Merry, or Happy, Christmas. Is it Merry Christmas? It’s “we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year”, I think. Hmm.
I’m currently staying in a place that looks like this:
Well, the actual bit that I’m staying in doesn’t look like that. I’m not camping by the sea or anything. It’s a small seaside town occupied by a lot of old people but mostly owned by seagulls, who in fact own the entire coast. Huge birds the size of spaniels but a million times as vicious, they strut up and down the beaches arguing with each other and pulling things apart. The ones here don’t seem to beg for food from humans, it’s beneath them, though I’m sure they would mug you for a sandwich. They don’t consider the fact that non-seagulls have put strange hard pink, blue and yellow things along their coast a challenge to them.
Apparently it is traditional to paint seaside houses pink, dating back to the Regency period, when they used ox blood.
I watched ITN News this morning, summing up The Most Important Story Of The Year (invading Iraq, obviously). They are frighteningly on-message. Tony must be proud – according to them, everything was exactly as Number Ten says it was. They even repeated the “tight” footage of the “crowd” “pulling down Saddam’s statue”, i.e. the footage where you can’t see that it’s a rather small crowd of Iraqis surrounded by tanks. And then they rounded it off by playing, as they have been doing for the last few days, Christmas messages from British soldiers in Iraq to their families, and filming their tearful families receiving them. Don’t worry luv, it’ll all be over by Christmas! Well, next Christmas I suppose. Also a bit of footage showing all the great work for the Iraqis they’re doing over there. How heart-warming!
It was like being back in the States. Thank god for Paxman. I’ve been taking quite a few pictures since I’ve been here, which I’m commenting and gallery-ing and occasionally photoshopping. (I’ll upload them when I get back.) This photo of the London Eye (considerably reduced, but you get the idea):
required an awful lot of photoshopping. I wish I’d kept the original. I had to fiddle for ages with the contrast and brightness, cutting out various bits of sky and so on. Plus all of the photos from inside the Gardening Club look like they come from an Essex tanning convention. Everyone’s orange. That’s quite easy to fix, but it’s slow to do this for each one. Luckily there’s only so many pictures of drunk people the world needs anyway.
The irritating thing with this digital is that it really suffers when there’s a wide range of light levels across the picture, which has been a problem when taking photos involving a large amount of overcast (but bright) sky. I need to start fiddling with the exposure manually but I don’t think there’s a real solution, apart from photoshopping everything or learning to deal with a bigger camera. I must sound like such an amateur to anyone who actually knows anything about photography here.
I’ll stop with the photos but before I do, I did find this funny:
Advertising hoarding near Centre Point, slightly modified (68K – reduced quality compared to the one I’m going to be using in the full gallery, and again well photoshopped because there was not much light)
If you’ve been reading this blog for more than a few seconds you’ll have realised that I am easily amused.
Shortage of penguins out here. An antique stroke tat shop in Lyme Regis had an old wind-up walking penguin, but it was fairly heavily stained with brown and was fifteen quid, which I thought was a little much, particularly considering the ridiculous exchange rate. Pesky Presidential perisher, preventing personal penguin purchase! Bastard Bush, banning black-bonced bird buying!