Friday, 30 September 2016

Lady Jade

An old favourite.  Jim Grey, over there in Indiana, posted recently about subjects he photographs again and again.  I had the good fortune to meet Jim for an afternoon recently, since he and his lovely wife Margaret were holidaying (honeymooning) in Ireland.  He came up to The Liberties for the day, to see the Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and me, of course :)

More of that another day (when I get the film finished that is sitting inside the Nikon).  Where was I?  Oh yes, old favourites.

Here's one:

Lady Jade CE531, moored up in Portstewart Harbour last week.  She'll not be there much longer, methinks - she's hauled up onto dry land for the worst of the winter.  And check out the horizon - Dominican College looks like it's about to take off there in the background.  Rookie mistake - again!
And this is what she's tied up to:

Portstewart Harbour - the in/out part.  Dodgy horizon here too, though no quite as bad.

In the summertime the local teenagers hurl themselves off the rocks and the concrete pier there into the water.  The water's very clean and clear, in spite of the proximity to the harbour.  But then there ain't that many boats going in and out and the swell is usually pretty big, so any fuel spillage is quickly dissipated.  There's a few barriers up these days for 'Elf&Safety but as you can see there's still plenty of opportunity for accidents.  I was a little nervous, I have to admit, being so close to the water, since I'm none to steady on the feet at times and there was a fair wind blowing that day, as I recall.  But I survived to blog another day, though whether or not that's a good thing may be a moot point.

When I was young, we were never encouraged to go out on the water, in boats or not.  Looking back, my parents were confirmed land-lubbers, in spite of the fact there is water all around us.  I remember The Brother getting into water-skiing at a time and a wet-suit was acquired.  Now this would have been around 1971 or so and wet-suit technology ain't what it is today, dear readers.  No, this particular wet-suit was a DIY one, so mum had to stitch it together and then apply some sort of tape over the stitching.  I assume she was hoping that this was another fad that wouldn't last...and truth be told, it didn't, although that might have had something to do with the quality of the wet-suit than anything else.  I have a vague recollection of 'having a go' at water-skiiing...we didn't have a boat (obviously) but we knew people who did.  So I strapped the ski-things on and held onto the rope thing and someone shouted 'Hit It!' and I tried to stand up on the skis.  Twice, I think - maybe three times.  Unsuccessfully.  I stuck to cameras and dry land after that.

Thinking about the snap above reminded me of one of the few times I was out in the open sea in a boat when I was young.  I'd volunteered to go out in order to photograph a local dingy sailing competition.  Seemed like a good idea - as things do when you are in your early teens.  On the boat, all was good for a time - it was great, actually.  But then we anchored up as the dingys sailed around us.  And the sea was particularly heavy, I can remember.  And then I started feeling a little queasy...and then a lot.  Now I have pretty good sea legs but back then, anchored up in the middle of Portstewart Bay in a heavy swell it was a different matter.  Needless to say I have absolutely no snaps whatsoever to show of that particular event...

Wednesday, 28 September 2016


Regular visitors to this place will be familiar with this view of Dominican College, which dominates the little seaside town of Portstewart.  It was once the home of Captain Henry O'Hara, who built it in 1834.  The Dominican Order acquired it in 1917 - the local Chapel, The Star of the Sea having been built a year earlier.

This should be called the Disappearing Beach, as sometimes it's there and sometimes not.  We're heading towards winter, which usually means high seas in this part of the world.  And that means little or no beach, since it is usually covered in kelp or rocks which the sea gives up.  The Hound loves this beach, though, since he gets to work out his stress by ripping the kelp to tiny pieces.

So the school is heading towards is Centenary next year and there are lots of events planned - musical evenings, sports events, art and even photography exhibitions.  It's a thriving wee community, Dominican College is and has a real family atmosphere to it - a reflection of Portstewart itself, I guess.

While the College has a very mixed Protestant/Catholic student body nowadays, it is part of the Dominican Order.  The Order stretches back a little farther than the school itself, having been founded in 1216, which if my maths is correct, would be 800 years ago.   I suspect there wasn't much happening around these parts 800 years ago - Portstewart wasn't really founded until the 18th Century.  We're all just newcomers, really, as we pass through.

View from the West.  The coastal walk starts in Portstewart and winds up and around the rock cliffs towards Portstewart Strand.  It's lovely at any time of the year.  This shot was taken at Port-na-Happle, where there is little open bathing pool which is used most times nowadays by the local sub-aqua club.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

I'm walking here

A shot from graduation day at Queen's, Belfast.  I sat on the wall and held the camera on my lap, pressing the shutter when someone walked past.  A bit hit or miss, I agree.

