Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Friday 1st April 2005

So it's 12:35, and we find ourselves in Dundee. /images/2005/April/thumbnails/thumb_IMG_3006.jpg We took a different route back from Glen Prosen, as M****** had a surprise in store for my birthday, and I had to follow her directions. Dundee weren't part of these directions, but I wanted to check out this Discovery Point centre thing and the ship there. And here it is. The museum was pretty cool as well. All about . . . erm . . . Captain Scott, his ship (the Discovery) and the Antarctic expedition. We even endured the 20 minute video presentation (the only weak part of the whole exhibition), entitled something like 'Trapped in the Ice', but actually very little to do with being trapped in the ice. It kind of washed over me, and it was only after 15 minutes that I realised how dull this thing was . . . just a voice-over and a sequence of still images fading in and out. Crikey, some of these thumbnails have gone awfully tiny. /images/2005/April/thumbnails/thumb_IMG_3010.jpg Anyway . . . our parking ticket (donated by a lady who had only been parked for five minutes and now had no need of the other 115 minutes) ran out not long after one o'clock, so on we went . . .
and that to the right is nearby the strange place where we had lunch. We were heading along the A90, towards Perth, when we thought we would pull off towards this tiny little village called Errol. After Errol, we turned left towards Port Allen, thinking this might be somewhere we could sit down, watch the Firth of Tay go by, that kind of thing. However, Port Allen seemed more like someone's farm, so we just pulled in, off the single-track road, and ate there, near this weird, circular building. Reminded me of France, for some reason.
Right. So, as we got nearer and nearer Edinburgh (I'm driving), I kept going, "So, we're going past junction 4. Keep going?" yeah . . . just keep going, keep going. We went over the Forth Road bridge and right through the middle of Edinburgh and after a few minor scares (wrong lane, wrong lane), we were on the Royal Mile and then Holyrood Road, where M****** had booked two nights at the MacDonald Holyrood hotel (or similar). Cool. After checking in and all that, we wandered around Edinburgh . . . these pictures were taken at 18:39, 18:40 and 19:14. The last one is especially significant as M****** has a picture taken at pretty much the same angle, but many years ago, and I think in black and white. This picture was taken from a spot not too far from this cute little place where we ate that night, Maxie's Bistro I think it was called.

Saturday 2nd April 2005

YAY! My birthday! These pictures were taken during our wanderings around Holyrood Park, or do I mean Arthur's Seat here? Maybe Arthur's Seat is the name for the top of this thing. I dunno. Loads of other stuff happened today, some of which I can't quite account for. Erm . . . anyway, these pictures here were taken at (left to right) 14:10, 14:11, 14:14, 14:22, 14:32 and 14:33. Oddly, I don't have many photographs from the today. Note the weather: the cloud finally shifted for my birthday.
Erm . . . looks like some more pictures . . . these lot taken at 16:46, 17:36, 23:19 and 23:20. The first picture is some church near the top end of the Royal Mile, then there's a view of the castle from Grassmarket (after Grassmarket, we were following one of the walks in our guide book, which took us up the 'Vennel', onto Herriot Place) and the final two pictures are a couple M****** took. As I'm drinking coffee at this point, this must have been after the wine had been consumed, so I would have been a mess by that point. I don't remember much after about 23:00.

Saturday 9th April 2005

These thumbnails today are brought to you by the aspect ratio 1.61803399, also known as the Golden Ratio. Width of all these thumbnails is 89 whilst the height is 55. If you've no idea what I'm on about here, where have you been?
So today was the day I used up the other part of M******'s birthday present to me - a half hour of helicopter flying. We got a bit confused trying to find the place. It was somewhere near Leeds Bradford airport, but our directions weren't brilliant, and directed us erroneously to some kind of similar operation but for planes. They were good enough to ring up the helicopter people, Heli-jet something or another, and tell us we were on our way. This is me at 12:00, having arrived, feeling a bit apprehensive, a bit freaked, but excited nonetheless.
So, eventually, my pilot, Mike (I wondered if their names were always taken from the phonetic alphabet . . . which would make me Juliet, I guess . . . hmmmm, anyway), arrived, shook my hand, and led my upstairs. Actually, I led him upstairs, with him behind me telling me where to go. Upstairs they had (as I was shortly to find out) an exact replica of the helicopter I was going to fly (well, the cockpit anyway) with all the extraneous bits removed. We sat in there for a while, Mike telling me what's what. The bit that stuck most in mind was, "and don't worry if you forget anything I've just told you, because it will all be repeated again when in the air," which was just as well. It's the bit about the pedals I didn't really get, but that was cleared up later on. Besides, the helicopter was dual control, so I didn't really have to worry about anything. That, up there, to the right, is me in the helicopter (12:29), as Mike went over a few final bits and piece. Erm . . . that other picture is some gravel that M****** found. Well done, M******. Maybe she was gathering gardening ideas. I don't know. Pregnant people, eh? Crazy . . .
So, what happened was that Mike radio'ed to traffic control, got clearance, and I just kind of sat there, as the propellor got faster and faster. Once the speed was up, it was kind of eerie, as the ground just kind of gradually disappeared and my stomach kind of lurched a bit. So, we got to about 1500 feet above sea level (bearing in mind that ground level is about 600 feet above sea level), 80 mph, and headed for Otley . . . or somewhere like that. I was allowed to steer a bit, but Mike was always there, his hand not too far from his joystick thingy. All in all, I probably got about 10-15 minutes of flying, but at this stage I was just allowed to control . . . damnit, what's it called? See, basically, there's the pedals, which control the speed of the little side propellor at the back (and, hence, counter the rotational effect of the main propellor, thereby allowing you to turn left/right), then there's this thing like a hand-brake, which control the speed of the main propellor (and, hence, rate of ascent/descent) and then there's the main joystick thingy, which control the angle of the propellor. It was this joystick thing that I was allowed to fiddle with during this stage. Mike took over at half way stage and, once back at the landing site, he allowed me to have a go at rotating the thing, descending and also hovering. M****** took all these pictures during this stage, from something like 12:56 through to 13:00. Any hyperlinks in this text will link to a few mpegs that M****** took. The picture to the right, is me back on solid ground once more. Damnit, I want a helicopter.

