Sunday, 31 July 2016

Today's Menu

It's all go around here these days, what with The Brother here.   We're in hosting mode, which means thinking about days out and about, entertainment and of course, cooking.   And these days that means catering for everyone's different needs and wishes - some are vegetarian, some are mostly veggie but eat fish, others are mostly carnivores and some we have difficulty getting anything to be eaten.  Difficult to please everyone all the time - my wife bought one of those little quotes on a hanging thing - 'Today's menu: take it or leave it'.  Very apt.

Portstewart, looking towards Dominican College
At least the weather has picked up a bit - after about 6 weeks of rain we've had a couple of decent days.   We did Derry-Londonderry-Doire yesterday - not many places have 3 names, y'know.  Most locals call it Derry.  Some call it Londonderry, to emphasise the links to London, England.  Doire would be the Irish name, which means Oak Grove.  We did the walls, which are always good for a dander.  The walls were built in the 17th century, shortly after the start of the Plantation, when ship-loads of English and Scottish settlers were brought over ostensibly to quell the unruly Irish and attempt to create a more governable land.  Governable in the sense of allegiance to the Crown, that is.  Famously, the walls were never breached, hence a fourth name - The Maiden City.  In December of 1688 thirteen Protestant Apprentice Boys closed the gates before Catholic forces loyal to James II could enter.  During the resulting siege of the city over 4000 people, about half the city's population, died of starvation or injury.  Eventually, in July of 1689, the barricades stopping supplies reaching the city were broken, those loyal to James II departed and the siege was lifted.

Of course the whole thing is still remembered today, as we do in this part of the world, with annual marches and a ceremonial closing of the gates.  Most times now this passes off fairly peacefully, thanks be.

Portstewart Harbour, looking out towards Inishowen and Malin Head
The walls have appeared on this place before - and might again, if ever I get round to developing the film.  I suppose that's the nice thing about using film - delayed gratification they might call it.  Sometimes I take a fit and as soon as the film is finished I'll develop it straight away.  It doesn't take long, really - probably less than an hour from start to finish, most of which is getting the chemicals sorted and then washing up afterwards.  But that's not the norm - most times I'll wait until I have at least 2 films ready to go, when I'll use the Paterson tank - the one I have can take 2 reels.  If I've any more than 2 I'll get the Unicolor drum out, which can take up to 6 35mm reels or a mix of 120 and 35mm reels.  It's continuous agitation on a motorised base, so the times are reduced by 15%, which seems to work out ok.  The hardest part of that is converting 14 minutes, say, to seconds, loping off 15% and then converting back to minutes&seconds...

The Unicolor drum has a piston, which you use to expand or contract the size of the inner tube, so that the volume of chemical required is matched to the number of reels you are using.  Nice - except that the piston's rubber gasket has split.  Not uncommon, from what I read, and I suppose to be expected after 35 years.  Up to now I've found that a bit of petroleum jelly (or Vaseline to give it it's proper name :) has been a good fix.  I should probably use the Unicolor drum more often - it's very economical compared to the Paterson.  For example, 2 35mm reels in the Paterson needs about 600ml.  In Unicolor world, it's 150ml for the first reel and 90ml per extra reel, so less than half what the Paterson needs.  Yes, as I write this I'm thinking that I definitely should use the Unicolor system more...


  1. Ah, the old menu issue! Tell me about it... as we got this house full of teenagers and a friend or five at times. My wife should get one of them hanging thing with a quote as well.
    As for the Unicolor drum it would be convenient to have at times. I must say developing takes some time when you got ten rolls or more in line to get done. Well, luckily I got plenty of time when I'm not at work. Or at least I should have plenty of time.
    Nice to get some Londonderry history inside this place. I'm not too familiar with that sort of thing, so thank you :)
    Oh, and a couple of very nice snaps from Portstewart again. Keep them coming, mate :)

    1. Cheers Roy - as you know Portstewart features a lot on this place. But it's different every time, as places are.