Weight and Stuff Report – 27 May 2017

Weight: 238.9 pounds (17 stone 0.9 pounds, 108.4 kg)
Steps: 5,851

Up another bit today…

Today involved meeting a friend for lunch. Wine may have been involved.

This was the elderly engine I rode behind at Beamish the other day

Steam Elephant

Steam Elephant

Camera X-T2
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/420s
Focal length 26.6mm
ISO 200
Taken 14:30, 25 May, 2017
Location 54° 53.0022′ 0″ N 1° 39.412′ 0″ W

Andrew Cartmel – The Vinyl Detective: The Run-out Groove

Having enjoyed the first in this series, I ordered this one well in advance, without being prompted by Ben Aaronovitch this time, though he has been happily promoting his friend and comic book collaborator’s work.

Once again, the apparently nameless narrator[1] is called on to find an obscure record, and once again the request leads to an investigation, Deadly Peril and some excellent gags.

Our anonymous hero is now living with Nevada, the only slightly scary woman he met in Written in Dead Wax. The two cats are, of course, still around. They’re on the trail of a rare single recorded in the 60s by Valerian – that’s the band and the stage name of the lead singer, Valerie Anne Drummond, known by some as “the English Joplin”. This is by the request of Valerian’s brother John[2], who wants to find out what happened to Valerian’s young son, who disappeared shortly before her suicide.

Much fun follows, with assistance from friend Tinkler, a slightly odd photographer, an only slightly burned out guitarist and an egotistical psychologist. One of more of these people may not have the Vinyl Detective’s best interests at heart, but if you think I’m going to drop any spoilers, think again!

There’s loads of fun with a clearance sale that could be a little more final than usual, help coming just when it’s needed, and more mysterious deaths than the average Agatha Christie novel.

And it’s all done in a lovely style, with such delights as

So we left some biscuits for the cats along with a Road Atlas of Great Britain open to the correct page, in case they wanted to see where we were going.

Not to mention a nod in Ben’s direction:

“We’ve got some ducks like that on our estate,” I said. “They swim in Beverley Brook.”

(And if you don’t get that reference, you’ve got some more reading to do.)

Great, page-turning[3] fun. Buy it.

[1] This might be a reference to 30s hardboiled detective fiction. Or not. Maybe Andrew just couldn’t decided what to call his hero
[2] And unless I blinked and missed it, Andrew showed admirable restraint in not dropping in a “bulldog” gag
[3] Or Kindle-button-pressing fun in my case

Weight and Stuff Report – 26 May 2017

Weight: 238.2 pounds (17 stone 0.2 pounds, 108 kg)
Steps: 1,524

As I expected, yesterday’s weight was a temporary wossname, and today’s more hydrated weight is somewhat higher. Apart from a quick trip to Tesco’s for some supplies, I’ve had a quiet day in – I had the annual service of my boiler today, and once that was done, I couldn’t motivate myself to go out again, so I didn’t.

Here’s one of the residents at WWT Washington. In the interests of clarity, I should point out that this is a pheasant, not a peasant, and certainly not a Bessant.

The Pheasants are revolting!

The Pheasants are revolting!

Camera X-T2
Aperture ƒ/4
Shutter speed 1/300s
Focal length 196mm
ISO 200
Taken 13:10, 24 May, 2017

Weight and Stuff Report – 25 May 2017

Weight: 235.8 pounds (16 stone 11.8 pounds, 107 kg)
Steps: 9,078

What’s this? Down again? To another new low for the year? Apparently so. Well, it is another “just got in from a moderately active day” figure, so it’s still probably temporary, but I’ll treat it as a sign of something or other.

I was thinking of not doing anything too active today after yesterday’s warm walk with the birdies, but I persuaded myself that it might be a good day for a return trip to Beamish. After all, I do have another three months on the “come back as much as you like” ticket I bought last time. So I headed to Gateshead and has just a short wait for the bus to Beamish. This being a relatively quiet weekday, I didn’t need to wait in a queue, and was soon able to have a good wander. It was a bit warm for too much wandering, but I did my best, stopping only for a quick lunch (rather good sausage roll and Fentiman’s lemonade, which I enjoyed in the shadow of a suitably large tree. After a ride behind a very old engine, I headed for the bus stop and came home.

Photos have been taken and will appear as the tuit supply permits. But for now, here’s one of the buses that run around the site, along with some lovely trams.

