In which I take a photo every day that I'm 50, and post it here on this blog, with a bit of related blurb.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Day 17 - Rambling into the New Year

Spiritual Guidance

And so 2013 draws to a close.   Wow, what a year!

It's been a roller coaster of a year, and no mistake.   

On the upside, we had some brilliant climbing adventures...I got a new job that has been very demanding, but quite rewarding overall...and I turned 50 a couple of weeks ago, as you may have noticed.

On the downside, I lost one of my best friends, my boy Bluez the black lab, who passed on at the ripe old age of twelve and a half, in November, having spent his whole life, bar the first 8 weeks, with me.   I still miss him like crazy...just thinking of him as I write this, I'm failing again to fight back the tears...

Does that net out to a good year?    The good times were fantastic, yet the bad time sees me heart-broken as 2013 fades...

Truth is, the brilliant stuff was brilliant, probably the best year of my life, and my grief for Bluez, deep and still raw on the inside though it is, doesn't negate that.    

So the dawning of the New Year is a time to raise a toast to lives now past, and to look forward to new life and new adventures ahead. 

And adventures are definitely on the menu!

For today's photo, then, I've chosen something representative of the biggest highlight of my year - climbing.   This is all of our climbing equipment (and one random incongruous item, can you spot it?), that we've collected over the last couple of years. 

I don't even want to think about how much all of that cost...argh, too late!  

There's even another holdall full of odds and ends in the cupboard...

But in our defence, climbing is awesome (you should try it).

It has taken us to many places, spectacular, peaceful, scary, majestic, wild, exposed, idyllic, dangerous or just downright beautiful, that we would never have otherwise gone.   

It has tested our strength, our nerve, our resilience, our will, our patience, our endurance, our bank accounts, and our mettle.

It has taught us courage and confidence, and occasionally shown us our limits, in no uncertain terms.

But mostly, it has nourished our hearts and souls as we have engaged in this intimate dance with the Earth.   

When else do we interact with the Earth in this (literally) hands-on way?   We walk on man made floors, and if we do venture outside, we make sure to put a layer of rubber between us and the ground.   We avoid "getting our hands dirty", and so rarely come into physical contact with the natural environment. 

When did you last touch, say, a tree?  Or go outside your home with bare feet?

Climbing is very intimate in this sense - you have to get right up close and personal with the Earth.

And it teaches us at least one critical lesson in this regard:

In order to successfully climb a rock face, you cannot change the rock face.   You must change yourself to conform to the rock

If you do conform to the rock, you will be rewarded with upwards progress.

If you try to impose yourself on the rock, and don't respect your place in this relationship, the rock will summarily spit you off until you learn better. 

Too many of the worlds problems are rooted, at least in part, in our ongoing efforts to change the planet to suit us, in order that we can avoid having to change ourselves to suit the world. 

Which, when you think about it, is simply the brilliant, beautiful Theory of Evolution;

Those that change to suit their world survive.

Why do we, collectively, seem to think we can go about the world in opposition to this fundamental property of nature?  It's irrational! 

So climbing, whilst a seemingly dangerous pastime, is more importantly a spiritual uplifting, humbling reminder of our small place in this immense, magnificent Universe. 

Well, enough rambling...Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, 30 December 2013

Day 16 - Plan B

Big Noise

We were out walking in the fields today, when we came upon an amazing sight.   The sun was behind us as we headed towards the far side of the pasture, and its light was warm and bright.  The large Ash trees looked vibrant, burnt orange seed clusters on mossy green branches, so that they appeared to glow against the dark, angry sky behind.

As we remarked on the glorious colours and the incredible light, a huge buzzard came into view just behind the trees, hounded by a couple of crows.   Even though half the size of the buzzard, the crow are always diligent in chasing him off.   The buzzard treats them as you would a yapping chihuahua...trying to ignore them but occasionally swooping back at them in mild annoyance. 

As this little scene played out the buzzard banked with his pale underside towards us.   With the sun on his belly, and wings spread to a span of 4 feet or more, he shone majestically as he wheeled and banked for a minute or so, before gliding off disdainfully, with crows harassing him all the while. 

Anna excitedly pointed out what a brilliant photo opportunity it was, and I could hardly disagree.  Views of that quality only come along once in a while, and it was perfect for my blog. 

