Monday, 21 November 2011

Book signings - Beverley and Hull

Had Penny's book signing day yesterday. Beverley first, then Hull at lunchtime.

Beverley was very foggy and seemed deserted when we arrived but soon got busy.
Slow start
But soon built up

It was then I saw a folk band called 'Freedom's Road' setting up about a hundred metres down the road from the signing venue. I decided to creep over and have a chat.
Freedom's Road
The guitarist, after a little persuasion, let me get on the mike to tell everyone about mum's signing and when I had finished, after a satisfying little clap, a few people drifted off in the direction of the store.

I stalked them like a sheep dog and watched at least half a dozen people go into the store. Well worth it. And thank you Freedom's Road who, among other snippets of wonder, told me that they remembered F*@!$#g David Bowie when he was poor and stealing milk! The things you hear huh? Wonderful.

Mum in Beverley before the kick off
This market stall agreed to point crime fans in our direction too, so thanks for your support guys

And so to Hull.

The Beverley signing was successful but what happened in Hull was way beyond my expectations.

Both signings were for 2 hours but within 6 minutes we had surpassed Beverley sales and were quickly heading for a Personal Best, which we got!

Adam, being uncharacteristically shy

 There are many people to thank for the success in Hull, but one of the main proponents was the store manager Adam, who I immortalise here.

 All manner of people turned up for the signing. Including some of the stars below.

These two little monkeys insisted on leaping in front of the camera every time I set up a shot, resulting in 12 pics to get this one!

Saleswoman at work
Background, the lesser spotted George

The fully stocked table (lasted about 20 mins)
The wonderful Jessica, whom I promised to make famous. Her family and Jessica stayed to chat to us for a good while and gave a welcome boost during a lull in the proceedings
We didn't escape the local plod, who required some serious palm greasing to stop them carting Penny away in irons.
 So a successful day was had by all.

Just the WH Smith York signings on 26th Nov to go now (12-2pm Coney Street and 2.30-4.30pm Monks Cross Shopping Centre), oh and the WH Smith Scarborough one on the 3rd Dec. Ah, wait, I'm pretty sure there's a signing in WH Smith Harrogate on the 10th Dec too. Yes. And I fear there may also be another signing at Adam's WH Smith, Prospect Centre, Hull store on the 17th Dec... then we can relax.... until Christmas....

Thanks for reading.

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Sunday, 20 November 2011

First of all, we got a puppy!

Ladies and Gentlemen, may we cordially introduce you to our latest addition... Milly.
This is Milly with her previous owner, a breeder in Howden

 So we finally bit the bullet and got a dog. A wonderful and astonishingly trainable puppy, Milly. Although she can be a little protective of her food currently.

MY horrible dry dog food!

Fun in the garden, lots of gravel to eat and trees to worry

A little greedy with toys, one is never enough

Oh, and partial to a little 'owner's eye' on occasion

That's Milly for now. She appears to be getting leggier and stockier by the day. We've had her 3 weeks now and she's already outgrown her first collar. She is the UK breed and comes from a long line of working dogs so I'm sure we've got lots of fun to come. The vet tells us she could reach 46Kgs (Around 7 stone).

She is currently 7 Kg and frankly a bit of a handful already. Still, with a steady will, a strong lead and Victoria Stilwell's amazing dog training advice, I think we're going to be just fine.

And she gets so stupidly fussy around mum and dad too. The cat's not so keen thus far but is definitely still the animal kingpin of the farm. I suppose she may, in time, grow to hate Milly slightly less than she does now (all we can ask for now).

Ok, I'm off telescoping the heavens. Enjoy everyone!

Woo hoo!

Ever since I was a small boy, walking out into my grandmother's garden with my Uncle John to see Halley's Comet, I have been in love with the universe and everything therein.

My dream to be able to afford my own telescope was finally realised thanks to my wonderful and incredibly thoughtful wife.

The Telescope she bought me is a second-hand SkyWatcher 130mm Reflector with a box of bits I thought were peripherals that came with the original scope.

It turns out that, although the original lens and battery powered tracking motors were in the box, the gentleman who we bought it from also put in three further lenses, each producing eye wateringly larger images, and a power supply so that you don't need to use batteries.

I now intend to invest a little more cash to buy a camera mount for it so look out for some amateur astrophotography coming soon.

Until then, you'll just have to be happy with pics of the scope itself.

Top view showing viewer to right, red-spot finder on top and view down to primary mirror

I am fighting the urge to scratch 'Dan's' above this...

The stats are; D-130mm, F-650mm

My telescope came with tripod and auto-tracking motors including a track feature that (with a little adjustment) will automatically keep the object of interest in the viewer. Fantastic. I can't wait for the deep winter nights. Thus far I have only had really spectacular results whilst looking at the moon. The original lens gave me a lovely, full view of the moon. I fitted the next lens and achieved some great results as the whole viewscreen was filled. The third of the lenses gave the most amazing result so far. I focused the scope on the moon's north pole and could see incredibly crisp craters through the viewer. It was, by now, filling the whole of the eyepiece with approximately a quarter of the moon's face.

Very excited by this, I decided to hunt through the box and paperwork to see if I could crisp up the image any further. It was here I got my nicest surprise of all. The gentleman had also put a Barlow lens, which had been lost in my child like tearing open of the box, in with all the other stuff. It's a X2 Barlow lens and yes, you guessed it, it doubles the magnification of anything you've got already and fits in-line with any lens that you are using!

I really must get that camera mount, I can't wait to publish some of my pics.

And so to astronomy. I feel so lucky that we don't live near a big city. The sky is so crisp here in winter. And a special thank you to Uncle John, without whom I wouldn't have this life-long love.

Until then...