Tale of two museums


Today we had our friends back staying with us for some days over the weekend so decided to have a day out in York to see some stuff and do some touristy things i.e. have a walk around the city walls. Walking through town on summer Saturdays is not the best time to visit the centre so thankfully we were not having to endure fighting our way through the mass shoppers, day trippers and hen parties as we had a purpose to out visit. Before we get to that I thought I would take a snap of Monk Bar one of the Roman gates to the city. Maybe one day I will get round to doing a whole circuit which I’m sure I have never done and maybe take some snaps of that too. York has lots of little hidden lanes and back passages that are interesting to search out like my previous post about smallest street in York and although having lived there I still like to seek out the passages less travelled.

So going back to the purpose or one of the reasons for the day out, we wanted to visit the Truth and Memory Exhibition at the York Art Gallery an exhibition of paintings covering the First World War and is from an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum marking the centenary with some of the galleries own material. It was very moving seeing the pictures by artists who had enlisted and on the whole been at the front line through the war and had been as one would expect changed completely by the experience. Many of the pictures captured a sense of the location or subject that they were portraying that you could almost touch and smell and as you would expect the desolation and death was a common theme.

It was a horrendous war that saw a huge human cost in lives that were un-neceassarily wasted on all sides and the conditions of those who lived and died there could not be imagined or accepted today. Having been to a couple of the war sites in France I can say that there was a very oppressive atmosphere and looking at the pictures brought back those memories. It is also interesting to think about the reasons that caused the onset of war and also the current political landscape in Europe. I am not saying we are heading for war but we have short memories and now that the last veterans have passed on there is no direct link with those events. I realise that those events are unlikely to be replicated but it is possible if we forget history and the quote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” feels truer in the current political climate, all over the world.

After a quick cuppa and a rather tasty ham and pickle sandwich we set off to visit another one of York’s many attractions across town. The National Railway Museum is a great place to go and has greatly changed over the years that I have been going or been taken to from a dingy and small shed to the current expanded and rambling site. It has also evolved from a collection of trains to a story of the age of the railways and the impact of there invention. I still enjoy visiting NRM and find new things I haven’t seen or am reminded of things I have forgotten each time and one of the main attractions was Flying Scotsman although not there had the story behind her rebuild. It is still testament to the public interest in our railway heritage seeing the masses of people drawn to this loco on its recent return to mainline running. Pictured below is another piece of history with the record breaking Mallard. Such and amazing and beautiful piece of engineering that makes todays trains look very mundane and boring but then it did come from an era of Art Deco and the desire to make things look beautiful over function. Unfortunately we had limited time and so it was a bit of a whistle stop tour, excuse the pun, before we had to return to collect car but I’m sure I will once again return to see what has changed. If your in York find some time to visit it is well worth it.

Main Hall at NRM

House & Home

We seem to be moving towards the season of lengthening nights that promote settling down in front of a roaring fire and the TV though not just yet if I can avoid it. However  Shed of the year is back on the telly and I love the look at the eccentricities of this wonderful land, its people and their sheds. It is amazing to see the efforts that people go to in order to extend their empire down the garden and the completely diverse characters of those sheds. Whether it’s a potting shed, artist studio, home cinema, workshop, railway empire or just somewhere to sit the depth and variety is just inspiring, it is well worth a watch if your able to.

Amazing Spaces also hosted by Architect George Clarke is a fascinating look at unconventional homes and spaces built by people who embrace quirkiness. I love watching these programs as I definitely take notes and stash away ideas in the vague plan that if I get to a point of owning my own home again I will not be settling for the traditional ‘box’ house. There are many ideas to pull from and part of my problem is that I want so many of them that  it is hard to decide which would be best. But one can dream.

I also like Grand Designs but for a different reason as on the whole the majority of the projects Kevin McCloud covers have budgets in the hundreds of thousands rather than the tens and so on the whole out of my league. And it is really a bit of performance art with Kevin spreading a tale of woe at the beginning to then finish up grudgingly admiring the efforts of the home owners. There have been many great and clever ideas that again has gone in the scrap book.

And finally The House That 100k Built. An interesting look at how more can be done for less and although the series is not on iPlayer at the moment it can be viewed elsewhere and with most if not all these programs one needs a certain level of scepticism due to the nature of it being a tv show and it being produced to show a particular view of life as a self builder and the architect(s) abilities, but like all these programs threads can be taken and woven together and with the addition of social media such as Instagram and Pinterest into ones own picture. Then it only remains to find the money and fire up the project management software.



As I play around with my Wacom and I have been playing around with it a lot recently I am becoming increasingly interested in finding some serious uses for the tablet and that given I can’t afford an iPad Pro at the moment and really until I can find genuine reasons to have one as there are many things on the list before I could blow best part of a grand on one, I am happy to keep trying out ideas. One of those ideas to keep popping up in my head is to take the little strip I have been drawing over the last few weeks and have a go at animating it. I realise that this is not only a steep learning curve but also very time consuming, however as time is the one thing I have, it would seem like a fun to do.

