Caroline Shipsey
Photography

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Goodbye 2008

A beautiful day ending a pretty crap year.
Hoar Frost in Woods

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Surprise Meeting

Thia afternoon I was heading back to Priddy Pool for yet another attempt at photographing the plants frozen into the ice which covers the whole pond, when in the distance I noticed someone coming in my direction with a dog offlead. I got Blue and Rosie to sit quietly as he approached. When we were close enough to speak, and started to discuss dogs, I noticed his eyes - very blue, and something familiar about them. He was young (25 he later told me), a kind face and easy to talk to, we chatted for several minutes and then things started to fall into place. Rob (his name) is the nephew of a person I knew when I was just a teenager, a boyfriend called Tony, amazingly he knew of me and said that I was mentioned sometimes - "That Caroline" !!

Anyway I hope Rob or Stephen or Tony might read this and know that it really made my day to have a brush with my past, even though it was rather fleeting. If you want to contact me anytime, email or phone is fine, it would be good to reminisce :-)

Frozen Pond Plant

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Mendip Walk - Charterhouse to Cheddar and Back

A bright and frosty start to the day with a bitter wind that at times felt it was tearing the skin from my face. The recorded temperature was -2°C but the 'real feel' according to Accuweather was -9°C.

View from Cheddar Gorge

The route:- Charterhouse - Velvet Bottom - Black Rock - Cheddar Cliffs - Cheddar - skirting Batts Combe Quarry and then Piney Sleight - joining the West Mendip Way alongside Longwood - Velvet Bottom and back to Charterhouse.

It was quite hazy in the distance making photography of the potentially stunning views from the route along the top of the Gorge difficult. However, this didn't lessen the enjoyment of a classic Mendip walk.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Chritmas at Home

Christmas Day started typically for up here on the Mendips, dull, grey and cold but soon brightened up and by lunchtime a brisk walk was calling. There was barely a cloud in the sky, a fresh wind and a chill in the air. The light was quite good for photography but for landscapes I need some clouds - blue skies just don't do it for me :-(

The dogs were all on fine form, it must have been a good day for scenting as they were all very busy exploring bramble patches, rabbit holes etc. Lots of people were out enjoying the sunshine and there was generally a very happy atmosphere, greetings being exchanged with passing walkers and dogs.

Boxing Day - in keeping with tradition, the Mendip Farmers Hunt meet was at the New Inn in Priddy. Since hunting was banned in 2004 it seems the number of people coming to the meet increases year on year, there was also a large number of riders too. I walked into the village rather than driving which meant one less car contributing to the gridlock that always follows when the riders move off. It's almost impossible to take photographs because of the crowds of people and everyone seems to be trying to grab a shot of the Master, hounds, the horses decked out for Christmas. It's a great social gathering, with mulled wine and a pig roast to help keep warm.

Priddy Green Boxing Day Meet
Looking down on the Green was the best way to see the sheer number of people and riders.

Priddy Green

What are you looking at ?
What are you looking at ?


I was nearly flattened by this group of riders trying to catch up with the field.

The Beast
Cam Valley Morris have danced at the Meet for as long as I can remember, they were a bit short of dancers this year but 'The Beast' made up for that. Created by Ama and Peter Bolton and inhabited by Jim Shurmer.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas Eve - A White Christmas ?

Our crazy English weather has switched back to mild and dismal for the past several days, truly making this blog live up to its name. However the forecast is at least for it to get colder as today progresses so it may begin to feel a little seasonal. I can remember a very bad winter back in my childhood when it snowed on Boxing Day and remained for months, but in recent years we seem to get snow in a very fleeting manner in March or April.

Mendip Snow
From Deer Leap towards Glastonbury

More Mendip Snow
Looking across the Levels from Deer Leap

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Happy Dancing

A dear friend from a Yahoo List sent me this video link - apparently it's impossible not to smile while watching it .......


