My New Bird Bath

My Old Bird Bath

For some while I have been using a white rectangular butcher’s meat tray as a bird bath during freezing winter months and dry summer months when birds need access to fresh water. It has rested either on the ground, or on a garden seat, or on top of a large Victorian plant pot when the summer flowers have died back. The stark whiteness of the tray and the depth of water (10cm) have, I think, put birds off. The only ones I have seen using it have been occasional blackbirds. Also I feel they need it near the ground but not actually on it.

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Northumberland Wildlife – Red Squirrel Included

There was plenty of Northumberland wildlife – Red Squirrel included – near Doxford Cottages this May (2012). I have seen the following within 6m of my living room: Brown Rat, Red Squirrel, male & female Great Spotted Woodpecker, male & female Chaffinch, male Robin, Blue tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Green-finch, Nuthatch, Wood Pigeon, Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Sparrow, male & female Pheasant, male Blackbird.

All these creatures have been attracted by a peanut feeder, wild bird seed feeder and a squirrel feeding box. The birds, and brown rat, that can’t feed from the bird feeders (and those that can) have been attracted by the fallout from the feeders on the ground beneath.

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Durham Cathedral Bungee Jumping


It was the second day of our vist to the Durham area. It was a damp morning with missle in the air but we enjoyed our walk along the Wear river bank opposite the castle and cathedral. We crossed the Wear and went to the cathedral where the vaulted ceiling amazed us. Apparently it is the forerunner of its type with ceiling ribs in the shape of pointed arches. How surprising, in this type of location, to find Durham Cathedral bungee jumping in progress.

Durham Cathedral Bungee Jumping

When we went outside, on the Cathedral green, and found bungee jumping taking place with someone being winched up ready to jump.

durham cathedral bungee jumping
Ready To Jump?

See the video below.

Street Photography in Kabul, Afghanistan

Would You Believe There’s Street Photography In Kabul, Afghanistan

I just watched the video presented here which has impressed me as a technologist and photographer. It’s all about Street Photography in Kabul the capital city of Afghanistan, i.e. taking very primitive instant photographs in the streets of Kabul. If you are a technologist or photographer you might be impressed.

At the time of production there were only two such photographers left in Kabul.

The type of camera used is unique because of the manual method used to develop each photograph within the body of the camera.

Taking photographs and developing them in a poor part of the world cannot be easy under the circumstances that prevail in a city like Kabul. But here we see street photographer Qalam Nabi produce a photograph of the sitter – Javed – while he waits.

The Camera “Kamra-e-Faoree”

He uses a wooden box camera, with tripod legs, not only to acquire the initial image on photographic paper (which he stores in the darkness of the camera) but as a dark room to develop and fix a negative image on paper.

Metal dishes of developer and fixer are kept within the camera body and reached through a door in the side which has a light tight tube for the photographer to thread his arm.

He then re-photographs the paper negative and processes a negative of the negative – a double negative, which is of course a positive image.

Although photos are probably processed one at a time I suspect several can be taken in close succession. They could then be developed at the same time. e.g. If he wanted to take three he could take one after another and carefully save them in a small container within the camera body until he is ready to develop them

The whole process time is that required to:

  • take two photographs,
  • develop two photographs,
  • fix two photographs
  • and trim the final photo with scissors.

See The Video

Watch the video below showing the photographer Qalam Nabi using his Afghan box camera (a “kamra-e-faoree”) to take and develop photographs:

You will find more to read about the Afghan Box Camera here, here and here.

Finbarr’s Restaurant In Durham


“It’s a bit nippy, a bit dull and there have been a few showers.” – Helpful Colin, May 2012

In Durham there are lots of narrow hilly streets and the river has a big hairpin bend in it so you can walk over one bridge and after a short distance without doubling back walk over the same river again. The Market Place is pedestrianized and on quite a steep slope, but it’s all very clean with pedestrianized streets leading off it. Even the Market Hall on one side of it has a severely sloping floor inside it and a two storey staircase to get up to it on one side. Here, in the featured image, is a nice view of the River Wear taken from Elvet Bridge. I presume the rowers are sporting university types.

Finbarr’s Restaurant

We finished the day with dinner at Finbarr’s Restaurant, No.4 on Trip Advisor’s Durham Restaurants (at the time of writing), and deservedly so. It has a very nice ambiance and was well attended on Friday night. It also has a very nice bar area. NOTE: It can be difficult to find. Walk to the end of Waddington Street furthest from the town where there is an Arriva bus depot. To the right of it is a hotel through an archway. Finbarr’s Restaurant is around the back of the hotel off the car park and cannot be seen from the street. There is a sign for the restaurant on the left as you enter from the street by the bus depot.


Finbarrs Restaurant Durham
Finbarr’s Restaurant, Waddington Street, Durham.

Footnote: Sadly it slipped down to No.10 on Trip Advisor’s Durham Restaurants by 24/12/2014.