I have been looking online at how others have gotten started in this and there is a dizzying array of methods and modes. Given that I don’t have a Pixar budget and access to a team of animators to offload the grunt work to I am going to have to start right from the beginning so this is going to be a long term project so don’t expect any feature length movies to appear in the next couple of days and know my concentration levels what seemed an amazingly good idea now will next week be a long distant memory.

However with all these creative things it is the idea that is the star of the show and is the hardest thing to come up with in the first place. I have a relatively easy task as I am taking everyday events that I put together for my doodle. The storyboard is easy once I have decided on what the story for the week is it is also fun to do and something I hadn’t thought about till trawling the net of info and help. I don’t plan to do this as a regular thing and am really just going to see how far I get with it and will post something as and when it’s worth it.

At the moment I have downloaded Pencil2D for the animation software as I don’t have access to Flash as my budget stated earlier is zero and the interface is a bit dated but you can’t complain at free and although I am trying to use it on my MacBookPro I’m not having much luck so have switched to the Linux version running in a VM. The documentation is a bit limited but theres enough info with the tuts on YouTube to get started. So without further a do, I’ll get started.

For no other reason..

IMG_1103.jpegIt looked nice and whilst out on a last minute dash just a reminder for those long dark nights. Everyone likes a sunset though not the most spectacular still amazes me that a) we are spinning round the sun and not the opposite 🙂 and b) were spinning at approx 1000mph so I am reminded

Gotta video?

Having filled up my phone with video footage from our recent trip to the North Yorks Moors Railway I thought I better do something with it rather than just leave it pretty much never to be seen again. This is something I have been wrestling with for some time and something I’m sure that is not unique to me. I want to go though my whole image collection and sort out something that would be manageable and interesting to the family to see and maybe for future generations but before I get all morbid.. It is also fun looking back at ones snaps.

Anyway I digress and back to the topic in hand. iMovie on the Mac has been around for ages and was definitely a go to app for video creation but as time has gone on and the app matured it received several updates that took it away from it’s original simple and easy to use format to what seems a far more complicated interface and mode of use. I personally just want to be able to plop a bunch of clips together with maybe some fades and titles to make a simple video. One of the things I hadn’t noticed was the amount of disk space iMovie now gobbles up so anything that keeps the workflow simple and light is a good thing.

Step forward Shotcut, an open source video editing app. I came across it when looking at animation software but at the time was still using iMovie for everything. It is a very easy to use app and does everything that I want it to do and there are tutorial vids on youtube and best of all it’s free and cross platform. So now I can bore the world with my home videos 🙂

Thought of the day – A step back in time..

IMG_1095.jpegIt seems like weeks since I last went for my daily walk where in reality it’s only a few days, well actually seven days now and I can tell in both muscles and mind. I noted last night that looking out around 10:15pm that it was already starting to get dark and a bit of a shock due to feeling like it had been quite some time that we had been enjoying the long summer nights well I say long summer nights more like long nights well I say long nights…. I really need to look up the stats for the weather this summer as on the whole it has not been the best.

There is a definite chill in the air I’m keeping my fingers crossed for an Indian summer but I have an eye on the winter layer now that we tilt away from the sun.

Anyway normal service has and will be resumed.

And finally, well maybe


Not often you see a WWII Spitfire Fighter plane sitting in a car park of a English pub but today was one of those days. It is a 1940’s weekend in a local town and there all sorts of events going on. From the historic vehicles and said plane there were steam traction engines and old working wagons and buses to dance lessons in the market place and some crooners outside one of the pubs.

But the most striking thing was the number of people dressed up in period clothing, forces personal both UK and US, civvy street and glamorous ladies down to the spivs and spies. There were all ages and the surprising thing was how many young people were getting into the spirit of it. Maybe it’s just the eccentric Brits but they all seemed to be having fun and the stalls selling all the period clothing and paraphernalia.

I am going to have a day off tomorrow as all this ‘having fun’ is tiring and also I have been missing my walks so need to get back to the grind stone.





It has been a very busy coupe of days with our family friends and yesterday saw us head off in the opposite direction from the previous day out in the Lakes towards the east coast and heritage steam railway at Pickering. In usual fashion we were late leaving and attempting to get there for two o’clock found us arriving to find out due to earlier problems the train we thought we had missed was running late.

It was a lovely day and something very relaxing about slowly chuffing along in an old fashioned train with comfortable seats and the scenery is pretty spectacular too. I really like that particular area and use to visit many times and thought about moving to the area but unfortunately my work took me away to the bright lights and big city.

It is amazing to think of all of the effort that goes into the running of one of these lines, which is mostly run on volunteers, but it is no small operation and looking around the interweb it brings in millions of revenue to the local community way more that the orginal line before it’s closure. The old time railways seem to have come back into fashion as seen by the increase in programs on the TV about them including one we watched last night. It is interesting how much life changed at the coming of the railways.

Once again I seemed to survive on a diet of cake because due to the delays and tight timings we had to hop off one train almost run for the one to take us back missing out on the planned lunch stop. However we were treated to a lovely meal out later when we got back home, added bonus no washing up 🙂

And finally an evening stroll to end the day..