Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Some things are just too huge, too scary, to write about!

My wonderful mother in law has been very poorly for some time now. Yesterday she had a major operation. Thank God she came through it and is resting comfortably this morning! This is only the start - but it is a good start at least.

Please send positive thoughts/prayers to June and to her family. She is very much loved and needed by us all.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I had such a lovely time the evening this photo was taken. Phil and I had gone out to the village of Penshurst in Kent to take some photos in the evening light. The church has such an unusual tower.

Our holiday seems such a long time ago. Life is a bit of a rollercoaster right now. The weekend was a big "down", then midweek some good news whooshed us back up again at least part of the way. Today brought another steep descent.

I'm just wondering...what's next?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I am truly honoured to have been given this lovely award from Scriptor Senex
Thank you so much; it means A LOT to me!

I'm so happy this morning!

I just got a call from our most recent wedding clients - they have just seen the photos and they are so pleased with them! And they are going to recommend us - so kind!

They are such lovely people and I'm so incredibly thrilled that they got the images they wanted. I feel like the luckiest photographer in the world right now!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sock punk....

Sometimes I think I'm quite young at heart and reasonably up to date. Thanks to music channels & two teenage daughters I know and like a lot of the current music. I'm up to date on my celebrity gossip and I've even read most of the popular teen books like the Twilight series. I often find myself inserting "like" into every sentence (eg. " It was, like, so exciting!") But every now and again reality strikes....

Like the other day when I arrived home and Sian let me in. "Sock, punk" she said as I passed on my way to the kitchen. Hmmm, I thought, sock punk? Is this the new greeting of choice amongst the young? A bit weird but then, so are lots of things....

Some time later I asked Sian what "sock, punk" meant. Looking at me with curled lip/disdainfully raised eyebrow she told me it wasn't in fact "sock punk" but "s'up, punk?" short for, I was told, "What's up, punk?"

However "sock punk" has become the favourite greeting between me, Kate & Sian these days!

"Sock punk" herself...or should that be "Stock punk?"

The other thing that makes me feel old is I can no longer work most of the technology in our house. The other week Phil & I went to COSTCO to buy catfood and came out with a home cinema sound system (as you do), apparently Phil had wanted this for ages. Much connecting of wires and inserting of scart leads followed plus a couple of trips to the outlet village for DIFFERENT leads and bits of stuff and we had surround sound that shook the house (especially when Sian and I watched Terminator 2...)

Now, I think the new bit of kit includes a DVD player ( we already had one but that was also a recorder...) but because we are still missing some bit of kit we can't do something or other or listen to surround sound on something else (are you confused yet, because i certainly am!) and of course it came with a remote control; bringing our living room total to 4. One of which was supposed to be a "master" remote control which you could supposedly program to do all the functions of the others (only it doesn't...) and I can't use that one AT ALL.

I can use the sky remote although I sometimes can't actually get the TV onto the sky channel. I could use the first DVD remote but only to play (recording on the hard drive is still a mystery to me!) I can use the TV remote but then that doesn't do much. The home cinema remote I've hardly dared to touch.

Since the advent of the new kit I can barely get the TV to function. I sit hopelessly pressing and pointing remotes at the TV, crying and swearing with frustration. It's not too bad when Kate is home because she can at least get things to work after a fashion. But when I'm alone in the house it's very depressing...

In the dining room we have freeview which I never figured out and a DVD player. I wanted to use my new Pilates DVD in there the other day (as it's at the back of the house and passers-by won't be able to see me flailing around on the floor trying to do the routines) so I asked Phil how it worked. "Just switch the TV on and put in a DVD and it will automatically come on" he assured me. HA!

It didn't. So there I am hopelessly pressing buttons on the TV remote and the DVD remote and nothings happening. The TV remote needed new batteries but even with this nothing happened. Eventually the girls came home but even they couldn't help so I ended up in the front room with the curtains closed trying not to drop my hand weights on the cat....

When I asked Phil he muttered something about a lead probably having been unplugged so a playstation could be used... NOW he tells me! It's still not working ....

I've turned into one of those elderly people who "don't understand this new-fangled technology" and it's driving me NUTS!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I can't sleep for reasons I won't go into right now and am waiting for the phone to ring (it's 2 am on Sunday morning) and I'm blogging to stop my anxiety getting out of control...

