Friday, May 28

Dear So and So....

Time for a rant.....

Dear Big Fat Mercedes 4x4 driver

I realise that getting one's children to the swimming pool for their lesson straight after school can sometimes be a bit of a rush. But really, if you'd parked any closer to my car you would have parked on top of it! My car is only a little car. A tiny two door 1.4 Rover.. a baby car compared to your tank of a car. Was it really neccessary to park your extra wide wheels (which were twice the width of mine) well over the white line into my space yet leaving the same amount of space empty at the other side of your car? 3 inches really isn't enough room for me to open the door to the drivers side and get in my car to take my daughter home. I realise that I am larger than some people but even the skinniest person would not have got into the drivers door. My 4 year old couldn't squeeze between the cars! I had to climb over from the passenger side (thank god that driver was a bit more courteous!) and it wasn't an easy task due to my back/hip/knee problems that are being investigated medically. 

I hope you took heed of the note that I left on your windscreen after driving around the carpark to do so. I surprised myself that I left you a polite note rather than a tirade of abuse, especially as I was very angry at the time!

unable to squeeze through a 3 inch gap, Annie

Dear Cat

For god's sake, stop pissing on the sofa cushions!!

sick of washing!

Dear Hubby

I hate to be one to say... I told you so, but as this is in type and you won't see it... I told you so!! 

You keep forgetting that I seem to be Florence Nightingale re-incarnate. Ok, so actually my Dad was a nurse, but that's by the by. I knew the damage you did to your knee wasn't just a sprained ligament. Ok, it might have been to start with, but when you went over on it again and couldn't walk on it all for 6 days and then had to rely on a walking stick, I really do wish you'd listened to me about getting a re-assessement on it.

I'm really sorry your plans to run your first marathon this coming Monday have been scuppered, I know how much you wanted to do it, especially after 9 months of training. I know you'd been kidding yourself on that you'd still be able to run it, but as the physio said yesterday.. no running! You now know that it's going to take several months to get your knee anywhere back to normal. It's bad enough anyone trying to strengthen up a sprained ligament, but you have to heal your whole knee... ligament on the outside of your knee, the one on the inside of the knee and the antierior cruiciate ligament in the middle (that's the one that is going to take some fixing.. it may even need surgery you know.. !) So please listen when the physio tells you not to push it. Thank god she says you can cycle.. otherwise you'd go into caged tiger mode and I'd be moving out!

Your loving, supportive, I told you so wife.

Wednesday, May 19

A bit of a quandry...

OK, I need to write this out to try and help me come to a descision.

As I've mentioned before I have fibromyalgia. I was diagnosed 12 years ago and whilst I generally get on with life, occasionally, it knocks me flat. Moreso now I'm over 40. There isn't a day where I'm pain free, but some days are a lot easier than others. If I do a bit too much, I'm buggered for a couple of days and have to take it really easy and loads of painkillers.

Now, on to my quandry.

I haven't been employed since I went on maternity leave 5 years ago. I'm happy to be at home and look after Isabelle, and we can manage (just) financially. I have been going in to Isabelle's school one day a week and helping out in her class. Her teacher approached me a while ago and told me how much they enjoyed me working in the class with them. They love my working methods and how I am with the kids, and how much the kids enjoy me being there. All very flattering and made me feel good.

Yesterday I was approached when I picked Isabelle up from school and asked to apply for a job of classroom assistant as the one they currently have is going on maternity leave at the end of term. They want me to cover her job for her, with a possible long term job if she decides not to come back. The job is part time, which would suit me better than full time, but can my body cope with it? I'm not sure how many hours a week (I forogot to ask! doh!). I'm not sure if I could cope with working a full day in a class of 4 and 5 year olds. My hips and back give up after a while if I'm on my feet all the time. I suppose I should ask about the hours really. 

I always worked in childcare while my elder two kids were little, and although my qualifications aren't up to date (as in NVQ's) I do have an NVQ3 in Business Admin from when I was an Office Manager. I have been told though, that for classroom assistant, experience counts more than paper qualifications. Apparently a glowing report has already been put forward by Isabelle's two teachers and the current classroom assistant to the head teacher of the school, which is really nice. I just need to decide whether my body will cope and should I put the application in this afternoon when I go in to help out or not. I suppose it wouldn't hurt. And if I do get the job, it is only temporary and if I can't cope physically, I can tell them. Afterall, I might just be fine.

