Wednesday, April 29


Ok, I admit it. I'm a frustrated photographer!

We went to our first motorsport race of the season last Saturday. It was an event called Modified Live. I wanted to go and see the drift racing more than any of the other scheduled races. It was a great day! I loved the drifting!

We got there and it was absoultely piddling it down with rain. I mean.. heavy rain! The two Artic Trucks had just come out and started their demonstration. Spray everywhere, but great to watch and the rain was subsiding already. Camera out, click click click. Great stuff. The day continued to dry out although the Brisish Superbike did a few laps in the wet. This guy rode the gears off the R1 no holds barred in the rain. I had a great day! Not only that, I got some great shots. Well, it's my opinion that they're great.

One of the things with motorsport photography is you can either do it or you can't. I spent last season practicing and getting a mixed bag of results. The panning technique takes some working on! This year I was far more comfortable panning.

The thing now is that I feel that my motorsport shots are actually quite good. Now this isn't like me. I'm very overly critical about my photographs.. but I like this recent batch and I really want to do something with them. But what? I did go to the Time Attack forum and posted some pics there. Two of the drivers got in touch and said they were very impressed with the shots and asked if they could have a copy. Me being me, said yes right away and emailed them over. I didn't have the nerve to charge them anything for the photographs. I'm never going to earn my million like this am I? LOL.

Now I've started to desire a new lens. I really, really, REALLY want the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. This would be excellent for motorsport photography! Problem is, the cheapest I can find it at is £629.99!! Yikes! I happened to slip this into a conversation with Mark last night. He just laughed at me and didn't take me serious for a minute. [sigh] I have to have this lens! I don't know how I'm going to get it though LOL. I don't even have anything to sell to raise the funds. And the thought of selling my body (yes it did cross my mind) doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. So how on earth do I get this lens? [sigh again]

Anyway, next weekend is British Superbike weekend at Oulton Park!! Yay! I HAVE to be there. Mark had been going on about how he wanted to go, and I'd been the one saying.. oh, I dunno.. so then I decided that yes I did want to go and he changed his mind. He wasn't bothered. [men! grrr] I'm happy to go to the practice day [Saturday], or qualifying [Sunday] rather than race day on the Monday. It's also cheaper to go on the Sunday. So with him being indecisive, I said, ok then, I'm happy to go on my own, so I'll go on the Sunday when they're qualifying. So Mark said ok. I then had to point out to him that if I were going on my own, I meant on my own.. as in, not taking Isabelle! You should have seen his eyes almost pop out of his head! He hadn't thought of that. So now he's trying to decide which would be best for him. A day at home with Isabelle, or whether he'd prefer to see the Superbikes. Problem is, if he comes to the Superbikes with Isabelle and I, it means I have to keep my eye on Isabelle as well as take photographs, which makes getting good shots quite difficult. It's not easy having eyes up your behind. Why can't he seem to keep an eye on her? Ok, I'm winding myself up now.. I'll leave that subject LOL.

So here are a few shots from the day. I know they're cars and they're not to everyone's taste. It's easy to appreciate a cute fluffy kitty shot, but although technically more difficult to do, cars in action shots aren't quite as pleasing to the eye. I'm pleased with them and I suppose that's all that really matters.

Wednesday, April 22

My New Challenge

Just before I start waffling on about my new challenge, I had to laugh at Isabelle the other day while I was gardening. I was tying the daffodils up now that they're done. She wanted to know why I was strangling the daffodils LOL. Bless her.

Anyway - my new challenge! In attempts to get fit as well as lose weight, I have decided to virtually cycle from John O' Groats to Land's End on my exercise bike. I virtually left John O' Groats this morning from the comfort of my exercise bike in my dining room, accompanied by Bon Jovi. Well, I say accompanied by them, they were playing on the media player on the computer LOL. I managed to cycle 5 miles.

According to the AA Route Planner, John O' Groats to Lands End is 838.7 miles. So having cycled 5 miles, I now have 833.7 miles to go.

I think I'm going to work out the mileage to various major points along the way so that I can say I have cycled from John O' Groats to..... wherever. It would be fun to work out the mileage to where a few of my online friends live and I can drop in for a virtual coffee with them.

It may seem a bit extreme, but I think it's really funny. It's giving me a good giggle. And it's a great way to take the boring monotiny out of pedalling for the sake of it. An online friend has said that she is going to dig out her exercise bike and join me in the virtual cycle. We'll have weekly check-in's to update our progress. Should be a fun way to get fit and lose weight.

Monday, April 20

Phew, that was hard work!

We've had some gorgeous weather this past few days. It's been beautiful. It's amazing how the sun picks your mood up and makes you want to do things.

Mark had Thursday and Friday off this week as well as the weekend! Yikes. on Friday we went and bought a few plants for the garden and a load of seeds. All were duly planted. In the summer we will have tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, loads of herbs, lettuce and peas. I've only ever grown tomatoes before and they were from small tomato plants, so we'll see what comes up and what doesn't. We also planted sunflower seeds last week and they've all popped up already!

