Stuff done: 2

11 May, 2010

8pm Tuesday evening.

1. Piglet delivered. She ran screaming with joy towards her Mummy 2, and disappeared into the house without a backwards glance at me. Unnatural little wretch…

2. Maps have come.

3. Waypoints loaded onto the GPS.

4. Books loaded onto the MP3 player.

5. Clothes in the washing machine.

6. Second dehydrated meal still drying. First now bagged.

I reckon I’m getting there 🙂 I’m going to have Happy Beef Burgers for dinner, and catch up with Great British Menus. Bliss!

Advertisements

Stuff done: 1

11 May, 2010

1. Camera case has arrived.

2. Paramo have promised to send my Cascadas by Special Delivery this evening for delivery tomorrow.

3. Have bought 4 books from http://www.audible.co.uk: (i) Lion’s Head, Four Happiness; (ii) A Short Walk From Harrods; (iii) Stirred But Not Shaken, and (iv) Father Joe.

4. Have realised my train isn’t going from Southport, but I’m expected to get a coach to Preston! Bugger…. wondering whether to buy ticket from S/p to Preston, now, or just put up with it. Will ring Tim and Kate and see what their tickets say.

5. Must leave for B/ham in about 30 mins. Would therefore be a good idea to get into the shower.

6. The dehydrator still doesn’t seem to be putting out the usual volume of hot air, but at least the mixture has begun to dry out. Phew!

7. Got GPS going with the PC, finally, and updated the firmware to get round the year problem that Gibson alerted me to. Phew! Will do the waypoints later.

Later…


Final Challenge Stuff Still To Be Done…

11 May, 2010

Although I’ll be getting up and jumping in the shower to get ready for the off this time the day after tomorrow there’s still quite a lot to be done here, as I’ve been doing the usual combination of juggling act and disorganisation.

Lemme see, now…

1. I rang Paramo y/day to check that they’d posted back my Cascadas to me, as promised, but they haven’t 😦 They say they’ve gone to the laundry, and they’re going to try to get them back first thing this morning and post them out to me Special Delivery.

2. My second dehydrated meal–Andy’s amazing Thai Green Curry Porridge–is dehydrating downstairs. Last night in bed I was woken by a couple of loud clanking noises, and couldn’t work out what it was. This morning I’m not entirely sure that the dehydrator isn’t a bit broken. Although it’s making all the right noises, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hot air coming out and the curry hasn’t changed much in consistency overnight. I hope it’ll work, not because I’ll starve without it (I can always fall back on Beanfeast & Smash) but because I put such a lot of effort into making it, and it sounds really yummy!

3. I should be receiving (i) Innov8 Recolites, (ii) 2 maps and (iii) a camera case in the post today from Amazon. Fingers crossed!

4. However, today I’m driving little Piglet down to Birmingham, where she’ll be spending her holidays in great style with her two Cairn pals Bink and Bluster. I will miss her. I’m pretty sure she won’t miss me. I hope I won’t miss the delivery of my Recolites and maps.

5. I’m taking Quo printouts as well as the full OS maps as they’re easier to manipulate. I printed about half of the route off several weeks ago, and need to finish it.

6. I want to put some waypoints on my GPS (Garmin Geko 201) just in case, but realised a week ago that the lead I’ve got won’t work with this PC, because this PC doesn’t have a serial port. I sent off for a USB lead, which has arrived, but I’ve not had a chance to see whether it works yet. Fingers crossed.

7. I need to choose and download some books from http://www.audible.co.uk, and put them on my MP3 player. I also need to add some music.

8. I need to pack and send off my two boxes.

9. I need to dry the tent! Oops…

10. I really need to sort out the guy lines on the tent because the little tightener thingies are all in the wrong places. Have been meaning to do this since I got the tent about 8 months ago.