Yeah, I'd forgotten my phone, so had no way of taking a photo.


Anyway, read my little story above, then close your eyes and imagine won't be half as lovely as it actually was, but you may at least share a little in my disappointment. 

You're welcome. 

So, I had to fall back to Plan B, which was to get a pic of this amazing bit of kit that Anna got for Xmas.   

It's called a Sonos Play 1.

Without going into the technical details, what it does is allow Anna to plug it in anywhere in the house, then send music to it using her phone or iPad.   This music might be on our home network, or a digital radio broadcast over the net, or an mp3 off a smartphone.   

It's very quick and easy to set up, even easier to use (the controller app can run from a phone or iPad or PC - even all three at once), and for a little speaker, it sounds amazing!  

Very loud, great bass response, and overall a full, warm sound.  

Also, it has that reassuring heavier-than-it-looks quality that all good sounds gear needs. 

Fantastic piece of kit - Anna is really pleased and I'm really impressed!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Day 15 - 'ands Orf My 'Taters

Mystery Nibbler

Living in the country can bring all sorts of unexpected drama and intrigue into your life.  And the longer you spend here, the more you attune...and the more you attune, the more you find.

There's quite a variety of wildlife in the valley where we live.  There are deer in the woods and fields around us (roe and muntjac, at least), badgers and foxes are fairly common, rabbits are aplenty, and hare can sometimes be seen, if you know where and when to look.   

Bats circle the house every evening through the summer months, pips and brown long-eared most frequently.   The BLE's will take moths that are drawn to the light at the window 2 feet from where I'm sitting.

I even saw a wild boar once, out in the middle of a ploughed field half a mile down the lane.

Birds are many and varied - we counted 17 or 18 species in an hour, last time we did the Birdwatch survey.   Buzzards are ever present, as are crows, rooks, and the occasional raven.  Woodpeckers are regular visitors to the bird feeders, along with the many tits, finches and the usual garden birds...

Reptiles are well represented too...I've seen grass snakes just over the road, frogs and newts in the pond 30m away, and had a toad living in a hole in the garden (and once sneaking into the house, much to Bluez' chagrin). 

The more you look, the more you see, but even though actual sightings are less common, there are always signs of activity.  

We like looking for signs!  Always, whilst walking the dogs, we are subconsciously scanning for clues.  One of our favourite things is to go walking in the fields and woods after a good snowfall, and find all the fresh footprints, to see what's been passing whilst we weren't there. 

Anna is an expert wildlife sign spotter.  She can spot a buzzard sitting in a winter tree from 150m, and smell the recent passage of a fox.    If you find some nibbled grass, Anna will tell you whether it was a mouse or a vole that did the nibbling (and which mouse or vole it was).

The first proper conversation that Anna and I had consisted of Anna patiently explaining how to tell the difference between fox poo and otter poo (it's all about shape and texture, and possibly something about taste too...ew). 

As a little demonstration of the sort of thing we find ourselves embroiled in, have a good look at the photo above (click on it to make it larger so you can see the detail).

For context, last year, Anna grew some potatoes in a bag in the garden.   At the time, the yield wasn't great - we had a few small potatoes with one meal.    The bag has continued to sit outside doing its own thing ever since. 

Today we found the little crime scene pictured above.    Did you have a good look?  What did you deduce, if anything? 
Firstly, note the neat little circle of soil that has been kicked onto the path.  It looks like it's been dug out of the bag.  In support of this, a few small potatoes have been unearthed.  They've also been scattered, some down onto the path.   If you look closely at these, you'll see some of them have been nibbled, some quite a lot.  

So what has done this?   We haven't done the full forensics yet.  This would include a search for incriminating poo (of course), any signs of anything else having been nibbled, and could even stretch to measuring the bite size (you can see a handy single bite out of the lower left potato).  

The smart money (Anna, obviously) is on a rodent...possibly mouse but more likely rat.  A squirrel might be a good outside bet.   What sort of mouse?  Well, we know we have house mouse just the other side of the wall (in the Shouthouse (our brick-built outhouse/shed thing)), and there are field and wood mouse (or are they the same thing?!) in the hedgerows, along with voles, shrew, pygmy shrew, moles, weasels, rats and stoats (most of which have been caught and killed and left in the house by Loz, resident killer cat).

