Tuesday, 26 May 2015

My Day in Photos | Monday 25th May 2015

The Photo an Hour was supposed to be on Saturday 23rd May but I was busy on the photography course and completely forgot about it so I've recorded my journey home on Monday 25th May.
6ish | Just waking up in The Bulkeley Hotel in Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey.  It's an early start as I've decided to take the scenic route home, driving down through Wales even though it'll add a few hours to the trip. I've woken with a sore throat which I could do without.

7ish | Breakfast.  I had a full English breakfast - painful to eat but very tasty all the same. 

8ish | Leaving the hotel - this is the view from the hotel's car park.  It's a bit of a grey day which suits me for driving. 

9ish | I've been stopping so often to admire the view that I haven't put many miles behind me, so I need to push on.

10ish | Some Welsh sheep, somewhere in Wales!

11ish | Stopped for a rest and a drink.

12ish | I've seen lots of places I'd love to photograph properly but I forgot to charge the battery for the Nikon DSLR so I'm using the snappy Coolpix camera today.  I'll think about returning to the area during the summer holiday for a couple of days.

There's two photos missing.  I was wandering around Hay-on-Wye and completely forgot to take the camera with me. Then back to the car and set off driving, and still didn't think to take one.  Never mind!
3ish | Taking a break for some food ... a really disgusting cheese and coleslaw sandwich which I bought at the garage this morning and which I had difficulties swallowing.  I gave up on the crisps, just couldn't manage them. 

4ish | In the lay-by opposite Cotswold Airfield, surrounded by lots of plane spotters.  They kept giving me strange looks ... I wondered if I had parked in someone's place.  I only stayed long enough to take the photo!

6ish | At home, finally!  Just time to water the garden while the kettle boils and then I can collapse on the sofa.

7ish | I need something to eat.  My throat feels like I've swallowed some razor blades so I've settled for easy-to-swallow Lucozade, some paracetamol and a bowl of tomato soup.

That's the final photo of the day. I spent the rest of the evening watching a repeat of Lewis on the TV, then a soak in the bath and off to bed.
Thanks to Jane and Louise for organising Photo an Hour.

146/365: Relaxing

Today is a jim jam day, just reading and relaxing.

Monday, 25 May 2015

145/365: Me on Monday

Me on Monday ... waking this morning with a sore throat which has got steadily worse throughout the day.  Driving home from Anglesey after a fantastic two day photography course, taking the scenic route and stopping to enjoy the views but only taking snappy camera photos today - I'm all photographed out! Taking a long break in Hay-on-Wye to wander around the literary festival but not buying any books - much too tired to think what I wanted and there were too many people getting in my way! Happy to be home and ready for a restful evening watching TV.
Linking with Sian @ From High in the Sky.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

144/365: Lighthouse (edited)

Day 2 of the course was just as brilliant as day 1.  We started with learning how to edit photos using Photoshop. I've had the software on my laptop for years but have never really got to grips with it, so was more than a little anxious about this. Two hours later and I was confident that I'll be able to edit my photos in the future.  Here's part of what we did this morning ...
... this is the image, straight out of the camera.  The more observant among you may notice that it's not the image I posted last night but it's the one I chose this morning as I wanted to learn how to remove the boat (white blur) to the left of the lighthouse.

... and this is the same photo after editing.  I didn't actually edit this one myself - all the adjustments were done by Cheryl as she was teaching me how to use the software.  I had a go at a different image, which I'll show you later in the week.

We spent the afternoon photographing the magnificent gardens at Plas Newydd but I'll tell you about that when I get home.  I know it's only 8:30pm but I need to go to bed now - it's been an exhausting couple of days and I have a long drive home tomorrow.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

143/365: Lighthouse (unedited)

Today has been amazing.  I've taken in so much information that my brain has gone on strike and I'm going to visit the Land of Nod just as soon as I've published this post.
Day one of the course started at 10:00am and it was 10:30pm by the time I got back to the hotel.  In that time I took eight photos at 8 different locations, which may not sound that impressive but each photo was properly thought out and I've learned to use functions on the camera that I've never used before, plus a bit of experimenting thrown in. 
This is one of the photos, straight out of the camera - tomorrow morning I'll be learning how the use Photoshop for post camera editing so I'll post the end result tomorrow.