There see... writing it down did help. 

The Gallery - Me

When Tara at Sticky Fingers announced this week's theme for the gallery, I could practically hear all the gasps from where I sit. This week we have to post a Self Portrait. Now everyone has stopped re-coiling in horror, there are some beautiful faces being posted, so pop over and check out the gallery at Tara's.

The reason we rarely like photographs of ourselves is because that's not how we recognise the face staring back. We're used to seeing ourselves in a mirror, so when you look at a photograph your face doesn't look the way we see it. If you flip the photograph over to mirror image it, you'll feel much more comfortable looking at it because you now recognise yourself. 

Anyway.. my photograph. There really aren't many photographs of me at all. I avoid the camera at all costs, but I did try a self portrait a while ago. Note full makeup and 'done' hair? LOL. It's from about 8 months or so ago, but it's the most recent one I have. 

So this is me, just about 1 year old I think. This was my most favourite thing in the whole world, my teddy chair (yes it really was a chair!)

Me not quite 2 years old.

Again, about 2 I think. I love this photo. As ever, one hair ribbon in, the other vanished for ever.

This one, I was about 4 I think. I was at playschool and I think this one just sums me up. Quite chilled out and relaxed about life. (I've just had to come back and edit this to say that although Isabelle looks very similar to me, she has the exact same head tilt and facial expression that I do here. Spooked me a bit as I've never noticed it before).

 And this is me at 16. It was really sunny hence the squint to my eyes and very white clothes! Check out that 80's hair do LOL. When hubby saw this pic he said "yeah.. I'd have done that!" LOL thanks hun.

 And me today (well, about a year ago actually, my hair is a lot longer now)

Tuesday, May 18

And the results are in...

So last night was our last scheduled camera club session until September. I've no idea why the camera club season runs from September to May.. unless it's because no one turns up during the summer. I may have to investigate. But anyway... last night was the AGM including announcements of competition winners. So off I toddled.

The AGM was nowhere near as boring as I thought it was going to be, in fact we had a right old laugh, mainly at the competiton secretary who is Irish and can't say three.. he always says tree.. and caused much amusement when talking about the three winners for the tree triptych, but I guess you had to be there.

I seem to have somehow got elected onto the committee. I'm not sure I even agreed.. but hey ho. In a very male environment, there is only one female on the committee and it was suggested that there should be at least one other .. my name was put forward as a proposal and was instantly seconded, and then carried. Hmmm. I'm not quite sure who the culprits were, but I'll find out.. mwahaha.

And on to the happy bit. My successes during my first year at the camera club:

Overall winner in an inter-club photographic battle between all clubs in North Wales, with my bald eagle shot.
Digital Image of the Year overall winner again with my bald eagle shot
3rd place an in external floral photograph competition
2nd place overall in the digitally projected image competitions for this year. I was beaten by one point! If only I'd entered the one competition I didn't submit too.. arghh.

and (drumroll please)

1st place overall in the Prints competitons for this year. 

Next week is presentation week, so I'll be toddling off there to collect a couple of trophies :) yay! 

I've put together a slideshow with some nice tinkly pretty music to accompany it, of all the photographs submitted to the camera club competitions. If you have 3 minutes and 25 seconds to spare, I'd love you to take a loook at it. Please note that the quality isn't brilliant now it's uploaded and the pictures are much better in real life.

The downside to the winning is that I now have to enter the Advanced category - yikes! Wish me luck?

Now off to walk around for the rest of the day with a smug grin on my face. It's a good job no one else is home LOL

Monday, May 17

Wallpapering with a 4 year old is...

....definately not a good idea!

