Sunday, June 29, 2008

The reds...and the blues.

I was at Anfield yesterday, home of Liverpool Football Club. On Merseyside, where I was born, you decide early on if you're a "red" (support Liverpool) or a "blue" and cheer for Everton, the other great football team from Liverpool who play at Goodison Park. The two teams are at opposite sides of Stanley Park although both are in the process of getting themselves new stadia.

My dad was a huge Liverpool fan and I grew up an ardent "red". My first serious boyfriend was also a Liverpool fan and for several years we both had season tickets on the Kop, I will never forget the first time I climbed the steps to the top of the ground and emerged onto the Kop; the sights and sounds took my breath away. I also remember asking my boyfriend in a puzzled way why the steps were wet when it wasn't raining!! In all my time on the Kop I was always treated with great courtesy by the male supporters and no-one ever wee'd down my coat - I'd been told this was standard practice at football matches!

When i got married I remember Dad and I waiting alone for the wedding car to take us to church. Dad got hold of my hand and looked at me and his eyes filled - I knew he was going to say something emotional. "Dad, don't make me cry!" I said - thinking of how my mascara would run! "Ok love," he replied and at once turned the conversation to the latest Liverpool performance :)

The thing was though, I married a "blue". Phil supports Everton, as does his dad. In the Liverpool area ours is known as a "mixed marriage". Phil even took me to watch Liverpool once (he liked me more then I suppose!) but after Dad died I was very isolated in my support of the Reds, especially as Kate grew up a true blue.

So, eventually I came to sort of support Everton. To be honest, the Liverpool Football Club of today is not the one I grew up with. Everton is far more like the traditional club of former times and the manager, David Moyes, has integrity and character (and he's friendly too, I've met him!)

It was an emotional day - the ground was empty and the Kop is now all seats (standing areas at football grounds in the UK were abolished after the Hillsborough tragedy)but looking around me I could almost hear the crowd again and feel the excitement. The crowd on the Kop roared and moved and reacted like one body - and the singing was something to hear. I'll never, ever forget it. Yesterday I walked out of the players' entrance, past the sign reading "this is Anfield" with my heart full of memories and my eyes full of tears.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

1. At what age do you wish tomarry?
A: I married at 26 and that felt exactly right - still does!

2. If the end was near and you had the chance, what would you say to your beloved?

3. If sex is a game … would you be good at it?
A: I like to think so :)

4. Where is the place that you want to go the most?
A: New York City...we'd like to show the girls our favourite city.

5. If you could have 1 dream come true, what would it be?
A: A cure for all types of cancer would be found – I’ve lost people very dear to me through it.

6. Do you believe you can survive without money?
A: I could survive on less but could anyone survive without ANY money in today's UK society.

7. What are you most afraid to lose?
A :My family and my cats.

8. If you won £1 million, what would you do?
A: Make sure all my family have enough for their needs, then my friends, then I’d travel the world.

9. If someone broke your hand, what would you do?
A: Go to hospital!!

10. List 3 good points of the person who tagged you.
A: A didn’t tag me she just proferred the baton but I’d say 1. She’s a warm and caring person. 2. She makes me laugh 3. She is very good with words.

11. How would you feel if your parents stopped giving you cash to spend?
A: My parents are sadly deceased.

12. Describe your fantasized-life.
A: I would have enough money to be able help my family and friends financially and travel the world with my family.I would be a professional photographer with a size 8 figure and very long legs (shallow, moi???)

13. What is your ambition?
A: To make a success of wedding photography.

14. What is the one thing that would make you think someone is bad?
A: Anyone who hurts a child is evil and do not deserve to be on this Earth. I loathe cruelty to animals.

15. What are the most important things in your life?
A: My family, friends and my cats.

16. Are you a shopaholic or not?
A: Definitely!

17. If you had the chance, which part of your character would you like to change?
A: I am far too needy.

18. Do you believe in yourself?
A: More than I used to.

19. Honestly, do you think life is fair?
A: On balance probably.

20. Are you an optimist or pessimist?
A: I'm naturally pessimistic but struggle against it!

Blowing bubbles...

