Wednesday 22 April 2015

Week 46: Local Cinema: The Imitation Game

English: A film projector Fumeo model 9250 hd,...

While the large cine complexes are drawing in audiences for the big screen experience, sometimes it's nice to be able to pop along to your local community hall for a different kind of cinema experience.

Not only do they have an interval (just like the old days) but you get ice-cream and hot and cold drinks for a fraction of the cost.  In fact you could probably spend as much on the ticket and refreshments as you'd spend on a bag of popcorn and a drink at the cineplexes.

Yes, the seats may not be as comfy (but they're not bad) and the sound system might not be up to the surround sound,  and better but you don't get the same intimacy.

So this week I went along to watch The Imitation Game - Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing - an excellent, moving, fact-based biopic of the man and the team behind the Enigma machine.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday 20 April 2015

Week 46: Wave ... Yellowave

Now that I've signed up for the Castle to Castle bike ride - I need to get some training in, so I've started to cycle in to Brighton once a week.  I also meet up with a friend of mine who wants to get fit and cycles in from the opposite direction for coffee and or lunch.

Yellowave Barefoot Cafe on the seafront in Brighton seemed to be a suitable meeting point at least for now.  About 6 miles from home and a relatively easy ride along the undercliff, depending on the wind direction and strength.

Good coffee, great falafels - optional beach volleyball or just sit in the sun enjoying the view.

Saturday 18 April 2015

Week 45: Castle Hill Nature Reserve

Up on the clifftop above Newhaven is the Castle Hill (Local) Nature Reserve.  Not to be confused with the Castle Hill (National) Nature Reserve a few miles away, north of Woodingdean between Brighton and Lewes.  (Must have been a lot of Castle's in the area at one time.)

This was the first time I've worked up there with the South Downs volunteers and despite living only a little further along the coast hadn't been there before at all.  The sun was shining but a cold wind kept the temperatures down.

A variety of tasks - starting with cleaning and painting the sign posts along the track up to the coastguard lookout tower.  Replacing the 'green' flag with a newer, cleaner one. Checking out the reptiles on the reserve (nowhere to be seen) and then weeding and cleaning out one of the gun emplacements.

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Week 45: Badminton

Volant badminton

The racket sport not the horse trials ...

Another activity to add in to my exercise routine, a year on since treatment finished.

I haven't played badminton for ages and only ever played socially every now and then, so I wasn't sure how my shoulders would hold up given the explosive nature of the sport ... well if you're playing properly and not just having a gentle knock-about in the garden.

My local outdoor club organises a Badminton evening once a week so I dusted off my racket and went along to see if I could still hit the shuttle and have a half-decent game.  One court booked for a couple of hours for as many players as turn up.  Doubles rather than single, which means more people play and you also don't get so exhausted running around the whole court!

Didn't disgrace myself but did discover that the rules seem to have changed, as far as scoring is concerned (or perhaps I've never done it properly before), so left that to my fellow doubles players.  I'll get to grips with that on another day.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday 10 April 2015

Week 44: ISS and other satellites

English: The International Space Station is fe...

Among many of the night time objects visible from earth is one of the brightest satellites ... no not the Moon! - the International Space Station, otherwise known as the ISS.

Every now and then it's overhead pass can be seen as one of the brightest and fastest moving satellites in the night sky, even from the light polluted suburbs.  Through a telescope or good pair of binoculars you could even make out it's outline.

Tonight was a particularly high and bright pass, right overhead and luckily a clear sky so it visible even with the streetlights - passing quickly overhead from West to East.

If you want to know when the ISS is likely to be visible where you are - check out the NASA Spot The Station website or if you're in the UK, follow @VirtualAstro who tweets regularly about ISS passes, when and were to spot them and other astronomical highlights to look out for.

If you're lucky enough to live in an area with dark skies - look up on any clear, moonless night and you'll see a number of satellites passing overhead.  They're fast moving pin-pricks of light and can move east to west or north to south.  Different from planes (fly much lower) or meteors (seen as a short, fast streak).  Brightest overhead, dimming as they head towards the horizon - depending on the time of year and position of the sun.

ISS photographed by STS-134 crew member on the space shuttle Endeavour 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Week 43-44: North Yorkshire - Easter Walking

Our Farmhouse B&B for the weekend.  Nestled in Swaledale in the Yorkshire National Park.  Up the narrow road out of Low Row and nestled in the valley.  Lovely comfy rooms and delicious home-cooked breakfast - as traditional as you like or healthier options. 

A walk around Muker, Thwaite and Keld, back along the river.

A lovely circular walk in the sunshine on Easter Sunday - from Keld up to Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in England.  Not too busy for an Easter weekend.  A pint of Ewe's Juice - their local brew.

On the final day and a short walk around Kisdon to make the most of the great weather before heading back home.