Tuesday, 31 March 2015

"Started out as a lemon tart"

It's a lemon tart!

Here is the original and unedited picture of the lemon tart I ate yesterday afternoon.

Here is the HDR version of the lemon tart...

 ...and here is the retrolux version. Which of the three pictures do you like best?

As for the title of this blog post, remember the song I featured in this post? It's because of that song why I photographed this lemon tart.

Oh, and the lemon tart was delicious.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Last full month

Today's mathematics lesson marks the end of the last full month of college for my course; the class was present for seventeen of this month's thirty-one days. There were no breaks or "staff only" days, which was, in my opinion, excellent.

In April, however, there is the two-week Easter break and in May there is a bank holiday, at least one staff-only day and another half-term break; not only that but for the latter month we have our two Sociology exams. One those exams are complete, the Sociology lessons will have concluded. In June, we have an English exam and two Mathematics exams; Employability, on the other hand, does not have an exam and it carries on until the end of June.

How fast my course appears to have disappeared is alarming but it's not finished yet; there are still over two months of it left - with plenty to look forward to in that time - and after that I have my next course. Much to enjoy!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Liveland History: 29 March 2012

On the 29th of March 2012, my brother, father and I visited where I am living now: my grandparents' house in Nottingham:

We took the car up here for its maintenance but we also visited my grandparents. There are two picture posts that went alongside the main one: here and here.

I should note that my grammar wasn't as decent then as it is now: "My Dad, brother, and myself spent the day in Nottinghamshire..." should have been "My Dad, brother, and I spent the day in Nottinghamshire...".

So much has changed since then.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

HDR city centre

Nearly a week ago, I photographed the city centre in the early and cloudy evening:

Afterwards, I put the image through the Snapseed phone app and added an HDR filter. What do you think? I have not shrunk this image so it can be opened and zoomed.

Friday, 27 March 2015

The centre at night

I was out late today; while out, I photographed the centre of Nottingham:

The city looked so pretty at night; I like all those lights.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

My next course

Earlier this month, I applied for my next college course. While this time around I will have to sort out finances, the application is easier for me because: 1. I know the teachers at my college now and 2. I have friends who are applying for the same course as me and they are willing to advise me when necessary. The next course starts in September, much like how my current one started last September.

One of my teachers filled in a reference/behavioural form about me, which I have to submit for my course. My ratings are as follows:

1. Attendance = Excellent
2. Punctuality = Excellent
3. Health = Excellent
4. Motivation = Excellent
5. Attitude to Staff = Excellent
6. Attitude to Peer Group = Excellent

I was pleasantly surprised to have such high ratings. I will endeavour to maintain these standards...for the rest of my current course, my next course and beyond.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Stir fry with cheese

My mind has been blank all evening and I had no idea what to write. Fortunately, I photographed my dinner:

It's a stir fry, which I prepared - save for the meat - and cooked. I also added some cheese slices for a little extra taste. It was a highly pleasant meal. Do you think it looks tasty?

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Bus stop from the rain

I walked this morning, as it was a pleasant and sunny day with moderate cloud cover. I had been walking four about half an hour when I suddenly began to feel minute drops of water on my face. I thought little of them at first but the tiny droplets turned into a full-fledged shower, which forced me to turn around and bolt back home.

Fortunately, there was a sheltered bus stop on my route, so I hid in there. A lady was waiting in the stop and said that she had been caught by the rain, too, but unlike me, she was catching a bus, which arrived a couple of minutes after we'd started talking. After we'd said our goodbyes, I waited in the stop for between 15 - 20 minutes before the weather cleared and I resumed my original walk.