I did my first professional wedding with me as chief photographer on Saturday, supported and helped by my wonderful husband! The weather was terrible; it rained almost the entire day but I loved every minute. The couple and their families were lovely; you could not wish for nicer people to work for. The wedding was chock-full of incredibly photogenic people - apart from the bride this gorgeous lady was my favourite subject.

I am on Cloud Nine today as A said my pictures were fine :)

Monday, June 23, 2008


A photo from a wedding a week or so ago when it didn't rain all day! Unlike Saturday...

We had a lot of weather this past few days.Friday was sunny, Saturday was chilly and it rained all day - Sunday we had gales and today it's fairly sunny if not very warm. There's certainly plenty of variety.

I'm pottering around tidying the house and doing ironing today. I don't seem to be getting very far - bit of a headless chicken day I think.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A night out with the girls....

When I'm feeling down and lacking in confidence I watch my DVDs of "Sex and the city". For me, the best thing about the series is the relationship between the women. And of course the great New York locations...the shoes and the outfits. Whatever...the combination is a tonic.

And I still have the movie to look forward to...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Sian is so good; she lets me practice photography techniques on her! Yesterday she kindly sat in the back of my car pretending to be the bride as I tried out different ways of getting the "inside the car" shots!

Sian has been through some difficult times lately but she is very strong...stronger than she realises...and I'm so proud of her!

This is my fabulous new bracelet! On Tuesday my friend and colleague G appeared wearing a beautiful beaded bracelet in shades of orange and peach...I admired it and she offered to make me one in my fave colour. Today she appeared with this custom made work of art...I had to take this quick snap to show you how gorgeous it is - and how talented G is!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I mentioned I'd been editing some recent photos. I was going to discard this as I'd forgotten to change to a lower ISO and the result was blown highlights. I had a little fiddle with it, converting to B&W and adding a bit of glow...and liked the result. I think she has the most amazing smile!

I had an accident with some hair removing cream yesterday. I won't say anymore but when I told Phil he laughed harder than I have ever seen him laugh before :( My mum used to say it was cruel to mock the afflicted!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

In my cups...
It's been a very busy few days! Saturday I went to a wedding and on Sunday (Fathers Day) we went over to Liverpool to do some shopping (not Phil's idea, poor man!) However we all got some essentials. In the evening Phil's parents came round for Chinese food.

I spent one evening last week editing photos and updating my website. I still have loads to do. I am so lucky to have built up a reasonable portfolio in the last six months.

Today's photo was (you've guessed it!) from a wedding shoot...I was taking photos of the table settings and somehow got locked in the room on my own. I eventually escaped through a fire door but before that amised myself by taking photos of the stack of crockery in the corner...

Does anyone remember Furbys? Sian's Furby woke up in the middle of last night for the first time in years, giving her a real fright and then chatting to her on and off for the next few hours. I have a bit of a soft spot for Furbies and he's now perched on the printer keeping me company as I type :)

I have just collected my new specs :) I really like them. So far the monovision contact lens are working out ok too. I've also got 4 Growbags to plant my runner and broad beans in later. Time to get going...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Blissful Artist is getting new glasses...and so am I (see above). I really like them and am looking forward to collecting them.

Now I'm getting older, I've been having problems with my contact lenses. I am shortsigted but as I've aged I've noticed I can read better without my glasses or lenses. With my glasses it's easy; I just look underneath them. Can't do that with my lenses obviously! So i've not been wearing them that much.

My optician suggested I try monovision with my lenses. This idea seemed really strange. Basically, one lens corrects a single eye for distance; the other lens corrects the other eye for close-up vision. The brain sorts out the resulting confusion to give decent vision in all circumstances. You can get bifocal lenses but apparently they are less stable than single vision ones.

So I am test-driving my monovision lenses and so far so good. Who would have believed it???

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I have saved my favourite Project Blue photo for last! I wonder what Anna's next project will be??

This is R & A from a recent wedding shoot. It has to have been one of my favourites as it was a combined Hindu/British wedding. It was so much more colourful than I ever hoped for. This is P's evening outfit. Earlier in the day she was wearing deep red with gold accessories. Stunning...but this blue took my breath away.