 So, why is all of this so important?

Well,'s not...not really.  

But it's real life happening, and there's lots of it about...

Now I think about it, I realise that what it all boils down to is:

These are our neighbours...and I'm nosey!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Day 14 - 2 Weeks and Counting

Good day?!

So today we went climbing again in Birmingham.

I like the drive to a climb, it's an interesting head space.  We're often fairly quiet in the car...sometimes in anticipation of efforts not yet exerted, sometimes in ponderance of how not-up-for-this-at-all we are, often not-even-one-teeny-little-bit

So for whatever reasons, I often find myself lost in thought, one way or another, on the drive into Moseley.    We nearly always climb at Creation in the evenings, so it's not often we see Birmingham in all its sunlit...erm...glory?  Ahem...

Whenever I drive through a city like this, I find myself taken aback by the traffic, the noise, the sensory overload of the whole thing.   I find myself wondering why anyone chooses to live there.  

Of course, I'm aware that many people feel trapped within cities.  But the vast majority don't seem to.   To many people, cities seem great, because they're, you know, close to work, and erm, shops and restaurants and...well...oh, convenience!   I frequently feel as though people are trying to convince themselves that they enjoy living in a city, to justify the decisions they have made.   

The only thing that being in a city does for me is to remind me to get out of it as soon as possible...  

It occurred to me that I was born near the centre of a city (Coventry), and each time I've moved (and had a choice in where I move to), I've chosen somewhere more rural, more remote than the last place.  

Don't get me wrong, I'm really happy for all those people that love living in a city (genuinely or not)...the countryside would be ruined if they all moved here!

In summary, I suffered being in a city for a short while, in exchange for a good climbing workout at Creation, and made it out alive and intact.

On balance, I think it was worth it.  I have all those good aches and pains that come from strenuous physical exercise.    And whilst I wasn't that strong and ran out of steam quickly, we still managed to climb for 4 hours or so, and it's a good solid step on the road back to some sort of fitness.  

So yep, in spite of going to Birmingham, I still managed to have a good day!

Yay! :-D

PS Sorry Birmingham, no's not so much you in particular, as cities in general, m-kay?

Friday, 27 December 2013

Day 13 - Jazzy B and the Blustery Day


I've been wanting to get a good photo of Jazz into my blog, and today offered a great opportunity. 

It's very windy, and again there's been bad weather across the country.   Here in the Midlands, we seem to have missed the worst of it.   We've done this a lot lately - all the big, troublesome weather systems have slid by fairly quietly for us, and we've only caught the more benign edge of them.

And so it is today...we've had a little light rain but not much.  Since lunchtime, it's been lovely and sunny, although there's bite to the wind and it's not as warm as it looks.

We took the rare winter chance of a nice walk in the daylight.   The fields opposite us are used as part of a rotation system by a local shepherd for his fairly large flock.   The big one we come to first down our little lane is empty at the moment, and there's been sufficient time and rain since it was last populated that it's not currently full of sheep poo.

With a food-obsessed Labrador in your company, you quickly learn to avoid a plethora of poo when possible, especially herbivore poo (rabbit, sheep, horse, cow, deer are all abundant in the Warwickshire countryside).   

Look at it this way...consider how lovely fresh food, once processed through a mammal, comes out the other end still fresh, but definitely no longer imagine taking this output, and putting it through the same process's basically shit squared, and just the smell of it can clear a house in a minute.  

Jazz is something of a Master Chef of this style of cooking, so we have to take care to limit his opportunities.

Still, today there was no poo to speak of, and the field is much kinder on Jazz's legs and feet, so we had a lovely walk around the perimeter in the low sunshine and the blustery wind.

I got a book on photography tips for Xmas (thanks Anna, what's your point?!).   I've always been a point and click photographer - I just carelessly take loads and hope that occasionally one turns out alright (which they often do).   

But now that I've made this commitment to take a photo every day, I can't take such a chance - I need to at least try for a half decent photo, rather than just leaving it to random chance and hoping for the best.   

So I've been reading up and trying to learn a bit about what I'm doing.   

