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30th December 2010 - Thank you and the facts

Thank you all!
Thank you all for all of the lovely emails, letters and cards and to those who have telephoned. I have received hundreds of emails, from every continent, from friends as well as from people I am never likely to meet. Finding the time to reply to everybody is impossible but I can assure you that I have read, and taken in every one of them. Thank you for your offers of prayer, whomever your God may be. Ultimately, there can only be one creator of this wonderful universe. Only a divine being could have placed planet earth in the 'Goldilocks zone' around the sun - a second generation, perfectly ordinary main sequence star, enabling the miracle of life to begin. You have all given and are giving me the strength to carry on and fight this nasty disease, which struck so suddenly. I cannot believe how suddenly it did strike.

The situation is:
I saw the oncologist today at the Hereford Charles Renton Unit, the very nice Doctor Reed. The fact is that there is absolutely no cure for the type of cancer I have. As the situation stands, he told me that I have less than six months. However! There is some chemotherapy that I have been offered. This is not the cure type, it is a type which, if my body responds positively to it (not everybody's does) it might buy me up to another two years. He said that I can try it but if I find that it makes me too ill, I can choose to stop at any time.

I asked, 'If you were the one in my position, would you try the chemo?' His answer was a definite 'Yes I would.' I also asked, will the end be really uncomfortable and he said that there are drugs available which will help me through the final stages of the illness.

I was reassured that the particular type of chemotherapy I will be given (I.V. every three weeks and orally during the two in-between weeks) does not have the side effect of hair loss. What a weight off my mind! :)

I will be starting the treatment tomorrow morning (unfortunately New Year's Eve) with the first IV treatment but I will not know if my body is responding in a positive way for some weeks.

I am a fighter and will fight his to the very end!
There will however come a time when I can take no more though, so I am still showing Tina the day to day workings of Wyenot. She is picking it all up very quickly and indeed did most of the updating of Wyenot this week. I want to reassure you that Wyenot is in safe hands and will continue to work for the town of Ross.

I am going to try to get out with my camera whenever I can - even if I have to do this with the mobility scooter (which, again ironically, I bought for Tina and her bad back). As I mentioned in this week's video, at the moment I can get comfortable whilst sitting or laying flat on my back but standing or walking - even a walk around the supermarket wears me down very quickly. My hips can no longer support the weight of my top half for long - though using a staff helps a lot and this is how I made the river walk on Sunday.

My chemo starting on New Year's eve is a bit of a bugger but providing it does not make me too sick or tired, I hope to get to the Market House at midnight. I will park my van close by so that I can use it to rest. Hope to see some of you there.

Wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous 2011!


Alan xxx

P.S. A good many people have apologized, thinking they may have offended me by wishing me a 'happy and prosperous' new year in Christmas cards written out before they were aware of the situation. Please do not worry about this. I do fully understand and besides which. I intend to try to have a Happy New Year! 'Prosperous' does not bother me at all, as long as I can sort matters for my family as this event has put matters into perspective. Other than keeping my family safe, If I had a million pounds now, there is nothing I could think to spend it on. :)

26th December 2010 - The facts for those who do not already know

There is only one way to say this really.
My facebook friends will already know this but many of my readers on Wyenot will not have heard. I am afraid that it is not good news. Following my visit to the specialist to get my biopsy results, I now know that I have an incurable cancer in my abdominal cavity, which originated in my bowel. On Wednesday (29th December) I start a trial period of chemotherapy, which will not cure the disease but might help reduce symptoms and extend my life a little. I have been given no time-span as yet as this will not be known until the chemo trials begin (they are going to try different types to see how my body reacts to them).

They say that 'life's a bitch and then you die'. This is categorically not true. I have enjoyed some wonderful adventures during my life, I have been to some great places and I have met some fantastic people. There have been some bad times but overall, I have enjoyed my 57 years so far and will fight the horrible disease to the end.

Thank you so much to Christine Kiss, who took us to Hereford on Thursday and, as a result was the first person other than Tina and I to know of this outcome. Thank you to all of my other friends, and to my family, all of whom have been totally supportive in every way throughout this difficult period and continue to support Tina and I. To say that I love you all sounds a bit crass but the fact is - I truly do. xxx

I am OK in my mind and, if I am honest, had come to terms with this long before the biopsy result as I can feel what my body is telling me and I also read the specialist's body language when I asked, immediately following my operation. I will fight the horrid disease for absolutely as long as possible and I am still making plans for the future.

I am making sure that is in good hands
and that it will continue to promote Ross-on-Wye and the Wye Valley long into the future. Hopefully its success will be my legacy to the town of Ross-on-Wye and it will continue to work in this way for many years to come. Although, through necessity as I grow weaker, I am having to seriously wind down my own input, I am showing Tina, and my daughter Sarah (among other family members) the day-to-day maintenance of running the web site. Please continue to support us with advertising. Nothing will change with regard to the success of advertising on Wyenot and my family will desperately need your continued support. I will contribute photographically for as long as is humanly possible.

My family and I have had a wonderful and very special Christmas Day together.
Not wishing to break tradition In the morning, Tina and I went to photograph the Christmas Lunch for the elderly but we did not stay long. We returned home and enjoyed a Christmas lunch with Tina's son, Russell. After this, Sarah and James came to help me walk the very icy and undriveable, down hill journey to my family home in Cawdor where we spent a lovely afternoon and evening with my family. Sharing that wonderful time together was immeasurably beautiful.

If you have ever wondered what it is like to be in this position
Almost certainly everybody reacts differently but from my point of view... Most of the time I am fine but first thing in the morning I feel it most. I would describe my first thing in the morning feelings (not all of the time) as being the exact opposite to waking up from a nightmare and realizing I have only been dreaming. Not all, but some mornings, I wake up from what has been a nice sleep graced with particularly pleasant dreams to the reality of my situation. The feeling does not last long as I make my mind active by planning ahead.

Sometimes, seeing people makes me upset - especially when I can see that they are upset themselves. For the first hours after prognosis, everybody who telephoned me cried and I found this very difficult indeed. Seeing and feeling the sorrow of others is much harder to take than my own inevitable future because, no matter how much I might want to make them happy, I cannot change what is destined to be. All I can promise is that I will continue to fight for as long as I am able.

One really strange thought has gone through my mind more than once. It is almost certainly just a silly thought but I cannot help but wonder. In 1976, when I first came to Ross-on-Wye to live, I read somewhere (I cannot remember where) about a ghost on the River Wye at Goodrich, the sighting of which means death. I cannot help but think back to the beginning of September when I filmed my Ross-on-Wye to Symonds Yat river journey and, whilst filming swans, unknowingly recorded the strange voice on my video saying: 'He's found it....Yeah'. At the time I made that river journey, I was in peak health other than the aches and pains caused by sitting in the boat for hours and had absolutely no idea of what lay ahead for me. As I say - just a silly thought, almost certainly just coincidence.

I don't really know how to sign this blog off
other than to once again thank everybody for their support, wish everybody a Peaceful Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year and to say that I will continue to contribute to, rather than run, Wyenot for as long as I can, write blogs, take photos and make video for as long as I am able and say that moving to the town of Ross-on-Wye back in 1976 was the best move I made in my life.

Lots of love,


22nd December 2010 - Christmas week has taken me by surprise

I can't believe that it's Christmas this week!
Christmas seems to have come from nowhere this year. Somehow, apart from slipping into town briefly on Saturday to film the Christmas Carnival, the event has so far alluded me. There has just been too much else going on for me to have even thought about it much (Though I did watch a lovely documentary on BBC4 during the week about the origins of the Christmas Carol). I haven't yet bought any Christmas presents or sent a single card but I am thinking of everyone at this time.

Tina and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers world wide a very
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Filming and photographing
Going out with the camera has all of a sudden become very difficult for me. Undoubtedly the cold is making matters worse but this is also due to my rapidly deteriorating general mobility. I was able to manage three photographic/film outings this week. The first was to John Kyrle High School for the annual prize giving. It was lovely to get out and see people but I have to admit I found it difficult as talking face to face to people about the nature of my illness is hard. My walking pace has also become like that of a snail and the 1/4 mile walk home exhausted me.

Likewise, I enjoyed covering the Christmas Carnival but I seriously struggled with this one. I have little meat left on my bones due to rapid weight loss and my whole body was numb with the cold. I was able to park my van at the Market house though and after filming the choir and the A.R.T Christmas draw, during a lull period of waiting for Santa to arrive, I sat inside with the engine running to warm up.

Thank you to Robin Shaw, who brightened my Christmas Carnival outing with his humorous present of a carton of custard. (Two years ago, when I made the Ross Town Carnival film, I experimented by slipping in a subliminal message which flashed the words, 'Alan likes custard' on screen for a fraction of a second. I thought the joke experiment had failed but evidently not.)

I managed to shoot the very short 'Moods of the River Wye' sequence on Sunday but again, I seriously struggled - mainly due to the extreme cold but also due to walking with the heavy camera gear. I am wondering how long I will be able to keep up the filming. With help I can get by but every week it becomes more and more difficult.

The Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse
A total lunar eclipse occurring on the winter solstice was a first in 400 years and I had intended to go out and film it. Unfortunately though, this part of the world was under total snow cloud cover so that did not happen. I am still hoping to film the dawn solar partial eclipse in January though, weather and hospital time permitting.

Regarding my illness
Getting the problem fully diagnosed has been one string of hold-ups after another due to the winter holiday season. However, following my biopsy, I have a hospital appointment in Hereford at 2.45 on Thursday (23rd December). What started in late September as nothing more than a possible grumbling appendix has turned out to be nothing to do with my bowel and is something most likely far more sinister, in my stomach. Currently, the disease is bringing me down rapidly. Despite eating as much as I can manage and then forcing in more food, I am losing 1lb in weight every day and I have very little energy left. I should at last know if any possible treatment is available by Thursday evening. I'm guessing that if an operation was possible, it would have been performed whilst I was unconscious for the biopsy as they did shave my tummy for a major op but did not perform it. Chemotherapy was mentioned after the biopsy op as a possible option to slow the advancing alien within but I'm not sure. Anyway, I should get a prognosis on Thursday. I am very nervous about finding out for sure how bad the problem is and if anything can be done to fix it but it is one of those things which needs to be done. Thank you again to all - family and friends who have helped out and continue to help during this very difficult time.

Thank you also to ALL of those people I have never met, who have written in with words of encouragement. There have been hundreds but I will just publish one below which conveys a similar message to all of those received....

'Hello Alan,

We haven’t met but I wanted to tell you how much your website means to me. My family left the Ross-on-Wye area in 1857 (when it was still Ross). Some lived at King’s Caple, but my Great-Great-Great Grandfather Peter Ravenhill and his family lived in Ross for several decades. My first clue to where they came from, in fact, was "Formerly of Ross, England" on his tombstone in Davenport, Iowa.

My husband and I have visited Ross three times: 2003, 2004, and this past spring. I fell in love with the area right away–the view from the Prospect is so wonderful, and the countryside has so many lovely spots. Yat Rock is one of my favorite places in the world. We’re already looking forward to our next visit, probably in 2013. Between visits I keep up by reading, and I enjoy it so much. The pictures of Frozen Ross were so gorgeous. We’ve visited often enough, and walked around enough, we could imagine ourselves there.

I was so very sorry to hear of your illness and operation and will keep you in my prayers. I’ve been meaning to write you for years to tell you how much I enjoy the website and all your wonderful photography–now I am doing it and I hope I can write you again to congratulate you on a full recovery.

Please give my best to your family too–I would love to meet you sometime. Have a blessed Christmas and all my prayers for the New Year.
Sharon Watkins Rohner
Silver Spring,
Maryland USA'

Thank you Sharon. I hope we can meet in 2013 too.

Alan xxx

Wyenot visitor and page view figures The usual independently produced visitor and page view charts for the past 30 days, printed at 11.00am on Monday can be seen below. The recent large spikes in activity, which are unusual for the month of December, are due to the cold weather causing large volumes of people viewing the webcams, looking for snow, ice and the general local weather conditions.

15th December 2010 - Back in the land of the living

I don't know
I don't know how I would have made it through this week without the help and care provided for me by Tina, my daughter, Sarah, my sons, Matt and Chris, Bernice and other members of my family. They have all been wonderful. The pain and I must say, some very strange side effects from my operation have virtually gone now and I have been able to get out on a couple of occasions. I am however still very short of energy and an hour outdoors means several more in bed to recover. The operation ended up being purely a biopsy gathering procedure, for which I do not yet have a diagnosis and so personally I am no further ahead, other than that I know that my whole stomach is affected by the affliction.

I do feel that the part which was removed has helped in a way by relieving internal pressure as my original problem has lessened slightly but it has not gone away. I guess I will just have to wait yet again to hear the result of the biopsy. In the mean time, I am still losing weight rapidly but my appetite is also returning rapidly, so hopefully this loss will slow down and perhaps even reverse. For the time being, I am back in the land of the living - if only as a temporary visitor.

Filming the River Wye:
I was unable to get into town with a camera this week but I did manage two short excursions by the River Wye at Wilton. As mentioned elsewhere, I missed the main ice floes on the river but on Friday, I felt hungry for the first time since my op and Sarah took me to eat at the White Lion. The last remaining ice was thawing on the Wye at this point and with camera carrying help from Sarah, I managed to film a short 'last of the ice' sequence, which begins this week's short 'Moods of the River Wye' video.

