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Sunday
Feb122012

Frog Spawn

I had another check of the pond for frog spawn today and wasn't at all surprised to see several more clumps of frog spawn. I sat quietly on a nearby bench and after a short while I noticed a few large ripples emanating from the same spot in the pond and after a short while a frog poked its head out of the water. I sat as still and as quietly as I could as we stared at each other but I eventually had to move my arm and the frog instantly disappeared beneath the surface again.

Photo: Frog spawn in our pond

Friday
Feb102012

Frog Spawn

Apart from the last week or two we've had a very mild winter here on the Isle of Man - I "blame" fitting winter tyres on my wife's car for the first time for that. The past couple of weeks have been a bit colder, but nothing like the sub zero temperatures and snow they have recently had over the water in the UK.

I've been checking our small garden pond for frog spawn every few days, when I remember, and today I saw one small clump of frog spawn. We had about three separate spawnings last year and I expect it to follow a similar pattern this year.

Sunday
Jan292012

Glasgow

We had a far better night's sleep and woke a lot fresher this morning. We had breakfast around 08:30 to avoid the 09:00 rush and as we were heading out at 10:30 we were amazed to see a large queue to get in for breakfast. It looked like some people would be waiting for 15 - 20 minutes before they could be seated for breakfast.

We took a taxi to the Riverside Museum to see the contents of the transport museum. I believe this used to be situated by the Kelvin museum but it had been closed the last two years when we had visited Glasgow.

Contrary to our taxi driver not being too impressed by it, I thought it was a wonderful exhibition. I absolutely love old street reconstructions with shops and other building you can go in to and thought this was really well done. There was an impressive collection of cars and bikes, mostly on shelves attached to the walls. It would have been nice to be able to look closer at these cars as it was harder to see the ones on the upper shelves but I suppose space constraints would have made this difficult. Make sure to check out the upper level of the museum as the lift and the stairs aren't very obvious and easy for some people to miss.

We took another taxi to the Glasgow Quay area where we had a Chinese buffet and a few beers before spending the next few ideas watching a couple of films in the Odeon cinema. I managed to fall asleep and snore during both The Descendants and Sherlock Holmes films.

Saturday
Jan282012

Glasgow

We had a crap night sleep last night due to lift noise all night and felt knackered this morning. Despite that we got up early for breakfast and then asked about changing rooms. The hotel were happy do oblige so we packed our bags ready for them to move us and headed out for the day.

We took the "Clockwork Orange" (the Glasgow underground train - third oldest in the world after London and Budapest) to the Kelvin museum where we finally saw Dali's "St John on the Cross". I also saw the AC/DC exhibition that was in the basement area.

Afterwards we rode the underground back into town and I got one stop before my wife as I wanted to walk up "Bucky" while she went to M&S again. I had my obligatory look in the Apple shop and had a look at cameras in the Jacobs shop in Sauchiehall Street.

I'd been interested in the Panasonic GX1 camera as my painful elbow was making lugging my Canon 5D MkII a bit heavy going and I was curious about a lighter camera but with decent viewfinder and optics. The GX1 kit was fairly expensive with the optional electronic viewfinder and compact zoom lens and as the Canon G1 X with its huge sensor was due out soon I was also waiting to see that before deciding on one or the other. On the way out of the shop I also spotted the Fuji X10, which was like a little brother of my Fuji X100 camera. I had a quick play with it and quite liked it. Hmmm...

I went back to my local pub, the Toby Jug and had a couple of pints while I waited for my wife. When she arrived we headed to my favourite seafood restaurant just a bit further up Hope Street, the Mussel Inn, where I had my usual seafood platter and Hoegaarden white beer.

On the way back to the hotel we took a detour back to Jacobs where we bought the Fuji X10, leather case, and also a battery grip for my wife's Nikon D7000. By now I was quite cold and tired so I was pleased to get back to the hotel and see that we'd been moved to another room which was the same layout but well away from the lifts and a lot quieter.

My wife decided to stay in for the evening so I headed out to another of my favourite eateries in Glasgow, the cheap and very basic Blue Horizons chippy where fish chips, bread and a cup of tea only costs £5.70 and a refill of tea is 20p. The last time I ate here I had one and a half fish servings on my plate and I assumed that they somehow had half of a fish left in the fryer and gave it to me so I was a bit surprised to again get one and a half fish again this time. Perhaps it's standard with he fish tea?

Needless to say, I walked back to the hotel feeling very bloated...

Friday
Jan272012

Isle of Man to Glasgow

We headed off to the UK on the Ben My Chree this morning for a long weekend in Glasgow. The drive up was a bit iffy in parts due to hail, sleet and snow, but after an hour or so it cleared up and was quite sunny for the rest of the drive.

When we arrived at the Marriott our room wasn't ready, despite it being about 15:30, so we left our luggage with the hotel and headed in to town. My wife went shopping and I soon found myself sitting in the Toby Jug, which has become my "local" in Glasgow and set about trying the local beers.

I phoned my mother just to let her know we'd arrived safely and she rather surprised my by saying she'd agreed to buy an apartment today. We'd been looking for somewhere for her to move to that was on a bus route and had as few steps as possible as she'd had a couple of falls recently and had hurt herself but this sudden decision came as a bit of a shock. I needed a few more beer to fully digest the implications of this news. This meant that we'll be likely moving in to her current house later this year and then would either sell or rent ours out, depending on the state of the housing market. When my wife arrived we had a few more beers and she had some whisky before we headed to the hotel with me a little worse for wear to see if our room was finally ready.