We'd been having problems with Isabelle going to bed. From being a baby, she always went to bed really well (although she still woke up in the night at least once!) but I could put her to bed, read her a story and that was her sorted, she'd go to sleep. Up until about two months ago. She then started creating a fuss. The usual, I don't want to go to bed... I can't sleep.. I don't like the dark.. The shadows scare me (despite her having a night light) .. etc.  Some nights she was still shouting and crying at nearly 10pm after me putting her to bed at 7.30. She'd cry so hard she'd start coughing and almost make herself sick. My usually patient temperament wavered.  Mark kept going on and on.. let her stay up.. erm.. NO. He's always been very relaxed about bedtime and thinks kids should go to bed when they drop. Isabelle is a full on child and doesn't drop! and it's always been me that insists on bedtime, rightly or wrongly. So it was time for a plan. 

I discussed bedtime with Isabelle. I made a star chart for her.. (she has always responded well to star charts) and laid out the rules. She would get ready for bed at 7pm and it's calm down time. This is particularly difficult for a child who just cannot sit still for more than 2 minutes. It doesn't help that Mark is the same way and they just hype each other up! 7.30 is tiddle and teeth time (as we call it). I (or dad) will then read her a story. Then she can have 10 minutes reading time to herself. Then the one who didn't read her story will go up and tuck her in and put the lights out. Providing she goes to sleep quietly and doesn't get up and put the light back on to read again (as she had done on numerous occasions and we found her reading at 10.30pm), then she'd get a sticker in the morning. If she managed to get two full weeks of stickers then I would decorate her bedroom for her, changing it from the babyish Pooh Bear wallpaper to a big girl's bedroom.

She faultered on the first two nights and was so upset (beside herself) and angry with herself that she'd not gone to sleep quietly and therefore didn't (despite trying to bargain with me) get her sticker. She learnt quickly.. and has, since then, gone to bed like the perfect child. So I had to uphold my part of the bargain. So off we went for paint and a pretty new border for her bedroom. My original plan was to leave the lilac paint on the top half of the wall that was already there, paint the bottom half and add a border. As ever, my plan fell at the first hurdle.

I took the Pooh Bear stickers off the top part of the wall and there were dark prints where the paint had faded around them. Bugger! I couldn't paint over the wallpaper on the lower half because as a toddler, Isabelle had had a good old session pulling wallpaper off on one wall. As I pulled the wallpaper off the rest of the room, it took the paint off in patches underneath it, so as I painted with the new paint, it looked terrible. On to plan B. Back down to B&Q to buy wallpaper. The quick job I'd envisioned wasn't going to happen. 

But ahhhh the new inventions of the modern world. Paste you put straight onto the wall! Yay! No more buggering about with a bucket and packet of wallpaper paste, paste table that you've no room on the landing for etc etc. 

So delighted was Isabelle that she was having pretty flowers in her bedroom that she declared that she would help. Noooooooooo! No it's ok honey, I can manage thanks. Go and see Daddy. Daddy just went out. (oh great! and thanks for telling me!) Isabelle's room is the tiny little cupboard that they class as a bedroom, and with her bed, set of drawers and wardrobe in there, plus me and wallpaper, there's not really room to move, especially when she was insisting on being in there too and 'helping' by passing the paste brush/wallpaper/scissors/favourite teddy etc. Why the hell did hubby bugger off when he knew I needed him to supervise his daughter.

Anyway.. to cut a long story short (as short as my temper was by the end of the day) I managed to get the wallpaper on, including that bloody awful fiddly bit around the radiator and it still looked reasonable. Isabelle gave me one of her good girl stickers because I was "just fantastic" for wallpapering.

So today I have to paint the top half and then get the border on. Physically, I'm not sure I can do it. Due to fibromyalgia, my body is absolutely screaming today and I have a busy  afternoon and evening ahead. I could leave it for hubby to do if I want a botch job, although he is still in a  lot of pain with the torn ligament in his knee, and I really don't feel like trying to coerce/bribe/blackmail him into doing it when he gets home from work, so I may as well do the job myself, even if it takes the rest of the week to do. 

All that said, I do think it will look nice once it's done, but I'm definately not going into the painting and decorating business, especially with a 4 year old "helper".

Friday, May 14

changed names?

Over the years in our house, due to having three kids, things have had their names change.

