My First Photography Club Assigment

I must try to use smaller titles than this!

As you may know I have joined a PC ( photo club) that meets in a pub ( where else!) once a month and we are given an assignment by Our Leader (photographer and teacher Andrew Newson ). Our first one was Movement.


I took to this one almost immediately as it meant I could explore doing blurry images on purpose instead of the usual accidental ones! The first thing I had to do tho was find the tripod…”Easily done, surely?” you ask? You don’t know me very well, do you! I had to give up and buy a new one in the end!!!


I really enjoyed finding new ways to get the countryside to blur…walking along holding the camera with a slow shutter speed…lost? So was I and probably still am, to be honest!


This is such a far cry form the good old Point and Shoot that I have loved. I am so used to doing the instant picture that I am still not very strong at setting the shot up. I need to practice on the delayed shot, using the timer as I still manage to get camera wobble on a tripod!


Anyway, long story short before you all go off for a coffee… one of my pictures was Commended and blown up ( to a larger size, not explosively!). I was so amazed, and thrilled! Little L inside was jumping up and down screaming “I WON, I WON” although it is Not, I repeat, NOT a competition, and I am in no way competitive!!! ( did you buy that?)

And here is that picture…P1050785The next assignment is to chose an iconic photographer and shoot in his/her style… I have spent years finding out what my style is, so this is a bit tricky…but I have chosen Elliott Erwitt.

Why? Because of his attitude of just take your camera out, wander around, and take pictures!

I am sure there is more to it than that, but we shall see.

I want to do black and white street scenes in London, Rye and Hastings, so we shall see what I come up with!

Showing off never pays!

Ahhhhh…at last I’m snuggled in bed with my iPad, books, teddy and TV…. No, no Hubby, he’s in London.

Did you enjoy the glorious weekend weather? I did until I decided to show Hubby what I had learned on Last Monday at the WalkActive
We took our dog down to Rye Harbour where there is a tarmac path that is ideal for the walking…along with hundreds of others enjoying the sun!
Off I set, dog running at my heals as we wove in and out of the other strollers, leaving hubby behind. He later said his thoughts were “bloody hell” which is very unlike him so I must have been doing a good pace.
On I went, getting into my stride…and then it all went wrong! Can you guess what I had forgotten to do? Yes, warm up & stretch before starting the style walking!!
My left calf muscles started to swear at me so badly that when I had to side step for a group coming towards me I had to stop and try to stretch it out using a bench.
Hubby caught up to me looking very impressed, but it was too late! I had to walk at his pace for the rest of our walk…which he then took me off Tarmac round the bird sanctuary in Barefoot shoes… Not ideal folks!

But I did show him…even if showing off lead to pain. Next time I will warm up first and wait until I am past the slow strollers before showing them all my Open Ankles!

Right, I’m switching off the technologies and turning to my book before hopefully dreaming of a mixture of George Cloony, Brad Pitt and My Hubby!
Night all?

The Morning After The Day Before

It’s Tuesday, 4th March. It’s Pancake Day (woohoo). More importantly it’s the day after the WalkActive introductory day in London.

Did I survive?
How are my knees?
Will I ever walk again?

Such big Questions!

Well, dear Reader…oh YES,YES,YES!!!
To be honest I can’t believe it! My knees feel fine!! No pain, and in fact no stiffness either. I walked downstairs to make tea and had to remind myself I had walked loads yesterday! (15,889 steps!)
Ok, so my ankle tendon on one side did that slightly; and it may have helped falling asleep in a lovely hot bath of muscle relaxing bath salts, but it’s true! My body is not swearing at me for punishing it.

Now, before you all start saying, “well, it’s was only walking” there is no “only” about it! The WalkActive style is different from your usual slouchy! scuffing lope down the road to get the paper or walk the dog.

Let’s start at the beginning.
In my last blog about this I admitted to pre-conceived fears about my fellow walkers. I was completely wrong. My 39 fellow walkers came in all shapes, sizes, and ages, and we had one brave chap who came with his wife too. We all had read the article in the Daily Telegraph and had booked our places ages ago. When I chatted with some ladies before it all started we had the same slightly nervous questions and feelings about what had we let ourselves in for.
The majority of us were dressed ready for action, but there were some different foot wear examples, and one lady braved it in a skirt and tights( with trainers). One fellow walker had not thought about whether we would be walking outside. We sipped our coffee/tea/herbal drink, nibbled on fruit skewers, which were delicious, and waited.

