Pat from Canvey's blog

Panorama of the cockle boats

Over Christmas, I couldn't drag Kat from the sofa to visit Old Leigh so I went on 22 January to try out some more panorama shots without using a tripod. The day was dull and raining but nevertheless I decided that I would go and forget about the rain. I forgot to look at the tide times so arrived at high tide when none of the beach was showing, the area was deserted and I could wander round in the rain.
Leigh is an ancient small port so the streets are narrow and cobbled. Cars have to be parked a few hundred yards away near the train station on higher ground. I paid my 70p for one hour of parking, grabbed the camera and walked down to the sea front. Some of the houses and pubs look as if they date from the 16th or 17th century. There are the usual art galleries, boat yards, rock shops and sea food bars, mostly shut in the winter but teeming with visitors in the summer months. Here's a shot of the boats and mounds of empty cockle shells looking from the road which curves up to the higher ground and the newer part of Leigh and it's shops along the Broadway.

Dismal failures

I mentioned dismal failures in my post about the new bracelet. Here is a clear heart that went terribly wrong. I tried the heart off mandrell using Spectrum Clear fusing COE 96, got it half right then messed it up whilst trying to put a glass hook onto it.
Clear heart beadClear heart bead

New bracelet

I've been wanting to buy a new torch for a few months but had to buy a new computer instead at Christmas because the old one was slowly failing. It would work for about ten minutes, experience an error and tell me it had to shut itself down. As you can guess, this made transferring the data and programs a little problematic, even with the computer operating in safe mode. So buying the torch will have to wait till the end of February. It's not just the cost of the torch but all the ancillary stuff like an oxygen compressor that will allow me to work with a cleaner and hotter flame. I've been biding my time and doing some other things as well as making smaller beads as my tank of propane gas slowly runs out.

Fusing test piece

The Silicon Folly Glass site fusing forum in USA has recently had a glass exchange where each person taking part makes a number of 2x2 inch pieces of fused glass with a different theme each year. These are then sent to a central collection point and that person then repacks the individual pieces so that each person that has taken part recieves one of each of the pieces made by the other people. When the images are available, I'll put in a link so that you can see all this Christmas' efforts.
I didn't take part but have been doing some fusing tests of my own.

Merry Christmas to all

I only have email addresses for many contacts so am posting this Christmas card of us on the Fox glacier in New Zealand. I'm not really this fat! I am wearing about six layers of clothes to combat the cold. On the glacier the temperature is just like walking into a giant freezer. John, poor soul was offered a multi-coloured hat but wouldn't wear it. He subsequently bought a white one. We were fortunate to be able to get the helicopter ride that day because all rides were cancelled the day before and all subsequent rides after ours that day were cancelled too because of the bad weather.
Here's hoping you all have a happy Christmas and do not over indulge too much over the New Year.

Carnival Necklace

A few weeks ago I came across the first issue of a UK Bead magazine The other mags I've seen have all come from USA so I was glad to see this with it's adverts for all things beading from UK suppliers. I liked the look of this necklace but hadn't made any small beads before so put off starting for a while. I finally took the plunge and decided to use red and green glass in honour of the season. I coated about 5 inches of each mandrel and wound 10 beads on each. The bugbear was cleaning all the beads but I'm looking out for an easier way than cleaning by hand with a reamer. All suggestions gratefully accepted. Here's the result.

Wire crochet

I've added 3 pictures to my bead album on Picturetrail.
Pat from Canvey's Picturetrail
Basically, I was just playing around to see what the end result would be. I used a 1.5mm crochet hook and 34 gauge copper wire bought from an electrical suppliers because I couldn't find very fine wire anywhere else. As a plus, this wire is coated so doesn't tarnish and it is easy enough to string beads on the wire before starting to crochet and then incorporating them into the work as you go.
I wanted to try the crochet because I bought a book recently at a beadfair in Newmarket, UK. The book is called Crochet with Wire by Nancie M Wiseman published by Interweave Press and sells in US for $14.94. It has projects for all crochet skill levels and has a brief "How to" section.

Lake Pukaki

I didn't take my tripod to New Zealand this year because last year I used it very infrequently. Plus it is a bog standard tripod without a panoramic head. The view of the lake was so spendid that I decided to try a panorama by standing in one place and pivoting myself about 5 times, each time taking one photo whilst keeping my hands and elbows still. When I got home, my November issue of Your Family Tree magazine was waiting for me and one of the full products offered in the free disc that comes with it was a Serif program Panoramaplus 1.0. I thought "Why don't I try out this program rather than a couple of others I have to see what the results will be".These others have given me disappointing results and have required subsequent manipulation.

I do sometimes take pictures other than landscape

We hit upon this seal colony by chance, just from looking at the map of the area. The colony is wild and the shore it inhabits is both rocky and full of shingle. Further away from the shore greenery surrounds a tarmac car park which was full of cars when we arrived. The seals blended in so well with the rocks that we frequently approached one without realising it and tourists passed the world along to others when another seal was discovered. People were laughing and pointing and some of the teens were just as funny as the seals when they suddenly realised they had nearly stepped on a seal and hastily jumped out of the way. The Bull seal in the picture was hiding in the greenery and one man approached a little too near. It lunged forward and emitted a roar of warning and the man hastily retreated.

One of my favourite photos from New Zealand

Last year in NZ, we couldn't get on the Helicopter trip because the weather was bad in the mountains and all flights were cancelled. This year, we tried again but were determined to stay at least 2 days at Fox Glacier to maximise our chances of the weather being suitable. The first day was a no-no so the receptionist booked us on the early morning flight the next day, report at 8.15 am which meant getting up about 6.00 am in order to breakfast, pack up and get the camper off site and parked in the village before 8am.
There were lots of teens and twenties milling around waiting to go on the more strenuous hikes up the Glacier with guides. I don't think some of the people knew what they were letting themselves in for as some were dressed very inappropriately as we knew from last year that as you approach the head of the Glacier, it gets considerably colder until at a few hundred yards away, it's like being in a freezer. I say a few hundred yards because the area immediately near the head where the melt runs out is restricted because chunks fall off at intervals and the pieces are big enough to cause substantial injury.

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