Night Sailors

Strange things happen after dark in our town. And I’m not (just) talking about the drunks that stumble off the late trains and bawl and brawl their way to the bars in town.

Our customs house has taken on a rather unusual nocturnal personality. Which is a tad disconcerting if you happen to be one of the bawling, brawling drunks. One second a beautiful projection of fields of corn or rocks lapped with ripples of water…the next looming gargoyle faces with glowing red eyes spewing corn or doused in flames or blood.

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Needless to say Boo loves it!

“Look at its glowing red eyes! Get a picture with its eyes open!” she squealed.

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Apparently it’s meant to represent our town’s history, drawing on ‘the town’s role as a cradle of development for deep sea navigation in the Middle Ages.’ Which is probably just as well. If they represented its present the gargoyles would just be spewing. I don’t think it would be an improvement.

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A Peek Behind the Door

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I’m so excited about today’s post, as I invited one of my favourite bloggers, West517 to take part in the Blogging Process tour and I was thrilled when she agreed.

I adore West517’s view of life. Always stunning, she captures the most amazing images, seeing beauty in everything from vintage signs to nature, expressed in the most amazing colours. Her posts never fail to make me feel a sense of longing that I could look at life through the same lens. Utterly gorgeous and inspiring.

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Here are her answers. West517, I’m so flattered that you allowed us a peek behind the door.

What am I working on?
I’m rather spontaneous with my blog posts, but consistently what I’m focused on is creating vintage filters in Adobe Photoshop… and experimenting with “free lensing.” J

How does my work differ from others of its genre.
I think that what I create is unique because it’s mine. Born out of my life, my experiences, my perceptions, my influences and abilities … and most of all my loves. I hope that everyone who reads my blog or glances at one of my images feels a little sunnier, a little warmer and a little lighter when they leave.

Why do I write what I do?
I feel that life itself creates art in me every day… Feeling the sun on my face, exchanging “Eskimo Kisses” with my niece, swimming in the Ocean, running in the rain~ or buying a new pair of high heel shoes. I like to think that the action releases the voice and a poem is born, a song is written, an image is created or a story told. Thomas Merton said that, “Art enables us find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” In this process of creativity I am found and lost, born and reborn. Everyone needs a medium of expression and my blog, my images and words are just a small part of mine.

I can’t implore you enough to add West517 to your reading list and add her distinctive sunniness to your day.

The Explorer

Ah, the sun has returned. I’m grateful, not least of all because it means Noodles can get outside. (Although having the slide covered in a thousand just-hatched baby spiders and Noodles desperate to clamber all over them/them all over him was not especially lovely.)

At the moment Noodles loves to take any willing victim on an expedition. Leaving the route entirely to his choice when time permits can take you on a completely random and overlapping route around town.

Yesterday, for example, he declined his usual stop at the train station in favour of a trundle through the park.

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He chose to totter around the perimeter of the basketball court but then shunned the playground and parkour area. On to the train tracks, back and forward, back and forward and then down the road, stopping to scrunch in gravel drives and read out door numbers.

Further and further down the road – walk, carry, walk, carry – and then a very enthusiastic clamber along the wall of the college.

By the end of the road though the explorer’s legs are started to tire. He sits on the floor and refuses to move, his backpack luckily acting like a pillow. I didn’t have the required provisions of chocolate buttons and ‘juice’…but I did have spare change in my purse. If taking Noodles for a walk always have £1.40 on you to catch the bus.

Straight to the back seat, the happiest boy in the world. Money well spent to save a) my back and b) a tantrum.

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It’s another nice day today. I wonder where our travels will take us? I’ll make sure I’ve got sufficient provisions and plenty of loose change on me to cover all possibilities.

Inspired by The Daily Post Photography challenge On the Move.

April According to my Phone

Much as I love my iPhone for its strokeability, the lack of an SD-card means that memory space is of a premium (especially when you’ve not got a computer to clutter with stuff instead). I’ve had to make some hard decisions this month…and have deleted Facebook from my phone! I thought it was bad enough losing Candy Crush Saga. It turned out that had nothing on Facebook.

All for the sake of random pictures that will never be looked at again once I give up on the phone. So here’s a selection of the photos I sacrificed Facebook for:

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The day we all chose to wear peach.

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Noodles was fascinated by Iggle Piggle’s tiddle In the Night Garden.

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Teddy felt the love at Grandma’s house.

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Noodles enjoyed the fountains at Granary Square in London.

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Den in the woods.

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Boo popped up on Pinterest.

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‘Peek-a-boo!’

