Wednesday, August 19, 2009

An evening of golf

I spent yesterday evening wandering around a golf course with Gav, while he practised his golf shots I practised my shots of golfers. Gav is a highly talented golfer, who not only has a set of his own clubs, but also has a handicap.

Gav trying to smack a wasp out of the sky with a 9 iron

I made a major faux pas early on in the evening when Gav sank a 50 foot putt. Astonished, I gave him a round of applause only to have him tell me to shut the hell up in case I disturbed other golfers. You'd think the other golfers would have appreciated a bit of clapping, to get them prepared for tournaments and stuff. Maybe that's Tiger Woods' secret - he can zone out extraneous noise, and be One with the ball.

Anyway, I reckon Gav'd be pretty good at mini golf, so I have swiftly devised a handicap system for putt putt. Basically, your handicap is the item you have to carry around with you for the whole game. So Gav's handicap would be dishwasher, whereas Alex's for example would be a meringue.

Capture the flag, a new way of playing golf

Gav don't need no caddy. Well, I was too busy taking photos to be any good as a caddy.

Having a rough time.

Trees and golfer. A fine art shot.

Taking another 50 yard putt in his stride

Another flag - I seemed to develop a bit of a flag obsession.

You know how when volcanoes erupt skeins of lightning fire across the clouds? Well in a similar way, every time Gav drives a golf ball, the sky turns apocalyptic.

Sorry, I couldn't think of a reasonable club-based pun to put in here. Feel free to make any suggestions.

Gav had to chuck a ball into this bunker so I could get a picture of sunlight hitting the sand. Normally he gets the ball straight onto the green, usually within 3-4 cm of the hole. Though on occasion he'll land it several yards away to practice his putting.

Guns don't kill people, golfers do!

Another super putt. As I recall, Gav had his eyes shut on this one - and he still sunk it.

See? Another flag...

A par 5 hole, Gav probably nailed it in about two shots.

After about 70 attempts I managed to take a photo of the ball as Gav hit it. This has resulted in a picture showing the ball apparently stationary in the grass, yet simultaneously moving through the air (the white streak on the right hand side of the frame). That's how fast Gav hits the balls. His main problem on the golf course is shattering balls through smacking them so hard.

Practicing with a wedge. See the ball? It's just above the flag. Well done that man.

I had a load of silhouetted pictures, but have whittled it down so you only have these two to endure.

See, that wasn't so bad was it?

More bunker practice.

End of the day. Gav's final score was probably something like 30.

A load of balls. OK, just one. Focus was slightly off here.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


I've taken a few snaps since getting back from South Africa, so I present them to you here - a veritable smörgåsbord of shots showing the diversity of Leeds in the 21st century. Plus most of them don't make the grade for the Flickr page, so I'm putting them here. If you don't like it, take it up with the management.

The first picture, at the top, is of a titanium occult pyramid in Millenium Square, which has been intriguing conspiracy theorists for as long as 18 months! Perhaps this is Leeds' answer to Adam's Calendar?

Italian style in the grim north. Vespa means 'wasp' in Italian and Latin, linguists!

Urban smokers need instructions.

I think this sign was warning passers by of the general probability of death in Briggate being comparatively high.

Temple Newsam

Gav (below) and I tooled over to Temple Newsam one evening, and took a load of photos of vegetation and stuff. You can see his shots here if you like.

Backlit flower, 'cos I know Alex likes them so much...

Here's a hoverfly, the gardener's friend.

OK, so here are a few photos of plants and things. Garden photography isn't really my forté, I've sort of turned to war photography after the trip to South Africa.

Purple stuff.

A lamppost. I was waiting for the bus one evening and took a few shots. This is a composite of two photos: one had the top of the lamp, plus an unsightly building in the background - the other had the foreground and walls as you see them here. Neither photo was too great on its own, so I combined the best elements of each to produce a photo which still isn't all that.

Maria, who until last week was my colleague - she tolerated me taking a few snaps, as I shouted at her to smile.

Leeds Pride Parade

Finally, last weekend a massive Pride parade trooped through Leeds, hooting, hollering and waving gigantic multicoloured flags to the pulsing beat of Soft Cell trance remixes.

