Thursday, May 25, 2023

Spring Blues

As you will all have heard, singer Tina Turner died yesterday after a long illness.  Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits wrote her hit "Private Dancer" and paid this tribute to her:  

"She was a human dynamo.  I've never met anyone like Tina."

Death is a constant and always around us (more so than ever these days) and so it fills me with a bone aching sadness to report that we lost our own feline dynamo, Lotte, on Saturday evening; a sudden and traumatic loss that unfolded like a bad dream.  As fellow cat subjects will know, they are magical and mesmerising and really get under your skin.  Lotte was no different, but she also had an enormous personality and without our constant chats and her head bumps, I feel adrift.  

I try to remind myself that Lotte chose us as her companions in this life and for that I'm forever grateful and if, as the ancient Egyptians believed, by some chance there is an afterlife, then I can't think of a better companion.

After notifying the vets, we received this beautiful card containing a heart wrenching poem and a packet of forget-me-not seeds.

In the immediate aftermath of losing Lotte, we all tested positive for Covid and Gareth and I have been feeling pretty rough.  I don't say this for sympathy; but rather, by way of explanation for the short post.

I am slowly catching up on Blogland, so bear with me.  In the meantime, life goes on and spring is the month for showcasing new life.  I'll leave you with a dose of Vitamin N and end on a positive note, with some uplifting photos from recent walks... 


Barley and Vetch


Roadside Flowers

Buttercups - a tortoise's dream


Common Vetch

Lacy phacelia (Borage family member)

Crimson Clover

...and a glimpse of what's growing and thriving in the garden.

Roscastle Black Viola


Gunnera Manicata

Irish Molly Viola

                                                                                                Bye for now!

Friday, May 12, 2023

Coronation? What Coronation?

 A short and sweet post from me today.  My long awaited styled elopement shoot took place on 6th May (Coronation Day).  When the idea first occurred to me, this right Royal occasion was in the dim and distant future, but, for numerous reasons, it took until May 2023 to come to fruition.  Amusing really, given my last big shoot coincided with Queen Elizabeth's funeral.  It's becoming a bit of a habit.  Maybe the next one will happen just as Harry and Camilla engage in a Mexican stand off somewhere in the American desert.  Who knows?

The shoot went well and it has already been picked up by a magazine, so once again, I'm sworn to secrecy for the time being.  I'm desperate to share the photos, including those of the latest member of our family - a mannequin.  But not just any mannequin.  Our latest recruit was gifted to us by a local artist after I asked if we could borrow him for my photoshoot.  She's moving house and I think the timing was right for her to part company with her creation, who has now been reunited with his long lost cousin (yes we have two).  He's not everyone's cup of tea, but very much ours!  All will be revealed in good time.  For now, I can share a few behind the scenes pics.  

Now that's a make up kit!

On Saturday it was raining cats and dogs in every way possible!

Farmhouse cat

Amy and the cutest Pomeranian on the planet

Finally there was a break in the clouds and we went for it, celebrating afterwards with cakes baked by our lovely celebrant.  Another memorable day!

As a result of the day's shenanigans, I successfully avoided any news coverage of the day's events, going straight from the shoot to a friend's BBQ.  I'm fully up-to-date now however, on second hand news, given the British media's wall to wall coverage over the remainder of the Bank Holiday weekend.  This photo taken by Gareth at Himley on Sunday in the final moments of a Classic Mini Show pretty much sums up our Coronation experience.

In other news, my "Artist" tulips are starting to bloom and I'm obsessed.  The colours are incredible!  Using my humble macro extension tube, I tried to capture them just as they opened...and was photobombed by a caterpillar!  I'm betting not many people have uttered those words.

I love the abstract nature of macro photography.  These are straight out of the camera with zero editing.  Aren't the colours amazing?

The marsh marigold has all but taken over the pond....

...and the Wisteria is beginning it's brief but beautiful purple reign as Garden Queen.

This weekend is all about weddings; a real one tomorrow at a rural wellness retreat and my first ever Wedding Fayre on Sunday.  It's a small affair and I've had relatively little time to plan, having been approached by the organisers last month.  

As my first event though, it suits me.  It's pretty low key with a reasonable number of exhibitors and above all, affordable.  I can't bear those corporate affairs with metal framed backdrops, enormous banners, bland white vignette couples shots and hard sell.  It's not my style.  I've opted for small and quirky in the hope of finding my tribe.  Wish me luck!

Monday, May 1, 2023

A Collage of Life

I won't bang on about the weather this week, save to say that the rain has been plentiful.  Exercise has largely taken a back seat lately, but it's given me more time to tinker and I've been enjoying creating some collage style photo art from my archives.  Warning:  May contain cats and loved up couples.  It's proving addictive as well as causing eye strain.

