Hello to all you fellow motorhomers and welcome.
I hope you get as much fun reading this as I do writing it.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Camera Saga

My normal camera kit is a camera body and just one small zoom lens (17-85mm). 
I decided upon this as being the easiest to carry several miles yet most photographically proficient.

This would not be adequate for my Africa trip. 
I needed to buy a longer zoom lens; at least 200mm long.
As the probability of my using the lens after the trip was unlikely I looked for a secondhand one.
So it was I bought a Canon 75-300mm lens.
Perfect so I thought,


I was unable to give it a full work out until I got to Africa. 
Then found to my disappointment that the lens was faulty. 
No matter what I did I could not get it to focus sharply at the high zoom 135mm+

All the good photos were taken with my usual kit.

When I returned home I went back to the shop and informed them the lens was faulty.
By coincidence the Sony representative was there displaying Sony products.
We had a long chat about the Sony RX10 whilst my lens was being examined. 
(As a result of discussion with people on the African trip I thought this model would be a better option than my current one).
Instead of a refund I was told the lens was fixed.
What a disappointment!
I carried out further research and in the process discovered another camera shop.which had a refurbished Sony RX10M4. 
I went to the shop taking my camera to ascertain what deal I could get in part exchange.
This was informative:

  • for my camera I was offered on £125.00 because it was well used.  I could not disagree with that.
  • for my lens nothing was offered as they already had several 
  • for the 75-300 zoom again nothing was offered as it needed a service.  The focus was too slow and soft. 
This gave me food for thought.

I decided to go back and ask for a refund.  This was given without any quibble or hesitation.
I also decided to get a new model as a cash back was offered on new ones.
If I waited until after Christmas I might just get a further discount.
So it transpired

I am the owner of a Sony RX10M4 

There is only a very small instruction manual to help one get started so I have bought a manual from Amazon (the only place I could get it.  For ethical reason I try not to use Amazon).

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Winter Solstice

It may almost be Christmas but for me the most important day is The Winter Solstice.
This is the shortest day.

Many people celebrate this special occasion by visiting Stonehenge for the sunrise.
I have often thought of doing this but unfortunately dogs are not allowed.

So my usual way of celebrating this occasion is a special dog walk.
Pearl is only too happy to celebrate with me.

Now I can look forward the afternoon dog walk taking place in daylight.-Hooray

Soon going out in my motorhome will be more practicable.. 
The days will be long enough for me to be do long walks at my usual leisurely pace;

  •  exploring my surroundings
  • appreciating the countryside 
  • talking to any and all passers by.
At this time of year there is not enough daylight for me to do this.

The sun does not rise until 8.04am and sets just under eight hours later at 3.45pm.  
In this country there is a long sunrise and sunset which means more hours of daylight.

This was especially noticeable on my recent trip to Africa.  
Once the sun went below the horizon it quickly became dark. 
So there is less difference between the number of hours of sunlight between winter and summer.

Sunrise was seemingly early (about 5am) and sunset was early evening (about 6pm).  Not especially late.  As a consequence of this and because of the hot weather the rhythm of the day is different.

The day starts early because this is a cool time.
so there is much activity.
Afternoons are hot and everything slows.
During the cool of the evening and night activity increases.

This applies to animals as well as people. 

Sunday, 15 December 2019


Just about everyone who was on the Southern Africa motorhome tour
I recently completed took many many photographs.

The question which kept popping into my mind was

"What happens to all these photographs"

Despite asking several people, the answers were vague.
I suppose one factor is the quality of the photographs.
But then what if you have 300 fabulous photos.

I didn't take as many photos as I expected because of my faulty lens.

The other lens was not suitable for wildlife unless I was really close.

Even so on closer inspection on returning home I am surprised at how many good photos I have.

(I decided to use this opportunity to exhibit more of my photos.  I hope you like them)

What have I done with them?

I have posted only a few on Facebook;

several on this blog;

compiled a calendar for family and close friends.

What am I going to do with the rest?

