This was New Years Day 15 years ago. A walk on the beach with my husband and two Labs. I can’t believe that amount of time has gone by.
This is the last post for May’s NaBloPoMo, and I’m now going back to posting several times a week rather than every day, for a bit. That way, I’ll fit in all the other things I want to do. So thank you for following me this month, and please do drop in when you can, I’d love to have your company!
Now, I’d be the first person to say that I’m not a city person. But there are some cities that have both a buzz and feel safe, both at the same time. Amsterdam was one of those. We booked a night time city tour, which took in a couple of microbreweries (thoroughly recommend the dark beers, wasn’t so keen on the light ones), and also involved us walking through the red light district.
The guide told us it was the safest part of the city, with CCTV and police officers everywhere. And it felt perfectly safe. Scenic too, with canals crisscrossing the area, lots of light, movement and noise. But I did find being in that part of the city a bit uncomfortable – the women (and men sometimes) in the ‘windows’ seemed very young and especially having heard how much of their money they get to keep (it’s a legal trade so you have to pay your taxes on it), it just seemed … a very sad way to earn a living. But who am I to judge.
Anyway, the buildings are fabulous, and it was a great place to spend a couple of days.
Now, I know that lots of people take photos of food, my cousin is one of them.
I’ve never quite seen the point. But because my mother in law made it, and I loved her, here’s the Christmas cake that she made in 2002. Six layers of sponge, with buttercream filling, frosting on the outside, and an orchid on top. I bet it took a lot less time for us to eat it than it took to make it.
I’ve written a fair bit about our two Labradors over the last couple of months. They were great dogs and we still miss them.
Tessa was the oldest, born in 1995. Related to a Lab from the Sandringham estate (The Queen, don’t you know), she had it in her head that she was royalty. If there was something she wanted, or didn’t want, you knew about it. Claws raked down your shin soon got your attention. As she got older, the yellow brindling in her coat (which some Labs have), and on her eyebrows and cheeks became grey.
And she didn’t grow old gracefully. Nah, ageing was for wimps. Even after she lost her right eye aged 11, she didn’t slow down much, not until the final months. Here she is on her last trip to the beach.
So, nearing the end of the May NaBloPoMo challenge. I’m glad I carried on, although there was a wobbly moment when I thought I’d taken on too much.
And it’s been interesting going over my photo archives reminding myself what I have taken pics of, and why they’re important to me.
So this is a portrait, but not of me. Probably the best photo we’ve taken of Harley. He hated being photographed, would put on a real hangdog expression if anyone came near with a camera.
Hmmm. Didn’t have much to illustrate Still Life. Just this photo taken on a holiday to the Venise Verte area of France – a beautiful marshland region of canals, greenery, stone houses with typically blue shutters, and hospitable people.
We booked a trip which took in regional dress – hence the still life – local delicacies and a wonderful aperitif called Pineau des Charentes, available in red or white, or both. Hic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineau_des_Charentes
We don’t get much snow here. But when we do, its a source of excitement for people living nearby. We live on a steepish hill, with an even steeper hill behind, on the South Downs, ideal for sledging down. Which is great, but when everyone parks their cars in our road to go sledging, then finds they can’t get out of the snow on the slope, that means that even with a 4×4 we’re not going anywhere for a few days. Now this photo isn’t snow as such, but a pretty shrub covered in ice. I love the way that it highlights the individual parts of the shrub.
And another thought on nature. Can there be anything more impressive in the animal kingdom than a peacock’s tail? On our holiday in Croatia, on a walk amongst the pine trees, we came across a peacock, strutting around (as you do). It was pretty tame and let me get quite close. I was so excited to see this bird so close up, that a French woman who happened to be wandering along the trail at the same time as me, got the full force. Now apart from a few day trips to France over the years, I haven’t spoken French since schooldays. So you can imagine the conversation as I try to explain to this poor woman who must have thought I was mad, that “un oiseau avec un grande (mime a great big tail) was just ahead.
I think I’m going to have to admit defeat on this one. I don’t think there is one photo in my collection which illustrates Upside Down.
But … Wait. This is pretty obscure but hey. A couple of years ago we took a trip to the Dead Sea, from the Jordan side. It was a long trip, and involved spending time at a 5 star hotel (tough but someone’s got to do it) with lunch, and shower facilities. Because the thing about the Dead Sea is how salty it is. You get plenty of warnings before you go in – Don’t put the mud on your face, cause duh the water is salty and will sting your eyes to hell when you try and wash it off etc. But the direst warning is Do not swim or lay on your front in the water, because you can’t easily turn right side up (hence the obscure upside down reference). And it’s true, the water makes you so buoyant that you cannot sink. But that means that once in a position it’s really difficult to get into another one. So if you were on your front you could easily drown. Here’s my husband just floating in the water, with no effort at all. PS Don’t ask who got their leg stuck in the mud up to their knee and had to be rescued.
Outside should be an easier topic to find a photo for.
We’re very fortunate to live on the outskirts of the South Downs, and only about a mile from the sea. It’s the best of both worlds in terms of scenery.
The woods on the hill behind the house are full of bluebells and common spotted orchids at this time of year, and the owl boxes will soon start to fill up. It’s lovely up there, although you might turn a ankle on a tree root (yep, done that, getting down off the hill was a bit painful), or come across a snake making its way across the path in its own time (Note to self – do not assume that the piece of yellow and black rope on the path isn’t an adder. Eek!)
Finding a photo to illustrate ‘Inside’ was quite a tough one. Most of my pics are outside shots.
But here’s one. A couple of years ago my Dad was 80. We’d lost Mum the previous Christmas and it had been tough for everyone. So as Dad’s 80th birthday approached, we wondered what we could do to give him a bit of a lift. He’s always loved horseracing, and I remember family outings as a child to Goodwood, Plumpton and Fontwell to see the horses race, either on the flat or over the sticks.
The first weekend of August was Glorious Goodwood and fitted in really well with the timing of his birthday. https://www.goodwood.com/horse-racing/glorious-goodwood/glorious-goodwood-home.aspx#4T3dcgTGlwliQw5L.97
We arranged for his brother to fly down from oop North, organised a stretch limo, an enormous picnic, drinks and 16 daughters, husbands, nieces, nephews and brother aged 3 to 80 piled in and went to Goodwood for the day. The sun shone, the horses (sometimes) won, and it was really a day that memories were made of.