Joanna came straight from another walking group, and shook hands with us all, glowing with health and vitality. She went through the technical points of why we all have been walking incorrectly and how to walk actively. We all had a quick practice standing near our chairs and then headed out to Regents Park to have a go… Imagine a slightly aged school group on an outing!

Spilt into two groups and with Joanna plus two of her trainers, Caroline & Julie( hope I’ve go that right!) , we were slowly shown how to put the 4elements together, feet upwards.
It rained!
Now, I would normally have headed back inside for another tea, but thanks to my golfing wet weather gear and the fascination of watching the first group emerge from the slightly-slouchy, apologetic walkers into the strong active walkers they became took my mind off the rain in my face. Of course when it came to Group 2′s turn the rain eased, and we too were transformed.

Think I’m exaggerating? Not a bit of it! We walked back into lunch, and couldn’t help but walk in the new way…even me!

Of course the fun began after lunch with the retail bit! Oh, I tried to resist! Honestly! After all, I have trainers (they were a bit damp, true), and how many bum bags and back packs have I got in my cupboards? But this beautiful pair of bright blue shows just yelled at me! And I couldn’t keep carrying my water bottle, could I?? See?

Camera Club

In the spirit of an Aquarian, I love trying new things. You all may have read my blog about the Camera Day Hubby gave me for Christmas? No? TUT! For those of you who have… Andrew runs these camera clubs in pubs (stop grinning) & I have joined the Eridge one. We met last Thursday night for our first session.


Around the big table was a group of folks with varying experiences with cameras, making for an interesting mix. After discussing our assignment for the month – Movement – we started to tentatively ask questions of Andrew and each other.  I started to try out this new idea to me of changing the shutter speed, moving the camera a the same time… as well as chatting with my old friend who had introduced me to all of this (Huge thanks Caroline).

Where are the pics I hear you cry…well, I am ashamed to say I don’t want to show you yet! i have had great fun, firstly rushing off to the nearest camera shop to buy a Negative Density Filter ( to compensate for all that light flooding into the camera on a slow shutter speed) (sounding knowledgeable am I? HA!) and ‘accidentally’ buying a fish-eye lens too (“but I’ve always wanted one, you see, Darling!”). Then trying out different settings as I took the dog on a walk. I have had a look at the results…some are not bad, some grotesque, others just plane black! i have altered a couple in Lightroom to see how they look…that’s allowed, before you start complaining!

And the real reason I’m not showing you? We have to submit 5 of our favourites/best to Andrew by the deadline. He will critique them for us, print them, and then he chooses one to print as a blow up and…yes, you’ve guessed it! My ugly competitive head has peeked out! I am ashamed, but there it is! i think I have a brilliant pic already, but we will see, faced with a semi-professional I don’t think I’m in with a chance!…

(You do know it’s the Oscars on Sunday? How am I doing? Teehee!)

So, wait until the end of March for an update!Photo on 01-03-2014 at 11.05 #2


It seemed a Good decision at the time…

Welcome to a glorious sunny March 1st – St. David’s Day.

Somehow at the beginning of January this seemed a very long way away!
In the aftermath of Christmas, knee pains, and kicking my trainer into touch, I planned to get myself fit and healthy…well, we all do, don’t we? in this frame of mind I signed up for the There was this article in the Saturday paper you see…

It is all about walking in a way that uses your body properly and burns more calories etc, gets you fitter etc…

Well, Monday 3rd March I am off to the Big City for my introduction day. I was sent a great pack of the book, a DVD on how to walk this way, and a pedometer. I watched the DVD whilst on my treadmill to get the hang of it, and it seemed to make sense and be exhausting at the same time. The book is full of good advice, and dietary advice too.

The problem? Well, since signing up all my good intentions have withered in the rain, and pain of the knee not heeling as well as I’d hoped! And have you seen the weather forecast? AND this week I have been shaking off Hubby’s cold which has left me breathless… you get the picture I am sure…you know me so well!

SOoooo…Monday morning I am going up to London with Hubby on his early train, making my way to the unknown-to-me North London area to join what I am sure will be a gaggle of already slim, fit, well-groomed ladies, beautifully turned out in their proper gear, with wet-gear to hand…I am making sweeping assumptions here… and then there will be me! Small of stature, round of girth, panting of breath, kitted out in whatever fits and a huge bulging bag of wet-weather golfing gear for JUST-In-CASE. HELP!!!!!

