Wednesday, July 23


My brother bought me some lillies for my birthday. I do love lillies but god these stink to high heaven! I've postponed cutting the stamens out so that we're not stunk out of house and home because (of course) I wanted to photograph them.

I would normally just post these on my photo blog, but I'm going to put them here too :)

They are very pretty, but the house stinks!

I can't seem to get myself motivated at the moment. I hate to wake up in the morning. My back and shoulders are so stiff and it's painful. I even had to get up in the night for painkillers, which is really frustrating! It hasn't helped because Isabelle has not gone to bed until late for the past two nights. I can't convince her it's bedtime because she says it's not dark. Grrrrr.

I watched a really interesting programme tonight. I never have control of the TV! But Mark was tinkering with his bike in the garage. The programme was called The Rainman Twins. The twins were female in their 50's. They have been diagnosed as Autistic Savantism. Savantism is a rare disorder in which sufferers of developmental disabilities, often autism, are capable of acts of genius that far outstrip their expected level of ability. In Flo and Kay's case, they each have extraordinary memories for facts and dates.

They could remember everything they've ever done, when they did it, the date, the day, the weather on that day, what they ate for their dinner. It was amazing! They were lovely women too taking their condition into account. I then watched Who Killed Marilyn Monroe. They talked about all the conspiricy theories etc but came to the conclusion that it was accidental suicide. That's far more believable than any of the other theories they've come up with so far. So, that was two interesting programmes one after the other. I never watch TV lol

Tuesday, July 22

Weekend Over

Well the family party weekend was in my opinion, a bit of a let down. It went ok I guess, I was just disappointed.

I had arranged to go to Mum's for the weekend because of all the birthdays during last week, and because it was my 40th I thought it would be nice to celebrate it with my family. Sue was invited along too so that made Isabelle, Gary my youngest brother, Sue and me all having had birthdays. It turned out, when I got there, to be a surprise 60th birthday party for Sue! There were happy 60th birthday banners and balloons all over the place. My cousin had bought a 60th birthday cake. We'd all chipped in with the food and made something towards a buffet. It's a really long story, I got very upset in my head and tried not to show it. I don't think anyone noticed, but the more I think about it, the more upset I am now. They never even got a cake for me. On the up-side, my brother and sister in law sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers which in all honest, made my day.

Danny (Eve's boyfriend) was a grumpy arse all weekend and spent most of his time in the bedroom. At least I didn't have to look at his grumpy face lol.

The best part of the weekend was a self made time alone moment.. which NEVER happens.

I had to nip to morrisons for something for dinner. Eve had taken Isabelle out to walk the dog, Mark had gone for a walk somewhere while I'd been up at Mum's. So I got the shopping needed and decided to go and photograph a nearby windmill. It was only about 15 minutes drive, but I grew up in this area so all the local landmarks were familiar to me. The sky was great. Dark and foreboding in some places yet huge fluffy white clouds in others. I decided to take bracketed shots for the windmill because I wanted to really bring out the tones by tonemapping. So I snapped away until I had what I wanted. I then drove to a small village close by called Rampton. This is where my very first school is. I had to see it again after all these years. I've not seen it since I left when we moved at the age of 8. My first class, Class 1 is still there! It's a wooden built extension and I loved that classroom. I know this means nothing to anyone else, but this is my very first classroom.

And the path leading to it is where we used to play 'elastics'. I don't think they evey play that now. Also in front of the classroom is where we used to have the May Pole. i remember practicing and practicing until we got the dance, weaving and ribbons right ready for the May Day celebrations where we had to dance round the May Pole. Very fond memories.

Right next to the school was a field full of hay bails, so I wandered just inside the field and took some photographs. I was in photograhic heaven having been to the windmill and now a field full of hay bails with a sky full of big clouds.

I was going to drive around the Woodbeck estate, where I lived, but I know that most of the houses have been knocked down and all my old stomping grounds are now car parks. So I didn't bother.

It was really strange driving around the places I grew up. Although we've been back to Retford many times, we've never driven around the old villages. It was a very nostalgic trip for me, made even nicer by the fact that I was alone. I didn't have to explain to Mark why each place or landmark meant something, and I didn't have Isabelle yapping away in the back of the car. I could have my own happy thoughts and memories all to myself without breaking the nostalgia by someone talking to me.

