The new blog, not something I have tended to keep as up to date as most seem to but I'll see what I can do!
I ran a blog for about 3 years at etribes.com but they no longer exist unfortunately - 'old blog' can still be viewed (albeit currently lacking images) at The old website at etribes
I miss my Aunty Kath. One thing she was always impressed with and vocally encouraged me with was my photography. It seems fitting then that when the folks let me know that she had left me some money it seemed fitting that it should be used to upgrade the camera equipment, perhaps in the hope of this assisting with the development in the future (sometimes the best things are reserved for later in life - see wedding photos!) of photography to be something more than 'just a hobby'. Who knows! Anyway reference to an earlier blog 'When better just isn't worth the effort' has seen the investment in three new items for the armoury, lenses comprising a 17-40mm f4L, a 70-200mm f4L (pro quality lenses) and potentially and most significantly that nice condition and very low mileage (less than 4000 actuations) Canon EOS-1ds mk2 (16mp full frame sensor). Courtesy of another website and my amateur radio guru's words (W4TI, now SK) I should say, "Thank you Aunty Kath, I really like my new camera". If someone you care about and love leaves you some money then make sure you buy one thing really worthwhile and lasting that you have wanted, will keep and appreciate. When I use the camera just perhaps Aunty Kath is looking over my shoulder!
When I asked the boss about moving to France but still working through/in Jersey I had my heart in my mouth and didn't seriously expect to have it agreed. Well to cut a long story short he actually said 'yes' and with a little help from 'the angels' and a following wind it just looks like we shall be on the move again in the new year. 2011 is going to be pretty momentous then as we will be looking to move into temporary rented early in the year and with a view (all things being in our favour) to buying our French house during the year in the lovely viallge of Huelgoat. Looks like 12 months form now we could be in a very different place so fingers firmly crossed for it all to fall into place as we are hoping.
Eulogy for my Aunty Kath
When Mum and Dad asked if I would stand up to say something about my Aunty Kath today I was only too pleased to. I am no public speaker though so please forgive me if this seems a little less than perhaps some of you may be able to say. What I wanted to say today though is something very personal but that I hope others can identify with and will help to serve as a reminder of Kath and the times that we were able to share with her.
Kath was there for my whole life and was always a friend, confidante and source of strength in both the good times and the bad. Her humour, inner strength and single mindedness was always something I will remember and perhaps something that helped to shape my formative years in just the same way as my parents and my Nan did.
She often used to come and stay with us when I was a child, Christmas, Easter and the like and was a keen Ludo and Draughts player as well as taking part in my own games when I was really young. Only a couple of months back, the last time I saw her in fact she reminded me of when we used to play at being in a car or a train, I’d be the driver and she’d be the passenger and we had the dining room chairs set out in just the right order as that was what we had to use to drive to Scotland or the like. Kath was always interested and pleased to hear of my latest endeavours whatever they were and was always more than happy to claim what can best be described as ‘bragging rights’ so that she could tell friends and other family members about things. She was amazed when as a teenager I first set up my darkroom to see the photos I had taken of her just a couple of hours earlier appear before her very eyes in the developing tray. It was always a pleasure as well to find myself in or near Tavistock when out and about for work to be able to drop in for a while to see her and to catch up on the latest news, a cup of tea and some Jaffa Cakes!
All of that seems a lifetime away now but she will always be there in our memories, it’s the same for all of us and the one thing I can say is that she made our world a better place by being a part of it and will be missed just so much
Message from my folks VERY early yesterday morning (Sunday) to say that my dear old Aunty Kath had passed away. She was at the last count 102 years old so a 'pretty good innings' in anyones book but it is still a bit much to take in when it finally happens. She passed very quietly in the early hours of Sunday morning by all accounts and isn't that the best way?! The sad thing with reaching that sort of age is that much of the quality of life had gone being profoundly deaf, very bent and thin and with almost no teeth left. With a little time though I know I for one and, I hope, Mum and Dad will remember how she used to be in happier and healthier times. I always remember her coming to stay at Easter and the like when I was just a kid. That seems a lifetime ago now but she still remembered those times and reminded me of them the last time I saw her only a couple of months back.
When better just isn't worth the effort! (Some digital camera musings)
Mum and Dad have been staying with us on holiday and whilst here Dad has been shopping for a new digital camera. We managed to get him a great deal on a new Fuji bridge camera which was delivered pretty much the next day, after some testing and comparing it turns out its no better in terms of performance or clarity than the one it was intended to replace, so back it goes. Meanwhile I spotted a cracking deal on a secondhand EOS-1Ds mk2 (the 16mp version of mine). But three questions present themselves,
1. do I really want to spend at least another £200 when it seems (thanks to the recent arrival of the mark 4) that I may have trouble selling my mark 2 even though I got it for a very very good price just over a year ago!
