Archive for My life

Candle Fail

Usually when you buy a scented candle the scent is released from the wax as it burns, however there are others available which have a twin layer of glass, the internal “cup” containing the candle and the outer “cup” containing a gel which, when warmed by the internal cup candle, releases the scent.

Over Christmas my parents had purchased one of these and had it burning on the coffee table, releasing seasonally inspired scent into the living room. All of a sudden a large, tall flame was observed. While it was possible to extinguish the flame simply by firmly blowing on it, the flame was quite large and could have ignited other objects surround the the candle on the table. When extinguished it was clear what had happened; the outer layer of gel had somehow ignited and had started burning at a furious rate (shown in the photo below)

Having mentioned this to friends I’m now aware of at least one other of these types of candles which has caught fire, as such I’d recommend anyone that has a candle of this type not to use it and to dispose of it for safety.


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Christmas 2015

Much more organised with the camera this year, Shweta and I took a smattering of Christmas photos throughout the holiday period, capturing the spirit and essence of the season on film

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Car Alarm Madness

So, out of the office this evening, working a little late, eager to get home, up to the car with the key fob…. nothing happens. Sometimes I need to get a little closer before it works, so I do so, still nothing.

Realising that the batteries must be dead I get this sinking feeling until I remember that I can still get in with the key! In it goes, door comes open, the alarm goes off. Not to worry I think, the alarm will surely stop once I put the key in as a chip in the key also disables the engine immobiliser. No such luck.

Indeed I was now sitting in the car, engine running, ready to go, with no way of switching the alarm off. While it would pause briefly it would soon start up again, irrespective of movements of the car or my person.

Given that my spare fob is at home I realise that there is only one thing for it, I’ll have to drive across town with the alarm going off and no indicators (they’re flashed hazard style when the alarm is sounding).

After having a good laugh about the matter with the office security staff I set off, alarm blaring, down the dual carriageway. As it turns out this is not such a bad idea. Despite indicators being orange and a car alarm sounding nothing like a police siren, I enjoy fellow motorists scuttling out of my way the entire way home. Really quite remarkable.

As a result I’m back in record time and am able to quickly nip inside and quell the noise with the spare fob from an upstairs window before the neighbours emerge to ask if I’m trying to steal my own car.

In a strange way, it’s little things like this that really make life great!

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E-Mail Catch Up

I’m notoriously bad at replying to my personal e-mail. Oddly enough this is mainly due to having a BlackBerry. I read the e-mail on the phone, think “oh, I must reply to that when I get home”, and then forget about it because it’s been marked as read.

Having realised that my inbox is now well over a thousand messages, many of which probably still need looking at, I’ve decided to take action. I’ve begun to trawl through the list, archiving things that don’t need anything doing and marking as unread anything which does. I should then be able to slowly but surely clear down the backlog by reading and replying to each one.

Lets hope I’m able to stay on top of things properly from now on!

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Sunday in London

On Sunday I met up with Shweta in London to visit the Michelangelo’s Dream exhibition being hosted at Somerset house in Aldwych. Featured were a number of his paintings but the gallery was populated in the most part by his sketches which showed a fascinating insight into how he composed his works and also the lengths to which others have gone to create copies.

The gallery visit was followed by a wander round the streets of London and afternoon tea at St James Restaurant on the fourth floor of Fortnum & Mason.



The photo of Shweta was taken on the terrace at Somerset house looking out over the Thames and the second photo features the back of Somerset house taken again from the terrace.

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Weekend in London

Over the weekend I stayed with Matt Revell in London. With the fantastic warm weather it was the perfect opportunity to wander round the streets in a tee-shirt, snapping photos on the camera and taking in the arts and culture.

We visited the sculptures of Ife exhibition at the British Museum, took afternoon tea in the friends room at the Royal Academy of Arts and then browsed the Van Gogh exhibition seeing as it’s the last week when all these wonderful paintings and letters will be in London.

A splendid day of culture then, rounded off by an Italian meal and a few pints of ale in a local watering hole, complete with some music on the sound system that took me right back to my school days. Great fun and big thanks to Matt.

The photo below was taken of an old corner shop in Walthamstow on our way to Blackhorse Road tube station. Note how it still sports the original frontage complete with name and advertising in tiles!


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Bird Cloud

Driving home last night I found myself stopped at traffic lights on one of the large roundabouts on the Great Western Way and I as I glanced idly upwards waiting for the lights to change I saw an amazing sight.

What must have been hundreds of small but certainly similar birds were flying in a huge cloud in a circular motion over the busy roadway below. In the fading light it was impossible to see what type of birds they were but their hypnotic motion and the way in which they stayed together and responded to each other to maintain movement in an almost perfect circle was truly remarkable.

Silhouetted against the paling evening sky it was one of those moments when I wished I’d been a pedestrian with my camera rather than a motorist stuck at the lights.

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Christmas Cheer

So it’s fast approaching the end of the noughties and the festive cheer is upon us. I’m spending Christmas in North Wales and despite the poor weather on the roads all the family have made it here and the surroundings are really festive.

The mountains are snow capped, the sunshine is warm and low in the sky, we have real fires burning in the various grates and a real Christmas tree that I had the privilege of cutting down myself from a local grower. Keep on the look out for some fabulous photos of the country scenery that I’ll be popping into my gallery in the new year!

After relaxing over Christmas with my family I will make my way across country to Leeds where I will be seeing in the new year with the old crowd. It will be fantastic to see everyone again – I certainly do miss the regular social activities when I’m down in Swindon.

On the websites and communication front, I’m going to be a little less contactable over the festive period on account of my travelling around and the lack of connectivity in the countryside. While I will be receiving and reading e-mail on my BlackBerry I don’t expect to reply to any of it until the new year. If you need to get in touch with me urgently you can call my mobile – those who might need to have the number already.

Keen readers will have noticed that I’ve closed my forums until the new year. This is only a temporary measure and has been done to prevent people thinking I’m ignoring their queries – it’s Christmas and I won’t have the time or the inclination to answer technical questions. Please save up your issues and ask for help with them when the forums re-open and I’m around to answer.

Above all I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all my family, friends and regular blog readers a very merry Christmas and prosperous new year.

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Relaxing Weekend

I’m back in Swindon after taking a well needed break from the daily grind by heading off to the East Coast for the Saturday and lunching with my family on the Sunday.

The weather was most pleasant on Saturday and the atmosphere in the marina was wonderfully peaceful compared with the hectic nature of my last couple of weeks at work. I spied a couple of fantastic photography subjects but unfortunately had neglected to bring my camera – I’ve made a note of them for next time.

As far as the family catch up goes, Hannah is settling in well at Law School and has already been able to explain some of the more interesting points with me which is great. The positive difference it makes in academia when you are truly enjoying what you have to study is immeasurable.

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Lights Out

On my way to and from work today the set of traffic lights that allow traffic to cross the busy dual-carriageway and into Lydiard fields business park were out, thus necessitating a rather hair-raising dash in front of two lanes of fast moving traffic in order to get to the office car park.

I must say that I really hope the lights are fixed tomorrow morning (I saw a repair van there on my way home) as my experience today is one I’d rather not repeat any time soon.

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