Saturday, May 31, 2008

Another Saturday, another wedding... there wasn't one last weekend and I got withdrawal symptoms!! Today's promises to be quite interesting and different...we'll see. These two photos are from the last wedding shoot. I had put off looking at them until today as I thought they were all pants! To my relief, although not my best, they were ok. I am trying to remember to take a photo of the stained glass windows in the churches at the weddings I'm shooting. A is pretty good at finding unique shots and I want to develop my eye for something a bit different. It's very easy to fall into the trap of taking the same photos every wedding and then your portfolio looks very "samey". A is always looking for fresh ideas and that is something I need to try to do, also.

His wife, M, one of the my lovely friends, looks for ideas in glossy magazine adverts and keeps them in a file. Something else I'm going to start.

Later....I had a great time at the wedding. The bride was English and the groom Asian; it was a combination English/Hindu wedding with the most fabulous clothes, jewellery and make up. Everyone was really friendly and made us feel part of the day. I felt terribly drab in my black suit and blouse amongst all the beautiful saris and glittering jewellery. The bride gave me a bindi to wear to make me feel better :) It was a long day (from 10 in the morning to 10 in the evening!) but a lot of fun.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The allium series...

Out in the rain yesterday afternoon. I've never grown these beauties before. They are so hard to photograph, even with a tripod and the macro lens. I might try again with the 18-135 mm...

This first photo is my favourite although it has no technical merit whatsoever. I just like it!
The second has no focal point but it shows of the formation of the individual flowers making up the head of the allium.

The last one is probably the best but I still am not satisfied. I experimented with apertures from F4 to F22.

Today my Kate is 15. I can hardly believe it. It feels like such a short time since she came home from the hospital. Phil and I put her car seat in the middle of the sitting room floor and looked at her and then at each other......both suddenly very aware that we didn't have a clue what we were going to do with this baby!!

Of course we managed, working stuff out for ourselves. I didn't find motherhood easy or natural; for three months I struggled badly. But we got through it and she gets more wonderful every year. I am so lucky she is my daughter :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Kate's birthday sleepover took place yesterday although her actual birthday is on Friday. She had requested a game of badminton with her friends before a birthday tea, evening watching DVDs and pancakes for breakfast the following morning.

Her friends are a joy to have in the house. I watched Kate open her presents and I was touched by how carefully they had been chosen, wrapped and presented. I was also happy to see how gracious and grateful Kate was with everything she'd been given.

Also that evening, I went out with my great friend CL, we had, as usual, a really nice time catching up on each others news.

Just two more snaps from Monday's visit to Erddig. I'm not feeling so good today - very headachy. I've not done a whole lot - cleared up after our guests, made Kate's birthday cake and just spent some time outside with the macro lens trying to take photos of my magnificent alliums full of rain drops - it's been wet pretty much all day!

Today was a typical Bank Holiday Monday but at least it wasn't raining! It wasn't hot and sunny, it was cold, dull and windy but no rain was actually falling so we headed to Erddig
for an afternoon out.

We had a snack lunch in the very overcrowded restaurant, toured the house and wandered around the gardens. We were all a bit giggly and silly in the house and the room guides gave us very repressive looks! I did suggest a family photo but Kate refused on the grounds her roots are showing, Sian screamed and ran away and Phil just threatened me with violence. So I took this snap as they were walking ahead of me down the pathway.

This is part of one of the wrought-iron gates separating the garden from the parkland.

We finished the day with a BBQ which was really good although far too chilly and windy to eat outdoors and now we're all going to watch Father Ted on DVD. We know how to live!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

The countryside is looking absolutely stunning right now - so green, lush and vibrant. The hawthorn hedge at the bottom of the garden is magnificent. To me, it feels like my own personal bit of "real countryside" - full of birds all summer long and screening us nicely from the houses behind.

Hawthorn has such an evocative smell; in the garden of the house where I grew up, we also had a hawthorn hedge and when I close my eyes and sniff, I'm eight years old again.

It's a holiday weekend here in the UK. I'm working extra hours tomorrow morning but after that it's all family time. It's good to be all together after so much time with Phil away.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hello ducky! Another snap from Martin Mere.

