Monday, December 31, 2007

The photo is of a church window, taken on Saturday at a wedding shoot.

Well, this is the last day of 2007. A good time to reflect on the year past. I just looked at my entry for the start of 2007 and see I was suffering with my joints and post-holiday depression!! No change there then! I thought I'd try to look at both the positives and negatives of 2007.

  • My joint pain is increasing and my periods of depression are harder to escape.
  • My darling cat Ollie was run over and killed.
  • Two friendships that were very important to me ended - one very abruptly and painfully and the other just slipped away...and I miss them both.
  • Terrible gales damaged our roof and scared me rigid!
  • Two ponies from the riding school died of colic.
  • Phil has been away a lot and I miss him.
  • Our cat Tiggy was put to sleep aged 19.
  • We didn't get a chance to go camping.

  • I upgraded to a DSLR and have never regretted it.
  • Phil got a commission from the Duchess of Westminster
  • I have photographed 3 weddings; one as main photographer and two as an assistant.
  • We had the most wonderful 3 week holiday in the US.
  • We met Mafia Wife and her lovely family.
  • We acquired Basil, our weird but adorable cat.
  • I am still emailing my brother.
  • I started volunteering for Riding for the Disabled in March and I LOVE it!
  • I learned to untack and rug up horses.
  • I learned about apertures and shutter speeds.
  • We started a weekly Book at Breakfast session at work which has been very successful as well as great fun.
  • Had a great visit to FOCUS and met old and new friends.
  • We got our drive resurfaced.
  • I am blessed with two daughters becoming young women to be proud of.
  • I rediscovered the pleasures of knitting.
  • We went to Wrigley Field.
  • I took the whole family to see the musical Chicago and it was magical.
  • I read the final Harry Potter book.
  • We installed a beautiful fireplace in the dining room.
  • I started a garden blog.
  • I went on a "Big Cat" day with photographers from the Corner and got to stroke a lion!
  • I discovered sushi.
  • I completed another Race for Life.
  • We had a magical day at Universal Studios.
  • We have had many happy curry or pizza fuelled evenings with the Wildcat & Co.
  • We started Baby Bounce sessions at the library and I now sing in public!!
  • Phil and I have been married 19 years.
  • We had a lovely few days in the Lakes at Easter with the Wildcat and family.
  • We redecorated Kate's bedroom and reorganised the study.
  • Saw the QE2 in Liverpool
  • Phil sold some photos at craft fairs and online
  • The girls and I took our first holiday without Phil; a weekend in the Lakes.
  • I have made some wonderful blog friends.
  • My niece Steph got married.
  • I helped Phil photograph a festival in Northop.
  • Karen has fought her way through illness with inspiring courage.
  • I finally managed to read "The Mill on the Floss" and "A Christmas Carol".
  • Carolyn and I had a fun day at Chester Races.
  • It is magic when Phil returns home from a trip and we are together again.
  • Sian is still delighting me with her riding.
  • Our kitchen has been redone!
  • I have got to know CH better and I love spending time with her.
  • I made my peace with an old quarrel and rediscovered some lost friends.
  • I get to spend New Year's Eve with Jane and her family and mine.
There has been sadness this year and many tears, many hours of despair, but looking at my lists helps me to see it's been a pretty wonderful year, and one to be grateful for.

I wish all my wonderful blog friends all the best for 2008 and I hope we can share the ups and downs as we shared those of 2007.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas from Basil!

