Armed with my trusty GoPro camera this week, I snapped a few pics while out and about in Newcastle this week. Please ignore the fisheye effect. Its what a GoPro camera does.
Greys Monument in the centre of Newcastle
This is the old, now empty, Odeon Cinema. If theres any Robson and Jerome fans out there, this is where they filmed some of the ‘Saturday Night At The Movies’ video. It can be seen here http://youtu.be/S_Qon-Udlhw
This is Northumberland Street. One of the main shopping streets in Newcastle, which includes shops like Fenwicks, Marks and Spencer, HMV, McDonalds ( one of many in the city ) and Argos.
Another view of Greys Monument, this time on Blackett Street looking towards Eldon Square Shopping Centre ( Where the mirrored windows are ).
These 3 shots are of Leazers Park. It is the city’s oldest park, opened in 1873 and is situated just behind Newcastle United’s St.James Park Football Ground.
And finally our daughter G, who was in the middle of telling me not to take a photo of her. Spoil sport she is.
This is the post that kept failing on the WordPress mobile app yesterday. After resigning to our Daughters request to go to the dog shelter to have a look at the dogs there, we have come to Costa for a cooler while D goes to see her Nana in hospital.
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CardioTech Pro Series Blood Pressure Monitor
When I received my Cardio Tech Pro Series Blood Pressure monitor in the post to review, I have to admit I was a bit nervous. Not because I was worried that I would find out bad news or anything like that, but because I didn’t have the foggiest what to do with one of these contraptions other than know that it goes on your arm. I’ve been rigged up to enough of the big hospital ones in the past I had a general idea of what happened. But using a tiny version like this at home and doing it for myself is a different kettle of fish altogether.
After opening the box, the first thing I noticed was the sturdy blue plastic box it comes in. I don’t know if its just me, but it sort of reminded me of a plastic box my parent kept false teeth in if we went on holiday to keep them safe or to soak and clean them. Anyway to me, this box is a nice touch. Instead of doing what some companies do and just give you a cloth bag or a bubble wrap sheet to protect your beloved goods, this box is ideal. You could drop this and it won’t break. It may pop open but I’m sure if I was dropped, I would pop open somewhere as well. At least, where the plastic container is concerned, the monitor inside will be protected and not get damaged.
It’s also a nice compact size for your bag, if you wish to have peace of mind and carry it with you.
After that, the next thing was the instructions. The DREADED instructions. I opened the booklet expecting to find about 2 pages of instructions then being repeated in every language known to thinking man. I was very surprised to find the whole instruction manual in English. The instructions are really easy to understand. Considering its a medical blood pressure device, theres no confusing lingo. All plain simple English.
Using the monitor is really simple. After inserting the included batteries, part of the wrist cuff is moulded to sort of hook around the side of your wrist, after that its just a case of wrapping the other side of the cuff around so that the screen is on your inner wrist pointing towards you. Its all held in place by velcro. Following the instructions, and placing your arm on the table so that my hand is at heart height with your hand relaxed. ( diagrams in the booklet ) then just press the big button on the front, in the middle. It then starts whirring and tightening ( inflating ). A flashing heart on the display shows its detected a pulse ( which I understand is always a good thing ). This inflating only lasts a short while ( because of new MWI ( measure while inflate ) technology that reduces the measurement time, before it shows your Systolic and your Diastolic Blood Pressure levels and pulse rate in large clear digits on the LCD screen. There is even an icon that shows up if arrhythmia is detected.
The CardioTech Blood Pressure Monitor stores up to 180 blood pressure readings for 2 users. That is 2 x 90 readings. Once the limit is reached, the monitor will delete the earliest reading.
Now, I am not medically trained in any way, apart from a St. Johns badge when I was about 10 years old for learning how to apply a sling, put someone in the recovery position or resuscitate a dummies head. Apart from that I am just normal everyday medically unqualified person. With that said, I have to point out that even I found this blood pressure and pulse monitor very, very easy to use. I would say that even the elderly or infirm could use one of these with ease.
Today, the monitor actually came in very handy as an ambulance had to be called by my doctors surgery for chest pains I was having. I was able to give the ambulance man info that I had gathered from the monitor earlier in the day, which helped build a larger picture of what had been happening. Thankfully everything was fine.
I would like to point out one thing though, this monitor in no ways replaces your medical services. If you are in any doubt or have any concerns you must contact you local GP or health service.
This video was made when I went with our daughter G to the local nature reserve.
Havannah/Three Hills Nature Reserve is sited on the former Hazlerigg Colliery. Its name comes from the Havannah drift mine and the three slag heaps that used to dominate the site.