2. the received wisdom on the Ds suggests you really need to upgrade to 'L' lenses because it has a high grade full frame sensor (good as my lenses are they aren't quite up to 'L' standard),
3. I need to get my mark 2 serviced anyway as it has a sticking spot metering button and the hotshoe has a corroded contact so won't it just be better to get mine serviced and get a few more years use?
Anyway just why would I want to replace something that yields such good results (when the bloke behind the viewfinder is paying attention!) and has already been such a trusted and constant companion (spiritual successor to my T90 indeed!). So as I say, sometimes looking for something better just isn't really worth the effort.
We had a fantastic time travelling around Brittany and the big news is that we now know where we want to live. Its a rather charming little village, nearly a town called Huelgoat (Hwell-Gwatt) which roughly translates to 'High-Woodland'. It has a lovely feel and atmosphere, seems to be thriving with a picturesque lake and a very atmospheric forest. We have already seen one or two suitable houses so we are looking forward to finding our future home, more to follow!!
Our wedding - 17th July 2010
Well after all the planning and looking forward our big day finally arrived and we tied the knot. It wasn't a big wedding (there were only 22 of us) but it was a beautiful, sunny, happy and above all joyous day which we will remember. There are some photos of our wonderful day in the Family albums page.
Half way to Christmas!!
2010 seems to have been a busy social whirl (!!) with little time to stop and take stock of things. Work as always is extremely busy for us both, private time has been significantly eroded too with getting ready for our wedding in July and as if that isn't enough yours truly has been trying to keep a foot on the accelerator of the Jersey VHF repeater project which at last has reached its destination! See the repeater page under radios but I'm pleased to report it is now fully operational with a minimum of fuss and bother and a lot of hard work from 'the hardcore few'. If it wasn't for the dependable 8 or 10 people within the group and the local amateur radio community we would undoubtedly still be talking about it but they have come up trumps and we have something to be justifiably proud about! There will always be one or two moans but all in all I think everyone involved and those we have spoken to so far are genuinely pleased. Its still early days and the repeater is a little quiet but at least the taxi drivers and the hooligan (unlicensed) element haven't discovered it yet! On the downside I now have an impressive collection of radios that don't work properly in one form or another but I guess you can't have it all your own way.
Nice trip to the UK last week to stay with the folks for a while and to register (oh yes!). We are now all lined up to get 'spliced' (!) in July and we can't wait. Theres still a lot to finalise and to organise but all in all its not too far off.
Roll on 2010
2009 was an interesting year in so many ways, it certainly seemed to fly by and Christmas was no different, we had a lovely quiret couple of days at home and then had my kids Sophie and Daniel visit us between Christmas and New Year for the week which was great fun, they certainly seemed to have a good time too. So here we stand at the end of the first decade of the millenium, it only seems like yesterday we were looking forward to the year 2000. A lot has changed in that time of course and during 2010 things will move on again, JJ and I get married in July and it'll be here before we know it, we can't wait!
Hand of 'Frog'
I'm nobody's idea of a football fan or afficianado but surely there must be something wrong when blatant cheating can immediately lead to success in a competitive environment. I am of course referring to Thierry Henry's 'handball' leading to France's victory over Ireland in the recent World Cup qualifying match. I was always led to believe that no good would come of cheating, that is unless the ref doesn't see it!! Hmm, bit like real life then, when and how often have we heard over the years of someone 'getting one down them what they shouldn't have'. Ah well, as I pointed out to my outraged work colleagues when it was being shown on Sky News, 'its just a game!'
As you may detect 'Rob loves his camera' and a chance meeting at La Rocco Tower at St. Ouen's beach late summer provoked some action! I have been sporadically visiting the website known as 'Flickr' for a couple of years now, is a great site from the point of view it can be whatever you make of it as its a place to store and display photographs. Images there can be as diverse as you care to imagine (bit like a stills version of youTube I suppose) and one of the favourite look-ups over the last couple of years has been the photography of one 'JerseyImage'. Well it turns out that Mr JerseyImage, Martin to those who know him was wandering around La Rocco Tower at the same time as me at low tide on that particular Sunday and we ended up talking cameras and photography! It was at his suggestion that I finally got my finger out and started posting pictures on Flickr and the result can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/observe_at_robluscombe_com/ where the fruits of my labours are now accessible. Its really good fun as you get feedback from time to time from others and as a tool its pretty powerful in that photos can be allocated to various groups with particular interests or specialities to increase their visibility and also located on a world map to show off the area you live/ photograph/ frequent etc. Only trouble being its another thing that I want to be getting on with and developing but I suppose its another aspect of the hobby!
Blast from the past - happy birthday Damon Hill !!