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Certainly brought a smile to my face.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Images in a Sphere - A new Technique

I love to take photographs of flowers, especially those that grow in my garden. Looking back on them reminds me that spring is about 3 months away and distracts me from the dismally grey weather we have today. Its definitely a Blog for the Fog day today!
However I thought I would share a technique I came across recently which seems to be a fun way of creating unusual images from some of the flowers images that I already have.

Software Required:-
1. Gimp (free download available from Gimp)
2. Photoshop or any photo editing program that can throw a lighting effect onto the image.

Method:-
Pick yourself a good image with lots of colour etc. (Does not have to be flowers can be anything.

A. Open up GIMP and load your selected image.
B. Then go to FILTER / MAP / MAKE SEAMLESS
C. You will now see the image has been distorted a bit but do not worry.
D. Then go to FILTER / DISTORTS / POLAR COORDINATES and play with the offset angle to get your desired image and then click OK.
E. Your image will now load as a sphere probably with a white background. Personally I think they look so much better with a black background so click on the BUCKET FILL TOOL and make sure your background colour is set to black and click in the white area. Your background will now be black.
F. Save the image.

Open Photoshop, and load your new image. Go to FILTER / RENDER / LIGHTING EFFECTS. Change the light type to spotlight and adjust to taste.

It is a very simple procedure, the knack is choosing the right image. Thanks to Steve Smith at RedBubble for sharing this technique, you can see some of his images here

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Mendip Weather - Ice Again

The weather continues to be very cold overnight and during the day. The bend between Hunter's Lodge and Stockhill claiming victims who don't realize the perils of black ice, and cars end up on their roofs in the scrubby ground or take chunks out of the opposite bank, yesterday there were another 3 making about 10 in total for the past week. I could hardly stay upright when walking along the road to the Forestry yesterday, the whole road surface being like a sheet of glass all the way around the village. It is my favorite weather for photography though so my camera has been with me all the time.
Ice Patterns

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The Quantocks & Shurton

On Sunday 7th December I spent a fantastic day in the company of Christina and Duncan on a photographic excursion. This was a first for me - 3 friends going off for the day purely to take photographs, not a workshop or seminar just a day out, and it was such fun to be sharing the excitement of finding images in unlikely places and yet not smothering each others imagination.

Duncan had volunteered to drive which was just as well as the road down Cheddar Gorge was treacherously icy, not that we were really aware of this until we rounded a bend and slid to a rather tentative halt behind a car embedded in the rocks and several others scattered randomly around, their occupants having emerged and teetering on the glass-like surface looking on. It had been the coldest night of the year and black ice has been a problem during the past week so we proceeded with caution.

Our walk took us from Holford up on to the Quantocks and then down Hodder Combe. I really wasn't looking for landscapes, my plan was to use the 70-200m lens all day, to force me into looking at everything a little differently than usual. We took longer than expected to complete this part of the trip as every few paces one of us would find something else leaping out and demanding to be photographed. (Thanks Denise for the metaphors). After a hearty soup lunch in Kilve it was onwards to the beach at Shurton. Despite the brilliant sunny weather the light was beginning to fall as we rushed down the long muddy path to the beach with no time to really plan anything we were scurrying around, marveling at the sinking sunlight and weird rock formations. All too soon the sun was gone but we carried on until the last colour had gone from the beach and walked back to the car by torchlight.
Shurton Beach

Friday, 5 December 2008

Passion

Maybe today's title caught your eye ? Did you think of sex, love etc ? Well its not that sort of passion I'm writing about, it has more to do with having a passion or commitment to something in life. If you are passionate about a subject near and dear to your heart you probably want to share it with someone, everyone, and a blog is the perfect place to that. Sometimes the need to keep writing this blog clouds my mind and I forget why I started it - for me its about photography and the countryside.

