Birthday present

I have ordered a 50th Birthday present.

As if going to the US in June wasn’t enough, I have ordered myself a new camera. This will be the first new Leica that I have ever bought and I am going to have to wait for it to be made. They do not make them on a normal production run any more, but in small batches when they get sufficient orders to dedicate a week or two to production.

It’s possibly the best looking camera ever made (in my opinion, of course – your’s may vary!). It is an “MP” model, much like  this one.

Delivery dates are being quoted as roughly eight weeks, so, in maybe seven week’s time, I will be getting a call. It would be great if it arrives before the end of May, but it’s OK if it doesn’t.
The black finish is paint on brass metal top and bottom plates. Over time, the edges get worn through, allowing the brass to show through the paint. This brassing gives the camera significant character and is a very personal thing. My previous M cameras have both been chrome plated and they do not wear at all. They remain looking as good as new for decades.
All the gears internally on this camera are brass and even out of the box, the action is extremely smooth. Again, over time, as the gears really bed in, the wind on gets smoother and smoother. 
It does have a built-in meter, but it is lacking the auto-exposure feature and the electronically controlled shutter mechanism of the M7 which I currently own. It will continue to work properly even in the absence of a working battery. It really is the ultimate mechanical camera and it will be interesting to see whether it changes my photography. I suspect I will get more incorrectly exposed shots!
I am going to try to get Pippa’s old lead made into a strap for it. I will speak with the shoe repairer in town to see if he can attach the ends from a Leica neck strap to the leather of the lead. I can’t see that it would be too difficult to do with the right tools.
So, more info when I have it.


As suggested at the beginning of March, we did go to Crufts this year.

It was a very interesting day (well, half day) and it was good to see all of the Kennel Club approved breeds of terriers there.

The Norwich Terriers are nice little dogs as are the Welsh Terrier, but Ann seems to have her heart set on a Border – the scruffy, common breed 🙂

We will still wait until we come back from the US in the summer, but it might be an idea to investigate local breeders etc now so that we know who might have a litter when we will be looking.

Soon comes round again

It’s been nearly eight weeks since I last went for a top-up and Wednesday will see me back at the Countess for another dose of maintenance. This will be number four out of twelve.

I haven’t experienced anything untoward, but I do think that I have had more colds this year than I would normally do. This is a known issue and not unexpected, given that the immune system is compromised to a certain extent. It seems that people on longer term Rituximab also have more likelihood of heart and lung problems, but I’m not sure what can be done about that. Look after your heart and lungs, presumably…

I am still being treated via Bupa, out of hours at the hospital, but I have been watching what is happening with the NICE approval. It seems that first remission Rituximab maintenance is still going through the system and should, with a bit of luck, be out the other side as anticipated in the Summer. This will mean that I don’t have to inconvenience people at the hospital and can receive the treatment during the day like everyone else. That will be much better.

Keeping focussed

This month, I have been mostly trying varifocal glasses. Or rather, I haven’t.

I bought some new glasses this time last year and at that time, the optician asked me whether I had considered varifocals. Not wishing to admit to my age, I said that I hadn’t and didn’t feel the need to.

Well, over the last 12 months, I have found myself taking my glasses off to read, and write and do other close work. Maybe it’s time I went back and got myself sorted out, I thought.

What a mistake.

The first pair I tried were absolutely useless. Virtually nothing was in focus, they gave me a headache and I was amazed at how narrow the focusing area was. So I took them back and complained. The optician retested the fitting and sent the lenses back to be replaced.

These weren’t much better. I could just about focus at a distance and close up, but middle distance was all wrong. Peripheral vision was virtually non-existent and they’d be extremely dangerous for driving in as a glance over the shoulder to overtake could result in something very nasty happening. Don’t even think about reversing and looking over your shoulder.

These weren’t even the cheaper varifocals – these were one step down from Zeiss ones (which cost about £400, just for the lenses only). Mine were £280.

So, yesterday, I took them back and have now had them changed for another pair of distance only glasses.

Much better.

Birthday weekend sorted out

It’s my lucky year this year.

Not only is my remission going to plan, but it’s a significant birthday too, so there are several plans afoot to cope with such a momentous occasion.

While the main holiday is obviously to the States in June, we have been thinking about what to on my birthday weekend later in the year. It’s at the beginning of the summer holidays, so foreign travel is out.

One idea we had was for a weekend in Canterbury (see the last entry). This is a great idea – until you realise why all the hotels in Kent are full that weekend. I thought it might be because people we on their way to the channel crossings, but it’s worse than that. The Open Golf is being held near Sandwich – hotels for miles around have been fully booked for two years or more…

Ann suggested that we should go somewhere we have been before, but not been for a while.

So, next idea was to go to the Inn at Whitewell in the Trough of Bowland. It’s only an hour or so away, but a fantastic spot and great for walking. We had a very nice stay there about ten years ago with the kids and some friends and one of the best meals we have ever had. But then again, we can go there virtually any weekend for a walk or a meal (subject to cost!).

Alternatively, there is the Acorn Inn at Evershot in Dorset. Another terrific place to stay with great rooms and excellent food.

Finally we decided to head off to Norwich. We had previously been to a very nice hotel (I’ll link to it when we get back…) and have decided to return. There are some friends there that we want to see again that we haven’t seen for years and there’s some family stuff that we can look into while we are there.

No progress yet on the dog front but we are working on that. A trip to Crufts could be on the cards next week (Saturday is terrier etc day…). Lots of photo opportunities, plus lots of different dogs to see. Having never been before, it could be very interesting. We really do need to get another little friend.