Friday, 22 May 2015

142/365: St Mary's Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near to the Rapid Whirlpool of Llantysilio of the Red Cave

I'm in Anglesey for a two day photography workshop - I'll bore you with the photos when I get home!  I stopped to take this photo on the way to the hotel, so that's another one to cross off my 101 in 1001.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The Alphabet Project | S is for Saxophone

Joining in The Alphabet Project and the letter S ...

S is for Saxophone

Photo Pairs

I've chosen a different sort of paired photos for Helena' Photo Pairs.  This week it is ...



140/365: A Treat!

I've wanted this camera filter system for ages but always balked a little at the price, but this week I thought 'why not?' and treated myself.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

139/365: Selling

An update on the decluttering project ... I've started listing some of the items for sale on eBay, Gumtree and Amazon, although I still have to take the photographs which I'll do next week. It's taking ages ... much longer than I remember last time I sold something this way - have eBay changed their selling process in the last couple of years?

Monday, 18 May 2015

Me on Monday

It's been a frustrating day and that's putting it mildly!  From badly behaved pupils, undelivered parcels, waiting in for an engineer who didn't turn up, and hearing that my friend has to work overtime so has cancelled our plans to go out this evening.
I only hope tomorrow is better!
Linking with Sian at From High in the Sky.

138/365: Honeysuckle

The honeysuckle belongs to my neighbour.  It grows over the fence and I've enjoyed watching its changes in the time I have lived in this house, but the newest change is that I've cut it right back and will ask them to stop it growing over in the future.  The reasons for this decision?  It's blocking out the light to one of my hanging baskets, which is suffering as a result, and I've now reached the stage where I want to think about/sort out the area immediately underneath where it grows over, which should be in full sun but isn't because of the shade the honeysuckle creates.
It looks a lot lighter in that corner already and I'm happy with my decision.  I will miss the honeysuckle though, so maybe I'll get one of my own to plant on the other side of the garden.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

137/365: Gardening

Today it was a case of you-can't-put-it-off-any-longer-so-finish-tidying-the-garden, so that's what I've spent the last four hours doing. Once I started and got over my lazyitis (not sure if that's a proper word), I enjoyed myself and didn't even realise how long I'd been out there.
I may go back to the garden centre and get some more of the really big pots - the ones in the 50% off sale, assuming they have any left, and also another couple of sets of the 5 ceramic pots for £19.99.  I need some more and it's unlikely I'll get them cheaper anywhere else; if I leave it until next year they will undoubtedly be more expensive.
I'm pleased with the way the garden is developing.  I had half of an idea in my head of what I wanted but it was all a bit wishy-washy and I couldn't put it down on paper, so couldn't really explain it to anyone. Now I've got the first little area almost how I imagined it.  All I have to do to finish off is move the rest of the gravel from the front of the house - or rather, arrange for it to be moved as I've damaged my shoulder (the next stage if it doesn't heal is probably an operation, which I want to avoid), and then add a few more bigger plants.  I'm on the look-out now for cutting from friends (Joy and Lyn are you reading this? hint, hint).

Saturday, 16 May 2015

136/365: Band Practice

She didn't want her face to be seen! 
Back into the routine today so on Saturday morning it's band practice; today was the last session before our half term break.  We had a good morning, working on some of the more complicated Disney music, resulting in a satisfying improvement in their level of playing.

Friday, 15 May 2015

135/365: Gardening Goodies

Here are the spoils from yesterday's excursion to the garden centre.  I'd planned to buy a big pot to use up my voucher, but admit that the plants were impulse buys.
I needed a pot that was big enough to fit the obelisk I have.  The ones I bought earlier in the week are slightly too small, so this time I was organised with a tape measure.  I spotted the pots from the conservatory where we had lunch and was more than a little excited to see that they had a 50% off sale, which means that the one I bought was selling for £29.99 instead of £59.99. I doubt very much that I would ever pay £60 for a pot and this is bigger than I needed, so may look a bit bare in terms of planting this year, but this bargain price was too good to miss. 
As for the plants I bought some more sweet peas, a tray of Ageratum Blue, a tray of Begonias, and three dwarf sunflowers.  I don't have enough ceramic or terracotta pots for all the plants I have this year so, for now, quite a lot will just have to go in the plastic pots I already have.  I bought some more compost and the grow bags in Lidl - much cheaper than the garden centre!
I've just glanced outside - it's raining!  Hopefully it's just a shower and I'll be able to get outside soon.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