Icy fence
December has been very cold so far and this morning is no exception. This kind of weather is always a real inspiration for me to get out with camera to capture some of my favorite 'nature's jewel' type images.
Icy Fence

Monday, 1 December 2008

December - Catching Up

A great start to a new month, blue skies and a hard, crisp frost, what a delight after so many dismal days in November. Global warming doesn't feel so threatening after the weather in November which has generally been dull, wet and cold. For me this is the worst possible and its a time of year when I feel really low, physically and mentally. Its a real battle to keep motivated and cheerful, so this morning is wonderful.

Photographically I've been busy since last posting - a weekend trip to Snowdonia was a great experience despite the rain which persisted most of Saturday. Steve Lewis was the course leader for the day and was outstanding. A really nice chap, excellent photographer and first class leader/tutor. His enthusiasm remained until the very end - we were walking back to our cars at 5.30pm, it was dark and still raining, almost at the end of the walk was a footbridge across a thundering stream. Someone said they wanted to take a final shot of it as a joke more than anything, but he joined in and soon we were setting up our tripods and cameras by torchlight, too dark to focus, hands too cold to feel the camera controls, trying to get a reasonable image. There were still other people walking across the bridge during our exposures so at 30 sec there was still some camera shake.

This is my attempt - OK that big boulder in the middle is a bit dominant, but I was amazed at the result with just a little help from PS.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Remembrance Sunday - Harry Patch 110 years old

A cold and windy morning with a wintry feel didn't deter War Veteran Harry Patch, aged 110 years from attending the service at St Cuthbert's church in Wells today. Apart from the local dignitaries, Royal British Legion, ROAB and members of other services, this year photographers from the national press were there and TV cameras too, mainly because of the presence of this remarkable old man.

Harry is the last surviving British soldier to have fought in the trenches of the Western Front during the First World War, and one of just two trench combatants still alive. He published his autobiography at the age of 107, the Poet Laureate wrote in his honor in 2008, and he was also awarded the Freedom of the City of Wells. You can read more about Harry here.

It felt just a little intrusive to be part of a group of photographers all snapping away at this frail old man in his wheelchair, he seemed oblivious to it all, he's been the focus of much media attention in the last few years. Whatever, I'm pretty certain that we all felt we were being given a very special opportunity to photograph this amazing gentleman and I will treasure my images of him.


Harry Patch

Saturday, 8 November 2008

SmugMug/Dgrin a Rant

Recent postings on the Dgrin forum, mainly in the Pro Sales Support list seem to be full of whingeing, whining and even bullying posts - When is this happening..... ? I want......, Tell us now ......, Why not......., OR ELSE...... etc, etc.

Folks if you want x,y and z, and its not available through SmugMug right now then get off your butts and go find someone who can give you what you want. Of course in the meantime you won't find anywhere better to host your photos, for customer service, value for money and good decent people who put up with your incessant demands. The latest request I've just noticed is for calendars for the holiday season - it's 8th November !!! you should have thought about calendars way back in September. Its impossible for one company to be all things to all people, get real and give the rest of us a break from your self-centered, ungrateful posts, and while you're are doing that throw all your toys out of your pram, scream and scream, stamp your feet and the guys at SmugMug and Dgrin will still reply in their usual helpful, courteous way.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Winter ?

The weather today has been horrible, it started off with a bitterly cold wind and fog, then rain and very stormy winds. I've actually worn some thermals that haven't seen the light of day for a couple of years, and there have been several mornings this week with frost which I love so much. As the sun breaks through everything seems to covered in tiny jewels, its a challenge to make a photograph before the sun starts to melt them away. I'm hoping that we really will have crisp and bright winter season and not endless days of rain and grey skies, followed by the inevitable mud. Today however was dark and gloomy so I took the opportunity to begin using my close-up lens, this also meant getting to grips with a tripod - all good fun and practice of something I haven't spent much time on for several years.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

My Pics for Sale at RedBubble



This is a widget available from RedBubble, I like the way it looks and it was simple to add to the blog, unfortunately the images seem to have been oversharpened in the process but I like the principle of it anyway.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Wesson Clipper

Rees Wesson playing the Bristol Hornpipe on my Clipper

Friday, 17 October 2008

Remembering

Today would have been Mum's 97th birthday, its almost a year since she died and even though she was confined to bed for the last couple of months, I still miss the little things we did together and of course her wonderful smile.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Autumn

The stormy winds that have been blowing for the past 36 hours have battered trees everywhere, leaves are falling fast, making any prospect of rich autumn colors an unlikely prospect. There is a chill in the air too, could it possibly mean that we are going to have a cold winter ? It was cold and blustery when I walked this afternoon - hailstones, grey-black clouds and deep puddles.

