Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I am so proud of Phil; he has the cover photo on Country Life Magazine (see above!) and lots of photos in an article inside...only problem is the called him PAUL in the credit for the cover!!

It's been a funny day. As it's Orange Wednesday 9 two cinema tickets for the price of one!) I decided to take the girls and a friend to see "Angus, things and perfect snogging". Kate read all the books by Louise Rennison that the film is based on and I think we all really enjoyed it.

I love having the girls off but I hate their bickering. And it's constant; like a nasty undercurrant to everything we do. It's wearing me down and it's only the second week of the holidays...

On a brighter note, I heard from A yesterday, and the couple whose wedding we photographed on 12th July sent him a lovely email saying nice things about us, plus they loved their photos. You can imagine how happy that made me!

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Lighten our darkness, Lord, we pray,
and in your great mercy
defend us from all perils and dangers of this night"

I saw these lanterns in church and took a quick photo. When I came to edit it, I darkened the background and those words came into my head. I have always found them extremely comforting...

It's been hot (for England!) the last couple of days. This morning I went to aerobics and ended up literally dripping! Then a bit of shopping, Tesco and home - it was cooler indoors. The cats were finding the heat a bit too much; I kept finding them stretched out under bushes or on our granite worksurface. I'm actually missing our old ceramic tiles in the kitchen which stayed lovely and cold on hot days.

Work tommorrow and Friday, then from Saturday I'm ON HOLIDAY for two weeks. I am loving not working so many hours. I'm enjoying not rushing round like a maniac but actually having time to catch up on stuff I've been needing to do for ages.

Bedtime...but I'm finding it TOO HOT to sleep! LOL...only a few days ago I was complaining about our chilly summer. Never happy, that's us Brits!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Silver service..

Today's photo is a silver teaset I inherited from my mum. I never use it for tea and I hadn't polished it for so long it looked like brass it was so tarnished. However, i made the effort the other day and cleaned it and then recorded it for posterity!

Another Saturday, another lovely day assisting A at a wedding. Another fantastic couple! The bride's family were very friendly; I had a feeling I was going to enjoy the day when the bride's dad kissed me when we met! The weather was beautiful and the day went fairly smoothly.

Phil is home from spain and it's great to have him back I actually woke the poor guy up early this morning so we could talk. We took our coffee and toast out onto the deck to enjoy the morning and catching up on each other's news. It was one of those really perfect times when you feel that life is truly good...

Dianne from Forks off the Moment gave me these two lovely awards...

One is for making her smile
One is for not keeping my comments to myself. Thank you Dianne!!

I am going to pass this on to two very special blogfriends, whose comments and blogs always make me smile AND feel that the world is a richer place because they are in it...

Kerri from A little piece of me - Kerri always amazes me with the beauty of her nature photos and the inspiring quotes she finds to go with them


Sue - photowannabe - Sue also takes wonderful photos and she just radiates warmth and good will to everyone.

Thank you, ladies!

I am also very happy tonight because a brilliantly talented photographer/special person has returned to Blogland after quite a long absence.
Faye, WELCOME BACK!!! I missed you!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oh happy, happy day...Sian has decided she likes IRONING. Although she finished early as it has actually been quite hot today (not sunny but "close"). We were watching "Zorro" and I took the second photo at an exciting moment when she just had to stop ironing and concentrate on what was going on in the film....

The sleepover went well, I made cookies (artisbliss gave me the recipe years ago and it's still loved greatly!) and pancakes all round for breakfast. We're all tired and I have work tomorrow so it's early nights for us tonight.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Today's photos are of my alliums.I photographed them in full bloom and now they are seedheads but still beautiful, I think!

I feel as if I've been really busy today yet don't have a great deal to show for it!!

I have had the urge to de-clutter and this morning tackled the infamous "kitchen drawer" - you know, the one where everyone chucks items when they can't think of anywhere else to chuck them. I think every house has one! My parents had a sideboard and the top drawer was a repository for all sorts of "stuff". It was lined with green baize and had a particular smell...I found it fascinating and loved rooting through it whenever I could.

