Posted 06:28, 3 January 2014
- Multiple years at boarding school, a university education, and a working life based a lot around my questionable ability to write English has led me to my first blog post of 2014 being labelled with the fantastically erudite, mature and perhaps even subtle title “Time for this sodding weather to sod off”. Does it get much more to the point than that ? A Happy New Year to you all and here’s to 2014 being a good one…………………
- If you live in the UK then it cannot have escaped your attention that we are somewhat obsessed with the weather. After six dire summers we finally had a cracker in 2013, albeit we never had a spring because it was freezing frigging cold for nine+ weeks just when I thought we might be getting away with not having to burn stacks of wood and thus be ahead of the game when it came to winter 2014. Nope, UK weather is never remotely boring. I remember reading about somewhere in the US that gets around 300 days of sunshine a year, and while a part of me can’t help but think wow that must be pretty awesome, the Brit in me for the most part tends to love the fact that we get seasons here in good old Blighty - although many of you I am sure are not finding the current weather patterns remotely amusing, me included. Just what the hell is going on ? Yet again it’s just howling outside.
- I reckon you can take any of those long range weather predictions that get bandied about and stuff them where the sun don’t shine. Do you remember how a few summers ago we were told in advance that it was most likely going to be a great summer for barbecues, only for it to then rain practically every day until at least September. This is the UK and I happen to believe that our weather can be accurately forecasted perhaps a couple of days ahead at best, and even then that seems to be pushing it at times. OK, so I know it’s winter and we should expect a bit of wind and rain, but surely this is taking the proverbial ?
- It may well be January, but I happen to believe that around where I live in south east Cornwall we could be in with a shout at some good bass fishing at the moment. It’s still pretty mild, the water temperature is hardly plummeting off the edge of the known world, and December into January can sometimes be a good time for the larger fish around here - if that is this sodding weather might sod off for a bit and give us a sodding break. A little while back we had a few weird late autumn/early winter weeks of calm, almost “nothing” weather, yet here we are being battered by storm after storm after storm. It feels as if the weather is almost stuck in that it’s just so sodding relentless.
- I know that compared to other parts of the world that what we are getting is not remotely extreme, but my wanting this weather to sod off for a bit comes simply from me just dying to get out fishing. We went for a dog walk on Whitsand yesterday morning and it was just stunning, but from the cliffs you can see that line of mucked up water extending a fair way out now, and it’s the kind of overall colour that you just know is going to take a while to clear - if that is this sodding weather could sod off for a bit. I could of course turn to my local estuaries, indeed I keep thinking more and more how I really need to spend more time trying to learn my local waterways with regards to lure fishing - but turning to them right now ain’t really an option with the amount of freshwater about. It’s been a great Christmas and New Year but holy cow is there some serious fishing related cabin fever setting in here………………..
Posted 06:30, 30 December 2013
- Sorry, first blog post after Xmas and it’s nothing to do with fishing, albeit I work in fishing and I am thinking about a fairly major, work-related computer change over. Yes, of course, what I really want to be doing right now is wandering my local coastline with lure and camera gear in hand/on back, because right now is one of those times that it’s really worth being out and about – but unless you have spent Xmas somewhere away from the UK then it cannot have failed to register on your radar that holy cow are we in the middle of a persistent spell of wild weather which kinda puts the mockers on anything lure related for the moment………………..
- But my brain is a ticking !! (and I would welcome your thoughts if you would be so kind). My dilemma is that I need a new laptop. It needs to have a 13’ screen or under to fit in the camera bags that I travel with, it needs to be as powerful as possible, and that screen needs to be as good as I can get so that I can calibrate it and do as much “colour-critical” work when I am away from my desk. When I am at my desk(s) here at home, I work with a 2xPC setup, both running dual monitors – one is an old PC that I tend to write on, do emails, use the internet etc., and the other is a newer and fairly powerful PC that does all my photo stuff – editing, keywording, processing, backing up, uploading, etc. – the things that demand a lot of computer power essentially. I also have a travel sort of laptop that needs upgrading.