No buses came down the street while I waited but if they had, they would not have stopped for me because I deliberately kept out of their line of sight so that they wouldn't waste time picking up somebody who wasn't going to board.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Liveland History: 23 March 2012

On 23rd March 2012, I wrote a "Short Stories" post titled The Junk Salesman:

Three years on, I cannot remember what inspired me to write that story. I wasn't drunk or anything remotely similar when I thought that it would make a worthwhile blog post. It's an interesting read, to say the least!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Have not forgotten

I have not forgotten my promise to post pictures from my original 6+ mile walks. I will be sure to post them soon, as well as set aside images for this month's blog party.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Ypsilanti, Michigan

On a QWERTY keyboard, "o" and "p" are next to each other, just as they are in the alphabet. On my phone, I sometimes press one when I have meant the other. I also use word prediction and auto-correct on my phone.

Occasionally when I type the word "you" I accidentally press "yp". Whenever I do, my phone predicts that I want to spell the word "Ypsilanti". On the first time I saw this happen, I thought I'd accidentally typed in "Ypsilanti" at some point and my phone was suggesting my made-up word to me as a prediction.

Fortunately, I turned out to be wrong. I researched "Ypsilanti": it turns out that there are a few people with that as their last name and there is a Ypsilanti in Michigan, as well as a tiny place in North Dakota with it, too. It's not something I spelled by accident.

Amazing what you learn from a spelling error!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Now these aren't immune

The other day, I wrote about how my phone was almost destroyed. What I neglected to mention in that post was when I retrieved my phone, my earbuds fell out of my pocket and into the road. I noticed thirty seconds or so later that they'd fallen out but when I went to retrieve them, too, they'd already been crushed.

These were the new earbuds I received in August 2014. Fortunately, they came as a pack of two so at least with one pair being destroyed, I still have the other. In that August 2014 post, I wrote that the first pair of earbuds was immune to my phone's headphone jack bug: no matter the angle of the earbud plug inside the jack, they always worked without complaint.

The second pair, however, have opted to behave in a dodgy manner. These ones do insist on refusing to work properly if the plug isn't in the jack at a certain angle. As such, I have to be careful to not knock my phone when I have these earbuds in it. Ah, well.

On the bright side, my main headphones are still unaffected!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The questionnaires

In the late morning while I was sitting in the college cafeteria, I was approached by two women, both students, who asked me if I would fill in a questionnaire about my soft drink consumption and purchasing habits. I was happy to oblige and so I answered their questions.

A few minutes after I'd completed the soft drink questionnaire, another student approached me and she asked if I could answer a questionnaire about my holiday habits. I was happy to answer her questions, too, although I laughed that it was my second questionnaire in a few minutes.

Less than a minute after I'd completed the second questionnaire I was approached by a third student and she asked if I would be willing to complete a survey on bread. As astounded as I was at being asked to fill in a third questionnaire, I was still happy to complete it for her; the second student then pointed out to her that it was my third questionnaire that morning, which made both of them and me laugh.

The third questionnaire was the last and to my knowledge, I'm the only member of my class to have completed any. Prior to today, I don't recall ever having filled in a survey crafted by students before; I wasn't expecting to answer three within a few minutes of one another!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Nearly-crushed phone

I encountered somebody with both a kind heart and good observational skills. I was crossing the road from my bus stop to my college when my phone fell out and I didn't even notice. This man then started shouting; it was only when I realised he was yelling for my attention that I turned around to see what was going on: my phone was in the road! I rushed back to pick it up and then waved to the man to thank him; he acknowledged me.

I was fortunate for two reasons: 1. that he'd noticed my phone in the road and 2. that it hadn't been crushed by traffic. The road was busy and it astounds me that no one ran it over. I am grateful to that man...I would have been fuming if my phone had been destroyed. I'll keep a better watch on my shirt pocket and will be more careful so that my phone isn't at risk like this again.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Saint Patrick's Day event

I walked to the centre of Nottingham this morning; when there, I encountered the Saint Patrick's Day celebration that was taking place:

It appeared to be a small occasion, although things were ramping up before I left. I'm not sure how the event progressed given that it started to chuck it down with rain an hour or so after I took this picture.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Lowering barriers, in a safe manner

Until my walk to Hucknall, I had never used my earbuds when out on a walk; the primary reason was because of personal safety. For the past month and a half or so, I have been wearing them on the bus but since I'm not driving the bus, there's less of a reason to worry. So why the sudden change?

