Tuesday, 26 May 2015

My new laptop!

Got my new laptop today (26th May 2015) that student loans say is worth over £500, I paid them £250 for it. Now I Google it and Currys sell it for £299! Its a HP15-r150sa. Still, it is fully loaded with software. Dragon Dictate, Test Help and Office 2013. My current Dell was £400 second hand :P

Am very pleased despite this. Lovely laptop:


Monday, 25 May 2015

Starting to look like Captain Pi-cardigan in my old age

Captain Justin T Picard-igan

Living with being a Tuijl minus the van

My surname is Dutch. Most people attempt to say it pronouncing the J, often if they phone me and say: "Is Mr Tweegiul there?" I know that I have a sales call. The simple answer is that in Holland they drop the J, or the J is silent. Hence Tuil or Tuyl. Most of my relatives in Holland spell their name Tuyl. This is allowed there without having to resort to deed-poll.

I was endlessly frustrated with the name when I was younger. Most people say my first name wrong so I end up as Jason Tweegiul. I don't bother to correct people any-more. I often say, it's just pronounced Tile as in roof or floor tile. Looks pretty, but is, in-fact just plain old Tile. Much like Ne-dell coming from Needle. Or Le-dell from Ladle.

I've got used to the name now and no longer think of changing it to Jason Smith or Spider Mann.

It is a bit different, as there seem to be a lot of van Tuijls but not so many Tuijls. And I can always make out it is really posh like Twasgell - accentuated with a French accent or something.

Why has an English man got a Dutch name? My grandad was Dutch, came over here after the war.

Grandad Tuijl (right) with his brother visiting
from Holland in his garden in Whittlesey, Cambs
sometime in the 1970's (taken my by uncle Con Tuijl)

Justin Tuijl - from young to bald - the photos

1974 Broad Street School Whittlesey, me far right
holding my pocket

2008/9ish

2009/10ish

Goa 2003

2010ish

2008/9 ish

1993

2000ish

2011ish in Indonesia saving a turtle

1976/7 with our Siamese

1973 in Holland

2011 in Ecuador

(OMG) 1994
Not sure where this is? in 2010

2014

Captain Pi-cardigan May 2015

2014

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Neuschwanstein Castle - the best castle

Neuschwanstein Castle
I never knew about this castle until 1992, though I had seen it on telly many times without realising.

In 1992 I took three weeks or so holiday from work and headed off around Europe with in Interrail card in my pocket. After visiting my relatives in Holland I made my way down Europe to the heel of Italy and Brindisi. Here I took a boat to Corfu. This was a mini-literary journey to see the place where Gerald Durrell had lived, as recorded in his book 'My Family and Other Animals'. Later I followed his brother Lawrence Durrell to Egypt (see the article here).

After spending sometime in Corfu finding out that Gerald's Corfu had gone I wondered where to go next. I got out my Rough Guide to Europe and thought, I know, I'll go and look at a castle. The castle I chose was Neuschwanstein.

The journey via Munich and Augsburg to Fussen was splendid, some really fantastic scenery. Also the Oktoberfest was on in Munich. The Bavarian scenery from Augsburg to Fussen from the train was some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Rich hilly grassy meadows for the cow herds. At Fussen the grass stretches to the beginnings of the Austrian Tyrol, where Neuschwanstein is perched. Fussen itself is a really beautiful town, so picturesque.

The castle is set in an amazing place not far from the castle where the person who built it lived as a child. the builder was Ludwig the second. An interesting fellow. In the area you can get a bus to Austria into the Tyrol. The thing about it is that the land is flat to the foot of the mountains and then suddenly it goes up near vertical. I went up someway and came back on the cable car.

I look back fondly on my visit it Fussen and Neuschwanstein Castle, for me it is the ultimate castle.



Ludwig went bankrupt building his fancy places, but since his suspicious death the architecture he left behind has paid for itself many times over from tourism.

And where had I seen it on telly so many times? Well the castle is often used in films, but there is a major film in my life that it is used in. I saw the castle many times when I was growing up. It is the castle used in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang over Neuschwanstein



Euromast a lifetime obsession

Euromast
I have been obsessed with the Euromast in Rotterdam all of my life. I'm not sure what came first: visiting it or seeing a picture of it... or a spoon!

My grandad was from Rotterdam and when I was little he built a model of the tower by his pond. He liked to do slideshows of his photo collections and one of the slides was of the Euromast. I would also get his hand held slideviewer and look longingly at the picture of the tower

Ah, the spoon, you ask. Well, yes, he had a tourist tea spoon with the Euromast at the top. This was an old spoon as the tower was shorter without the mast above the main platform. I ended up owning this spoon when grandad died.

