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There’s the recommended way, also known as the expensive way, using a chemical gel or liquid cleaning agent sold specifically for the purpose.

Then there’s the easy, free, ecological way of doing it. It’s simple and it’s free, just take a damp cloth dip it in the ash from the fire and rub it on the glass. When the cloth gets too dirty simply go and rinse it and continue as before. This method takes about 5 minutes and really works well even if you haven’t cleaned your glass in ages.

I wish that I could take full credit for this wonderful tip, unfortunately I can’t as it was actually my chimney sweep who told me about it, and even he can’t take the credit as it was one of his customers who told him!

Go on, give it a try, you know you want to.

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Today I gave the sourdough a rest.

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As promised in my previous post here is the start of what I hope will be a daily record of the sourdough ‘Starter’.

So first things first, the ingredients:

50gr Rye Flour
50gr Water

Note that I am using grams for the liquid and not millilitres, this apparently makes things that bit more accurate, you could equally use the American equivalent in cups, 1/2 cup of flour to a 1/4 cup of water.

Basic ingredients: Flour, a jar to mix and store the starter

Put 50gr of flour in the jar

Add 50gr of tepid (warm) water and mix well – this is what you end up with

As I’m using a lidded preserve jar I just close the lid, I don’t lock it in place I just loosely cover the top of the jar as some people say it could explode if it were airtight, if you don’t have a preserve jar then any reasonable size container that you can cover will do. Do bear in mind that this will grow considerably over time so ensure that whatever container you use is going to be big enough!

Put the jar in a nice warmish place, I use the airing cupboard.

Here endeth Day 1

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2012 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 14,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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Thought that I would reblog this one from my other blog as it may be of interest to those who follow me here.

PhotoLouis's Blog

Today I thought that I would share the phases of a photograph of the moon. The following three images are actually all the same image and show just what can be achieved with Adobe Lightroom after a photo is, shall we say, slightly overexposed – alright a lot over exposed actually.

The first image is the original out of the camera RAW file with no processing applied and when I first saw it I thought that there was going to be no saving it at all. The image was taken around 10pm one March night in 2011.

Canon 5d MkII, EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM, 1/2000 @ f5.6, ISO 6400 at 260mm

The following Lightroom processing was then applied to the image and it was then turned into black and white:

White Balance: Daylight

Temp3250
Tint+0

Tone:

Exposure+0.35
Contrast+45
Highlights-79
Shadows+65
Whites+29
Blacks-40

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So after the sad goodbye came the happy hello, go and have a look at what made me happy.

PhotoLouis's Blog

After the Sad Goodbye came the Happy Hello as I gently removed the Canon 5D MkIII from its box. The big question was ‘will it live up to the expectation’?

First things first, get a cup of coffee, put the new battery on charge, insert one of my old batteries into the new MkIII, insert an SD card and take a photo!

ISO 6400, 5D MKIII EF 24-105 L @ 105 mm, f14 @ 1/160

ISO 6400, 5D MKII EF 24-105 L @ 105 mm, f4 @ 1/160

I’ll warn you now, the photos may not be the most exciting in the world I just wanted to get on and take some shots (especially at the higher ISO settings) to see what the camera was capable of. Over the past few weeks while waiting for it to arrive I had been reading all the reviews in anticipation and obviously I…

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Read why I just had to say goodbye to my Leica

PhotoLouis's Blog

For a while now I have been thinking about selling my Leica and some lenses and on Tuesday I finally did it, or at least I part exchanged it for a new 5D MkIII and some cash. Obviously I would have got more if I had sold it privately but it’s always difficult to sell these things privately, so for me the part exchange was a reasonable way to go.

I’d had the M8 since 2007 and hadn’t used it since 2008, in fact I only ever took about 1300 shots with it in total and it’s not that it wasn’t a good camera because it was, and the quality of the lenses was second to none. Before I bought the M8 I had spent ages hankering after a real digital rangefinder camera and, like many, a Leica was something I had always aspired to, ever since I was allowed…

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A very Special Bear


Today I decided to take a few studio photos of a vase of tulips that are currently sitting on our coffee table and then I noticed a very special bear looking at me.

A Very Special Bear

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Flyball


Last sunday was very bright and beautiful day. I woke up rather earlier than I should have, stretch, yawned, had a quick look around and then jumped onto the bed in-between mum and dad.

