A Bar-B-Q in England

The summer family bar-b-q normally happens at the end of July, round about the birthday of the lovely Jules. This year the calendar is well cluttered at the back end of July, so we had it at the front. Everything was nicely organised for a full house of family, in-laws and friends, when one of our number decided to sneak in an extra holiday, the knock on effect being he had to work this weekend so we were an in-law down. The fun thing about the bar-b-q is that we do nothing except eat it. Jayjay prepares lots of nice food, and has the bar-b-q food ready too, and Gra does the cooking, plus he often brings things to try too. This year Dawn cooked a cake, which was also yummy. While all this was going on I was alternating between eating and chatting and wandering around the garden taking photos.

1537 Foot bridge at Ashford Kent
Footbridge as Art – as we head north to the bar-b-q.

1648 A garden awaiting a bar-b-q
Our chef Gra chatting to AJ

1670 Common Blue butterfly maybe
One of the locals resting up

1654 Butch guarding his tape
Butch in the shade

1680 Mating Green-veined butterfly maybe
If you have Sex at a Bar-b-q, I guess it’s best to do it discretely.

1693 Vietnamese Lantern
A Vietnamese lantern, but we didn’t see it working!

1735 Bar-b-q in progress
The first food to hit the bar-b-q.

1752 Sunshine and bar-b-q
An assortment of family, including in-laws and ‘adopted as’ in-laws. Well – you can never have too many in a family.

We have meat eaters, veggies, and gluten frees amongst us, so we had a wide variety of foods, and of course we all, (nearly), cross-ate to try all the flavours.
Come 7pm we started to scatter our various ways. Jules, AJ and I headed for Ynys Mon, Wales. I drove the first half of the journey, and the girls kept an eye out for Red Kites along the M40 motorway. As we approached Birmingham, a sunset started to develop, but I wasn’t going to stop until I got to the half way distance, 140+ miles, and when I pulled into a service station to top up the drinking bottles and swap drivers, the sunset was still prettyish but fading a bit. Jules took over the driving and headed north, but the woods and scenery hid the sunset, and I didn’t get a good view of the sky for the best part of an hour or so, and then the gorgeous colours and patterns were no more. Better luck next time.

As usual, I went into photo doodle mode, and experimented with the camera’s program settings. I discovered the moonlight setting and it takes three photos and puts them together to get the sharpest image. Unlike the burst mode that takes up to ten pics in a fraction of a second and saves them all, this only produces one photo at each press, and often at slow shutter speeds. The advantage is that in poor light it does seem to produce nice pics (not guaranteed of course) and I don’t have loads of pics to sort through. I can’t remember all the pics I took in ‘Moonlight’ mode, but I’m thinking most of them were. The blooming exif data doesn’t appear to tell us this info – which is incredibly stupid of some git at Canon. I’m going to do a carefully documented experiment to see if some of the weird numbers and things in the EXIF data give me a clue. Carefully documented and Andy don’t necessarily go together, so we shall see!

1761 Sunset from the M6 motorway
Pastel sunset colours from the motorway.

1775 Dusk from M56 Motorway
Stanlow Refinery from the M56 motorway with ‘moonlight mode’

1816 Night drive across North Wales A55
Jules cruising at 68 mph. Another ‘moonlight mode’ pic.

1820 Night drive across North Wales - in the A55 'Pen-y-Clip' tunnel
Nearly home, in the A55 ‘Pen-y-Clip’ tunnel.

Taken in ‘Moonlight mode’. Not perfectly crisp, but good enough considering the bouncy nature of roads. A nice safe ending to a fab day. I remember hoping that all my American friends had had a nice day too, celebrating their 4th of July.


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