The last time I cleared out our particular junk drawer, I filled a plastic bag with weird things that no-one would admit to owning. I put it in the garage for six months and then threw it in the bin!

So far I've cleared out my make up collection and my handbags as well as the kitchen drawer and a couple of cupboards. I'm on a roll....

Yesterday I went to see "Sex & the City" on my own. I had a great time. I absolutely loved the film. I laughed and I had tears in my eyes. Kate asked me if I'd minded being on my own. I actually LIKE going to the cinema on my own sometimes. yes, it would have been nice to go with a fellow S&TC fan, but as none of my friends have really followed the series, it was fine being on my own. I don't mind eating in restaurants alone either. Sometimes it's very liberating to be just you, by yourself, from choice.

The girls have friends round for a sleepover tonight; they have taken over the sitting room and I'm exiled to my bedroom or the study!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Project Black - the end!
I think sunglasses can really enhance the appearance if chosen well. This guy looks incredibly cool with a nice touch of mystery thrown in!
Phil has left for Spain this morning. He'll be back on Friday and that's his travelling for the commission over and done with. I am (as Anne Shirley would say) "considerably rumpled up in spirit". I have a possible wedding booking coming up soon but Phil can't come with me as it is Everton's first match of the season, so I will have to do it alone. To say I'm terrified is an understatement. I already said yes before I realised Phil wouldn't be there so I can't back out now. I had hoped to build up to doing weddings on my own in time but not as soon as this...! Sian said to me this morning that if I can do this one on my own it will be a huge step forward for me and she'd right but........I'm SCARED!!
It's been a nice day for the first day of the school holidays. Sian and I went to aerobics, then wandered around Chester a little. This afternoon I made brownies and did some gardening. This evening I'm thinking of taking myself off to the cinema to see the "Sex and the City" movie.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Project Black - check out Anna's blog to find out all about it!

Oh the happiness that is a new pair of shoes! And when you're thirteen and just got your first really high heels - well, you just need to walk around and show them off!

I'm quite glad this week is nearly over. I am counting the minutes until Phil returns. The bad weather is getting me down too. At the moment I'm sitting at my desk in jeans, wool socks and a hooded sweatshirt - it doesn't feel, or look, like July!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Project Black from Anna Carson - take FIVE.

Well, I'm officially on strike today but it's been fortuitous as I went into school with Sian to try to sort out the bullying issue. I hope we have all reached an agreement on how to tackle the problem and Sian will be back in school tomorrow for the last day of term. I am so proud of how Sian has handled herself over this. Although she's been upset and scared she's still showed courage and maturity. Thanks to those of you who have offered us support!!

After that, Sian and I went to Frodsham market. It's a horrible, wet day. We had breakfast in a cafe and then wandered around the stalls. Sian got shoes, wellies and two beautiful tops. I didn't buy anything!

I noticed this sign and thought how great it would be for Project Black. It was hard to exclude wires etc. Especially as Sian overheard two women complaining about me taking the picture. Apparently they were worried I was going to photograph THEM! Why is it that if you use a DSLR people get very anxious and suspicious? There was a story in the British press the other day about a father branded a pervert by angry onlookers at a bouncy castle - for taking photos of his OWN children! Other parents acused him of being a paedophile intent on posting pornographic shots of children on the internet. Even when he showed people that the photos only featured his own kids (his wife was also present!) he was asked to leave the area. I think we are all getting too paranoid around the issue of photography in public places. Not everyone with a camera is a pervert or a terrorist!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Project Black 4 from Anna's Blog!

Today has been so busy it's flown by! Here are my latest sunglasses; very cheap ones from Primark! I love sunglasses but am always losing them so now I buy cheap ones - I never really recovered from losing a very expensive pair when I was in my twenties!

Well done to those of you who guessed the lady on the mug was my literary idol, Jane Austen!