They are a lovely couple, with wonderful friends and family. I hope they are always as happy as they were when this photo was taken.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Project Blue...our front door :)

I have been tagged by Picperfic

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
In many ways nothing much has changed; then my girls were five and three...Kate was at school and Sian at playgroup. I was working a 17 hour week (less than now!)I was NOT interested in photography (hard to believe!) I had discovered the joys of the Internet and was developing friendships all over the world via emails, many of which I still enjoy today. My dog Charlie was still alive and walking him was one of my greatest pleasures.

2. Five things on my to-do list for today:

1. Buy tea
2. Reorganise the freezer
3. Get my eyes tested
4. The ironing
5. Water the garden

3.Snacks I enjoy.
Hummus with grapes & carrot sticks, cashew nuts, tortilla chips & salsa.
4. Things I would do if I was a billionaire
Give all my friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues some cash :)
Give a lot to charity (I'd be uncomfortable being too rich!)
Buy horses for me and for Sian
Buy a new house in the country with land and stables for horses.

5. Places I have lived

I'm not going to tag anyone but feel free to do it and if you do, let me know :)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A few years ago our Californian friends Quiet Rage & family visited us. We all made efforts to spruce the house up before they arrived. One of the things i did was invest in some beautiful and expensive blue glazed pots for either side of the front door. I planted them up and thdey looked spectacular!

Until the day I forgot to apply my handbrake fully and the car rolled forward, cracking one pot into pieces. I was really upset. Phil comforted me with the fact I still had one pot left. A few days later (and how I managed this I do not know!) I drove into the remaining pot and broke that, too :( It was too expensive and risky to replace them with identical pots so I bought plastic ones. However, I couldn't bear to just chuck out my lovely pots so I sank them into the soil and grew plants around them...and here is one of them.

I have new pots in the front now; but they are aluminium and unlikely to crack if I once again drive into them.

Happy Project Blue Sunday, everyone.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

One of the flowers growing by the pond. I love these. They are great value. Once they've bloomed once, if you cut them down they'll grow again. A good choice for Project Blue I thought!

I had a great Friday. A wasn't picking me up for the wedding until 2.20 so I spent the morning doing chores and running errands but at an enjoyable rather than frenzied blue-bottle pace. A did throw me by being 5 minutes early and I was still packing my camera bag! This unreadiness was caused by me deciding it was too hot to wear my suit and then being totally unable to decide on what I COULD wear and still look reasonably smart and professional!

The wedding was a lot of fun - well, it was for me. The ceremony was long and then we had a lengthy drive to the venue for the reception; but the countryside was very scenic and I enjoyed it. There were some very attractive people to photograph (I have discovered the people I like to photograph most are either beautiful and young or have those aged, craggy yet arresting faces - how shallow am I? I did not realise my prejudice for the beautiful/interesting until I got into wedding photography!) and I managed to get my "good" child each wedding I go to I try to get one really good picture of a child - a personal challenge and harder than you'd think!

We didn't get home until around ten, despite leaving right after the speeches, before the meal and the cake cutting!

Arriving at work this morning I was was astonished to find a continental market set up outside the library. It is rather nice and lends a pleasingly exotic air to our hideously unimpressive courtyard area. I bought olives for lunch, ate too many and am now reeking of garlic AND feeling a :(

I overheard an earnest lady telling a storeholder his array of wares should be kept in a refridgerated area and not just on trestle tables. She had an impressive number of facts and figures supporting her case but he seemed sublimely unimpressed...he kept smiling and nodding but not doing anything else. I fully expect to see the Health & Safety enforcers cart him off to jail later on.....

Speaking of H&S, I read in today's paper that council workers can refuse to empty wheelie bins if they feel they are "too heavy". This is an interesting counterpoint to a story I read on Thursday in which an elderly lady living up a country lane has been told refuse collectors will no longer be coming to her house but instead she must either wheel her bin to the end of the lane each week or carry black bags down there. This is despite her paying nearly £2000 a year for council services. Has the world gone mad or is it just England???

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Thursday....and another Project Blue post...this cheery chicken hangs on a cupboard door...and probably annoys the hell out of Phil every time he goes to open it!