Out in the field, I did some experimentation, particularly with HDR mode.  Apparently this is good for landscape and other still shots.  I like it, it produces some nice colour and contrast, but you do have to be careful when you use it.

Which brings me to the latest instalment of my short-running series, Today I Learned;

When the book says don't use HDR when there's movement in the shot (for example Jazz's ear flapping in the wind in this photo), it actually means it...


Day 12 - Bear Faced Cheek

Do you remember?

One subject guaranteed to make me feel old is onesies.   I just don't get it.   

What do you....I mean, why?! 

Seems to me they're just romper suits re-branded as day wear for non-babies.    I can kinda see how they'd be comfy for lolling about the house (it should be mandatory that if you are wearing a onesie, you must at all times be in a state of loll)...but people wear them to go out!

A while ago Anna and I came across a gaggle of teenage girls wearing them around Tesco's at 10am on a Saturday morning...

Worse, and somewhat shockingly, a young man in his 20's came out of WH Smith in Warwick wearing one, the other lunchtime.   

I mean, wtf?  Have these people no dignity?!    Not any more they don't....

Anyway all that said, I now have to confess that 'Tembie looked super cute in her polar bear onesie today, at our Boxing Day family gathering.   Really, quite deliciously scrumptious.   

I couldn't resist the opportunity for a photo of the day, and although she insisted on hiding behind the chair, she still looks as cute as a button, don't you think? 

Which makes me think...was there a time that buttons were considered cute?   They were also seen as being bright, as I in, "that 'Tembie is bright as a button!"...

I've just checked the nearest buttons (these being the ones on my long sleeved top, and the one on my jeans).  Neither are what I would describe as cute, and nor are they bright. 

I wonder what happened...have buttons, over time, lost this mythical cute/brightness?    Or is it that button manufacturers used to have much bigger marketing budgets?   

I wonder if we'll ever learn the answer to that.  I'm going to guess...not.

Back on topic...did any of you bright buttons spot the Earth Wind and Fire reference in the caption on today's photo?  3 points if so, well done!

If you didn't, the only clue I will give is that 'Tembie's full name is September...

Oh and whilst I remember (ooh topical, see next bit), Today I Learned;

Kids these days apparently expect their mothers to be Password Masters of the Universe.  Rather than remember their own, they simply expect that mum will somehow automagically know what it is, as any given moment. 

Kids are brilliant!

Toodle pip!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Day 11 - So This is Christmas

Xmas spirit 

I didn't think I would have time to do this today, so I'm trying to do a quick update on my iPad in the middle of the Xmas festivities.  Can't say I'm enamoured with the keyboard on this thing...touch screen keyboards should always have a swipe facility!  Maybe there is one, but not being an Apple fanboy I don't know....

Anyway we're up in Warrington with Anna's folks for the day today.   I figured there might be an opportunity for a photo of the day, and this is the first one I took.  This is Anna's nephew Noah...what a great expression of the good side of Christmas! 

Mind you, I probably looked a bit like this myself this morning - I got some great climbing gifts from Anna...some quickdraws, an HMS 'biner, a boot brush, another quickdraw (which was sort of a present from myself), a guide to climbing on The Gower, some walkie talkies for when I get myself in a mess whilst leading a climb, and Anna can't see or hear me (cough Black and Tans cough), and a simply brilliant R'Adys puffy jacket. 

Ah, climbing gear, how can it be wrong?!

Merry Christmas everyone! 

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Day 10 - Angel of Incidents

Right angel

Christmas Eve!  

I've been at work, where I was Duty Manager today (and where I'm also Incident Manager - see horrible pun in today's title..or on second thoughts, perhaps don't, it's too painful).

(You did look, didn't you?  I told you not to!!  Now I have to apologise.  I'm sorry...I'm sorry for the awful pun.  I'm sorry for all the awful puns...I'll try to suppress the urge to add a pun, however tenuous and contrived, into the title.  I'm sorry.  I really am...)

Last night there was quite a storm here (see flippant comments in yesterdays post for full appreciation of the irony of this).   Around 12.30 this morning it was blowing a gale, the house was shaking and the chimney roaring, as wind and rain lashed the house from the west.

