20221023 Magpies

It was remarkably mild for a late October afternoon. I sat outside for a couple of hours in the afternoon with a book and the cats to keep me company. I scattered some peanuts for the magpies, expecting that they would avoid them until we went back indoors, but they were clearly in an adventurous mood. I grabbed my camera and put on the long lens (Fuji XC 50-230) to try and catch a few shots. I’ve learned quite a bit about photography since I last spent time snapping birds. I know enough to keep my shutter speed high enough to freeze the action (pic above is 1/1000s), and I know enough to be unhappy that I had to go up to ISO 3200 to get enough light for the exposure.

However, I also know that birds follow patterns, and if I’m patient enough I can sit around and wait for that exact same shot at a time when the light will be better – perhaps shining right on the back of the magpie to really bring out their vivid colours. The light hits that angle of the garden in the mornings. The shot is there for the taking, if I can make the time to get up early one sunny day…

20221019 Amandelbloesem

I guess you’re old when instead of buying a souvenir print or T-shirt, you buy souvenir reading glasses.

It’s Fiona’s last day here. She flies back to Scotland tomorrow. This morning Abi, Fiona, and I visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and in the afternoon we did the “Top Secret” escape room at Game Over. The escape room was hard but good. Nice theme, well decorated. I felt that a couple of the puzzles could have been better signposted, but the staff did warn us that it was going to be difficult!

The Van Gogh Museum was amazing. Earlier this year we would like to have visited it with Kenny and Judy when they were in town, but tickets were all sold out. A few years ago I almost got to visit it, but a tourist collapsed and hit his head just in front of us in the queue, and I ended up accompanying him to hospital because he was probably concussed and didn’t speak any Dutch. So after living here for over 15 years now, this was my first time there.

Not only are the works on display a fantastic collection, but the story the museum tells about his life is brilliantly executed. Definitely recommended.

On one of the floors, a staff member was handing out paper for visitors to use if they wanted to do some drawing themselves. On the third floor there was a small exhibit of a rabbit and a painting of a rabbit. Fiona took a rest nearby and did a quick but to my eyes amazing 10-minute sketch of the rabbit. Vivid and lifelike. She doesn’t often show us her work, and so I’m always surprised and blown away by her skill.

20221018 Leaving an impression

The builders only took a couple of hours to cover the under-floor heating pipes with concrete. Solo only took a moment to escape from the bedroom and race downstairs to make his mark. Fortunately he only took a couple of leaps before jumping off, perhaps surprised at the texture of the surface.

The concrete firmed up during the course of the day, and eventually it was solid enough that we felt we could let the boys out without them doing more damage to it.

Not too worried about the paw print. It’ll be covered by tiles soon enough, though as Abi says, we’ll always know it’s there.