I've just finished reading a great book by Liz Jones called "The Exmoor Files" I only started it this afternoon. Liz writes about moving out of London to Exmoor where she buys a large crumbling farm with lots of land and promptly starts aquiring animals - a couple of rescued horses, ponies, lambs, ex-battery chickens, an abandoned sheepdog...and also about trying to get over her failed marriage.

Reading what she says about cruelty to animals ( I SO agree with almost everything she says) I find my own guilt about eating animals raising its head. I became a vegetarian a few months after I married (poor Phil could probably have got a divorce on the grounds of unreasonable ruelty as I then promptly stopped cooking any meat at all!) and remained so until I was pregnant with Sian and succumbed to a bacon buttie. Even after that lapse, I stayed mainly veggie for quite a long time but finaly realised that the lure of meat was too great. I remember, vividly, sinking my teeth into a fabulous beefburger on my first trip to NYC; the taste after so many years of strict vegetarianism, followed by only eating fish andchicken, was so overwhelmingly intense I almost fainted with pleasure.

I still can't bear the look or smell of steak and loathe the smell of a butcher's shop. I prefer not to think of exactly what meat is - flesh of a formerly living animal. Kate & I both stopped eating lamb because we both really like sheep (see picture above!) I'm not so fond of cows but oh, I do love chickens and I feel so guilty eating them!

Here's my dilemma; I'm not sure I can face going veggie again. My family are all carnivores which means I'd often be cooking separate meals. Veggie food is quite labour intensive - you have to think more about what you're cooking if you're not going to end up on a very dull and repetitive regime. On the other hand, I don't want to eat animals so much any more.

For the moment I think I'll compromise by cooking more fish and veggie meals and trying to play down the meat content.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One of the best places we visited on holiday was Chartwell, home of Winston Churchill. We liked it so much we went twice.

He had a wonderful gift for words and here are some of my favourite Churchill quotes..

Courage consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

The British nation is unique in this respect. They are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst.

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

We are enjoying a few days of glorious September sunshine - there is something magical about the quality of light you get in autumn as the sun gets lower in the sky. I am sorry last Saturday's wedding wasn't yesterday as the weather was so much nicer.

After several hours of concentrated effort I managed to get the wedding photo editing FINISHED and ended up with around 350 photos; we probably won't use them all but when we add in Phil's pics too we should have a good selection for the couple. It was such a nice feeling to finish; 500+ photos are a lot to go through!

On Friday night I'd cooked a new recipe called Vegetable Tagine; it sounded great and was full of delicious vegetables and spices. I doled out generous helpings and we all sat down to eat. Well, it was DISGUSTING!! It takes some talent to make something so foul out of so many nice ingredients. My kind family were manfully eating it but looked incredibly relieved when I said I couldn't eat mine. So it was fish and chips all round which tasted great!

I haven't had many cooking failures in my life but funnily enough they have all been veggie recipes! There was my first ever veggie meal; apple & lentil loaf which was just about edible and a macaroni cheese where I got the sauce/pasta quantities wrong and ended up with a kind of rubbery glue! The worst ever, though, was the Linda McCartney Christmas roast which cost a fortune to make and was supposed to replace the turkey; it smelled like sweaty feet and went straight in the bin! Last's night's effort was almost as bad as that!

Yesterday was great; we enjoyed watching Sian riding and after lunch Phil and I went for a long walk. Sian was off to a sleepover and the rest of us enjoyed an impromptu BBQ. I made a salad with home-grown tomatoes and there were three ears of corn just ready to pick and grill - yum.

Looks like being another gorgeous day today - could this be a "barbecue autumn" instead of the "barbecue summer" the Met office promised us early in the year?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Buck's Fizz

Despite having a major worry on my mind, I have had a really enjoyable day. Nothing exciting; just a lovely walk with J & Buster the dog, followed by the first RDA session of the autumn term. The weather has co-operated too, being gloriously sunny!

We didn't have major amounts of sunshine at the wedding on Saturday, just a few gleams, but I did manage to get this shot of the Buck's Fizz illuminated by a few rays.