The key is doing it safely: I'm more comfortable with certain parts of certain walks, such as the route from my house into Nottingham. When you're walking a long and flat route that doesn't change much for forty-five minutes to an hour, putting on some music helps to liven up the experience a little. Listening even prevented me from tiring sooner!

I am not reckless, however; I can still hear traffic over my music, I pay attention to the road, am careful when crossing roads and I look out for cyclists/other pedestrians. I also do not wear my earbuds when walking deep within Nottingham or on unfamiliar roads. For the most part, my earbuds were off when I was headed for Hucknall.

Overall, I would advise leaving them off when you're out but if you're in an area where you know it is safe, it should be fine. Use careful and considered judgment.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Pimm's and lemonade

At the birthday event I attended a few nights ago, I drank this cocktail:

It was a Pimm's and lemonade, which also contained pieces of fruit, such as strawberries. The fruit and the sweetness of the drink almost rendered the cocktail a dessert in itself! Pimm's is a fruit cup, as well as regarded as a liqueur.

Saturday, 14 March 2015


A sense of satisfaction - and relief - came over me when I saw this sign:

I walked to Hucknall, a town to the north of Nottingham. I walked a minimum of twelve miles today, although I suspect I walked much more once my walking around the centres of Nottingham and Hucknall and my walk after my return bus journey are both counted. I had initially intended to walk from Hucknall back to the centre of Nottingham but I wasn't in any condition to do so.

The goal of my walking, besides the exercise, had been to reach Hucknall entirely on foot and this is what I have accomplished. Of course, I intend to continue my walks but Hucknall walks will be rare! I'm pleased with today's walk but I'm shattered and my feet hurt. I shall have to rest.

On a side note, I don't want my social media feeds to become overwhelmed with nothing but my walking activities.

Friday, 13 March 2015

"Of Mice and Men" control results

My results for the Of Mice and Men control were revealed today: I scored 12 marks out of 15, which is what I expected/hoped for. I wasn't top of the class but I am the best all-rounder when it comes to writing and my scores are consistent; in addition, Of Mice and Men control, as well as the poetry control, involved analysis, which is something I haven't done much of before so all things considered, I think I'm performing okay.

On an unrelated note, I walked to college and back again today. This is the first time since 1997 that I've walked to and from my educational institution in the same day; I did not use any sort of vehicular transport and I walked around 13 miles.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

White-collar and blue-collar workers

In today's class, my Sociology teacher devised an excellent and highly memorable way of differentiating between white-collar and blue collar-workers:

White-collar workers: Non-manual jobs/professionals, such as doctors and lawyers. Blue-collar workers: Manual jobs, such as construction workers and hairdressers. My teacher's artwork makes it almost impossible to forget the difference.

One of my friends asked, "What's happened to his head?", in reference to the white-collar guy. The class laughed (in a polite way) at the drawings, although we did acknowledge their effectiveness. Our Sociology teacher is absolutely wonderful; it's humorous techniques like this that make her such a fantastic educator.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Bloggers Blog Party - February 2015

I wasn't surprised to discover that February 2015 featured a healthy selection of pictures for the Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party:

Tuesday, 3rd February: These are the chocolate and cherry...squares? Pieces? Things? Well, whatever they were, I baked them for the third charity event for Employability. I was surprised -albeit delighted - at the rate at which they were consumed!

Monday, 9th February: This giant Ferris wheel was present in the centre of Nottingham for a few weeks. It was covered with adverts for one of the local radio stations.

Wednesday, 11th February: Before I helped set up the room at Via Fossa for the fourth and final charity event in Employability, I walked near to Nottingham Castle and photographed the area up there.

