Monday, 31 August 2009

Tuesday Challenge #27

Stu's Tuesday Challenge this week is Music.

Playing bagpipes


Sunday, 23 August 2009

Tuesday Challenge #26 - Themed Collection

Oooh look! A blog post!!

Apologies for being AWOL but, for several reasons, I took a bit of a blogging summer holiday. Anyway, I'm back now witth the latest of Stu's Tuesday Challenges.....

Your homework, should you choose to accept is to shoot a themed collection. At least ten shots with a common theme running through them. This could be a colour theme, maybe a narrative, or maybe a typology - like the Bechers' work where by keeping everything from lighting and angle as common as possible, the differences in the subject really show up. You could always use one of the previous tuesday challenges as your inspiration.

For my theme, I've taken an alternative look around my garden and picked 10 shots that show pattern and texture.












Sunday, 5 July 2009

Monday, 29 June 2009

Stu's Tuesday Challenge #24 - Animals

A fairly straightforward theme from Stu this week - Animals.

I had intended to try and capture some of the local wildlife but last Tuesday evening I wrenched my shoulder and it went into spasm. I could barely move for three days so taking photographs was the last thing on my mind.

So I did what I usually do and resorted to what I had to hand. Yep, you guessed!

PAWS

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The results are in.

My vet rang me this morning with the results of The Greyhound's liver biopsy.

IT'S ALL CLEAR!!

We are so doing a happy dance!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

One of "those" days

So, here we are, it's just a smidge past 11am and the world has gone mad.

I had a bit of a relapse last night and spent most of it curled up on the sofa in tears again so I'm not in the best place emotionally today. The Greyhound has gone into the vets this morning to have his liver biopsy, which is enough of a worry on its own.

On top of that, I arrived at work to find a colleague had accidentally cancelled our web account and now we have no e-mail and no website. I'm paying her son to tidy up my garden for me and so far the strimmer has packed in and the lawn mower has blown up and is billowing smoke.

So bring it on....nothing else today can throw at me can surprise me.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Stu's Tuesday Challenge #22 Best of

Stu's Challenge this week is pretty straightforward

The challenge this week is to go through your archive and pick out your best picture so far.

Despite the thousands of pictures I have on my computer and on back-up disc, it took only a split second for me to decide which shot is my best so far. I take a lot of photographs and 80% are crap, 15% are mediocre and the rest are OK. Sometimes I set out to take a particular photograph but the reality of what I shoot never matches up to what I am picturing in my mind's eye. For once, I achieved what I set out to achieve.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Onwards and upwards


Last Friday morning the ex-Himself rang out of the blue to say he wanted to collect the last of his things from the Cottage. He turned up Saturday morning and collected the rest of his furniture and stuff he had stored in the shed. I finally have space to move around and sort the rest of my things out.

This morning I have woken up with a renewed sense of optimism and have set about with gusto re-arranging furniture and moving things where I want them to be. I have a strong need to be out with the old and finally make the Cottage my own.

That part of my life needs to be over.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Another up-date on The Greyhound

My vet is still not happy with The Greyhound's blood tests so she still wants to do a biopsy.

There are two options - she can do it herself but it would mean cutting him open, getting to the liver, and taking the biopsy. Alternatively she can refer me to a specialist vet who can do the biopsy with ultrasound and he may not need full anaesthtic - my vet is to discuss it with the other partners and then speak to the specialist to see how they would do it and get an idea of cost.

Either way, expensive times are ahead methinks.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Stu's Tuesday Challenge #20 - Viewfinder Optional

Stu's Challenge this week

From Syl Arena’s Lessons I Didn’t Learn In Photo School

17. Learn to think of the viewfinder as optional.
If you don’t regularly make photographs without looking through the viewfinder, start today. Learn how your lens sees without looking. Become more spontaneous. Hold your camera up over your head - like a paparazzi. Shoot from the hip (literally). Go for the worm’s-eye view. Stop chimping the LCD after each shot. Try this. Cover the viewfinder and LCD with tape — except where the histogram shows (so you can make good exposure decisions). Then shoot for a day or a week without ever looking through the lens. I’m sure you will come up with many great images that show you the world in a way you haven’t seen before.

So there’s your challenge. Take a bunch of photos without using any kind of viewfinder or checking the images on the rear screen afterwards. Post your best one of the week!

Well this was fun! Although shooting without looking through the viewfinder did mean a lot of shots of things at some very odd angles and not getting in the image what I thought I was getting! I decided to get down to ground level and this is my favourite of the ones I took this week.


Monday, 25 May 2009

Stu's Tuesday Challenge #19 - Weather

In by the skin of my teeth!

Our Challenge this week is:

This week, your task is to capture the weather. It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny or raining, or snowing for that matter. Try not to just take a picture of the sky… look for some other subjects to go in the frame to support your choice of conditions.

With the bank holiday weekend coming up, there should be lots of opportunity for storms, rain, hail, sleet…

We had some great weather for this challenge in the days leading to Stu announcing it, since then it's been nothing but sunshine. Which has been lovely, but not brilliant for getting any dramatic weather shots. So with a little artistic licence, this is my weather shot.....

Raindrop

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Up-date on The Greyhound

Thank you all so much for asking after The Greyhound, and my apologies for not up-dating you.

The Bile Acid Stimulation test came back normal. Which is good. Sort of. But it still leaves the question of what is wrong with his liver unanswered.

The Greyhound had been getting much calmer than normal in the weeks leading up to this but I had put that down to the fact that he is starting to grow up and mature. Wrong! My vet had put him on a course of antibiotics and liver strengthening pills and one of them certainly did the trick because he was back to his normal bouncy, idiotic self. Because of this, my vet decided to hold off on the biopsy for a few weeks and redo the bloods once he'd finished his course of tablets.