The Race for Life event last night at Chester Zoo was great. I really enjoyed it, although my lovely friend J couldn't be with us as she has a poorly leg. D walked the whole route with me and we seemed to talk mainly about food...thanks for your company, D! We all finished up at the pub for a quick drink and a chat. It was good to catch up with everyone's news.

It's J's birthday today...MANY HAPPY RETURNS to you!!

It's my long day at work and I've not had much chance for blog visiting. I'm at a wedding tomorrow afternoon but hope to have a little time in the morning to catch up on Project Blue and my other blogfriends.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Two blue bottles......
When Phil goes to Spain he always manages to bring us back some lovely presents; even though the only shops he gets to visit are in the airport! We have had nice pens and writing paper, bags with "Madrid" on them, last visit I got a beautiful bull keyring. He has also brought me these beautiful bottles. The water served at the villa comes in these and Phil thought I would like them as he knows how much I love blue! He has promised to bring me another one on his last trip in July, as I think a group of three will look even better!
I love Wednesdays. Wednesdays are like a mini-weekend in the middle of the week. I get a morning to myself and in the afternoon I have RDA. Bliss.
This Wednesday I also have the Race for Life at Chester Zoo in the evening.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A blue butterfly for Project Blue...

My friend bought me this lovely wall plaque for my birthday last year...all the way from Madeira! It normally hangs on my kitchen wall but I moved it outside onto the patio table for an uncluttered background and better lighting. I like the way the weathered wood looks against the pottery.

Today one of my staff retired. M was there when I got the job at WK. We've been friends as well as colleagues. I will really REALLY miss her!

I have been reading a book that grew out of a blog today ..."Petite Anglaise" by Catherine Sanderson. It's quite an interesting read. Catherine starts blogging on an impulse but quickly becomes addicted. Her blog chronicles her life as an English girl in Paris, her relationship with a Frenchman and the eventual breakdown of their life together. She becomes involved with a guy she "met" from her comments box but that relationship too founders.

Catherine got sacked from her job because of her blog; she took her former employers to court and won compensation, then was offered a book deal!

I've read both favourable and critical reviews of the book but I have to say I rather liked Catherine - she seems pretty honest about herself. I related to a lot of the stuff she writes about blogging - the way she experiences some event or other and immediately starts composing a blog post in her head about it! She also mentions that sometimes she pours out her soul in a blog post but then hits DELETE instead of PUBLISH! Sometimes it's enough just to write it down...and then erase it.

Thanks for the supportive messages on yesterday's post. They mean a lot :)

Monday, June 02, 2008

My second post for Project Blue is a suncatcher ball hanging un my kitchen window!

Last night I had another of my "photography nightmares". This time I was trying to take photos of a bride and groom outside the church. The photos looked weird and I realised I had no lens attached to my camera. I looked around in my bag and found a lens but couldn't attach it...this dream joins an increasing list of photo-related night terrors that started a while back with one in which no matter what I did I couldn't focus....!


When I awoke I spent a little time thinking "Why am I doing this? Why am I TRYING to be a wedding photographer when it is causing me so much anxiety I'm even dreaming about it?" The answer was because I'm tired of remaining in my comfort zone. I like my "real" job but I've been doing it so long there isn't a load of challenge there any more; I'm not learning much new. It doesn't excite me as much as it once did. It doesn't stretch me mentally as much as I need to be stretched now I'm in my late forties. I'm scared of failing but I'm even more scared of not at least trying...

I'm doing it because fate (and A!) have given me a great opportunity that I can't pass on.

And I do it because gives me such a thrill on the (rare) occasions that I press the shutter, look at the screen and realise I've captured a real "moment", a special "look" :)

In a couple of months I might have egg all over my face and be writing in my blog about what a spectacularily useless mess I've made of everything, it's certainly on the cards! If that happens at least I'll know I took a gamble on doing something that wasn't safe.

Ibsen said “'Live, work, act. Don't sit here and brood and grope among insoluble enigmas.'

I'm treating my anxiety by indulging in my "Sex & the City" DVDs, starting from Series 1. Great clothes, great shoes, great writing, lots of laughs, the joy of female friendship and some sensational men too :)