I read in the paper today that petrol (gas) prices are expected to reach £6 a gallon shortly. That's $12. I am getting very worried about driving ANYWHERE. I filled up my car on Monday and it cost £55 and it isn't a huge car. That will last me just under a month of "essential" driving. Phil probably spends twice that on petrol.

In the UK 60% of our petrol cost goes straight to the government as tax. I agree that we should all drive less but public transport in this country is pretty expensive and very unreliable. Bus and train services are always being reduced. I live and work near a train station. To get to work by train would involve at least 3 changes and around a two-hour commute each way! Our wages aren't increasing as much as our fuel costs. Phil and I live equal distances from our workplaces; sadly we work in opposite directions!

With the cost of petrol spiralling, food costs increasing every week and promises that winter fuel costs will skyrocket, it's a gloomy prospect for the near furure.

Maybe some point it will be cheaper to give up work and and start claiming benefits!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Where's my mum?
I have been absent from the blogging world for a few days! I need a little time to catch up on my blog visiting - I am missing all my blogfriends. Thursday and Friday were really busy days at work (enjoyable though!) and on Friday night Phil returned from his week away in Scotland. Saturday I was at a wedding all day and on Sunday we met up with a friend and his daughter at Martin Mere; a wildfowl sanctuary (lots of ducks!!) It was nice to wander round snapping ducks etc, no pressure involved!

The photo above isn't great but I wanted to post it as it shows a tiny moorhen chick who was all alone and crying for its mum. A warden said it hadn't been abandoned, mum had just swum off for a bit, but this poor little ugly scrap was very forlorn!

The second photo is just a wildflower snap; it was a bit windy so not very sharp but I quite like the composition. More duck pics to follow no doubt...well, makes a change from weddings!

Today I went to aerobics then spent a few hours with A going through all the shots I need to take at my upcoming weddings. There is so much to remember. Wedding photography done well looks pretty effortless on the part of the photographer but there is so much organisation and preparation involved! Part of me is looking forward to being "in charge" and the whole challenge thing....the (larger?) part of me is s*&t scared!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This is the bride. I think she is beautiful!

I have had such a lovely day. This morning I went for a walk with J; the weather was perfect and so was the company. It was so good to spend time together and catch up on news.

I had lunch in the garden, finishing a wonderful book called "The miracle of Grace" by Kate Kerrigan.

Then RDA in the afternoon. It was brilliantly sunny with a light breeze keeping us cool.

I've just been pottering in the garden while dinner cooks. Later on the girls and I will settle down to enjoy "The Apprentice" on TV while eating chocolate :) If Phil was home things would be perfect! I'm still very content though.
The golden girl - a bridesmaid from my last wedding. She is so pretty and I love her expression.

Last year, something happened in my life that made me very sad. For quite a long time - until very recently - I felt as if I couldn't get beyond it, couldn't move on or let the past be the past. I kept going over events in my mind, wondering if there was any way things could be different. Wondering if decisions I'd made were the right ones for all concerned.

And then quite suddenly I felt ok again. It's a relief. Oh, I'm not saying there isn't still sadness and regret somewhere deep inside me. But I have come through it. I'm very grateful to family and friends who have helped me along the way. I have some happy memories and love is never wasted; even if it doesn't last for ever.

I got some antibiotic cream for my eye yesterday; only one application and the thing has already SHRUNK!!

I'm really tired today; I slept so badly last night and missed Phil a lot!

Monday, May 12, 2008

This is Phil, taking some photos of my IKEA fence box planter. I am safe to post this as he won't be able to check my blog for a few days and complain about the photo. I am very proud of him as he is a finalist in the International Garden Photographer of the Year 2008, in the Plant Portraits category. You can see his photo of a cornflower by following this link here

I'm also very proud of Sian, pictured here riding Drummer - it was a very hot day on Saturday and poor Drummer had to be hosed down after the ride was over. I love watching Sian ride; it's one of life's great pleasures.

Drummer is one of the horses we use for RDA. He's a real gentle giant. He was trained as a carriage horse before he came to Foxes and had to be taught to canter and jump! If you are leading him, he goes better if you rest your palm against his nose - he pushes on it as if it was a carriage harness. He's not the most energetic of rides and Sian had to work really hard on him.