And that's where we were. Until yesterday. When I got home last night he had weed in the house again and the amount he is drinking is also on the increase. So I need to speak to my vet again today and see where she wants to go from here. Whatever the problem, it's still there and I think the biopsy is going to be inevitable.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Hello? Hello? Anybody there?


Hello Blogland!

Sorry it's been a bit quiet around here lately but I've had rather a lot on my plate and blogging has had to take a back seat for a while. Plus I had some stuff in my head that needed sorting out. Actually, it still does need sorting out, I just don't care quite so much these days. Not in a "don't care" don't care sort of way, just that I am trying to be a bit more chilled about things.

I have a habit of over-analysis sometimes. I have a pathological need to know why my thoughts and emotions about issues I might have take the direction they do and why I'm thinking what I'm thinking in the first place. It ends up seriously stressing me out.

I also get stressed out about things that I need to get done - and don't. I'm having a few problems with my thyroid medication at the moment which is leaving me with an over-whelming feeling of intertia.

So I am taking a step back from my thoughts and concerns, and I am trying to look at them more objectively. I am trying to be rational about them.

I have found a quiet place in my head that I retreat to when I find myself going into analysis mode. Somewhere that is blocked off from my more irrational feelings. Somewhere where I can see things a little more clearly.

And I do believe it's working. I am feeling much more comfortable in my skin and with my thoughts. I am much more at ease with myself and I find that the less stressed I am about things, the more I seem to get done.

Two birds one stone then. Always a bonus.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Stu's Tuesday Challenge #17 - Decisive Moment

Stu's Challenge this week

Fast shutter speeds are the order of the day. Capture that split second in time. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for ever.

This week, your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to capture a frozen image of a moment in time. An image that will never be seen exactly the same again. That point at the peak of the action.

OK, not my best ever effort for a number of reasons but mainly because the first idea I had didn't come off and I ran out of time. So I was back to using what I had around me. Oh. That'll be a Lurcher again then!


Saturday, 2 May 2009

Stu's Tuesday Challenge #16 Creepy Crawly Close-Up

Stu's Tuesday Challenge this week is

Your challenge is to take a picture of a creepy-crawly - spider, insect, etc. Preferably a real one, and preferably close-up enough to make out detail. Preferably artistically pleasing rather than just a documentary shot.

Oooh goody! Time to get the macro lens out then!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

It started with crap....

....and it's getting crappier by the minute.

Sunday morning, up with the lark. Shit, showered and shaved....well, OK, maybe not the shaved bit, dressed and The Hounds walked by 9am. At the Sunday market by 9.30.

Now for some reason, the people who run the market have decided to hold a car boot sale on the same site, at the same time. Given that the site the car boot sale occupies is usually a parking area for the market, they have had to open up the arena next door for parking. To get out of there you have to walk through a long tunnel under the buildings. As I walk through, something landed on me. It felt like someone had dropped a load of pebbles on me. Except it wasn't pebbles. It was bird shit.

I have no idea what bird was perching up there but judging by the amount of crap it produced, it was big. Possibly a vulture or something. Maybe. Anyway, more to the point, it's crap was all over my clean shirt, my jeans, my hair, my bag, inside my bag....and it was gross. I cleaned up as much as I could and bought a cheap t-shirt in the market to change into.

My mood plummetted.

Sunday afternoon I sat down to do some work on the Greyhound Gap 07/08 accounts. We do a lot through Paypal and I had to breakdown every payment we'd received for the year into different categories. Three and a half hours it took me. I started to put the breakdown onto the main spreadsheet but the figures didn't match. Odd. Looked again at the Paypal spreadsheet.....then this burning feeling just started at the tip of my toes and worked it's way up until my head exploded. I stared at the computer screen not quite sure if I could believe what was staring me in the face.

I had spent three and a half hours working on the 06/07 Paypal account instead of the 07/08.

I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, scream or get raging drunk. For the first time in my life I had rendered myself speechless.

Last week I had to take The Greyhound to the vet. He had weed in the house twice, despite having been spotless since the day he arrived, and was drinking so much water that it was obvious something was wrong. I managed to get a urine sample from him and walking in, clutching that, gave my vet some clue as to what I was there for. Like me, she suspected a urine infection of some kind and, indeeed, the tests she did on the sample did show some blood in there. But she was slightly concerned about the amount he was drinking so took bloods to send off as well.

The results came back yesterday. No bacteria or crystals but there were significantly elevated liver levels and a slightly higher than normal creatinine level in his kidneys. That "significantly" gave me a bit of a wibble.

He went in for an Acid Bile Stimulation test today - that means he was starved for 12 hours overnight, they took bloods first thing this morning then fed him a fatty meal and then took more bloods - that will indicate how well his liver is actually functioning and the results of that come back next week. Whilst he was in, they also did an ultrasound scan. The scan is showing that, whilst not enlarged, his liver is much denser than normal.

At the moment we have no idea what this may indicate. It could just be some sort of blip and all will return to normal, or it might not. Depending on what the test results indicate, the next step will be a biopsy.

This week is getting crappier by the minute....

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Stu's Tuesday Challenge #15

It's jsut as well Stu is handing out these challenges or it's very likely I would have disappeared off the edge of the blogoshpere. But remind me to tell you about my day today........

Anyway, I digress. Stu's challenge this week was to take between 3 and 9 pictures which tell a story. They should be edited into the space of a single picture.
OK. Sounds easy doesn't it? My problem? Lack of imagination. End of. So I worked with what I have. Lurchers.