I was just getting ready for bed (had to have an early night - Duty Manager see, I am consistent with this stuff!) when I realised that above the kitchen window water was streaming in!

We realised all the windows facing west were leaking to some degree.  As we padded them out with towels, I found this paper angel, and rescued him/her from a soggy end.

My mum made this, years and years ago (maybe 20 or 30 years, I don't really have any idea).   It was in a crate for a long time, then at some point it escaped and made its home on my bedroom windowsill, facing the sunset.    It's been there so long I'd stopped noticing it.  

But it's beautiful, so I was really happy when Anna suggested bringing it downstairs.  It seems so obvious!

So now it's sitting atop the pile of presents under the tree, and very good old-fashioned Christmas-y it looks too.

Thanks Mum...

And Seasons Greetings to anyone who's still reading...may your days grow slowly brighter, as we ease away from the Winter Solstice!

Day 9 - Grave News


I suppose I should start with an apology for the title...although, you know...there's a grave there, and you probably haven't seen it before - it's news to you!   Whoever you are...

Hmm that's a point, who the fuck are you, and why are you spying on my blog?!

I feel all invaded and whatnot...but anyway, on to the business of the day!

Today was a wild and stormy day across the land.  I, however, was at work, doing a long shift as Duty Manager.  Not that there was much work going on today, it being 23rd of December and all.   But I was there pretty much all day...paying for my sins, I guess.

Because it was blowing up a bit outside, and the news websites were full of the usual "Britain Battens Down the Hatches Against a Devastating Bit of a Stiff Breeze!" headlines, I thought I'd wander out at lunchtime and see if I could get a good representative photo.

Have you spotted the flaw in my plan yet?


Well, it turns out that wind isn't very photogenic.  Who knew??  And why didn't they tell me?!

It seems that buildings, that make so much noise and fuss when it's very windy, actually just sit there motionless pretty much all the time.  

And trees, which wave their arms around like those big wavy blow up things the Americans are so fond of, as though it's all a big drama, just pause for a split second every time you take a photo.   It's weird, you don't even notice it at the time, but in every picture they're just standing stock still, utterly do they do it?!  Spooky!

Kinda fitting for a graveyard, I suppose.

The other day I mentioned that I might start a regular "Today I Learned" slot.  And then I promptly forgot all about it.  

But then I remembered again!  Yay!

So, Today I Learned: 

Nobody helps when you try to photograph the wind.

Remember that - it might save you some time one day.  

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Day 8 - Downside Up


Today is a Sunday, so with most of our chores out of the way yesterday, we had some time to get some exercise in.  

Since returning from Fontainebleau in September, our climbing opportunities have been infrequent.  The weather makes things difficult to arrange as Autumn creeps in (however late, as it has been the last couple of years), and what little momentum we did retain soon dissipated as Bluez's illness took hold. 

Of course, it's taken us a while to pick ourselves up following his passing, but now we're ready to start getting our climbing back up to scratch.  So we went to Creation in Moseley for a bouldering session earlier this week, and followed that up with a roped climbing session this afternoon. 

As it turns out, we're really out of shape!  We're climbing pretty well, but our fingers are weak and we're struggling with (lack of) endurance.   I say we, I mean me, mainly.   Anna definitely did better than I.  I did all the moves on a few of the climbs, but only after resting on the rope, mid climb.  That's not like me, I rarely dog a route (this means that rather than climbing entirely unaided, you "hang-dog", or rest on the rope once or more).   To be clear, it is a failure - the aim being to climb from the bottom to the top of the route without weighting the rope at any time.   

I dogged a few routes today, although they were all 6a+-6c, which is pretty hard for me.  Anna did quite a few of them cleanly, although she wasn't always flashing them (climbing them cleanly on her first attempt). 

Anyway our plan is to climb a couple of times a week for the next couple of months, which should get us into good shape for sport climbing in Spain in March!

For today's photo, we threw a few moves in the bouldering area after we'd finished on routes.  We were really tired, but managed to catch a couple of pics where it didn't really show. ;o)

Anna insisted I use the photo above, even though I didn't take it (it was on my phone!).   I think she just didn't want me to use her pic.   I don't know why not, check it out;

Rock chick

She always looks cool when she's climbing!

