Category Archives: Stuff

The general category for all posts

Weight and Stuff Report – 15 October 2017

Weight: 230.8 pounds (16 stone 6.8 pounds, 104.7 kg)
Steps: Remarkably few

Surprisingly down a pound after yesterday’s wee drinkie…

It was another quiet Sunday in, as I had to do the washing I didn’t do yesterday, catch up on some of last week’s TV and other such things.

I also got the Les Bessant Photography site into a state where it’s looking pretty much the way I want, and is ready for expansion when I select more photos. I’ve basically replicated the portfolio from the 500px site, with a slightly altered selection of photos. Thanks to the Clever Stuff in Backlight, adding to it in future will be very quick and easy, so I’ll aim to start creating new albums soon. I’ve now removed the portfolio from 500px, to save them the bother when they terminate the feature…

Here’s one more from last Saturday – there are some lovely wood carvings in St Nicholas Cathedral, including this one, which I think represents Moses:

Moses. Probably

Moses. Probably

Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/2.8
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Focal length: 55mm
ISO: 2000
Taken: 7 October, 2017
Location: 54° 58.2127′ 0″ N 1° 36.6627′ 0″ W

Weight and Stuff Report – 14 October 2017

Weight: 231.8 pounds (16 stone 7.8 pounds, 105.1 kg)
Steps: 7,861

Ooops, up again, which probably won’t be helped by today’s lunch and drink or three…

Oh. It seems it’s that time of year again:



Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/2.8
Shutter speed: 1/250s
Focal length: 55mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 7 October, 2017
Location: 54° 58.2678′ 0″ N 1° 36.6503′ 0″ W

My new photography site is on… my own site

Well, having been given notice by 500px that my current portfolio is going to be an ex-feature at an unspecified point in the future, I did some thinking, which led me to deciding that I might as well go back to hosting it myself.

As I mentioned in my epic upgrade post earlier in the week, I decided to go for Backlight, from The Turning Gate. Once I’d got the server playing nicely, it was time for some Lightroom fiddling.

In an attempt to improve performance, I’d split my Lightroom catalog into an old one, then yearly ones for last year and this year. Well, that was OK, but would have made doing what I want to do with Backlight a bit messy. So last night’s entertainment was creating a new catalog and moving all the images into it. That means I can publish albums including any photos at all, which is just what I need.

I’ve got a test album up with a moderately random selection of images. The appearance is getting close to what I want – a clean, simple layout that makes it easy to see the pictures.

The design works nicely on mobile, doing nicely responsive things to adjust itself to  smaller screens, while looking quite nice on larger screens, such as my iMac.

The longer-term plan is to add some themed albums to the site – the way this works with Lightroom means that adding an album is very simple:

  1. Do all normal editing operations that I’d be doing anyway
  2. Create a new album in the Lightroom Publish Service, give it a name, add a description and other details
  3. Click Publish
  4. Admire shiny new webpage

So, here’s your preview of the all-new Les Bessant Photography, now live and available for your enjoyment.  I’ll be more or less replicating the Portfolio from the 500px site (though with a slightly different set of images, which I’ll aim to keep refreshed).

If you want to see the old site while I’m building the new one, it can now be seen at this address. That’s one advantage of having loads of domain names, I can always pick one to use for something random…

UPDATE: Well, I’ve got a basic design which I’m reasonably happy with, I’ve recreated the Portfolio, so the new site is now officially live. The 500px portfolio no longer exists, and the spare domain name is once again spare, and pointing to a holding page.

List Drafts Widget – a minor update

I was mildly surprised when I realised that it was all of nine years ago that I unleashed my List Drafts Widget WordPress plugin. It’s had a few minor tweaks since then, but as a simple thing that does a simple job, that’s all it’s needed.

But when I was checking my site for PHP 7 compatibility, I got a warning that it used some old code that was no longer supported.