After last week's shenanigans, I also endeavoured to take some outfit photos, particularly as Vix had kindly altered a couple of my vintage items for me, including the dress I mentioned in a recent blog post (Winter Peach Photography: A Night for Knights and Greensleeves).  Here I am trying and failing to capture the dress in its entirety by myself.  

The dress is so voluminous and now, having had a little trim by Vix, no longer drags behind me like a train (unless I'm going down stairs, which I don't mind, as it forces me to slow down and therefore makes me - a girl from Wordsley - feel a little more regal).  Vintage items are becoming increasingly rare and expensive, so I feel very fortunate to have found this one.  I love imagining the lives it's been a part of.

This skirt has made a previous appearance.  It's vintage St Michael (M&S) but again, was too long for my pit pony legs.  It's been so cold, I've been wearing my crop denim jacket as a top.

Now, a couple of inches shorter, it also has a matching belt.  I feel sluggish and lazy saying this, but I have no natural aptitude for sewing and no real interest.  I have tried, but can't seem to keep to a straight line and when a machine needle loses its thread, which seems to happen to me an unhealthy amount of times, I lose my mind!  I'm so grateful to have a friend who can help.

This week I've addressed a couple of health niggles including getting my eyes tested.  No change apparently, although I've ordered a couple of pairs of prescriptions glasses, having managed to break my last pair.  I've been relying on off the shelf readers which is probably not the best plan.  I had also noticed a little blind spot in my right eye, usually noticeable when my other eye is closed.  The optician checked my eyes and scanned my right eye, but advised me that everything was as it should be.  The joys of ageing!

Talking of which, if you're a woman of a certain age, HRT and collagen are the current buzz words.  I decided to do a little research into collagen and have, for the time being, determined that collagen supplements costing upwards of £30.00 a month are possibly futile.  Rather than popping pills, I've decided to boost my intake of foods that boost the body's ability to produce the precious collagen.  Never mind diamonds, it seems the humble red bell pepper is a girl's best friend!   

Red peppers contain vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid and fibre.  Vitamin C keeps the immune system healthy, skin youthful and arthritis at bay!  Bold claims, but I'll take my chances munching on peppers rather than having to re-mortgage the house to fund shop bought supplements.

Saturday dawned brightly and to an avian wall of sound.  We decided to make up for lost time and headed down to the river.  Starting at Arley, we headed up the hill to the station, just to confirm that everything was present and correct.  

Children were climbing the apple trees in the hamlet's only pub beer garden on the way up to the station.

So far, so idyllic. Sadly, there was no activity during our brief visit.  In fact, the Severn Valley Railway (staffed by volunteers) is under threat.  Heritage Railway appreciators can contribute here.  They're woefully short of their target at the moment and it would be a devastating blow to the region if we were to lose it.

Gareth took this photo of me wearing a pretty cotton top gifted to me by Vix. I know for a fact that his attention was captured by the vintage BP Motor Spirit sign.  My pasty arms are testament to the fact that it's the first time this year I've dared to go out in mere cotton!  I had the additional armour of a scarf and vintage hat (handmade in Ecuador) just in case the sun dipped behind a cloud, but needn't have worried as the temperature reached a balmy 17 degrees.

We walked back down to the river and followed its meandering path, passing under bridges made redundant by Dr Beeching's "reshaping" of the railways...

...coveting tranquil riverside lodges (spot the dolphin topiary)... Bewdley, some 4.5 miles down river.  There, I did a quick scout around the charity shops and we consumed an entire box of Fruit Pastille iced lollies (two each) to rehydrate, before crossing the bridge at Bewdley.  Passing this row of handsome villas - the last vestiges of civilisation for another 4.5 miles, we heading back on the other side of the river for a different perspective.

Dream house in the country!

These love birds were unperturbed by my camera.

I became a little obsessed with the river side signage.

Had we strayed into the Upside Down?  There are more, but I'll spare you.  Distressed angling signs would make for a very niche blog.

The smell of wild garlic permeated the air for much of our walk.

We clocked 10 miles that day and I slept like a baby that night.

We'll overlook the moist Bank Holiday interval that was Sunday and sashay up to date with some more sunshiny photos from today's walk from Highgate Common.

When we left the house, the clouds were plentiful and seemingly trapped in the rear window of our neighbour's car alongside a sunburst.

Suburban skies.

By the time we had parked up, some 10 minutes later, the clouds had parted.  The fields were alive with rapeseed and their vibrant blooms kissed by the sun surely heralds the arrival of spring.

Can you spot the flying creatures?  

Crouched as I was to capture the rapeseed, I was oblivious to the beehives a short distance away to my left.  I did wonder what kept bouncing off my head.  

I heeded their warning and moved on swiftly, leaving them to their important work.

Next weekend we have another Bank Holiday to mark the King's Coronation on Saturday.  Sorry Charles, I'll have to pass!  I have a photo shoot and birthday BBQ that day.

Until next time!

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