When I was three years old I visited the tower with my mum and dad. Dad and I went up to the ride on top with the raising platform. He took the spiral staircase, but the steps are see-through and I couldn't do it! I had to go back and use the lift inside. I think we all went on the ride to the top, not sure.

Many years later I visited the tower on my own and took the same spiral steps, they gave me the very same vertigo as you look down through the steps to the dock far below!

I am that obsessed with the mast that I put it in my novel Burning Wolfhound.

I know that over the years the Euromast looks less futuristic than it did in 1960, but when I was a kid, and for some years, it was such futuristic looking tower, and I think it is still extremely beautiful, for a tower.

Links

Official site - shows some pics of it being built
Wikipedia

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Curry Powder and Butter Jacket Potato Sir?

I was just sitting in the kitchen eating my butter and curry power jacket potato and the foreign girl comes in to get the pizzas out of the oven for her and her man and she asks me if I have any tomato sauce or mayonnaise. "Of course! Let me go to the cupboard and take out these luxury items that I was specifically not having with my potato!" I should have said.

My five blogs

The five blogs of the apocalypse:







My Cameras

My first camera was a funny old thing that my Granddad Tuijl found in his fish pond! He cleaned it up and found it worked. It only took black and white film. There was a screen on top that you looked down on and the image showed there. Holding the camera near your tummy. Then the shutter release was by the lens. After this you wound the film on and saw a little number in a little red perspex hole at the back for the next frame. I wish I had kept it but film was no longer made for it, though it should have been kept as a curiosity. The pictures were quite effective and stylised.

I looked into it and it was known as a Twin-lens reflex camera wiki mine wasn't quite as groovy as the picture:
"Rolleiflex camera" by Juhanson
After that I had a more conventional camera that was my Dad's. It was done in grey plastic with a big silver flash mirror which would kill the bulb with each flash. It was designed to do that. It did take colour pictures. Eventually film was no longer made, it had always been expensive film.


I made this page as many people have asked me what camera I used for the pictures on this site. The original pictures were mostly taken with my trusty old Pentax SFX-n (35mm) SLR. My job used to be scanning and I have scanned about 90.000 images in my time, so I know a few tricks. Yes the older pics on this site were scanned in!

My first decent camera was about £250 from Argos in 1990/1, an Olympus, this was a compact camera with a lot of bells and whistles, it actually looked like an SLR. It was stolen when my car was broken into in Norwich. Then I got the SFX, it was a shop display item, I offered them cash, and initially they said no, but finally gave in. That was on 29/4/92 for £245

Pentax SFX-n SLR
It went with me to many locations not to mention taking it around India and to Hong Kong.

The scanner was a cheapie and cost £20-30 as I say I know a few tricks to get the best out of it. I used to scan straight into Photoshop. They were all saved for web on medium quality setting. Then I had a new scanner Cannon Canoscan 3200F which provided some great results.

The switch to digital 2004

Fuji Finepix M603
In May 2004 I got digital camera: Fuji Finepix M603 for £220 and the poor old SFX had took a back seat. I sold it on ebay for £32.55(!) After this the Fuji got broken and I had a couple more cheapish compact digital cameras.

Nikon D40 Digital SLR Camera (18-55mm Lens) 2007

On 23/07/07 I got this for £320: much better having a 'real' camera again. I still have this camera and a 3 in 1 printer/scanner. Mainly I use my mobile phone camera for snaps and the Nikon for more serious stuff. I am really impressed with the Nikon and the phone. The Nikon takes great pics and the phone is a most impressive camera and takes the worry out of taking the Nikon places if it is not needed. The Nikon is a 6 megapixel and I have the image setting on max and fine. I know the D40 is getting a bit old, but I have no plans (and funds!) to upgrade.
Nikon D40
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Lens 2011

In Ecuador when I was volunteering in the rainforest I was tortured by not being able to photograph wildlife very well, it was a big step but I invested in a 300mm zoom lens (Nov 2011 for £255.99) I hope if I can sell some photos it will pay for itself, though it is of such a benefit to conservation to have the lens. I find 300mm fine, without the bulk in my luggage and the worry of a bigger lens. It has image stabilising built in so no need to carry a tripod around. As the camera is set to max quality I can then zoom in / crop to an area on the computer if the subject was too far away. It is heaven to get the results.


Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm
Obviously I am always petrified that either the camera or the lens will get broken or stolen.

My Google Earth Photos

My Picasa photos

Norwich 10th May 2015 a.m.













































































118 Thorpe Road - ex City Hotel