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Oslo to Copenhagen ferry

Thought for the day..”Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.”

“It is not the strongest of the species which survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” Charles Darwin

Oslo harbour and the ferry which goes between Norway and the Danish capital, Copenhagen.   Prices onboard this boat have gone up a lot, and the journey time has also been increased, making the trip now more expensive and also slower. This boat was previously owned by Viking Line, and sailed from Sweden to Finland.   Whilst the ferry was previously a good option, with the high prices onboard and also with the improved road connections to Denmark, it is no longer a good option.  Quite why the company thought that slowing the trip down was a good idea is a mystery, as is the logic of increasing the prices onboard.  Just like the airlines, DFDS have started to charge for things (eg. internet onboard and the bus connections to/from the boat)  that used to be included in the ticket price.   It appears that nearly all the public seating onboard has also been removed, presumably to try and force people into the bars and restaurants onboard to spend more money.   Sad to see the decline in standards on these ferries now, and the need to pay extra for so many things.     The kayakkers had a great view of the ferry though……

and another photo…A dramatic sunrise over the hills of Pembroke, New Zealand.  Great cloud formations are not unusual on the South Island of New Zealand due to the prevailing winds crossing the Southern Alps, which often leads to banding and wave clouds.   Add that to the first sun of the day and the result is a great photo.

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Decluttering and moving on.

Thought for the day…”If you count all your assets you always show a profit.”

“We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.”

Over the years it is easy to accumulate more and more stuff.   It is very easy to end up with boxes and boxes of books, magazines, CDs, DVDs and a host of other possessions which were stored in the hope that they would be needed again in the future.    I am currently having a major decluttering session, so all the CDs and DVDs are being scanned, old photos sorted out and boxes of books thrown out.    It is surprising that so much of what was stored turns out to be just junk or things that are no longer important.   Whilst it might have been important years ago, now that I look back I find box loads of things that are not relevant or no longer mean anything.

There is a very easy solution to this….decluttering.    And declutter have I done….getting rid of so much stuff and am moving on.    A sort of mega Spring-cleaning exercise.

Here is a photo from the collection, originally a 35mm negative taken about 1990 in England.   The negative was scanned then destroyed, so now it is just a digital copy (but reduced here for the internet).   A British Rail HST125 at Penzance train station waiting to depart back to London Paddington.   A very unusual clear blue sky too !

and another photo from the archives – a steam train on the Brienz Rothorn Bahn BRB in Switzerland.

RESPECT,  CONSIDERATION  &  FAIRNESS

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The worm has turned (at least for today)

Thought for the day….”When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”

“A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.”

I recently flew with Lufthansa from Oslo via Frankfurt to Zurich.    Apart from the usual rush to get onboard and the usual problem to get space in the overhead luggage bins, the seats on the A320 seemed even closer than before.   But the real insult was the ‘meal’ that was served onboard.  This is what Lufthansa, one of the legacy airlines, served as the ‘meal’….

And not only that insult, but the coffee was served in micro size cups too (the watch is in the photos to give an idea of the small size) –

and the ‘dinner’ on the leg to Zurich was 20g, yes 20g of dry crackers.   Again, no refills of coffee offered, despite the small size.   I had paid an ADULT fare, yet was given these micro sized portions.   Can you believe 20g ??  Lufthansa have also been devaluing the air miles on flights too, so I wonder what is the point in paying extra to fly with the legacy carriers when the service has fallen this much???

BUT fast forward to my next trip to Zurich 3 weeks later.   I am lucky to be able to choose a lot of the time, so due to Lufthansa becoming less good, I chose the German Railways train instead.   What a breath of fresh air. No check in 1 hour before departure.   I could get onto the train carrying tubes of toothpaste, a Swiss army knife and liquids without anybody worrying.   The seats had lots of space.  I could take my own baggage (and be sure that it was going to travel with me on the same train).    The staff on the train were excellent, the coffee in the restaurant car good and in normal sized cups.    I had space to walk around, I had comfortable seats and there were films and TV programmes to watch on the DB entertainment channels.    Despite a much longer journey time, it seemed much faster than flying.  I arrived feeling good, relaxed and that I had enjoyed the journey.    We tend to forget that the train can be a great way to travel.    Just because air travel is fast does not mean that it is good, or that it is the only option.   The train down through Germany was so good that I am not considering using the train for many more future trips.    To quote a great British railwayman (Peter Parker) ..”this is the age of the train”.    Perhaps if airlines continue to pack people in and treat passengers as an inconvenience, then more and more people may discover the train.