Sunday morning found me feeling quite well and having driven my van for the first time, I again went to the White Lion. This one got me into trouble with Tina and landlady Jacqui as I escaped my guard and slipped off for an hour, alone with the camera. On this occasion I filmed the beautiful Sunday morning fog on the river. This makes up the second half of this week's video. I hope you enjoy watching. After filming, I met up with some friends, had a nice morning out and ate as much as I could manage of an excellent Sunday lunch. A day and a half later, I am still totally worn out from this outing but it was well worth it.

This coming Saturday
it will be the annual Ross-on-Wye Christmas Carnival. This is a great event for the children of Ross and those visiting town. I am hoping to save up some energy and be there to cover it as I would hate to miss this event for the first time in 10 years of Wyenot (our 'Wyenot' 10th birthday happens to fall on that day). As with everything of late though, I cannot guarantee being able to make it. If I cannot, Tina has promised to take my camera down and shoot some photos for me, so next week will see some photos of the event on Wyenot and hopefully a proper 'Week in Moving Pictures' video to go with them.

I apologize
if my blogs have very much been 'I, me, my' of late. So far this week has been a funny one in that, other than the friends I saw on Sunday, 'I, me, my' has been my whole world. I very much miss being able to get out and cover the events taking place in Ross and I miss the people I see whilst doing so. I am guessing that my biopsy results will bring some difficult times ahead but, whatever it shows up, I will fight it to the last and will be out and about whenever I can. Whatever happens, 'Wyenot' will be left in good hands for the years ahead.

It was too cloudy / foggy to do as I was hoping last night - get outside and film the peak of the Geminid meteor shower. That is probably just as well from a health point of view but coming up next Tuesday morning (pre dawn) is a total lunar eclipse which, as long as the sky is clear and I feel well enough, I am hoping to film. I shall probably do this from Royal Parade as I can park my van there and film in relative comfort. If you like astronomy and would like to join me, you are welcome. It should be quite a nice eclipse with the moon glowing red in colour

Thank you all very much
for the hundreds of well wishes sent to both Tina and I. I have read them all and tried to reply to all but there have been so many and I have had limited computer time, so some replies may have slipped through the net. I have never met many of the senders and I am never likely to meet some as they live on different continents but please accept my heartfelt thanks for your kind thoughts.

I would also at this point wish to thank the nurses and staff at Hereford Hospital for your care and attention - even those who prodded me with needles. I just have one query on that score. Why has a 'small prick' suddenly become a 'sharp scratch'? :) You all do an amazing job and the world would be a much poorer place without caring people like yourselves.

Wyenot visitor and page view figures The usual independently produced visitor and page view charts for the past 30 days, printed at 9.00am on Tuesday can be seen below, along with the true statistics direct from the web server for the month of November - one of the quietest months of the year. These show 1.47 million 'hits', which include 141,915 pages of Wyenot being viewed by 43,762 people.

9th December 2010 - Wyenot News update

Our sincere apologies...
Our sincere apologies to those who were looking forward to reading an updated Wyenot News this week. Due to Alan's illness he is requiring a lot of care and I find myself unable to commit the necessary time to the news at present. We are hoping to receive the results of Alan's biopsy early next week
and hope that then the appropriate treatment can begin.

Alan would like to thank everybody for their kind words of support and offers of help. When he feels better he will try to reply to you all personally.

Many heartfelt thanks to you all for your understanding.

Tina xxx

7th December 2010 - Further to the last update

I am home on parole from the hospital...
The news is, to be absolutely honest not good. I was given a laparoscopy, which I knew nothing about as I was under a general anaesthetic. Whilst waiting on the slab, the anaesthetist could see my nervous state and injected an 'anti nerves drug'.
'Surely I feel no different,' I thought. He injected some more a little later telling me that he likes to start out slowly. I was expecting to feel high as a kite but again, I felt no different. I did not mention this but perhaps I should have done because he then started the 'cabin pressure' routine as if I was flying in a jet to ease my mind as he injected the real anaesthetic. It burned as it went in but I remained wide awake. None of it was entering my vein and he quickly had to insert another cannula into my artery. I remember the needle stinging but then I was out like a light within seconds and woke up later in 'recovery' feeling no pain and in a happy state of mind.

Unfortunately. Although I was shaved and generally prepared for the repair job, this did not take place. The camera showed that I have 'abnormalities' over the whole of my stomach and bowel. A biopsy was taken and I have to wait a week for the result of this before any treatment can be decided upon.

This is all I know at the moment. I am not giving in just yet. If the future means chemo, I will go for that but I'm not sure I will want to go through any more surgery unless it is with an absolutely guarantee of success.

My state of mind is good and I am glad to be back home so that I can get some quality sleep without being woken every half hour to get prodded and poked, and in a noise free environment.

The journey back from Hereford was beautifully scenic. My friend Paul Randell collected Tina and I and the frost In the trees made me wish I could be out there filming.

This is about all I can say for now. We have not had time to run news updates as yet but Tina will do this as and when she can within the next few days. Wyenot will be in safe hands whatever the outcome of my current situation.

I was unable to make the ART Christmas Day but I have not given up and will be out and about whenever I can to take photos, and to film the river. It may be a while though before I can start again but keeping occupied is good.

Alan xxx

3rd December 2010 - Situation update and what is happening with Wyenot

Following my hospital visit on Thursday...
The news was not what I was hoping but, to be honest, was what I was expecting. I have lost a lot of weight from my face and legs but my tummy has remained large, and hard as a rock. I now think I know the reason for this. The results of my CT scan were unclear because my whole abdomen is full of fluid and so my illness is still as yet undetermined. It did show that, 'there is something abnormal going on' though. The specialist said that this could still be infection, it could still be my appendix but due to the amount of fluid, she cannot rule out the possibility that there is something cancerous going on. She said that, had the scan showed a small section of bowel that I obviously need removing, she could have waited maybe two weeks before getting me in for the op but, as it is unclear exactly what is going on, I need to be investigated more urgently than that.

I had all the pre-operation tests done on Thursday and at 7.30 am on Monday I am going in. They will do a keyhole laparoscopy, putting a camera inside just below my navel. Should they discover something, whatever it is, whilst I am still unconscious, they will do the full laparotomy and remove / fix the offending item. This could mean removing a section of bowel and joining. In this case, I will have to remain longer in hospital and will need care for a while on my return home. Tina will take time off from work to provide that care.

I would be lying if I said that I am not frightened, but at least Monday will get it out of the way and I can progress from there. I do feel positive and the fact that I could feel burning soreness inside and could have fried an egg on my tummy during the peaks of my illness makes me think abscess rather than cancer.

As long as I feel well enough, I will try to get out on Sunday to photograph and possibly film the Ross Christmas Shopping Day and the prize draw. I will do this, if only for the purely selfish reason that it will take my mind off the following day and wear me out so that I can sleep the night before. I will not be able to process any film or photos of this event before I am able to sit in this chair again, so there will not be a Wednesday film or photo upload. I also do not feel fit enough to get out in the freezing weather and film my usual river sequence this week. The weekly films will be back as soon as I am well enough to continue.

Tina and my daughter Sarah will do what they can with updating news and what's on information in my absence but it may be all text as they do not know how to process photos for Wyenot and I haven't time to show them.

Things will be back to normal as soon as possible - hopefully I will be able to cover some of the events as Christmas approaches but I cannot promise this. Please do not give up on Wyenot if you do not see major updates over the coming few weeks. We will be back fully as soon as possible and we both appreciate and need your continued support to keep promoting Ross-on-Wye and the Wye Valley as a great place to visit.

Thank you to all those who have sent messages and enquired via email, telephone, facebook, Tina, my children and Bernice about the situation. All of the messages have been passed on to me and I have read all mail. I am sorry that I have not been able to speak personally in reply to those who have asked but I appreciate and think about all of you. I will see you all soon. Alan xxx

1st December 2010 - Dymock Duck Derby and the River Wye Mallard Society

Hook, line and sinker!
When issue number one of the new 'Ross Voice' landed on our doormat last month, I took a quick look. The fact that the magazine's 'What's On' events (which is basically all the magazine is, plus pages and pages of adverts) were virtually a direct copy and paste of our 'What's On' page on 'Wyenot' stood out like a sore thumb. I thought about contacting them regarding their plagiarism. After all, they had not even given us credit for being the source of their information, however...

I wanted to be absolutely certain that they were 'cheating in class'. Although the wording was exactly as I had personally written it with some jiggling done in an attempt to hide the copy cat reality, I could not actually prove it. This is when the idea came to me to invent a ridiculous 'What's On' event in a place which I was almost certain does not exist and publish it...

The 'Dymock Christmas Duck Derby', proceeds to the 'River Wye Mallard Society'.
This was the made up event that I put on our 'What's On' page specifically to catch out the 'Ross Voice' and show them for what they are. (See 11th December.)

I did think that a 'Dymock Duck Derby' might be a little too obvious and so I also ran a second red herring. In this case, I used a real country and western night event, due to take place on 18th December, changing the name of the genuine artist for a fictitious 'Buffalo Bill'. (I knew that the 'Ross Voice' would have to go to print in November, leaving me plenty of time to properly advertise the real event with weeks to spare.)

To my amazement, and to a certain amount of amusement, when issue two of the 'Ross Voice' dropped through my door on Saturday, I noticed that they had fallen for and copied both, plus most of the other 'What's Ons' we had listed, virtually word for word. In what I guess was their attempt at originality, they left out the word 'Duck'.

Funny. Yes. But on the other hand... No it bloody well isn't!
I spend literally all of my waking hours, even through periods of sickness working on 'Wyenot' - filming, photographing, writing, editing computer code, trying to keep it interesting and updated so that it successfully attracts thousands of tourists to the town of Ross every year. We receive hardly any financial support from the local traders 'Wyenot' helps and yet a high percentage of them paid Heaven knows how much to have an advertisement in the Ross Voice, who are simply ripping my hard work. If they are doing this to me, are they doing it to others as well?

Businesses like the 'Ross Voice' and all the others who either thieve our work for profit, or expect to use my photos for their own self promotion without even considering the amount of effort that has gone into the production just make me sick!

Health update: So far I have not had a result from either my ultrasound or CT scans but I had a call from the hospital on Monday morning. The specialist has my CT results and wants to see me on Thursday afternoon. They would not give me any information over the phone. I must say that I am a little nervous about this.

I get good times (relatively speaking) and bad times - several hours after eating. I am controlling my eating times so that the bad times come late in the evening when I can mainly sleep them off. I have become a lot thinner, lack energy and can still feel something alien in my body around the area of my appendix but have kind of grown used to feeling it there. No doubt all will be revealed on Thursday.

I really enjoyed making this week's 'Moods of the River Wye' sequence although I absolutely froze in the process. The highlight of filming came on Sunday when what I thought at first was a baby otter came out of the water at Wilton and let me film him. My 'baby otter' turned out to be a mink. Seeing a mink on the Wye at Wilton was a first for me. I thought they had been driven away by the otters. I believe that mink are bad news for fishermen as they eat or attack just about anything in sight. I hope you enjoy this week's very wintery looking 'Moods of the River Wye'.

BBC Radio: I was called by BBC H&W on Monday and asked if I would do my occasional live 'weather in Ross' thing at just before 8.00 am this morning (Tuesday). When they called to ask, I was in the shower and Tina took the call. She asked me and I made a had to make a snap decision whilst my mind was on other matters. I said yes. When it came to waking to an alarm clock at 7.00 am so that I could have a drink and get my brain together before the broadcast, I felt awful. My stomach was seriously aching where I had not slept through the uncomfortable time and I felt generally rough. Going outside in the snow to read the thermometer and a cup of tea however sorted me enough to manage the broadcast. I spoke live with Howard Bentham on the Breakfast Show about the overnight temperatures and snow fall in Ross, as well as ice forming on the Wye and seeing the mink on Sunday. I think I managed to put on a cheerful radio voice. If you were awake and heard it, I hope it came across OK.

Much as I don't usually mind doing this, I think if they call again for tomorrow, I shall sadly have to decline in favour of sleeping as much as possible through my regular morning stomach pain. I shall return to doing the occasional radio slot once this problem is sorted.

If you get the chance to call into town on Sunday, ART are holding a special Christmas shopping event. Due to my current situation, I'm not sure if I will be able to be there - this rather depends on the outcome of Thursday afternoon's hospital visit but if I am home and pain free, I will cover some of the event.

I just wish that ART members would think of us when it comes to placing their paid advertisements. All the advertising we do and all the coverage of events, both photographically and in film have so far earned us nothing whatsoever. Our promotion and coverage gets seen and watched nation/world wide, a huge amount every day but only a very small percentage of ART members support us. The 'Ross Voice' on the other hand was full of ads.

I must admit that I am having second thoughts about renewing my ART membership next year as our financial gain from membership equates to minus £20 - our membership fee. ART is great for Ross but I wish sometimes that the members would just stop and think about how much the thousands of views of our coverage of all events so far has done to boost their success and the income of all Ross shops. That for the weeks of 16 hour days involved in their making we have earned absolute zero and taken no money whatsoever at the till as we do not have a shop. The video coverage of the summer John Kyrle day alone has been watched well in excess of 3,500 times since June and even at this time of year, it is still averaging 400 views per month. Last year's pancake races video has been watched nearly 1,000 times. Last year's and this year's edits of the Christmas film have been watched well in excess of 1,500 times and daily views of the new edit are increasing rapidly the closer we get to Christmas.