Saturday 16th April 2005

Who Should You Vote For?

Who should I vote for?

Your expected outcome:

Liberal Democrat

Your actual outcome:

(previously contained some bar-charts)

You should vote: UK Independence Party

UKIP's primary focus is on Europe, where the party is strongly against joining both the EU constitution and the Euro. UKIP is also firmly in favour of limiting immigration. The party does not take a clear line on some other policy issues, but supports scrapping university tuition fees; it is strongly against income tax rises and favour reducing fuel duty.

Take the test at Who Should You Vote For

Sunday 17th April 2005

There you go - let it not be said that I never update my web-site.

Thursday 21st April 2005

Nothing much today . . . University assignment pretty much complete . . . That means I should have some time on my hands for a week or two.

Friday 22nd April 2005

My god - university assignment complete, web-log pretty much up-to-date . . . now what?

Saturday 23rd April 2005

So, today, as these pictures show, M****** and I were largely continuing the decoration of the living room. M****** insisted on taking pictures (this was at a few minutes past eight that evening). We popped to Homebase at some point, buying another tub of the one-coat rich matt white emulsion, only some fool had put a tub of 'timeless' on top of the white stuff, and I didn't notice. Grrrrrrrrr. Anyway . . . that was today. Oh . . . and if you're wondering: if says 'NO' on my t-shirt. M****** wrote that. Dunno why.

Sunday 24th April 2005

Today my parents came over from Lancaster. They turned up sometime between 1 and 2 (I can't remember exactly when) and then we went straight to the White House (a pub not far from Roundhay Park) for lunch. Later on that evening, I did more painting but nothing much else really happened.

Tuesday 26th April 2005

So, after a day at work . . . went home, popped round to Dom's (must have been the first time I've been over there in daylight), then went home again, thinking that was it . . . nothing much more to do today. But then M****** rang asking how I intended to get to town and where we were going to meet. Parentcraft. I guess I had thought we weren't bothered because of M****** working a late shift this work. But no. So, at about 18:40, I drove to town, and wandered in a vaguely M****** direction. Parentcraft this week was done by Lindsey, a physiotherapist. She looked about 21 and was pretty much the opposite to the previous lady who ran this. The numbers were considerably reduced from last week, and we found ourselves (well, more M****** than me) talking to Jan and Andrew (I believe), the latter being from Sydney, Australia. Afterwards, we went to Akmal's for dinner and then home, finally. But by the time we got home, there wasn't really much time to do any decorating. Ah well. That was Tuesday.

Wednesday 27th April 2005

Nothing much to report. In the evening, got more painting done in the living room. Just going over the walls, uncovering the odd bit of dodgy plastering. That's the thing with rollers, see - they tend to pull on the walls which nothing in the preparation stage was able or willing to do. Suddenly I'm finding holes that weren't there before. Not good. Anyway . . . I keep wanting to write something about all the political shenanigans going on right now . . . it's kind of entertaining following the three main parties arguing amongst themselves. Also good to know Iraq still features largely (did anyone realise the search for those so-called 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' was quietly ended earlier this year?). I would have thought a collective amnesia would have once again mysteriously swept over the whole thing, and it would all be talk of taxes, the NHS, immigration, blah blah blah . . . but no. So that's good. All I would say is to vote for the party you believe in and forget all the rubbish about negative voting and tactical voting. I'm still a fan of but hey . . . each to their own. There's also this, but I haven't checked it out fully yet.