Wednesday, 18th February: This was during the week I was visiting my Northamptonshire family. This is the box in which Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came when it was delivered to my family all those years ago. Yes, we did wait until after July 21st to read the book! I can't remember the reason why it was delivered early.

Saturday, 21st February: Taken on the day I returned to Nottingham, these are some rain clouds hovering over Nottinghamshire (note the rain on the left there?) Despite how this appears, it was sunny once I was back.

Monday, 23rd February: I bought this "Spikey Mikey" cookie at a bakery chain called Greggs. It was delicious!

Wednesday, 25th February: This is a view of Nottingham when looking out of one of the classroom windows at my college. As most of the class was away for three days on an educational trip to Poland, there were only two students attending Employability that day; obviously, I was one of the two.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


As it's Tuesday, I don't have college today; instead I...went for a walk! No shock there, given the continuation of the pleasant weather. I have a birthday party to attend shortly and so I thought a late-morning/early-afternoon walk would be beneficial. I was surprised to learn that I walked 5.4 miles in about an hour and a half; the only reason my walk was so short was because I was hungry and had to return home for something to eat.

Monday, 9 March 2015

A major walk today? No, just the bus

I was tempted to walk to college, as a follow-up to my walking back from there on Friday. Last week was the first time since 1997 that I'd walked back home from school and as 1997 was also the last time I walked to school, I thought I'd make things even. Alas, I took the bus instead.

What stopped me? Well, my college bag is hefty and the weather looked as though rain was on the way; I did not want to be soaking wet, which likely would have dampened the work and supplies I was carrying and would have slowed me down, potentially putting me at risk of being late for class! No, I'm better off walking there on a more favourable day in regards to the weather.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

International Women's Day 2015

These are my thoughts for my 2015 post on International Women's Day:

"At first, I was concerned when I started seeing International Women's Day being used as a greeting (i.e. introducing it with the word "happy", like when people say "Happy International Talk like a Pirate Day"). I thought this type of recognition was trivialising this day and its significance.

I thought about it some more and while I still hold those concerns to a degree, at the same time, spreading knowledge about the day is a positive action, provided that the meaning and message behind it is not lost. Plus, increasing equality is something to be happy about."

I don't want International Women's Day to become reduced to a mere greeting unless, of course, that only happens when women are truly equal and there's zero danger of society backsliding into past treatments of women. Sadly, that day is still a long way off.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Walk and the crowds

I embarked on another long walk; I estimate that I walked over ten miles this afternoon. I didn't take many pictures but I might post a few at a later date; the more important pictures are from my other two walks. I am mildly tired and sore from all the walking but I'm okay!

Besides my walk, the most interesting event that occurred today was my return home. I narrowly missed my bus back, which forced me to catch the next ride. This second bus ended up being caught up not only in rush hour traffic but also from the swarms of people returning to their homes after a football game. My return journey took double the amount of time it usually takes to get back.

When I walk tomorrow it will definitely be over a shorter distance; I've walked well over twenty miles this week!

Friday, 6 March 2015

The control and the second 6+ mile walk

The Of Mice and Men control for my college class occurred today. I was up until 1:30am with last-minute preparations and arrived at college earlier than usual today to continue with those preparations and additional studying. This last bit of work paid off and I thought I handled myself well in the control; I just hope my work is as good as how I felt!

In fact, I felt so good after class that once my friends and I had finished talking, I walked back home, following my bus route as I did on Wednesday; it took me slightly over two hours to return. I'll have to post pictures of my two walks in one post.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Collected from a non-designated stop

Something unexpected happened earlier. While I was walking down the main road towards the bus stop, I noticed my bus coming; I mentally groaned, as I knew I would miss the bus because I wasn't anywhere close enough to my stop. Regardless, I attemped to make a run for it in the off-chance that I reached my stop in time.

To my surprise, the bus hooted at me; when I turned around, it had slowed down and the driver, who had obviously recognised me, motioned for me to board. As such, it was no longer necessary for me to run; I just got on board, thanked the driver, swiped my card on the scanner and sat down. No further hassle.