These new names are now used in place of the original names, and we get odd looks occasionally when we use them instead of it's real name, especially if we don't have any of the kids with us.

The worst occasion was when I phoned for a Chinese takeaway and could not for the life of me remember the word Prawn Crackers. They're moon crackers in our house, and I got a chuckle from the lady I was odering the meal with when I had to apologise but could not remember the real name. She knew what I meant though when I asked for moon crackers.

Some of the other items which have been renamed are:

Fligmo's - Flamingo's
Crumpy Bar - comes from 'crunchy bar' aka cerial bar
MaM's - this is a new one from Isbelle. She just could not get her head around M&M's, so they are now MaM's
Uptopter - Helicopter
PingWing - Penguin. This has lead to the made up joke by my 4 year old, what noise does a penguin's telephone make? pingwing... pingwing... pingwing.. (you may have to say it out loud to get it properly LOL)
Punkin - pumpkin. All three kids have called them punkins.

I'm sure there are many more that we use on a daily basis but I just can't think of them right now. Typical!

Do you have any changed names? I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, May 12

The Gallery - Men

And so quickly after the last one (ok, it's a week but it's gone so fast!) the Gallery theme is: Men. Pictures of the men in your life - dads, sons, uncles, teachers, partners, brothers. 

My most favourite man in the whole world is no longer with us. My Dad. It will be 6 years in just over a month since he died. A very painful time for me and I'm already dreading that anniversary day. I'll deal with it. But by god it hurts. These are two of my favourite photos of me with my dad (although my younger brother is in the second shot too. What is really shocking for me, every time I see him, is that the younger brother in the second photo is now aged 36 and the absolute double of my dad in the first shot. It could quite easily be the same person. It spooks me every time I see him.

And on to the men currently in my life. 

Aged 21 I had a son. A brother for his then 5 year old sister. He was 8lbs 7oz born, a nice chubby baby boy. He was hell on earth! Now I know that so many people can say that they gave birth to a devil child, but seriously, this kid was so bad that my mum refused to have him at all and said he was satan himself. Looking back, if I'd have had his behaviour investigated he would have been labled ADHD or something similar, but back then (he's 20 in 2 weeks time) it wasn't a priority of health care to lable kids with some disorder or not like they do now. But I'm glad I didn't get him a lable. He has turned out into one of the nicest 19/20 year old's you could wish to meet. He grew out of his childhood frustrations and violent temper tantrums and now, really doesn't have a temper at all. He's very laid back and easy going and very trustworthy, and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mum, he really is like that. This is my baby boy.

This is from a photoshoot I did for him and his band. He's in the hat on the far left.

And then there's the other man in my life. The pig headed know it all, extremely stubborn man that is my hubby.  I make him sound awful, but as well as these being his weaknesses, they are also his strengths and have got him to where he is today. He has the determination and sheer pig headdedness to succeed that I don't. He will beat something into submission, he won't let anything get the better of him. I have the calm and patience that he doesn't, so between us we can achieve anything. We are very different kinds of people but work so well together because of that. I can take and use his strengths and he can do with same with mine. He frustrates the poop out of me sometimes, but I'm sure I do the same for him. I really couldn't do it all without him sometimes.

yes, he agreed to get most of his kit off for a photoshoot for me LOL, and the guitar shot is the essence of him. He didn't know I took this photograph, he was lost in what he was doing. Oh, and btw, he doesnt' smoke anymore. he gave up 5 years ago and has never smoked since.

So there you have it. The important men in my life. Don't forget to pop over to Sticky Fingers and check out the other wonderful posts for this week's gallery. Grab a cuppa first though, you may be there some time.

Monday, May 10

I'm going to have a little gloat...

.... if that's ok with you?

Last September I joined our local camera club. It was an opportunity to mix with other photographers in real life, as opposed to mixing with them online. I really enjoy my Monday evenings at the club. We have a laugh, practical evenings, talks (I hate the word lectures) and Monthly competitions, as well as the odd extra competition thrown in for different reasons.