I guess this is the same as wearing your heart on your sleeve...?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

South Africa 2009: "An erection the size of Texas"

Our last couple of days in South Africa. What a trip it had been: we'd altered the course of history, freed a country from the oppression of the Boer, bagged most of the animals in the Kruger Park and been to the centre of the planet. Here's a quick breakdown of some stats for you:
1089 = number of 'keepers' - the photos I've not deleted

34560 = number of minutes we stayed awake during the campaign

200 = crates of pilchards purchased with an infant

1 = new age 'ancient' monument debunked

582.4 = units of alcohol purchased in the Old Rock Café

789.3 = units of alcohol given us in the Old Rock Café by grateful civilians

33 = burgers consumed

3 = tons of gravel panned for gold

0 = Boer Republics left intact

All in all, a resounding success! Having been fêted by the Lord Mayor of Johannesburg, we were informed that our war booty would form part of a memorial display at the South African Museum of Military History, a tribute to our glorious success. Because Alex has a passing interest in things military, we decided to go along to have a look.

Suddenly being surrounded by a vast variety of weaponry caused Alex to momentarily flashback to the Drakensberg, when we were almost overrun by attacking Boer. In a rage, he tore a Messerschmitt from it's stand and kicked it into a crumpled pile of scrap.

Easy, Tiger.

Once he'd got it out of his system though, we were free to explore to our hearts content. Some of the stuff we captured from the Boers had already been installed, and frankly it was chilling to see it up close.

Alex, unperturbed by the massive challenge we'd overcome in utterly destroying the Boer.

As we made our way through the museum, Alex suddenly swooned. He was visibly overcome by the sight of a biplane in the second hall. Since we'd maintained total air superiority over the Boer for the duration of our campaign I hadn't bothered paying any attention to aircraft identification, but once he'd got his breath back Alex reliably informed me that what we were looking at was a rare surviving example of a SE5A, the plane which pretty much won the First World War for us. I think it would be fair to say that Alex had an erection the size of Texas when he saw that baby. And who can blame him.

Some guns and stuff.

We knew it! The Boer had been secretly developing biological weapons! Here's a suicide Springbok, trained to carry ordnance undetected into our lines! Thank god we flattened them before they had the chance to deploy! Note the Union flag behind - this is the one we hoisted over Spioenkop.

Alex, just prior to test firing some sort of cannon.


As a final treat, mere hours before we were airlifted out, we went to Montecasino, billed as "Gauteng's premier entertainment destination". A reconnaissance balloon from our campaign was on site, so we took a ride.

I tell you what, not being fired on by Boer sharpshooters made all the difference, and much fun was had by all.

Montecasino, contrary to our expectations, was not a reconstruction of the famous Italian hill. It was however a reconstruction of a quintessential Italian town - exactly what you'd hope to find on the plains of Africa.

As with authentic Italian villages, you are searched for guns before you enter.

Alex is utterly perplexed by what looks exactly like an Italian town, built in a humongous warehouse and stuffed with designer shops and a casino.

This was more baffling than the Mind Buggering™ bridge at Maropeng!! We took refuge in a nearby bookstore, where Alex found religion again...

...and then caught up with David Icke and Paris Hilton.

Vivian, a gentleman to the end, graciously posed for some snaps - time that OK! South Africa would have paid millions of rands for.

Time to wrap(p) this holiday up.

11,000 metres above Marseille. I hope I remembered to take the elephant tusks out of my baggage...

Finally, on board the military transport on the way home, the pressure lifted, the terror slowly evaporated and I drifted into the first sleep I'd had in three weeks...

If you've reached this point and are thinking "WTFWTF? This is not LOLZ!" you need to go back and do some catching up:

Part 1: South Africa Campaign 2009
Part 2: Kruger National Park, part 1
Part 3: Kruger National Park, part 2
Part 4: The Drakensberg
Part 5: Miniature golf and Battle of Spioenkop
Part 6: Barberton and The Old Rock Café
Part 7: Swazi Black Hawk Down and Adam's Calendar flim-flammery
Part 8: Gold!