I can't say this tells a particulary enthralling story, as I said, my imagination is not my strongest point.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Stu's Tuesday Challenge #14 - Run Away!

This week Stu's Challenge was to set the camera onto the 10 second timer, press the shutter release.....and run away!

The challenge for me this week was to find somewhere to do this. It should have been somewhere with at least some interesting terrain but, living in London, there was no way I was running away from my camera for even 10 seconds. It wouldn't have been there when I got back! So it's a bit of a poorly effort from me this week...but I did have two lurchers running with me trying to trip me up....


Saturday, 18 April 2009

The Twilight Zone

OK, that was a bit of a corny title, but Twilight has finally caught up with me. Or, rather, I have finally caught up with Twilight. The first three books have been sitting on my shelf for some months now but I've kept putting off starting Twilight for some reason. I'm not sure if it was because I thought they wouldn't live up to the hype or because I have been in full-on sci-fantasy reading mode for the last few months.

But I finally picked it up on Tuesday night and read a couple of chapters. It pulled me along quite nicely so Wednesday night I picked it up again.......and I didn't put it down until I reached the last page. I don't remember the exact time but I know it was in the very early hours of Thursday morning. Then I dived into New Moon. I'm half way through but the only reason I haven't finished it is because I'm working this weekend. I normally sit in bed reading before I go to sleep but I am having to make myself stay in the lounge to read and leave the damn book there when I go to bed otherwise I know I won't put it down until I've finished it. It's even kept me from my favourite tv programmes.

I've read a review that says this is mindless mush. Maybe. But it's been a very long time since a book kept me reading until the wee hours, so it must have something. I like the way Stephanie Meyer writes. And although the books are aimed at teenage girls, I suspect any female with even the minutest smidge of hormone in her will be able to relate in some way to Bella.

But damn, why did it take her so long to twig about Jacob? I got that when she saw the wolves in the meadow and it was very frustrating waiting for her to catch up!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Back to life. Back to reality.

I've had a week off work this week. And it's been great. If I look around I don't appear to have achieved much but I have been quietly getting on with a few things and moved them all forward a bit. Oh, and I have slept a lot.

The problem is that, apart from a visit from a friend and one or two phone calls, I have completely isolated myself away from people this week. Just me and my dogs spending some quality time. But I have to go back to work tomorrow. Back to reality.

I've realised how easy it is to be alone when you are on your own. It's easy and I enjoy it. Perhaps a bit too much. Yes you can be alone in a crowd, but with people around you do have to interact with them in some way. It's quite amazing how quickly you can adjust to living without that interaction, and how quickly you realise how peaceful it is. It would be nice to live like this forever and I've often thought that a remote cottage somewhere would be how I would like to spend the rest of my life.

But that's not possible so I have to gird my loins and get ready to face the public tomorrow. I'm not looking forward to it.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Tuesday Challenge #13

Stu's Tuesday Challenge this week was, I think, meant to take us out of our comfort zones.

Your task this week is to take a photo of a complete stranger. With their knowledge and consent. That’s someone you have never spoken to before. Since all photos should have intent, let us know why you chose to photograph that particular person.

I really thought I could do this without too much issue. I don't usually have a problem photographing people - in fact, taking candid shots is something I love doing - but, the more I thought about it, the more nervous I became about actually approaching a complete stranger.

And then a perfect opportunity presented itself. The Lurchers and The Greyhound were at the back gate barking like crazy. I went outside to see what all the fuss was about to see a chap standing at my gate talking to them.....and he had a greyhound with him! So I plucked up the courage to ask him if he would mind if I took his photograph. I explained what it was for and it turns out that not only did we have greyhounds in common, but he used to teach photography. Fate or what!?

So, the intent? Well, apart from it being an opportunity that presented itself, he had such an interesting face.

And just in case it isn't obvious that I had his consent.....



Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Anyone have a shovel?

I really need to dig myself a big hole and hide myself in it for a while.

No, wait. I have already dug the hole haven't I? Maybe I now need to stop digging.

All that stuff yesterday? I was so far off the mark it's untrue. The stony silence that has followed the deathly silence proves that.

How could I have got it so wrong? I know I'm out of practice at this game but, damn, I dip one little itty bitty toe in the water and I am reminded that the water is way too hot to play in. I realise I am not yet ready for this game so I'm taking my toys and heading home. Honestly, I am such an ass!

Oh, and if I ever appear to forget this little lesson and try this again would someone please grab me by the scruff of the neck and haul me sharply backwards?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Hands up who's been here before then...

There's someone you know vaguely, having had dealings with them from time to time, and one day they make a comment that pulls you up short and you think "Are they flirting with me?". Then they make another comment and a bell goes off in your head, your hormones suddenly wake up from hibernation and tell you, "Do you know, I think they jolly well might be".

Not entirely sure what the heck is going on, your brain is telling you that you may have completely misread the signals and that you should run away very quickly before you make a complete ass of yourself. Your hormones, of course, don't give a shit if you make an ass out of yourself and plough on regardless and you find yourself flirting ever so gently back. Of course, you have played out the scenario in your head and you KNOW that he will reply and ask you out for dinner, I mean, what other response could he make? You've worked out how you are going to respond and so on and so on and so on......

But instead there is deathly silence.

Your brain is saying "Told you so" and your hormones find every excuse under the sun as to why he hasn't replied. Then you get really pissed off because he led you to this point (yes, OK, by the nose) and then disappears. Then you get really angry with yourself for being such an ass and why the heck would anyone want to flirt with you anyway.

We are so bloody predictable aren't we?

