Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I found a trio of very happy-looking mating frogs in the pond this morning! So I'm hoping for a nice crop of frogspawn soon.This is another photo of P's - I think it's really good especially considering it was taken with the compact camera - I'd have dropped it in the pond probably. I will try my hand at frog photos soon though.Maybe with the camera in a plastic bag!

I finally did something I've been meaning to do for months. I rang Riding for the Disabled and asked to be considered as a volunteer. I'm going along next Wednesday for a trial. I'm really excited - I hope I can do this!!

I also did my first training walk for the Race For Life today. J and I did about four miles - we had a great time! We were lucky with the weather and made quite good time.I'm hoping to not find the actual race as painful as last time; when I was afraid i wouldn't be able to continue.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Russian dolls

I took this photo on Sunday after my Croc shots; playing around with DOF field/aperture again.

Yesterday P, myself and a a group of friends from the Corner went to the FOCUS photography exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham. We had a really great day! From the first to last it was a really successful and enjoyable time - just a happy day in congenial company. We wandered around looking at the displays and chatting. I met a couple of people I'd only ever encountered online before and they were really nice. The day just flew by. We all spent some money and made a really exciting purchase ( must have had a rush of blood to the head!)

In contrast today was a work day. 35 parents and 37 babies attended Baby Bounce and it was hard work today. They were all chatting and two babies were screaming and I was hoarse trying to make myself heard over the din. Everyone is really appreciative though, which makes it worthwhile.We are becoming the victims of our own success however as the space we hold it in is now over-full and still new people keep coming. Am going to have to think about how I go forward with this.

The day ended badly for me; we spotted a guy accessing porn in our upstairs PC suite. Our software enables us to observe machines remotely and we do random checks all the time. He'd been warned for the same thing yesterday by my colleague. When I went to ask him to stop he at first denied it, then became abusive. We killed his connection and I walked away. He followed me downstairs; threw his library card at me and continued the abuse. Eventually he left but by then I was very shaken. It's hard not to be upset when you're being called a fat, ugly c*&t repeatedly as well as other things. His final shot was "you're an ugly woman; a really ugly woman" as he walked out the door. Stupidly, I was struggling not to cry.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I got around to taking photos of my much loved Crocs today. The beige pair I bought last summer and the blue ones are new. I got the little decorations for them on Wednesday. They really are very comfortable and incredibly light yet tough.

We went to COSTCO earlier and got the girls passport photos done. Just need to fill in the application forms now. We then went to see JS and Co. for coffee.

A group of us are going to the FOCUS exhibition tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. I'm not planning on buying much (just a beanbag for the camera) but J is going to buy a Crumpler bag and i'm going to enjoy that vicariously. I have a BAD Crumpler addiction but I have two and really that's enough (isn't it??) Am supposed to be saving for the holiday.P is planning on getting a new tripod head which is good news for me as I can then inherit his current one, which is like T's and which I really like.

The girls and I watched "The devil wears Prada" earlier. Meryl Streep looked incredible. I couldn't believe how thin those girls were!!

My leg is a little better today but kept me awake a lot of the night so I'm tired and planning on an early night after I've caught up on everyone's blogs.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

"Phil was worried that Andy's behaviour was developing a certain pattern..."

My friend J and I had a lot of fun last night with our little wooden friends. We set this shot up to remind people on the site about our February competition. J's final version is much, much better than mine as she has greater skills at both photography and editing but I wanted to see if I could remember anything about what she showed me last night - well, I remembered a little!! We also worked on another shot but that's for later in the year.

I just took S to get her ears pierced again. She was very brave.

P spent all morning on the PC booking our trip to America in July/August. It's done now!! We fly into Chicago on 21st July and stay three nights, then it's on to California until 11th August. I'll be there for my birthday. P also managed to get tickets for the baseball in Chicago on the Sunday afernoon - the schedules came out yesterday. So we are all set - we are so excited!!

Well, getting back down to earth I'd better get back to cleaning this disgusting house. I seemed to have a bit of sciatica down my left leg which isn't helping...

Friday, February 23, 2007

Catblogging day again - can't believe how fast Friday comes around. This cute little cat was spotted by P and I when we were out walking in Cumbria - this is his photo.

My second picture was taken today by me in haste - this dog waited so patiently for his master who was in the library choosing books. I went over and we had a little cuddle and a chat. His name is Toby. His master was given him when his wife passed away. His son is a vet and a family brought Toby in as a pup to be put to sleep - they'd left him alone in the garden with a pet rabbit which sadly did not survive! The vet refused to put Toby to sleep and instead gave him to his dad - they have been devoted friends now for 6 years. The love and companionship between them was lovely to watch. i'm glad Toby was given a second chance and that he brought comfort when it was most needed. And he brightened my Friday afternoon for me too.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What a librarian sees...