Beamish bus

Beamish bus

Camera X-T2
Aperture ƒ/7.1
Shutter speed 1/400s
Focal length 47mm
ISO 200
Taken 13:06, 25 May, 2017
Location 54° 53.0195′ 0″ N 1° 39.8154′ 0″ W

Weight and Stuff Report – 24 May 2017

Weight: 236.4 pounds (16 stone 12.4 pounds, 107.2 kg)
Steps: 9,689

OK, let’s get the dramatic weight figure out of the way first – that’s a measurement taken just after getting home on a warm day after doing a fair bit of walking, so it’s definitely a temporary thingy. But it is the lowest weight of the year so far, which means I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

While I was waiting for my iPhone to have its new battery fitted yesterday, I had a bit of a wander, and picked up some “places to go” leaflets. One was for the Washington[1] Wetland Centre, a place I’ve been vaguely aware of, but had never got round to visiting. Well, today I found that tuit and headed off. Getting there involves a bus to Washington Galleries, then another one to Waterview Park (that’s the No 8), and from there it’s a short walk to the centre. Admission (with the ubiquitous Gift Aid) was £10.40 – you can save a bit of money by buying tickets online in advance if you’re so inclined.

Once in, you’re free to walk around a large site with an amazing variety of birdlife – more varieties of swans than I knew existed[2], geese, ducks, flamingoes, otters. Err, hold on, otters aren’t actually birds, but they’re part of the package, so there. You get to walk though woodland, along a ludicrously scenic part of the River Wear, and wear[3] your feet out. The site cafe provided a perfectly delicious brie sandwich, and I enjoyed the experience enormously.

If you’re going, allow several hours – it’ll take that long to just walk around all the paths, depending on how long you take to watch the birdies.

Numerous photos have, of course, been taken, but for now here’s a lovely black swan:

Black Swan

Black Swan

Camera X-T2
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/120s
Focal length 115mm
ISO 200
Taken 11:05, 24 May, 2017

[1] Note for any US readers: this is the original Washington, not any leftpondian version
[2] I’m not an ornithologist…
[3] Included so I can mention that Wear and wear aren’t pronounced the same

Weight and Stuff Report – 23 May 2017

Weight: 240.2 pounds (17 stone 2.2 pounds, 109 kg)
Steps: 5,560

Hmmm, up again today. No major activity other than a visit to the Apple Store to get a free battery replacement in my iPhone (it was one of a batch with a potential ooops I’m going to shut down issue.

Here’s another one from Warkworth Castle: the Keep:

Warkworth Keep

Warkworth Keep

Camera X-T2
Aperture ƒ/8
Shutter speed 1/180s
Focal length 28.3mm
ISO 200
Taken 13:43, 22 May, 2017
Location 55° 20.7151′ 0″ N 1° 36.7225′ 0″ W

Les’s Brain Says Silly Things

OK, nothing new there, but I thought I had to share this one…

I woke up early this morning, for reasons of my brain being odd like that. I glanced at the clock and noticed that the time was


And my brain instantly popped up with

The discount of the beast

Somewhere in the same area of the allegedly planned title[1] to the sequel that never happened to Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, I suppose. I’m not quite sure, you’d have to ask my brain.

[1] If memory serves, the suggestion was 664: The Neighbour of the Beast. I think somebody else may have come up with the same idea and used it since…

Weight and Stuff Report – 22 May 2017

Weight: 238.4 pounds (17 stone 0.4 pounds, 108.1 kg)
Steps: 6,490

Down again, gasp!

Having had a totally relaxed day yesterday, I decided to start my week off[1] properly with a little trip. Well, actually I started it by going out moderately early to buy something for breakfast, then  after that, I went to Newcastle in plenty of time to get a bus to Warkworth, which you might recall me visiting last year, only to find the castle was closed. Well, this time it was open, and with a wave of my English Heritage card, I went in. Numerous photos to follow at the usual rate, but here’s one for now of the Lion Tower:

Lion Tower

Lion Tower

Camera X-T2
Aperture ƒ/6.4
Shutter speed 1/180s
Focal length 27.4mm
ISO 200
Taken 13:42, 22 May, 2017
Location 55° 20.7079′ 0″ N 1° 36.7096′ 0″ W

[1] Did I mention I have a week off?

Weight and Stuff Report – 21 May 2017

Weight: 239.8 pounds (17 stone 1.8 pounds, 108.8 kg)
Steps: Remarkably few

Down again today, which has been a singularly inactive Sunday.

Here’s a curvy view of the old All Saints church in Newcastle

All Saints

All Saints

Camera X-T2
Aperture ƒ/1
Shutter speed 1/900s
Focal length 8mm
ISO 200
Taken 11:56, 22 April, 2017
Location 54° 58.2017′ 0″ N 1° 36.4289′ 0″ W