There are many photos still to sort from my Lake District holiday so I was reluctant to take anymore, but suddenly there was a tiny delicate fern growing in the top of a rotting fence post right in front of me. So instead of 'taking' a photograph, I 'made' this picture. The difference between 'taking' and 'making' a photograph was discussed last week during the seminar. The term 'taking' somehow conveys an impression of carelessly snatching something with little care or thought, whereas 'making' feels more considered, giving more importance to subject.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Mendip Ploughing Match - An Apology

It seems there has been quite a few visits to my website looking for images of the Ploughing Match which unfortunately I missed again this year. Sorry folks, I was on holiday in the Lake District. It must have been a great day for ploughing, I'll make sure it is definitely in the diary for next year !

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Lake District 2008 19th -26th September 2008

I had intended writing up my blog everyday and including just one image from each day, but there simply wasn't time and anyway the broadband connection was so slow at times it wasn't practical.

The weather was superb for a holiday but not always great for photography but we made the most of it anyway. Denise and I had some good walks together and separately, absorbing the atmosphere of the area and experimenting with our ND filters.

I was very privileged to be taken by the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team landrover to the place where Jim, my nephew was found by them on 19th January 1994, after falling from Swirral Edge. He was concious when they found him but died in the helicopter on the way to hospital. It was very moving to see the place and hear the facts first-hand from the man who found Jim, my mind has often been troubled by the knowledge that no-one from the family had visited this place or met the people who so generously give of their time to rescue the casualties that are inevitable on the unforgiving Fells.

Saturday afternoon meeting up with Denise was great, I really enjoyed her companionship, especially on our two big (in our eyes)walks before the seminar began. How I wish we had more time to talk, there just so much to cram in. Thanks to Terry Gargrave's suggestion we walked up Glenridding Dodd late on Saturday afternoon in beautiful sunshine and good visibility. Bessie appreciated walking on relatively soft ground after our earlier walk back from Brown Cove.

After a leisurely start on Sunday we headed up Place Fell, starting out in reasonable light but as time went on it became more and more gloomy. Despite this it was still possible to appreciate the views and get a feel for the grandeur of the Fells. The path has been restored/relaid for much of the higher part which took a little of the feeling of adventure away from it. The materials to do this had been dropped by helicopter, some bag of rocks remained.

Monday found me driving, Kirkstone Pass, Wrynose Pass and Hardnott Pass, Buttermere and a sunset. There is an amazing Roman Fort at the bottom of Hardnott Pass and as Bessie's feet were sore we spent some time pottering around here.

Tuesday - a low level walk in Grisedale, wonderful light and good distant views, the anticipation of meeting up with the rest of group for the Light and Land tour.

The days were full and very enjoyable, a great group of people and I was inspired and learned a few things. As I'm going to write a review of the holiday for the Online Fellwalking Club so I'm saving any further details for that.

The weather stayed dry and warm all week, the journey home was in sunshine all the way and all that remains now is to finish editing my photos.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Lake District - 24 Hours to Departure

My plan is to leave home around 6am tomorrow and head for Glenridding, the destination for my holiday and seminar with Charlie Waite. Not only am I excited about the trip but also because I'll be meeting Denise.

I've been slowly packing my bags since the weekend, trying to be logical about what is really necessary and reminding myself to keep it simple. Its reassuring to remember that if I've forgotten or need anything in the clothing/walking line, there is a good shop in Glenridding and plenty of others nearby that will more than cater for my needs.