I have no idea apart from possibly a photo book of the trip (Like the old fashioned photo albums)

What do you do with your photos?
Any suggestions are welcome.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Africa (Part 4) Scenery

"In for a penny in for a pound" as the saying goes.

Long distance to travel 
If I was going all the way to South Africa I might as well visit neighbouring countries if there was the opportunity.
There was. So I did.

Hence my journey through Botswana,. Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls only) and Namibia.

One of the first thing I noticed was how very large these countries were.

As a consequence of this the distances that needed to be covered were enormous; a lot of driving on all kinds of roads (see Africa (part 2) Roads).

A Sandy Road through a village

Due to the lack of rainfall and the hot sunny weather a monochrome brown cloaked everything including many towns and villages probably as a result of the incessant dust.

Stony Desert

It may have been exceptionally difficult to spot animals, even the big ones unless they were quite close but the scenery was stunning; even the scrubland dotted with the bare branches stabbing the sky, the sandy desert and stony vistas.

Here are a small selection of photos that I took, Which is your favourite?  Do let me know.
Sandy Desert

Much of Namibia is desert;
sandy and stony

Even the vegetation lacks colour

Some Green Places

And wide plains
Top of rocky mountains

A mountain range

A dry river canyon


Sunday, 1 December 2019

Read of the Month (Dec 2019) Christmas Round Up

So you are looking for a gift and have no idea what to buy.

Generally the books proffered at this time of year are "fluffy";
light and inconsequential.

I decided to offer an alternative list of lesser known books and authors that will be provocative and intriguing.  Definitely thought provoking.
(Note. I have a direct connection with only 3 of these books.  The rest I suggest because they were good reads). For convenience I have loosely grouped them.

Political  Theme 
As an election is imminent here are some books which made me realize how lucky I am to be able to vote and how important it is to exercise that right:

23 things  They Don't Tell You About Capitalism
Ha-Joon Chang .
Clearly explains intricacies of Capitalism

The Veiled Kingdom
Carmen Bin Laden
The account of life of women in Saudi Arabia

The State of Africa
Martin Meredith
Account of political journey of African countries after independence

Dog Theme 
Thinking of getting a dog for Christmas; Be prepared with some reading

The Genius of Dogs
Brian Hare
A  scientific study of dogs.  Very Interesting to all "doggie" people both experienced dog owners and those thinking of getting a dog

My Friend Ruby
Anna Chelmicka  
An account of how a dog can change a life

Holiday Theme
Thinking of holidays.  Some books to ponder upon over the festive season

Cream Teas, Traffic Jams and Sunburn
Brian Viner
Brits on holiday. Enjoyable and amusing read but informative.  Do you recognze yourself in any of the examples? I certainly did.

Wonderful Walks from Dog-friendly campsites throughout the UK
Anna Chelmicka
Dog Friendly campsites to visit and directions for walks from them.

Lonely Planet 
Botswana & Namibia
Places to see in these 2 African countries.

World War 11 Theme
A few of the many books about the second world war.

Secret Life of Bletchley Park
Sinclair McKay
Fascinating account of a place that remained unknown for decades despite over 8000 people working there at one time.

Operation Mincemeat 
Ben Macintyre
The amazing account of how Hitler was mis-informed by the allies. 

Quiet Heroes 
Rita Cosby
Story of 2 ordinary men in extraordinary times.

Wojtek the Bear

Ailereen Orr
The story of the bear that accompanied a Polish unit during WW2.
Uplifting but unfortunately it does not end happily.

Discerning Theme
Books that will probably make you appraise and re-evaluate

Thinking Fast and Slow
Daniel Kahnemann
An analysis of thinking; why do some people cope better than others

The Silk Roads 
Peter Frankopan 
History of Globalization from BC to modern day.

Authentic Happiness
Martin Seligman 
A study of depression; its causes and treatments.

A Little Light Read
Quick reads to pass the time.

Ladies No. 1 Dectecitive Agency
Alexander McCall Smith
A series of  detective stories set in Botswana

A Gift that keeps on Giving
An antidote to all the seemingly depressing news

Positive News
A quarterly journal that reports on ordinary people doing extraordinarily wonderful things