Ross-on-Wye Christmas. The ART Ross Pancake Races 2010. Ross-on-Wye and the ART John Kyrle Day
ART Italian Market.   French Market

Wyenot visitor and page view figures The usual independently produced visitor and page view charts for the past 30 days, printed at 9.00pm on Monday can be seen below. Page views are still averaging 1,700 per day even at this time - the quietest period of year.


24th November 2010 - Christmas lights, Tina and other stuff

Ross Christmas lights were officially switched on at 5.25pm on Friday and I went to Ross market to cover the event for this week's 'Moving Pictures' video and for the general news. The 5.25pm time is quite relevant actually because the advertised switch-on time was 5.30 and I met at least one family who turned up with the kids just a little before 5.30 and found that they had missed it. From my point of view however, it gave me the opportunity to film the market house clock in time-lapse for 4 minutes after the event had taken place, thus creating the illusion that they were switched on exactly on time.

I really overdid it health wise that night as, having thought I was not going to make it in the first place, I stayed on alone for three hours afterwards filming the town lights in time lapse. The 48 hours post full moon in the sky and fog forming over the period of filming make for quite an aesthetically pleasing sequence and is set to the song 'All Through The Night,' sung (as my Dad would say) 'in the language spoken by the angels in Heaven'. (He is a Cockney himself but had a Welsh speaking neighbour during his time as one of the only two kids, the other being his sister, whose Mum refused to evacuate from Barking during the war and this neighbour taught him to speak Welsh.)

Tina was 50 years old on Tuesday and, along with her friend Glynis whose birthday is around the same time, celebrated her special day on Saturday night with a joint party. She had a really great evening with lots of people helping her to celebrate, lots of presents and obviously - far too much to drink. It was a great night. I managed to survive throughout and this is probably a good job. When we did finally get home: 'I'll take the dog for a walk,' she said, her speech slurred as I struggled to stop her falling into the mud. I took Eric for his very short walk and by the time I arrived back home she was talking to God on the big white telephone. Thank you to all who came and made it such a nice evening!

On Sunday Tina and I were invited along to the Royal Lodge at Symonds Yat to the open day of their new carvery. With my current problem, I could only manage a small portion of the food but it was truly fantastic. It is well worth going there for Sunday lunch!

After lunch I took the opportunity to start filming this week's 'Moods of the River Wye' and caught the rescue service training on the Symonds Yat rapids. By mid afternoon, after Friday's filming and Saturday's party my strength simply faded out and I just had to get home to rest. I finished the filming of this very hurriedly on Monday morning. Hope you enjoy watching. (I did not hear it or even know about it myself but I am told my weekly river films and the Wyenot webcams were mentioned several times by BBC radio during the week.)

Whilst on the subject of large news organizations. Back in 2005 I took a series of photos of a local(ish) young lady (whom I shall not name here). On Saturday, our phone started going crazy with calls from the the national daily newspapers and other news agencies, all asking if I had more photos than the one I had used on Wyenot (in which luckily, she has her back to the camera). I do have several more which I did not use for our 2005 article, including her posing directly for my camera, and could have funded my pension that day but I did not do it on moral grounds. I found out that the young lady concerned is accused of an horrific murder. The key is in the word 'accused'. Had I sold those photos to the national press and after investigation it should turn out that she is innocent, her life could have be ruined by my photos - photos of her in the midst of performing an act of good for the community. She may well turn out to be guilty but there is also a chance that she is not. I was not willing to take that risk.

As yet there is no further news on my stomach problem. I had an ultrasound scan on Thursday last but do not know the result of that scan at the time of writing. However. I also saw a specialist on the preceding Wednesday, where some tests were carried out. Nothing much to say about those tests at the moment as I do not have the results.

The specialist tried to change my ultrasound scan (due the next day) for a CT scan but the machine was booked. I am having a CT scan this afternoon (Tuesday 23rd) and I guess will know the result and be given whatever treatment necessary (hopefully just medicinal) later this week. I shall keep those interested informed of any developments. The problem is still there as I write, although the course of antibiotics I have already finished have helped a lot. I still get sharp stabbing pains in my side and eating solids causes me severe pain a few hours later. I also cannot stand for long periods of time. I am not fearing the worst as it feels like infection causing a blockage and I still feel cheerful in myself. I very much enjoyed getting out and about over the weekend, even though I did struggle.

Tuesday evening: Back from having my CT scan. Obviously no result as yet but I think I just met the most uncaring person ever who works in a hospital. I had to drink some stuff for an hour and a half before the scan and mid way through the 'Radiographer'(?) came in and immediately started barking at all the nice nurses and other staff that, 'if he had to work late, he would lose his call out allowance'. He just went on and on like a stuck gramophone record of Arthur Skargill, making all of his colleagues angry. Half way through my time in the scanner I had to lay without moving whilst some kind of drip was put into my arm. Whilst he was sticking the needle in, he continued to moan and groan at his colleagues about his lost allowance and as a result he missed my vein. Eventually another much more friendly radiographer came in and took over, told him to go away saying 'we can discuss this later' and redid the injection in the back of my hand. Not ideal but at least he did it properly. If I had his name, I would make an official complaint but I was quite nervous about the whole thing whilst there and didn't think to look at his badge.

Will keep you posted on what happens. Until next time......

Wyenot visitor and page view figures The usual independently produced visitor and page view charts for the past 30 days, printed at 11.00pm on Monday can be seen below.


16th November 2010 - Remembrance Day Not Forgotten, Astro and Info

My apologies for not making it to this year's Service of Remembrance. My health was not up to going on Sunday morning and I would not have been able to stand still in public for that length of time. As a result, I think for the first year since 2003 I have not got any photos of the service but I have been told that it was a good service and well attended. I went along later in the day to take some photographs of the memorial and have used these as a film sequence to begin this week's 'Week in Moving Pictures'. I was there in mind, if not in body.

Hopefully, without wishing to harp on about it, I should be getting myself sorted out this week and should be able to get back to concentrating on my Wyenot work again in the very near future. I now have an urgent appointment to see a specialist in Hereford Hospital on Wednesday morning. I still do not know exactly what the problem is but it should at least be properly diagnosed by Wednesday and, I would imagine, treated pretty quickly afterwards.

Tina is coming with me on Wednesday and to enable this, she has swapped her normal Wednesday working day for Tuesday, so we are trying to get as much news updating completed as possible in a very limited space of time.

Lacking astronomy: somebody wrote to me this week pointing out that they had missed my astronomy articles of late so here goes...

The last astronomical event I covered was the 12th August Perseids. Astronomical phenomena have occurred since then but I have just not had chance to get out there and film. To make up for this lack of astronomy, I filmed a very short autumn star sequence on Sunday evening and this can be seen at the very end of this week's video. It is a sequence of just 44 frames, shot over a period of half an hour on Sunday at around midnight and shows the constellation of Orion, with the horns of Taurus, the bull above, gradually being covered by the light polluted swirling river mist. It was filmed from the frosty riverbank at Wilton and would have been longer but the mist turned to fog and hid the stars.

There are two good astronomical events coming up soon which, if the sky is clear, I intend to film in time lapse for Wyenot. The first is an early morning total lunar eclipse on the winter solstice, 21st December. The second is a sunrise partial solar eclipse on 4th January. That should be a really good one, weather permitting.

One thing I find quite sad, indeed quite irritating about my astronomy films to date is that the very best one I have made to date 'Wye Valley Night Sky' gets watched 20 times per week on average. Yet another, 'Filming the Moon' - a film which was made as a nothing more than an SLR camera video test and is one I hate and wish I had never made averages 600 views per month. To me, the 'Filming the Moon' test was a failure and I have not used the SLR camera for astro video since as the image quality was extremely poor. The reason for the high viewing figures is that I used my 'Celestron' telescope to show the actual filming process, the 'Celestron' telescope company have put it on their website and it has become something of a viral video on You Tube among those starting out at astrophotography. I wish it wasn't because this just isn't how I do my astrophotography. For a start, I rarely use a telescope and never a video camera. Maybe one day, the better film will get watched as much.

There is something very surprising about astronomy when it comes to buying equipment. A telescope is actually the very last piece of equipment you need. First you need good eyes, secondly possibly a good pair of binoculars and all you need for great astrophotography or film is a good digital camera. I would like 'Celestron' to know that it's not the size of your equipment but the way you use it that counts.

Ross Christmas Lights are going to be officially switched on by Ross Mayor, Councillor Jo Lane this coming Friday at 5.30pm. If I can be there I will as I have not missed a Christmas light switch-on since starting Wyenot in 2000. Unfortunately though, my crystal ball (and a letter from the hospital) is telling me that it is highly unlikely that I will be able to make this year's event. I would be grateful if somebody who is able to go would take some photos for me to run when I am sorted out properly.

I wish the town of Ross a prosperous time this Christmas and as soon as I am fit, I will be back out there filming this year's Christmas events ready for next year's Christmas promo film.

Sorry this week's news is again early and very limited, including this week's video. As well as the pain of the illness itself, not being able to get out there doing what I enjoy doing - covering local events is doing my head in. There's only so much television junk one can watch. I want, and need to be settled back into a normal routine as soon as possible. Until that time arrives though, feeling somewhat frightened about Wednesday, I will sign for now and hope to be back out there soon and in better health.

Happy 50th Birthday Tina! (November 16th) Thank you for swapping your special day for a working day so that you can get the time off to come with me on Wednesday and I hope you have a lovely party on Saturday night. xxx

Wyenot visitor and page view figures The usual independently produced visitor and page view charts for the past 30 days, printed at 9.00pm on Monday can be seen below.

Page views are dropping currently for two predictable reasons. One is the annual November - December tourism low period (they will peak a little in January then drop off again until late March) and two is because due to current health circumstances, we have published far fewer news pages and general articles for people to read than usual.


10th November 2010 - fireworks, water and a white elephant

This week's Moving Pictures: Due to my health issues I have produced what I have been able to do really. I filmed the Wye on both Wednesday and Sunday mornings. The river has risen but is by no means at flood levels. The usual depth gauge I have been filming (at the Hope & Anchor) was submerged completely, so I switched to the lower of the flood level gauges located in the same area. Autumn colour on the banks is now very apparent but the sky was mostly grey during the filming. This week's shoot maybe does not show the river in its best light but the idea of 'Moods of the River Wye' is to show it in all lights. There are signs that winter is approaching now, with berries appearing on trees.

Although I usually begin with 'Moods of the River', this week's video begins with Ross Lions' Firework Display. I have begun the film with these scenes in order to enable it's use to advertise next year's event on our 'What's On' page. (It would look pretty silly advertising a firework display with a film beginning with river scenes.) This was a well attended event and the display was great. The still, damp and cold air however, heated by the bonfire formed a low level cumulus cloud, which grew rapidly as smoke from the fireworks acted as a catalyst and the cloud obscured some of the fireworks. It was a difficult event to film, in more ways than one, but I was able to penetrate the haze with my camera to a certain extent and pick up some of the action. The bonfire and firework sequence is made up entirely of still photographs (3,000 of them) with a separate sound recording. I filmed video as well, as a back-up, but did not use it. Hope you enjoy watching.

I went into town on Saturday, probably against my better judgement as I felt so rough, to get some shots of the Market House now free of its scaffolding. The Council said that the scaffolding was put there in order to inspect the roof of the building before work can begin. Personally, I think that is utter tripe. How on earth much did that scaffolding cost the Council Tax payer! It was up there for virtually a month, killing the trade of the regular market traders and making the town look ugly from a tourism point of view and I think if one person climbed it for half an hour, that is probably an over estimate of its use.

It is time to properly face up to the fact that my health is really not good at the moment. That trip into town did me in. I thought I was going to collapse just walking from Brookend Street to Gloucester Road, from where I shot the short video sequence and had to give in. This is why I have only shown one angle. Whilst struggling back to the van, I was stopped in the street by one of our local community bigwigs, who immediately gave me a lecture on about how well his latest project (which we have been regularly covering on Wyenot) is coming along. For 10 long minutes he stood and bored the arse off me, whilst all I wanted to do was lay down and die, and at the end of his brag he said to me / asked me. 'It's Ross Lions Fireworks tonight. Do you photograph that for Wyenot?'

Quite frankly, I give up. I have been covering Ross Lions Firework display on Wyenot every year for the past 9 years (2000 was cancelled due to floods) and he had not even noticed. Yet when I cover something of his, I get a token 'thank you' which only comes along the moment he needs promotion for the next thing which will put him in the public eye.

I went home, went to bed totally exhausted from a half mile walk and slept for nearly 4 hours. Tina had difficulty waking me when it was time to film the fireworks. I did that, enjoyed doing it but then went back home whilst she kindly covered my next photo job for me.

I have been given some antibiotics which have helped enormously by clearing up some of the general secondary infections but the main problem is still there and cannot be diagnosed until after I get my scan (on 18th November). The good news is that I wanted to lose some weight and initially began to consciously do this and it was working slowly. This process has now become rapid as a result of my problem, which I'm probably wrong but personally still feel is in the area of my appendix.

I am not unduly worried, quite happy in myself a lot of the time and would laugh more but it hurts to laugh.

My lovely daughter, Sarah bought me a good quality memory foam mattress overlay to make laying in bed more comfortable as this was something I was finding difficult. If you haven't got one of these, it is well worth it! It is just magically comfortable.

