Friday, March 30, 2007

Catblogging Friday again....

I am glad to see an end to this week, to be honest. Yesterday I had some very disheartening news at work that has given my confidence a huge knock - I am struggling to know how I can get through this. A minor irritation that I could have done without is that apparently our childrens birth certificates are the wrong sort and the passport office won't accept them as part of their passport applications. So I have to go into Chester and apply (and pay) for the RIGHT sort.... I have some personal worries as well which are causing me real anxiety and confusion.
Today started ok with both our Get Into Reading Group and the Knit & Natter sessions at the library going extremely well but after that I could feel myself getting increasingly discouraged, disheartened and eventually (to my shame) tearful. I walked around the Marine Lake at lunch time trying to pull myself together but without much luck I am away from Saturday to Monday in the Lakes and am going to do some serious thinking and hopefully come up with some solutions to my problems and worries.

The cat photo is of a Siamese we met inNorthumberland last summer. I have a real soft spot for this breed and he was a lovely friendly animal but full of ticks and fleas!

The second shot is a pic I took for a competition on the subject of eggs! It didn't turn out quite as I had hoped though :(

I was thinking of starting my own gardening blog as I have so enjoyed reading those of various fellow bloggers and got as far as setting it up but I seem to have lost heart for that too.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend and I'll look forward to catching up with you all next week. ((HUGS))

Monday, March 26, 2007

Wednesday evening....
Two more photos from our visit to the David France collection of Everton memorabilia. One is of Alan Ball's boots; the other of K with some Everton shirts.

I am pleased to report that Shea now seems fully recovered from whatever ailed him! He really scared me for a time. Thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts - I was so worried!!

I've been over in Leeds visiting T; the weather was absolutely lovely and we had a great time visiting garden centres and various other shopping places. It was a really nice break! Only two more days at work and then it's the Easter holidays and we are off for a long weekend to the Lakes!!

Everton mural.
I came home tonight to find that Shea had been sick several times and was very lethargic. The girls and I took him to the vet who said he has a very high temperature and decided to keep him in. Shea wasn't a bit keen on having his temperature taken and needed a good suck of my hair to console him! I'm to ring at 0 am tomorrow morning to see how he is. I'm so worried - I guess it's stupid but i love him so much. He's a very special cat. I don't feel like writing much else tonight.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

P downloaded a plug in so I was able to access my raw files from yesterday's macro experimenting. It really is interesting to see the effect of different apertures. My favourite pictures are these two shots of a fridge magnet I got from Bath six years ago. I like the "eye" shot the best although P prefers the other one.

We have had a lovely day! S went to a party, so after a quick trip to COSTCO P, K and I picked up P's dad and headed over to Goodison Park to see part of the David france collection of Everton memorabilia. K really enjoyed it. She and her dad and grandad had their photo taken with a big silver cup (er...not sure WHICH cup LOL) to create a picture they had taken ten years ago when she was little more than a baby!

I popped down the garden to the compost heap and noticed how quickly the weeds are growing in the rockery. I pulled up as many as I could and then cleared the slimey green weed out of the mini-pond i have on the deck in a large ceramic pot. I'm going over to Leeds this Tuesday to visit T and we are going to a garden centre to buy pots and plants for her balcony. I won't be able to resist getting some stuff myself I expect!

I'm working tomorrow instead of Tuesday as I've swapped my working hours around this week so the Leeds trip can take place.

It's Saturday and that means catching up with housework! however I also got to try out the new macro lens. It was fantastic to experiment but when I came to look at my photos I encountered a problem reading the NEF files with Photoshop Elements 5. P thinks we need to download a plug in but I am temporarily frustrated as he's gone out to take sunset photos with the Wildcat. So in lieu of macro photos; here is one I took of a large cup and saucer. This was oart of my Christmas gift from the WC - she is always teasing me because I never finish a cup of tea or coffee, hence this extra large cup to "train" me with - theory being if I can finish one of these a regular cup will be easy in comparison1

S rode very well but there was some drama when one of my favouurite horses, George, stumbled and fell, and the little girl riding him came off. Luckily both seem to be ok; it was hard to tell who was the most shocked.

This is photo of a house I really like in West Kirby - i love the red roof and all the interesting gables and towers. Plusit's nice to see the sun sometimes shines in West Kirby!

