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ABOUT THIS SITE

The original purpose of this site back in the mists of time - "1997 in fact" ...ed -was purely some kind of self-satisfaction. I'd just started studying with The Open University and part of our T102 project at summer school was the building of a website. Just three simple blocks and a small amount of text. I was so fascinated by this that I went home, downloaded a few pages of "build-your-own-website" from somewhere on the net, and that was that. And, like Topsy, it "just growed" from there.

Originally, I talked about the farm I'd just bought, and my plans for it. Once I mastered the idea of an index, I added a page about some of my old cars.

There are also several pages devoted to my rather weird lifestyle, that should keep you entertained for a while.

As for the farm, I talk (at great length) about the things I've been doing, my plans for the future, and what I'm going to do with the collection of vehicles I'm amassing. And you can follow my adventures day-by-day (more-or-less) by reding my blog

Nowadays, I use it as a means to enlighten the general population about the places I visit on my travels in the same way that I used to when I had a captive audience of 50 people on a Shearings coach, as well as to talk about politics and history, subjects that have always fascinated me.

Another use for this site is to display my photos and my articles. Everything on this site is available for use elsewhere provided that the appropriate licence has been obtained, and I'm quite open to granting licences. If there is anything that you would like to use for your own purposes, whether private or commercial, then read this.

 

The site is revised regualrly, as you can see from the information at the bottom of the page. If it's a minor revision (correcting a mistype or whatever) then I just go ahead and doing it. If it's a revision that involves the adding of new material, then I update the "page last modified" for the relevant page, and update the "site last modified" for the entire site. And if you can't see the entries, you need to enable Javascript on your browser.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

One thing I like to do is to interact with my audience. You have probably noticed that I have strong views on many subjects, and I love people who also have strong views, even if they disagree with mine. So if you know how to debate and know how to present a coherent argument without resorting to name-calling and insults, then I would really like to hear from you.

E- if you want to engage in debate. You can also me if all you want to do is to chat or to have a moan about the state of the world.

I'm currently using a blog to have a good moan and rant, as well as to keep my loyal and long-suffering listeners up-to-date with my latest nefarious activities. Come along and add your own views, but keep it clean, please. It's a family show.

TECHNICAL ISSUES

This website is completely hand-coded (no programs such as Dreamweaver or Frontpage) using Note-tab lite as a text editor. Note-tab lite has three big advantages over Notepad -
  1. the facility for multiple windows - so you can have several documents open at once
  2. a split window - which is absolutely essential for copy/paste functions
  3. you can build your own clipboard library - which means that if you use some block of text on a regular basis, you can save it in your clipboard library so that when you need it, two clicks and its there. You've no idea how much time I've saved with this
The lite version is free. Once you've tried it, you'll never ever use Notepad again.

I view my website on either Firefox or Chrome and it all works perfectly there. If it doesn't work properly on your browser, then me to let me know.

As I said, I like to engage with my audience and I would welcome any comments or observations, so with anything you would like to add or like me to consider. I would like to think that my site corresponds as much as possible with modern technical issues, and any input is appreciated.

ACCESSIBILITY STATEMENT

This site was originally designed in 1997 when there were no accessibility issues at all and we were all naive and did things as we liked with no regard to our audience. Today, things have changed. I look at some of the things I did back then and in those days I was delighted. Today, it makes me cringe.

Nowadays, the greater part of the content is accessible, thanks to relative measurements, alternative text for the images, and the like. And I'm slowly going backwards to make sure that the older stuff is similarly treated. If you've come across something modern that doesn't accord with accessibility guidelines, and I'll correct it. If it's something old, you have my assurance that I'm dealing with it.

A note about the images though. I've set them up to optimise on a screen set at 1024x768, for two reasons - namely

  1. there is no assured way of setting relative sizes for images well, there is, but when you see the code you have to write in order for it to work, and there are over 40,000 images on my site, then you will understand why I haven't gone down that route. I mean, sometimes I have to eat and sleep. If you know of a sure-fire way to do it with two or three lines of code, then me and I'll gladly do it. Otherwise, if it is really getting on your nerves, and I'll show you how to do one, and then you can do the other 39,999 and return them to me when you've finished. That way, you will be delighted to know that the site conforms to your requirements. But like I said, until this problem is resolved, there isn't a lot I can realistically do about it, and the photos need to be large enough to bring out their features and so visitors can see what it is they are supposed to be looking at.
  2. and why that particular screen resolution? Well, 53.45% of the visitors to my site use it. A further 25% use a larger resolution. The site is still perfectly visible on 800x600 (19.6% of the visitors) but you need to scroll a bit to see the images - that is until someone offers to help out with the relative-sizing of the images

CONTACT DETAILS

I'm now living full-time in France and that is where you will most probably find me. Otherwise I might be in the UK (but not if I can help it) or in North America somewhere.

The easiest way to contact me is to , and this address is monitored more-or-less on a daily basis. There is no quicker way than this.

Apart from that, you can see if I'm away from home by looking at my blog, where I post details of my travels, and if that isn't sufficient, you can contact me by Facebook if you have an account - but keep it clean and polite if you are posting in a public forum.

COPYRIGHT AND OTHER DETAILS

As you can see from the above, I spend a great deal of my spare time (which is becoming less and less these days) travelling around Europe and North America. A lot of this time is spent either taking photographs of things that fascinate me (like there are nine buttons on my jacket but I can only fascinate) and dictating my thoughts into a hand-held dictaphone (and you can't use my dictaphone, use a pencil to dial the numbers) - and then even longer putting it up on the web for people to view, read and generally criticise.