Monday, 6 April 2009

Stu's Tuesday Challenge #12 - Purple

I reallystruggled with this challenge this week. I have a beautiful purple flower in my garden and I have struggled to get the camera to capture the depth of colour in the flower. THis was about the best I could manage.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

You remember that Ball I went to?

A few weeks ago I actually went out to a Ball organised by one of the local riding stables. I was lucky enough to win a raffle prize (at £20 for five tickets I'd have been mightily pee'd off if I hadn't!). I won a studio photography session with a local photographer.

So I rang him up the following week and explained I'd won his prize and we chatted for a while about what it would involve. He finished off by saying "come along with your family".

I paused for a moment and said "Actually, my family is me and my three dogs" at which point I expected a sharp intake of breath and and a polite refusal. Not a bit, without pause he said "Brilliant! This should be great fun!". And so it was!

This morning I've been to pick up the prints, one of which I had enlarged to 20" x 16"and framed. And here it is!



This one was quite accidental. We'd finished the shoot and Georgie and Tyler had wandered off. The Greyhound just stood there with his head on my shoulder and the photographer was quick enough to spot the moment and capture it! I hadn't intended to have any individual shots but this came out so well I couldn't not have it!


Sunday, 29 March 2009

Tuesday Challenge #11 Copycat

Stu's Tuesday Challenge this week was about as tough as they come.


Our task was to create our own interpretation of Dali Atomicus by Phillipe Halsman

You see where I'm coming from when I say tough? Oh yeah.....

Well, my brother came for dinner today and as a scriptwriter by training, he has a brilliant imagination for bizarre things and I couldn't have done this without his help. Thanks Rob! So whilst my parents stood watching aghast and lost for words, we took several images and I finally came up with this......



OK, it's crap, I know it's crap but I tried and you know what I am really excited about? I finally get layers! If you use photoshop or PSP, you know what I mean by layers, and for the last two years, understanding layers has eluded me completely. After doing this little exercise, the penny has finally dropped! Thanks Stu!

Oh, and I promise you that no chickens were harmed in the making of this photo. Nora wasn't really thrown through the air, she was sitting quite happily sunbathing in the afternoon sunshine.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Tuesday Challenge #10 - Food - Eggs it is!

Stu's Tuesday Challenge for this week is Food.

You thought this week would be easy?

Food photography is difficult. Really difficult.

We don’t want a picture of your lunch. We want a picture that makes us want to eat your lunch. A picture that would appear in a menu. A picture that appeals.

If the viewers’ stomachs don’t rumble while perusing the results, we haven’t done our job properly.

Take care to arrange the food nicely, make it look fresh, make it look hot (if applicable). Make it look appetising. Like one of those burger shops where you absolutely know your burger isn’t going to look that nice. Watch out for the background, if it supports the image, emphasise it; if it doesn’t support the image, why is it there?

I’m tempted to put fruit/individual items on a hit list, but I’m not sure I like hit lists. So try to go for a complete meal, but if not, make your fruit look really juicy.

Stu wasn't wrong. Photographing food is not as eay as it might at first sound. That said, I have two images and I'm not sure which one to put forward. Whichever one you all prefer by Sunday evening is the one I'll put forward!

**UPDATE: EGGS IT IS!

First one is "Egg on toast"! I do quite like this one as I think it does make you want to reach for a toasted soldier and dip it in the yolk! Well, it does me anyway!

The second is "Pudding and custard"


Any thoughts!?

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Tuesday Challenge #9 - Vertigo

Stu's Tuesday Challenge this week is Vertigo:

In this week’s challenge, your camera must be at least 30 feet (10 metres) above the subject of your photo. You could try a hill or tall building, a kite, or if you’re good at throwing things very high and catching them again, maybe a Camera Toss (note - I will not be held responsible for broken cameras!)


I had a cunning plan for this but then it was explained to me there was a certain amount of perilous climbing involved in getting high enough up my local windmill. So I scratched that idea. My offering this week is a little more urban than I would usually shoot, and urban is not one of my strong points but I'm relatively pleased with it. It possibly doesn't look like I'm 30 feet up above them but I definitely was!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

WHY do I do it?

It's official. I do not have a life.

I cried over a Star Trek DS9 episode for heaven's sake.

I so need to get out more.

So why why why why why have I signed up to Twitter?

Are blogging, Facebook, Plurk, Skype and sundry message boards not enough to keep me in touch with people already?

How many ways do I need to tell the whole world that I do not have a life!?

And if anyone can answer that question.....then they need to get a life too!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Our Fun Monday Hostess this week is Sayre Smiles and this is our assignment


What are you and your family doing to deal with the current economic situation on a personal level? Obama's got a plan for the nation, but how do you/will you deal with your own economic stress?

I am in the fortunate position of not being immediately affected by the current economic situation. I am lucky enough to live in a rent-free house that comes with my job so I am not encumbered by a mortgage and several of my bills are also paid for me. But nonetheless, I am not being complacent.

I have to pay for my central-heating oil, which is not cheap these days, so I try to use the central heating as little as possible and instead use my wood-burning stove.

I cycle back and forth to work as I really have no reason to drive as it's quicker to cycle, plus it gives me some exercise!

I have my own chickens who lay enough eggs for me and also enough for me to give some to friends and colleagues in return for the odd favour.

I've started a compost heap which will hopefully save me having to buy fertiliser for the garden and enable me to grow some more of my own food this year. Last year I grew green beans, courgettes (zucchini) and tomatoes but this year I also want to try potatoes, sweet corn and pumpkins.

I go to the supermarket less often, mainly because when I do go I end up buying stuff that I really don't need that goes to waste. I think more about what I'm buying and whether I really need it. If I just needed a pint of milk I'd go to the supermarket and come away having spent £50 so now if I just need a few staples, I use the local shops instead. Saves me money and helps the local economy too!