Friday, March 23, 2007

It's catblogging day again!
Inspired by Lori, I posted this pic of Ollie in the Christmas wrapping paper. Just like a child he was more interested in the wrappings than in the gifts themselves.

Yesterday was busy! we had a couple of new people to our weekly "Get into Reading" group and a really enjoyable session discussing short stories on the theme of childhood, from Sylvia Plath and Joyce Cary. I had a headache I couldn't shake, so went for a walk around West Kirby at lunch time.

In the evening the Coven met for drinks at our local. We had a lot of fun and a lot of wine!! We ended up talking about book groups and may try to start one in the village - there are other groups but there are enough of us to start our own. Any suggestions for books we might try? I have a lot of ideas from the groups I run at work but reccomendations are always welcome. I have often toyed with the idea of an online reading group. T and I have been reading "Northanger Abbey" together and are soon moving on to "Far from the madding crowd". It's fun to talk about what you're reading and get other peoples insight and opinions. What do you think?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What a difference a day makes....
From brilliant blue skies to grey, featureless ones, from a day off to a day at work, from Helsby to West Kirby!
I took these photos when dashing out for milk this afternoon. One is of the extierior of the Concourse, where my library is located. Believe it or not, this building was designed to "blend in with its surroundings" back in the 1970s. I am at a loss to know who thought grey breezeblock walls would blend in with ANYTHING! Recently a huge swath of black tarmac was laid across the courtyard. Apparently some of the paving tiles were loose..the answer was to dig 'em up and replace them with a horrible stretch of the blackstuff. It looks diabolical and we've had no end of people asking "Why on earth did they....?"

There are some more attractive buildings in this small seaside town.

This next photo is of the beauty salon where I get my toes done, which is part of the train station complex. The last snap is of the Barclays Bank building. West Kirby was not looking its best - I must take some more photos on a sunnier day!

My Thursday night pal the Wildcat is away teaching leaving me bereft and forced to spend the evening with P. Actually, it was ok...we watched ER with K. Now I'm off for an early night!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Just a happy day....

I have really enjoyed today! First thing I met up with J and M, two of my Helsby friends for a Race for Life training walk. I took this photo of the tree branches against the blue sky after we'd walked up the first big hill! As you can see the weather was perfect!

A bit further on we passed one of the local pubs. It's quite a nice place to have lunch both in summer and winter - T and I have had a few lunches here. You feel you've earned your drink if you walk here - whichever way you approach it it's up steep hills!

This last pic is the view up Towers Lane. We walked down it today but we often walk UP instead! It's a longish pull and at first J and I couldn't walk it and talk at the same time (M actually RUNS up it, the fit minx that she is!!) but now we can walk up it chattering away and barely notice the incline. We saw coal tits, long-tailed tits, a green finch and heard a woodpecker. Lots of coltsfoot is out in the hedgerows.

After lunch I went off to RDA. I actually remembered to wear my purple riding gloves today which was lucky as i was helping to lead Theo. The lady who usually takes Theo had hurt her wrist when he knocked her over last week making a dash for a patch pf grass at the end of a ride! So she wanted me to help her. Theo has his "little ways" - he kicks out with a sort of "pawing the ground" motion and also a tendency to nibble people, as well as his habit of trying to snatch any bit of greenery he passses. On the whole he was very good today. All three rides turned up and all of Theo's riders enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air. For such a contrary beast, he is a total lamb in the stable, very docile and gentle. Go figure!

Sorry for rambling on but once again I'm on a bit of a post-horse "high"!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

By the fireside...
It has been a long, busy and productive day at work - but I really enjoyed it! Yesterday I was feeling a bit downhearted but today was so much better! We had our time briefing after work and I brought in bread rolls and got chips from the chippy - just a little snack but it made the meeting seem less like a chore. The trusty slow cooker had done it's work so there was pork in plum and ginger sauce ready when i got home. I snapped this pic from where I lay on the floor in front of the fire - it's been chilly today and by the fire is a nice place to end the day.

My IBS has been terrible this week for some reason and right now my tummy feels as if one of Lori's frisky horses has been dancing all over it so I'm off to bed with a hot water bottle. I have a Race for Life training walk in the morning and RDA in the afternoon!

