I've been doing some work in Leicester for a few months. I had to test out a new camera which has been bought for a project which needs images taken at regular intervals.
I decided to take the camera for a bit of a walk at lunchtime, along with a fisheye lens, and took some photos in the Leicester Castle area.
One of the towers at the approach to the Castle.
St Mary De Castro Church
There has been a lot of freezing weather recently, with several days where the temperature didn't get above 0C but here in Coventry we have had very little snow. I took these photos on my way to work. All of the white on the trees is hoar-frost, not snow.
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A selection of photos from this week - bluebells in the woods and some ducklings and goslings near the lake.
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To the driver of the pale blue Vauxhall Vectra, who was driving behind me on my journey to work this morning. You were so close to my car I wondered whether you wanted me to open the boot so you could climb inside. I thought you were impatient or in a hurry but when we got to a empty straight bit of road, you failed to overtake. I then realised you weren't in a hurry but were just a dickhead with poor road manners and no concept of road safety.
I was locked out of my office this morning. The electronic card reader in the main corridor was broken so nobody could get into the department. I had my laptop with me and I managed to find a spare desk in a colleague's office so at least I managed to get some work done.
Unfortunately I couldn't make any tea or coffee - although I had teabags with me and there was a kettle in another office, my mug was in my office so I had nothing to drink the tea out of. I had brought a chocolate mousse from home, which I intended to eat during my morning break. All the spoons were in the kitchen, which was in the locked part of the building. By the time someone managed to open the door, the mousse had warmed up and gone sloppy.
At least the door was opened before lunchtime. I was going to have a ham sandwich for lunch. I had the bread with me but the ham was in the fridge, behind the locked door.
I have been away for most of the week, in the Lake District. I have had no Internet access or newspapers since Wednesday morning, and haven't had time to watch TV news so I've been feeling a bit cut off from the world. I was there attending my department's annual conference so it wasn't a holiday but we had a couple of free afternoons.
On thursday afternoon a few of us went for a walk to Grasmere. We saw a deer which seemed very calm and unafraid - it didn't run off as soon as it saw us but stood and watched us approach for a minute before wandering away.
A deer, seen on the walk to Grasmere.
View of Grasmere.
When we got to Grasmere I went to the 'famous' gingerbread shop, which I hadn't heard of until this morning. The gingerbread is a bit like a cross between cake and biscuit, with proper pieces of ginger in it.
I sometimes walk through the woods on my way to the office. I've been told that there are woodpeckers in the area. Sightings of them are quite rare but they can occasionally be heard. This morning I heard the distinctive 'rat-a-tat' sound. I don't remember hearing them before - I probably have heard them but didn't notice at the time.
It took me about an hour to park the car and get to my office this morning. Getting into the car park was easy - my pass card opened the barrier. The car park was full so I tried to leave to go to another car park. Actually the car park was had plenty of spaces but they were all in the roped off empty upper floor of the multi-storey. The top floor had been closed due to the risk of ice.
I drove to the 'out' barrier and swiped my card but the barrier failed to open. A queue of cars started to form behind me. A few other people tried the barrier but it wouldn't open for them either. We phoned security and waited for them to arrive. It took 3 people and a lot of trial and error before they managed to get the barrier open. I eventually managed to leave and find my way to another car park which had some proper spaces, which happened to be a decidedly non-icy top floor of another multi-storey car park.
I was walking back to the car this evening and I saw somebody walking along the path towards me. There was a small dog trotting along a few paces in front of him. As we got closer to each other, the dog turned to one side and ran into the field. I then realised it wasn't someone out walking his dog, but a fox which just happened to be walking in the same direction.
I stopped and watched the fox for a few seconds when I saw a second fox on the other side of the path. It stopped and watched me for a short while before it scampered away into the night.
Some photos of Stevenage. They were taken on my phone, trying to hold it steady for the long-ish exposures, so the picture quality isn't very good.
New Town is very concrete and has no redeeming features.
The High Street in Old Town.
Middle Row - a medieval alleyway running alongside the High Street.
Old Town is much better and is where all the night life is - most of the bars and restaurants seem to be around here. After the training course today, a few of us went for a curry in one of the restaurants on the High Street.
I'm in Stevenage for a few days, on a training course.
The train journey down here was ok. I only had to wait a couple of minutes for each connection. At King's Cross Station, I had a long walk to platform 9 for my train, although I did pass the famous Platform 9¾ on the way. My train was at the platform ready to leave so I didn't have time to stop and take a photo.
Stevenage town centre is a bit of a concrete dump. It's like the worst parts of Coventry town centre, only darker and more desolate.
This afternoon I looked out of my office window and realised it was snowing. Apparently it had been snowing for a while but I hadn't noticed. The flakes are quite large now and it looks like it's starting to stick to the ground rather than immediately melt.
It was snowing when we left this evening, to drive home. By the time we got home (about 5 miles away) the snow had stopped. There was no snow on the ground so either it melted quickly, or it hadn't snowed as much here.
There was a really annoying car alarm going off when we arrived this morning. It never stopped, and was still going off when we left at half past 5. We were hoping either the battery would run out or the Large Hadron Collider would destroy the universe, but no such luck.
We have two exams next week, and everyone must be at home revising because I have the office to myself today. Revision is going slowly. I somehow managed to distract myself by watching the first few episodes of Black Books using the 4OD thing from Channel 4 to watch the episodes on-line.
I also managed to lose a tea bag. I keep a tin on my desk with assorted teas in it - at the moment it has a couple of types of green tea, some earl grey and some rooibos (aka Red Bush). I reached into the tin, grabbed a bag at random, picked up my mug and walked towards the door. I realised I was only carrying the mug, not the teabag, which was nowhere to be seen. Not on the desk. Not in my pocket. Not dropped on the chair or floor. I came to the conclusion that I must have put it back in the tin.
I've suffered from senior moments before, but this was one of the more extreme.
We had a power cut this afternoon. I was attending a seminar on analysing the results of Combinatorial Chemistry experiments, and the projector went off right at the start of the presentation. The room lights were already off, and the laptop which held the slides was still on, so it wasn't immediately obvious what had happened.
There are roadworks nearby, where a gas main is being replaced. We later found out that they had severed the electric cable, cutting off power to most of the site (which includes the University and various shops and offices).
The seminar had to continue in the old fashioned way, by writing on a board. Only the end boards could be used - the projector screen couldn't be retracted because it was electrically powered. Within minutes of the presentation ending, the power briefly came back on, but it turned out to be a false alarm and everywhere was plunged back into darkness again.