Not sure what the artefact is behind her foot - some gremlin introduced either on the neg or in the scanner.  Pretty good leg extension on the younger model.  The older model has lost a bit there, as you can see.  I like studying people's gaits - not having a particularly good one myself.  I seem to have spent half my life talking about gait in one physiotherapy department or another, but that's the way it goes.  Could be worse, eh?

This was just outside the front entrance to the Uni.  Families milling about, all dressed up for the occasion:

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Watching cow watching me

Missy went to speak to the cows the other day...there's two big ones and two calves that wander about the fields next to us.  The Hound keeps them in check though, reminding them at every opportunity that the garden is strictly off-limits for bovines.

They are rather lovely creatures.

The one in front there decided to move off just as I snapped her up, hence the rather strange posture.  Clearly she's camera-shy.
Missy was out talking to them a very long time and was very excited at being able to pat them, although when one tried to lick her phone she got a bit worried.  They're easily spooked though - they don't like sudden movements.  Being an observant sort, she drew my attention to the fact that one was wearing an ear-cam:

You can just see the ear-cam on her right ear.  Interesting, huh?

Thursday, 22 September 2016


Gorey was a nice enough wee place on the island of Jersey.  Nice, kind of old-fashioned in a sense of nothing really there apart from an old castle, nice beach and loads of restaurants&cafes.  Sounds OK when you put it like that, I suppose.

Our lunch venue at Gorey.  The Specials Board gives it all away, really...Fresh Oyster this, Whole Crab that - and everything with Jersey Royal Potatoes.  And I know - I cut the top of Missy's head off.  From the look of things this was the 21mm lens attached to the rangefinder which was sitting on the table.

Things are slowly getting back to normal at home, by the way.

Monday, 19 September 2016


Patterns in the sand - taken a while ago and printed a while ago too.  They look toned as well, sepia most likely but can't quite remember now.  I might even have posted them before, truth be told.  Hard to believe but this place passed its second birthday a couple of days ago.  For those of you still listening, thanks for stopping by.

You'd think by now I'd have something decent to talk about, eh?  And show.

Portstewart Strand, or part of it.  On Kentmere paper I suspect and some Ilford film.

Posts might be few and far between for the next wee while, on account of the fact that Mrs NE Liberties finds herself inside the local hospital, hooked up to various monitors and drips and what-have-you.  Gallstones.  Very painful ones.  And an infection/fever to match, which they have to get under control before they decide what do with the stones.  So camera&darkroom work has not been foremost in my mind this last week - making sure Missy gets to school with a clean uniform and that there is food on the table in the evening has been, along with trips back and forth to the hospital.  Where's Mrs Doubtfire when you need her?

You'll understand, I know, if all I get to do is post the odd snap from The Archives for a week or two.

Another one of sand patterns, from Portstewart again.  Apparently it's just been named 'Best beach in the UK'.  Well, of course we all knew that already - right? :)

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Auld Boys

Auld boys, on the flutes:

and younger ones:

It would be hard to miss either of those two groups walking down the road, even on the 12th.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

1690 and 1798

So this week we are revisiting the Annual 12th July celebrations, which take place not only across Ulster, but also in other countries including Republic of Ireland, Scotland, England, Canada, USA and New Zealand.  You get pipe bands, flute bands, accordion bands and of course lots of drums to stimulate the senses.

There were lots of girls in the bands this year.  I like the old bagpipes (now and again :) but most fell silent as they passed where I was standing, to my annoyance.   They start them young, as you can see here.
OK so a wee bit of Ulster and Irish history to go along with the snaps of the Orange Parades.  Now I'm not a historian but you can't be born and live in this part of the world without being a little bit interested in how you came to be here and what it's all about.  So, as we all know, the 12th of July Parades commemorate the victory of  Dutch Prince William (Protestant) over King James II (Catholic) of England - in the famous Battle of the Boyne of 1690 (the river Boyne lies just north of Dublin, by the way).  William of Orange had already overthrown James in England and the Boyne ensured that James would never regain the British crown.   Fairly straightforward so far, right? - one side wins, the other loses.  So it goes, as Mr Vonnegut would say. 