- And for the life of me I can’t find one single Windows laptop out there that really grabs me. I don’t and will never play computer games, so I don’t need any kind of machine that deals with that sort of (waste of time if you ask me) stuff - but because I am a photographer I do have certain requirements, and to be honest I am also close to needing to upgrade my various monster hard drives to either USB 3 or Thunderbolt. Backing large chunks of data up all the time over USB 2 is quite frankly driving me mad, and before you suggest it, nope, a network drive is no good for me when it comes to high-res digital images, and nope, cloud storage ain’t going to work either. Yes, I use a network drive and cloud storage, but not for large files or masses of data – hence my reliance on external hard drives. We are talking about terabytes of data if that is any help.
- Bearing in mind that when I got to university (all those years ago !!), I didn’t even know what a mouse was, yet here I am working for myself and essentially running a little business that relies big time on computers, and for whatever reason I have always used PCs running whatever version of Windows happens to be around – save for Vista of course which I gave a very wide berth to. I am comfortable on a PC, or at least I am comfortable getting them to work for me in a way that seems to do ok. But of course it has not escaped my attention that most people in my line of work, or at least most of the people/companies I produce work for do their stuff on Macs. I have had an iPod for years, I use an iPhone these days (with data roaming firmly turned off – sorry, but a phone for me is still a tool for making calls and sending texts. I hate the things), and we have an iPad here at home which my wife and I use for reading the papers on etc. I can see the appeal of the Apple brand but my computer life has always revolved around the PC.
- That might be about to change though. As I said earlier, for the life of me I can’t find any kind of Windows laptop/ultrabook or whatever that I think is designed for what I do, so I have been looking more and more closely at something like the MacBook Pro 13’ with that Retina screen. It’s not cheap, but it strikes me that for a bit more than a high-end Windows laptop, I actually get a machine that seems almost custom built for what I do. Sure, to potentially change from a PC way of working to a Mac would be a big step, but I played a bit on my middle brother’s little 11’ MacBook Air over Xmas, and to be honest it didn’t scare me half as much as I thought it might, in fact I was already starting to like the way that a few things were working on there when compared to Windows. The way I pay for the principal software programmes I use for my photography these days means that changing from a PC to a Mac would actually be relatively painless, so what used to be the main thing hold me back is no longer an issue.
- The idea of simplifying my computer life really appeals to me, and whilst needing to get my head around a new operating system I know could drive me mad, I think I am right in believing that if I go for the most powerful 13’ MacBook Pro I can get, then this one machine could actually be enough to be the one single computer I need to do all that I do – both here at my desk and when I am away from home. I love the idea of a “proper” travel sized laptop that can do far more for me than what I currently use, and I also love the idea that this “proper” laptop could also be taken into my office, hooked up to a dual monitor setup and used as a desktop replacement. One single computer to do the lot, which would then make backing stuff up to various locations somewhat easier, more efficient and less time consuming. And no, I don’t want those horribly expensive 27’ Apple Thunderbolt displays when I already have two professional quality 24’ NEC monitors here already – which I believe I could connect to the MacBook via whatever (overpriced ?) connectors are required, and then add an external keyboard and mouse for my desk based work.
- I like the idea of one computer to do everything. I like the idea of fast Thunderbolt and USB 3 connections. I need to upgrade various hard drives as it is and I need a new laptop. One of my desktops is on the way out and in another year or so I would need to upgrade the other one anyway. I use Adobe Lightroom a fair amount and as much as I think it’s a good bit of software, I can’t kid myself that it exactly seems to love being run via Windows. I don’t design stuff or put magazines together so I don’t need a Mac for those reasons, although I can’t help but wonder if in due course I am going to want/need/have to start dragging myself into the realms of filming and editing stuff – which from my understanding is far better accomplished on a Mac. I have done a lot of research now and as far as I can tell it would be a positive move to switch over to a Mac, albeit I accept completely that the “migration” period could be “challenging” at times – I wonder how a MacBook would respond to being hurled out of the window for example ?