No prizes for guessing where the photo below was taken…..yes, a souvenir shop !!   Typically Swiss.  Taken with the Fuji X-T20 camera together with the excellent 35mm F2 prime lens.

and another photo from the archives…..bright colours in Cape Verde Islands….

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Oslo airport OSL does it again

Thought for the day…”If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.”

“There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.”

Oslo airport does it again…makes it unpleasant for passengers.   On Saturday I had the misfortune to use Oslo OSL airport again.   Even with their big, new extension, it is still the same unpleasant place as before.    Despite have a big new space, there are still almost no seats for passengers waiting to check in (WHY??) and even though they have put in a big new duty free shop (which they conveniently funnel passengers through whether or not you want to buy), they still have not got it right for passengers.  Why do their departure gates have seats for about 30 people when the aircraft using them take 170 passengers or more?   And can the managers at OSL not count?   Why on Saturday were most of the security check-points CLOSED ?, resulting in a long queue of people trying to get through security.    The managers at OSL must know how many flights are scheduled to depart, yet they seem unable or unwilling to put enough staff on the security checkpoints.  Bad management?   Of course, if you pay money then you can go ‘Fast Track’ through security, but this is merely an admission that the normal waiting times at security are too long.    And whilst the airport managers may be happy to see more and more (expensive) shops at Oslo airport, they still have not put in enough facilities for passengers.   Try finding a water fountain or a working electrical socket.   Try finding something to do whilst you are waiting at OSL.   And the worst thing……we passengers are actually paying a lot of money to use OSL airport.   Because it has a monopoly position then it can take our money without providing good services.   Flying from Oslo is not something to look forward to, especially if you have to wait there.   Perhaps the train from Oslo is the answer…….

A photo of the SR.N4 hovercraft taken in 1997 in Dover, England, from a scanned slide in my collection.   At that time, the SRN4 was the largest hovercraft in the World.  Top speed was 154 km/h and they could cross the English Channel in as little as 22 minutes.  The noise and vibration inside them was unforgettable, and if you crossed the English Channel on a rough day, then the ride inside them was ‘interesting’ !!  But they were a thrilling way to travel over the waves.

and another photo from the archives…by the sea in Cuba.

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KFC goes into space

Thought for the day…” Do not watch the clock, do what it does…keep going”

“You can’t expect to hit the jackpot if you don’t put a few nickels in the machine.”

Saw an interesting story in the news recently about KFC, who are going to send one of their ‘Zinger Burger’ chicken sandwiches into space, through a company called World View.    The project is partly being finance by KFC.   So it will be interesting to see the effects of zero gravity and no oxygen on the burger.   Of course, KFC will be posting the details on their webpages live.  Not that KFC are first with their idea,  previously a pie company has sent one of its meat pies into space to space to study the effects of space on it.   Interesting, that ‘launch’ took place from outside a pub in northern England !!

Today’s photo comes from 70 degrees north, in Finnmark province at the top of Norway.   The reindeer are easy to spot at this time of year, especially as they come near the towns lower down to feed on spring grass.   The photo was taken hand-held using the Fuji X-T20 and Fuji 100-400mm lens.

and another photo….a cross country train starts it trip from Penzance, Cornwall, England

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Buying local – the advantages

Thought for the day….”It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.”

“A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.”