I've got hold of some out-of-print books by W.A. Poucher who was regarded as a leading mountain photographer following WW2, and also one which is a colaboration between Derry Brabbs (photographer) and Wainwright. These have given me a couple of ideas of places to go that will, weather permitting, at least give me a better insight to the area and hopefully some decent pics.

The two pics below were taken when traveling home from Skye in 2006 and 2007, no time to stop and explore just quickly grabbed as we were passing through, enough to make me long to go back and spend more time ..........




Bessie, seen below will be my canine companion on this trip.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Love my Dogs - Fly (R.I.P) & Bessie



There is a great little app available from Brian Zimmer here its called:-
"SmugNDrag, a blog link automator. Unlike the Share feature of SmugMug, SmugNDrag generates a link which not only embeds the image in the blog entry but also creates the appropriate link click-through to the image in the SmugMug gallery. I was doing this by hand, SmugNDrag is much faster and easier."
I've no doubt I shall make good use of this - thanks very much Brian!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Mendip Village - Blagdon

Blagdon was my home from 1976 until 2000, I lived in a cottage in Grib Lane overlooking the beautiful Blagdon Lake. The view from the cottage extended towards Chew Valley in the east and Weston-Super-Mare in the west, sunrises and sunsets were an inspiration day after day, and the everchanging lake too was a constant source of pleasure.

Blagdon Local History Society has produced 'A History of Blagdon' currently in 2 volumes which is extremely detailed and gives a great insight into many aspects of the origins of the village and village life. The village website describes the village as :-
"Located in the beautiful Mendips, Blagdon has a thriving, friendly population of about 1200 with a mix of traditional local families and new comers from diverse backgrounds. There is a mix in the village of single people, families and couples, with ages ranging from young children to those of retirement age."

The picture below is the view I looked out on everyday.



blagdon

Saturday, 13 September 2008

At Last a Summer's Day

This afternoon was an absolute joy, I spent 3 hours walking on Blackdown - no waterproofs, no sweatshirt, warm sun all the way, still in a tee shirt at 6.30pm.

I tried out my new polarizer, this being the first day since I received that there has been enough sun for me to really appreciate the effect. Its crazy to think that I have gone all these years without ever using one, however I'm sure it will get some good use now. Clouds really pop out so their real beauty can be seen. Which leads me to the Cloud Appreciation Society........

Its a while since I visited the CAS website, I couldn't bring myself to look at the stunning images of clouds from all around the world while our skies were so dismally dull. My walk this afternoon inspired me to keep looking up at the wonderful Cirrus formations, my favorite being the image below, delicate layer upon layer so perfectly placed, so high up that I had to sit down and lean back to take the picture, otherwise I would have toppled over.



clouds




A real gem is the first CD to be released by The Cloud Appreciation Society it has no songs on it. It has no melodies, no lyrics, no instruments – just beautiful recordings of the most under appreciated sound in the whole of nature: the sound of rain.
You can listen to a demo from the CD here - I just love it !!!!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Counting Down the Days ........

Its only 10 days to the start of my holiday trip to the Lake District, I'm desperate to get out and try my new Lee filters but the rain just keeps falling. Its not that I'm a wimp but everywhere is just so soggy, and today the fog and rain were here all day.
This picture was taken a year ago, just to remind me that the sun did shine, and it didn't rain all the time.



east harptree

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Someone's Son .......

I was shopping in Wells yesterday afternoon, and as I came out of a store in the High Street I saw a couple of homeless people I know huddled in the doorway of an empty shop facing me. A dog was curled up beside them and they were deep in conversation, instinctively I knew something was wrong and went across to talk with them.

It was Luke a young lad I've seen around Wells for a while now, usually drumming in a doorway hoping for some coins to fall into his hat, he had been attacked during the previous night while he was sleeping. His back and ribs were really badly bruised as he had lain himself over his dear old dog Ninja to protect her from the attack. He had also lost his drum a couple of days earlier and was feeling pretty down. We had a few words and I remembered there was a drum in our loft which he might like to play.

