 24th saw the monthly trip to Woodchurch and the Astro club. I got rather annoyed on this visit because after the first half talk I nipped outside and saw that the sky was wonderfully clear. Oh joy thought I, and began setting up my scope for what I hoped would be a good evening of seeing the Orion Nebula, The Crab Nebula, Mars and Jupiter. Once I had the scope set up and ready to go I looked up to choose my first alignment star to be greeted by cloud, albeit a little dispersed and having a few gaps, but cloud none the less. After a futile ten minutes I gave the whole thing up as a loss and packed the scope away. There had better be at least one good night when I can get the scope out before it’s too late for Orion and I have to wait another eight months.

Yesterday was a shop day, Warhammer 40000 is 25 years old this year and we wanted to do something to celebrate, I rather stupidly suggested that I had a go at painting a Space Marine in 25 minutes. I managed 24 and a half, but I’m not happy with the end result, I think a 2 year old chimp could do better by spitting the paint at a model.

Sunday was a quiet day, herself went off to spend the day with her lad, I spent the day day with the pups watching rubbish telly and cleaning out the Percy bird, bless him.

Sunday evening was Top Gear and Being Human, I don’t doubt that people that disapprove of there being anything that mocks our nanny state with health & safety running everything will lodge complaints about the sketch that featured driving whilst sewing on a button and driving whilst in a sleeping bag. I’m sure that anyone who thinks that’s a good idea or attempts to drive to work in a sleeping bag is an idiot and would be doing the gene pool a favour by removing themselves from it. I like Top Gear and I enjoy the rantings of Clarkson and his cohorts, and I see the program for exactly what it is. big boys and over priced toys and a chance for us to all be a little stupid.

well that’s it for now, I’ve had a rant and no doubt my confession that I like Top Gear and, now and then, I agree with the views of the presenters, will probably raise a few complaints, it’ll be a first as I’ve only ever had one complaint about my blog and that was about my cats lack of DIY skills. Actually he managed to put up a new dido rail and hang a door to the kitchen rather well, and given his lack of opposable thumbs it was quite impressive to watch, when the weather gets warmer I may let him build an extension on the kitchen, clever kitty!

So, how’s your week been?

I don’t quite know where to start, not a great has happened for most of February, that is until the 19th. A group of friends and myself decided we’d storm Dover castle. Our first port of call, after paying for the tickets, was the Operation Dynamo tunnels, They’ve recently been renovated and there’s a different entrance and the tour is guided by a disembodied voice that tells you where to go, between the mutterings of the cockerknee soldier we were given a brief history of the tunnels by our real guide. My only real problem with the English Heritage guides is that they work from a script and generally only know what they taught as part of their job, the chap taking us around Operation Dynamo was a little more willing to discuss the little known facts about the tunnels beneath the castle. During our tour we were teased by signs that indicated the DUMPY level was just through that door or just down that flight of stairs. I was tempted to ask if we could get a sneaky peek at the level below but I suspect he may have told me to stop being so daft. One thing that I did learn was that the meaning of DUMPY that I’d grown up knowing to be the correct one may not actually be the case. I’d always believe that DUMPY stood for Deep Underground Military Position Yellow, after chatting with our guide it may be that DUMPY is a welsh mining term or even the level where stuff was dumped. I don’t buy into either of them and I’ll stick with the one I know. After the Dynamo tunnels we visited the hospital tunnels before heading of to the Great tower and running up and down spiral stair cases like a bunch of mad things, I do like Dover Castle and can’t wait for a chance to visit again.

I had a blood test on the Tuesday before and last Wednesday I gave the doctors a call to see if the results were back, they were and I have to go and see him on Monday morning as there appears to be something wrong with my liver, oh well!