But the plot thickens.  The Penal Laws did a great job of uniting Irish Catholics and Protestant Dissenters (mostly Presbyterians), since they placed restrictions on worship, acquiring land, voting, holding office and basically getting on in life.  Fast forward a 100 years or so from the Boyne and we see the formation of the Society of United Irishmen, in 1791.  It sought reform of the Irish Parliament, Catholic Emancipation and repeal of the Penal Laws.  Now remember folks, it was around this time that the French Revolution took place, and the mood in Ireland was ripe for radicalism.  The Society of United Irishmen, whose leaders were mostly Protestant, lobbied for the cessation of British interference in Irish affairs and called for a union of religious faiths in Ireland to 'abolish the differences that had long divided Irishmen'.  Interesting, huh?  One can only imagine what Ireland might have looked like had the resolutions of the Society of United Irishmen come to fruition.

And they can go on to a right age, as you can see here.  I wonder how many 12th parades this lady has walked. I'm a big fan of the old accordions, too - but you don't see them as often nowadays.  It's mostly pipe and drum bands.
But it was not to be.  Just two years after the Society of United Irishmen was formed France declared war on England and the Society was outlawed - the English no doubt worried that that they might have two wars on their hands.  But outlawing something was never a thing to stop an Irishman, no siree - the Society went underground and became even more determined to force a revolt against English rule, doing the usual thing and looking to their enemy's enemy (i.e., France) for assistance.  In 1796 a French fleet carrying 15,000 troops set sail for Ireland but bad weather off the south coast near Cork prevented it landing.  Surprising, that - the fact that weather may have played a major hand in the fate of this wee island :)

Anyway, the British government responded by arresting most of the Society's leadership.  By the time of the 1798 Rebellion, although tens of thousands of Irish did rise up, without organised leadership they were quickly crushed.  The arrival of 1000 French troops in County Mayo in August was of little effect.  One of last leaders of the Society still at large, Wolfe Tone, was captured when a fleet of 3000 French troops was intercepted and defeated by the Royal Navy near Lough Swilly, County Donegal (not a million miles from The Liberties - and roughly where I look out upon every morning with The Hound).  Reports of massacres between rebels and loyalists didn't help and The Establishment was quick to realise that the best way to defeat the hearts and minds of the Society of United Irishmen was by division.  And so rumours were spread about the intentions of Catholics to murder Protestants and vice-versa and the old wounds were re-opened.

Wolfe Tone, the leader of the Society of United Irishmen (who came from a French Protestant family), was denied a soldier's death by firing squad, but cheated the hangman by cutting his own throat.  And so another hero was created.

One outcome of the 1798 Rebellion was the 1800 Act of Union that merged the Irish Parliament with that of Westminster, creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.  It wasn't quite over yet, though.  In 1799 a young Irish Republican Protestant called Robert Emmet sat sail for France in the hope to revive French support for a rebellion, but a certain M. Napoleon Bonaparte was too busy thinking about the Big Prize (i.e., England) and Emmet returned to Ireland empty-handed.  After a bit of a disastrous attempt to seize Dublin Castle, Emmet was arrested, tried for treason and sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered.  He became, not surprisingly, another heroic figure in Irish history - not least because of the speech he made before sentencing.  Ah sure we're great wordsmiths over in this wee island, are we not?

So you see the confusion, albeit it entirely in my own mind.  I mean, I grew up in Ulster in the 1970s, where differences between Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants were taken for granted.   We came from different backgrounds (so we were told) and wanted different things (so we were told).  And yet we now know that not so long ago - in the grand scheme of things - Irishmen and women of all religions were united in their desire to see the end of British interference in all things Irish.

How we ended up where we are today is for another day and another place.  I don't pretend to have a handle on it all, or even a wee part of it.  And anyway, the old history thing ain't over yet, since we're still living it out here day-to-day in The Liberties.  But I'm not going to write about current politics - it's enough hearing about it every day on the news, believe you me.  Now...where's me camera?  I'm off for a walk to get me head shired and think about something else for a while.

Monday, 12 September 2016

The Twelfth

Some colour for a change.  Not often you see that on this place, as you well know.  See I have a few rolls of Provia slide film in the door of the fridge and loaded one into the FM3a a couple of months ago for The Lad's graduation.  Try as I might, I can't make the FM3a wrongly expose a shot, when on auto.  I have to remember to put it on manual from time to time, to keep that side of the thing working.  It's full auto and full manual, y'see - one of, if not the last of the manual Nikons before auto-everything took over.  From the feel of it, you can tell that 30+ years of Nikon know-how went into it.  It was a bit of a luxury, I'll admit, and every so often I think I'll trade it for something medium-formatty, but then I take it out for a walk and it's just so nice in the hand.