Now, I'm not a very competetitve person... ok, scratch that.. yes I am a very competitive person, and so I always enter the competitions at club.  It made a change for me to be allowed to enter a photography competition as I run The Photographers' Corner (an online photography site) and can't enter the competitions I run there (my own rule - but I set the comps and can see previews of all entries, so it really wouldn't be fair). 

So I entered the camera club comps each month and we are now awaiting the results, due to be announced next Monday night. We have a print category for beginners and one for advanced (I'm in the beginners because I've been doing photography for less than 5 years) and we also have a Digitally projected image category again, beginners and advanced. I've scored quite high, I do know that, but not sure how high compared to the others. So I'll wait with baited breath next week!!

But back to tonight. Tonight was Print of the Year and Digital Image of the year. No beginners or advanced tonight, they were all in together. The evening started ok with my wooly coo shot getting a Commended score in the print section, but that was my highest. Half time break saw me win the raffle (a nice box of cadbury's Celebrations!) and I was also presented with a bottle of wine for coming third in an external floral competition with this yellow rose (click it to see the full size)

And then the long wait while the judge went through each of 90 (ish) images saying what he liked/didn't like about each one. But I am very very happy to say that I did better in the Digitally projected image category. This shot (Daisy Daisy) was Commended...

But my Bald Eagle (having won me 1st place in an inter-club competiton between 7 clubs) did me proud again.

I was awarded 1st place and I now hold the title for Digitally Projected Image of the Year. Aaaaand, I'll get a trophy for it too.. wooohooooo!!

Annoyingly I did hear someone at the back say ... "again?" I ignored him LOL I really should get this photograph printed and framed and hung on the wall. It's come 2nd in an international photography magazine competition, and 1st in two different camera club competitions. He deserves to be on the wall really doesn't he?

Friday, May 7

Volcano's, Ligaments and what I made

It's a bit of a catch up really.

4 year old Isabelle on the still erupting Icelandic Volcano that I certainly won't attempt to spell.

Isabelle: Mummy, daddy's friend got stuck in Gibralta because he couldn't fly home because of that erupting volcano didn't he?
Me: Yes he did
(brief discussion on how he got home and explained that the planes couldn't fly due to the ash in the atmosphere)
Isabelle: Mummy... I know a way to fix the volcano and stop it putting ash in the sky
Me: Oh? do you? (loving my 4 yr old's imagination and logic) and how could they fix it then?
Isabelle:They could just put a big rock over the top of it in the hole.
Me: (ignoring all the reality facts and curious about where she's going with this) It would have to be a very big rock, how would they find such a big rock?
Isabelle:The wouldn't have to look very hard, if it's a big rock they'd see it straight away.
Me: But if it's a very big rock, how would they lift it?
Isabelle: By getting lots and lots of people to carry it, silly.
Me: But you've forgotten that volcano's are very hot, they'd fry.
Isabelle: What's fry?
Me: Like putting sausages in a frying pan, they'd cook.
Isabelle: (Hysterical laughter at the thought of people looking like sausages standing at the edge of a volcano looking like a sausage - she told me when she stopped laughing)
Isabelle:They could wear fireman's suits, drop the rock into the volcano hole and it would stop the ash getting into the sky.
Me: Yes that would be a very good idea. I wonder why they didn't think of that (omitting to explain the reality of a volcano and the force projected would fire the rock up into the sky etc)

I love her logic and thinking on the hoof.. 
Ligaments and the danger of internet diagnosis

My hubby (the one who changed from alcoholic slob to fitness freak) has been training since he did his first half marathon last May, to do a full marathon. This marathon takes place on the 31st of May. He's managed to run 20 and a bit miles for the past few weekends and was planning another 20 miler this weekend with a full marathon as a practice next weekend ready for the real thing. As the marathon has got closer and closer he's been getting more and more aware that he's got to be careful what he does so that he doesn't injure himself before the big one. Hubby being the man that he is, wouldn't listen when I suggested that he didn't play his weekly game of football on a Wednesday night for a month before the run. Not because I'm a misery spoil sport, but because he plays football hard.. on astro-turf and comes back every weekend bleeding from "I nearly had it in the goal but was tackled badly". 