There is one business which wants to go on Wyenot. They contacted me months ago and then delayed. Over the past week, they have suddenly decided that they need to get on there urgently. I had to cancel two appointments to go out there and take photos due to not feeling well and so they began phoning. I explained that I am not well on the phone and they demanded 'Tina's direct line' and continued to phone daily, sometimes twice daily. What part of 'I am not well and will get around to sorting your ad and what's ons when I am better and able' do they not understand?

I am sorry for the delay. I am finding it a struggle just to keep the bare minimum going on Wyenot at the moment and I will get round to your ad and what's ons as soon as I can. Please stop emailing and phoning me and give me a chance to get myself sorted out. Tina is good to me and does what she can but she does not know how to do the techy stuff and her 'direct line' is the same number as mine. We are not a huge organization, we are a couple who live together and run a local website from home.

Weather Station: I am afraid that our rain gauge has broken again and did not take a reading this week. I can't climb the ladder to sort it out at the moment but it's probably just blocked with autumn debris. I shall try to get it sorted as soon as possible.

Wyenot visitor and page view figures The usual independently produced visitor and page view charts for the past 30 days, printed at 11.00pm on Monday can be seen below.


3rd November 2010 - Further to my earlier blog

With a lot of help from Tina between us we have managed to get some news out this week, albeit squished onto one page.

The health situation is that I saw the doctor this afternoon. It is not my appendix but there is something not quite right in that area and before a diagnosis can be made, some tests, including bloods and a CT scan need to be performed over the coming weeks. This is a necessary but precautionary exercise and I am not overly worried at this stage as it could be any of a number of things, most of which are not necessarily serious. Obviously, I am a little nervous but I remain optimistic. I cannot say more than that at this stage as there is nothing to say until I have test results. As long as Saturday is one of my 'good days', I shall cover the fireworks. It is hard to forget pain but I am trying to remain positive and not dwell on the worst scenario possibilities.

Right! Let's get back to being cynical. It is only my cynical sense of humour that keeps me going at times............

The Herefordshire Council Time Machine needs a service: Last Thursday (28th October), Herefordshire Council sent me a press release stating that the Market House scaffolding had been taken down by their contractors, Amey on Sunday, 31st October.

Having faith in their vision of the future, I went to the Market on Sunday morning in an attempt to set up a camera and time lapse film the scaffolding being removed. Nothing happened though by the time I had to leave, and in fact, I took the photo below the following Monday. The idea was to help local traders by restoring the town's beauty in time for Christmas shopping and events. Maybe they set the dial of their Tardis for 2012 by mistake.

Here's hoping to see as many of you as possible at the Lions' Firework Display on Saturday!

There appears to be a misconbobulation in the space time continuum as Herefordshire Council reported last Thursday that this
scaffolding was taken down next Sunday but I took this photo the Monday after that.

2nd November 2010 - I'm afraid I am having to take some sick leave this week

For the past month I have been burying my head in the sand with this illness, hoping it will go away but it is now quite plain that it is not going to without seeking medical attention. I tried to carry on as normal, covering events but on Saturday night, I had to concede defeat and cancel my trip into town to cover Halloween fancy dressers. Other than filming the river on Monday, an exercise I find therapeutic, I have not been able to cover events since. I am seeing the doctor this afternoon and have prepared what I can before switching off until I have a cure. There are no still photo pages but the weekly 'WIMP' video is now up and running as I prepared that as early as I could on Monday.

The video ended up being too long so I have not run the Y-zone pictures. I have also skipped the book launch event I covered on Thursday evening. I was invited to this and went along but whilst there, I felt ill and did not really do a good job.

I will be back as soon as possible. Hopefully with a video which included the Ross Lions' Firework Display but unfortunately, I cannot absolutely guarantee this. I hope many will go along and support this event, which is the Ross Lions' annual major fund raising event. I will be there if I can.

Tina will do what she can on Wyenot during this hopefully short period and I will be back, I'm guessing - quite possibly minus an appendix but hopefully feeling much more cheerful and with all of the usual picture stuff soon.

Wyenot visitor and page view figures The usual independently produced visitor and page view charts for the past 30 days, printed at 11.00pm on Monday can be seen below.

This week however I have also included the true statistics for the month of October. This chart is taken directly from the Wyenot web server and is 100% accurate. It includes 'Hits' which is what most web service providers use to boast as this figure is always much higher than actual page views.

As can be seen, during the month of October, Wyenot had just over 1.64 million 'Hits'. It averaged 4,495 page views per day - a total of 139,346 pages during the month. And this is while we head into the low season.


27th October 2010 - The Hereford fire and the river

Apologies for the late upload of this week's news and video. Having spent week's being pleased with the new web server, tonight (late Tuesday) it is acting like twelve kinds of pig's arse! Although it is still serving Wyenot on the web perfectly, I cannot access it myself. Having worked constantly, day and night for the past three days to get this week's video and news out, I cannot upload it. By the time you read this, of course, the problem will have been fixed. I spoke too soon, I think when I said that all was working well. If all appears to be going well, you have overlooked something!

Second update Wednesday: I take back all the swearing I have uttered about my new server overnight. The server is working fine. I have just resolved the problem after a long sleepless night. It was my own ISP. Talk Talk! Grrrrrr! Still problem solved and I can now upload this week's news. Phew!

I also spoke a little too soon about feeling better last week. I was really quite unwell again between Wednesday and Saturday but I'm okay at the time of writing this, and hopefully will remain so from now onwards. I don't think an illness has dragged me down quite as much as this in my life so far but I'm looking on the bright side - it is healing!

The fire in Hereford was such a great shame but I am so glad I shot the Hereford film for Wyenot when I did - just a few weeks before the the tragedy occurred, and that it covered that particular area of the city. I know plenty have filmed Hereford in the past but our film is pretty much an archival record of that particular area, as it was just a few weeks prior to disaster striking. I did not feel well enough to go to Hereford on Thursday whilst the buildings were still burning but I went with Tina on Saturday to film part of the cleanup operation, while the acrid smell of smoke still lingered. That bit of film can be seen in this week's 'Moving Pictures'. Even though I am trying to stick to Ross and nearby with these weekly videos, as Hereford is the county town and a lot of Ross people visit the city regularly, I thought it right to cover the tragedy.

Something which amused me whilst I was filming in Hereford on Saturday was the man with his advertising board. I watched him spot my camera, pretend he hadn't noticed it and then gradually edge his way up and down the street so that he could place his advert right where I was filming. Had he asked me to get it in shot, I would not have minded in the least, and indeed would willingly have helped him position it where it would be seen without being in the way. Instead though, he craftily and deliberately edged his way in, plonking it right in front of my camera. Because he did that, I have 'fuzzied' out his ad. One thing I have learned since starting Wyenot is about the lengths people will try to go to to get free publicity and how they will use disaster to promote themselves...

From a Herefordshire Council press release:
'It is hoped that damaged properties can be taken out of business rates until they are ready to be occupied again. The council has also announced it will waive the daily charge for those businesses which would ordinarily have been trading in High Town today but are unable to due to the fire.'

It is remarkably good of the council not to charge for a service they cannot possibly provide, don't you think?

I realize that this week's video again has a long 'Moods of the River Wye' sequence but I have had so many people tell me that they enjoy watching this, and Monday was such a beautiful morning on the river that I simply got carried away with the filming. I had intended to keep it short after shooting the day into night scene but the feeling I had, being by the river, alone on Monday morning watching the mist was something close to what people feel when they talk about having a religious experience. Watching autumn make its debut with frost on the ground and on the golden leaves, and sunrise raising such a spectacular mist on the water is one of the most spectacular local phenomena it is possible to experience. I hope you enjoy watching.

The Y-Zone. I filmed this Tuesday morning event in stop motion for the 'Week in Moving Pictures' and although we have run the article this week, I have to hang onto the film for next week's programme. This is because the rendering and uploading of the 'WIMP' programme takes about 10 hours and so I have to set a final deadline for film at Monday lunchtime in order to process and get it out for late Tuesday night.

Wyenot visitor and page view figures The charts for the past 30 day period (printed at 11.00 pm on Monday) can be seen below. It is beginning to show that we are heading into the November/December tourism visitor minima however Wyenot is still averaging around 2000 pages per day according to the independently produced (from the stats2 website) charts below, and more in reality. The general trend over the past 10 years is that tourism visitors drop off during mid October to late December, leaving mainly the news readers looking. They spike again during the first part of January and from April onwards the tourism 'Wyenot' visits begin again in earnest. Despite my denial on the contact page, at this point the daily phone calls from people asking, 'Is that Ross Tourist Information?' begin to become a menace.
From our own point of view, we are currently heading into the Wyenot genealogy enquiry menace season, during which people with too much time on their hands write in, expecting me to know all of their family ancestry off the top-of-my-head just because I run a local information web site.

Next week and from then on, monthly, on top of these charts, I will publish the true visitor statistics chart for the month of October, which is generated directly from the server log data. Yesterday (26 days into October) these showed that Wyenot has so far had 1.3 million 'hits' - which in reality equate to 108,225 pages being viewed by 31,672 visitors; a current average of 4,329 pages per day during October.


Enough said?

20th October 2010 - This and that

Health: For the first time in over three weeks I began to feel better on Sunday. I can time the sudden change almost down to the minute. On Saturday evening, I felt so ill that I began planning funeral arrangements in my head - you know - the black plastic sack left out for the dustmen with perhaps somebody humming a few bars of 'Ginger Williams', but Saturday turned out to be a late night due to two events taking place, one of which involved Tina working late. At 2.00am on Sunday, I got into my van to go and collect her from work. As we drove through town on the way home, I had to stop as Broad Street was blocked with police cars and an ambulance. I got out of the van and photographed the incident and it was then that I realized that my stomach pain had suddenly vanished. I can still feel a slight soreness inside - like a tooth abcess getting better, perhaps where the infection was, but the serious pain has gone, and even that soreness is gradually fading now. Fingers crossed!

Moving Pictures: Firstly, my apologies for the music in last week's video being extremely loud, and distorted at times. It is not like that on the original Mpeg4 HD render. The initial render though is a huge file, which would take days to upload and so in order to get a version on-line, I run a second render to convert it to a Windows media (.wmv) file. This is then converted again to a much smaller and lower quality Mpeg4 at either the You Tube or Vimeo end, depending on which I use. The whole process takes about a full day. During my second render of last week's video, I forgot to remove an audio compressor and a graphic equalizer filter used in the initial conversion and this resulted in loud, distorted sound. Had I corrected the issue, the video would have been a day late so I left it. I remembered this week, so it should sound fine.

I have mentioned this on the news page but I will also mention it here. Whenever I upload a WNTV type video, people always either phone, write in or see me in the street and ask, 'Can you send me that as I can't download it'. I am not being tight by saying, 'Sorry, but no'. It's just that the amount of work involved in doing this is far more than most imagine. It isn't just like filming Johnny falling off his skateboard on a mobile phone and uploading it to You Tube. This week's programme for example took me about 10 hours of getting out there, filming and taking photos, a day of editing that material into a movie and a day of rendering that movie and uploading it. As with all other news items covered and causes promoted on Wyenot, all of this work is unpaid, and in fact has cost me money by way of travel expenses etc. The files are huge and the quantity of images runs into thousands. In this week's programme for example, on top of the video, there are over four thousand still photographs. I cannot possibly email these or the original video render as the technology to email that much data just does not exist.

What I can do however is, if you call to collect, I can dump the whole lot onto a memory stick or data DVD(s) at a nominal charge of £20 per data transfer/DVD set. This is for personal use only - not for passing on to everybody else who wants a copy or for publishing elsewhere. This way, at least I might earn something for all of the time involved. Though, from past experience, I shall not be holding my breath in anticipation of orders as I have failed to mention the word 'FREE'.

This week's programme includes the weekly 'Moods of the River Wye', police in the swimming pool car park, a few scenes about town on Saturday, the 30th Birthday party of James Palmer, Dave Newman's 'This is your Life' and police at further trouble in Broad Street during the early hours of Sunday morning. I did film some traffic build-up at the Morrison's fiasco but it was filmed at a pretty quiet time. I shall try to shoot this again during the Friday evening chaos if time allows. I hope that I have not made the 'river moods' section of this week's programme too long. It's just that I find the peace and tranquillity of being out filming this bit so calming.

Thank you very much to Norman Bricknell, who took the trouble to telephone me on Saturday to say that, as result of watching my short films about Hereford and Gloucester, he had packed his portable bike in the boot of his car and had visited both cities, specifically to explore them for the first time in ages, that he had enjoyed both visits and that he was now thinking of digging out his canoe to explore the River Wye by canoe for the same reason. I am so glad that you enjoyed the films Norman and your encouraging comments about the films on 'Wyenot' attracting local tourism cheered me a lot. I can honestly say that were it not for your random phone calls with words of encouragement over the past six years, I would have dumped 'Wyenot' and 'gon fishin' long ago. You are one of the genuinely nice people of Ross!

Crime figures: The police are constantly boasting that Herefordshire crime figures are very low. However, whenever I drive through Ross late of a Friday or Saturday night, the chances of seeing the police attending one form of ruckus or another, or having to avoid drunken youths staggering around in the road are far higher than those of driving through Broad Street unhindered. I like Ross a lot - obviously, as otherwise I would not spend as much time as I do promoting the town, but of a weekend evening of late, Broad Street is becoming a place to avoid.