Now visit Sayre Smiles to read everyone's Fun Monday posts.

Tuesday Challenge #8 - Green

This week's Stu's Challenge is GREEN



Friday, 6 March 2009

I shall go to the Ball.

Unlike Cinderalla, I don't have a Fairy Godmother to turn the requisite pumpkin into a carriage or the mice that live in the shed into footmen but nonetheless, this girl has gotten her butt into gear and is going to the Ball.

Yes, you read that right. I AM GOING OUT!

There is no hot date (RC, did you get that? THERE IS NO HOT DATE!) but who knows? I do have a dress though. And that's a good start. And shoes. And given that about an hour into the evening my shoes will be giving my feet the kind of hell only heels can and they will have been kicked off under the table, some idiot may come running after me at midnight clutching my beaded evening shoe in his sweaty little hand.

Of such things are fairy tales made. Although I could do without the sweaty hands thank you all the same.

Friday Funnies

"ALL PUNS INTENDED "

1. Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent.

2. A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, "I'll serve you, but don't start anything."

3. Two peanuts walk into a bar, and one was a salted.

4. A dyslexic man walked into a bra.

5. A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm, and says: "A beer please, and one for the road."

6. Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other: "Does this taste funny to you?"

7. "Doc, I can't stop singing The Green, Green Grass of Home."
"That sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome."
"Is it common?"
"Well, It's Not Unusual."

8. Two cows are standing next to each other in a field.
Daisy says to Dolly, "I was artificially inseminated this morning."
"I don't believe you," says Dolly.
"It's true; no bull!" exclaims Daisy.

9. An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either.

10. Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before.

11. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day, but I couldn't find any.

12. A man woke up in a hospital after a serious accident.
He shouted, "Doctor, doctor, I can't feel my legs!"
The doctor replied, "I know, I amputated your arms!"
;
13. I went to a seafood disco last week... and pulled a mussel.

14. What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.

15. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says, "Dam!"

16. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Not surprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

17. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel, and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office, and asked them to disperse.
"But why," they asked, as they moved off.
"Because," he said. "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."

18. A woman has twins, and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt, and is named 'Ahmal.' The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him 'Juan.' Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds,
"They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."

19. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (oh, man, this is so bad, it's good) ... a
super-calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

20. A dwarf, who was a mystic, escaped from jail. The call went out that there was a small medium at large.

21. And finally, there was the person who sent twenty different puns to his friends, with the hope that at least ten of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Welcome!

It's just like the old place isn't it!?

I know it seems silly moving from one Blogger blog to another Blogger blog, but I do have my reasons.

I wanted the blog to reflect that we are now a multi-sighthound house, with a Greyhound as well as Lurchers. And yes, I know I could have just changed the title, and indeed I did do that, but some years ago, I did something a bit stupid with my Google account and since then I've always had to sign in using the ex-Himself's e-mail. Quite frankly, I wanted to move on from having to do that.

I did try out WordPress but, although I consider myself reasonably technically au fait, WordPress had me completely flummoxed.

So here we are! Do please comment and let me know you've found me!

What am I missing?

I've been having a play in WordPress but I'm finding it quite difficult to set up. I've imported all my blog posts with no problem but I can't find a theme that I like, so I've tried to pick the best and then adjust it - which is a pieceof cake in Blogger - but for the life of me I can't see how to do it in WordPress. I can find edit CSS but it doesn't seem to let me do anything.

Any help for an ignoramous please?

EDIT: OK, it seems if you want to change things in WordPress, you have to pay for the privilege. Unlike in Blogger, where you get to do all that for free. Not sure I'm going to be moving over there then.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

We may be moving

I'm toying with moving my blog over to WordPress. I'm exporting everything over there at the moment and will have a play to see how it goes before making a final decision.

Monday, 2 March 2009

This blog is unwell

It has a temperature, a sore throat and it aches like hell. Now it's going back to bed.

My apologies for missing Fun Monday. Today's not really been much fun.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Prejudice is alive and well.

My fellow countrymen never cease to amaze me. And not in a good way this time.

Cerrie Burnell is a television presenter. She co-presents a programme on CBeebies, a children's television channel. An actress by profession, Cerrie is a pretty, blonde haired 29 year old. There is, however, one slight difference between Cerrie and a myriad of other pretty blonde television presenters. Cerrie is missing her lower right arm.

A minority of parents have expressed concern that Ms Burnell's appearance was "scaring" children. One father said he feared it would give his daughter nightmares and a mother said her two-year-old girl could not watch because she thought the presenter had been hurt.

Cerrie says she doesn't take these criticisms personally. But, as she rightly says, these kind of comments highlight the prejudice that disabled people face.

In an interview this week, she said:

"Children come up to me in the street every day and say 'What's that?' I wouldn't say they're frightened but certainly they're inquisitive.

"I would always take the time to explain to a child. All they want is an explanation. They want to know 'What's that?' and 'What's happened?' and 'Why are you different?' And then they will move on."

She hopes that her presence can show young children what they can achieve on merit.

I am not a parent so maybe I'm talking out of my hat here but surely parents should be encouraging their children to accept people who they might see as "different". Surely this is an ideal opportunity for parents to explain to children that some people do have physical disabilities but that this doesn't make them any less a person. If, as a nation, we want to stop prejudice of any description, then I would have thought that the younger the child, the more chance there is of moulding their thoughts against such prejudices.

Parents who can't face explaining this to their children must surely run the risk of passing on their own prejudices and fears of anyone who is "different".

