I like spending time at Brad’s house, although I’d never tell him that. His family aren’t rich but they’re not poor either. Like ours, their house is large but badly looked after. You can tell nobody has given a thought to the décor in several decades. Brad’s mum sells her jewellery at boot sales and paints watercolours. Her drawings are brilliant and I’m always at her to give me lessons. “Come in, Amy,” she said. “I’m off to town; help yourself from the kitchen.”
I’ve known Brad since we were small. He’s the nearest thing I have to a best mate. I don’t fancy him like that, but I trust him.
The air felt cool in the narrow alleyway behind the pub. I stood my keyboard case against a drainpipe and turned up my coat collar. Down at the end, Christmas lights blinked in a high street window. Already, it was hat and scarf weather, and I had neither.
“Will you make a record?” A small figure squeezed out from between two wheelie bins. “If you do, I’ll definitely buy it. The King of Doom. You write most of the songs, don’t you?”
“All of them, actually.” There was just enough light to recognise her face. She had been inside earlier. The only one not dancing, instead standing motionless, her outdoor coat still buttoned, wearing a woolly hat that would not have looked out of place in the stand at Elland Road. Birdy was right after all – she had definitely been watching me. She looked young, sixteen maybe. Still a schoolgirl then, although I didn’t remember her from St Bede’s. Not surprising I suppose because she would have been three or four years below me.
I discovered a bunch of websites (well, five anyway, but there are definitely more out there) that allow you, for free, to upload your photos and then manipulate them using artificial intelligence/machine learning - whatever you want to call it. The results range from disappointing, through interesting, to wow! I will show you some of mine in the hope that it may inspire you to have a go yourself.
As a general introduction, you probably won't do better than to start at this web page.
You need to sign up but it's painless. It's quite slow, but produces some very interesting effects. You can apply their chosen styles to your image or upload your own. You can download your modified photo. Quality is good although may need some tweaking for contrast and sharpness.
Tom put down a green handbag full of radio valves and other electrical components he’d been carrying for Alan, and sat on it.
Alan noted his companion’s griminess and wondered vaguely if he looked as bad. Mind you, it had been a very productive morning. A grubby face felt like a small price to pay. “So, when?”
Tom sniffed and wiped his nose across his raincoat sleeve. “July, probably.”
“Mum says he’ll qualify for probation soon, as long as he keeps out of trouble. That’s half his six-year sentence knocked off.”
“That’ll be nice.”
“Mmm. I’m not so sure.” Tom hurled a lump of concrete at a row of wine bottles he’d set up on top of an old desk.
“Don’t get me wrong. I love my dad and all that, and I know he’s no saint, but he’s definitely not a blackmailer. He took some photos and then got caught with them, but that was all. Sure, he’s done things he shouldn’t have but he didn’t deserve to go inside, not this time. He got fitted up by the police, plain and simple. They said the town
What can be said about a sunrise (or sunset) that hasn't already been said? I dunno.
Which is better, perhaps. Now there's a question. Are you a sunrise or a sunset person? And is it just a matter of personal preference or is there scope for a more objective evaluation? Perhaps each witnessing of sunrise/sunset should be assessed as a unique event that cannot be compared to any other occasion. I dunno.
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What factors might make a difference? Better if alone or with company? Better if summer or winter? Better if sober or drunk? Better if stormy
A blooming, buzzing confusion. Yep, I'm out in the garden. Well, actually I'm sitting in the conservatory, watching the trees (yes, trees in a garden that measures 6m by 4m) being whipped around in the rather stiff easterly breeze. But the sun is out and the sky is cloudless. What's not to like?
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It is a pity you can't give people some kind of injection to kick start an interest in nature, in growing things, in gardens and in being outdoors just for the sheer kerpow of feeling the air on your face. It would do wonders for the nation's mental health. Overnight, people would become gentler, slower, more thoughtful, more
But not particularly cold, with hardly a single frost. Hellishly windy though, at times, expecially through February and the early part of March. Playground duty meant numb fingers and wooly hats and scarves.
In fact, Daniel and Lucie's wedding in Norfolk at the end of September was one of the warmest days of the summer.
Christmas with the family in Derbyshire was memorable. Expensive, but memorable. Christmas Eve's weather was glorious and a great photo op.
Thereafter, it's just been a slow, cold slog to get to spring, which at last is showing signs of imminent arrival.
Saw our sons and partners for a day out in Cambridge Botanic Garden. I used to take my classes there from Ely on the train every summer, splitting the day between there and the Cambridge Buddhist Centre. Perfectly do-able.
At the beginning of the holiday we had to say goodbye to Jack, our dear rescue moggie, who admittedly was pretty ancient. He was a dear, very affectionate but very much his own man.
The garden burgeons. I must stop buying more plants as there is now hardly room to get the car in.
Off to Scotand at the end of the month. One new discovery was Cambo Walled Garden. It's near St Andrews in deepest Fife and has to be probably the best walled garden I've ever visited. the photos appear in a separate posting.