On Friday evening, in the New Street car park, my son had his van window smashed by somebody, probably in an attempt to steal a video screen he had inadvertently left in view. The attempt to completely smash the windscreen was a failure, though it was made impossible to see through and he needed to have it replaced before he could drive the van again. I asked him if he had reported the matter to the police. 'No,' he said. 'They won't be able to do anything about it.' No matter how much I tried to persuade him that he must report the incident, he would not. Instead, he simply put it down to 'one of those things' and, having only third party insurance, paid for a new windscreen himself.

I am sure that he is not alone in not reporting being the victim of a crime to the police. I thought twice about bothering to report my stolen roof rack last year and, in a way, was proved right as nothing ever came of the reported incident and I had to buy another - I also had a similar experience with my stolen Sat Nav and had to replace that myself too, though my smashed window was covered by my insurance. Could this be why Herefordshire regularly reports such low crime figures - because people have so little faith that anything will come of reporting a crime that most do not bother?

If you are the victim of any type of crime - no matter how small a crime it might seem in the grand scale of things, please report it to the police. If reporting it achieves nothing else, it will at least help correct inaccurately low levels of crime statistics.

Congratulations to Sir Ben Gill CBE, who has been appointed Chairman of the new 'Visit Herefordshire', which 'aims to use private enterprise to boost the county's important tourism economy'. If you read this, Mr Gill, would you please take note of just how much of the county's £415 million per year tourism industry has been boosted as a direct result of people finding out about the area on '' and visiting, buying houses in the area and running businesses as a direct result of this completely unfunded venture.

Wyenot visitor and page view figures The charts for the past 30 day period (printed at 11.00 pm on Monday) can be seen below. The reason for the 'Oct 7 - 2,864' is that I accidentally left my mouse in that position whilst printing the chart. There is no particular significance in this date other perhaps than that it happened to be my dad's 80th birthday.


Broad Street at just after 2.00am on Sunday Morning.

13th October 2010 - 42!

101010: For those who know how to convert binary to decimal, that equates to 42. Yes! For fans of the 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', Sunday was the big one - the answer to the ultimate question - well for this century anyway. I spent most of it covering the Ross v. Aston Villa football match and had a pretty good day in all. My name was also down as one of the film makers for the 'One Day On Earth' global film project and I had planned to film some time lapse sequences around and about Ross-on-Wye, beginning with the sped up Market House clock stopping at 10:10 (682) but it was hidden by scaffolding and would have looked awful, so I changed my mind.

Monday was 58. Not such an important day - philosophically speaking. I spent it in dreadful pain, filming the river for our weekly programme, editing that film and making a doctor's appointment. I worked out that there will be a further 8 dates this century which can be read as binary numbers - 2 this year and 6 next year, thus forming the basis for this week's quiz: 30, 46, 23, 39, 55, 31, 47, __? Again, answers in pencil on a used twenty pound note sent to Wyenot HQ.
(A few sent me answers to last week's deliberate mistake - by email, I might add. I received no used twenty pound notes through the post. Nobody got it right. Look at the caption for the Market House section - I typed the word 'for' twice.)

Still grumbling. I ended up going to see the doctor. My appendix (almost certainly) is still grumbling but at least that's all it is doing now. It was positively shouting in anger for much of the week. It does seem much better now though and hopefully I have avoided hospital for the time being, though I have to go back if it starts shouting again.

I'm afraid that just about sums it all up for this week. Health wise, let's just say I have had better weeks. I feel dreadfully tired as I have had very little sleep and I'm not really up to writing properly at the moment. I've still been getting out and about though. I hope you enjoy this week's 'Moving Pictures'. It covers rather a lot, so is over 13 minutes long. Next week's will be shorter. I shall try to write a better blog next week.

Wyenot visitor and page view figures The charts for the past 30 day period (printed at 11.00 pm on Monday) can be seen below.


6th October 2010 - Mustn't Grumble!

Spot the deliberate mistake in this week's 'The Week in Moving Pictures' video. Answers in pencil please, on the back of a used £20 note, posted to 'Wyenot HQ'. I looked through the edit a dozen times in the making, Tina watched it through for me too but neither of us spotted it. I spotted it immediately though - after its final one hour of rendering and a three hour, over night upload period. I'm not going through all that processing and uploading time again though, so it can stay. It would be interesting to see how many do spot it - just email me with the answer, if you feel inclined.
I have actually come across virtually this exact same 'deliberate error' in the past - in an IQ test. It's one of those cases where the brain causes you to see what you expect to see.

Mustn't grumble. I must be a man because I hate going to see the doctor and avoid it at all costs in case he tells me there is something wrong. (I do like seeing him as an individual though, and he's a good bass guitarist.) This week found me in some considerable pain with my stomach. On Thursday evening, my birthday eve actually, I could not even turn over in bed without taking my full body weight on my elbows then hands. I got worried that I might have to get to hospital quickly and end up minus an appendix but I'm hopeful that this probably isn't the case now. It is gradually feeling better, so my visit to the man at his desk has been avoided for the time being. Hopefully next time I see him will be next time I'm filming him playing with 'The Deadbeats'.

The Week in Moving Pictures' I don't know what you think but personally I am quite pleased with the response to this so far and see it as something which will grow over the years into a superb archive of life and times in the market town of Ross-on-Wye. This archive is in fact already in place to a certain extent as the back issues of 'Wyenot News' cover the past 10 years of life in Ross but the new series will enhance that archive tremendously over times ahead. I like it because this method shows natural scenes, rather than a corny, newspaper style line-up of smiling faces posing as a cheque or whatever is being handed over or people jumping in the air or waving for the sake of the camera.
Whenever I am at a news photo-shoot and another news photographer instructs the subjects to wave, or jump into the air, I try to wait, whenever possible, until they have got that shot out of the way and then I take my photo. People - especially British people rarely shout 'yee ha!' and jump in the air in public, so it just isn't natural. The new method will also hopefully show more of the people who did the job, rather than the 'Kodak' type politician, who turns up at the last minute just for the photo - as some (but not all) do.

Since the very early days of 'Wyenot', there has always been a huge interest shown by our readers about the River Wye - its water levels - flooding - lack of water in - and just general moods of the river. For this reason, and also for weeks when nothing happens in Ross (which do occur - especially in the winter) I intend to show a weekly series of moving pictures portraying the river through time. I began this series this week and will try to continue (health allowing as everybody gets sick at some time) at least throughout the next twelve months - if not indefinitely. I hope you enjoy the new series of weekly videos. They will run weekly on the main news page but the growing archive is here.

Jamstand being cancelled at the last minute kind of threw our planned working weekend into chaos. With Tina having booked a day off from her job at the White Lion for the event, it put my body clock out, causing me to forget what day of the week it was and I turned up to film the dress rehearsal of 'The Wedding Singer' 24 hours too early. That looks like a good show and that particular bit of film can be seen in this week's 'Week in Moving Pictures' video.

It may seem awfully early I know but I have put the Christmas film on the front page of Wyenot. The reason being that a lot of people start to plan their Christmas breaks while I'm still getting over the horror of the previous year's event. Hopefully, the video's early presence will attract some visitors to the town of Ross over the period. Believe it or not; it is actually getting watched daily already.

The new server is working well, which is very pleasing. I don't know how visitors are finding it for speed; they may not even notice much difference but from here, from an uploading and organizing files point of view, it works quite literally at the speed of light. I click the mouse and I'm connected in an instant. I now have the full 100 gig of space for Wyenot too which, providing nothing else fails - my bank account for example, is ample to keep Wyenot running for many years to come.

Wyenot visitor and page view figures The charts for the past 30 day period (printed at 10.40 pm on Monday) can be seen below. Wednesday's 'news day' spike stands out against last Saturday's dip when the server was down for maintenance. When we are into November, I shall start showing a monthly 'Webelizer' chart, which shows visitors, pages and 'hits', so that the difference between a 'hit' and a full page view becomes apparent. This will demonstrate why people quote 'hits' rather than page views when they want to disseminate bullshit about the popularity of their web site. I cannot publish this until November as 'Wyenot' was only running from the new server for the last few days of September and so the data is split between server logs.


29th September 2010 - A New Server for a New Decade

Planning for the future: I know that most people just click the mouse and it's there, but there is one awful lot involved in keeping '' running that way and last Saturday found me suffering unbelievable levels of stress! Wyenot is 10 years old this year and has grown into a huge archive of the whole decade of life in the town of Ross-on-Wye (as well as both before and beyond the decade). Wyenot was outgrowing its second server and, as mentioned in last week's blog, I needed to carry out a server switch, which involved downtime while the Domain Name Systems around the world pointed the domain name '' at the I.P. address of the new server. That part of the operation did not go too badly - Wyenot was up and running again around the whole world by Saturday evening.

However, the Wyenot photos and files amounted to nearly 5 Gigabytes of data, and unbeknown to me during the early stages of transfer, the people in Docklands where the server is located attempted to load it onto just 3 Gigabytes of web space on the new server, rather than the 100 Gigabyte upgrade ordered. This of course wiped most of the data. It's a jolly good job I had it all backed up. I had to virtually reload the whole of Wyenot - 10 years worth of articles - news and otherwise, photographs and other files using FTP protocol, from here, making sure the all important tourist information and advertising pages were uploaded first, in the meantime, still going out three times mid transfer to photograph a local event.

As a result, I think I have finally got it all back up and running normally, if not somewhat faster, but there may be the odd page I have missed. If you come across one of these, I would be grateful if you would let me know so that I can remedy the situation.

The new server is part of planning for the future of Wyenot. It has 100 Gigabytes of space, software capabilities, better statistics and a generally much more user friendly interface for me to work with when uploading and organizing files. To put it one way, it's a 'dog's bollocks' web server which I can operate from here in Ross almost as if it were my own desktop computer.

It was a necessary upgrade to save me deleting archive material, but it is a lot more expensive to rent, and has more than doubled the money I have to outlay each year to keep Wyenot running. Wyenot brings untold amounts of business to Ross every year, so if you are a regular user, or know that people spend money with you as a result of looking up Ross-on-Wye 'on the internet', please don't just take us for granted. Please try to support us in whatever way you are able. The chances that all of those people from afar who visit your shop in Ross in the summer, having discovered the town 'on the internet' looked at 'Wyenot' before visiting are far higher than you would imagine. The chances of them not having looked at 'Wyenot before visiting in fact are approximately the same as the chances of King Kong posing for a photo with the Mayor on the spire of St. Mary's.

'The Week in Moving Pictures' is the new path I have decided to take with regular WNTV video. Now that we are running on the new server, with more space, I have reorganized the video pages:, adding a new section to which I will archive older weeks. When I say 'weeks', during the quieter months there will be weeks when nothing happens, so I mean 'as often as possible'. Over the years, this should build up into a quite fantastic archive of life and times in Ross-on-Wye. I hope you enjoy the new system!

It will be 10 years in December since I pressed the button, putting '' on the world wide web and the Town of Ross-on-Wye on the world map. It was an instant internet success and within a week, people wrote to me from America, Australia, Italy, Switzerland and Colchester in Essex, (not a joke - this is genuinely where they wrote from) telling me that they enjoyed the website and liked the look of Ross and the Wye Valley.

I started photographing the streets of Ross and events for the building of Wyenot in May of that same 'Millennium' year and I both filmed and photographed the serious flood in town, which occurred in the December. At that time I was a lousy photographer and had a poop camera to-boot. I literally learned the completely self taught art of photography then - by taking a photo, seeing what was wrong with it when I got home and going out to take it again. I walked miles and, believe it or not, lost quite a few pounds in weight due to that walking. The photos were still lousy, but improving and my filming techniques terrible and jerky. I hope that I have learned a lot since those days in both fields.

More of this is explained in a separate article and the video itself but I thought I would mention it here.

Wyenot visitor and page view figures As you may notice, summer is over and people looking at Wyenot to visit the area will gradually start to dwindle now (but not completely) as we head towards the November and December tourism minima. The deep dip on Saturday however was purely due to the Wyenot down time - when I switched servers. Even on this day however, during which the website was down for approximately 12 hours of the day, 1,064 pages were viewed by about 350 people during the remaining 12 hours of up-time.

22nd September 2010 - Downtime and general ramblings

IMPORTANT! Some essential maintenance needs to be carried out on the '' web server, which will mean a downtime of between 4 and 24 hours as the DNS records will need to be redirected to point at a new server. I am going to try to arrange this for the early hours of Friday morning and into Saturday (our time of least visits) but times could vary.

IF YOU LOOK FOR WYENOT AND IT IS NOT THERE at any time over the next two weeks, it has not gone forever. It is simply maintenance work being carried out and it will be back on-line as soon as possible.

General Updates: This week I have been updating various information pages of Wyenot in preparation for the onset of winter. These include updating and linking the various pages of snow scenes on the River Wye and snow scenes in Ross together. Hopefully these will attract visitors to the area for winter breaks etc..

Having promised to do so after covering Gloucester last week, I spent Friday filming Hereford in time-lapse and updating the City of Hereford pages.

As with filming in Gloucester, filming in Hereford was a very enjoyable experience and I met some nice people there. I really enjoy filming city scenes as there is always something new going on to capture and somehow, the people seem more chatty. Guess that's because they don't know me.

The film can either be seen left, or in the separate article announcing the new video coverage. Again, I hope this attracts two way traffic between Hereford City and the market town of Ross-on-Wye. Watch it full screen at 1080p if your computer and connection will allow.