Also, I'm just going to have to throw this one in.  Notice neither of my feet are on anything, and yet they're not dropping...witness the core strength!   

Look, no feet

I bet you don't even know how hard it is to do that.  It's well hard!  

'Tis so... :op 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Day 7 - A Whole Week!

Oh yes!

Well, I made it through my first week!   I feel as though I'm now starting to get the hang of this...I'm remembering to take the photos and write the blog, at least.

So, today has been a day of chores...we did a bit of tidying in the garden: potting the Mountain Ash tree that Anna bought for me on my 50th (ooh I can even say that now); putting up a solar light to light up the gate from the car park; sorted a load of pics of Bluez and uploaded them to photobox for the remembrance book I'm doing for him; did the Christmas food shopping; cut my hair (well, shaved my head - is that the same thing?); and finally, made some mince pies!

To be honest, Anna makes them - I just do what I'm told, which is mainly the pastry.  

We made these amazing mince pies last year, using this posh mince (is it just me or does that sound slightly dubious?!)...then we couldn't get that mince this year, so used taste the difference mince instead, for a batch we made for my birthday last week.  Today, we couldn't get the taste the difference ones, so just got the basic mince instead.   And the pastry went a bit wrong.  

Bottom line - if you're round here in the next few weeks and we offer you a mince pie (or maybe a box of mince pies) then Just Say No, mm-kaay?

By the way, I should perhaps at least acknowledge the odd disparity between me and the name on this blog.   Those who know me, will know that this isn't my real name.  There is a reason for this (or at least, an explanation)...I will tell the story in a future post (although don't take that to mean it's exciting or worth waiting for)...

Friday, 20 December 2013

Day 6 - TFI Friday

Xmas Crew

One of several works Christmas do's, this evening...well, straight after work...and we finished work early...amazing how much drunkenness you can fit in and still get home before 9pm.

I wasn't drunk, you understand.  But some of the boys started around 2pm, so were several pints in by the time the rest of us arrived around 5ish. 

Only one of the people in the photo above has been seriously drinking.    Can you spot which one?

Abed (the blurry one one the left) left our work some weeks ago, but for some reason, keeps coming back (I know, right?)...the other three work for me; AK47, Sham 69 and the Raving Matt-man.    It's just a shame Sarb 9000 Turbo wasn't around for the photo-op...he was certainly flying tonight!

It's difficult, being a manager, sometimes.    Knowing that your very presence influences the behaviours of those around, for better or worse.    And the constant awareness of the effect of that, and the consequent self inhibition.   

That said, I think we broke down a couple of little barriers, and we certainly had a good laugh. 

Today I learned (this might become a thing in my blog) that:

Sarb and Anil can drink...

Sham and Abed can eat...

and Matt can do serious damage to a roast turkey Christmas dinner!

Merry Xmas chaps! :o)  

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Day 5 - Pictures of Drawings of Photos

My boyz

Honestly, how cute are they?! 

This is a digital image taken by me, of an amazing analogue drawing by my lovely and talented daughter Kim, of a photograph taken by me, of my boyz Jazz and Bluez, when they were about 9 weeks old, in September 2001...

JazzyB and Bloobz...Jaybles and Bigdog...Ahm-ah-have Mah-dinner-Jazz and Hans Bruez...Limpet and Fatboy...

So many names, so few explanations for where they all came from, or how they applied...

Kim is good though, eh?!  This photo really doesn't do it justice (see previous entry!).

I can really see my boys: ( :-p to Anna)

Bluez already has that wrinkled, concerned frown that he wore for most of his life, until perhaps his latter years, when Anna somehow soothed his concerns and chilled him out.  She was the only one he ever really 100% trusted...she's awesome too!

And lovely little Jazzer (there's another one), sitting at the back as ever, keen yet patient as he waits his turn, or to see what's next...

Honestly, I can just cry, looking at this pic of Bloobs...I so miss the old fella...we all do buddy, if you're listening...

Day 4 - Home Fires


Yep, this is definitely harder than expected.  But I wanted the incentive to look at the world/my life a little differently, and it's certainly working.   

It's hard to find subjects at this time of year all day, dark by the time I get home, lots of things that need doing in the run up to Xmas...poor light most of the time, and precious little head-space to think to take a photo. 