134/365: Being More Active Day 4

It hasn't stopped raining all day so there's no healthy walking to report on but I have been out of the house for three and a half hours.  I'd arranged to meet my friend, Lyn, for lunch; I had a yummy salad to start with but lost the plot on the dessert as you can see in the photo.  It was worth it though!

We went to the garden centre at Lacock as I had one of their vouchers and yes, I bought loads of things.  You can see my goodies tomorrow.  I'm hoping for much better weather so that I can get everything planted before the weekend.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

I'm Following a Tree | May 2015

At last ... my silver birch has finally woken up and realised it is spring!  I've kept a close eye on it since last month as a few people had warned me that the changes seem to happen overnight, and they were right. 
The first changes were evident when I checked the tree on April 20th. The male catkins have doubled in length and turned yellow with their pollen.
There are new leaves, still quite small and strangely only on one side of the tree so far.
 Looking up to the top of the tree ...

A week later on the 27th April, there are only a few male catkins left on the tree and all the pollen has been dispersed on the wind.  The female catkins have appeared on all of the branches and will have been pollinated - these will remain on the tree gradually maturing and developing the seeds which will be dispersed in the autumn.   
 The male catkins have dropped to the ground beneath the tree.
 There are new leaves appearing on the other side of the tree now.
and the leaves I saw the week before have almost grown to their full size.
 looking up to the higher branches ...

These last photos were taken a few days ago. The entire tree is  now covered in leaves.
 A close up (not quite in focus!) of a female catkin.
Although the tree is covered in leaves, there are still plenty of new ones waiting their turn.
 Looking up to the higher branches ...

Linking with Lucy at Loose and Leafy.

133/365: Being More Active Day 3

I've done better than expected today, although not in the way I thought I would, but all together I've been out of the house for about four hours.  I'd arranged to meet Joy at 12 o'clock but left home earlier than I needed to so that I could take some photos on the way.  I then drove over to Westbury where I spent an enjoyable couple of hours catching up with Joy over lunch. 
So far it was going according to plan ... and I blame Joy for the rest of it.  She very kindly gave me the tomato plants you can see in the photo and which I do appreciate.  But this meant that I needed something to plant them in, which meant that I needed to buy some grow bags, which meant that I needed to go to where they sell gardening stuff, which meant that I saw the plant pots you can see in the photo, which meant that I bought them!
You can also see what is missing from the photo ... I was distracted by the pots and forgot to buy the grow bags, so I'll have to go back tomorrow.  The pots were a bargain - £19.99 for a set of five ceramic pots (all stacked inside the biggest one).  It's too hot outside to get plants in them now, so I'll do that this evening when it's a bit cooler. 
I don't know if I'll actually manage a walk today as time is running away with me but I'm happy with how the day has gone.  A friend has just phoned and is calling round for a cold drink and a chat - she's out for a walk but is baking in the sun and needs a drink and the toilet - and from past experience I know that the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening is now accounted for!

Photo Pairs

It's time for Helena's Photo Pairs and this week I've gone for ...



The Alphabet Project | R is for Road Sign

The Alphabet Project - for the letter R I've chosen a local road sign that has always interested me.  As I child I though it was pointing to the countries and was confused why they were shown the same direction when Scotland is to the north and Ireland is to the west.  It's actually pointing to two areas near to North Bradley in Wiltshire.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

132/365: Being More Active Day 2

No early morning walking today which was a shame, but I didn't sleep too well because of the ECG monitor and all the wires attached to my body, and it was raining!  The monitor was removed this afternoon so, after completing the bank run and shopping for some fresh vegetables, I went for a short walk in the park.  There's no photo of my walk as I didn't have a camera with me.