Planning ahead to attract business to Ross at Christmas
is a dreadful but necessary thought (dreadful for September that is). Christmas began even earlier than usual this year in the supermarkets, my first observation being large stacks of Christmas sweets on offer inside the door of Asda on 1st September and the Association of Ross Traders had Christmas on the agenda for the meeting which took place last Wednesday.

Here at Wyenot I have had my own plans afoot to try to attract as many visitors and as much business as possible to the town of Ross-on-Wye during the 2010 season for some considerable time - since November 2009 in fact.

Last year, I filmed virtually everything during the lead-up to Christmas with the idea of making a Christmas promotional film for Ross-on-Wye to run on the front page of Wyenot starting mid October 2010. I did run a rough edit of the material a few days before Christmas last year but it was just that, a 'rough' edit - designed mainly for local interest reasons. This week however, I have tightened it up considerably and added more snow scenes.

I spent the whole of last Wednesday and Thursday at home, alone, reliving Christmas as I worked on the new edit and it is now complete. It is shorter and contains some better snow scenes.

ANY BUSINESS BASED IN ROSS IS VERY WELCOME to use the film, in any way seen fit - streaming from your own web site, email etc. - any way you wish as long as the content remains as it is and not decompiled or changed in any other way.

Just ask if you would like a copy of the actual HD file. There is no problem with public performance rights etc. as the video belongs entirely to me and the Christmas music is licensed for the film. Individuals are also just as welcome to send it as an electronic Christmas card to Aunt Fanny in Fiji if they so wish but I would wait until at least the beginning of December before doing that.

The embedding code can be obtained from this page on You Tube.

Or if you prefer to just watch - it can be seen (left). I hope you enjoy watching. I shall be streaming it properly from mid October and I hope it works for the whole town. Watch it full screen at 720p if your computer and connection will allow.

I noticed
from the Herefordshire Council news release about Tourism funding that only 2 per cent of tourists visit the TIC and that they seem to be clutching at straws with regards to funding the 'Visit Herefordshire' website, boasting, 'Most of Herefordshire's 4.8 million annual visitors now depend on internet information, with the Visit Herefordshire web site attracting half a million hits per month.'

Oh how things change! The very first week I unleashed to a world wide audience, I went into Ross Tourist Information Centre, which did not have a web site at all at the time and offered them any help I could give then with my new '' website. The lady in charge, put her nose in the air and explained: 'We are very selective with the places we advertise here'. I left the tourist office that dark December afternoon feeling miserable. My feeble effort at attempting to boost local tourism on the internet with '' had been snubbed by the very people I put it there try to help. The internet was thought of in Ross back then as merely a new domain for boffins and geeks to experiment with during their weekends off from splitting atoms.

I would just like to point out one small matter with regard to 'Visit Herefordshire'. Try searching for ross on wye tourist information on Google and see what happens. - which averages over 100,000 page views per month during the summer months also averages well over 1 million 'hits' per month ('hits' are merely a count of lines of text on the server log, of which each genuine page view can generate many). Wyenot runs at a cost of absolute zero by way of public funds. It has all along been funded purely by a few local local supporters advertising, plus all of my redundancy money and all of my 30 year accumulated pension lump sum.

Our Weather Station. I finally climbed up to roof level again and fixed the rain gauge on Saturday. The hole through which the rain enters the gauge was blocked by a dead spider or two. It is now functioning again but if you look at this week's charts, the 30 plus millimetres of rain that fell in an instant on Saturday was just me testing, so please ignore it. Rain charts will be accurate again as of next week.

The Wyenot visitor and page view figures I remembered to save the data (with the help of my computer calendar - charts printed on Monday evening). It was tempting to show 'Hits' as well but that would be very misleading.

Something interesting shows up in the chart - the spike on 29th August. That is caused by people watching the 'Voice of the Goodrich Ghost?' video. If you notice, it does not particularly show up on the 'pages viewed' chart - which remains average. This is because the page was passed on virally (hence the spike of visitors) but they all looked at that same page, watching the video over and over again, so it did not clock up masses of page views. I'm still getting questioned about that experience on a daily basis and I still have no answer, other than that, 'it definitely happened and, to me it is still truly unexplainable'.


15th September 2010 - Planning for the future and planning a field trip

News this week: This week has been the quietest news week for ages as most of the main Ross events have now taken place and we are heading into the quieter season. I could have gone to Newent to cover the Onion Fayre but, to be honest, after spending all of last weekend covering the Cider Festival, I am festivalled / evented out. Rather than publish a few trivial 'news' items just for the sake of it, I have decided to use the quiet period to take a week off from news and work on the other tourism aspects of Wyenot.

Jamstand is coming up soon and we will be covering that but now is the time to start thinking about next year's visitors to the area and, I hate to say it in September, but working towards doing whatever we can to try to make Christmas 2010 in Ross a successful and prosperous time for everybody.

I shall be working on a new edit of my Ross-on-Wye Christmas video footage to run from the front page of Wyenot in about a month from now, which will hopefully show the town as a lively place to shop or even visit for a few days over the festive season. I intend to incorporate some of the great snow scenes I shot in early January of this year to make a new 'Christmas in Ross-on-Wye' promo film, with a truly seasonal feel.

The Page Counter: As I mentioned last week, '' have stopped operating this service and, out of necessity, on Sunday I removed the code from every page on 'Wyenot'. Well I think I got 99% of pages anyway. I have almost certainly missed some because, over the 10 years since its beginnings, I have produced and uploaded over 10,000 pages on Wyenot. Not all of the footers had the code embedded in the same way. I got as many as I could, removing the code by using the 'find and replace' option in my editing software and then re-uploading every page. Even using the 'replace' command, this took hours.

If you do happen to spot anything untoward, such as advertising for 'Jupiter Media' (owners of appearing at the bottom of any page on Wyenot, I would be grateful if you email me the url, so that I can remove it.

The visible page counter was inaccurate anyway, under reading by millions of pages... For one thing, I set it wrongly for the first five years so it only counted a small fraction of actual page views and for another, sometimes the data did not reach the counter during busy periods. Somehow though, I miss it. It did give an indication of sorts to regular users.

I do not intend to replace it as that would mean relying on somebody else's technology again and I could end up with a repeat problem in the future. However. I have been trying to think of a way of showing visitor usage regularly - as a kind of replacement, without going into too much graphic detail (If studied deeply, which I never do, my live stats which work direct from the server log can tell you what each individual viewer had for breakfast, let alone what page they are looking at at any given time).

I shall try printing off and running the following charts on a regular basis. I say 'try' because I have to remember to save them manually at regular intervals, and until I get into a routine, I am liable to forget. It should not matter though as each covers a 30 day period, so as weeks pass by, some dates will appear in more than one chart - you'll see what I mean next week. I shall run two charts weekly. The first shows amount of individuals visiting Wyenot, and the second - the amount of pages those individuals viewed.

Here goes with the first one...


Gloucester: I took a trip into Gloucester to make a time lapse film and a new information page for Wyenot, covering the City of Gloucester.

Now I realize that some - especially local shopkeepers will be thinking, 'Why cover Gloucester? That's not helping Ross! It isn't even situated in the Wye Valley!' Here are my reasons why.

Covering Gloucester will help those wanting to visit Ross by train and bus, and a page about the city on Wyenot, will soon begin to attract people searching 'Google' for Gloucester as well, who will come across that page and possibly go on to find out about Ross-on-Wye. The 'day trips' (as in the film) work both ways.

Gloucester currently has a better Wyenot information page than Hereford but not for long. I intend to remedy that by making a similar film and taking better photos to update our Hereford page soon. I am just waiting for the weather man to provide the right lighting conditions during a free period. I am rather hoping that he will do that later this week

Filming Gloucester was a lovely experience actually. When I moved to Ross from London in 1976, I did so because the insurance company I worked for relocated to Gloucester. I commuted to the city daily for 24 years, and I hated every one of them due to my job. Having been away from Gloucester for 10 years though - visiting a maximum of 4 times during that period, Tina and I had a great day on Saturday visiting the two places in the city that I do miss - the cathedral and the docks. We had a wonderful day doing something different - same job - different location.

How Gloucester has changed! And for the better. The streets are cleaner - hardly any chewing gum on the pavements now, the cathedral is as beautiful a building as ever. Although I do miss the run-down, historic look of Gloucester Docks, with lines of small boats moored by the walkways, the newly renovated dock area is a lovely place to visit. The one thing I always enjoyed about working in Gloucester was my lunchtime walk - either to the cathedral or around the docks, and if I took sandwiches rather than eat in the restaurant - both.

I was amazed at how friendly people were as I was filming. Whilst Tina was away for ages, queuing for the loo (as women often have to) I met a nice couple who spent ages chatting about the virtues of using Nikon cameras and in the cathedral, a nice woman from Worcester who was fascinated by my fisheye lens view of the cloisters spent ages chatting. Then there was the great couple with three children! I didn't ask where they were from but the lady asked me what I was doing with a camera perched at ground level by the tortoise in the cathedral garden, when I explained that I was filming time lapse with fast moving clouds and people, her three extremely bright children immediately picked up on this and began walking in slow motion in front of the camera. When I then met them again in the cloisters and again inside the main building, 'mum' was quite worried that they were getting in my way, describing her touring party as 'the family from Hell' but they were far from that. I left the footage in the film as I thought it quite funny. (Inside the cathedral, behind the temporary 'crucifix' art exhibit and walking towards me from the organ.) The Romany Gypsies I met whilst walking back to the van, and filmed, were a nice group of kids too.

Still lots of feedback coming in about the unexplained voice on my River Wye film. I don't think this will ever stop, as is the case with all past articles about the 'unexplained' I have run on Wyenot. There was one really funny one arrived this week explaining that it was 'a demon, which will stick with me until I get the help of a priest'

The voice I inadvertently recorded was nothing less than totally serious, but somehow, I also feel a gathering of the 'Wye Extreme Paranormal Investigating Society' - WEPIS (especially after a jolly spiffing Crabbie's ginger beer or two) coming on, to venture out on a filmed field trip. I had been wondering when I would next find a suitable opportunity to put my 'Electronic Voice Phenomenon Recorder, complete with fully synthesized, 12.8GHertz phase-lock-loop quark assimilator and cathode ray tube display' to good use.

8th September 2010 - Ross Cider Festival and a 'Stepford Wives' chip failure

Ross Cider Festival was a fantastic event, at which Tina and I spent the full three days, camping, though we did come home to shower, change and walk the dog. There were hundreds of visitors from all over the UK and parts of Europe, all enjoying the fantastic music, food and, above all, vibrant atmosphere and we had a great time!

I have tried to cover the whole weekend with a 'photomotion' video and also Sunday, with the more usual type of video, showing some of the musicians and Tina talking to some of the stall holders, along with Organizer, Mike Johnson. Watching these will give just some idea of what a fantastic, friendly event it always is. A group of about 500 friends meeting up annually and enjoying themselves.

Thank you to Sue and Alan Parsloe for asking me over to film the fantastic firework display and light show at Wilton Castle on Saturday evening. It was worth nipping out of the cider festival for an hour to capture this. It was a real rush job for me though as time was limited by events at Broome Farm but I managed to set up cameras both in the Castle and on the opposite river bank. Thank you to Bernice, Sarah and James for sitting with the one on the river bank at short notice, to make sure nobody nicked it mid filming.

Weekly Counter Statistics. Having emailed them several times about renewal recently only to get no response, I received the following email this week from '':

'Dear Member,

Your membership to has now expired. This service has been discontinued. Thank you for your support.

Thank you, Team'

I have supported the, paying my subscription every year since the very early days of 'Wyenot', adding it one month after 'Wyenot' went live in December 2000. Not much of a 'thank you' is it!

This also leaves me with the problem that I am going to have to edit every single one of the thousands of pages on 'Wyenot' to remove the code - which to be honest is the only reason I have renewed the service (which is highly inaccurate because it under-reads by thousands of visitors per week) regularly for the past five of those years. Oh well. Another long and boring task ahead of me.

Whispers on the River As I mentioned last week, there has been far too much feedback from this to publish it all but some have asked for a general consensus of opinion.

By a very long way, the majority of people think it definitely is something spooky.

One person said, 'it is just that - noise'.

One person suggested that it could have been left on the camera from a previous recording. There are two things which rule this out. One - that the camera records digitally, straight to hard disc, making this impossible. Two - I have never recorded anybody whispering like that.

One suggestion said, 'The whispering gallery effect?' Now this is a really good possibility but, in all honesty, having spent hours playing with the audio in various ways to extract the sound I think it unlikely due to the ambient noise of the water.

From my point of view, having spent lots of time looking into the sound, I have almost found it a life changing experience. I am a 'purely science' thinker and I have edited and edited the audio, bringing the voice out from the rest of the background and it is, without doubt, somebody whispering, 'He's found it', followed a few seconds later with the word 'Yeah'. That word, 'yeah' is whispered at the same time I say the word, 'there', when commenting, 'Swan with cygnets in the bank there'.

The word 'yeah' coincides with a splash of my oar in the water and, for a while, I wondered if this was the answer. However, I have listened over and over again and it is not. I have reached the conclusion that the chances of the sound of the oars sounding like three words in English, which make a perfect short sentence, followed by the speaker agreeing with himself are pretty remote.