Anyway, I digress.  So at the graduation I did a few formal ones, which were just OK and then I asked Blondie aka Clare-with-the-shoes to give the boy a peck on the cheek, and she duly obliged, bless her:

The young ones, in full regalia, outside The Lanyon Building of The Queen's University of Belfast, to give it its proper title.
So after all that I had a film to finish quick in order to get back to some good old B&W.  As it was early July, that meant one thing - The Twelfth.  Now if you're reading this and wondering what I'm on about then clearly you are not from The Liberties.  The Twelfth of July is a Very Big Day in Ulster, when thousands upon thousands of menfolk, wimmenfolk and weans celebrate their Protestant History.  There's a whole story about that which we'll get to in a day or two and one or two twists and turns along the way which surprised me, I must admit.  Anyway, on the morning of the Twelfth off I went with the Provia-loaded camera to catch a bit of it.  We ended up in Limavady - you know, that place where the dog leapt over the river and all that O'Cahan history wot you learnt about earlier - assuming you were paying attention, that is.

Now this guy has the Orangeman look down pat - dark suit, white gloves, bowler hat, orange sash and cuffs and a fearsome determined look about him:

Behind him are the standard-bearers and musicians from his district - from the banner it would appear this group are from Burntollet, just outside Londonderry-Derry.   Red, white and blue are favourite colours on the twelfth (as well as orange), since they represent the Union of the United Kingdom, to which all good true Ulster Protestants subscribe.  Or so they would tell us.  It wasn't always like that though, as we shall see.

More to come tomorrow...

Friday, 9 September 2016


A couple of shots from Greencastle, Donegal looking out over the Foyle Estuary.  It's a big, wide river at this point, as you can see.

Looking over towards the table mountain of Binevenagh.  
A bit further up the coast, towards Londonderry-Derry is the port of Lisahally.  Probably most famous as the place where dozens of German U-boats surrendered after the second world war.  Eventually most were taken out to the open sea, just off Donegal and sank.

Looking west, towards the Antrim coast.  Via HP5+ and a little 21mm lens - hence the sky.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Doagh Famine Village

As you may know, we took the ferry over the Foyle Estuary in order to get to the Doagh Famine Village.  The Potato Famine, as it used to be known, was when the potato crop failed for a few years around the middle of the 19th century.  Blight was to to blame, which causes the spuds to rot in the ground and that is not a good thing when the main diet is potatoes.  What we now know is that during the famine years Ireland was exporting tons of food to England - the problem was not lack of food, but that the peasant Irish couldn't afford it.

But the DFV is more than just a few thatched cottages and talk of the famine.  In fact, there was relatively little talk of the famine, truth be told.  There was some talk of death:

I know, it's very dark.  Well it was very dark and yer man there standing by the coffin was telling us all about the local customs regarding death and wakes and stuff.  The norm in this part of Donegal is to wake the deceased for 3 days, during which time the coffin remains open and everyone sits around and drinks cup after cup of tea.  There may or may not be hard liquor.  "Death is a debt we owe to nature.  I must pay it and so must you" is what the sign on the wall says.
We learned about evictions, when families were ousted from their dwelling - mostly due to the law that meant landlords had to pay a tax for any tenants whose rent was less than £4 a year.  The landlords faced huge bills, so they simply demolished the houses on their land and thereby solved the problem. Well, it solved their problem. The landlord's agents would turn up and literally batter the house to bits, using the sort of portable ram depicted below.  The evicted families were forced to either live in the ruins of their cottage or find shelter wherever they could in the open - other tenants were warned against offering evicted families shelter, even for one night.

It was not a good time to be born into a peasant family in Ireland, that's for sure.

A re-enactment of an eviction - local police in attendance to deal with any resistance.

We also learned about the great migration of Northern Ireland folk to the US and Canada - something like 8 or 9 US Presidents have come from Presbyterian Ulster stock.  The Penal Laws had placed strict limits on what Catholics and Protestant Dissenters (mostly Presbyterians) were allowed to do and so many upped sticks and left the country.  A famous case is that of Rev James McGregor, who led his Presbyterian flock from nearby Aghadowey to New Hampshire in 1718 - in the end there were upwards of 1000 people on five ships bound for Boston.  Before he left, he delivered a sermon in Coleraine, stating he was leaving Ulster "to avoid oppression and cruel bondage, to shun persecution and designed ruin...and have an opportunity of worshiping God according to the dictates of conscience and rules of His Inspired Word".   Quite.  Once there, McGregor established the first Ulster Presbyterian settlement on the continent and the town of Nutfield, where he settled, was renamed Londonderry.

