Friday, 31 July 2015

It's that part of the year again

It's the 31st of July, a part of the year when I wonder where every day of the year prior to this date has vanished to. This year, however, I gave it only a passing thought, for two months ago my first college course was approaching its end, which caused me to wonder where it went. I wasn't thinking so much about the calendar year as I was the academic year.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Second, friend and driver

Yesterday, it had been one year since I underwent a second college interview, which was successful, and met a bus driver who remembered me from earlier in the day. That day, I also met someone who would become a future friend and classmate.

The interview itself...well, that was were my friend and I first met and as for the bus driver, I encountered him regularly while I rode the buses in Nottingham over the 2014-15 academic year. Unless he has moved to another job, I expect to see him again for 2015-2016.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

From China, with love

My Hong Kong uncle and cousin living in mainland China, both of whom are in the United Kingdom until next month, came to visit this afternoon. They stayed for over two hours before they returned to Nottinghamshire.

It pleased us that they visited; while my Hong Kong uncle came here within the last two weeks, prior to today, the most recent time my cousin in mainland China came here was for my 21st birthday party back in November 2011.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

All rain, no walks

It's summer, so you'd think, "The days of sunshine and longer daylight hours - plenty of time to be outside!". I would happy to be out walking but, unfortunately, for most of the current time I've been back in Northamptonshire the weather has been near-constant rain. I managed to walk yesterday when there was a gap but it rained again after I'd been out for a few minutes. Lucky I brought my umbrella!

There are a few weeks left of summer before the next academic year begins, so I'm sure I'll have several chances to go out on walks again. Okay, complaining over!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Homemade cake - after a while

For the first time in a long time, I ate some homemade cake:

My brother cooked a mint chocolate cake. I'm glad he did - I do enjoy his cakes!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

The clouds and the house

I recently photographed this cloud formation over a house, during which the Sun was hiding but its rays were visible:

 This is the picture in its normal - albeit cropped - form.

Now this is it through an HDR filter. The rays are much more visible through the filter.

The Retrolux filter provides the image with an "aged" feel; however, it's fairly neutral with regards to what emotions it evokes.

By contrast, the black-and-white filter shrouds the picture with a menacing quality.

Do you have a favourite?

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Bloggers Blog Party - June 2015

The Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party for the month of June, for the year of 2015:

Tuesday 2nd June: This is a field near a roundabout on my bus route, which I photographed on the morning of the English exam. I was slightly worried about the morning traffic until I passed the roundabout.

Wednesday 3rd June: This is the college gym, which was where my classmates, a large portion of the student body and I underwent our English exam. The English exam was the only exam I had in the gym; the rest were in classrooms or in a hotel.

Friday 12th June: My friend and I conducted some shopping on this day. While we were out, we encountered this fashion catwalk in the Broadmarsh. I've seen catwalks on television, in movies and in magazines but, as far as I can remember, not in person until this occasion.

Monday 15th June: This pigeon was either resting or waiting for a human to drop some food. City-based pigeons are notorious for eating human food off the ground, even waiting by you in the hope you'll drop crumbs.

Thursday 18th June: This is when I spent the day painting fences. I touched my painting up on a later day. I think my work was satisfactory while my grandparents think I did an excellent job.

Tuesday 23rd June: I went to the cinema on this day with my grandfather, aunt, uncle and a cousin. While there, I saw this screen advert for a film called Pixels. I saw the trailer for it, too.

Wednesday 24th June: My friend and I dined for lunch at a fancy sandwich/milkshake shop on this street. Off camera and to the right is a theatre that my friend used to visit.

Monday 29th June: Remember when I wrote about love locks? I encountered some on this bridge over the Trent. I seem to recall this bridge once being closed for maintenance; while I appreciate love, I've written before about what happens if a bridge is covered with too many love locks!

Friday, 24 July 2015

Overdue blog party - yet again

This becoming a trend: my Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party posts being late, although this was something to be expected. June's post will be tomorrow, although I will start work on it before I go to bed later. July's post, however, should easily be completed in early August.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Phone armour

Do you remember when we bought Dad a heavy-duty kickstand case for his phone? I have bought an armoured case for my phone, although it doesn't feature a kickstand:

The middle and right pieces are made of plastic; they clip together over the front and back of my phone. The piece on the left is made of silicone; it covers the back of my phone and is to provide it with grip, as the plastic can be slippery.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Pink rose 2015

Yesterday, I posted a red rose; today, here's pink rose:

It, too, is located in the front yard; it's about two feet over from the red rose. Unlike the red rose, however, the pink rose does not feature a pleasant scent.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Red rose 2015

Using my phone, I photographed this beautiful red rose in the front yard:

It's been a while since I last photographed a red rose like this one! This plant used to be afflicted with blackspot but it has been cured of the infection.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Jaffa Cakes (2)

The person who lost a fight with Jaffa Cakes in Nottinghamshire now appears to have lost a fight with them in Northamptonshire:

Where will they appear next?

