The End of the St Andrews Chapter? Not a Chance!

Well, I don’t really want to let the cat out of the bag but I’ve sort of mentioned it a couple of times (for example here and over here and lots more here), anyway here we go – I graduated in June. Ok, now that’s ‘out in the open’ the rest of this might make sense.

For the time I was at St Andrews my email address and other related things all carried the abbreviation cfc4 (those being my initials and a random number). After you graduate you are meant to get six months to move anything you need from your University email and computer account, but for some reason we’ve been given a slightly longer reprieve. Sadly, however, that time is over and as of today cfc4 no longer exists.

This has led to all sorts of ‘Oh no…’s and waves of nostalgia each time an email from the IT people has come through saying that ‘your university computer account will be closed  in X days’. I should probably point out at this juncture that I am fully aware of how pathetic this all sounds, but please indulge me.

Through all of this I keep getting reminded that there’s something I’ve been meaning to sort out since August and now seems an appropriate time to share it.

Although I officially left in June I was actually back working in the Bubble for the first part of August. On one sunny afternoon, buoyed the success of a Walk in the Park, I took my camera for a walk in the brilliant summer sunshine. When the sun shines St Andrews is an absolutely stunning town and on this occasion it seemed too good an opportunity to miss. I walked from the very tip of the Pier down to  West Sands – via the Cathedral, the Castle, Younger Hall, St Salvator’s Chapel, United College Quad, The Scores and (of course) the Royal & Ancient Golf Club at the Old Course.

Whilst this is one more connection being severed this is not the end. The email address might be going and I can no longer log on to their computers, but let’s be honest how much time did we spend complaining about the email system and the rubbish computers? Probably quite a bit. And how often did we pass comment on getting emails from student societies that we had never signed up for? And now that we’re not actually there aren’t those emails even more annoying?

A lot has changed since the 22nd June 2011 and my time as an undergraduate student is forever over. But regardless of the passage of time we’ll always have St Andrews, and it will forever have that uncanny knack of feeling like home.


“Oh, I Think the Fireworks are Synced to the Music!”

The other day I wrote about getting a ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour of the Fireworks Concert, so here is the follow up. By way of a quick background, for those who are feeling too lazy to read the first post, the Fireworks Concert happens every year to celebrate the end of the Edinburgh International Festival. This year its new sponsorship deal made it the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert. To put it in a nut shell it is basically a 45 minute concert performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra which happens to have over 100,000 fireworks launching from Edinburgh Castle to go along with it.Virgin Money Fireworks Concert 2011One of the great things about the fireworks is that you don’t actually have to be in Princes Street Gardens to see them, being on a hill in the centre of town they are actually visible throughout most of the city (and a bit of Fife as well). We decided though that this year we would get in on the action and watch from Princes Street. Apart from the obvious benefits of being so close (getting your eardrums blown out, etc.) you also get the concert live as there are speakers along the edge of the Gardens.Virgin Money Fireworks Concert 2011We got an uninterupted view of the entire show from our vantage point at the bottom of Fredrick Street and although there were fewer people there than I thought there might be the crowd was still pretty large. Before leaving for the show I discovered that one of my cameras actually has a setting for fireworks on it, so I dutifully used it throughout. Sadly, however, it seems that it isn’t exactly wonderful (or I was doing something wrong, both of which are equally possible) and so the photos aren’t the best.Virgin Money Fireworks Concert 2011The display was absolutely spectacular this year (as it always is) and the music was excellent – I’m not entirely sure how Tchaikovsky’s Russian and Arab Dances from The Nutcracker fit with the ‘Far East’ theme, but we’ll gloss over that fact (and that the Nutcracker reminds me of Christmas) – even if drowned out by the pyrotechnics on occasion. I also really enjoyed the couple behind us who, four and a half pieces in (there were six in total) announced that they thought the fireworks were being set to the music.Virgin Money Fireworks Concert 2011To make up for the slightly sub-par photos, I decided to go a little more multimedia about half way through the concert, so if you weren’t one of the many people watching the show (estimates say that over a quater of a million people watch it every year) you can experience a little bit of it below. Do be warned it does contain some flashing images (if that wasn’t going to be a little obvious).

If you are ever in Edinburgh at the end of the festival I would thoroughly recommend that you ensure that you are here for the fireworks concert as well.


A Quick Trip to the Park and a Scratch Behind the Ears?

I am currently a member of the great ranks of graduates who are scouring the globe for someone who wants (or can be persuaded) to employ them. However, I don’t think the dog sees it that way. Without too much anthropomorphism, she appears to think that I have come back to be her personal walker and feeder, with nothing better to do with my day but give her my undivided attentions.

I actually quite enjoy walking the dog, fresh air, exercise, and it’s quite a handy escape every so often as well. It should also be ample opportunity for going out with my camera, but sadly it’s not. Our daft mutt sadly isn’t allowed off her lead (it is 9 metres long, so don’t feel too sorry for her) as she is a) scared of other dogs, but usually deals with it by jumping at them; b) deaf as a post; and c) is a little bit stupid – likes peering over cliffs/large drops, and out at traffic.

For a little while I’ve been thinking about creating some sort of stop-motion video thing, and walking the dog seemed like a fairly easy place to start. I selected yesterday pretty much because I was on my own – so if it went horribly wrong I could just pretend it didn’t happen. The other reason for doing it now is that I’m going to be away the next two weeks, most probably without the internet, and thus would have the time to sort it out if it took forever. Luckily, it was a fairly simple process – erm… I mean vastly complicated and impressive… – and turned out fairly well for a first attempt, if we ignore the rain. Might even make another soon, but in more clement conditions.

It actually took two attempts to go out for the walk. I decided to go out about mid morning, but whilst I was getting my boots from the door the dog stuck her nose out, gave me a look that would roughly translate as ‘You’re kidding, right?’ before turning and heading back to her bed. As I was not particularly enthused about going out either we decided to reschedule it for later.  When I decided it couldn’t really be put off any longer we headed out, camera in hand (modified to be a little more shower-resistant, in the most classy fashion…), into the pouring rain. Camera Prepared for the RainBasically, we were out for about 40 mins and I took a photo roughly every ten steps. That resulted in about 350 photos, now 1 min 18 seconds of video.

For your delection: Walking the Dog in the Rain…