We do not know where Basil was last Christmas, he wasn't with us. He may even have been a Christmas kitten that no-one wanted when he grew up! We are all so happy we adopted him as he's brought so much fun into our lives. He seems to think he is a dog and likes to chew stuff...laptop cables (that was costly!), emery boards, pencils and this box that a present came in from California! Basil is one of the best things about 2007 for us so I thought he'd make a very suitable image for Christmas Day.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas :)

Monday, December 24, 2007


This little figure is one of three on the grave of Constance Edwina, a former Duchess of Westminster. I love the sad and pleading expression. I think my own face wore a similar expression in Tesco's this morning as I searched IN VAIN for - fresh cranberries, turnips and gift labels. I guess we are having cranberry sauce out of a jar, ready-prepared carrot and turnip mash and a game of "guess who this present is for?" tomorrow! This will teach me not to leave buying certain essentials until Christmas Eve again. However it's not as bad as the Christmas Eve Sainsbury's ran out of POTATOES!!!

Have you ever been unable to buy that Christmas essential on Christmas Eve?
I'm sure once I get stuck into the Buck's Fizz tomorrow morning I won't care about anything much except having my family around me and a lovely lazy day ahead (once I've cooked the dinner of course!!)

We are off to spend Christmas Eve night with the Wildcat...we had such a great evening last year so it should be FUN!

Every year Santa takes up residence at The Photographer's Corner to answer letters from our members. My reply was really funny this year and I'll reproduce it below...
Follow the link to check out the other replies!

Dear Julie,

I thought that I may well be receiving another letter from you. By another I do not mean of course since last year, as you well know, I mean since last week! Your pursuit of me is futile and I must ask you to call a stop to it now. I am a one woman man and before you jump to any conclusions, by that I mean Mrs Claus.

And as if you think I am not wise to your behaviour. This is not my first visit to the site you know. I have seen how you try and entrap the other men on the site by your, as you yourself admit, shameless flirtations! You and I both know it is only because you are after their equipment. You need to be more selective though as not everyone's will fit your mount. I beg you, try and restrain yourself.

Having said all that it is true that you are an asset to the site. You may think you have your knockers, but I certainly would never be amongst them! Your efforts on the site are gratefully received, long may you keep it up.

With regards your Christmas list, I think that you may have accidentally sent me last years, since I am sure I delivered a Radley item last year. And the year before that I believe?

As for the cookbook requested, are you aiming to become a domestic deity? The lens I can understand, as with the monopod. The horse? Now seriously where would you keep it? I appreciate that you have watched International Velvet 347 times, but that is taking it a little too far. Rudolph adds that it is obvious he would be second choice, and he does not play second fiddle to anyone these days (he's never been the same since that foggy Christmas Eve). I must also say that your choice in cars is a bit, well, a bit chavvy.

Thank you for my sticky toffee pudding, I will try and remember to trim my beard before eating it this time. Rudolph is looking forward to his fruit&veg medley.

This year I shall be leaving you a copy of 'The Fine Art of Flirting' by Joyce Jillson. I am hoping that it may refine your technique. And also '100 Ways a Horse is Better than a Man' by Tina Bettison. I am hoping it may redirect your energies.

Have a tastefully reserved Christmas.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

It's been an interesting few days....!

The boiler is fixed, thank goodness, only a very minor fault! The kitchen is also finished - the men came and did the last little bits on Friday. Our family party on Saturday ended up being cancelled as my mother-in-law was really ill and she was supposed to be putting up several of the guests overnight. Luckily the wildcat and family came round Saturday evening to watch the final of "Strictly Come Dancing" and ate some of the party food!

Some of the fairy lights have stopped working, the fibre-optic tree in the dining room has died and the washing machine is playing up. Why oh why does everything mechanical seem to go wrong at Christmas? Phil and I drove all over the place earlier in search of replacement lights and a new tree!

It's been a beautiful frosty, sunny day here, hence the picture above. Tonight I think we'll be wrapping presents and early tomorrow I'm picking up the final bits of groceries for Christmas Day.

I hope all your preparations are going smoothly and that all your electrical goods are behaving themselves...have a wonderful Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 21, 2007

No photo today because no photo could possibly sum up how I'm feeling!!

The boiler (furnace) has broken down! I have no heating, no hot water and 20 people coming for a party tomorrow!! Plus kitchen man is coming to see me about the things not finished off this afternoon. I don't have a dishwasher so I'm boiling kettles to wash dishes...aaarghhh!