I still do not believe that ghosts are the souls of dead people. I do however believe, and know that time itself is not a constant. The speed of light is the constant. Light always arrives at the speed of 186,282 miles per second in a vacuum, whether arriving from a light source travelling towards you or away from you (i.e. Jupiter in its orbit around the sun). As both distance and speed are constants, this means that the only thing that can vary in the equation is time. I also believe in infinity and the 'multiverse' rather than a single universe.

My personal belief is that, somewhere out there in the infinite 'multiverse' I am being born, somewhere, I am dying, somewhere else I am just about to enjoy the start of last weekend's Ross Cider Festival and that, just occasionally, something causes these universes within the multiverse to meet briefly. A brief glimpse through time.

Now that you all think I am totally barking mad, I'll drop this subject publicly and just spend more time in thought...

The M50 Sculpture Plan: All I have to say on this is, What a tacky piece of shite and surely another case of, 'I've got bad taste and plenty of money to prove it.'

No doubt somebody will waste tens of thousands of pounds making it happen but I sincerely hope not. The M50 approach to Ross with its view towards the Welsh Mountains is one of the prettiest motorway views in the south of England, let's not spoil it. Please!

The tacky metal swans by the river are already proof enough of somebody's bad taste. The artistry is great. It's just that they don't suit the environment. Somewhere on the far side of the moon would perhaps be a perfect place to display them.

Ross-on-Wye Morrison's I was only thinking to myself recently that this particular shop had improved recently but then last Friday morning happened. I was attempting to fix and change the batteries on my weather station and, as changing the batteries means climbing up on the roof, I decided to use the lithium type as they last longer, so went to Morrison's, specifically to buy lithium batteries.

Purely by coincidence, when I got to the shop, lithium batteries were on a special 'buy 1, get 1 free' offer, so I picked 4 packs of AA batteries from the rack in the photo below, marked up at £3.25 for 2 packs. Using my schoolboy arithmetic and without the aid of a calculator, I worked out that this should come to a total of £6.50.

Whilst there, I picked up some meat as well and went to the check-out, expecting to pay about eight or nine pounds in total for my shopping. The woman asked me for £22.00 plus some pence (I cannot remember the exact amount of pence).

'How much are those batteries then?' I asked.
'£4.85 per pack', she replied.
I pointed out the display sign, which happened to be right by her till.
'These are not the batteries which are on offer,' she replied.
'I just got them from that rack, which specifically says buy 1, get 1 free' AA or AAA Energizer Ultimate batteries'.
'These are not the right batteries,' she argued. 'They are not Energizer Ultimata. A customer has put them back in the wrong place.'

That was rubbish! The four packs which I had picked up were clearly marked 'Energizer' and were neatly stacked - two packs on each of the pegs, which in the photo below are occupied by the 'customer misplaced' Duracell batteries. The Duracells were hung lower down and the shop assistant herself, who was arguing with me that a customer had hung them wrongly, re-hung them in that position. (I watched her do it and they were still there after I had been to the car park to get a camera.)

She then went to fetch a supervisor, who also argued with me that nearly £20 was the right amount I should pay, rather than the £6.50 price at which they were marked - for 4 packs.

In the end, both shop assistants absolutely refused to give me the batteries at the marked up price, so I left the shop without buying anything and went elsewhere for the batteries.

I may be wrong but I thought that if marked up at a price, the shop is obliged to sell them to you at that price, regardless of whether or not it is wrong. This was not a marking error. The batteries were 'Engergizer' and they were stacked neatly on the rack in the photo - not misplaced by a customer.

Quite honestly, I hope that another supermarket moves into Ross soon and that Morrison's has to close as a result. It is a dreadful shop and I absolutely detest going there! No amount of refurbishment is ever going to make it a friendly place to shop. Only a change of manager will do that.

The Cider Festival cheered me up in the afternoon though, along with a funny experience during my trip to Asda the evening before so only Friday morning was ruined by Morrison's.

The funny experience in Asda was also to do with a lady on the check-out. Getting close to her home time, the programming on her 'Stepford Wives' chip must have become slightly corrupt. She asked me 4 times, within a space of less than a minute, 'Are you all right for packing?' before expressing an interest in every item of shopping I had bought, telling me how nice the Asda own brand chocolate is etc. I am aware of that - I was buying eight bars of it! No kidding - I prefer Asda chocolate to Cadbury's or even Thorntons. The dark chocolate is 'lush' (as my daughter would say).

Tina just read this blog prior to its publication and said, 'Reading between the lines, it appears that you don't like those metal sculptures.' What on Earth gave her that idea?

Buy 1 get 1 free argument with two Morrison's staff members.

1st September 2010 - It's been a busy but strange week!

Response re the Goodrich experience has been overwhelming. Lots of emails and phone calls plus requests from investigative groups for me to join them in researching it - in other words show them the exact location. This item has in fact overtaken all past Wyenot articles and has become the number one most read article within its first 24 hours of publishing since I began Wyenot soon after the new millennium. The page is being passed around the internet virally.

I am sorry but I am not going to investigate with paranormal groups because, although I am still very sceptical - I do believe that ghosts exist (even more so now) but I still do not believe that they are the souls of dead people. Should I be wrong and this really does turn out to be the 'ghost' of a dead person, I don't think that hoards of people turning up with ghost hunting equipment will help the situation - especially those like that stupid woman and her friends who do the 'Most Haunted' television series.

There were far too many responses for me to publish and they are still coming in but only two have been doubting, one of them from somebody who suggested it is a fake. Overwhelmingly, the general consensus has been that I did capture something unexplainable.

To those who do think I faked it. I know the truth and that is that I did not. To be honest, I don't give a stuff if people don't believe me because I am an individual with a mind of my own, who rarely follows the crowd and I do not not particularly care if people find me weird or eccentric. I am not one of the 'You Tubers' who set out to make films for 'hits'. My interest in film is purely covering the Wye Valley from a tourism point of view and for my personal interest in astronomy and cosmology. I was filming for the 'River Journey Ross to Symonds Yat' film at the time, and this can now be seen above. Looking for 'ghosts' had not even occurred to me at the time. This is probably evident from the full edit of the river trip film above.

Thank you all very much for the feedback (which from past Wyenot experience, I know will continue to arrive for years to come - I still receive regular feedback about the 'ghost?' I captured in the dungeon back in February 2003)! Enough on that subject though and on to the weekend.

'Bank Holiday Weekend'. I almost dread those words because for me, the word 'holiday' is a complete contradiction of terms. A bank holiday weekend in this household means three long days of working solidly, covering events all over town plus a further two, processing photographs and editing video for which I earn the grand total of absolute zero. Even with 'overtime' - if I get paid 'double time', that still makes a grand total of zero. I don't mind though because I enjoy some of the events and the getting out and about, and seeing people is nice.

We actually had a nice weekend, covering events. We could not get to all that went on as it was just physically impossible and I deliberately skipped the flower show at St. Mary's following my experience there at the Christmas Festival, so that enabled me more time to spend filming the Regatta, where I met multiple Olympics gold medalist, Sir Steve Redgrave in the crowd. He was a nice person, very friendly and when I told him I know nothing about rowing - other than in my small inflatable boat, he replied, 'nor do I'. I find that difficult to believe.

Being short of time, I'll not go into more detail of the weekend here but will mention it in individual articles, and when I get to filming the WNTV programme introduction a little later.

I hope you enjoy the new River Wye boating journey from Ross to Symonds Yat film. It was great fun, if a lot of work to make, and is a replacement for the temporary one I made a month ago when the water was too low. The filming journey took me six hours but was much easier with some water in the river - a little too much water during the last leg, from Yat Rock - most of it falling on me from above. I got very wet but enjoyed the trip very much. When time allows later this week, I intend to make a general information page for Wyenot about canoeing and this is really the reason behind the film - ghostly voices were secondary and are not mentioned in the video, other than briefly in the end credits.

Weekly Counter Statistics. Here is the weekly email I get sent from The Counter:

Account number 2135203, Wyenot News, had a total of 24889 visitors last week.

Visitors for last week divided per weekday:

2010-08-24: 4170
2010-08-25: 4417
2010-08-26: 3062
2010-08-27: 4016
2010-08-28: 3313
2010-08-29: 3077
2010-08-30: 2834

I noticed that Herefordshire Council were out delivering the next supply of refuse sacks on Bank Holiday Monday and that made me wonder why they didn't deliver them the same way as they did last time - when the regular refuse collection was taking place. Then a thought popped into my cynical head: 'double time and a day off in lieu, perhaps?'

25th August 2010 - The American Dream makes me glad I am British!

This is crazy! I always do absolutely everything I possibly can to make sure that the videos I produce for Wyenot are whiter than white - 100% above board with regards to copyright etc.. This costs me an awful lot of money as I have to buy special licensed music, which is far more expensive than buying a CD - one single track usually costs a lot more than an average charts CD album and some are even more expensive. Occasionally, I use my own music or the music of friends, with permission. I also make sure that I own all rights to the video by never using anything that I have not filmed myself.

Earlier this week I produced a new video, which can be seen, either below or in a separate article. Initially, I entitled it 'Wye Valley Starscapes'. However. Last night I received an email from 'Starscapes / Voyager Industries' with a link to the article on Wyenot, threatening me with legal action because I had used the word 'starscapes' in the title of the article.

How ridiculous! I used the word as opposed to 'landscapes' because the film was about starscapes, as seen from the Wye Valley. Not because I had copied it from that particular American company. I had never even heard of them!

Anyway, more stress is the last thing I need right now and so rather than argue the point, I spent hours last night - until 2.00am in fact - reediting the film and page titles, replacing 'starscapes' with 'night sky'. Whilst doing so, I took the opportunity of changing a few sequences I was not entirely happy with and correcting a caption. The company in America then wrote back, thanking me for changing it, adding, 'You did a beautiful piece, by the way'.

The 'American Dream' is no ordinary dream, it's a bloody nightmare! I thank God I was born the right side of the Pond!

That aside, I do hope that some of you enjoy the film, which was made entirely in the Wye Valley. I know it sounds a little crazy but it is better to watch it after dark, full screen and in 1080p definition as you will see far more. As well as in the usual places, I have also shown it below, so that you can do just that, from this page.

The Counter Statistics. I could not publish this last week as the email did not arrive on time, so I have run the past two weeks below.

24th August: Account number 2135203, Wyenot News, had a total of 19951 visitors last week.
Visitors for last week divided per weekday:
2010-08-17: 2922
2010-08-18: 2910
2010-08-19: 2711
2010-08-20: 2538
2010-08-21: 3216
2010-08-22: 2459
2010-08-23: 3195

17th August: Account number 2135203, Wyenot News, had a total of 21161 visitors last week.
Visitors for last week divided per weekday:
2010-08-10: 3380
2010-08-11: 3587
2010-08-12: 2748
2010-08-13: 2852
2010-08-14: 2923
2010-08-15: 2817
2010-08-16: 2854

Facebook 'Like' : Although I use this to keep in touch with family and friends, I am not a big fan of the social media website and personally think its current popularity is just a phase, which will head the same way in Britain as did CB radio of the 1980s and then the 'Knowhere Guide' of the late 1990s/early 2000s internet era (for those who remember them). I also very much mistrust it with my personal information, hence my user name of 'buck.follocks', my being 108 years old and living in Timbuktu, according to my entry. This aside though, to keep up with the trend, I have added a Facebook 'like' button on the front page and on the News index page of Wyenot. Please feel free to press one or both of them (or not, as you see fit). Just pointing out the fact that they are there.

WNTV Programme: We were intending to run a television type news programme this week and I did some of the filming for it, however we were unable to film one of the interviews as it poured with rain at the time and this left us without enough material to make it worthwhile, so we will run a TV news programme of items filmed over the holiday weekend instead. There is a lot going on this weekend in and around Ross. Tina and I will be out and about covering the events for Wyenot and we hope to see you at some of them.

The Wye Valley Night Sky.

18th August 2010 - Meteors and Jamstand

Thank you to those who came out on some of my astronomical filming expeditions: Tina J, Tina H, Dave, Mike and Geoff. It is always good to share the live experience and we all saw some of the Perseid meteors.

Having spent years alone studying and photographing the skies (which I do enjoy) I have always found it better when others can share the experience - particularly in the case of meteors. A bright fireball meteor seen alone is a bit like the 'one that got away' - especially when it falls whilst the camera is taking its dark frame (an exposure with the shutter closed to remove noise and 'hot pixels', so that all stars captured by the camera are genuine and not just digital noise). This exposure has to be exactly the same length as the original photo and so it is only possible (without spending a couple of thousand quid on duplicate equipment) to catch 50 per cent of the meteors on film.

That happened to me last year, four days after the Perseids peak. I was on Yat Rock alone when a young couple came up and joined me for a while, watching the smaller meteors. They stayed for half an hour and then left. The moment they left, the brightest fireball I have ever seen dropped vertically from the sky, right in front of me and where they had been looking. They missed it by seconds and the camera was taking its dark frame. With so few people watching that time after the publicized peak, it is quite likely that I was the only person on Earth to have seen that fireball. The photo I captured this year, whilst Tina was with me proves that it does happen and is not just exaggerated 'fisherman's tales'.

Counter Statistics. For some reason, I was not sent the regular email this week but will publish later if it arrives. It is possible to work it out by looking at the counter at the bottom of the page though, if counting sheep is not working.