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Frozen ruled at the Oxford Street branch of the Disney Store.

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I had a merry night out.

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Getting in and out of the bouncy castle at the Princess party was neither easy nor dignified. But it was funny to watch.

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Boo happily got stuck into her Easter eggs…

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…Mind you, she did have several to get through.

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We then ate more chocolate at dinner (via the medium of individual soggy-belly chocolate fudge cake).

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Boo and Husband fed a baby lamb.

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Boo and I played in the hay shed.

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Noodles got hold of my phone and went selfie crazy.

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Boo ate blue ice cream.

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I put a sage plant by my sink to ward off spirits (along with coriander, thyme and parsley to ward off bland dinners).

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The car passed its MOT…and the engine warning light is no longer permanently on!

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I ran for four and a half minutes without stopping to walk (or dying!) – a major achievement for me.

Hmmm. Overall, I’m not sure it was worth the loss of Facebook. I think I need a better phone. One where I don’t have to make such tough decisions.

Cut From the Family Album

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Ever feel that you weren’t your parents’ favourite child? As though, at best, you were adopted, at worst, they didn’t actually like you much? After wading through a box of old family photos I couldn’t help but come away with an inferiority complex. The reason? I seem to have been cropped out of many many family photos.

Don’t believe me? Be prepared to chortle at my lack of status in the family photo album. I’ve taken shots of the pictures in question on my phone. I’ve included part of the desk on which the photos were placed as I snapped them to reassure you that I haven’t cropped them myself for dramatic effect. The pink arrow also indicates me. Believe me, sometimes spotting me from a partial body part is harder than Where’s Wally. Wally’s Parents Didn’t Love Him edition.

Not that it was always the way. Before my sister came along I could easily be identified in family photographs:

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But then my sister came along and either my family forgot how to frame a picture or I stopped being the focus of their attention.

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Think that’s not too bad? Possibly just a slip of the camera? Here’s another shot taken the same day!

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No wonder my sister’s laughing!

Or how about this one of my sister and me (if you can call it that) sat on the Buddha statue at Sandringham?

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Alternatively, here’s one of my sister and my hand with my dad. I’m so glad they omitted me for the sake of the boxes in shot.

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Or this one where an expanse of grass and some sort of car boot affair takes precedence over me stood with my nan and sister.

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Again, two shots taken the same day, both with me hanging onto the left-hand side of the frame.

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My family can’t even blame the camera, as the style of print changes three times over the course of my cropping. Here’s a later version of us having fun at Pleasurewood Hills theme park:

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It does appear that my sister and I always stood in the same formation, pre-dating Ant and Dec. If only I’d sometimes stood on the other side I wouldn’t have been cut off so often. Didn’t make a jot of difference, as it turned out.

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(That other family captured on the train? Complete strangers. Yet the photo has remained amongst our family photos for nearly 30 years.)

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(There did seem to be a lot of photos of my sister and I sitting/standing on various cars as kids. I’m not quite sure what that was about. Must have been a 70s/80s thing.)

There was also a lot of photos of just me…yet still cropping me out of the frame. The selection included:

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I appear to be doing a Wack-a-wave in the photo above, so maybe deserve to be cropped from shot. But still, nothing reminds a person of their first holiday abroad like an expanse of white wall.

It wasn’t just bad framing that obliterated me from a shot either. I’m fully in frame for the next few photos and yet still not there:

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Happy Birthday, me.

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Cool shades!

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I would say that at least by being cropped from shots I’m saved the hideousness of my childhood wardrobe. And yet, looking through these pictures I still get an acute sense of my wardrobe being a one-child crime against fashion. Particularly the 80s. What was I/my parents thinking?!

Things haven’t really got any better as I’ve got older either (neither sartorially nor in terms of photographic representation). I’m always the person behind the camera (as no one else knows how to use it, or so they claim). The only photos that exist of me nowadays are selfies (minus the duck-face).

But I do also wonder what my children will think of me should they one day explore through my SD cards. Especially Noodles. He’s usually so fast I tend to catch him only from behind.

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I’m claiming it as a personal style though: the world through Noodles’ eyes. And he does have a very cute back. Or, at least, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. It’s nothing personal and I love all of my children equally. Honest.

Threshold

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This week’s WordPress photo challenge is ‘Threshold’. I can’t claim credit for the photo – that honour goes to an amazing photographer called Tim Fisher. But it is one of my favourite photos from my wedding and sums up the topic both figuratively as we embark on our marriage and literally, framed by the beautiful entrance at Lynford Hall.