What a pleasant shock! Usually bus drivers might wait for someone who is rapidly approaching a nearby bus stop but this is the first time I've encountered one stop for someone who wasn't even near a designated stop. I feel honoured that the bus driver did this for me; it wasn't something he was obliged to do at all. I think it's an understatement to say that I appreciate my bus drivers.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The 6+ mile walk

After I returned home on the bus from college this afternoon, I stayed briefly to pick up a food item and some water before I headed back out again. Since the weather was excellent (sunny, warmish and a pleasant breeze), I decided it would be a great idea for me to walk to my house to my college, using my bus route. While it follows a major road, it is safe because there are paths for pedestrians to use.

My walk began at around 1:35 and I arrived at my college at 3:18, or an hour and forty-three minutes, and exceeded six miles; however, if I count the walking to and from my buses for class plus my walking around the city centre in the afternoon, I estimate that I have walked about eight miles today.

I was already in a wonderful mood when I reached the city centre of Nottingham but my good mood was enhanced further when I encountered my Employability teacher. She was delighted to see me and thought that I had just left college; she was surprised when I told her that I'd been on a "monster" walk!

At some point I'll have to walk to my college and then back again; this afternoon, I took a bus back, as it was late in the afternoon and I did not want to spend another two hours walking for my return journey.

I'll be sure to post some pictures from today in a later post.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

"Of Mice and Men" control

This Friday, the control/exam for Of Mice and Men will take place. Essentially, in the control everyone in the class has to write a piece on how power - be it hierarchical or physical or seductive power - is presented in the novella. We have to cover at least two characters and link power in with said characters and the era in which the book is set.

Unless I somehow epically screw up, there is no doubt that the quality of my writing on the day will be excellent; I just need to ensure that I accurately write enough about power and put it into context for the era. I haven't worked as hard for this control as I should have done but I think I'll pull through; it's not as though I've done nothing!

After Of Mice and Men, it's Macbeth!

Monday, 2 March 2015

Class battleship

Today's mathematics lesson was certainly interesting: we played a game of Battleship! That's right, we played a board game.

Don't worry, there was method in this apparent madness: our mathematics teacher was educating us about coordinates and figured the best way of doing so was by playing a game of four-team Battleship. Essentially, it was the teacher vs. table 1 vs. table 2. vs table 3; if a team fired on, say, coordinates (5, -3), they would fire a shot onto each of the other teams' fleets. Naturally, it would count as a hit if a team had a ship there and a miss if they didn't.

The game ended when one of the fleets was destroyed; for this game, our teacher lost while my table only suffered the loss one vessel (our carrier) and had minor damage to another. Our teacher commented that my table appeared to be "invulnerable"; the positioning of our fleet had been conducted well!

I thought our teacher had come up with a fun and creative way of teaching us about coordinates, which was why I felt a little sorry for him when he was defeated. Nevertheless, I think he enjoyed the game, as did the class overall.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

The loss of the replaceable battery and expandable storage

The Samsung Galaxy S6 was announced today. It looks and sounds like it will be an impressive phone:

There are two problems with it, though: the loss of the microSD slot and the removable battery, as found on its predecessors; I wrote posts here and here about why I regard these two features as important. Needless to say, I think it's huge shame that Samsung now appears to moving away from this formula; my main reason for having phones from that company is because of the ability to increase the storage and replace the battery.

I wasn't planning to buy a new phone anytime soon (I'm still more than satisfied with my Galaxy S III) and my next one would have been a Samsung, most likely one of the devices in the Note lineup. The loss of these crucial features might affect what I purchase next time but then again, the Galaxy S5 had water-proofing, which has been removed for the S6; maybe if people complain the replaceable batteries and expandable storage might be restored for later devices. Plus, if the other phone-makers don't allow users to change batteries or expand the storage, why switch to them?