Someone shoot me!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful Blogfriends
with love from Julie xxxx

Saturday, December 15, 2007

This is a photo I took of Sian at Northop last weekend. I only just got around to looking at it! It's been a busy week both at home and at work. I had a lovely day in Chester on Wednesday with CH - thanks so much for your company and apologies again for shocking you in Boots :) Friday morning was our last "Book at Breakfast" before Christmas and it took up most of Friday morning. We went to the the home of one of our members and had a lovely time. Everyone said so many kind things about how much the group meant to them; it was just great to get such positive feedback.

Last night I went out with the Helsby Coven - it's been AGES since we all got together and we had a laugh! Friday was also a special day because I was told that the photos I took at the wedding the other week were "great". I'm literally on Cloud Nine to hear that :)

Today we put up our Christmas decorations - finally! Also, the kitchen men came round and the kitchen is ALMOST finished. I still have a few issues but hopefully they'll soon be resolved. Phil and I moved most of our stuff back into the kitchen so we at last have a dining room again. It's been good to get the deccies up too - it's starting to feel really Christmassy around here. I hope to take some photos of the finished kitchen, driveway and decorations soon.

Tomorrow we are planning a lightning raid on Chester to pick up a few last-minute bits and pieces. Right now I think I'm taking myself off to bed!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December sunrise
I was awestruck by the wonderful scene from my bedroom window this morning. What an amazing sunrise!

I had a wonderful evening out with Carolyn last night. We talked and talked! The time just flew by. And tomorrow I'm meeting another friend in Chester for lunch. I'm looking forward to that as well. Phil is in Birmingham overnight and I miss him. I've been trying to get the house sorted this afternoon.

Kitchen progress has ground to a halt. The tiling is partly done but i have noticed a few scratches on the sides of my new wall units. I'm really annoyed by this. I have no idea when the kitchen men are returning. Right now we are waiting for them to call us back.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I'm horny...
Well, that's my title for the photo above, anyway! Today Phil was official photographer for a Christmas Festival in Northop, North Wales. Sian and I went along to see him in action. The weather was nasty; very wet and windy, but we still enjoyed ourselves. I really enjoyed the Mummers and Morris Dancers. I had the chap below lined up for a conventional head shot when he snarled at me! I nearly dropped the camera - it was all a joke, of course, but for a moment he had me worried!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Well, only 20 days until Christmas so I thought I'd get the decorations out...on my blog anyway!

I'm very happy today as I am told I can accompany my friendly professional wedding photographer to another wedding later this month. I can't wait! i've been quite busy this week editing some of the pictures I took on Saturday as well as deleting all the rubbish ones!

This morning I returned all my tubs and plantpots to the completed driveway. I've re-arranged them and like the result but I feel the need for two new pots either side the front door. I also need some bark mulch spreading on the front flower bed then all will be very classy I think!

Not much progress on the kitchen. The doors are on the new cupboards but the tiling has not even started yet...

Last RDA of the year today; we played games and the horses and riders all had fun. I really am in love with darling Bruno. He is such a gentle giant and was snuggling up to me very affectionately today. If only Phil was as cuddly...!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I had the most amazing day yesterday. From arriving at the bride's mother's home, where we did "getting ready" photos to the emotion and excitement of the "first dance" almost twelve hours later, I loved every moment. It was a real privilege to see such an assured and talented photographer at work. It was also really special to feel (even if in truth I wasn't) an integral part of the wedding itself.

The bride and groom, their family and friends, were such lovely people. I had such a fantastic time! i thought all my photos would be useless but many of them are much better than I expected. The one above is just a bit of fooling around (I copied Andy!) in the Function Room while we were waiting to do the cake-cutting. They are blue fairy lights left out of focus...
I'm a very happy Julie tonight :)