He has a family somewhere, people who care about him and love him but nowhere to go and rest up for a few days while his aching body recovers. My heart aches for him and others like him.


Luke and Me

Monday, 1 September 2008

Autumn ?

Since I last wrote anything here it seems as though the seasons have fast forwarded from summer straight into autumn, the rain that has dominated our summer weather now has a coolness about it and the winds are blustery.

Several things have happened in the past 10 days that simply need recording so they are not lost in my mind in the future. Working backwards :-

Tony Jarrett of Bat Products Wells, who lived at Priddy died on Sunday 31st August @ 12.40 am. I knew he was terminally ill and went to the shop today to see if he was there, just for a chat. There were flowers and candles outside, and a helmet. The caving world and many on Mendip are very, very sad.


tony jarrett


Dave Freeborn, of the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team who found my nephew Jim Cullen on 19th January 1994, after a fall from Helvellyn, contacted me - I had been trying to make contact in preparation for my forthcoming visit to the area. Anyway he is going to take me to the place where Jim was found on 20th September at 9.30 am. Jim died as he was being transported to hospital in a helicopter, apparently from internal bleeding - he was a Jehova's Witness.

While walking on Blackdown I met David Parfitt and Martin'Benny'Bentham, (no website) who were sitting in some bushes behind a wall with paints and easels under huge umbrellas to shelter them from the rain. Benny is a friend and I'm privileged to have some of his work. I've long admired David's work but it is beyond my budget sadly. It was really interesting to see what they were creating on a dull and dismal day with totally flat light - a complete killer for landscape photography. Actually it was quite inspirational and encouraged me to do some wet weather photography.

At vast expense I ordered a filter kit from Lee Filters - Oh my this will take some getting used too !

Eventually Charlie Waite and I managed to speak on the phone after several days of leaving messages. He was so helpful with advice about filters, tripod etc but mostly we talked about dogs and the Blue Cross and will take this further when we are in the Lake District. I am so looking forward to the holiday, especially since speaking with Charlie, I'm sure it is going to be a great inspiration and learning process as well as great fun.

Friday, 22 August 2008

TGIF

This has been such a busy week, its taken quite a while sorting and uploading pictures from the Fair to the secure area of my website but its almost done and I'm preparing a selection to illustrate this year right now.
Done at last - Priddy Fair 2008 photos are HERE
Each year I take photographs which are intended to simply illustrate the few days before the Fair, some of the people I have got to know over the years who ask for their photographs to be taken, and the actual day of the Fair. Please look back at earlier years to see how things have changed in just the 10 years covered on the website. This year many familiar faces were missing and generally it felt that it had lost its spark. The Fair committee have worked really hard to make it safe, something that was of major concern to some people, and to return it to a more traditional event. It just didn't quite work for me this year.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Another Year - Another Fair

It seems today, the 658th (I think) Priddy Sheep Fair, has passed off successfully and without any major incident, to the delight of both the police and the Fair committee. My feelings about it are somewhat different mainly because of the different perspective I'm looking at things from - the photographic viewpoint.

Trotting Ponies



trotting ponies





trotting ponies



This was the absolute highlight of the Fair for me this year. As usual there were quite a number of Travelers camped at Splotts with their ponies and Sulkies. Its always been a feature that the ponies would be raced along the road in the evening when there is less traffic, I can sometimes hear their hooves clattering from my home and can't resist going out to find them and watch.
noun ( pl. sulkies)
a light two-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle for one person, used chiefly in harness racing.

Often the evening light is so dim that its impossible to photograph them but it takes nothing away from the excitement. This year was the best ever thanks to Brian, his son Buddy and grandson Joey, and of course their spirited and beautiful ponies.

More to follow .........

Monday, 18 August 2008

Priddy Fair 2008

The Fair will be held on 20th August this year and once again the committee have been hard at work to make it a really good day with minimum problems.

