Monday, 29 June 2009

The Doppler Effect Can Cause Pain

In just about every post I've done about our trip to Silverstone I've mentioned (moaned?) that the cars were very, very loud. They were so loud in fact that within a few minutes of them heading onto the track your ears hurt. Strangely though if you had been there you would have found that your right ear hurt more than your left. The reason your right ear would have hurt more than the left can be linked to astronomy and speeding ambulances -- or on other words the Doppler Effect.

We have all experienced the Doppler effect many times. When you hear an ambulance go past with it's siren on I'm sure that you will have noticed that the pitch of the siren changes as the ambulance approaches, reaches and then speeds away from you. This change in the sound is due to the Doppler effect. As sound travels at a uniform speed the sound leaving the ambulances siren is the same, but as it speeds towards you, you hear each wave closer and closer together and then as it passes and moves away from you the waves space out. The same thing happens with the noise from the engine of an F1 car. Just to make things clearer here is a diagram:

Now this diagram isn't totally accurate as a flat out F1 car isn't travelling at the speed of sound, but you should get the idea that the faster the car travels the closer together the sound waves in front of the car become (and the more spaced out behind).

An F1 car is loud even when stationary -- loud enough to hurt your ears if you are too close. The Doppler effect means that as the car is driving towards you that loud, painful sound arrives as lots of closely spaced sound waves yet once it has passed you by the sound waves are spaced much further apart. This explains why at a clockwise circuit such as Silverstone your right ear will be sorer than your left as the cars tend to approach you from the right. Of course if you went to watch a race in Brazil (or any other anti-clockwise circuit) then your left ear would be sorer than your right. The only people with sore left ears at Silverstone would be those on the inside of the circuit and given how much they would have had to pay for their seat or how much money they would have to make to be a guest of one of the teams then I don't have much sympathy for their left ears!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Silverstone, Day 1: F1 Second Practice Session

We watched the second F1 practice session from the Woodcote B stand. We were sat almost directly opposite the line marking the start of the pit lane speed limit but could see almost from the exit to Bridge through Priory, Luffield and Woodcote right down the pit straight to the entry to Copse.

Button did his best to entertain the crowds all the way through the session. Every time he returned to the pit lane he would slow right down early in the pit lane and then race the engine and brake hard again for the speed limit -- this was very loud!

The photo shows Button taking the chequered flag at the end of the session. Such a shame that he didn't get to do the same at the end of the race on Sunday.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

The Keys To The Castle

Assuming you believe that an Englishman's home is his castle then we now have the keys to our very own little castle!

The purchase completed yesterday and we got the keys at about 6:30pm. We aren't going to fully move for a week or so whilst we buy curtains and board out the loft etc. but it is very nice to finally have a place of our own rather than living from one rented house to the next.

We will also have more space than we do at the moment so hopefully we can start having people stay again or at least for a nice meal.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Silverstone, Day 1: GP2 Practice Session

The second session of the weekend was the GP2 practice session. We watched the session from the Farm enclosure so we could see the circuit from the entrance to Abbey through to Bridge. GP2 may be a lower formula than F1 but the cars certainly are not slow, although they aren't quite so loud!

The cars look remarkably like F1 cars from a few years back. The livery of the Durango team makes their car look very much like the 2006 Renault F1 cars.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Silverstone, Day 1: F1 First Practice Session

We set off from the hotel in Northampton with, we thought, plenty of time to make it to the circuit in time for the first F1 practice session of the weekend. Unfortunately traffic and the times being wrong in the details we received with the tickets meant that the cars had just rolled out onto the track as we were pulling into the car park. Even from inside the car the noise was loud. Once through the gate and into the Abbey enclosure the noise became deafeningly loud. With nothing but air between my ears and the cars I finally got to see an F1 car. Two things to note; the are exceptionally loud and exceptionally fast.

As I mentioned in the previous post you can tell just how quick the cars are by the fact that the auto setting on the digital camera was too slow to capture the cars in anything but slow corners. I had to switch settings and choose an exceptionally fast shutter speed to get anything approaching a crisp picture. Of course I still needed to press the button before the car had passed through the shot. Fortunately it was a very bright sunny day and so there was enough light to compensate for the fast shutter speed but that didn't help my reactions. Of the 84 photos we took during that session this one of current champion Lewis Hamilton is the best and even this photo isn't great. Our ability to photograph the cars got better as the weekend went on so later posts will be more interesting, honest!

A Weekend of Fast Cars

As some of you may already know we spent last weekend at Silverstone, mostly to watch the British Formula 1 Grand Prix, but we also saw lots of other very fast, very loud cars tearing around the circuit.

Over the three days we took a lot of photos (more than a 1000) although some of them only show empty track through a combination of fast cars and slow reaction times (ours and the cameras'). There are still a lot of usable photos though so I'm intending to do a bunch of posts covering different sessions from the three days. So that you know what the photos show I'll start with a circuit map. Note that this is actually upside down when compared to the map they show on the TV (I guess this is because of the projection used and the fact that most of the facilities are at the north end of the circuit).