So on Wednesday night he was home half an hour early. He hobbled out of the car and came into the house. "What have you done now?" I asked with a giggle as him hobbling in is a usual practice.. but he went into the kitchen and was almost in tears with pain. He's a very manly man normally, so I knew this was bad. I (as usual) turned into Florence Nightingale. I always do it, I can't help it.. I see an accident and I turn into miss Nightingale every time. I mop up blood and generally fix whoever is broken without even thinking about it. So I helped him to the couch, out came the icepack and questions. It was his knee. He'd turned awkwardly and heard a snap and a pop and his knee just gave way. OK, says Florence.. A&E it is for you. He refused to go. Now, last time he refused to go to A&E it took me 3 hours to convince him to go and it turned out he'd broken his ankle and ended up with a cast and proceeded to drive me insane for 6 weeks! I knew his knee wasn't broken, but I was worried he'd torn a ligament down the outside of his knee (judging from what he was telling me). I seem to have a built in Florence Nightingale gene (actually my dad was a nurse, so that's probably where it came from). We checked on the internet to find common sporting knee injuries. He diagnosed himself.. and despite me saying it wasn't that, I was sure, he insisted it was. If it was this thing, it would need surgery and rehabilitation and blah blah blah.. It took me until the next morning to convince him to go to get it checked at A&E. To cut a long story short, it's sprained the lateral ligaement (I won't gloat, but it was the one I said he'd damaged) and treatment is anti-inflamatories and ice. He did make me laugh though when the dr in A&E told him what it was, hubby almost jumped up and down for joy, saying "brilliant, that's fantastic". The dr looked a bit puzzled until I explained he'd been training almost a year for his marathon and was relieved it wasn't too serious. Hubby then asked if he could still run in his marathon in 3 weeks time. The dr gave a shrug of the shoulders and said, doubtful. Mark took that as a yes. (insert eye rolling from me) so we'll see how quickly he recovers.

and finally on to Look what I made

I've never made a rag doll before so I thought it was about time I tried. I bought a lovely kit from Sew and Sew

I cut it all out as per the instructions

I was harrassed by above mentioned 4 year old to 'get a move on and get it finished'. So I ended up spending the rest of the day making this fairy princess doll.

She ended up going to bed with Isabelle (minus the wings as I'd not had enough time to sew them on before bedtime, but I put them on the next morning). So this is Fairy Princess Lucy, Isabelle's newest favouritest dolly. 

I have to say that Sew and Sew were great. Fast delivery, excellent instructions and a happy 4 year old. I did make a few mistakes, but overall, not a bad attempt for a first try.

Anyway, enough rambling, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 5

The Gallery - The World Around Us

As it's Wednesday, it's Gallery Day. The theme from Sticky Fingers this week is The World Around Us. So which bit of the world do I show you? I'm not very well travelled, sadly, and both times I went abroad, I wasn't into photography. So it has to be somewhere in the UK. Where better to show you, than the area I live in. I live just outside Chester, which is an absolutely beautiful City (it's a City because it has a Cathederal). I hope you don't mind a bit of a history lesson too.

Chester is probably best known for it's shop front Tudor architecture. The main shopping area is like a double decker bus in that there are shops on top of shops at two levels, and they all have the gorgeous black and white tudor frontage.

One of the most photographed things in Chester is it's very ornate (and recently re-furbished) clock, which stands on top of a bridge going over the main street.

Chester became one of the main centres of the Roman Empire and it's recently thought to have been the home of the Roman Emperor and it still has the red stone city walls around it. You can walk around the city walls still. It is also home to the largest known military amphitheatre in Britain, which they are still excavating and have recently discovered that it is in fact much larger than they originally thought. You can walk down the amphitheatre steps and stand in the centre of it. A bit bizarre really especially when you think that gladiators would have fought to the death in there. 

There is a beautiful park where you can spend hours wandering around and feed the very tame squirrels

and also take a boat along the River Dee.

The boat trip is a much slower pace to the hustle and bustle of the main street (I have 'played' with this shot to give it a different look)

And then there's the zoo. I love Chester Zoo and can spend hours there. So I thought I'd finish this gallery post with a few of my favourite friends at Chester Zoo. You can click the images to see them larger.