A PLEA TO ALL TRAVELERS VISITING THE FAIR
As usual I will be taking photographs before and after the Fair. You are really important to the photographic record, without you it would not be a true representation. Many of you already know me and have been kind and helpful in the past - I am asking for your help to continue making my record of the Fair. PLEASE let me photograph you, I don't make any money from this, the pictures are for own personal project - not the papers, etc.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Review of Sidmouth Folk Week 1st-8th August 2008

Sidmouth Folk Week
As usual there was lots of music in the Radway with some really good sessions. Its good to see some younger musicians who obviously really love what they are playing - Matt Quinn,(son of Dan, obviously !), Will Pound, Tom the boy fiddler, and the amazing lad with long ginger hair whose name I wish I knew. They made a lot of other musicians look and sound like dinosaurs.

The culmination 5 days Big Band workshops with Nick and Mary Barber was the ceilidh in Anchor Gardens on Thursday afternoon. The band and dancers persevered despite the threat of rain and a few showers.




Rees Wesson
is making me a new melodeon and he has all the pieces ready for the next stage of assembly. I chose the wood for the body, keyboard etc, button color and stop knobs. Hopefully it will be ready around the end of September so I can use it Melodeons at Witney in November. If I play it well enough it might get him some more orders.


melodeon parts



Tony Hall was appearing at various venues and also doing a 'Melodeon Masterclass' which was entertaining but not really what it was advertised as.



To be continued......

Things to do with a Rolling Pin No. 1

Often the crust at the end of a loaf of bread is too thick to fit in a toaster and the bread goes to waste. To avoid this and take a tiny (and roundabout) step towards improving your carbon footprint, just place the bread on a breadboard and using your trusty rolling pin roll the crust until it has flattened sufficiently to fit the toaster slot.

Rosie having Lunch


I was sitting in the sun eating a sandwich being watched by Rosie when she began to nibble at the Daylily plant. Initially she only took the withered flowers and I thought she would leave the new buds but then she started on those too. It's OK they are edible, in fact there is a Ladies Group in the USA dedicated to using them in receipes.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Amputation of Broadband

Yesterday at around 2pm not only did it pour with rain again but there was a huge flash of lightening and an abrupt end to all internet access. Suddenly it seemed that everything I wanted to know or do was only possible via the internet, I felt like a spoilt child being prevented from playing with my friends.

More importantly I couldn't finish uploading the photos of Simon & Ivana's celebration which I had hoped to have finished. Considering they were nearly all taken with flash in the barn and mostly unposed I'm quite pleased with the results and so are they which is obviously most important.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

It's Stopped

6.40 am and the sun is actually shining and the rain has stopped, seemingly for the first time since Saturday. Yesterday was like autumn with really strong winds and pouring rain all day, definitely not dog walking weather. I've been busy uploading pics from Simon & Ivana's celebration, so far they are pleased with them and so am I.

Chipper -my small brown terrier type dog- has mange which means that much of the time since our return from Sidmouth has also been taken up with washing dogs in foul smelling sulphur dip, washing multiple dog beds and trying to stop her from chewing herself to pieces.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Thanks Denise

Over the past couple of weeks I have received a huge amount of help from Denise to give my website a fresh new look and also this blog. My photo storage and website are courtesy of SmugMug which is THE only place for discerning photographers to display their work. There is a great forum where anyone can get all the help they need to customize their site form many helpful and knowledgeable people. I'm off to Sidmouth Folk Festival and will hopefully return with lots of new pics to share.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Even More Rain ..........

So far today it has been raining solidly since I woke at around 5.30am this morning. There is flooding on many roads around here and it has been foggy since lunchtime. I've just checked the local 24 hour weather forecast which says that visibilty is good and by 10pm will be very good.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Seeking Inspiration

The great British summer is continuing with rain, thunder and lightening and strong winds. Looking around at gardens in other villages ours looks very sad, battered by the rain and seasonally behind it seems - so much for living on the Mendips.