Earlier in the year I took a photo of our wondeful butchers in Frodsham - similar to this but with Mr & Mrs Coward in the front. The photo was part of an exhibition and I heard yesterday that the Cowards have bought the picture and are going to hang it in their office :) I'm really pleased; apart from wedding photos this is the first picture I've ever sold!

A lifetime's supply of Cowards famous meat pies would have been my choice of payment but I'm well satisfied with my actual payment of £10!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Me with Clio & Petra

It has been a hectic few days! The library has been reallybusy with children trying to finish off the Summer Reading Challenge and in addition to that we had our last wedding of the year on Saturday. Luckily the rain held off and we had a wonderful day - the couple were absolutely lovely as were their respective families, the venues were great and they even had a horse & carriage! As you may know, I am completely camera-phobic and always avoid having my photo taken but I sneaked a moment with the horses just before they left and I just had to have a photo in case I never get the chance to photograph a horse-drawn carriage again! (Thanks to Robin from "Your carriage awaits" who very kindly took the photo for me!) If you are in the Cheshire area and know of anyone considering a horse-drawn carriage for a special occasion, I'd give them a call. The horses are incredibly well trained and posed beautifully for the photos! They were also impervious to my flash going off in their faces! The carriage is beautiful and the drivers so smartly turned out and helpful.

Yesterday we braved the Trafford Centre to buy Kate some clothes as a "well done" gift for her exam results. As usual i sat for ages in Hollister, people watching and holding clothes for Phil, Kate & sian. I'm too fat for Hollister clothes - Phil, who is slim, can only JUST fit into their extra-large t-shirts! But I did actually buy something; some Hollister scent which is gorgeous!

This final pic is just a grab shot I rather liked. I love the beautifully soft OOF backgrounds I get when I use my much loved 70-200 mm lens.

Now I must procrastinate no more and get on with editing - only another 544 shots to go....

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The giraffe cupboard... after tidying!

As this is my last day before real life starts up again, I've decided to tackle the last remaining area of mess (apart from Phil's bit of the study and the least said about THAT the better...) - the kitchen cupboards.

One set of cupboards is original to the house and has survived a number of kitchen makeovers; despite being threatened with new doors or complete demolition. In my mind I call these cupboards "the giraffe cupboard" in memory of a cupboard in my mum's kitchen. I'm very attached to them for reasons I don't really understand!

We moved house when I was 14, to a new-build semi lacking in any individuality but which my mum swiftly made into a cosy and comfortable home. One quirk it did have was a large deep cupboard built into the kitchen, with an alcove underneath for the fridge. Much of the cupboard was inaccessible for people of normal height and with normal arms so it became a repository of things seldom needed or used although we did keep the crockery and few other everyday items in there right at the front. Mum christened it "the giraffe cupboard" because she said only a giraffe with its height and flexible neck could really see into every corner.

It seemed quite normal for someone to ask "where's that really big vase, the one we hardly ever use?" only to have mum say "it's in the giraffe cupboard - you'll need a chair". Flasks, enormous casserole dishes, jelly moulds, empty biscuit tins etc - all sorts lurked in there, just out of normal reach.

My giraffe cupboard isn't deep but it is tall. I can't really see what is on the top shelf and it's a while since I've been up there so today will be a bit of a voyage of re-discovery!

Still on an animal theme, yesterday I tried on a new top that looked nice from the front but from the back made me look like a zebra's bum! Not flattering & I won't be keeping it!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

At an angle...

I took this photo when we were in London. It's St Pancras Station and has not long been refurbished. I'm not usually one for quirky camera angles but I quite like this even though in retrospect I overdid the angle! Used sparingly they can be quite dynamic but I remember what another photographer once said on the subject "Too many quirky angles is a sign the photographer has run out of ideas..."

I love stations - like airports they always seem full of exciting possibilities and human emotion.

This past weekend was our August Bank Holiday which marks the end of summer for me even though there's often a chance of nice weather in September. The girls go back to school on Thursday and from next week I'll be back to my normal (longer) working hours again. Some things start up again, like RDA which I've really missed, and our local camera club.

We have the final wedding booked for this year on Saturday.

I've been busy de-cluttering the past few days; something I always find therapeutic. I even had a sort out of the garage. It's nice to think I'll be heading back to work with things reasonably organised and sorted in the house.