Monday, March 19, 2007

The view from the treadmill....
I knew I had a busy day ahead so I took the compact into the gym to snap this view. It's what I see when I'm on the treadmill. You can see a bit of Chester Cathedral in the distance. Not the most interesting view in the world but ok when you're listening to music. I enjoy my exercise programme but I'd always rather be walking out in the open air than on the treadmill. But the machine is a good way to test my stamina and to see how my training for the Race for Life is going.

I've had one of those disheartening days when I feel as if all of my confidence and self belief has vanished down the drain. I went into work in the afternoon but wasn't in a good mood and felt I let one of my colleagues down. I phoned to tell her I was sorry and she was very understanding. But it's hard to forgive myself!!

P is away until late this evening and I really miss him. However I spoke to four friends this evening and each one of them in their own way lifted my spirits. We didn't talk about my feelings but just connecting with these wonderful people made me feel better although they probably never realised it!

As I posted an old picture of mum yesterday; here's one of me aged around five! Don't laugh....

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day and I have had a really lovely time today. K and S gave me a hand-made card and a box of Maltesers (it has to be a box for the rattle) to go with the camera bag they'd got me earlier in the month when I first acquired the D40. I also received a beautiful plant from P which I'll try to photograph tomorrow. We went out for Sunday lunch with P's sister and her family and my lovely parents in law. After that P and K went to watch Everton play Arsenal and my mum in law, S and I just chatted and relaxed.

Since Mum died Mothers Day has never been quite the same though. I love being a mum but I miss being a daughter. Mum has been gone almost 18 years now but I have never stopped missing her - as time has gone by I am just aware of how much she has missed. She never saw either K or S. She never saw me as a parent. I never got to ask her advice and I've certainly needed it a lot over the years.

I'm incredibly lucky to have had a "second mum" in my lovely mother in law. But Mum, I miss you more than words can say. I would give so much just to hear your voice and to sit on the arm of your chair again and talk to you the way I used to. I miss the way you felt when I hugged you, the smell of your skin and your hair. I would be a better person if you were still here. I wouldn't have made so many mistakes I'm sure!

The August before she died, Mum came to the library where I was working with a homemade birthday cake she'd made. After she'd left we all had some cake and one of my colleagues said "You're lucky; your mum is really special." She was, and thank God I always knew that. Just over a month later she had left me forever.

The photo is of Mum (Edwina Rose); she was about 20 when this was taken. I think she looks so beautiful.

Love and hugs to mums everywhere today.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Shea under the kitchen table..

It seems only yesterday that Shea was this small! When we first got him he always seemed to have food stuck to his nose!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Strange implements???
The ever intriguing Wildcat bought me a present the other was a set of these unusual objects!! I wondered what on earth I was supposed to do with them (and I must admit my initial thoughts were rather bizarre LOL) but they are for holding my fabric backdrops to a piece of mounting card. And very well they work too. They came from Halfords and cost £1 :)

The other pic is another one of my little woody friends.I have a busy day ahead with meetings and it's my late night at work too. I'm hoping to take more photos this evening at my friend's house but it all depends on P's plans.

Hope everyone is having a great Thursday!

"Phil decided it was time to sit down with little Norm and tell him the facts of life..."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tempus fugit...
This was one of my disappointing photos from yesterday! I was chatting to my friend the Wildcat on Skype yesterday evening and she asked me to send her one of the pics. She worked her PS magic on it and returned it to me looking much more how I'd envisaged it. Pity about the distracting reflections but otherwise I'm a lot happier with it! Thanks WC :)

I have just come back from my first proper session as a helper for Riding for the Disabled. I'm on a bit of a high! as well as being covered in horse hair and horse slobber and with my hands smelling pleasantly (to me anyway!) of horse! i was really nervous but it went ok. I turned up and the instructor, Ruth, told me to fetch Hannah from her stall. Hannah is the pony with the hole in her chest which she breathes through. I managed to attach the lead rein ok and led her out. Her first rider was a young man who was keen but a little nervous. The second rider was a young child who was very chatty. The third session was cancelled. After the rides were over I had to take Hannah back to her stall and remove her tack. Leading a horse sounds and looks very easy but it is surprisingly difficult at first. I was terrified of doing something wrong. Hannah was very patient with me however; she must have sensed I was a novice! The time went really fast. in the excitement I forgot my new lilac riding gloves and left them in the car!