As I said, I am not a parent but I'd be interested to know the views of those of you that are.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Boiing!

That'll be the sound of spring in the air then.

Just a few weeks ago we were knee deep in snow, and today? Spring has most definitely arrived. The reasons I know this are:

The sun is shining and there is some warmth in it's rays.
People are walking around in t-shirts
My daffodils are preparing to burst forth
We've now started our Summer Routine at work
Office workers are strolling the Common in their lunch break
I spend my lunch break doing things instead of spending it hiding indoors in front of the computer
Today I threw the windows wide open to let in the fresh air.
I'm sitting at work with the doors wide open
I've just ordered vegetable seeds for my garden
My thoughts seem to be turning to lust.....having a young, broad-shouldered hunk of a rugby player turning up in ones office on a Friday afternoon can do that to a girl you know.

Oh yes, Spring is most definitely here.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Obituary



Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, whohas been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
Why the early bird gets the
worm;
Life isn't always fair;
and maybe it was my fault.


Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers;
I Know My Rights
I Want It Now
Someone Else Is To Blame
I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The sink?

You lot are bonkers! And that's why I love you all!!

Of all the things that I have in my kitchen, the last thing I expected you all to fall in love with was my sink! Do you not have sinks like that in the States then!?

Actually, it might look great but it's not that brilliant. The sink bit is fine but the draining area is completely flat, so it doesn't drain properly.

To answer Faye's question about how involved I was in the whole remodeling project...quite simply, it was pretty much all planned by me from the start, although I did talk to a kitchen designer at the store I bought it from. Ari said she expected it to be more rustic and, if truth be told, I had wanted a more cottagey feel to it, but when I went to look at kitchens and sat down with the designer, we came to the conclusion that it simply wasn't big enough and, whatever I chose, it was going to have to be pretty basic. But I knew the colour scheme I wanted, that I wanted light coloured units and where I wanted everything to be to make best use of the limited space. The designer just tapped it all into his computer and told me whether it would work or not.

Choosing what to have as a backsplash took the longest. I couldn't find any tiles I liked and finally plumped for the wood that you see.

I have to say that planning the kitchen was the best bit of the whole renovation project for me!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Tuesday Challenge #7 - Out of the Frame

Well, here's a turn up for the books! Stu issued his Tuesday Challenge this morning and here I am with my entry already!

This was Stu's Challenge:

This week, the subject is absent from the frame. This could be for various reasons - location: your subject is present but off to one side of the frame; temporal: your subject was present but has now gone.

There should be sufficient clues in the frame that the viewer will have at least some idea about the subject, even if they don’t know its exact nature. Use shadows, gestures, lingering artefacts… whatever you can to give away as much as you can about your subject without showing it.

I really thought I'd struggle with this one because I'm not very clever when imagination is required. But I hit upon this idea and rushed home at lunchtime to see if I could pull it off.

So did I pull it off? I'll let you decide!





Monday, 23 February 2009

Fun Monday - The Kitchen!

Ari at Beyond my Slab is our Hostess this week and this is our assignment.

Topic: It's time for show and tell. What does your kitchen counter look like right now? (And no fair cleaning just for the picture!) Do you have any favorite or unusual items on your counter?

Well, I'm going to double up on this post because I realised that about 2 years ago I posted pictures of the kitchen how it was when I first moved in, and I've never posted any "after" pictures.

So this is how it was before:


And this is how it is now...

This is an overall view. It looks longer than it actually is because I used the wide-angle lens to get these shots...excuse the patches of water on the floor but I'd just emptied the dishwasher!


This is the view to the left of the door. You can jsut see the corner of the microwave, the hob, my utensils, nestled in the corner is a bowl of eggs from my chickens, and in the slow cooker is a chilli for dinner this evening!


Moving around to the right you can see three bowls of dog food lined up. If I had turned around and taken a photo you would have seen three hounds standing there, saying to me "Enough with the camera, FEED US!! You can also see my toaster, and my peelings bin and on the shelf are my old-fashioned scales which I absolutely love and wouldn't swap for a more modern set for a minute.


Then we come full circle to the doorway and you can see my kettle with the tea and coffee pots and that's my mobile - that is the best place in the cottage for getting a signal so the phone tends to live there. That white thing lying next to the kettle is a candle. It's there because my front door is sticking so I periodically rub some candle wax on it until I can get the door sorted out!


So there you go, that's my kitchen counters!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Tuesday Challenge #6 - Blue

Stu's Tuesday Challenge for this week was "Blue"

A Bowl of Blue Beads

Friday, 20 February 2009

For women over 40

I have shamelessly pinched this from my friend Nettie who posted it on the Greyhound Gap Forum


60 Minutes Correspondent Andy Rooney (CBS)

As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, 'What are you thinking?' She doesn't care what you think.

If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it's usually more interesting.

Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize.


Andy Rooney is a really smart guy!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

I am such a bad blogger

There has been a distinct lack of blogging on my part over the last week or so. There have been various reasons for this but mainly work has been really really busy so by the time I get home, walk The Lurchers and The Greyhound, feed them, and do a few chores, all my mushy brain is capable of is collapsing in front of the TV.

On top of that, Lurcher No.2 has been poorly. There are a lot of gastroenteritis-type doggy viruses circulating at the moment and, when that happens, you can bet that he will catch at least one of them. So the beginning of last week he was vomiting and then just as he was starting to get over that, the enteritis bit hit and we experienced projectile diarrhea. At 5.30am last Saturday morning, neither of us made it to the door in time. My poor boy, he never soiled in the house even as a puppy and he was mortified.