After a long day at work I'm a bit lacking in inspiration! I decided to take a couple of quick pics with my compact. One is the view from behind the counter which only the staff see - we try to convince the customers we're really pretty organised. It looks chaotic although it's not as bad as it looks! we actually do know where everything is.

The other picture is our workroom and my desk in there.

I completely forgot it was Lent and bought some chocolate today (I usually give it up for Lent!) so I'll have to start my choccy fast a couple of days late. I hope I make it this year; I've failed miserably the past two years.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I met my friend C in Manchester today. We decided a bit of shopping and some lunch was a good idea. We spent some time looking at clothes; then gorgeous household stuff in Heals. A trip to Selfridge's followed - we were planning on eating at the sushi bar but both decided it was a bit intimidating. Plus it appeared chopsticks were compulsory and for some strange reason I can only use chopsticks when I've had a few drinks! So we opted for tapas instead.

After lunch we surveyed a few more shops. In a great shoe store C found some cute shoes and I was thrilled to find little press-in decorations for my Crocs. I bought a pair of Crocs last year and loved them so I got another pair recently. My feet hurt so much it's important to have comfortable footwear. The decorations press into the holes in the Crocs and look great (well, I think so!!) I also got a steamer in M&S.

We had coffee in the station and said goodbye. Just a nice, relaxing day, really.

I took these two photos with the Olympus compact. Quite a lot of the centre of Manchester was destroyed by an IRA bomb some years ago and modern buildings have been built subsequently. I noticed these two old pubs right opposite from a very modern shopping precinct. I liked the juxtaposition of traditional and modern, which you can't appreciate from these photos as the old faces the new across a busy street.

I'm feeling a bit tired and shivery tonight; am hoping I'm not headed for a cold. Early bed for me I think.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I took some photos in RAW the other day and have only just got around to editing them. It's a first for me (shooting in RAW). It's fine for doing flowers and the like but my camera takes ages to write the RAW files so it's a slow process - wouldn't be suitable for more reactive stuff.

Today we had over 25 mums and babies to our Bounce & Rhyme session. And just ME leading it as my colleague who does it with me was off on leave. I was terrified - I don't know why I'm so nervous when I do this every week. When you can't sing it's hard to do it in public, in front of a crowd. But the mums are so appreciative and I'm ok once I've got started.

Time for my evening walk now.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Two pictures today from a visit to Port Sunlight on saturday. Port Sunlight is a garden village which was founded in 1888 by William Hesketh Lever, a successful soap manufacturer, to house his soap factory workers. In line with his ideas on prosperity-sharing, the building maintenance and upkeep of the village was subsidised with a portion of the profits from Lever Brothers Limited. With his own money, Lever financed the church, technical institute and the Lady Lever Art Gallery. Lever took great pleasure in helping to plan this picturesque garden village and he employed nearly thirty different architects to create its unique style.

Phil and I celebrated our wedding at an evening reception at Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight. We always enjoy a visit here. The houses are lovely and all different. It's a great place to walk around and photograph.

There is also a beautiful art gallery, the Lady Lever, which has an excellent cafe!

I have had a busy day today although I seem to have spent lots of it on the phone talking to various people. I managed a long walk this morning, with lots of thinking time - something I always relish.

One song I kept listening to on my MP3 player was Bette Midler's "From a distance" - i find it really inspiring. This is my favourite verse....

From a distance you look like my friend,

even though we are at war.

From a distance I just cannot comprehend

what all this fighting is for.

From a distance there is harmony,

and it echoes through the land.

And it's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves,

it's the heart of every man.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Two results of some more experimenting I've been doing with my camera. I'm lucky to have friends who are willing to patiently explain things to me over and over (thanks T and J) and of course P who is such help too when he has the time!

I spoke to K in Canada last night. I was lucky to catch her just prior to her going down for surgery to put some stents in her lungs to help her breathing. She is sounding so much better - much more her old self! She was really chatty despite being fed up with a month-long hospital stay. She's hoping to go home by the end of next week.

Thanks everyone for the prayers and positive thoughts sent K's way. I have told her that people all over the world have been thinking of her and she really believes that all the support she has has got her through yet another crisis.

We are off to my in-laws for a roast dinner :) I love roast dinner if I'm not cooking.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

P and I spent some time today photographing the bunch of tulips he gave me on Wednesday. The morning flew by! Wish we could just spend all our weekends taking photos and not doing housework!

In the afternoon we bought some black material for me to use as a backdrop and some other black stuff to cover the table on the next craft fair we do. We got the list of forthcoming fairs through this morning and are trying to decide which ones to go to.

We made a brief stop at Port Sunlight Village and took a couple of shots.

