What happens when you break down in France (10 things I learnt)

364-2012-08-16 16.13.08-thumb-300x251-363.jpgWhen you go on a family holiday and your car gets a longer holiday than you do, you just know something didn’t go to plan.

This year our camping trip to france had a little ‘incident’ that left me pushing my French skills to the limit, learning new words concerning vehicle parts, pleading with insurance companies and waiting, lots and lots and lots of waiting.

Still, it was a great holiday! Read on to discover what happened when we broke down and what we learnt.

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Memories of Nan Root

Taking Nicola to swimming club tonight we were talking about memories of her Nan and that reminded me of my Nan. Two things immediately sprung to mind, the first was going to Nan’s for lunch.

She’d always lay on a huge spread of food, filling a table that to a 6 year old as as big as I was (so, I imagine, about 1.5m diameter?). It had fresh bloomer bread thick cut and spread with real butter (at home we had margarine so it was always a treat). New potatoes that always tasted unique (I later discovered, it was the salt. Nan always added lots of salt whereas mum didn’t, which is why it always tasted so different at Nan’s). Fine bone china bowls with pastel colour flower patterns spring to mind, though not in any detail. Runner beans and peas, fresh from Granddad’s flower bed. Happy days of childhood.

305-marsmilkbottle (Custom).jpgI then remembered the ‘Mars Milk’. I guess I was staying at Nan and Granddad’s for a weekend. We’d gone shopping and I asked if we could buy the ‘Mars Milk’. I didn’t understand what Nan was trying to tell me at the time, that the Mars chocolate bar was an advert for Mars and the milk was normal milk. I liked it enough to ask for it again though. Several years later, and Mars flavoured milk appeared on the supermarket shelves.

I don’t claim that any of the above is of interest to anyone but me, but the memories are wonderfully tasty in my mind.

Our Sydney holiday photo (after a little CGI…)

In June 2004 we went on holiday to Australia. The photos were shared on my web site, crafted hand coded pages in the days before I used movable-type to blog. One day, I may move them into the main blog but for now they still live in their own little folder at http://www.steveroot.co.uk/australia/. Amongst the requisite family holiday photos is an aerial photo of Sydney taken from a helicopter flight.


This is ‘Deco by Night’, an image created by visual designer Albert Keifer. If you look really closely you can see our holiday picture in that image…. no I struggled too. The nice chap emailed a series of images to show me…


So here’s our original holiday photo. The city of Sydney, it’s wide blue river, Opera House, distinctive bridge and some of the email Albert sent asking if he could use the image.

I am an illustrator, visualiser and I was approached yesterday to enter in this contest. I had the shape lying around and started working on rendering it from different angles and see how I could build an atmosphere. I was coming to a stage where I felt it needed some nice atmospheric background city to put this monumental shape in its correct feel of ‘being very big and aloft’.


So I started a Google Image search on birds eye view and that’s how I came across your Sydney image. It immediately struck a chord and I went on to integrate it into the picture. I did not want recogniseable features since this is supposed to be a futuristich ‘somewhere’ place and a landmark building like the opera house would immediately distract from that and root it back to a well known place. That’s why I started to do a quick manipulation (which is also part of what I do for a living) and that’s how this image ended up the way it is now.


I asked nicely if I could post it on my blog (OK, it’s taken almost 2 years for me to post, but I’ve finally got to it!) so he emailed me some of the interim images to show how the steps used to crate the image.
Click on the images to see them full size, you’ll probably need to do that to see the detail of the changes

The first image is ‘the-beach’ which is used for the skyline and low sun.

The second image is ‘the-city-base-added’, click and see the full size image and you can see how it’s been flipped, cropped and laid on top of the first image.

In the third image ‘city-remodeled’ you can see how Sydney has been transformed into a generic city, losing the landmarks of the harbour bridge and opera house.

Finally, the computer generated image of futuristic chrome petal shapes is the top layer.