On the Sunday morning, we were up early (thanks Isabelle lol) and no one else was up. about 8am I suggested we went for a walk. We went to Clumber Park. We used to go here so many weekends when we were kids and I have very happy memories of this country park, and they all include my dad. We walked to the lake where I knew there would be swans and ducks and canada geese. We were met by two adult swans and 5 half grown cygnets. The cygnets were huge for babies lol. I'd brought some bread so Isabelle got to feed them although she wasn't happy with the male swan at all as he pinched a full slice of bread out of her hand lol. It made her cry. Not because she was scared, but because she was cross because he pinched it. They were so tame though even the cygnets were happy to take bread from your hands. Isabelle had a whale of a time and wasn't scared at all.

After feeding the birds we walked a while as Mark had gone for a run around the lake. There is a beautiful Gothic Revival Church in the park and seeing as architectural photography is not one of my strong points, I thought I'd have a try. These are the results.

Isabelle was getting a bit fed up by this point (too much goose poo on the grass!) and Mark had finished his 4 mile run around the lake and we were both gasping for a coffee. Because we were there so early, the cafe hadn't even opened yet lol.

It was nice to wander down memory lane this weekend.

Thursday, July 17


Birthday madness has come around again. Yesterday was my youngest brother and Isabelle's birthday, today it's my Aunty Sue and my birthdays. Milestones for me and Sue. Sue is 60 and I'm 40. wow! where have the years gone? Sue is the closest of my Aunt's and it seems only yesterday that she was pushing us on swings at the playpark. Sue was always the daredevil Aunt that got stuck in with the kids. She'd be on the swings and slides before us lol. We called her super-sue. Fond memories.

We're all going to Mum's at the weekend to have a joint 4 way birthday celebration. I was looking forward to it until Mum decided to take control and change all plans! grrrrrr.

So Isabelle was three yesterday. She had a fantastic day from start to finish. She was so appreciative of all her presents and was over the moon with her trampoline. Her other favourite present was from Russ. He bought her a little suitcase on wheels with a handle to pull it along behind her. She stashed all sorts in there lol and dragged it around all day. She even took it to the bathroom while she had a bath last night. Bonkers baby LOL

And I'm 40 today. No crisis thankfully. I think I had the age crisis when I hit 30, Oh god that was awful. It's another number, there were numbers before it and there'll be more after it.. I'm very matter of fact about it to be honest. Strange.

Russ brought a lump to my throat. He bought me a Willow Tree figure. This makes number three in the collection. What brought a lump was the one he'd chosen. He got The Angel of the Heart which symbolises 'those that love and are loved'. He put thought into it and chose it himself. A complete surprise to me. It made me so happy.

Saturday, July 12

Another Lovely Day

We had a lovely day today!

We went to the Greenfield Heritage Park, which is about 15 minutes drive from our house. We've passed this place hundreds of times and never wondered what was there, or stopped to see. I found it on the internet the other day and thought it might make a nice day out. So we went today. We didn't actually leave home until about 2pm because Mark had to go and get a secret birthday present lol... I wonder who that could be for? It's not for Isabelle, because I'm getting that on Monday. ;)

Anyway, at the heritage park was some Abbey Ruins (always photogenic), a small farm with Victorian replica houses, an old cotton mill, copper mill and a large fishing lake. There was more, but I couldn't walk any further. The weather was lovely and we asked someone the time and were told that it was just after 5. That shocked us both! The time had gone so fast. We took a slow wander back to the car, although the grounds aren't actually locked. Isabelle made one of her infamous 'collections' on her way back gathering sticks of various sizes and leaves and small branches with leaves on.. bless her.

It was just such a lovely afternoon out. I feel really happy and contented right now. A little bit stiff and sore, but c'est la vie. It was worth it.

Here's a couple of shots from the day. I'm still processing the rest.

I don't know why, but I love this photo. It leapt at me as soon as I walked into the little farmhouse and it came out the way I wanted it to.
I loved these arches.

Thursday, July 10

Please co-operate!

We went to the Nursery this morning where Isabelle will go 5 mornings a week in September. She seemed to really enjoy it. I think we timed it just right. We went about 10.30 and I think everyone else had gone earlier, so it was quite quiet when we got there. At one point she had two nursery staff sat with her talking and playing.