Well, after my exciting afternoon I need to come down earth and what better way to do that than attacking the ever-present heap of ironing!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I was given a bottle of wine and a lovely card today - from the school which came in for World Book Day! That was such a nice surprise especially as I'd had a really great time with the cildren which was its own reward.

Today I went on a Fire Marshall Training Course - I'm now a fire marshall. The trainer showed some videos of how fast fire spreads that were really scary. Including some footage of the fire at Bradford City Football Ground in the '80s when over 60 people died...that was horrifying.

I spent some time this evening taking photos but they have turned out quite am feeling very disheartened.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I didn't get a chance to blog yesterday as our trip to IKEA went very well...we bought some furniture for storage and P spent most of the day putting it together. this room was chaos so I barely made it onto the computer at all!

We created total mess but after some concerted effort today i think the result is pretty good :) I took a couple of before and after-type shots as i'm so pleased with how the room looks. i guess I'll be spending even MORE time in here now...

So this is what my filing system used to look like....

...and this a close-up.

This is our new modular storage unit...

...and this is actually intended to be used for sorting laundry but I thought it would be great to store P's mounted prints.

Shea caught a frog today. Luckily I caught HIM just as he was carrying off his prize and rescued froggy. Who seemed completely unharmed.Phew.

Have a look at my Visual DNA. I got it via Anna's Blog.

Anyway, am off to get a shower and will hopefully take some more ARTISTIC photos tomorrow!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

"Andy and Phil were not convinced that their friend Little Norm had grown at all since they'd last seen him..."

Buying these little wooden figures is sort of becoming addictive....

My friend the Wildcat and I spent another enjoyable evening together on Thursday night taking some more photos of our willing models. It was interesting experimenting with different types of lighting.She also taught me a new way of framing which I've almost totally failed to understand - oops. I can be so slow a lot of the time.

I have finally found my tape measure so hopefully I'll soon be on my way to having a lovely cardigan courtesy of Picperfic :)

Our study is such a's driving me nuts as I can't find anything. I'm trying to persuade P to let me buy some new furniture for storage purposes.

Oh well, the house is a mess so I'd better get back to my tidying...

Friday, March 09, 2007

I can never quite believe how quickly catblogging Friday comes around so here's another picture of my lovely Shea squirming happily in front of the gas fire.

I've been waking up scared the last few days. I don't know why. It's a horrible feeling and I hope it passes...

On my way to work today I finished listening to the audio tape of my book about Seabiscuit. I felt quite lost when it was over. It was a great story, really funny in places, exciting in others, sad in others. I had never before quite realised how dangerous racing was (and still is) or quite how hard it was for the jockeys to maintain a low weight to enable them to ride. The book is quite a lot different from the film with a lot more detail and information.

Todays other photo is one of my favourite pics from my first trip to Venice. I've been a bit tearful today for various reasons but this pic always makes me smile for some reason.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Well, I'm all signed up to be a volunteer for RDA. Everyone seems really friendly so I'm going along again next week to actually help. I met some of the riders today. They are adults with learning difficulties and a really enthusiastic bunch. One lady is 76 and has been riding for years! It was great to see them head off for a ride in the woods on this glorious sunny afternoon. The second class, which is a group of children with mild to moderate learning disabilities had cancelled for today so I didn't get to meet them. It was good to see some of the horses I'd not encountered before. One of them, Hannah, has had a tracheotomy for around 15 years!! She's now in her mid-twenties and has given thousands of disabled riders happy times over the years. The helpers told me that the horses seem to sense when their rider is "different" and behave extra well...even the horses who are normally a bit bolshy like Albert and Theo!

So I just took a snatched shot of my garden from the bedroom window today - it's so good to see the sun and the garden coming back to life. Hope everyone is having a good day.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Favourite mug...

This morning at the library we took part in a "Big Breakfast" event to raise money for Cancer Research/Macmillan Nurses. We served tea, coffee, orange juice and toast.I think our regulars were a bit bewildered but they soon joined in enthusiastically! We raised £34. I tried to take some photos BUT my compact cam was out of battery and my mobile phone broke yesterday - that was a real trauma; I felt like part of me was missing. However I can't fault Orange; they had a replacement phone out to me by this evening and I've just about got all my contacts on it - phew!

So instead I'm posting a quick shot of my favourite mug :)

Tomorrow is my "trial" for Riding for the Disabled...hope it goes ok!