Friday 24th saw the monthly trip to Woodchurch and the Astro club. I got rather annoyed on this visit because after the first half talk I nipped outside and saw that the sky was wonderfully clear. Oh joy thought I, and began setting up my scope for what I hoped would be a good evening of seeing the Orion Nebula, The Crab Nebula, Mars and Jupiter. Once I had the scope set up and ready to go I looked up to choose my first alignment star to be greeted by cloud, albeit a little dispersed and having a few gaps, but cloud none the less. After a futile ten minutes I gave the whole thing up as a loss and packed the scope away. There had better be at least one good night when I can get the scope out before it’s too late for Orion and I have to wait another eight months.

Yesterday was a shop day, Warhammer 40000 is 25 years old this year and we wanted to do something to celebrate, I rather stupidly suggested that I had a go at painting a Space Marine in 25 minutes. I managed 24 and a half, but I’m not happy with the end result, I think i 2 year old chimp could do better by spitting the paint at a model.

Sunday was a quiet day, herself went off to spend the day with her lad, I spent the day day with the pups watching rubbish telly and cleaning out the Percy bird, bless him.

Sunday evening was Top Gear and Being Human, I don’t doubt that people that disapprove of there being anything that mocks our nanny state with health & safety running everything will lodge complaints about the sketch that featured driving whilst sewing on a button and driving whilst in a sleeping bag. I’m sure that anyone who thinks that’s a good idea or attempts to drive to work in a sleeping bag is an idiot and would be doing the gene pool a favour by removing themselves from it. I like Top Gear and I enjoy the rantings of Clarkson and his cohorts, and I see the program for exactly what it is. big boys and over priced toys and a chance for us to all be a little stupid.

well that’s it for now, I’ve had a rant and no doubt my confession that I like Top Gear and, now and then, I agree with the views of the presenters, will probably raise a few complaints, it’ll be a first as I’ve only ever had one complaint about my blog and that was about my cats lack of DIY skills. Actually he managed to put up a new dido rail and hang a door to the kitchen rather well, and given his lack of opposable thumbs it was quite impressive to watch, when the weather gets warmer I may let him build an extension on the kitchen, clever kitty!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Well that was a let down

I thought I’d publish this on the Blogger page as well, just for the fun of it!

It’s been an odd week, primarily because it started on Saturday, the oddness that is, not the week. I had been very keen on the trip to astronomy clubs stargazing event, right up until Saturday afternoon, Sir Luke rang to say that he was on his way and he would be a matter of minutes, a bi earlier I’d bought the scopes down and sorted out all the necessary kit that I’d need for the evening. I’d sorted out a couple of spare laptop fans as one of the chaps had mentioned that his machine kept overheating and that its fan may be on the way out.

No sooner had I said ta ta to Luke I called him back and told him to go without me as I didn’t feel particularly chipper and thought it best if I stayed away as I wasn’t in a particularly good frame of mind and rather than sitting with a face like a yawning donkey I would stay home and spend the evening feeling sorry for myself. However like the good mate he is Luke took absolutely no notice of me and called in anyway, after a few minutes and strict instructions from herself to “naff off and have some fun!” we packed the scopes in the car and headed off.

If I’m honest I really enjoyed the evening, but I think I’d have enjoyed it more had my head been a bit more right, still the fixing of my head will take time but it’ll happen.

I was supposed to head off to the Kensington Olympia for the 2012 Toy Fair,I’d hoped that the finances would have become available in time, sadly they didn’t so I spoke to the designated driver on Monday and made the decision to give it a miss. I was very disappointed about this as I had been looking forward to the trip to the city and a rather sterling breakfast before the event.

So instead of going to London this morning, I was going to work, oh well!

It being Wednesday meant that we headed to the gym with some of the chaps, whilst they were making full use of what appears to be medieval torture equipment I went for a weigh-in, Since my last one, which was November(ish), since then I’ve lost 3 kilos which is, I think, a good thing. It’s definitely time to take stock and get to grips with the weight loss, my goal is two stone over the next six or seven months, how hard can it be?