Jamstand, or the lack of left the town without thousands of visitors and us with a weekend void of news covering, so we had time to spare. However a replacement Jamstand(ish) event took place at the Hope & Anchor on Saturday night, which we managed to get along to. We are looking forward to the new October date for the event!

The Jiveoholics also always provide a great evening of entertainment and provided a great performance at the White Lion on Saturday, of which we caught a little bit.

Time and weather permitting tonight, I am hoping to get these updates finished and then get out to film some more starscapes for my 'Wye Valley Starscapes' film, which should be ready in the not too distant future.

11th August 2010 - Carnival, Perseids and Tina TV

This year's Carnival was bigger than carnival events of recent years. Rain spoiled but did not stop play during the field event but people tried their best to stay. It was a pleasure to cover and the pictures can be seen in the separate articles.

The Perseid Meteor Shower should reach its peak this coming Thursday night and I am still hoping for a drastic change in the weather so that I can film them from Yat Rock overnight on Thursday and into Friday morning. This is for a proper Wye Valley Night Sky film I am making, which will include other scenes as well. To make sure I get at least a few Perseids, regardless of whether the weather is good on Thursday, I have been going out when rare breaks in the cloud have occurred to try to catch some of the meteors before the peak. To a certain extent, this has been successful and I have some super high quality photos of the sky so far, both starry and with building cloud.

The two shots below were taken by the Cypress tree on the footpath to Brampton Abbotts Church and show Cassiopeia and the Milky Way above the tree, the plough to the left, the planet Jupiter to the right. In the second shot, a weak Perseid meteor can be seen above the smaller tree to the right.

Weekly Counter Statistics. Here is the weekly email I get sent from The Counter:

Account number 2135203, Wyenot News, had a total of 21341 visitors last week.

Visitors for last week divided per weekday:

2010-08-03: 3066
2010-08-04: 3934
2010-08-05: 2914
2010-08-06: 3228
2010-08-07: 2538
2010-08-08: 2716
2010-08-09: 2945

A few people have recently mentioned that they miss the weekly TV news videos (with Tina) that we used to produce. I started running individual videos of events to replace them, thinking that this was the preferred system but evidently not. They may not be 'weekly' to begin with - just as and when stuff happens but we are considering reintroducing them

The river is still low and I have not had chance to get back out and re-film the Ross to Symonds Yat journey but I have built 'boatcam' ready. 'Boatcam' is a Heath Robinson camera mount I have fabricated out of an old tripod, a 'Quality Street' tin and a bag of concrete. Providing the weight of it does not sink the boat, when the timing is right it should be just perfect for holding the camera rock steady so that I can switch it on and use the craft as a camera dolly.

That just about sums this week up. The date for Jamstand has moved, so we will have some time to spare this weekend and will have more time to cover Ross Horticultural Show. The Jiveoholics are playing a Summer Party at the White Lion on Saturday evening so, Perseid activity / cloud cover determining our evening activities, we might see you there.

Post Script Early Hours of Tuesday Morning. After finishing updating the news and this blog, Tina and I went Perseid filming at Brampton Abbotts. I took the top one of the three photos below of a fireball Perseid meteor which entered the Earth's atmosphere at 23.03 GMT. from the SSE, above the planet Jupiter (the bright object below it and just above the horizon). Atmosphere entry to burnout took up about 5 seconds of the 10 second exposure, at f2.8, ISO 3200 using a 10.5mm Nikon fisheye lens. Wow! Brightest Perseid I have seen this year! It is a scene for the film but very luckily, I shot the image in RAW format at 12 megapixels, so can make a superb print, if inclined.

Fireball Perseid meteor photographed from Brampton Abbotts.

The night sky from by the Brampton Abbotts cypress tree.

This frame shows a Perseid meteor.

4th August 2010 - River journies and meteors

We had a lovely day on the river! The scenery on the Wye is just beautiful and it is so peaceful drifting along watching the wildlife. Unfortunately the water level was low though and as a result, I spent a lot of time, walking in the river, puling a boat, laden with Tina and all the camera gear. Wouldn't have missed it for the world though!

A lot of people have already said that they like the film but I am not keen. It is just not what I had in mind and is a bit jerky. I am going to re-shoot it using 25fps 1080p video but I need to wait until the timing is right - deeper water and a sunny day. When that situation arises, I shall do the journey alone and make the proper film. The current one is temporary.

Sunday found me out on the water again. This was purely by coincidence as my son, Chris recently bought a canoe and wanted to try it out. I took the boat and he the canoe and we launched at Symonds Yat. We went to Huntsham Bridge and back. Again, I got very wet, walking in the river against the current to pull the boat over rocks but we had great fun and, using the trip to experiment, I think I have perfected camera positions for re-filming. Thank you to Mark at Garth Cottage for use of the parking slots and for valetting the Wyenot van whilst I was on the water!

I have another video project in mind. I am praying for clear skies on Thursday, 12th August as this is the peak night for the Perseids meteor shower. If conditions are right I intend to attempt to film the meteors using stop-motion photography from Yat Rock and film the filming of them - if that makes sense. My friend, Mike Arnison is coming along and possibly some other friends who are interested in astronomy. If you would like to join us for a night of watching shooting stars, you are welcome. Bring something warm for later on and don't expect a 'Lost in Space' or 'Star Trek' type meteor shower. It will only be occasional meteors - some bright, others not so bright. It is one of those unpredictable things. Venus, Mars and Saturn will be setting soon after sunset, so there will be something else to see early on in the evening. Obviously, if it is totally cloudy, we will not be there.

Saturday is Carnival Day! This year's Carnival is due to be bigger and better than most of late. A lot of floats have entered and there should be plenty of stalls and entertainment on the Carnival Field, which this year is the Rope Walk. I am told that even the Ross Gazette has a stall at this year's event. Should be fun and I shall be covering it with both photography and film. Let's hope that the weather is fine for the day.

Weekly Counter Statistics. Here is the weekly email I get sent from The Counter:

Account number 2135203, Wyenot News, had a total of 20038 visitors last week.

'Visitors for last week divided per weekday:
2010-07-27: 3122
2010-07-28: 2919
2010-07-29: 2565
2010-07-30: 2417
2010-07-31: 3140
2010-08-01: 2780
2010-08-02: 3095
For more detailed statistics, log into your account and view "Stats".'

That just about wraps it up for this week. Lots of things have happened but throughout all, my mind has been elsewhere. On a personal level it has been a week of both very good and very bad things happening. Wouldn't trade the two boat trips for anything though.

28th July 2010 - A knockout and planned river journey

Saturday was a busy day, during which we covered both the 'It's A Knockout' contest in aid of Help For Heroes and Ross Pre-school Playgroup followed by Peterstow Village Fete and then enjoyed a quiet drink with friends later in the evening at the Hope & Anchor.

The 'It's A Knockout' contest, which used to be a regular event in Ross looked like great fun for those taking part, though I have to admit to feeling too old to have taken part myself. I am now getting old and tired enough to start thinking, 'I could have done that - many years ago'. As it is, ducking down low enough to climb under the barrier to where I needed to be to take the photos was a difficult enough task. Well done to all involved - it looked like a lot of fun and helped two good causes.

I enjoy all of the summer village fetes we get invited to but I always love covering the one at Peterstow. This is probably because I know more people there than at most, and we meet up with friends from Broome Farm. We know and enjoy the music of the 'Double Barrel' band, who keep the music flowing and, being on his local patch, I always meet the great, and extremely supportive Mr. Norman Bricknell of Morris Bricknell, who has been instrumental in helping me to carry on with 'Wyenot' through the times when just about everything has seemed dark. We both enjoyed the event very much and I would particularly like to thank you Norman for your words of encouragement.

As mentioned last week, here is the weekly viewer stats email from the Counter:

'Account number 2135203, Wyenot News, had a total of 21493 visitors last week.

Visitors for last week divided per weekday:
2010-07-20: 2950
2010-07-21: 3808
2010-07-22: 3257
2010-07-23: 2656
2010-07-24: 2903
2010-07-25: 2703
2010-07-26: 3216
For more detailed statistics, log into your account and view "Stats".'

Depending on the weather, and some other logistical matters, Tina and I are thinking of filming a river journey from Ross-on-Wye to Symonds Yat tomorrow (28th). If successful, this should make a useful addition to our series of tourism films. When I say 'logistical' matters, I mean getting my daughter to pick us and the boat up at the end of the journey. Depending on the outcome, we may have a new video available soon of beautiful scenery and hopefully some river wildlife. 'Tales of the Riverbank'? (When I was 16 years old, I earned 5 pence by busking the 'Tales of the Riverbank' theme tune with my guitar outside a shop in Upminster, Essex. That is the most money I have ever earned by playing live music.)

When all appears to be going well, you have overlooked something. Damn! I just thought I had finished updating then remembered, I have forgotten to do the weather page. Oh well. I'm tired now and want to get up early to prepare for a boat trip but I promise all the weather spotters out there, who make weather notes in their jotter books that I will do it on Thursday.

21st July 2010 - Back home now and visitor stats

Well we made it. I dropped Russell at Manchester Airport at 5.15 am on Tuesday morning after leaving here at 3.00 and he is now in Crete for three months, starting his new job.

I did try to rest before making the drive but my mind was too active and so I gave up. After dropping him off, I drove across the 'High Peaks' to Stocksbridge in Yorkshire, where I arrived at my sister's house at 6.30 am. Sitting outside, I hesitated about phoning her to let her know I was there but I took a chance, and to my surprise, she was awake and answered the call on the first ring.

At, nearly 7.00 am, having been awake for nearly 24 hours, I was dead tired but still too alert to sleep due to the concentration of finding my way over the Peaks at dawn, so I did something I probably should not have done but it truly helped. One of the drugs she is prescribed for her condition is Diazepam (valium). I went to her medicine cabinet (with permission) and downed two of them to knock myself out. I lay on her spare bed and the next thing I knew was that it was 3.00pm.

'Did you not hear the dust cart beep, beeping its way in reverse and all the clanging of dustbins? Or the man in the flat above hammering? He was doing some D.I.Y..'

'No. I didn't hear a thing. I was totally dead to the world from the second my head hit that pillow'. I remained that way until I awoke naturally 8 hours later.

Thank you to Tina for photographing the Heart of England in Bloom judging in my absence. You did a great job! xxx

Thinking of the magic word. This is just one of the comments I received following my recent coverage of the Ross Country Music Festival:

'Alan - this is brilliant! The black and white in stop motion feels like a 1920's film, the crowd in full dress ! Buckskin hat at 2:57. Even the confederate and American flags at 3:50 & with some very well done shops. Couple of nice side arms at 4:23. I think you caught it all. Missing a couple sheriffs, bar fights, prostitutes and a good hanging (just kidding). Seriously, a nice square dance on the Wye and good some grub, looks like a great time. I wish I was there. As usual, well done and nice job promoting your town ! Thanks for sharing.'

This came from somebody who signed himself 'Mike M.'.

From the organizers of the event however, I have not received as much as an acknowledgement that I took the 5 hours to film said movie, plus the further 12 hours to edit it into a film, process the photos and make a news page about the event. The same thing happened last year as well - not a word - until further coverage was required. Do a job once and it becomes yours! Trouble is - virtually all of my 'jobs' are unpaid favours.

Our nation-wide publicity is almost certainly the reason this particular festival has grown from small to massive. Lots of the very nice people who go know me by name from 'Wyenot' coverage. They speak to me when I am there, calling me 'Alan' and I always receive lots of feedback from the visitors to the festival, which sadly, might well start to dwindle from now on.

One last thing for this week. Every week I receive an email from 'The' telling me how many pages of 'Wyenot News' have been viewed. (By that, they mean ''. I have always dumped those emails as they do not really show the true picture. That counter actually under-reads considerably due to the nature of the way it works - requiring a packet of data to be sent to the USA every time somebody looks at a page.

Rather than just dump the weekly mails from now on though, I thought some readers might find the data useful so I have decided to publish them here, weekly. Here is the first:

'Account number 2135203, Wyenot News, had a total of 20245 visitors last week.

Visitors for last week divided per weekday:
2010-07-13: 3266
2010-07-14: 2778
2010-07-15: 2662
2010-07-16: 2485
2010-07-17: 2356
2010-07-18: 3385
2010-07-19: 3313
For more detailed statistics, log into your account and view "Stats". View your detailed statistics now:'

Back next week. Until then, have a good'n'.........

19th July 2010 - Sudden necessary change of plan

Something has come up and the early hours of Tueday morning will find me at Manchester Airport, taking Tina's son Russell to catch a flight to Crete and his new job. I am trying to get as much published today as possible but it will not be that much. Whilst 'up north', I intend to drive across country to Yorkshire, to see my younger sister, whose brain tumour has begun to grow again, to the point where the operations to help her cancer elsewhere have been cancelled.

Tina is going to stand in for me, taking a camera to the Chase Hotel for the Heart of England in Bloom judging day and I will try to get that article out later on Wednesday or possibly Thursday - I will not get much sleep for the next 24 hours, so I may not be awake on Wednesday morning.

One major(ish) change I have made this week is to the way the video is displayed. I have updated multiple tourism pages with this new layout as more and more people are using mobile devices to access web pages. The current layout allows the video to play on most mobile devices such as iPod, iPad and Blackberry.

That's all for now as time is limited but I may write more later in the week and will definitely be covering events at the weekend. Don't forget the carnival also, which is not far off now.

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