S rode very well on Domino this afternoon. They jumped a course of three fences as they were in the big indoor school.

My eye is still hurting but I've been bathing it in hot salt water which seems to have helped.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Happy catblogging Friday!

Ok, I'm cheating as this is certainly a cat but not a domestic one. i had a busy day today and could not get a shot of either Ollie or Shea that was any good. This pic was taken in South Lakes Wild Animal Park.

I have a very painful lump on my left eye that is getting steadily worse. It hurts to blink and it hurts when I'm trying to take photos - what a disaster, I planned to take lots of photos this weekend!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I really admire a fellow blogger (AB's) humourous photos using a "family" of little wooden figures. As well as being so funny and at times almost surreal. I think they are such a great way of practising photography techniques like lighting, DOF etc. So I've been inspired to have a go at doing something similar myself although I doubt I can be as inventive as she is! This is the first photo we took, to introduce the Woodys :)

My friend and partner in crime JS was also intrigued by the idea and we discovered these two guys on sale on the Net. We decided to name them after our husbands - maybe we liked the idea that we could make THIS P & A do EXACTLY what we wanted!Anyway, we had a lot of fun last night and I also learned quite a lot. I'm so grateful to my friends who take time to teach me about photography. It's ok to read things in a book but much better if you can actually practice yourself with someone on hand to help you out.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

For P on Valentine's Day
Let My Shadow
Disappear Into Yours
Par Lagerkvist

Let my shadow disappear into yours.
Let me lose myself
under the tall trees,
that themselves lose their crowns in the twilight,
surrendering themselves to the sky and the night.

P is in London today; he left early and will be back late! But my day started with a kiss from S as she wished her mum a happy Valentine's Day.

I enjoyed seeing C last night. For once we talked almost exclusively about work. Working in the library service you certainly meet a huge variety of people with an equally huge variety of needs and desires and problems.

I'm getting my hair cut later and the girls are getting their ears pierced. Again. I think they are a bit young but they are determined. I guess my own multiple ear piercings are acting against me here! They will not listen to my protestations that I was 21 before I got my second set of holes.

I was going to write down some musings on love etc but the kitten just came in, farted noisily and pungently RIGHT IN MY FACE and sort of put me off!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

This is another flower from the photo session with T yesterday. I can't really take much credit for it!!

Today didn't start so well with and I've been sad pretty much the whole day. I feel annoyed with myself as my mood has meant I've been distracted and haven't achieved much - basically I've wasted a day; and a day I'll never get back. It seems wrong somehow.I've also been worrying about T who sees the surgeon today.

Still, I'm visiting C tonight - we are going out for a drink (Diet Coke for me as I'm driving!) and I'm looking forward to catching up on her news.

Will try and not let tomorrow go to waste. My friend JS has set me a challenge to do with apertures and a set of chessmen to photograph so maybe I'll have a go at that.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Today is a sad day! After a lovely but short visit to T in Leeds I started for home only to get a phone call from P. Our elderly cat Tiggy was failing fast and Phil had decided to take him to the vet. I managed to get to the vet just in time to see him handing a very small, towel wrapped bundle to P. Tiggy is dead.

We all left the vets in tears. Tiggy was 19. He was a real rebel all his life; never fully litter trained and the list of his accidents (never truly accidental) around the house is exceedingly long. Noisy, voracious of appetite and affectionate on his own terms, a dribbler and a handsome beast, he was one of a kind. I shall miss him greatly. Although I won't miss the "heaps" he left so often in the most awkward of places.

We have buried him in the garden. Sleep well, old fella xxxx

Photo by P

Sunday February 12th

While visiting my friend T we watched a movie called "In her shoes". The movie was ok but the highlight for me was the recitation of this poem which i had not heard before but think is beautiful.

T helped me with this carnation photo.

i carry your heart with me
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

ee cummings

Saturday, February 10, 2007


After reading Kaycee's blog entry on people who are "Pillars of Faith" in her life I was thinking of the pillars that support my own life so strongly.

My local friends - the "Helsby Coven" of which JW, MG and AW are
such shining lights - who have helped me out countless times, cheered me up and generally made life so much brighter. The mad nights out we've shared and the the laughs we've had. The long country walks when we set the world to rights. Where would I be without these ladies?

My colleagues and workmates and library patrons - too numerous to mention. People I admire for their dedication which often far outweighs mine - people who have supported me through difficult times and who have made going to work a source of comfort in times of need as well as a lot of fun!!

Those friends from abroad, met via the Internet. K in Canada, A and family in California, Kaycee herself, J in Las Vegas, T in Germany, S in Kansas - they maybe do not know just how they have enriched my life and how they have taught me that friendship is not just a matter of proximity.

My friends on the Photographers Corner - I don't think i would ever have developed my love of photography without the encouragement of online photography forums. My "boss" A and fellow admin M, the Mods and the members all inspire, advise, encourage and motivate me so much.