Having taken a couple of indifferent snaps at work (facing the opposite direction from yesterdays photo - ooh, radical, how creative!), I decided to try for a nice pic of our lovely, cosy, open fire in our lovely, cosy lounge.   I've just spent the best part of 2 hours writing Xmas cards with this exact view of the fireplace.  There's definitely worse places to be!

I forgot, though, that I'm a completely clueless photographer.  My ambition is usually swamped by my immense ineptitude, and today's photo provides ample demonstration of this phenomena. 

Consider this - the photo above is the best photograph I took all day!  And the quality is quite horrible, the only vaguely saving grace being the Christmassy warmth of the subject. 

I'll pause for a moment whilst you consider how dire my average photo's must be.....


Anyway, I'm still hanging in there, managing to keep to my plan so far.  

So, ya know, yay me...

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Day 3 - Already Dredging...


Ok, so it seems this is going to be difficult.   Not only do you have to remember to look for a good photo opp, but you have to a) find one and b) have your smartphone at the ready.  Tricky!

Clearly, today I failed at inspiration...just rattled a few shots off in the office because, if nothing else, work has been the focus of my day so far.   And not in a good way...but we'll leave that one right there...

I'm trying to find good nicknames for all of my staff.   Looking pensive here is Lil'T (with two Tony's we had to differentiate, so I'm Big T).   Trying to hide behind the partition is Special K, and in the far right corner Number 47 (or maybe Kalashnikov, haven't quite settled on that one yet) is lurking.

Must try to get pics of Portvinder and the Raving Mattman too...and find decent names for Bern, Chris, Lisa, Sham, Steve and Sarb.  

Hmm, I thought I was doing well, now I feel as though I have my work cut out....damn!!

Also, ooh, Christmassy!!

And Jimi, yay!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Day 2 - Big Ambition


I'm a bit of a cheat today (I know, and it's only day 2!), I must see, I haven't really got to grips with this one-a-day malarkey yet, this only being day 2 and all.   So I just realised I hadn't taken a photo yet, and now it's dark...damn!   

I started to look for ideas, when Anna interrupted, "Ooh, let me show you this pic I took this morning....".  I'm not sure what I was expecting(!) but when I saw this photo I knew I'd found my 1-a-day, and resolved to steal it immediately!   

Not only is it a dramatic, live action wildlife shot, but if you know Maisie, then it's kinda funny at the same time.  

She's a tiny cat, only has 3 legs, at least one dodgy eye, and is generally skittish and see her in full-on predator mode, against a bird twice her size, no less, is pretty quirky (in a Maisie sorta way), not to mention impressive - her ambition and confidence at least, no?    

Also, it's fairly typical of the sort of animal tomfoolery we witness regularly around here, and these are the moments of natural beauty, drama and entertainment that sustain our souls.  

It neatly symbolises why we live here, and why we love it.    

So Maisie once again stars as the photo of the day.    I wonder if this is going to become a thing?  She is super cute, and a ninja too...anything could happen!   

Anyway, here's to Maisie - she's a living legend..long may her antics continue to entertain us!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Day 1 - First post!

Maisie the Ninja is caught napping

Today is a significant day for me.   It's the big Five-Oh, half a century (and still not out, thank you very much).   

Every day for the year that I'm five-oh (still in denial and can't use the actual words), I'm going to take a photo and post it on this blog.  

Although today is my birthday, being a Sunday, my party was last night.   Interestingly, it turns out that your five-oh birthday lands on the same day of the week as you were born...who knew?!   Maybe this isn't always true if a leap year gets in the way, or if you're born after 1951, I suppose...or maybe that makes no difference (pesky Leap Year rules!)...YMMV, I suppose...

In any case, it's five-oh years to the day-of-the-week since I first sucked in oxygen and used it to blurt out a cry announcing my arrival.   I wonder if I feel any better today than I did back then?!   I'm fairly certain I feel older...

Anyway, this evening, Maisie managed to purrfectly (hoho) capture the essence of my day - falling asleep after a hard xbox session, next to a half drunk bottle of wine and a packet of painkillers, in front of the open fire...

Thanks Maise, you are officially photo number one of the year I hit the big five-oh...