Much of the landscape you can see today can be related to the site’s industrial past, such as coal storage, a railway and grazing for pit ponies. Many of the wet areas are the result of subsidence associated with mining activity. Havannah has one of the few areas of lowland heath found within the Newcastle area .
The Havannah drift mine was owned and operated by the National Coal Board. It opened in 1950 and was worked until 1977. At the height of its production it employed 870 people above and below ground. Following its closure it was left derelict until a Derelict Land Grant from the Department of Environment was given to help create a green open space for public use. In June 1994, Havannah and the Three Hills Plantation and picnic site were handed to Newcastle City Council following the reclamation. Later work included the creation of a bridleway, car park, footpaths, secure gates, fencing, new wetland sites and woodland management schemes. The site was to be used for informal recreation such as walking, nature study, dog walking and horse riding. Wildlife The site has around 40 hectares of varied habitat including woodlands, meadows, scrub, grazed fields, marsh and several ponds. It contains several significant populations of plants and animals that are of local, regional and national importance. These include great crested newts and the dingy skipper butterfly as well as a colony of red squirrels. This led to the site being designated a Site of Nature Conservation Interest. In 1998 Havannah was also designated a Local Nature Reserve.
What makes Havannah/Three Hills special is its very high biodiversity (variety of life.) This is due to the variety of habitats and the presence of some fairly unusual post-industrial environmental conditions.
( info taken from http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/environment-and-waste/parks-and-countryside/our-countryside-sites/havannah-nature-reserve )
Due to the amount of rain we have all experienced lately to whole area was scattered with thick mud, puddles and around the pond the edges of the water had covered the area where there is normally a footpath.
Unusually for our visits, but not so unusual for nature at this time of year, there was very little wildlife to be seen. All we saw, in the hour and a half walking round was 2 coots, one blackbird, and one horse ( complete with rider ). We did see evidence of recent activity of rabbits. In an area amongst the trees, theres a patch where theres always rabbit holes, but this time, a few of them had been recently disturbed or dug but no sign of the rabbits. The holes looked too small for badgers.
Even after viewing the footage from my GoPro camera ( see the below video ), which I submerged in the water, there was nothing swimming around, not even insects.
I look forward to the spring when all the wildlife starts coming to life and returning so I can get some nice footage of it.
All in all, dispite the cold weather, it was still a fun time and nice to get out and have some fresh air. G was loving being able to stand in the water and mud in her new wellies. She took loads of photos on her phone which was nice to see, as I’ve wanted her to get into photography like me, for years. She took so many, she totally ran the battery out on her phone.
Let me know what you think of the video. Its the first real test of my GoPro in water so this was just experimenting.
This weekend, we had a visit to the lovely city of Durham. It was arranged as a surprise by my better half. We stayed at a lovely hotel, which I will try and do a review for on another post. On Saturday we went to Durham Cathedral. This building is beautiful. I managed to persuade D to climb the 325 steps to the top of the main tower. It reaches a height of 218ft ( 66.45m ) which as you can imagine, gives you a great view of the surrounding area. It was, erm, slightly breezy up there.
I have posted a video below of our weekend. I hope you find the time to watch it, and share it if you like it. Please do leave a comment, either on YouTube or on my blog. The video is about 20 minutes long, so grab a cuppa and enjoy.
These photos are from the last practice session with a couple of friends. I’m playing my 1979 Aria Pro 2 SB1000 bass. Its a dream to play, but it’s very heavy. Its a neck through body design which means its one big, heavy solid lump of wood. She is my pride and joy. I have wanted on of these bass guitars since the 1980’s. The first issue one’s like I have ( 1979 ) are difficult to get hold of these days.
This is the Aria Pro 2 SB1000 bass I am using in the photos. It has the ‘bat ear’ headstock, which I think looks nicer than later models of this bass.
I have recently bought another second hand bass which is a lot lighter than the SB1000 ( which left me with major back pain after our rehearsal ). This ‘new’ one is a Yamaha RBX270J.
Its a nice Alder wood finish. I am currently giving it a damn good clean to get rid of all the grime from previous owners and the muck from the second hand shop. I am also restringing it. Looking forward to given it a try in the rehearsal room.
This is my Epiphone Gold Jack Cassidy signature bass. It has a lovely sound but if you are used to a ‘normal’ bass body shape, this ‘old style’ shape has a weird feel at first. Also this model is well known to be very head heavy, which means if you leave go of it, the head takes a nose dive towards the floor. I have got myself a wide strap for it, which apparently will help, but I’ve not tried it yet.
And finally, my Squire Jazz 2009 standard. As soon as I saw this, I fell in love with the look of it. The colours are beautiful. It potentially has a pick up problem as there are a few ‘dead notes’on the neck, which is a known fault with these basses. Other than that, it has a beautiful tone to it.