All the furore over the Renault Formula 1 team and the alleged instructions from team principle Briatore to his driver Nelson Piquet Jr. to crash to allow his team mate to win a race have been all over the news and solicited comment and condemnation from the great and the good of Formula 1. It was nice to see Sir Stirling Moss looking as good as ever and in fact doesn't seem to have aged a day since I saw him driving his historic Vanwall at the Goodwood Revival what must be the thick end of ten years ago. Damon Hill seems to have turned into a 'silver fox' however which was quite alarming, when he was driving and winning he seemed to be but a lad but then again I suppose how people see me has probably changed in that time too (some old fat bald bloke!!) Anyway this prompted me to look up an old favourite video of the man/legend driving a Merc SL55 for a BBC show, it is an absolute hoot and the one overriding impression is just how relaxed yet capable Damon looks behind the wheel, I suppose it goes with the territory, anyway happy birthday TODAY (17th September) and, in case I forget..., happy 50th birthday for next September Damon!!
Jersey air display 2009
Another frightfully good airshow in St. Aubin's bay, and this year with some good weather! I was going to watch and photograph from Elizabeth Castle again but there was no room on the ferry so I ended up sitting on the harbour wall at Elizabeth Harbour instead and what a good spot it was. Using a 300mm lens on the EOS1d meant quite a few full frame pictures and gave me a bit of post processing to do (there were a couple of 'dust bunnies' on the sensor again!) Anyway these are a couple of my favourite pics of the day!
August 2009 - A taste of home?
Really good..., the new Aviva insurance advert is based on a group of Plymouth Argyle supporters heading off to an 'away' game with classic terms such as "geddon ya Janner" and "right buhee, reet burd?" the group are also seen outside a pub called the 'Who'd a thought it ' (though not a real one unfortunately), and with a cry of 'GREEN ARMY' off they go to Newcastle!!
August 2009 - Brilliant time on hols!
See also Venice photo gallery pages! Well the holiday season is drawing to a close as I write this but we have had a really good time this year (though it seems taking three weeks off as leave over a period of seven weeks is too much for some to handle...! Perhaps next time I should take it all in one go and see how that goes down!!). Initially we had our long awaited trip to Venice for a week where we celebrated JJ's birthday in style by attending a recital of Vivaldi's Four Seasons followed by a meal at the Hard Rock Cafe where it seems almost the entire staff came out to sing 'Happy Birthday to JJ'!! A wonderful and very memorable time, it was hot too with temperatures reaching about 37 degrees C before a little word with the powers that be and a storm brought it down by 10 degrees the day after J's birthday!! Mid August and the kids came over for a week and two weekends and a wonderful time we had though the Battle of Flowers didn't enjoy the best weather this year. It was really hard to wave them off this time too. No sooner my kids had gone back than J's daughter Charlotte and Max with their four kids (aged 3 to 9 !!!!) were here for a few days and another thoroughly good time was enjoyed by all and with some brilliant weather so the kids could enjoy the beach and all sorts. Ah well, summer is nearly over, roll on Christmas I suppose!
How it should be done?
In radio circles one of the key diary dates is the Islands on the Air contest (or IOTA). Living on an island makes you rather sought after but anyone can play as long as they are a licensed radio amateur and it can be fun to see just how far you can get. I was going to have a crack at it but the thought of a 12 hour or even 24 hour stint was a little too much so I just did the Saturday afternoon (about 4 hours or so) and logged 30 contacts (my excuse is I was doing other things at the same time) one on 80m, a handful on 40m, most were on 20m and 15m, a couple on 10m. The winners last year, Bristol Contest Group, visited the island once again however with an impressive station set up in a field at the headland at Egypt not far from home on the north coast. With some serious antennae and operating conditions the 12 lads who came over seriously know their stuff when it comes to running a contest station so hats off to them and good luck with the final result, lets hope its another win!! Sunday afternoon took the FT857d down to the beach at Greve de Lecq with the Buddipole and with good effect on 20m and 17m, sea level works well !
July 2009 - Changes at work!
When your stars say something ambiguous like 'changes at work may prove interesting' it all too often these days means less money or heavens forbid the dole queue on Monday!! However June proved to be an interesting time when we contacted a local consultant to see if he could help us with a slight excess of survey work and we ended up taking over his entire building surveying practice!! Tony Hill (standing to my right) has been established in the island as a sole practitioner building surveyor for more than 20 years and is on sabbatical currently, hopefully he will be joining us in the foreseeable future but for the time being yours truly now has a significant quantity of BS work with which to while away those long summer afternoons! (Also pictured, rear right David Morris, rear left Paul Morcombe). David (my boss) seems pleased as the BS fee income is already looking healthy and the phone keeps ringing, long may it continue and as I mentioned at the top, in the current, or at least recent climate, that has to be good news.