Archive for January, 2010

Full Moon at perigee

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

At last yesterday I managed to get a reasonable shot of the Moon when it was (nearly) full! It was very cold outside and there was frozen snow on my car, which had taken a lot of scraping off. So I could only stay out for a few minutes at a time before coming in to warm up and then go out and have another go.

The photo below was taken at 7.30pm, 10 hours or so before the actual moment of the Moon being completely full. But of course I won’t see that from here. It won’t rise until around 6.00pm tonight, so if it’s clear, it will be at least 12 hours past full when I see it again.

The prominent crater Tycho shows up quite well. Tycho is a lunar impact crater in the southern lunar highlands which was named after the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. It’s about 85 kilometers across, and has rays of impact material radiating from it. To see where Tycho is, click on the photo which will take you to my Flickr photostream where I’ve added a note to show where Tycho is. Hold your cursor over the Moon to see it.

I hope to be able to get another shot of the Moon tonight, because today it’s at perigee. This is the nearest point of the Moon’s elliptical orbit in it’s cycle, and today it will be the nearest to us this year, apart from October. It’s distance away is around 359700 km or 223510 miles.

The furthest point of the Moon’s elliptical orbit in each cycle is called the apogee. The more extreme perigees and apogees often occur around January.

Apparently January’s full Moon is called the Wolf Moon which comes from the hungry wolf packs that would howl outside the villages of Native Americans in the coldness of January.

The forecast for tonight is clear skies and very cold, so hopefully I will be able to add another day to my collection of shots of the Moon on every day of it’s visible phases.

Full Moon at perigee

Stone cold face

Friday, January 29th, 2010

The other day, I went out for a walk to look for some photos to take. I wanted to see if I could find some snowdrops. I love snowdrops, not just because they’re so beautiful, but because they’re a sign that winter will soon be over and Spring is on it’s way!

When it was very snowy I had wandered into the local churchyard because I could see a stone angel that I wanted to photograph. She was nice, but not brilliant because close up there wasn’t much detail or definition in her face. So I had wandered further into the churchyard, which I’d never done before, and I found a beautiful full length statue of a lady leaning against a cross. I took lots of photos of her face until my fingers got so cold I couldn’t take any more.

I wanted to go back again on my walk and take some more shots of her, but would you believe it, after a twenty minute walk, just as I got there, it started raining! So it was camera back in the bag and no photos!

Here’s one of the shots I’d taken previously. I think she’s beautiful. I want to go back and see what her age is, as the base was covered in snow when I first found her. As well as the beauty of her carved face, I love the way that weathering has gently coloured her and given her a bloom to her cheek.

Stone cold

I’ve found the Moon at last

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

After more than a week of cloudy, rainy skies we had a clear day with a lovely blue sky, so at last I managed to take a photo of the Moon.

I’d love to get a shot of it every day that it’s visible so that I could have a complete set of it’s different phases, but the weather often conspires against me. Hopefully over the months I can fill in the gaps to make up my collection. I know there are lots of brilliant photos available on the internet, shots taken with much better cameras than mine, but there’s something special and satisfying about taking your own photos.

Here’s one of them which I’m really pleased with. It’s not brilliant, but it’s good for a point and shoot camera. It’s a waxing, gibbous Moon 83% illuminated, 4 days away from being full. The photo was taken on the 26th January,2010 at 5.30pm.

Gibbous Moon

Bread pudding

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

I think I’m addicted to bread pudding. It all started in the snow. I hadn’t been able to get into my local town to get any shopping and I was running out of food. I had some very dry, but not mouldy, fruit bread and some semi-skimmed milk that I’d got from the local shop. I don’t like drinking semi-skimmed, it’s much too creamy for me, but as it was all I had, I needed to do something with it.

Stale bread? Milk? Yes I had an egg, I could make bread pudding! So I did, and it was gorgeous! I’d added some more dried fruit and some mixed spice and also cooked a meal and a baked potato while I had the oven on.

I wasn’t in the habit of using the oven because when I worked until 6.00pm, it was far too late to cook something in the oven when I got home. Now I work until 4.00pm, there’s plenty of time to get a meal ready for the oven and mix up a bread pudding to pop in with it.

I’ve tried several different flavours. Chocolate is my favourite. The latest one I made was Ovaltine flavoured and it’s really nice! To look at, it looks as though it could be a heavy old fashioned pudding, but it’s not. It’s light and delicious! I want to try a marmalade flavoured one by spreading the bread with marmalade. Then there’s dates, prunes, oranges, banana, toffee……..

I was always throwing bread away because I don’t eat much of it, but now I don’t need to throw any away – I can use it all up making lovely, tasty, low fat bread puddings.

Let me know if you’d like the recipe.

Photographing the Moon

Monday, January 25th, 2010

I’ve been trying to take photos of the Moon, but I’ve only seen it once since it was new just over a week ago. It’s been so cloudy and rainy that I just haven’t been able to find it, which is so frustrating!

I’d love to be able to take a photo of it every day of it’s phase that it’s visible, but the weather so often conspires against me.

So here’s a photo that I took last month when it was at the same phase as it is today – just over 10 days lunation and 75% illuminated.

It’s not a brilliant shot, but for a point and shoot camera, I’m really pleased with it. I love the craters on the terminator. This is a waxing gibbous Moon, five days away from being full.