Then just as he is getting over that and was eating normally, he suddenly stopped eating again yesterday and was sick again overnight. He has eaten a little breakfast this morning though so I'm keeping fingers crossed that it was just a blip.

I have a load of blogging things, and blogging pals, to catch up on and Jo, I promise I haven't forgotten my interview!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Tuesday Challenge #5 - One out of One

This is Stu's Challenge for this week

Allocate a time this week to the challenge. It can be a day, it can be ten minutes, as you wish.

During the allocated time, you are allowed to take exactly one photo. No more. No “take a few and see which is best”. No “let’s try that from another angle”. Do everything in your power to get a good photo before you press the shutter. This is a great exercise in spotting problems in the background, dodgy camera settings, and so on. To make it even harder on yourself, try shooting a dynamic subject - changing light, or moving objects. Wait for the right moment and go for it.

Well, I didn't manage to get anything "dynamic" but this was a difficult light situation as it was early in the morning and I was shooting almost directly into the sun. The only post-processing this has had is cropping and a little sharpening.


Monday, 9 February 2009

Pamela at The Dust Will Wait is our hostess for this week, and this is our assignment

The subject: Show me in pictures or tell me in words what defines the place where you live.


OK, there are two things that define the place I live.

The first is this:




The Windmill on Wimbledon Common. It's historically important to the area and also a major feature and it's part of my job to help look after it, although I only play a minor role.

Secondly, and probably the thing that will be instantaneaously recognisable to you all, is of course the All England Lawn Tennis Club

and it's famous courts


The tennis courts are literally a mile or so away as the crow flies and, if the wind is blowing in the right direction, I can hear the cheering crowds from my garden.

So head on over to Pamela's and see who else is participating.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Tuesday Challenge - Red

This week's Tuesday Challenge, as set by Stu, is "Red"

Here's my effort!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

One for Pratchett fans

..as I know there are a few of you out who that read this blog.

In case you weren't aware, there is a programme on BBC2 at 9pm tonight about his journey with Alzheimers.

We have a host for Fun Monday!

Pamela at The Dust will Wait has stepped up to the mark!

Thank you Pamela!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

We need a Fun Monday host for 9th Feb

Any volunteers?

Monday, 2 February 2009

Fun Monday - Books!

I am your hostess for Fun Monday this week and this is the assignment I set you:

Firstly tell me what book you are reading now. What's it about? Are you enjoying it and why? If not, why not?

And secondly, if you were to be stranded on a desert island, what one book would you take with you.

PLEASE SEE THE LIST OF PARTICIPANTS IN THE BAR TO THE RIGHT OF THE BLOG

At the moment I am reading Sepulchre by Kate Mosse.

This is what I call a split-story. Part of it is set in the 1890s and the rest is contemporary and the story flits between the two. Although I'm half way through, I haven't quite figured out what the story is yet. There seem to be several threads which I presume will come together at some point. The historical aspect of the story seems to focus on Tarot cards and evil goings-on associated with them, including the calling of demons. The modern aspect is more confusing. The heroine is an American travelling in France carrying out research for a book she is writing about Debussy. At the same time she is researching her family history. Neither aspect of her story is dominant and the author seems to be linking the two but why escapes me for the moment and the Debussy aspect is, I suspect, a bit of a red herring. What is obvious is that you know that three of the characters in the historical part all die on the same day and their story is leading up to that. Slowly. Very very slowly.

Am I enjoying it? No.

I've been having a problem for a few months now in that I've found it difficult to stay with the books I've been reading. Consequently I have a pile of half-read books. So I've been determined that I would stick with Sepulchre until the end, thinking that the problem was with me and not with the book. But whilst getting the Amazon link I scrolled down to read the reviews. It seems I am not the only person having a problem with the book. The reviews give it a serious slating.

Kate Mosse's first novel was a good yarn, Labyrinth, and the story held together even if the writing style left something to be desired. Ms Mosse's characters don't develop terribly well so you don't engage or feel anything for any of them. And in Sepulchre it's even worse. Now I know it's not just me, I may well stop torturing myself and get stuck in to the Twilight series which is burning a hole on my shelf!

As to the second part of Fun Monday - what book would I take with me to a desert island. No question it would be The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I've mentioned a few times that this is my all time favourite book and it's one I could read over and over again and always continue to find something new in it. Always a good recommendation in a book!

Saturday, 31 January 2009

What to do?

The garden is in desperate need of attention. I still haven't raked up all the leaves from the Autumn. That's how far behind I am.

The chicken coop needs cleaning out. That's a must.

I need to go shopping. The cupboards are bare.

I need to clean my house. Goddamn I only did it last week how can it need doing again!?

The bed needs changing.

The dog beds need washing.

Paperwork needs sorting.

Or I could just sit here and have my ass whipped at Lexulous on Facebook by Janet and RC.

Decisions decisions.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

One for the girls!!

My blog buddy, Janet, is having a giveaway on her planet.

And it is some giveaway so get over there girls!!

Fun Monday 2nd February - Your Assignment!

OK, I know that pretty much all of you out there are bookworms.

So for Fun Monday on 2nd February, firstly tell me what book you are reading now. What's it about? Are you enjoying it and why? If not, why not?

And secondly, if you were to be stranded on a desert island, what one book would you take with you.

Let me know in the comments if you want to sign up.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Fun Monday - Diets

Grace is our hostess this week and this is our assignment:

Many people make resolutions during the month of January and they usually include diets/eating healthy/losing weight and all that good stuff. I myself decided to try the Weight Watchers this time round. My assignment is to tell us about a diet or two (Atkins, Sonoma, Weight Watchers, South Beach, the You on a Diet, Best Life, The Abs Diet, The Zone, Cabbage Soup, E-Diets, Dr Phil, Jenny Craig, The Meditteranean Diet, Nutrisystem, Slim-Fast, Suzzane Sommers or No Name diet etc etc) that you have tried and what you liked or did not like about it. You can tell us about one diet that you had so much success with, or another that was a torture to follow or both.