Although the garden is small and plain I chose plants that I hoped would provide me with subjects to photograph throughout the summer - colorful, interesting forms and variety but its mostly green and rain sodden. OK I'm being a bit gloomy here, there has been some beautiful light and clouds, but they are so fleeting by the time I've gathered the camera bag and got in the car to drive out somewhere we are back in the rain again.

So what is the point of writing this today, well I'm desperate to find a totally absorbing project to commit to photographically. Having a new dog in the family has provided another doggie photo collection, you can see the happy bunch here. Fellow dog lovers will be interested in my never ending stream of dog photos but there has to be more. So I'm floundering, my first love is the landscape and country ways of life but I need the proverbial kick in the butt to move on to pastures new.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Rain, Rain

Well,its Glastonbury Festival this weekend so its inevitable that there would be rain - lots of it, as there has been this afternoon and evening. Equally inevitable are the television pictures of mud plastered festival goers enjoying themselves.

Rosie, has been with us now for a month and has settled in really well. Apart from some tummy upsets she has been no trouble at all. She is showing signs of feeling her feet a little now though and is not quite so responsive as when she first arrived. Time to do some really consistent training I think as she is just at the age where she could become quite a delinquent.

Photographically, this is a dead time for me, I'm uninspired and lacking creativity, really need something to kick start me. Book projects, print sales, commissioned work - none of these hold the slightest attraction at the moment, it actually feels burdensome to think about.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Goldfinches at last !!

Success with attracting Goldfinches has finally arrived following placing a feeder in the front garden, such a thrill to see them and they were actually quite bold. The Siskins are also very busy on all feeders, especially the black Niger Seed. I managed a few photos but only from inside the house and although the camera is at the ready I haven't seen them since.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Seasonal Change ?

After the warm, springlike weather of last week the weekend weather became quite wintery, with a couple of inches of snow on Sunday morning. Its started to fall following a clap of thunder and lightening flash at about 6 am on Sunday morning and by 8 am the Sun was shining on the crisp layer that now extended from the Mendips right across the Levels to Glastonbury and beyond. I walked at Deer Leap, typically, the wind was biting and the snow was crisp. The dogs always love snow, it makes them very playful, rolling and snuffling in it, catching snowballs and generally chasing each other around.

There was some talk in the news of this weather being yet another indicator of the seasonal changes brought about by global warming. However, Edith Holden's Diary of an Edwardian Country Lady written on 1906, records snow even later in April, accompanied by similar bitterly cold winds.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

The Elusive Goldfinch

The birds coming into the feeders hanging on the patio have been a great source of pleasure throughout the winter, though the variety hasn't been great. Generally there are Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Sparrows, Starlings, Robins, the occasional Blackbird, and newcomers Siskin and Lesser Red Poll. The latter two have appeared since adding the black niger seed feeder. I had hoped that this would also attract Goldfinches but so far, after a week there is no sign of them, this is quite disappointing but I'm ever hopeful.

The results of the 2008 RSPB garden bird survey are here

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Spring at Last

After a long and dismal winter it seemed like spring had come at last, yesterday was the warmest day of the year so far and a respite from the strong biting winds of late. The woods are full of the delicate little Wood Anenome and the first Bluebells are beginning to flower, Primroses have been in flower for weeks and violets too, but its been so cold and windy I've not had any inclination to take any photos. This is normally my favorite time of year but it actually feels like it has just passed me by.
I'm taking a trip to the Quantocks at the weekend, looking for inspiration but the forecast is for wintery weather again.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

A Quick Recap

The first two months of this year have just gone into a blur, it hasn't been the happiest start culminating in the loss of Fly on 26th February. My brave, feisty friend finally lost her fight against chronic renal failure 8 months after diagnosis. She had a full and happy life despite being handicapped by only having 3 legs. She deserves more than a few lines in a blog so I don't intend writing anymore here, other than to say she has left a huge gap in my life but she will always be in my heart. video