They didn’t even stir, so I lay there quietly for ever such a long time, must have been at least 30 seconds, if not 40! I patted mum with my paw, nothing but a groan, so I jumped down picked up one of my very squeaky toys and played with it for a while, still nothing but the odd “Poppy be quite”. They finally decided to get up after I jumped up again, this time with the squeaky toy in their ears.

Once we’d had breakfast mummy said “Does Poppy want to go to flyball?”, the flyball thing sounded quite good, but then I had to get in the car and I don’t like the car. I don’t know why I don’t like it as most of the time when I go in the car I go somewhere nice, I just don’t like it. So once they’d put my harness and lead on I just ran and sat on the stairs and made them come and get me, reluctantly I eventually gave in and jumped in the back of the car thing.

We drove over to Maidenhead, that’s where the flyball training takes place, and when we got there daddy took me round the park to play ball till it was our turn to train. The team trains first and then it’s the beginners like me, I’ve only been doing it since November and this was the first time I’d been to training since the week before Christmas.

I was just a bit excited as I sat with mummy to watch the preparations, not that I was showing it, of course!

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There didn’t appear to be many beginners this week so it looked like there would be lots of opportunity for me to have a go, I just so excited that I can’t wait to get started. Come on lets get on with it, come on…!

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I can remember exactly what I have to do, I can, honestly. Let me see now:

First I run from the other end

Jump over the jumps

Grab the ball at the other end

Jump back over the jumps

And all in as short a time as possible, that’s it right?

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Penny, that’s the lady that runs the flyball team, decided that everybody needed a refresher so she started making us all run just from the start, I think she was worried that some of the other dogs couldn’t remember the rules, I think she was probably right. So the first couple of runs were just me running after mummy, well she had to do it as well, maybe it was the owners that couldn’t remember the rules, maybe that’s why we had to do the refresher?

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See I knew what to do, easy peasy, but I think mum got it slightly wrong when we did the next run cos she decided to run off outside the jumps, good job I didn’t follow her example or I would have got it wrong too.

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Must be my turn again, yes, yes come on let me go again.

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Luckily Penny decided that we knew what we were doing so she let us get on with the proper training, I just couldn’t wait to get going, I stood ready at the end of the jumps looking down towards the ball the Penny was holding straining against mummies grip ready to dash for the ball.

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I was off like a rocket the second I felt her let go of me, straight over the first jump, flying over the second, only two more to go and then I can get the ball.

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That’s it, I’ve got it, quick turn and back over the jumps to where mummy’s waiting for me, must be quick, very quick.

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Wow that was fun, now for a quick slip of water, might as well wash the ball too I guess, I like wet tennis balls.

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Now let’s get on and do it all again please.

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Well we only did a couple more of those individual runs and then Penny decided that we could have a go at the relay. I really like the relay. There are four of us in a team and as one of us is coming back with the ball the next one starts to run up for the next ball, it’s really exciting.

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That’s me, well my bum anyway although the other collie looks quite a lot like me!

I must admit that I was quite content to sit down for a quick rest occasionally as it is quite hard work at the end of the day.

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As practice finished Penny asked mummy if I wanted to compete, well of course I got her to say yes, otherwise what’s the point of all this training? So Penny said that I can join the team, wow I’m on the team, can’t wait for the next session!

Oh, sorry you want to know the name of the team? It’s the Berkshire Bandits Flyball team of course.

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Yesterday was a bright and quite warm day here. Today, on the other hand, is dark, dull and rather cold.

Yesterday morning we went to Fly Ball with Poppy, our ball obsessed border collie, and then went to tidy up our respective mothers graves on the way home. Last year we had planted some spring bulbs round their stones so it was nice to see that on at least one of them the bulbs were coming through. Interestingly the bulbs that were starting to flower were the Crocuses and Snowdrops on my mother-in-laws grave, she used to love her garden and flowers, on the other hand my mum was never into real flowers as she was always frightened that they would encourage creepy crawlies, she did like artificial flowers though. On mums grave none of the bulbs have come up and only the bunch of artificial flowers is flourishing.

As in life………

When we got back to the house our own crocuses, daffodils and snowdrops were out in bright profusion. The heads were fully open to the bright sun and the gentle heat of the early afternoon sun. We even saw a lone bumble bee flying around, which is really early in the season and I doubt very much that it will survive.  I thought that I should really go and take a few photos but of course didn’t, as there were other things that needed doing (like the shopping), another missed opportunity!

So this afternoon after getting back from work I thought I’d go and grab a couple of quick photos.

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What a difference a day makes

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