To finish this post I just thought I'd thank Silverstone for the reasonable price of the programme (something I've moaned about before). Whilst the tickets were very expensive the 200 page, full colour, programme was just £10! Now I know it contained some full page adverts but it also contained a whole lot of information on the circuit, team and drivers.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

The Angel of the North

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while may remember that we got a very quick glimpse of the Angel of the North when driving north along the A1 on our honeymoon last year. Well, just over a year later and I've finally gotten to have a proper look at Britain's largest sculpture.

Bryony had an exam in Gateshead at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which is just over two miles from the Angel of the North. I went to Gateshead with her to lend moral support but for the three hours she was in the exam I was free to walk around, so I walked the two and a bit miles to see the Angel of the North.

Part way down the hill from the hospital I turned a corner in a housing estate and suddenly the view opened up and there was the sculpture. I quickly lost sight of it again though as I dropped down the hill and in amongst the houses you can see.

It's actually quite difficult to get good photos because of its size. It's large and because of roads and trees it is hard to get far enough away from it. I also struggled with the light, as it was quite a bright day so the auto setting on the camera left me with a very dark sculpture where you couldn't see any real details. In the end I had to resort to manual settings which worked OK, but the last two pictures are actually three exposures stacked on top of each other so that I could get detail in the sky and on the sculpture. Quite a lot of work just to take a couple of photos!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Scenes from an English Wedding

As well as excloosive toilets and a hog roast there was of course a wedding. Girls in pretty dresses, guys in suits and a wonderfully sunny day.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

The Whole Hog

I don't know the history behind the phrase Going the Whole Hog but I'm quite happy to help eat the whole hog.

This hog made lots and lots of pork sandwiches which were served to all the guests in the evening at Suz and Phil's wedding (the one with the excloosive toilets).

If you actually want photos of the bride and groom rather than the food then Bryony has done a long post with lots of photos over on her blog.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The Dragon, the Monkey and the Worm

I was later than usual leaving work yesterday which meant I arrived at the train station about 45 minutes before my train was due. Rather than waiting in Sheffield station I took a train heading for Leeds and then got off at Barnsley where I could wait for the Penistone train. Why would I bother changing trains instead of just waiting in Sheffield? I thought I'd take the opportunity to photograph some of the weird and wonderful artwork that adorns Barnsley station.

I didn't get to photograph all the artwork before my train arrived but I did get photos of the dragon, the monkey and the worm. Lets start with the dragon.
When viewed at 90 degrees to the track it is definitely a dragon, move slightly either way though and it's a bunch of people waiting for the train.

The rest of the artwork is hidden away in the canopy over the platforms. I know there is a mouse, an elephant and bird but I only got photos of the monkey and the worm.
They may not be to everyone's taste but I quite like them.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

clean me!

Rain Is No Excuse For Bad Grammar

We have had a lot of rain in Sheffield, so much so that it made the national news. It certainly isn't as wet as it was back when we had serious flooding in 2007 (see my previous post if you want the details) but I honestly don't think I've ever seen such heavy rain before.

I catch the train to and from work and given the heavy rain they kept playing the same safety announcement over and over again at Sheffield railway station:
This is a safety announcement. Due to today's wet weather please take extra care whilst on the station. Surfaces may be slippery.
Now I know the weather was horrible but that really is no excuse for such bad grammar. You can be in the station or on the platform but you cannot be on the station in the same way that you couldn't be in the platform.

I know that my grammar (and spelling) is far from perfect but some examples of bad language are so obvious that they really get to me!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Deadly or Not?

I had always thought that Nightshade was a relatively small plant with nice blue/purple flowers. I was a little surprised, therefore, when gardening last weekend to find that the huge shrub at the back of the garden which was covered in small purple flowers appears to be some form of Nightshade.

Now I'm assuming it is not the deadly variety but anyone know which variety of Nightshade can become an 8 foot tall shrub?

Friday, 5 June 2009

Evil Lavender

There is a weird painting on the wall in our hotel room showing a couple of lavender flowers.
I quite liked the painting when we first arrived. That was until Bryony pointed out that in the right light both lavender heads appear to have evil faces. I'm not quite sure if I like the idea of evil lavender watching me all the time and they are a bit like the two heads one vase image in that now I know the faces are there I can't see the lavender again!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Big Block of Cheese Day

No I'm not talking about American politics (fictional or non-fictional) but rather a big block of cheese from my freezer.

You may remember that back in November I mentioned that one of my all time favourite desserts eaten in a restaurant is Wensleydale and Ginger Cheesecake. The Hawes creamery provides the recipe so you can cook it yourself but it means finding a rather large (500g) block of Wensleydale Cheese with Ginger. For a month or so I have had just such a chunk of cheese sitting in the freezer waiting for me to have the time to make the cheesecake. So last Saturday was Big Block of Cheese Day.

From prior experience of making cheesecakes I altered the recipe a little and can honestly say that I think it makes a better version than the one in Hawes. If you want to try making the cheesecake yourself then my adapted recipe is in the cookbook and if you can't find the cheese locally you can mail order direct from the creamery.