11. I need to find, buy and manipulate a piece of foam into a microphone cover for my cunning podcasty device, and then make some sort of cotton cover for it. Have been meaning to do this for almost 12 months, since I bought it. But don’t tell Bob…

12. I need to sort out and wash my clothes.

13. I need to pack my rucksack.

14. Oh, and I need to choose a book for the tent.

15. Finally, I hope, I still need a few batteries.

16. And I need a warm hat. Eep! Those forecasts are scary!!

17. Aaagh! I still need to wash and re-proof my Cioch Glamaig jacket, and my Cascadas if they arrive in time.

18. Need to dig out my train tickets and proof of bookings at Rucksacks and The Park.

19. Still need to find a place to stay in Taynuilt.

So! Still quite a lot to do, bearing in mind that I’ll be in Birmingham most of the day. It’s doable, though, I think.


Oh, Happy Day!

10 May, 2010

Great news here. My sister and I moved our father to a new Care Home last Saturday. There was one ‘incident’ too many at the place he’s been in, and we decided we had to move him again. It’s not a decision we made casually, as apparently 1/3 of residents who move from one CH to another die within 12 months.

The great news is that Daddy seems to have settled into the new place, and almost immediately! It’s 100s of times better, and nicer, than the last place–because Daddy’s mobile now we had many more options than a year ago, when he couldn’t walk without falling due to the cocktail of toxic drugs the hospital had put him on, to keep him quiet on the ward–and although at first he refused to go in he eventually agreed to take a look at his room after a brilliant care assistant spent 2 hours with my sister and me, gradually gaining Daddy’s trust.

He loves the food, and some of the staff. We’ve been able to take him out for a walk, and he went back in without a murmur. He’s had two conversations with one of the other male residents, and even in the course of 48 hours my sister and I both feel that his speech has improved discernably.

I’m hoping that this is the beginning of the end of the daily nightmare that began in January last year, when Daddy decided to get on a train and present himself at the local hospital. It looks like we’ve finally found a place that really *can* be a home, where Daddy can make friends and feel secure, and we can trust the staff to take real care of him when we’re not present.

If I believed in a God I’d be thanking her now! *g*


Photo printing help?

7 May, 2010

Drat. About to dash up to Kendal to get my Terrocs. Would normally be fun but there’s too much going on here ATM so it’s just a faff. Has to be done, though.

In the meantime, can any of you PC geniuses help with what feels like a really stupid question? I’m trying to print out some photos to frame and put on my father’s wall. However, the printer/Paint Shop Pro (can’t work out which) insists on leaving a margin of about 2mm on the left of the page and one of over a cm on the right. I can center it horizontally but nothing I’ve tried (and I’ve tried everything I can think of, over a period of about 4 hours split over two occasions) makes any difference. No matter what paper size I tell the printer I’m using, and no matter how wide I tell it the picture is, that margin is always there.

This is driving me mad. My father’s moving to a new care home tomorrow and I want to print out old pictures and have them waiting for him on the walls. I don’t want them to look a mess, though.

If you can help then I’ll be eternally grateful. My printer is an HP Deskjet of some sort, my graphics programme is Paint Shop Pro and I’m aiming for A4 sized paper. I don’t want to have to start trying to cut off a strip on the right of each picture. I’m sure there must be a simple way!

BFN ♥


A Terrible Thing Happened At Amazon…

6 May, 2010

Lumix TZ7

Ooops!

I mentioned having had a sudden desire for a new camera (John: this is *still* your fault), and I’ve been unable to shake it off. I’ve been looking at some Fujifilm Finepix bridge cameras (heh… see all the terminology I’m learning, eh? ‘Bridge’ camera, indeed!), but even though I’m no real photographer I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I didn’t want to buy a camera that www.dpreview.com has slated for image quality when I already have such a nice Canon compact (the Powershot A95).

Yesterday evening, though, I stumbled across some reviews of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7, and a few hours later a sort of finger twitch moment occurred as I studied the Amazon page, and somehow I pressed the ‘One Click’ button for ‘Next Day Delivery’… Oops!

The TZ7 (TZ as in ‘travel zoom’, apparently) has an ultra-lovely Leica lens. It’s 25mm at the wide end, and goes to 300mm (in 35mm equivalent, as I now know they say). It doesn’t offer much manual control, so wouldn’t suit a lot of all y’all camera experts out there, and unfortunately it doesn’t have a viewfinder, but it has a range of pre-set ‘scene modes’ which are said to work extremely well, and I think they’ll be just great for me on backpacking trips. After reading hundreds of reviews of all sorts of small cameras I realised that they don’t tend to be very good in low light, due to their small sensors (I think), but this one seems to do better than most. It also does HD video.

