25 things you don’t know about me (probably)

My general philosophy for this blog is to be open, honest and authentic. So here are a few facts about me you may not know, unless I am repeating myself (a little) or you are a very close relative/friend. Why not share some of yours?

  1. I love Marmite. Always have, always will. There, now you’re in one camp or the other.
  2. I always have ideas; ideas to enhance, change, invent, re-invent, improve or replace. It is an eternal spring.
  3. I have been known to write alternate lyrics to well known songs, but….
  4. I can’t sing. I wish I could. In fact if I could have any super talent it would be to be able to sing gloriously
  5. I once visited Sophia Loren’s Paris apartment to deliver her lunch on a silver salver. She was in the shower.
  6. I have traveled a little, I would like to travel a lot more. China, India and all the Americas are on the list.
  7. I seek out cafes that serve quality leaf tea. For a country that allegedly loves tea we sure are poor at providing a quality product and experience.
  8. I have owned at least one pair of Doc Martens for the last 20+ years. Not the same pair.
  9. I always have at least one notebook on the go, filled with ideas, thoughts, plans, poems, mind maps and other random jottings. This list was written in the current one.
  10. I won two national photography awards when I was still training
  11. I once served Neil Armstrong a Campari and soda. We were not on the moon.
  12. I have two children who are fast becoming fabulous adults
  13. It took two years to train my over sized Bijon, Monty. He still needs regular reminders.
  14. Monty and I share our 56th birthday this November. One of us is counting in equivalent dog years.
  15. I do like creating a website. This new one must be my seventh.
  16. I recently appeared on a Parisienne street, even though I was still in Swansea #filmextra
  17. It may be hard to believe for those of you who know how much I use my phone, but I regularly plan to take time off from it. Not with complete success.
  18. I am ready to re-enter the dating fray, though I am nervous. It’s been a while.
  19. I can juggle balls, oranges and other spherical objects. But not clubs or chainsaws.
  20. I haven’t had the hair on the top of my head cut this year. I have no idea where this is going.
  21. I love photography. Can you tell?
  22. After four visits to Canada I finally saw my first bear, on the last night of my recent trip. I did not have my camera to hand.
  23. I have had three careers: hospitality (every job from pot wash to hotel manager), education (from lecturer to senior manager) and now a portfolio career. Otherwise known as a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
  24. My Dad was 22 years older than my Mum
  25. I can ski and I love the sport. I can get down most hills, but when they are black runs I may leave style and grace at the top.

 

 

Canada – The Okanagan

Not writing a book

Currently, I am not writing a book. I have written a book proposal on a Mindful Photography/Memoir theme, it even includes two complete chapters, a synopsis, author bio and an outline of all the chapters, but I am now marooned and have been for three months.

I have been through a month or so of thinking it was because I was reading a lot and that the two activities of reading and writing were mutually exclusive. So I haven’t read a book since Christmas. However, my previous morning ritual of three hours writing (on the days I am engaged in Photential activity) has not reasserted itself.

I have stopped producing a newsletter, so that I could focus on the book and have even taken a 6 week break from this blog to kick start my mojo, but all have been unsuccessful. This morning I felt good and ready to write, but then it is Taylor’s birthday so presents and attention were required. Then the morning fog burnt off and a dog walk was calling.

I planned a jaunt down the Gower, thinking I could take my phone, create a couple of photos and record some thoughts on my phone. Then the kids reported that the TV was misbehaving. An hour later, TV delivered to repair shop, Monty and I headed for Swansea Bay, the Mumbles end, and I planned a sit down and to record my thoughts on bench overlooking the scene above.

I opened up the phone, Monty faithfully sat at my side, I could not find the audio record app. It has vanished. Just as I gave up I noticed that the woman walking a couple of dogs past me was still in front of me and that something odd was going on. I slipped down onto the beach and chatted to Bobbi, owner of Lifeline Dogs (a dog walking well being expert) who’s own dog had decided to swim to Mumbles. As you can see from the photo above it was flat calm so Halli was not in any trouble, but she did seem to have lost her sense of direction.

One of the other dogs with Bobbi was a Border Collie who was valiantly trying to round up Halli without going out of her sea depth. Eventually our constant calling, whistling and barking (I claim the whistling) registered with Halli and she meandered back to the beach. Bobbi was relieved having avoided having to attempt a rescue, the water is still pretty chilly and we walked back chatting to where I had parked the car.

So now I have something to write about, and at least I am writing. It is flowing well and I am hopeful that it will be translated to book creation later, or maybe tomorrow morning. Unless aliens land and there are more pressing things to do.