I'm delighted if people so like my writing and my photography that they would like to make use of them for their own purposes. Many of my photographs and a great deal of my writing already grace more than a few websites and magazines.

You should be aware that everything on my site is subject to copyright. Therefore, if you would like to use any of the material, you must with the details before you do so.

If your purposes are private or for non-profit ventures, then I will gladly give my permission provided you acknowledge the copyright and hyper-link to my site. You may not, however, go ahead without receiving my permission.

If those purposes are commercial, then with the details, and if you say the magic words, I may let you publish extracts from this site or to let you have a copy of the original high-quality digital photograph without label.
"Stop messing around, Eric. You'll be well paid"
"Ah - so you know the magic words then!"

Please don't use the e-mail addresses on the images as they may well be out of date. here instead.

THE CAMERA

For anyone who's interested, the original camera was an Olympus OM10 with a whole series of interchangeable lens until about 2000 and then a Fuji Finepix 1400 that I bought on a whim from an end-of-series sale. This lasted until about 2003 - but then I dropped it.

It was rather unfortunate that at the time I was in a hurry and I had very little cash, so a bargain basement end-of-range Fuji Finepix 2600Z was all I could afford. It did a job for me and kept me on the road. I had my value for money, but it wasn't all that much money that I paid. For night-time use and range of settings for photography in the dark - well, what do you expect for the price I paid for it? You don't pay bus fare to ride in a Rolls-Royce. Nevertheless, it certainly makes a change from the days when I used to get some delightful reproductions from an eleven year old Brownie, and it's still in service, kept in the van with a couple of rechargeable AA batteries, just in case ...

In fact, thinking on, I should mention the early photographs that you'll see on the site. Anything before 1997 was taken with my ancient Cosina SLR that I bought second-hand in the late 1970s. What a superb camera that was when you consider how old it was, how long I had it, how much use I had from it and how much I paid for it.

Most of the photos from February 2007 up to March 2010 were taken with my Pentax K100D" Digital SLR at 3008x2004 pixels, bought after much gnashing of the teeth and discussion.

The lens that came with it was a nondescript 18x55 and certainly had its shortcomings. In April 2008 I purchased a Sigma DC 17x70 and that was much better. It was also a fair bit heavier too, and the zoom goes round the wrong way, a fact which has caught me out on a couple of occasions when speed was of the essence.

Battery issues with the Pentax and an extremely unhelpful Pentax after-sales service coupled with the sighting of a factory-repaired Nikon D5000 and a high-quality lens caused me to upgrade in March 2010 and an even greater resolution. So if you don't see what you want in a shot, ask me to look to see if I've cropped it. And if you do see what you want in the distance, ask me to zoom in for you. I'm not proud.

All of the photos on the site are scaled-down and compressed to reduce the downloading time. It is however always possible to obtain a full-size high quality image of any of the photos.

NOW THE FOLLOWING POINT IS REALLY IMPORTANT

That is that on my travels and in my notes "I call it as I see it". So if I've called someone a "right miserable old sod", that's because that's how I found him. Maybe he's usually a really cheerful person but his mum died that morning.

Or alternatively I've praised the cooking in a restaurant, and that's encouraged you to go there, and you find it disgusting and get food poisoning. Well, so they changed the chef, or changed the owner in the meantime and didn't tell me.

That's life.

But anyone who thinks they've had a raw deal over something I've written, then about it and I'll gladly put your comments up next to mine. Everyone has the right of reply. Only thing I'll do will be to edit out the "cuss" words.

There's another thing you can do. if you would like to correct anything I've written, or you would like to add something. Your comments will be especially welcomed if you have some local knowledge or can add some local colour to whatever it is I've written.

MORE IMPORTANT DETAILS

You've probably (hopefully) seen via this site that I have a great number of talents to offer the outside world, and I am always on the lookout to improve the health of my bank balance. I can And that's not all that's not all for around his neck was a big black chain, and hanging from his chain was a big black ball.

Some, if not all of these talents you can probably find a use for in your own organisation.

So, if you think I can bring my own brand of individualism into whatever it is that you or your organisation is doing or trying to do, then I have to say that I'm always open to offers, wherever in the world you might be situated. E- with your proposition, no matter how absurd or bizarre it might be.

In fact, the more absurd or bizarre it is, then the more likely it is to appeal to me. You've no idea how boring early retirement can be until you try it, and I could really fancy starting a small war or something similar, just to relieve the monotony of my sad existence these days. I'm sure I've plenty of talents that could easily appeal to you.

At the moment, as well as running my Renewable Energy business I'm also presenting the English Language service on French local radio and assisting in a technical and linguistic capacity on a project relating to the launch of a local English-language newspaper in the Combrailles.

AND FINALLY

If you've really liked what I've written, then remember that this website is really my only certain source of income. That's why I get totally miffed if anyone lifts any of the content. If you don't have any money of your own and are wanting to use anything for your private purposes, then the least you can give me is some recognition and acknowledgement. If you're earning money from your site, then no reason why I shouldn't be entitled to a share. But before you use any of the content for any purpose whatsoever, then you need to read this.

That notwithstanding, it would be nice if you appreciated my work so much that you wished to express this appreciation in a positive way. If you go to the home page you'll see the sponsors of this site. You can make a purchase from them via my link, or even make a donation to my Pay me securely with your Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express card through PayPal! account.

A substantial donation means that I would come to your home town and write about it in my own inimitable style. An even more substantial donation and I promise that I will stay well away.

Now if you are still here, click on the "back button" on your browser to go back to the story.

But if somehow you landed on this page, go to the home page and help yourself to a likely-looking page.

Have fun, and thanks for visiting. I appreciate it.



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