- Any of you got any thoughts ? I know that Mac people tend to be fairly vociferous in their support of the brand that is Apple, but I was wondering if any of you out there have any input that might help me along here. I hear all the time that whatever operating system is better and that Mac is better than PC or the other way round, but do any of you have any experience of what I am thinking about doing here ? I know that Apple products tend to be more expensive than their PC counterparts, but one single laptop which can essentially be the one machine that I work on wherever I am is surely worth thinking about.
Posted 06:58, 23 December 2013
- Not long now until Santa is squeezing his ample self down your chimney and delivering presents, although I have often wondered how Santa gets himself down our chimney when we’ve got the stove lit and the vent nearly closed to keep the fire just ticking over. Hey ho though, magic is unexplainable, but I distinctly remember catching my Dad late one night many years ago wandering in and out of our bedrooms with a toy bag – which kinda shattered the Father Christmas thing !!
- One thing you could never imagine about being a parent is the joy/pain at sitting through various Christmas shows. Both my girls do these dance class things in the week and last night was their final Xmas show which my wife and I went to. I will admit that I ducked out of their summer show because it was going to be too long and I just can’t sit still for that length of time, but last night was something I simply could not avoid/really wanted to go to. I love my girls more than life itself and of course I loved watching them up on stage doing their stuff. But come on, let’s be honest here – these things always go on too long, my wife and I definitely didn’t get the giggles at a couple of points, and I never, ever put my head in my hands and wished that it might actually come to a close rather than go on forever and ever. Obviously my girls were the best thing about the show, but then I am a parent and I am allowed to be completely biased. Next year I might pretend to be coming down with flu though………………………..
- There are many benefits to being married, but one I could never have imagined was how much better my wife can make me look as a person. She sorts out the presents for my godchildrens’ birthdays and gets me to sign the cards, and she also sorts out all the Xmas presents save for my Dad and my two brothers. Various relations I am sure are thinking come Xmas morning how lovely that Henry chap is, and I will admit to being perfectly comfortable basking in the reflected glow that my wife’s kindness (and no amount of hard work and organisation) brings about. “Yes Auntie Flow, I wandered all around the south west on a hunt for that lovely flower vase, aren’t I nice ?” The flipside of course is that as a couple you often get presents which let’s be honest and say that are aimed more at the wife. I mean come on, what possible interest do I have in a pottery jug thing ? What happened to the childhood days of ripping off the wrapping paper to find some awesome Lego creation to build ? My middle brother definitely doesn’t enjoy building his eldest son’s Lego spaceships just that bit too much !!
- Xmas cheer aside, what on earth is going on with this weather ? It has always seemed to me that whatever we receive with our weather here in the UK, we usually have something taken away as a result. A fantastic summer and an eerily calm spell of weather only recently and look at what we’re getting now. Granted, if I was into my bait fishing these days then I would be putting in some time for cod and no doubt loving the chances that weather like this can present, but on the lure fishing front it is somewhat frustrating as about now is the time to be out on my local coastline - this is when you’re in with a shout at a proper bass or two. If we don’t get a monster cold snap like earlier this year then I see no reason why we haven’t got a while yet at a few open coast fish, although crumbs do we need this weather to relax a bit.
- Wherever you are I hope you have a fantastic Christmas. May Father Christmas bring you all that fishing related stuff that you were angling for and here’s to hoping that you get some decent time away from work with your families. I would like to say thanks to all those kind people who have enriched my fishing life this year, and of course thank you as well to all of you who follow this blog. I do wonder at times whether it is worth me putting the time into it that I do, but I love doing this blog, I love the feedback I get from you lot, and I can but hope that in some small way this little blog of mine does something beneficial for the sport of fishing. Have a good one and see you back here when all that turkey is finished and before your relations have worked out who actually put the thought into their lovely presents………………….