Tuesday, May 4

What day?

Today is Star Wars Day

What I hear you say? yes, it's Star Wars Day - May the 4th be with you.

I know it's a groaner but May the 4th has officially been adopted by the International Jedi Religion due to the well known phrase from Star Wars "May the Force Be With You".

I'm not a religious person at all, and I'm not even really a Star Wars fan, but my brothers were. And it amuses me that A Jedi Religion was founded. 

This story amused me from last year. The founder of the UK Jedi religion was thrown out of tesco last year for refusing to remove his hood.(Jedi knights were dark brown robes with hoods on), but the line Tesco came back with was brilliant... [quote] They claimed that the three most well known Jedi Knights in the Star Wars movies - Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker - all appeared in public without their hoods."[end quote] which was in fact true.
But the guy claimed that (Tesco) "They wasted my personal time. They were rude and not very nice to me. They had three people around me. It was intimidating." So much for being a Jedi.. where was the force when he needed it? 

And on to one of my favourite clips (mock up I might add) on you tube of the moment when Luke Skywalker removed the helmet from Darth Vader.. this has my crying with laughter. If you don't know the movie Star Wars you probably won't have a clue what the clip is about.. (sorry).

So... Happy Star Wars Day and May the 4th be with you

Sunday, May 2

Dear Annie...

You knew there would be a price, but why are you so surprised (and pigged off)?

A day out to Oulton Park to photograph the British Superbikes, and all those men in leathers with throbbing machines between their legs.. an ideal day out for you, I know you were happy about it. But you really should have known there'd be a price to pay when you got home. 

Surely you realise by now that your hubby looking after his daughter for the day is asking a great deal. yes I realise he offered because he 'didn't fancy' Oulton Park because he'd be bored and actually said he'd look after Isabelle for a few hours for the first time since she was born almost 5 years ago, but you should have expected that being male, he can only think of one thing at a time, and that's usually his motorbikes. 

Your suggestion of taking Isabelle on the bus to Chester was a good idea, but you didn't foresee his trip out costing £20 did you? I know you still can't work out how it cost that much, but you've accepted it and handed over the money.

You should know by now that he doesn't do dishes, so why were you so surprised to get home and see not only a sink full of dirty dishes, but an entire kitchen full. And when you mentioned it, the sarcasm you used didn't go down too well.. I mean.. saying. oh, is this my pennance for a few hours to myself was obviously going to be met with "I've looked after YOUR daughter all day". We both know that you were only gone from 9am to 3.30pm, but that seems to count as all day.

And why were you so surprised when he got his jacket and bike helmet and went straight out for a bike ride? You know he can't cope with dealing with anyone but himself, of course he was going to leave straight away to have his free time, and I know he does this all the time, so it was no shock for him to do it as soon as you got home. You did manage to ask him what Isabelle had had to eat whilst you were out glorying it up and having a great time alone at the race track, but why were you surprised.. despite saying before you left, to make sure she has something to eat. You weren't specific enough were you? When she was crying with headache and her tummy hurting, and asked if she'd had anything to eat and she replied a chocolate muffin from McDonalds, really shouldn't have surprised you. And on questioning your hubby as he started the bike up to escape he told you she indeed had eaten a chocolate muffin from McDonalds, plus 'misc crap' ie, sweets, ice poles and biscuits. There was no need to shake your head in dispair when he told you that he thought she'd ask for real food when she was hungry. He obviously doesn't realise that 4 year olds are quite content to live on junk food. I don't think he was too impressed with being told that he is the adult and in charge and should guide her as to what she should be eating, not letting her call the shots.

But put all that behind you, the dishes are now done and your hands are nice and soft. Your child no longer has a hunger headache since you fed her a proper meal and you have some pretty cool shots of the bikers racing yesterday and I know that these few are your favourites. (check out the heat haze in the first one - every sports photographer loves heat haze!)

Please remember Annie, that you really should expect to pay the price for your free time, and don't be annoyed that he used that line "I looked after your daughter all day" even though she is HIS daughter too.

Yours faithfully,

Your conscience.