On Saturday I decided that it was time to whip the jungle into shape. The jungle is the back of the garden where Isabelle's swing is. It sort of became Mark's dumping ground for anything that he didn't know where to put and refused to have in his garage. It took me an hour and a half to strim it!! Then I had to hack back the trifid, also known as a Virginia Creeper. It takes over evrything, including my lovely fuchsia bush! So, that all tidied, I weeded the patio and then set about the lawn at the front. It's only a small bit of grass but it was the first mow for it this year and it had got quite long. My stomach muscles are complaining this morning, so that must be from the strimming and mowing. Lets firm those abs up!! LOL

There were loads of insects about and I'm managing to convince Isabelle that they are not all out to kill her! There were several bees hovering around so out came my camera. It took me an hour to get one half decent shot of this flippin' bee in flight!!

Sunday was another gorgeous day and I was sick of being around the house so I suggested to Mark that we go for a walk. Talk about wishing I hadn't! Good grief. I wanted to go down by the river in Chester. I thought it would be nice for Isabelle to feed the ducks, and then we could walk in the park, see the squirrels and it would give me chance to get my camera out, which I've not really done in a while, other than the garden! Mark works in Chester and said he didn't want to go there. He couldn't come up with any other suggestions! Grrrrr. After a rather heated discussion on where we could go, we ended up going down by the river afterall! Men!

We had a lovely afternoon and we hired a rowing boat and went out on the River Dee. Amazingly, none of us fell in. Isabelle enjoyed it too. I got a couple of shots from the boat. This one being my favourite.

A couple of Mark and Isabelle on the rowing boat. I have no idea why Mark always frowns LOL

Isabelle before we got on the boat.

Then we went for a walk in the gardens. Isabelle had a whale of a time chasing pigeons. The pigeons are just so stupid, they just don't seem to fly off, they must enjoy being chased LOL.

This is one of the flower displays in the gardens

As we went back to the car, I spotted a disused garage/warehouse building. It was open (no doors on it) and you could see graffiti all over the walls, so of course, I had to go in. As daft as it might sound, these two shots are my favourite from the afternoon. I think we may be taking Mark's bikes in there for a photoshoot in the future. It was so bright and colourful. There really are some talented kids about. What I did think was nice was that one of the kids had left a message to another of the artists saying, hey dude, don't paint over my tabs, and the other guy had said, no problem. Seems there is a bit of respect between young artists.

Friday, April 17

It got worse

Well after the Isabelle incident and just starting to recover, I got a phone call from my Mother In Law. She was in tears and in a terrible state. It's not like her. We talked for a while and I volunteered Mark to get and fetch her if she needed it. She lives just North of Edinburgh and it's about a 4 and a half hour drive, but she declined, so I felt a bit relieved for volunteering Mark. An hour later she phoned back in floods of tears and asked Mark to go get her. oops. As it was about 6pm Mark said he'd go and get her in the morning. The morning was Easter Sunday! But he dutifully drove all the way there, turned around and came straight back with her. A long day driving! and a grumpy Mark.

We talked and she felt much better in no time. She stayed with us until Tuesday but decided to get a flight back up to Edinburgh, which saved Mark another long drive. I dropped her at Manchester airport for a 5pm flight and she was in Edinburgh for 6pm. A bus ride from there got her home.

While she was here she bought Isabelle a game for my Nintendo DS. It's called Bella Sara and it's a horse game. You get to look after the horses, clean them, feed them, muck out the stables and give them love and treats. You do different challenges and you can win more horses. Isabelle has not stopped playing this game since she got it. It's now Friday and she's still playing it! Well, I say she's playing it, I keep having to help with the challenges, but she loves this game.

Talking of Isabelle, her mouth is healing up nicely now. She looks like a thug lol, but a cute thug. It took me ages to get a photograph of her smiling, but I'm determined she's not going to lose her cute smile because she's self conscious about he missing tooth and the resulting gap at the front.

Friday, April 10

OMG! My poor baby!!

Oh my poor baby. Well, I say baby, she's 3, but she's my baby.

She was playing next door with the two girls on the trampoline. I'd shouted over the fence and given her a 5 minutes to coming in warning. I wish to god I'd fetched her in straight away, but I always give her a 5 minutes warning to save temper tantrums so that when I do go to get her she's already forewarned it's almost time to come in. It works well and no tantrums. I wish this time that I didn't do it.

A couple of minutes after the 5 minute warning I was just washing the dishes and I heard her cry, then say I want my mummy. I headed to the front door to go get her when my neighbour rushed in carrying Isabelle with blood pouring, I mean pumping, from her mouth! I couldn't find out straight away what she'd done. Apparently she'd been getting off the trampoline because the big boys were on it and she told me later that there were too many people on the trampoline and she didn't like it. She fell as she tried to get off and smacked her mouth on the top of a concrete post.