Work was really hectic and I was exhausted when I got home. Yesterday Sian was pinched, pushed and kicked in the corridor at school by two older pupils. When I heard what had happened I got in touch with the school and was assured it would be dealt with.

Today I find that whilst two teachers have been sympathetic and gave Sian an early lunch pass, another one basically interrogated her about the incident, asked her to show her bruises in order to "prove" she'd been hurt and seemed to be implying that Sian either provoked the incident, made it up or was in fact the aggressor. Today Sian was called a snitch and worse by these girls, and is too worried to go to school tomorrow.

I feel despairing. It's hard to take a stand against bullies as you always suffer a backlash for "telling". I would expect teaching staff to be at least impartial.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Project Black 3 - my favourite mug! Click to visit Anna's blog and find out about Project Black!

Can anyone tell me who is the person featured on my mug?

I filled up my car earlier and it cost me just over £60. This is really quite frightening! I am resolving to use my car less and less as well as try to be much more frugal in general. The cost of living is really going up and I'm quite concerned about our fuel bills already.

Frugality in itself is no bad thing. I have felt uneasy for some time about the "spend spend spend" society we live in, and I've been pretty care-free about buying stuff myself. I can see that in my future I'm going to be thinking a lot harder before buying anything that isn't absolutely necessary.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Project Black 2

I love this contemplative statue in its niche on a Liverpool waterfront building....

It has been a very exciting weekend. Yesterday I did another "solo" wedding, supported and assisted by Phil. It was a very long day - we set off at nine and returned home close to 11 that night! It didn't rain this time but the lighting conditions were challenging...brilliant sunshine one minute, heavy cloud the next. The couple were great and the locations gorgeous. We had a few problems and not everything went smoothly but A has already seen the photos and he's happy. He thinks there is an improvement from the last one which is encouraging :) I'm literally walking a few inches off the ground I'm so happy!! I have another booking - I guess I am a wedding photographer now :)

Phil has left for another week away - Scotland this time. It was great to spend the whole of yesterday working. I'm going to miss him..

During the ceremony yesterday the groom's sister read out this passage by Louis de Bernieres. Both Phil and I really liked it and found it meaningful.

Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Project Black Take One!

Anna's photography projects are a lot of fun! Check out the details over on her blog

Here's my first photo - a very shiny car tyre!

I'm missing Phil loads and can't wait to see him tomorrow night!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

From "The love song of J Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot.

I was looking through some photos when I saw this one . When I took it, I was thinking of these lines. The part about the coffee spoons has always struck me as very poignant and very true. So much of life is "small". It slips by almost without us noticing it. I spend so much time looking forward to my days off. It's not that I don't enjoy my job, I do, but I'd rather not be at work. When I think about it, I'm wasting 3.5 days of my life EVERY WEEK just wanting them to be over. And when the days off come along, I spend most of them in coffee spoon moments doing routine chores!

This year has been a series of challenges as I've tried to make changes in my life and my attitude to it. I keep forgetting to live in the moment! I have a great job, and wonderful colleagues. A lot of my best moments have been at work. I need to remember that more.

I feel like I've been driving all day. Kate missed her bus this morning so I had to drive her to work, then double back on myself to get Sian to her orthodontist appointment. Then back into Frodsham to return her to school. Home for a little while, then I picked up Shirley and we went to RDA. Back to Helsby, dropped off Shirley, home to collect supposedly (according to Kate!) overweight Basil for his annual boosters and health check.

Well, it's official, Basil is NOT overweight BUT the vet does not want him to gain any more weight. i'm not sure exactly how I'm meant to ensure that doesn't happen!!

I am missing Phil a lot. I had a nightmare last night and it was horrible being alone when I woke up. Not that Phil is sympathetic (!!!) but at least he is there! Except when he isn't...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sleeping owl...