Moon and craters

A sad goodbye

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

A while ago, I wrote about my favourite radio programme. It’s on from 9.00am until midday, so it’s the show that I listen to while I’m at home in the morning before I go to work.

The presenter is very funny and quick witted and I really enjoy his banter. But he’s leaving and moving on to another job in another area. It’s his last show today. I’m going to miss it. I’ll also miss emailing him comments and answers to questions that he reads out with such humour.

Change is hard, even small changes. It will take me a while to get used to a new presenter with a different style, but that’s what life’s like. Nothing stays the same. There are always changes and we have to get used to them and move on. We can’t live in the past with memories that have long gone, we must embrace the future with all it’s discomforting changes, and be flexible enough to change with it.

The thaw that came and went

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

At last the snow we had struggled with was chased away by heavy rain and warmer temperatures. I could get my car out, and for two days, I drove to work on clear roads!

It’s looking really pretty again today, as it’s been snowing overnight, just as the weather people predicted. There are reports of closed schools and closed roads on the local radio. I’d like to take a day’s holiday and stay in the warm and off the roads today, but I can’t as I have a deadline to meet at work.

So I’ll put my boots and other snow requirements in the car and head out carefully. It’s nowhere near as deep as it was a couple of weeks ago, but apparently it’s a different type of snow that is more icy and slippery than the lovely powdery stuff we had before.

I don’t like the travel difficulties that the snow produces, but I do love the way the countryside looks. Here’s one of my snowy shots…..

Winter garden

It’s beginning to thaw

Friday, January 15th, 2010

At last it’s got a bit warmer. It was a few degrees above freezing this afternoon, and it’s started to thaw. For the first time in over two weeks, I can see a bit of the road I live on. The two ruts in the single track that cars have made in the snow have melted and I can see the road.

My car has been snowed into the drive for over a week. I hadn’t attempt to dig it out as I didn’t want to drive on the 4 inches of compacted snow that covered my road. There’s been a foot of snow in between the car and the road, so this morning when it was quite soft and beginning to thaw, I moved some of it by pushing it aside with my foot when I was wearing wellies. That worked quite well. I’ll have another look at in the morning and see if I can get it cleared so that I can get the car out of the drive.

More snow

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

The snow had just started to think about melting yesterday. It was falling off the trees, and the roads were clearer, but there was still lots of snow on the pavements.

But now it’s back! It started snowing yesterday evening. It was very fine, not great big fluffy flakes like last time, so I didn’t think it would do much, but it did. This morning there was another 5 or 6 inches of snow on my car, and lots at the side of the road. My road has been reduced to one lane where there’s deep snow at the sides and tyre tracks have been imprinted into the middle of the road. I don’t know what happens if a car meets one coming the other way!

I went out to take some more photos as the snow would be looking nice and new and white. I wear my wellies as the snow is too deep for my walking boots, and I put them on the heater for 5 minutes. When I put them on, they’re lovely and warm! There was no nice blue sky today, no sun and it was very cold. I wanted to walk further than I had done last time to get some different views, but I changed my mind as my fingers soon became so cold that they were hurting and didn’t work properly.

So I turned back home to the warm and put a chicken casserole and baked potato in the oven. Nice warming comforting food, just right for this sort of weather!

This photo was taken of the last fall of snow in the village where I live when the sky was blue.

Footsteps in the snow

Waning enthusiasm

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

My newly found enthusiasm for local buses is waning. After my success on Friday, I checked the timetable and confidently set off through the snow to catch a bus to work. I’d timed it well, so I only had a few minutes to wait, and by the time the bus was due, three other people had joined me at the bus stop.

Just on time, the bus was seen at the junction in the distance, so we knew it wouldn’t be long before it appeared round the curve in the road to pick us up. After a few minutes when it still hadn’t reached us, we began to think that something was wrong. And it was! Instead of using the route listed on the timetable, the bus had gone a different way. That meant that the four of us were left standing at the bus stop while the bus headed off to our destination on a different road.

We were disappointed and frustrated, but we decided that we would walk up to the next stop so that the same thing wouldn’t happen to the next bus, due in half an hour. The couple who had ski sticks set off at a fair pace, so I walked slowly with the elderly lady with a walking stick.

She was chatting away to me telling all about why she was going into town, and I was glancing at her as I walked and listened. One minute she was there, the next she’d disappeared and was lying full length on her back in the snow. It was so fast! Her feet just went from under her. I asked her if she was ok and she was, so I retrieved her walking stick, helped her onto her feet and brushed the snow off her so that she didn’t get cold. She thought it was funny, but walked even more carefully after that.

We got to the next bus stop in plenty of time and all chatted as we waited. The time for the bus came, and went. We waited and waited. My toes had become blocks of ice by this time and it was impossible to warm them up even when I kept moving them and stamping them in the snow.

Eventually half an hour late, a bus arrived. I asked the driver if it was the 11.26am bus on time, or the 10.56am bus late. He said no, it was the 10.16 bus very late!

Once on the bus, I enjoyed the snowy views again and it wasn’t long before I got to work. I was concerned about getting home though. I wanted to try and get home before dark, but if a bus was likely to be an hour late, that wouldn’t be possible, and I didn’t fancy walking on snow and ice in the dark. So I was very glad when someone who lives near me offered me a lift home.