I have now been volunteering for RDA for over a year. It's become such an important part of my week. I love the horses, the other volunteers who have become friends, the riders and our wonderful instructor, Ruth.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


...but it isn't this one! Meet the West Kirby Concourse Ducks. These two have for some strange reason decided to take up residence in the grounds of the Concourse - which is the building that houses my library, a leisure centre/pool and a doctors surgery. They can often be found sitting in puddles around the carpark and the drake is very protective of his lady. I took this snap as I was leaving work on Saturday.

And now for something truly horrible - my eye! The antibiotic drops don't seem to have had much effect so i think I'm back to the doctor's tomorrow. Isn't it a truly disgusting sight?

I have just waved goodbye to Phil who is flying up to Scotland for the last week on the Spring leg of his assignment for the Duchess and feeling a little blue! It was a very short reunion; only time for one major row and a couple of more minor skirmishes! We did enjoy a lovely BBQ yesterday as the weather is beautiful just now.

Right, I'm going to drag Sian off on a 5 mile walk :) She doesn't know it yet...!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Church exterior

I started off my day quite perky but now it's just gone 2 pm and I think my perkiness has run out! Even frequent glances at my shoes isn't helping! It was Reading Group morning and we had an observer - a nice lady who is interested in the GIR set-up but I felt a bit under pressure and like I had to be "me plus" which is always a bit tiring.

I've been eating so well all week and then what do I do on the way home last night? I succumb to chips. With curry sauce, no less. Well, they were so's months since I had chips so I really enjoyed them. Sian finished them off and to be honest, I think my chip craving has been satisfied for the forseeable future!

The girls had cooked their own supper - pies and oven chips, which was fairly impressive but of course dishes had not been done. Well, Sian told me she'd washed her OWN plate and bowl - she must have carefully picked her way around the assorted dishes and utensils littering every surface to do this!

Phil returns tonight - if he catches his plane, that is! The last I heard he was being driven across Spain as the train was full. It's touch and go apparently...

This afternoon I have some statistics to compile; not my favourite task. I doubt if anyone looks at them in any case. I'm SOOOO tempted to just make 'em up and see if anyone notices :)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Church window
The meeting with the wedding couple on Tuesday night went very well. They are such a lovely pair - he seems to have a great sense of humour and fun, and she was very friendly and sweet. It has made me absolutely determined I'll pull out all the stops to do the best work I possibly can for them! It's a big wedding ....over 120 guests and seven bridesmaids - and the reception is in a marquee on a lovely field with great views. A and I had a look at the church too on our way back and although not exactly full of interesting places for group shots, there is a nice garden back at the recption location which will be ideal.

Yesterday was a really nice day - I went to a local garden centre first thing and the staff had obviously just sprayed all the plants with water as they were glistening in the sunshine.I didn't have a camera with me!! I bought a few bits and then spent the rest of the morning tidying up planters and moving stuff around until it was time for RDA.

Phil rang; he seemed a bit lonely - funny, he always seem to like me more when he's away from me (bit worrying that!) I said this to him and he said "I'm missing simple, uncomplicated friendliness". I told him he had never before said I was either simple or uncomplicated (or even especially friendly) and he laughed and said "well, comparatively you are!"

Phil always said I was like Sally in "When Harry met Sally" - the worst kind of woman...high maintenance who thinks she's low maintenance.Hmmm...

I spent more time gardening in the evening and then decided to burn Sunday's wedding pics to a CD for A. Phil usually does this and although i remembered how, the bloody PC was not co-operating and kept hanging. I was getting a headache; my eye was hurting, I was tired...but I wanted A to have the photos before the weekend. Eventually after what felt like 15 attempts I got the files copied to the disc. Phew.

Thanks for all the concern about my eye. It's no better; in fact it feels worse! It's just as swollen and now it's itchy too. The drops taste disgusting (yes, I do put them in my eye but they end up down my throat - I really must have nothing behind my eyes but empty space!)and so far seem ineffective.

As I also have a long and nasty burn down my left forearm (I leaned on my hair straighteners by accident!) I look a right mess. When I'm talking to people I see them staring at the red and gently throbbing carbuncle on my left eyelid! It's a horrible blow to my ego - I always thought my eyes were one of my best bits . Maybe I should start wearing cleavage- baring tops in the hopes they'll draw the stares downwards...but then aging cleavage is probably just as bad!!