Here‘s a gallery on http://www.flickr.com which shows what it’s possible to do with this little camera. If I ever get anything even half as lovely as some of those then I’ll be a very happy little piglet indeed.

The only problem that really stood out as I read about it concerns the battery. I prefer cameras that take ordinary batteries that I can buy in shops along the way, which is why I bought a Canon Powershot in the first place. I know that it’s possible to get by with a rechargable battery, though, if carrying a spare (or 2), and the charger. Unfortunately, reports seem to indicate that battery life on this camera is pretty dire. Panasonic claim that it’ll take 300 pictures, but many people seem to have had only a third to a half of that, particularly if recording any video. What made this more than just a major faff that could be circumvented by the carrying of several spare batteries was that Panasonic introduced some sort of chip into the battery, thus preventing the use of 3rd party copies (they simply wouldn’t work), and since the Panasonic batteries were originally about £60 each (!) that was a bit of a killer. However, it appears that it is now possible to get working OEM batteries for £10 each (or less), and so I’ve bought a 2-pack from Ebay.

It was the amazing image quality in such a small camera–Leica lens, see–that made me really, really, REALLY want to have one, but what tipped me over the edge was the great reduction currently running on Amazon. Apparently Panasonic are doing away with this camera any time soon, and replacing it with the TZ10. They’re currently selling the TZ7 for £199.99. They say that’s a reduction from £352.85, and whilst I know it’s possible to get it for less than that £350+ figure elsewhere the £199.99 does seem to be a genuine bargain.

Incidentally, the other one that really tempted me was the Lumix DMC-LX3. That’s even *wider* at 24mm, but it doesn’t have the super-zoom and only goes to 60mm. Having said that, the sensor is large, the picture quality is apparently fractionally better and the battery life is not a problem. It’s more expensive–currently £315.70 on Amazon–but by the time I was reading about it I really had the bug, and that might not have stood in the way of my desire to Have Lovely New Toys Right NOW had I felt that I could live without the zoom. Ultimately I didn’t feel I could, though, and so I went for the TZ7. Phew!

The wee monster is supposed to be arriving tomorrow morning, so I’ll tell you what I think when I’ve eased it out of the box and introduced it to Piglet and Puss-Puss. Meanwhile, I’m excited…


GAS Attack – Update

5 May, 2010

Kahtoola MICROspikes

My GAS attack of a week or so ago has resolved into a number of exciting purchases. Whoohoo!

Yesterday I ordered the Micro Spikes and the Inov8 Debris Gaiters, and also a couple of pairs of Bridgedale Coolmax liner socks.

Today I’ve ordered 3 sheets of a product called Paraflexx, which I saw recommended by Andy Howell over on his blog in one of his enormously helpful and interesting posts about dehydrating. Paraflexx is a microporous sheet used for dehydrating “wet, moist or gooey” food which would otherwise drip through the holes in the dehydrator tray. I’ve used baking parchment and the cunning collapsible plates sold by Bob and Rose in the past to try to get round the drip problem, but TBH I’ve not found either of them to be an ideal solution. This Paraflexx is made for the job, and Andy says it works well, so I’m crossing my crubeens and planning some fruit and tomato leathers (thanks again, Andy!) to go with the scrummy meat and root vegetable stew currently simmering away on the stove downstairs.

Now all I *definitely* need is a pair of Terrocs, but it’s looking as though I’m going to have to drive up to Kendal in order to be able to try them on, as I don’t know what size I need. The women’s Terroc 308 version may actually turn out to be too narrow for me–I have fairly wide lower crubeens–in which case I’ll go with the classic Terroc 330s.

Hmmm… I’ve just remembered that I’ve not got the merino wool liner gloves yet, either. I can’t easily order them online because I often find that ‘small’ gloves are too large for me. Hopefully I can get some when I go up to the Lakes to buy the shoes.

Kudos to The Outdoor Warehouse in Windermere, btw. I ordered the Micro Spikes and Debris Gaiters from them early yesterday afternoon, and they arrived with the postman this morning. Impressive!