And wouldn't you know it, the first American potato was grown there - in 1719 apparently.  And the name of the neighbouring town?  Derry, of course - what else?

The youngsters having fun learning about the bad old days in Ireland, thanking their lucky stars they were born when they were - as indeed I was too.

As well as the history of the famine, evictions and what have you, Doagh Famine Village has a really eclectic collection of 'stuff' through the ages - a hoarder's dream, really.  They mustn't have thrown anything away for decades - old radios, cassette players, farm tools, tractors, advertising posters, household utensils,  - you name it, it's there.  An amazing place.

Can you feel the vibes?  The band struck up whenever someone entered the room - very unexpected it was, I can tell you.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Sea Stacks

Out by the RSPB Bird Sanctuary on Rathlin:

Sea stacks out by the West Lighthouse on Rathlin Island.  That would be the North Antrim coast there in the distance and in-between 3 miles of water with very strong currents.  Rathlin lies between Ireland and Scotland and it's where the Irish Sea meets the Atlantic, by the North Channel.  Many a ship has floundered around the island - it's a major place of interest for deep-sea divers, what with all those wrecks and everything.  Split-grade printed on Ilford MG IV for a change, and a light wash in some sepia that was brewed nearly a year ago and still seems to have some life in it.
For many a year, the 'ownership' of Rathlin was disputed - sometimes it was a Scottish Lord wot claimed it, other times it was the Irish equivalent.  Since the earliest settlements of man in Ireland lie not to far away near my home town of Coleraine, along the River Bann valley, it is thought that man first came to Ireland via Scotland, around 6000-5000 BC.  Perhaps it is not too unreasonable to assume that they stopped off on Rathlin on the way.  A few thousand years later and the presence of an extremely hard stone called porcellanite was discovered, found to the west of the island not too far from where this snap was taken.  Rathlin axe-heads made from this material have been found all over Ireland and as far away as Southern England, so it's safe to assume there was a thriving export business all those years ago on the island.

View from the platform at the Bird Sanctuary.  In July the big stack there in the foreground is covered with sea-birds.  In August, when we went, there were hardly any left - all the breeding had been done and they were off.

Flint was another rare raw material found in abundance in the limestone cliffs on the island.  Arrowheads, skin scrapers and axes have all been found on the island.  Interestingly, more artefacts were found in the days when the land was ploughed by horse, when you actually watched the furrow being turned.  Finds are not so common nowadays, since all ploughing is done by tractor.

Whatever the history, this place is pretty special.  I'd love to be out here in the middle of winter, in a howling gale for a few days.  That's love in the knowledge that I'd have McCuaig's Bar as a bolthole and then the ferry back home in a day or two.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Foyle Ferry

The ferry runs from Magilligan (Northern Ireland) to Greencastle (Donegal) and means you can avoid the lengthy drive along the Foyle Estuary through Derry-Londonderry.  Choose a nice calm day and it's a decent crossing, taking less than 30 mins.

A scan, this one, with the 21mm exaggerating the clouds somewhat.  There weren't many on the ferry on the way back - just half a dozen cars or so.
Greencastle is a nice little place - the National Fisheries College of Ireland is there, as is a fish processing factory.  Not on the scale of Killybegs, but the harbour had a good few fishing boats in.  Apart from that, there's a couple of pubs, Kealy's Fish Restaurant (highly recommended) and the old ruined castle, which is rapidly turning green as the ivy takes over:

There's a lovely coastal walk between Moville and Greencastle, along the Foyle Estuary.  We didn't do that on this trip, which was all about the Doagh Famine Village.  It was early evening before we headed for home.

Just about catching the sun's rays there behind the clouds.  On Kentmere RC paper.

Monday, 5 September 2016


One I've posted before, I know, but one I liked enough to print again.

From the dunes on Castlerock Beach, at the Barmouth where the River Bann meets the Atlantic.  It was a very windy day and I was using a slowish shutter speed to catch some movement in the dune grass.
I think this one is better than my earlier version - not so overcooked in the old Lith developer.  Mind you, when it came out of the wash cycle I wasn't sure I'd cooked it enough, but once dry I was pretty happy with it.

I keep giving my half-decent prints away, in the FADU Print Exchange.  It's a monthly thing - only one print a month required!  Sounds easy, eh?  But when you have standards - albeit it low standards - you want that print to be...well, something you are a little bit happy with.  Some months that can be challenging, believe-you-me.  But it does focus the mind somewhat to get out there and snap something and that's a good thing.