They seemed very impressed with her knowledge and communication skills especially as she's not 3 till next week. I was pleased to find out that they assess all the new starters to find out what level they are at, what they know, how far they can count, what colours they know, what letters etc. and then they are enouraged according to their level.

We drove to Flint Castle after that. I really wanted to get a few decent photographs or her as she's coming up to her birthday. She was in a non co-operative mood for photographs! Grrrrr. So I didn't get many and what I did get weren't really in focus. oh well. Here's a couple of shots anyway.

She gets her exhibitionism from her father!!

Picture of the Day

I'm so pleased. My bald eagle shot got Picture of the Day on The Photographer's Corner

I'm wondering if Isabelle isn't coming down with something. She's had me up and down all night for the last two nights, and it's not like her. Thinking about it, she's only like this when she's getting a cold or something. I hope she's not!

This morning is the drop in session for Nursery that she starts in September. It gives her chance to meet her teachers and generally see what goes on in Nursery. We can pop in at any time, so I think we'll head down there about 10.30.

My shoulders/neck/upper back are particularly sore this morning. No idea why. Pain killers here I come.

It might be something to do with the fact that I spent quite a bit of time at the computer last night. I've completely re-done my web page. The way it was before meant that it was such a pain to update, and I'd stopped updating it. It needed a lot of hand coding and I just got sick of doing it. I've downloaded some software (cheat that I am!) and have revamped it completely. I'm more or less happy with it, although I think I'd like a simple site entry page at the front rather than go straight into the gallery, but I can alter that at a later date. It's so easy to update now, which is great. I might be able to keep on track of it now and stop my mum from nagging to update it all the time!

Wednesday, July 9

A lovely day

Yesterday, I had a lovely day! Isabelle and I met up with J at the falconry centre near Northwich. She is such lovely company and a very nice person to spend time with.

We started off by having lunch and a good yap, then wandered off to see the birds and owls in the aviary. I love the owls and the bald eagles. It was horrible trying to photograph them because of the wire cages, but I know they have to be there. There are some dangerous beaks and claws behind those cages. I really wanted to get a shot of the bald eagle, basically to prove to myself that the previous bald eagle shot I got, wasn't a fluke LOL. Thankfully, it wasn't. I got another decent shot, although I had to burn out a lot of the background in PS to get rid of the visible cage wires.

We had a wander around the candle shop, and Isabelle talked my ears off asking questions about candles... bless her. She does make me laugh, but my god she wears my ears out sometimes LOL

We were going to see the flying display at 2pm, but when we got there it turned out that there wasn't one. I was disappointed as I'd not seen it before. We wandered a bit more (in the drizzle!) and then sat in the courtyard just yapping. Isabelle was quite happy to entertain herself as well as us. She was really good. No tantrums or anything, which makes a refreshing change. By the time we'd finished yapping, it was getting on towards 4pm which is when the next flying display was scheduled. We decided to hang around to see it, and I was glad I did. They guy flew a barn owl, one of my favourite owls. It's really odd, because I normally hate birds flying close to me but this didn't bother me at all, even when the owl flapped it's wings in my ears as it flew over my head. Isabelle thought it really funny when the owl landed on her pushchair.

I learned so much about owls that I never knew during this session. They handler was very good and just rattled information off and it was really interesting.

We didn't get home until almost 5.30pm and Isabelle was worn out. We had to play 'catch the lorry' in the car on the way home just to keep her awake.

She crashed out on the sofa more or less straight after eating dinner, bless her. She did spend a few minutes telling daddy about her day though, and the owl that landed on her pushchair, and that she really wanted to stroke it but the man said we weren't allowed to stroke them.

I ended up laying on the sofa about 10pm and my muscles in my back were cramping up like crazy, particularly in my ribs. One of them felt like it was pulsing. it was really odd! Today, I'm not doing very much at all. I'm very stiff and a bit sore, but it was worth it because of the lovely day. It was so nice to have some female company and to wander around at a leisurely pace. Mark tends to want to rush from one thing to another and I can't keep up with him, so it was a refreshing change.

I think I'm going to make some playdough for Isabelle this afternoon. She's at playgroup at the moment, but playdough will keep her occupied this afternoon.

Thanks J for a lovely day :D