Sunday, 19 July 2015

A visitor from Hong Kong

My Hong Kong uncle came to visit today for a few hours. He is staying over here in the United Kingdom for a few weeks for part of the summer break and he wanted to see my family and me.

Usually I've seen my Hong Kong uncle when other extended relatives are around, so it was a pleasant change for my family and me to chat to him on his own - to hear his thoughts on various subject matters. We cooked lunch for him and had a fully enjoyable meal with him as company.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

White flowers in bushes (2)

The Snapseed-enhanced HDR and Retrolux variants of yesterday's picture:

Which do you prefer? These, yesterday's, a combination or all?

Friday, 17 July 2015

White flowers in bushes

While out on a walk earlier, I encountered these pretty and white flowers in some bushes:

In the United States, I recall seeing a ground-based flower with a resemblance to this lot, called morning glory.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The new Iran deal

In June of 2013, I wrote about my thoughts on the election of Hassan Rouhani to the position of President of Iran. Later that year, I wrote about an interim deal between Iran and the West. In recent days, a new deal has been struck with Iran to scale back its nuclear program.

What do I think about the deal? I am happy with it. As I've said before, I favour efforts to prevent war; the officials who has worked hard to secure the deal - individuals such as US Secretary of State John Kerry, the UK's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond, and Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif - should all be commended. The actions of these people and others have all contributed towards nuclear non-proliferation, towards peace and towards international co-operation.

By contrast, I think those who are criticising the deal and/or have stated their intentions to actively sabotage it should be condemned. Seriously, why are people who advocate for more war in the Middle East being granted any sort of attention? They should be refuted and dismissed, not treated as though they have any credibility.

I hope the deal will lead to a continuing improvement of relations between Iran and the West. Such an amelioration is good for all sides and the world as a whole.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The USB fans (2)

As promised, here is a picture of my USB fan:

Again, I'm highly grateful for this device - it might have been cheap but it's extremely useful!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Phone resurrection

Back in early 2014, my Hong Kong uncle gave me his phone, a Samsung Galaxy S III. I gave my phone at the time, a Samsung Galaxy Ace II, to my mother. When my mother received a better phone, she returned the Ace II to me. Here is the Ace II:

I am using the Ace II again but not as a phone: I am using it as a media player; rather than continuing to use my current phone for music, I'd prefer to place a storage card back into this device and use it instead for my headphones/earbuds instead. Unfortunately, a used Ace II isn't worth much now so it's better that I keep it. Also, the Ace II is not affected by any headphone jack bugs.

In my opinion, this is a good way to re-use an obsolete device!

Monday, 13 July 2015

The summer return

The summer break officially began in Nottingham today; the next academic year begins in September, which is when my second college course starts.

Until then, I am back in Northamptonshire for the summer.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Wimbledon men's final 2015

Today was the Wimbledon men's final tennis match of 2015, which consisted of Novak Djokovic of Serbia versus Roger Federer of Switzerland. After a close match for three hours, Djokovic pulled ahead and won.

This afternoon, my grandparents and I watched the match alongside my Nottingham aunt and uncle and two of my cousins. We turned watching the match into a family event, in which we ate while watching. I am not a sports fan but I don't mind viewing the occasional game of tennis.

As for whom I was supporting, I wasn't bothered by who won but my preference was for Djokovic, as I've seen him play before and I think he's a strong player. My grandmother and uncle wanted him to win, too.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Broken headphones

Not long after I came to Nottingham, my grandfather gave me a pair of headphones. Not earbuds but a proper pair of headphones. I used these frequently for a few months before they fell victim to a foot two or three months ago.

Fortunately, while one of the phones had broken off there was no damage to any of the electronics. Yesterday, my grandfather successfully glued the broken speaker back onto the main body. Thanks to him, I can once again use the headphones he gave to me. Hooray!

I have a picture of the repairwork, which I will include in July's Secret Life of Bloggers Blog Party post.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Bus interiors

The bus operator with which I've ridden the most has been a company called Trentbarton. Since I've been in Nottingham, I've used their buses on all occasions except for two (the college bus to London and an independent bus operator during my first visit to Hucknall).