 

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Two crows keeping an eye on proceedings

 

 

Canada Trip – family favourites

It seems appropriate to start sharing my favourite photos of Canada with a family collection. After all the main focus of the holiday was to spend time with Ma, Sis, her hubby and those terrible daughters of their’s. There will be later collections of the Okanagan Valley (the gorgeous area of British Columbia that they live in), Crossfit events (Kim is a very keen member and it was international tournament time) and some mindful photography practices. But first up, the family.

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That crazy Mexican dachshund, Stanley who is settling into his new home just lovely

Kim and I spent a day up at Apex, a 45 minute drive from her house. Whilst this photo makes her look like she is a terrible skier the truth is we were pretty similar in ability; averagely competent!

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Mum will not be over delighted to see photos of herself here, but I have chosen ones not too close! The photo above is of her completing a Mindful Photography activity near the Okanagan Lake. The one below is at the Kelowna Marina.

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The following three photos were all taken on Easter Sunday during the Easter Egg (chocolate) hunt that the elderly kids still insist on doing.

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We all took a walk out around the hills surrounding the lake with Kim’s friend Lindsey, who has a dog business. She had 12 dogs with her on this jaunt.

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Kim and I visited the restaurant she works at, Poplar Grove Winery, just outside Penticton. It is a fabulously located venue with some lovely wines

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The photos above and below were both taken on the Kettle Valley Railway Trail. This old rail track has been turned into 600km track through British Columbia. We managed a 2 hour walk!

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Mum in front of her favourite mountain, outside of Kelowna

Laura took part in beer league hockey over the Spring Break. Not sure if that’s the right title for what was going down, but it involved hockey, ice and beer and was enjoyed by participants and audience

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These three photos were taken at ‘the trestles’ in Summerland and star Kim, Morgan and the hound Stanley

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Spring flowers down near a lakeside beach in Summerland

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Those lovely women plus hound almost walking on water at the lakeside

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The irrepressible Laura K!

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Mum, Mike and Morgan at the Crossfit. Favourite photos up next!

Photography Workshop – 28th May

My next Mindful Photography Workshop is at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea on Saturday 28th May 2016.

This is a fun three hour event that will expand the way you see. You will develop a mindful practice that will help you be totally present when taking photographs and encourage you to align what you see with your mind and heart.

Mindful photography is simply described as meditation with your camera. The workshop will share techniques and practices that will act as a foundation for developing your ability to be present with all that you see and to create original and personal photographs.

The course is suitable for people of all photographic abilities with an interest in mindfulness and a curiosity about how this can be developed through photography. All you need is a digital camera (any type), an empty memory card and a fully charged battery.

Click here to book!

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Normal service?

Back in the day certain services would break down. TV channels would occasionally fail and the standard screen message would be ‘Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible’. I feel a little like the BBC in the seventies, during a break in service, and kind of like them I do hope that normal service will be resumed as soon as possible, but unlike them I feel a little uncertain about what normal is any more.

I have just returned from three weeks visiting my sister Kim, her family and my Mum in Canada. I am over the jet lag, but as I am back into my part time job this afternoon I am still a little grumpy. The trip was fabulous. It was lovely to see everyone; to spend time hanging out with Mum, Kim, Mike (husband) and their kids Morgan and Laura, and to enjoy the spectacular scenery and weather that the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia has to offer. (the photo above is Kim and family over looking the Okanagan Lake) There will be photos of the area and my activities, including some mindful photography practices to follow, but now it is all about what is going on for me right now. Surprised? I am trying to be in the moment!

The trip to Canada has been a little like a half time break in a longer game. There was breathing space and time to reflect upon what was going on in the first half, but now I have to get back out there and play the game. “And what is the state of play?” you ask.

Right at the end of 2015, just after Christmas, Beci and I split up. After 21 years of marriage this was not a swiftly taken decision, perhaps we should have separated some time ago, but eventually we both came to the conclusion that the marriage was no longer providing what either of us needed. My chronic health condition of the last ten years is still re-shaping my world and whilst all is now stable the ripples flow through every aspect of life, shaking up and reassembling relationships, responsibilities and possibilities.

There is still much change to be sorted. Beci has moved out and has recently settled in a new place. The house is up for sale and I have not decided my next move. I guess that the sale might take a while, we have only had two viewings in six weeks, but it all could change quite quickly. Then I would probably rent for a while, whilst the dust settles and all the finances are agreed.

All of this impeding change is unsettling. Fortunately, much else in my world is stable. The kids seem to be adjusting well and whilst my work commitments are many, they are interesting and supportive. Yet still there is nagging uncertainty, and a feeling like visiting a new country that is unfamiliar. I then remind my self to breathe, to feel the world beneath my feet (or arse!) and return to the present.

All of this will resolve. Opportunities will present themselves. Ideas will spring fully formed to my mind. Patience and trust, my watch words, reassert themselves. Normal service will be resumed, though the normality may have changed!