I don't get home until after 8 and I still have some pictures to edit from the event we had at work last friday. My eyelid is actually aching; can you believe it? and the thought of more editing doesn't exactly appeal.

On the bright side, I'm wearing new shoes. Gold sandals with jewelled bits! Along with
my cheerful deep orange toenail polish, the sight of them makes me forget all my worries. Never underestimate the power of NEW SHOES!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Chief Bridesmaid...from Sunday's wedding. This was a completely candid shot; I don't think she knew I had taken it.

The doctor has prescibed antibiotic eyedrops for my eyelid lump so fingers crossed it will start to recede before long.

Tonight I'm going to see the couple whose wedding I'm doing in June and visit the church and the place where the marquee will be. I'm nervous

Monday, May 05, 2008


I have spent most of the day doing housework and a couple of hours this evening editing my photos. I am cautiously happy with them :) Oh, I love wedding photography!!

My lump is even bigger and more painful - it's like a pea lodged under my upper eyelid. I actually can't open my eye very wide :(

Mrs Nesbitt was talking about friends on her blog the other day....I would like to tell you about someone very special. About 15 years ago I was a new mum with a very young baby, and I was very unhappy. Although Phil and I had lived in Helsby for 5 years, as we both worked full-time in other areas we spent comparatively little time in the village and barely new anyone. Suddenly I was on my own all day, unsure of what to do with my baby and feeling very isolated.

I used to dread baby clinic; all the other mums seemed to know one another and I felt very ham-fisted as I struggled to undress Kate for weighing. I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach each Tuesday before clinic. I scuttled in and scuttled out, afraid to meet anyone's eyes in case I saw criticism there.

Then one day I bumped into another young mum. She had the warmest eyes and smile I'd ever seen and she just launched into conversation with me. I didn't know it but I had just met one of the best friends I could ever have.

The years have passed and we have been through a lot together. Through her, I got to know other people in Helsby and now I have a group of wonderfully supportive girlfriends here. She is still my friend, even though I was once sick all over her carpet! She makes everything better. She makes me laugh. She did me the huge honour of asking Phil and I to be godparents to her second son. She is kind and brave, caring and talented, funny and wise. I can't imagine life without her!

She is the kind of person who does not know any strangers - she chats to everyone, all ages, and they respond to her personality. Just hearing her voice on the phone brightens my day.

J, thank you for being my friend.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Phil left for Spain this morning and I miss him. I will only see him for a couple of days in the next fortnight!

Today I had a wedding shoot and the weather was very...well, mixed I suppose is a good description. It poured with rain all morning and was still bucketing down when A collected me at 12.15. The bride and her family were lovely people - very friendly and warm. The bride was beautiful AND photogenic too which is always a help.

The wedding itself was a Methodist Church ceremony and the church was nice and light. I used the macro lens for the first time at Phil's suggestion and it was very effective once I'd got used to the fact there was no zoom! I ended up using it most of the day. A had me take most of the group shots again which was good practice. It's quite nerve-wracking with the big group shots; very hard to get everyone's attention and keep it! We had a brief spell of sunshine on arriving at the reception venue and got all the groups done and some pictures in the garden. Then the heavens opened again!

I've had a quick look through my photos and am reasonably happy with them. There is a huge difference between being second photographer and the "main man" however (like lots less pressure!) and I hope i can make that step when the opportunity arises. A is so easy to work with; I can learn so much just from watching him. And he doesn't make he feel stupid if I ask questions or get something wrong.

Today's photo is from the Port Meirion wedding last weekend. This lady was naturally graceful and always seemed to be sitting or standing in an attractive way. I saw her looking off into the distance and took this picture. I decided when processing it that it looked better in B&W.

I have a horrible lump on my left upper eyelid! I feel deformed. It's sore and starting to affect my vision ( I can't actually fully open my left eye!) so I think a visit to the doctor is in order :(

Friday, May 02, 2008

Happy Birthday to Phil!
I took several photos of him but have been forbidden to post them!! I tried for Everton blue icing on the cake but didn't EXACTLY succeed!!