And then those friends I can't classify - C and C, both godparents to my eldest; JS who makes me laugh to the point of near disaster and writes poems for all the family, AS who is wise, compassionate and astute, TS who faces an uncertain future with a courage I can't describe, RG, former fiancee turned friend, and T who I seem to have known for ever!

P, K and S, my family.You put up with me - and I'm so grateful!!

And those people whose blogs I visit - it's a privilege to get a glimpse into your lives and one of the highlights of my day.

Friday, February 09, 2007

It's catblogging Friday again; can hardly believe another week has gone!

I struggled to edit this pic of Shea on the sofa as we seem to have PS Elements 5 now. I had just got used to 4 and now I'm lost. The worst thing is, it does not seem to have an undo button! So if I correct the colour, don't like it and want to go back - I can't. I had to keep starting over. I'm sure there is a way to undo an action but if there is I can't see it - duh!

Very cold at work today as our heating wasn't working. K was off sick with S's bug but does not seem to have it so badly. Fingers crossed P & I don't get it, as I'm supposed to be visiting my friend in Leeds on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

S is feeling better today. She had a decent sleep.

It's a beautiful sunny day today but I'm confined to the house looking after S. I've been doing the usual boring chores and have just broken off from a heap of ironing to post in my blog.

This is another picture from Sunday at Ness Gardens. P has taught me to look for details to photograph. I liked the way the ivy was clinging to the tree so firmly and yet so gracefully.

I have just signed up for Cancer Research's Race for Life 2007. A group of us from our village do this each year. I don't actually run as my arthritis won't allow but I always try to beat my own time. Last year was a struggle. I was in so much pain near the start I thought I might have to drop out. However, with the support of my friends i was able to finish. There is a wonderful atmosphere on these events - everyone is helping everyone else on.

Since the race last year, a friend lost a daughter to cancer,my friend K's mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and another friend received a cancer diagnosis only this week. It makes me realise how precious life is and how much we need to cherish every day.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I have a sick child today. S started vomiting last night at around midnight and continued hourly until around 5 am. In between she groaned LOTS. We didn't get much sleep. Poor girl is still very weak and uncomfortable today and can't keep anything down. There is a nasty virus going round the village - I just hope we all don't get it.

When I went out to get a bucket for her from the garage the kitten escaped and vanished into the snowy darkness! I called and searched for ages; P came down with a torch but no luck - eventually we located him in next doors garden. I was frozen by the time I got back indoors.

We got a little snow last night. Most has melted but i took a few quick photos in the garden. My toe (which had the wight dropped on it!) has turned purple and is very painful. Funny how something so small can hurt so much! I have a thumping headache too; which i'm hoping is only the result of no sleep and not the start of the same virus S has picked up!

I am thinking of two dear friends today; for whom this is a sad anniversary. They have both lost so much and both have personal battles to fight. I love them both very much and also admire them greatly.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Quite a busy day today - went to aerobics and swimming with A and M, then grocery shopping at Tesco. Someone dropped a 3 kilo weight on my left foot and my toes are really hurting!

After lunch I tried taking some more flower photos with some advice from T. I used a black t-shirt as a BG but it was hard to concentrate as the men arrived to replace our aerial. Anyway, I managed to take some pics but my tulips weren't being very co-operative! I was shooting in RAW for the first time which should be interesting.

I took this photo yesterday in Ness. I liked the rich colour which really caught fire in the sunlight.

P and JS are off to their photography club tonight so I'll have a quiet night to catch up on a few things or maybe just have a look at the photos I took today.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

P was out early with a friend taking photos in North Wales. I was also awake early, 4 am to be precise, phoning K in Canada. She sounded a bit brighter today.

When P returned we went to Costco to buy new tyres for my car. I have spent well over £1000 on it in the last two weeks. We then drove to Ness Gardens on the Wirral as the day was so lovely. Desite the fact that it's so early in the year there was lots to see and some beautiful colours. There were plenty of snowdrops out and lots of signs of budding life on many of the shrubs and plants. P and I took loads of photos and the girls were very patient considering how long it took to get round. Afterwards we treated them to cake in the cafe. I'm looking forward to returning to Ness many times as the garden returns to life over the next few months.

I recently posted a photo of my desk at so i thought I'd include one of my desk at home too.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Happy catblogging Friday. This is our cat Ollie. I didn't take this photo: P did using his new Nikon D8O. Ollie is quite fat and very lazy. He likes to stretch out on top of the TV and thinks that the newfangled flat screen TVs are terrible inventions!

K is being treated for a bad virus but the doctors are more hopeful than earlier this week. thanks to everyone who has been praying for K or simply sending her positive thoughts.