AND/OR
Photo assignment: post a photo of something/someone that makes you feel good about yourself. It could be your loved one, your pet, your part of the world, anything goes.

Dieting. Oh yes. Been there done that. Many, many times. Although to be honest, I don't usually do fad diets. The last two years I've been to Weight Watchers. It really does help and I managed to get down to my target weight both times. The problem I have is keeping there. By the time I reach my target weight I am bored silly of dieting and slowly but surely go back to where I was before. I just can't seem to manage the maintenance.

That said, Weight Watchers is the only diet that I've followed that I have actually managed to stick to. It's pretty easy to do, at least, I did the Core Plan and I found that easier than Points. I tried the points but that just made me obsess about food because you have to be constantly thinking about it.

But the weight is sneaking up again and I really need to crack down and eat sensibly. My biggest problem is my sweet tooth. It overrides everything, and my willpower is not very strong at the best of times.



I was also going to include a feel-good photo but someone has done something so incredibly, mind-bendingly stupid that has hit me hard in the pocket that I am struggling to feel good about anything right now.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Tuesday Challenge #2

Stu's second Tuesday challenge is "Water". We've had a fair bit of that around this week that's for sure. However, instead of the rain, I had another go at capturing water drops. I first did this a while ago but as Stu's challenge requires us to take new shots, I spent another evening being terribly amused by a dripping tap!

I'm a bit late getting this shot up but I've been sitting on four shots since Thursday because I couldn't decide which one to choose. But this is the one I've finally gone for

Thursday, 22 January 2009

A birthday treat

This morning my friend and I took ourselves off for my birthday treat - a De-Stress Full Body Massage at a local salon, the Ark Spa. I've never had a proper massage before so this was one to knock off the bucket-list.

But last night something occurred to me.

Having a massage means getting butt-naked. Don't ask why that only just occurred to me.

Now don't get me wrong, personal hygiene is way up there as a number one priority in my life but, people, it's winter. The time of heavy jeans, boots, lots of layers, thick jumpers...... and infrequent depilation. Yep, the legs, the armpits and the bikini line were in need of some desperate attention if I was going to save any face.

And, AND...underwear!!? How could I go to a spa that no less an august newspaper as the Sunday Times describes as being frequented by the "Well-heeled Wimbledonites and the racket weary top-seeded tennis players and their beautiful other halves during Wimbledon Fortnight" with grey knickers and a well-worn, if comfortable, bra? Well I couldn't could I? Cue a rapid emptying of the underwear draw to find bra and knickers that were at least the same colour.

And what was really funny was that as we were driving there, my friend confided that she had gone through exactly the same routine that morning!

But despite this being a top-end salon, the staff were not in the least bit snooty, made us incredibly welcome and were very friendly and relaxed. The massage was amazing and I'm going back in 10 days time for a facial. I could get used to this sort of life.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

Last week I was thinking about what to post today. With a birthday looming, I was feeling a bit introspective and wondering just how the hell I got to this age. Where has the last 44 years gone for heaven's sake?

And what had I achieved in those 44 years? At first, I thought "not a lot".

When I was an idealistic teenager I, probably like everyone else, wanted to leave my mark on the world. I wanted to be known for something, anything. I looked back and thought well, life's been pretty mediocre really. But today I think...no, I know, that we are not all cut out to achieve greatness and to change the world. Most of us do live normal, ordinary lives and it's the greatness within our own little worlds that is important.

Today I can see that I have achieved my own greatness. I have a job that I love, a home that I love, a family that I love and love me, friends that I trust, can turn to and depend on and, most importantly, three hounds that I love more than life itself and who love me back unconditionally. Today I have stopped wondering when life is going to happen. Life is here right now and I am living it. Not necessarily to the full, but to do as little or as much with as I want.

Am I happy and content with my lot? You know what? I am.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Mmmmmm.....

Weightwatchers sticky toffee pudding is very good.

Particulary good when smothered in extra thick double cream.

Oh wait.......

Damn.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Fun Monday - 2nd Anniversary Edition

Wow..I can't believe another year has gone by already! The first FM anniversary feels like it was just yesterday. I mean, obviously it wasn't, it was a year ago but where has the time gone?

Our Hostess for this week is Julie over at Another Chance Ranch and this is our assignment:

This week is the 2nd Anniversary of Fun Monday. Fun Monday began by everyone showing photos of their view out their front door. For the 1st Anniversary, we did it again. This time I wanted to change it up a bit. I asked everyone to take a photo from their front door facing the interior of their home instead of the exterior.

This is going to be a pretty boring post from me because you can't see very much from my front door. It opens up into a narrow hallway and you can just see through into the office/dining room/library/everything else room. But what you do get to see from my front door is the welcoming committee, who bring you toys!!

I can't think of much I'd prefer to come home to.



Thursday, 15 January 2009

Tuesday Challenge #1

A couple of years ago, one of my blog pals, Stu, started a Tuesday Photography Challenge. Every Tuesday he would set a challenge to stretch the boundaries of a few novice blogging photographers and jolly good fun it was too.

Stu has now resurrected this and is pushing our boundaries out even further this time.

Yes, I realise tha today is Thursday and not Tuesday, but Stu gave us all week to come up with an image of "People at Work", to be interpreted as we see fit. This is my interpretation....

Farrier at Work

Clicky to make biggy!