Had a great day out with my friend A from the Photographer's Corner.
And her lovely daughter I aged three. We went to Blakemere Craft Centre and the Falconry Centre as well. We saw a very interesting flying display and learned an awful lot about owls. I was quite sad to learn that owls really aren't wise at all; in fact they are quite stupid! Also that many owls aren't nocturnal at all. I think the owl above probably is as he was fast asleep all the time I was there!

We had a good wander around the craft shops and had lunch and coffee too. The hours just fly by when I'm with A; we always seem to have loads to talk about and I still manage to come away thinking "Oh I wish I'd asked her about that" or "told her about this..."!

I found a beautiful shop selling Thai crafts and bought a beautiful jade-green laughing buddha for my collection; he now lives in the dining room which has a green theme. Phil will go mad; he said "No more buddhas" but my laughing buddhas have come to mean a lot to me this year...I can't really describe why.

This little barn owl was very cute. All the birds flew so low over our heads we were hit by the trailing leathers on their feet! The barn owl was very chatty; talking to us all the whole time.

This female Harris Hawk was called Brandy. Apparently Harris Hawks are the only hawks who will work in packs without tearing one another apart!

It's been a really busy day - I made strawberry jam this morning using Picperfic's recipe below:

500 grammes Strawberries, hulled and mashed with a potato masher. Add juice of one and half lemons, and one and a half cups of suger, mix and put in microwave on high for 4 min. Stir and then cook on high for 15-20 mins (I found 20 mins was needed). Time to do a few rounds of sock knitting maybe? Half fill a couple of small jam jars with water and microwave for 3-4 mins to sterilise them. Fill the jars with the jam.

The only difference was I didn't mash the strawberries as I like some whole-ish ones in my jam. It worked out really well, thanks Marianne!

I am doing another wedding this weekend; you'd think I'd be less scared after the last one but no, I'm just as terrified! Still, I'm going to try NOT to think about it tomorrow but enjoy another day off and the last RDA before the summer holidays. I would like to get to the point when I'm just nervous enough to have an "edge", not stricken with terror for the two weeks proceeding each one!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

What a cow!

It's been a busy few days. We have been short-staffed at work all week and on Saturday morning the summer Reading Challenge started. I was working Saturday morning and it passed in a blur as eager children signed themselves up for a summer of reading and library visiting! I have also been going into schools to promote the chalenge and will continue to do this until the end of term.

Friday night Phil came home from work exhausted and depressed after a stressful week. We ended up going out with our cameras but there was nothing much to photograph. We walked through a field of very curious cows and I took this photo...quite different from photographing brides!!

Saturday night was Sian's birthday sleepover and today was spent recovering and getting Phil ready for his week in Lancashire. I'm going to miss him!

I am feeling a bit more positive and having a long chat with J tonight helps. She really does understand how I feel and knowing that is a comfort.

My work hours are all swapped around this week - very confusing!! Wednesday is the last RDA before the summer break and after this week is over it's not long until the schools break up. I don't work as many hours during the school holidays (I take back some of the time owed me) and I'm looking forward to a bit of a break.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Sian was 13 yesterday. Where have the years gone? Sian was born in the middle of a heatwave. She wore only a vest for the first six weeks of her life. What a contrast to the weather we are having now...wet!

This is the cake I made her. I couldn't eat any because of my wheat intolerance but apparently it tasted good. Phil's parents came round for a roast dinner.

Here is Basil on the garage door. I've not seen him be this adventurous before, bless him.

Yesterday evening A phoned with some great news...our wedding clients were "ecstatic" about the photos we took. This is the only review that really counts. I was hoping I would not let them down...they are such a great couple. I'm honoured we were part of their wedding and so happy we have done a good job for them!

Several people have mentioned hormones in connection with my low mood. You are probably right!! After the big crash I'm climbing back into the light...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Thank you all from the heart for your kind comments yesterday! I wish I knew why these waves of unhappiness and lack of confidence arrive almost without warning. I can't stop them but I hold onto the knowledge that they won't last and that eventually I'll feel better. I'm starting to feel a little better now! Your kind words mean so much to me.

And thanks to dear J, who is always such a help :)