I've ridden three of Trentbarton's routes; here are pictures of the bus interiors of said rotes:

This is on the route known as "The Threes", which services Hucknall and some of its surroundings. I took this on my second visit to Hucknall and The Threes buses are notable for their orange colour.

This is the "Two" route, which services parts of western Nottingham, and I took this a few days ago.  This is also the bus I was on that recently avoided a collision. The only Two bus I've observed so far has been yellow.

Last but certainly not least, this is the "Rushcliffe Greens" route. All of my Trentbarton bus rides save for the last two have been on the Rushcliffe Greens, which service parts of southern Nottinghamshire. Rushcliffe Greens buses are usually green but there are a few large and red ones driving and on a Saturday I encountered a black one. Unsurprisingly, the Rushcliffe Greens is my favourite route.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Cloudy Wollaton

I recently walked to Wollaton Hall from Nottingham's city centre. Looks a little different from what I'm used to:

The rain forced me to wait under a tree for over ten minutes while it passed over the vicinity. The Sun was out intermittently throughout the day.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The not-quite-as-near collision

Remember this post from February, when my bus almost crashed?

A similar occasion happened today: My driver had to slam hard on the brakes because somebody turned straight into the path of my bus. As a result, almost everyone on board was thrown forward, although not as sudden and as harsh as what happened in February. Even so, it's somewhat disconcerting to think that twice this year somebody has almost caused my buses to crash while I've been on board!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Sweeping and garage

I conducted some more yardwork for my grandparents today: I swept outside the front of the house and tidied the inside of the garage. Most of my work took place inside the garage, for while I was sweeping outdoors it started to rain - massively. I swept outside the back the other day and now it almost looks (again) as though I didn't do anything at all.

As for the garage, I'm happy with my work in there - it's the tidiest I've ever seen it! A job well done, indeed.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Tidying a shed

I spent an hour or so this afternoon tidying the shed in my grandparents' back yard. It was a worthwhile task, for the shed needed a sweeping and a bit of a re-arrangement; the interior now looks more organised as a result of my efforts.

The only downside is that I am coughing a bit more as a result of the dust combined with the remnants of whatever was affecting me yesterday but that's a minor concern; it'll pass in a day or two.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

July 4th, 2015

Happy birthday, America; 239 years old and still counting; 239 seems like a nice, healthy age to be.

As for my day, I appeared to have a cough and a minor sore throat in the morning but I shook it off over the course of today. I went for a long walk this afternoon and my grandfather cooked a huge batch of sausages. Loads of them!

Hope everyone else had a pleasant 4th of July.

Friday, 3 July 2015

The USB fans

A few weeks ago, my grandfather bought some USB desk fans and gave one of them to me. I am extremely grateful that he did because for the past few days I have been using mine for a few hours at a time to help cool me down from the heat.

The USB fan is useful because, as its name implies, it's powered by plugging it into a USB port, the nearest one to me being my laptop. The fan is small and can be aimed either up or down, depending on where you want it positioned. It's a quality item, despite being cheap.

I'll include a picture of my fan in an upcoming post.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Warmer Day

At college, today was the second day of a two-part "Warmer Day". Essentially, it involved students applying coming to the college to learn about their courses, teachers, the campus itself, etc. Four of my classmates were with me. The events we were required to attend lasted from the morning until the early afternoon.

At 1:30, I went upstairs and waited to chat to another batch of new students; however, my services were not required but there was a group of three women who were waiting near me and they were going to chat to another group. They kindly invited me along with them and so we talked to their group, although I didn't say much because two of the three women were doing an excellent job in answering everyone's questions without anyone else's help. Still, it was worth attending.

After that, I underwent an English and Mathematics assessment, which took me less than an hour, for my next course. Once I'd completed all necessary tasks, I departed.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Questions from new students

Last week, my Employability teacher asked if I would be willing to chat to some of the next academic year's new students about my experiences at my college; the days on which I would do this would be today and tomorrow. This involved going into a couple of classrooms with the future students and answering their questions - while in front of several teachers. I accepted.

This afternoon, I talked to two groups of upcoming students at my college. Their questions mainly focused on what the college was like, what my subjects entailed and what was my greatest challenge to overcome. I was with the students for about half an hour altogether and it was my first time conducting public speaking with a completely unfamiliar audience; that several prominent teachers were listening and watching added to the challenge.

How were my nerves? They held. In fact, I barely felt nervous at all, which could have been down to that the temperature was too hot for me to be nervous but regardless, I didn't succumb to cowardice. Once I was in the room and talking, I was fine.

All the teachers thanked me for my input and my Employability teacher made me two cups of tea and bought me a popsicle, which was a pleasant surprise.