Why didn’t I postpone it?? Why didn’t I stay slimmer and fitter? Why wasn’t I born to slim fit parents? Why-oh-Why am I ME??????

After taking a deep breath, coughing, and walking round talking to myself for a few minutes, I am doing the self-chat thing, and trying to decide how I really feel about it – comic blog stuff aside.
Actually, deep down, I am looking forward to it. The challenge of trying something new (which I love), showing others that size is all in their eyes and just because I remind myself of a Weeble (“Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”) it doesn’t mean that the thin fit Gal inside doesn’t deserve a chance to get it right; and giving them the opportunity to teach a larger lady how to walk well.

So, bring it on Ms Hall, I am READY!

now, where did I put that list of things I need?…20130814-082542-AM.jpg

Take Your pic!

Well, did you survive yesterday’s battering of this fair isle by the weather? Did you spend it inside? I didn’t!
Yesterday I used my Christmas Present from Hubby and had a morning’s photography lesson from Andrew Newson . this is a guy my frined has been raving about for ages so, as I like taking a million pics, I asked Hubby for some tuition as a present.

As I watched the weather forecast on Tuesday night I looked at the phone willing it to ring and say we would do the lesson inside, but as it turns out we had a beautiful morning, and produced some great pics ( in my mind).

We met in the car park of the Hastings Country park, and after I put on foul weather gear ( oh what a mistake!) we set off in a direction I had not gone before…well, there are very steep bits involved! The lesson began immediately, and as we meandered our way down to a secluded beach (nudist in summer!) I learned about aperture, shutter speed, F-stop and the thingy wheel that makes it darker or lighter…hold on I’ll check the correct term…nope, that’s the aperture! it was amazing the difference these things made…I felt a little like a kid taking off the training wheels on my bike!

You can imagine the mud etc on the way down! Enough said! A small voice in my head was saying – “Hoy, are you going to make it back up, Fatty?” But once on the beach the landscape just took over…OOHHHHH!!!! Those rocks, landslides, and the sun on the water! You who read this regularly, and all my social stuff will know how I live beaches! Well, here were BIG boulders with iron ore in them, strata that made them look like wood, cliffs fallen down and being reshaped by streams gushing out only to disappear under the shingle.
Here’s one of my favourites…P1050581
To me its almost organic!

Eventually, but what seemed a very short time, we decided to go back at the tide was on the turn…I could hear Hubby saying how stupid it was people getting stranded and how they should pay for the lifeboats rescue!

and then began the trek back upwards…WELL! New body required, new muscles, everything! It took HOURS! I had to keep stopping, being weighed down by the big heavy jacket, and sweating buckets in the plastic over trousers…ok,ok, and the unfit fat body I was using too! Actually I am horrified at how quickly out of shape I have got! What do you mean, you’re not?? Huh!

ANYWAY! We eventually made it to the safely of the cars and came back here for a spot of something ( think Winny-ther-Pooh in my case!) and then had a look at the photos and discussed what could be done in iPhoto and how a different editing suite might be a good idea.

Dear Reader, (pretentious? Moi?) Confession time – as soon as I could I got into a lovely hot bath and then snuggled under rugs and watched crap TV!!! I meant to do more editing, but fell asleep!!

In meantime here’s another pic I took pre playing. Today I will have fun with them…after Yoga…and consultant appt…and what about Sainsburys? hm..



Desert Island Bliss

Yes, that is the view I was looking at a few days ago!! Sorry, but it was absolutely fabulous there- Kanuhurah Island in the Maldives…and yes, I am a lucky so-and-so. That is what you just called me, yes? Teehee!

This was the first ever birthday spent in such wonderful heat. Normally I am at home, or in Florence in the rain. Hubby is going to be so busy with work and golf this year, and as I was not allowed to ski I asked if we could go for a real downtime holiday. It was a toss up between here or the Caribbean… I think we made the right choice!

I wish I could attach a way you could feel the warmth of the sun and wind, and experience it all whilst reading this! All I can do is describe how I feel now about it all.

It was a week of new experiences from taking a sea plane…image to snorkeling and swimming with turtles, and just being blown away with the beauty of the nature there I have come back with a new view of life.