The damage? I was mortified to see that she'd knocked her front tooth right out and the next one along is pushed to a funny angle. She has a huge cut on her top lip, but her gums are a right mess, she's really bashed them up. I was in two minds whether to take her to A&E or not, but the bleeding stopped, so I thought I'd just keep my eye on it. This was 7.30pm. We gave her some calpol and she drank some water. It took an hour and half to get her to stop crying and calm down properly. It had really shaken her up, but looking at the state of her mouth, I'm not surprised.

I managed to get her into the dentist's the next morning and although he said it's a mess, he's not unduly worried. He said it's a clean wound and it's clotted nicely. We're not sure what will happen with the little tooth that's at a funny angle. It's a case of wait and see. The dentist was fantastic! I can't sing his praises enough. He got Isabelle to show him in her mouth rather than him poking around, and all he did was use his mirror to get a good luck. He didn't want to frighten her at all. He was excellent! He told me signs to watch for and keep an eye out for infection. He also told me to ring him any time I have any worries or concerns and he'd see her right away. We go back in a month once it's healed and he's going to take an x-ray to see if there's any internal damage. Obviously we can't do anything about the missing tooth. It's a case of wait for her big teeth to start growing. He did seem quite optimistic that everything will be ok.

But my poor baby. I felt so bad for her.

The strange thing is how we as mothers, have the ability to deal with something like your child pumping blood and keep calm and deal with it. It wasn't until about 10pm when she was tucked up in bed sleeping that it really hit me. I felt so sick and I just broke down in tears. I ended up going to bed at 10.15 because I just couldn't stay up any longer. I kept thinking about it and the only way I could deal with it was by going to sleep and shutting it out. It was also a very long night. She ended up in bed with me, waking every 4 hours crying. I just kept giving he calpol and soothing her off to sleep again.

Right now, she's fine. She has a fat lip but her gums are looking a bit better this morning, even though they are split right up to where her lip joins them.

Thankfully she's doing ok, and it could have been worse.. it could have been her head!

My poor baby :(

Saturday, April 4

Flippin' Sinuses

For as long as I can remember, I've had problems with my sinuses. I used to get a lot of Sinusitis as a teenager and it was always painful. I've had a cold now for 12 days but I started to get agonising pain around my eye socket and in my ear. I won't describe what I blew out of my nose. Lets just say, I knew it was a sinus infection. I couldn't get an appointment with the Dr! typical! But the receptionist got him to phone me, bless her. I described my symptoms, told him I'd had a cold, been taking Sinutab but it still wasn't moving and he said he'd write a prescription for some penicillin for me to collect! Wow! A self diagnosis and a prescription over the phone. Fantastic! He knows that I do suffer with it from time to time, so he knows that I know what a sinus infection feels like. I'm on day three of the penicillin and it's still painful. It's just not shifting very easily. It's so annoying and frustrating!

On another note, Mark and Isabelle have been planting seeds today. It's lovely seeing them doing something like that together. She adores her dad, a proper daddy's girl. She's taken to climbing up onto his motorbike and finding out (with Mark's help of course) which button does what. The thing is, she remembers. She thought she was so cool switching the lights and indicators on and off LOL. She can reach the footrests now too so she thinks she's big enough to ride it LOL.

I treated myself to some beautiful orange tulips yesterday. I've not seen any like this before, so of course, I had to photograph them. They're really pretty. As always, click on the picture to see it full size. It's worth it :D

Wednesday, April 1

What a busy day!

Today I joined the gym! Yes, that is right, it's no April Fool, I actually joined the gym. It's a ladies only gym and body toning studio, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My back is giving me a bit of grief right now, but it will just have to get used to this exercise. It's not overly strenuous, but I can build up the amount I do and which gym equipment I use. I came out of there feeling really 'tight' LOL. Hopefully I will be able to go twice a week and within a month there should be a good inch loss. Fingers crossed.

I must have got the adrenaline going because when I got back from collecting Isabelle from Nursery, I started on the garden. Well the sun was out and it was nice and warm and the weeds were yelling.. 'look at us, aren't we big'. So I've weeded the patio and flower beds and pruned the virginia creeper which is like a triffid. It took me all afternoon by the time I swept it all up. But it looks a lot nicer now and tidy.

Isabelle wasn't too happy when she got bitten by a red ant. I don't know how to get rid of them. There seems to be a huge red ants nest under the grassed bit at the back. I must have upset them trampling all over it while I was pruning the triffid. I did that last year and they bit me all over my legs and it really was quite painful. Not as painful as Isabelle's screams implied. Talk about ear piercing! Thank god for anthisan (magic cream).

I even managed to get my camera out into the garden and took a couple of shots. The first one is of some Celandines growing near the pond. I know they're weeds, but they're such a lovely yellow. If you click and view the photograph large, you can see the detail in the stamens.

This second shot is my Aubretia. The flowers are really quite small, but all bunched together as they are, makes them look lovely.

Seems like spring has officially sprung at last!