Hence the reason for printing this one again, since I'd posted the earlier print off to some other FADU person.  I might put this one on a wall somewhere, for a while anyway until something better crops up.  Most of my prints are in an empty Ilford paper box or scattered about the place, but some end up on the walls of the 'smallest room in the house', if you get my drift.  Well, it gives you something to look at, n'est-ce pas? But those walls are filling up and while from time to time some prints get replaced by newer/better prints, the time is rapidly approaching when other walls will have to be used.  Good, eh?

Thursday, 1 September 2016

South Lighthouse

I had a long session in the darkroom on Monday.  I haven't really been in much over the summer, what with our visitors here and everything and I was feeling the need.  It ended up a much longer session than anticipated, though.  I'd tried lith developing once before (using Foma MG Classic 131 paper) and was pleased with the results so the plan this time was to try Ilford's Fibre Warmtone paper.  Now some folk say the Ilford paper doesn't lith but Bob Carnie over there in Toronto appears to get it to work for him.  He's even posted a couple of videos on it.  The trick, he reckons, is to pull the print well before you would usually do so and then it comes to life in the fixer.

It's probably me, but I couldn't get it to work.  I pulled the print early all right - that bit was straightforward, but when I dumped it into the fix nothing happened.   Now if I'd been anyway organised at all I would have cut up a sheet and tried a small print first, but that would have been far too sensible. large sheet of fibre paper in the bin.  Not a great start to the afternoon.

So I retreated to the relative safety of the Foma paper for the rest of the afternoon.  The only thing I can think of, with regard to the abject failure of the Ilford paper, is that while Mr Carnie was using Fotospeed's lith developer I was using Moersch Easylith.  Would that have made a difference? Dunno - but when I run out of the Moersch developer I'll get some Fotospeed and try the Ilford paper again.

The South Lighthouse, Rue Point, Rathlin.   Knocklayde just visible in the distance.  The print was slightly too big for my scanner so lost a bit of the bottom margin.  When wet I thought the sky to the left of the lighthouse had no detail at all but once dry, well as you can see some detail appeared.  The top right of the print has some black flecks appearing, which according to the instructions may be a sign of too high dilution.  Hard to see in the scan but the lith process really suited the rocks.  This was the first shot I took when at Rue Point and just caught a small wave breaking to the right of the lighthouse.  The Brother and I waited and waited, me poised ready to snap, for a larger wave to break but in the end we had to admit defeat.  Isn't it supposed to be every 7th, or is it 9th wave is a big one?  Something like that anyway.  No doubt as soon as we turned our backs the whole lighthouse would have been engulfed.  Taken on the rangefinder/21mm/HP5+ combination.
Anyway, I had some success with the Foma paper and I did notice that when the print went into the fix the blacks deepened appreciably.  Interesting.  I was using 40ml of Solution A and the same of Solution B with about 2 litres of water, at around 25 degrees (to start with anyway) - this equates to about 1+25 dilution.  According to the Easylith instructions, you can dilute anywhere from 1+15 to 1+50 and overexpose by up to 4 stops (I was overexposing by 2 stops).  More exposure and higher dilution leads to longer development times and more intense colouring, shorter exposure and lower dilution should give you higher contrast and less colour.  I suppose the thing to do would be to print the same negative several times over, with varying dilutions and exposures - kind of like the thing Tim Rudman does in his Lith Printing Course book, which I should really re-read.  But sometimes you just have to get on with it and experiment yourself - I mean, that's half the fun, right?

It doesn't take long for the developer to exhaust.  After the failed Ilford attempt and about 6 Foma prints, of 9.5x12 size, things started taking a lot longer.  The first few Foma prints started coming up after about 5 minutes and by 8-10 minutes I was pulling them from the developer.  I think my 7th print was up to about 20 minutes before the blacks had reached anything like a tone I was happy with.   The thing is, the times just suddenly started getting significantly longer, without warning.  And for the 8th print nothing was happening at all after 20mins.  The instructions seem to suggest making up fresh solution for every print, which seems a bit excessive but clearly after a few prints a bit of replenishment is required.  I mixed another litre of develop on the fly, 20ml of solution A and 20ml of solution B and fired it into the tray and the image came up.  But it was another 10 minutes or so before I pulled it, so 30 minutes in total.  Too long sit-standing and agitating the tray.  Actually as I write this I seem to remember writing something similar after my first lith session - which just goes to show that I should have made some decent notes at the time.  D'oh!