We made a conscious decision to relax and enjoy it all…I even managed to get Hubby to experience a massage…I don’t think he really gets it tho – he thinks it should be a sports massage to relax his muscles only and can’t connect with the inner him. When I said about relaxing the mid etc he said that side was fine, and he was relaxed enough. Hm! The only exercise we got was walking from our villa on the windy side of the island ( a must, believe me, for surviving that wonderful heat!) to the main area for breakfast looking out over the turquoise sea and white sands, swimming in the clear water with a very curious school of dart fish and a large trigger fish I named Bob, going on a snorkeling trip for 2-ish hours one afternoon, and of course sampling the local versions of cocktails!! Well, you have to! My favourite new ones are the Side Car and Hemingway Daiquiri ( I had to look up that spelling!)

I have seen colours underwater that I never knew existed…oh yes, I’ve watched Nature programmes from Jacque Cousteau to David Attenborough but it really is not the same! I saw a young giant clam with an electric blue edge that just glowed with life. And when I saw the giant green turtle slowly emerge from the gloom below me, and reach up into the air before returning to the reef cliff shelf where it slept…. I am trying to find the words that don’t sound too wacky or far out… It really did change something inside. Not hugely. It just touched something.

We saw a school of large silver fish swimming like a traffic jam, then circle round a rock like a roundabout, before majestically carrying on regardless. There was the school of bright blue fish, the individual fishes of all shapes and sizes, the reef shark that passed Hubby; he was amazed too as he had never thought about snorkeling rather preferring skiing, golf, exercising etc ( you get the pic of him) and this is the first sport I have made him do after it decided to do my PADDY 10 years ago & he followed suit ( another story!).

Then, on a different snorkeling trip just outside our villa I saw another smaller, darker turtle. We both were surprised, and it swam backwards under his rock shelf after a while, but allowed me to swim for a while with him/her. I was very grateful.

So here I am, sitting in bed with my iPad, trying to explain it all to you. I didn’t manage to do the yoga I had promised myself I’d do…well, sand gets everywhere, doesn’t it! I did get time to talk to Hubby, spend a very rare week 24/7 with him which was one of the main reasons I wanted this type of holiday. I am somehow more aware of the World outside the curtains, beyond my normal range.

I didn’t take a waterproof camera swimming with me because I wanted to actually experience it properly…not worrying about whether I had the right focus, lighting etc. Oh yes, I took my big camera and iPhone and have about 500 pics on the computer…not many really, considering how I normally am, come to think about it… This may be something I am getting from the yoga- the ability to enjoy being “in the moment” , “present” “THERE” you know what I mean, yes? I now have not only the images in my mind but the emotions and physical memories of all we did, including just lying on the sun loungers soaking up the rays. The pics I have will help trigger those memories in future, but for now…I just close my eyes and breathe.

Ok, enough for now. I’m in danger of booking my ticket back! So as my tan begins to fade with our wonderful British rain I will share one more pic with you, and the hope that you too will find that connection today wherever you are, with whatever nature you have around you.


When Everything Connects

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It happened just now…well, a few minutes ago, BUT IT HAPPENED!!!!

This week I started with new Yoga teacher – Andrea at THe Yoga School on the Ridge in Hastings. The Yoga SchoolShe is only my second teacher, and is different from my first, Lisa. LisaJust as nice, and welcoming, I hasten to add, and she HUGS!!! I love a hugger…those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that!

As I say Andrea and her Yoga are different from Lisa – fewer of the poses we have seen on the internet, but oh boy, they seem to have just if not more affect on my body!!

The funny thing is the new yoga style links both Lisa’s and Maya Fiennes Maya Fienneswhich i have been reading about in her book Yoga for Real Life…what a title, eh?!

Now, this book connected with something inside that was wriggling after Christmas etc; I was missing yoga as given to me by Lisa; I cried, laughed, and saw amazing colours in Andrea’s class this week ( whilst Son was having his knee key-holed!)

I have just done a practice which has combined all 3 amazing elements from these wonderful women!!!!!!!
Yes, i KNOW, I am going overboard with the !!! but they are soooo necessary here. I promise!!!!! (OK, perhaps those ones weren’t…ironic ones perhaps?)

Have you had the feeling when something has gone so right that you laugh out loud? Well, that is how i feel, even whilst blogging and cooking supper…hey, I’m a Woman, we do these things!

See what I mean? I am even being more positive and assertive! I have even got vague promise out of Hubby that when we go away he will practice yoga with me!

So it’s all god! …oh….I meant to type good…

I’m leaving that “mistake” in. Make of it what you will, my friends.

Right, enough enthusing, I must concentrate on the supeer; but I really want ed to share this with you…

Oh, and Jayne…I think I now know what you meant about Loving Myself!!! Oh Boy, this week may well be ours, Aquarian Sister!!!

