Holiday Gift Wishlist (2)

Welcome to the sequel to Holiday Gift Wish List (1).  I have posted a lot since that initial post on December 7th, 2011, and now as we get ever closer to the big day, I thought it was only fitting to post about some other things I would like to receive as gifts if someone was so kind as to give them to me.

The gifts on this wishlist are somewhat more extravagant and require rather a large purse-string to warrant purchasing these.


MacBook Air – by Apple (11-inch from £849.00 / 13-inch from £1,099.00)

First on list two is the ever popular MacBook Air from Apple.  Both the 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air now feature the latest generation of Intel processors, the Core i5 and i7. With speeds up to 1.8GHz and faster memory, the new MacBook Air gains up to 2.5x the processing performance over the previous generation. MacBook Air also features the Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor, which includes an on-chip engine for video encoding and decoding. That means you experience video playback and FaceTime calls that are smoother, more responsive and more true to life.

Devices like iPhone and iPad have already demonstrated the advantages of flash storage: reliability, speed and efficiency. So the decision to use flash storage in an ultra-compact notebook like MacBook Air made perfect sense. With flash, your computer starts up in almost no time and accesses data quickly. Flash also gives MacBook Air the astonishing ability to remain in standby mode for up to 30 days.Which means your MacBook Air snaps to in an instant, whether you open it tomorrow, next week or next month.


Pilot License

Next is something I have always wanted to try.  I am the kind of person who is willing to give anything a try at least once (or as someone I know once said ‘…once is never enough, you should always try things at least twice!).

Sure I have been up in a plane many times like all of you, and I am sure (although I can’t remember if it ever happening) is being able to visit the cockpit as a child, something you would never be able to do nowadays.  It has always fascinated me  what it must be like to get a birds-eye view of the world from the front of the plane.

I have looked into what it would take to get a pilots license many times, but never done anything about it.  Not only is it expensive to undertake, but I don’t want to take on something, which requires considerable amounts of practice, both in and out of the aircraft, with exams and the such like, especially if it turns out I don’t like it, and prefer to reside myself to being a passenger.

I however, did come across a company called Northumbria Flying School which conduct flying lessons at Newcastle Airport.  They provide not only a method of getting your full pilots license they also provide a 2 Seat Aircraft Introductory Trial Lesson for 30 Minutes at £70.00 or 60 Minutes at £135.00.

Which I thought was quite reasonable and it would give me a chance to try it out first.

They do also provide:

Starter Packages
2 Seat Aircraft with 30 Minute Trial Lesson plus 2 One Hour Lessons for £350.00
4 Seat Aircraft with 30 Minute Trial Lesson plus 2 One Hour Lessons for £400.00

Starter packs also include the PPL Log Book, Aircraft Check List, and Volume 1 of the Air Pilots Training Manual.

When you start to look into actually becoming a pilot with Northumbria Flying School, that is when the costs really begin to rise.  However, when you really think about the cost is really not that bad.  -Although- I thought I would had enough of exams, by now.



Per hour                including Instruction 32 hours NPPL



Airport Landing Fees  32 Lands




Per Year 



Written Exams 7 Exams



Pilot case and Equipment



NFS Total




Other requirements
Radio Licence with training  






CAA Licence Issue



Underwater Camera Gear

I currently own a Canon EOS 30d and ever since taking up diving earlier in the year I have wanted to bring together my skills as a photograph and what I see beneath the waves closer together.

I am not an expert diver (I don’t think anyone ever becomes an expert) but I would like to have much more experience before I bring in the photography element, but it does not stop me wanting the housing to go with the camera.  B&H Photo in America currently have the Nimar NI303D underwater housing on their website.  It does however, say it is no longer available… so I have no idea how much this thing is, but I am suspecting it’s close to the $2,500.00 range.

Here is some details of the Nimar NI303D Underwater Housing for the Canon EOS 30D.

Product Highlights

  • Ready to Use, No Additional Accessories
  • Standard Zoom Lens Port Included
  • Enlarged Optical Viewfinder
  • TTL Exposure Control w/Nimar Strobes
  • Designed and Manufactured in Italy
  • Includes Focusing Light & Moisture Alarm
  • Rated Down to 200′

This Nimar NI303D underwater housing is designed for the Canon EOS 30D digital SLR camera. With this housing you can create amazing images as you explore the underwater realm down to a depth of 200′ (60m). The housing is sized and weighted for near-neutral buoyancy and superb handling underwater. The enlarged optical viewfinder provides enhanced viewing even while you are wearing a diving mask.

Camera installation is quick and simple, and the o-ring seal can be checked visually through the clear polycarbonate housing. The locking system consists of secure hooks on every side of the housing. This prevents the housing from accidentally opening up. In-case there is a problem and water enters the housing, the included moisture alarm gives you enough warning with a flashing light, and a audio alarm for you to exit the water before damaging the camera.

The housing includes a free 3W LED focusing light. This provides enough light so your camera’s auto focus system works properly. It is also ideal for night dives, inside shipwrecks or caves. The mounting bracket for the housing is included, as well as a strap that allows the light to be handheld, or mounted on ones hood or helmet.

An external strobe is recommended to bring back the natural colors of your subject and to reduce the illumination of particles suspended in the water. This form of aquatic light pollution is called backscatter. When the optional Nimar strobe is connected to the housing’s bulkhead, you will get the convenience of automatic TTL exposure control. Other manufacturer’s strobes can be used in manual mode only.

The housing features a bayonet mount interchangeable lens port system. The standard polycarbonate zoom port for the kit lens is included with the housing. Other polycarbonate and optical glass ports for the use of most macro, wide-angle, and zoom lenses are available.

Ride the Mother Road (Route 66) on a Harley Davidson

My last item on the list is something that I have always wanted to do ever since I visited various places around North America, and that this to ride the full Route 66 from East to West on the back of a Harley.

I have seen so many television programs related to the subject and I touched part of the route when I visited the western United States so many years ago.  I wanted my first experience of North America to be a memorable experience and didn’t just want to visit one single state, I wanted to see more.

Some years ago I paid to be part of a 12-person group from all over the world that would travel with an American guide up the west coast, visiting Los Angles, Las Vegas, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco to just name a few places, and in one part we actually drove part of the Route 66 Highway, and thought how good would it be to travel the full length of this route on the ultimate motorcycle around – a Harley Davidson.

Whilst I dream of undertaking this trip in the future some day, myself and you all can enjoy the experiences of Don Williams trip up the mother road.  Read it Here

Well that concludes Holiday Gift Wishlist (2), and I hope you have enjoyed reading this post, and can I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and All the Best for 2012, and hope whatever gifts you receive this holiday season you get what you’ve always wanted.