There was a time in my younger days when I would spend hours looking for the cheapest price. Getting something for the cheapest price was the target, and an important one.  But gradually I have come around to looking at VALUE, rather than price.    I have just had delivery of my new camera.  I know that I could have ordered it online cheaper, but because my local photo shop (Photo & Video International, Christchurch, New Zealand) has given me such great service, then it was an automatic and easy decision to order from them.  True, I may have paid more for the camera, but when I need help or advice, the dealer will be there, and will be only too happy to help, even if there is no direct profit in it for him.   Not only that, but it makes trading much more friendly.    And it is good to know that when I need some extra bits, that he will supply them, even if there is little or no profit in it for the shop.    Previously I would have gone for the cheapest, but the value of personal customer service from a shop cannot be measured in money terms.     The best part is that at the end of the transaction, that both the buyer and the seller come away feeling satisfied and happy.   Too many negative experiences with online ‘shops’ located in far off places, who once they have sold you something, do not want to hear from you again.  Long live the friendly local shop !!!

And a couple more photos from the old camera…….

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and another photo from the archives….the Finnish capital of Helsinki

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Down the alleys of Stockholm

Thought for the day…”It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.”

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old”

Am I missing the point?    Went into a local sports shop (part of a large international chain) and could not understand why a sports shop has escalators to go up and down between the different floors.   This is the same chain of sports shops which sells running machines and keep fit equipment, yet they have escalators between floors.  Am I missing the point?

Lovely photo of the alleys in the medieval part of Stockholm, Sweden.  This part of Stockholm (actually an island) is known as ‘Gamla Stan’, or Old Town, and dates from the 13th century.  In the 19th century the area was a slum, but from the 1970s the area was restored.   Fuji X-T10 camera & 18-55mm lens.

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and another photo from the archives….pondering the moment in Ethiopia…..

WORDPRESS ETHIOPIA Bahir Dar Tis Isat girl green dress 4 Oct 2011 (7)

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Black & White or colour….which is best ?????

Thought for the day…” Broken pencils are pointless”       “Jokes about German sausages are the wurst”

Lots of fun to go back through the photo collections and re-edit the photos….and also get rid of a lot of earlier attempts.   Two versions of the same photo today, from the Spanish island of Menorca.  All photos from the Fuji X series….with the standard 18-55mm kit lens.    See which you like the best.  Same photo but one is converted to B & W.     My vote goes to the black & white version….

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low-res-menorca-2

and another photo from the archives….the lake at Geilo, Norway in early autumn…

LOW-RES-NOR-Geilo-lake-4

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Norway this morning

Thought for the day…” Life is too important to be taken seriously” (Oscar Wilde)

“Life is like a 10 speed cycle.  Most of us have gears that we do not use”.

Another fantastic summer day in Norway….and one photo taken early this morning.  Taken today near the centre of Bergen.   Time to put on the sun cream again….

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and another photo from the archives..a 737 about to land in Funchal, Madeira…

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218 Million British Pounds gone on a new folly.

Thought for the day…”It always seems impossible until it is done”   (Nelson Mandela).

” Life is like photography.  You use negatives to develop”

One definition of a ‘folly’ is a building that is built mainly for decoration, but in a style to imitate something else (such as a castle or tower), and at such expense to have shown folly for the builder.     So when I read news about the new airport that has been built on St. Helena island in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, then the word ‘folly’ springs to mind.    The news often features stories about the much-delayed new Berlin airport, which seems to be continually delayed and plagued by one problem after another, but the new St Helena airport is equally worthy.

This new airport (soon to receive its first commercial flight) has been built at a staggering cost, reportedly 218 MILLION British Pounds.    The fancy airport comes complete with control tower, restaurant, departure lounges and full security facilities, and a fire station complete with 3 expensive fire-engines.  Not bad at all, except for the fact that St Helena only has a population of about 4255 people.   Not only that, but the island only has 2 small hotels, which will be completely unable to cope with the numbers of tourists expected on the weekly flight to the island.     So the British government has spent 218 million British Pounds on an airport which will have almost no flights, an airport which will serve a population of about 4255 people and an airport which will overload the 2 hotels on the island.  So it is not only Berlin that gets it wrong with its airport.     Folly?    I think so.

Another great photo from the Fuji X-E1 camera…taken with the 55-230mm lens at the maximum 230mm….

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and another photo from the archives….autmn colours at Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

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