After I'd been to the park, I accidently found myself in the garden centre again - I am now on first name terms with one of the assistants!  So after a slice of apple and caramel tart with vanilla ice cream and an elderberry cordial I bought the plants you can see in today's photo (well you would be able to if it was in focus and correctly exposed!); four varieties of sweet peas, a couple of upright Nemesia Vanilla Lady and some trailing Calibrachoa Burgundy.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Me on Monday

It's been the start of a week off from teaching as it's the SATS exams in UK primary schools and they don't want any lessons/disruptions this week.  I'm not complaining!
It's been a mixed sort of day which started with a walk around the Marina and a chat with a friend, then brunch with some others friends and a medical appointment earlier this afternoon.  When I've updated my blog I'll be out in the garden for an hour or so, finishing off what I didn't manage to do yesterday.  It's been a day of happy thoughts, much laughter with good company and a real sense of achievement about the progress I've made in the garden this weekend. All things considered, it's been a practically perfect day!

Plans for the rest of the week includes a couple more lunches with friends, a Chinese takeaway with Julie and her girls tomorrow night on what would have been Ced's 76th birthday, the second medical appointment (I'm in the middle of a 24 hour ECG) and a daily walk - I'll need to do something to work off the calories from all this eating out!

Linking with Sian at From High In The Sky

131/365: Being More Active Day 1

It's SATS week in the UK primary schools so I have the week off.  It's not raining, not too hot or too cold, I feel fine so there was really no excuse at all ... time to start being more active.  I decided that it doesn't matter what I choose to do to be more active but it must get me out of the house and last for at least 20 minutes.  Normal activities such as band practice, shopping or work don't count - this is an additional thing. 
Today's choice was a walk around the Marina.  It actually took me about an hour, but at least half of that time doesn't count because I bumped into a friend and stopped for a chat.  This was first thing and I have to say it was a lovely way to start the day. 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

130/365: Gardening

I haven't been able to fill the new pots yet.  Before I get round to that I want to move the existing ones to their new positions, but they are too heavy for me on my own and I couldn't find anyone to help me out today.  My new pots and plants are sitting on the patio until I can get some help, so probably tomorrow.
In the meantime I've filled the hanging baskets. I still have one to do because I only bought plants for four basket when I actually need plants for five so that'll be tomorrow's job. I've tidied round as best I could but it started to drizzle so I packed away and came inside for lunch. It's still trying to rain but not really amounting to much so I may have to go out later and water the garden.
I'm pondering what to do about the decking.  I currently have raised decking and I know that I want to replace it with a stone patio.  My original plan was to have a stone patio laid to the current height of the decking, so that there is no change of level when I walk out of the dining room or living room but then I have to step down to the garden.  It occurred to me today that I could have the stone patio much lower so that I step down to get out of the house but then everything else is on the same level.  The second option will probably be cheaper but I can't decide which will be more practical for me. 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

129/365: Oops!

I went to the garden centre and look what jumped into my car!
I wanted to get some more big pots and all I was planning to do was see what was available and the cost, etc.  The three really large pots I ended up with weren't priced so I asked one of the assistants for help (and I also wanted to be sure they were big enough for the plants I've earmarked to go in them) - she didn't know the price, and obviously couldn't be bothered to go and find out, so she said I could have them for £14.99 each.  As the others of a similar size were at least £29.99 each I bought them there and then ... and when I went to pay, the man on the till misheard the price and only charged me £13.99 each.  Bargain!
I went back to get the compost (buy 2, get 1 free) and a few more plants - Freesias White River, Delphiniums Excalibur White, Semiaquilegia Sugar Plum Fairy and an assortment of plants for the hanging baskets. 
I need some help to move the existing big pots around so these will get placed and planted up tomorrow ... providing I can persuade someone to help me!

Friday, 8 May 2015

128/365: Housework!

Well, I'm still sticking to my plan ... today's task was to clean the floors; vacuum the carpets in the living room, bedrooms, stairs and landing, clean the laminate flooring in the hall, study and cloakroom and wash the tiled floors in the ensuite, bathroom and kitchen/dining room.
This only worked out because I finished early work earlier than expected (lots of the children were sent home due to a sickness bug!), so I need to rethink the plan and move this task to earlier in the week and maybe split it into two. 
I'm looking forward to a weekend where the house is tidy and I don't have any chores to do.