The problem was in the bit of code that sets up the actual widget. Now this was standard code sating back to how widgets started to work in WordPress 2.8, and I’d copied it from an example when I rebuilt the plugin to work in what was then the approved way, just in case the old way ceased to be supported by WordPress at some point. This is the offending section:

class ListDrafts_Widget extends WP_Widget {

* Widget setup.

function ListDrafts_Widget()
/* Widget settings. */
$widget_ops = array( 'classname' => 'example', 'description' => __('A widget which displays the title of draft posts.', 'listdrafts') );

The function is a “constructor” – it creates a software thingy called a class, which does things, and look, you know I’m not an actual coder, right?

Anyway, in newer versions of PHP, this has to be done slightly differently – instead of a function with the same name as the class, you have to use a generic __construct() function instead. Or so I found out with a little googling. Anyway, the fix seemed simple enough – one little edit. So I tried it out, and everything still worked on PHP 5.6, so that was OK. And it still works on PHP 7.

I pushed the update out to the repository, so anyone who has it should be offered the new version.

Here’s the slightly edited version of the above:

class ListDrafts_Widget extends WP_Widget {

* Widget setup.

// Update October 2017- new constructor for PHP 7 compatibility

function __construct()
/* Widget settings. */
$widget_ops = array( 'classname' => 'example', 'description' => __('A widget which displays the title of draft posts.', 'listdrafts') );

All good fun, really.

Weight and Stuff Report – 12 October 2017

Weight: 231.4 pounds (16 stone 7.4 pounds, 105 kg)
Steps: 1,940

Up another bit today.

Now here’s a thing. Over the last thirty-odd years, I must have walked over the Tyne Bridge hundreds of times, and this has often involved me taking photos while I’m doing it. But unless my memory has deleted a chunk of itself[1], it wasn’t until last Saturday’s photo walk that I noticed that the vertical beam thingies[2] were marked with the name of Dorman Long, the company that built the bridge:

Maker's Mark

Maker’s Mark

Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/4
Shutter speed: 1/250s
Focal length: 51.6mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 7 October, 2017
Location: 54° 58.0924′ 0″ N 1° 36.3683′ 0″ W

[1] Always a possibility…
[2] I’m not an engineer, OK?

Just one more thing…

No, it’s ok, I’m not going into full Columbo mode, but just following up on yesterday’s epic upgrade saga. I was randomly looking at some old posts when I saw it. There it was, lurking in a comment: one of those spurious  thingies, nestled next to a slightly worried-looking £.

Yes, I’d forgotten to check the Comments table when I edited the posts. All fixed with another blast of Search and Replace.

Weight and Stuff Report – 11 October 2017

Weight: 231 pounds (16 stone 7 pounds, 104.8 kg)
Steps: 1,904

Up a wee bit today…

This is a view of the Sage from last Saturday’s walk – I took a similar one a few years and a few cameras ago…



Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/1
Shutter speed: 1/450s
Focal length: 8mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 7 October, 2017
Location: 54° 58.0998′ 0″ N 1° 36.1075′ 0″ W


Skagra Lives! Or, Shada is coming!

Products from

With all the fun of site creation and site fixing, I didn’t have time to mention this before. But can I just say Woo!! Hoo!! with added  :tigger: ?

Shada is the Great Lost Story of Doctor Who. Not a wiped 60s classic, but a never-completed six-parter from the glorious Tom Baker/Lalla Ward era. And it was written by Douglas Adams, which is enough reason to mourn its non-completion.

It’s been brought to semi-life before – there was an animated version with Paul McGann as the Doctor, and the finished bits were glued together with narration by Tom Baker into something you could sort of watch but was not really satisfying. Both of these appeared on DVD a while ago.

But now there’s some distinctly interesting news. A new complete version is ti be released, with a combination of remastering and animation. The original cast (yes, Tom!!!!) are back doing the voices for the animated bits, they’re working from the original scripts and it’s by the same people who did a good job of the last unexpected release, The Power of the Daleks.

As is usual these days, its first release will be as a download from 24 November, with round shiny things for us old traditionalists following on 4 December, so that’s my Christmas present to me sorted out.

Details and a sample bit of animation here:

Doctor Who TV report

Oh, and I think I’ll add one more  :tigger: for that.