Namaste, dear Reader….have a go, go on, I dare you!

L x

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New Beginnings…

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What a day!

I have been busy getting the house etc ready for our golfing guests for The President’s Putter (past Oxford & Cambridge players society play this competition at Rye, East Sussex) and for Hubby going off to India on business on Sunday…

But it’s been one of those days…I seem to have been so clumsy all day!

* I dropped a thermos flask full of hot water and it broke, leaking water over my bedroom carpet…thank goodness it was just water!
* I dropped a new, VERY sharp little knife on my big toe…it bounced out again, leaving me with a sore bleeding didgit, a hole in my slipper, but thank goodness the knife survived!
* I then dropped a heavy piece of wood on the end of the same toe as I was filling the log basket.

Please tell me thats my three bad things for the day!!

I am now sitting in the kitchen ( no, I haven’t tidied it yet, give me a chance!) with a healing mug of tea…scuse me whilst I slurp…Star trek on TV, a cherry stone thermal pillow on my neck and you in front of me.

Allow me a little moan…my toe is really hurting! My back &neck are a bite sore from trying a different type of Yoga this morning ( but not in a bad way I think) … OK, moan over, tea slurped ( sorry about the noise), Universe not yet saved by Captain Kirk ( but of course he will!), and I’m trying to decide whether to use a table cloth on the kitchen table tonight or not…think I will, rather than having to polish it – now, don’t frown at me…it will look better!

Now, why did I call this blog New Beginnings? oh, yes, the new type of Yoga!
I bought a book…Maya Fiennnes “Yoga for Real Life” which advocates Kundalini Yoga. The first three chapters which deal with the lower chakras, really appealed to me, so I tried some of the exercises this morning. Before I have sone a Sun Salutation, then a body twist, leg stretch, posing with me feet up against a wall ( can’t stand on my head), then corpsing before chanting Om. I don’t yet know what I think of these new exercises…she doesn’t call them poses. Tomorrow I have a class with a new yoga teacher near here…I don’t know what type of Yoga she practices…I am learning there are very different types. I think I prefer one that flows through the poses with breathing flowing too, but that is perhaps just because thats what I started with.

So, the new beginning is the new teacher, and perhaps a new way of looking at Yoga.
we shall see!

And on that note, I must attend to my toe…

L x

Welcome to 2014

A very Happy New Year folks.

Did you “see it in?” We didn’t…gone are the days for the mo of partying with friends and then feeling really rough for the first day of the new year. I love waking up in the new day feeling fine, no hangover etc, and then watching my son crawl back from wherever he has been about mid-day looking grey! Teehee! Smug? Me? You bet!!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good party, great wine, and Bubbly is one of my favourite drinks. I watch the playback of the parties and fireworks on TV…not the same, I know, … and I marvel at everyone’s stamina…yes, I know, some of it is pre-recorded. Cheating in my mind!

Now I am sitting down having put the decorations back in their boxes (must remember where I put them this year!!), the tree outside, polished my hall table and put it back in its place. The kitchen table is littered with magazines – food, gardening, walking – all to give me inspiration for this coming future.

I”ve followed a friend and not made any resolutions this year. Instead I’ve made a decision. In the past few years I have left certain jobs to others. I am lucky enough to need/have a gardener and cleaner, and I have taken a back seat in my home. No more! It is MY home and therefore I should be in control of it. Yes, I will still need help in and out so I can continue to do the other things I love; but I will not leave it all to them!

In the garden I need to redo a boarder or two, get rid of a rockery, and make it mine instead of just coping with what we inherited from the previous owners.
For the house I need to sort out the chimneys that are leaking and ruining the rooms beneath; also it would be nice to have a great bathroom instead of the smallest room in the house!

No, these are not resolutions…I haven’t made the false promise of fitness and weight loss. I hope they may happen but they are not going to be the full focus of my year!

Hubby has a very full year coming up, becoming captain of one of his golf clubs in April, as well as being a referee for the R&A (golf’s governing body and golf club in the UK) and on the rules comittee. And of course, he has t keep working!! No, I’m not cracking whip – he enjoys his job, honest! My “job” will be to back him up, make sure he is ready for whatever whenever, and to love watching him enjoy it all…and I do love watching him soar!

Looking back on what I’ve already typed I notice the word NOW used quite a lot…that IS new year mentality, isn’t it!

SO, as storms lash Britain, causing damage and worry to many, lets get this 2014 in gear and help make the world a great place to enjoy!

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