Day 293

Well the weekend is over, judging is done, tank kits and paints and stuff shopped for and purchased and I’ve finished the first book in the Game of Thrones series while all that was all going on! Had a great time meeting up with people at night in the bar and having a good laugh. On the ferry now and home by lunchtime tomorrow. Not loving doing posts on the mobile so I’ll be glad to get back to the Big Mac!

End of year Photography review.

I like looking back over the year, and reliving  the places and events I got to see, my travels and my outings with Sophie.  This is the first year I’ve had 2 blogs on the go, so am picking my favourites from across both blogs and posting on both. I am multidimensional!

Back in January I decided to embark on a walking project to do 1000 miles over the year, and do a 365 photography project.  This was a complete debacle as 9 days into it I got really ill with the flu, and it took me a month to fully recover by which time the impetus for both projects had disappeared.  Frego accompanied me on the walks I did do and we got some nice pictures around the area I live in spite of the freezing weather.


February was the first opportunity to go on a photography trip with Sophie, and we went off to shoot the bridges of Newcastle, a sunny day but cold. We also visited the quayside market which was full of interesting arts and crafts, and yummy food.

Phil had a joint birthday party with 3 of his colleagues from work, and though his is the last one in March, the party was organised for the end of February. Family and friends of all the birthday people attended, some in fancy dress, and a good time was had by all.

March came in with Phil’s Birthday on the 2nd and we celebrated in our usual fashion.

Phil also started work on getting my shed ready for habitation, but also a sad time as our cat Skye, who had been diagnosed with an inoperable tumour, declined in health, and finally at the end of the month had to have that last trip to the vets. Our hearts are still not mended.

April was a busy month,  I went with Phil to the model show at Darlington, then the following weekend an outing with Sophie to the food festival at Bishop Auckland. They had opened up the castle for the day and so we took the opportunity to visit.

then at the end of the month, off to Poland to meet Eddy, Gosia and Malina.  What a fab long weekend! Days out with Eddy and his lovely family, delicious home cooked food from Gosia, just great company and good fun. Can’t wait to go back and see the new arrival!

Another busy month in May. Sophie and I went to another food festival, this time in South Shields.

Phil’s daughter Shelley had bought a nights stay (with evening meal!) in  lovely Dunsley Hall near Whitby in Yorkshire for Phil’s Birthday present, and after we got there, we went off to visit the abbey in the late afternoon.

Phil’s son Carl had got him a day out in a tank so we did that too!

In June Sophie and I had a great day out visiting Tees cottage pumping station in the morning and Hardwick Park in the afternoon.

Phil and I had a day out at The Hoppings Fair in Newcastle, on the hottest day of the year, there were fairground rides, army displays, police dog displays all in 32deg C which we are not used to at all! Of course I got sunstroke 🙄 but for a colour~junkie like me it was worth it!

July wasn’t as hot, thankfully and Sophie arranged us a trip on the River Tyne. Lots of riverside industry to see from a different perspective out on the water, and many bridges to sail under.

We also managed a trip out to Teesmouth nature reserve which is a mix of coastline, meadows and industrial complex.

Also in July I went down south to dogsit for my son, and had a couple of days out photographing with my pal Helen. We visited The Swiss Gardens at Shuttleworth, beautifully landscaped gardens with follies and quirky buildings to come across. And peacocks!

She also took me to Jordans Mill which has a smallish garden but is great for macro photography. Although it was raining we walked a fair way up the river Ivel too so got some mileage done.

Sophie was away a fair bit in August but we did manage a day out first to Cresswell Hall ruins, and then on to Druridge Bay where they had a vintage rally going on.

Another busy month in September, Sophie and I visited Pow Hill Nature reserve which is the current Fraggle report over on the Universe Blog 

and Northumberland Zoo was a great fun day out.

We also visited Bolam Lake just as Autumn was beginning to take hold, and the 1000 yr old St.Andrews Church nearby.

I also went to a work conference with my boss and friend Brenda, stayed in a posh hotel and had fun meeting people I hadn’t seen in ages. They put on a swish dinner in the evening and the guest speaker was Ben Cohen, formally a rugby player, then on Strictly Come Dancing, and now runs his own charity which he gave a talk on. So I did my first ‘celebrity’ shot ever! He is quite buff in the flesh!

In October Phil and I did a mini tour through Belgium and Holland, visiting loads of WW2 sites and museums, what a great holiday! We ended up in Veldhoeven for a big model show where Phil was judging.  Hard to choose a favourite as everywhere we visited had some great photo ops, but am going with this shot taken outside the Arnhem museum, of an old chaps hand feeding the deers so I could get a good shot of them. Nothing beats the kindness of strangers when in different lands I think. That touched my heart.

Of course it was Halloween at the end of the month and I did the usual thing of swapping treats for a photo when they knocked on the door.

November saw Sophie and I off to Jarrow Hall and the Bede Museum. They have an outdoor medieval village and Sophie tried her hand at grinding flour for bread.

We also did a long walk around the Rising Sun nature reserve, but man was it windy and cold!

I did a B&W project  for 30 days too.


December has been switching between very cold and very mild, and Sophie and I went off to an open day at the 17th century Guild Hall in Newcastle, afterwards we watched the sunset over the Bridges and got some lush photo’s of it.

We also went to the Camel Parade in South Shields, and as well as camels they had drummers and light walkers on stilts followed by a firework display.

Frego came round to do a fashion shoot with the Orientals.

and we had a Christmas party with our family.

So that’s the end of the year just about.  Not a bad one, except for Skye.

Thanks to all who follow this blog, and also to the Fraggles Universe followers ~  you all make blogging a fun thing to do 🙂 so Happy 2018 to all 🥂🍻

And stay tooned!


















Mundanity Monday

I missed a couple of days shooting B&W last week, but resumed half way through, so a couple of extra ones here this week.

Last Saturday we treated ourselves to rib eye steak. I’m crap at cooking steak in spite of religiously following Gorgon Ramsey’s video. 😦

on Sunday Sophie and I had a camera outing to the Rising Sun country park, (report to come on the universe blog).

Washed my hair on Monday

Went to work on Tuesday morning

Checked out the Christmas lights on Wednesday

Bought some flowers on Thursday

a coal~tit visited on Friday

Frego & I got new camera’s on Saturday 🙂

Sophie and I went out on Sunday

I know there’s not meant to be people in them but it’s my project so I can break the rules if I want 😀

laters gaters!




Thursday Thoughts

Well this is my first chance to do a post since returning from our holiday on Monday night.  Washing done, photo’s (633!) all sorted and uploaded to my photo site, and was back to work yesterday. I also had a dental appointment yesterday afternoon that has resulted in me having to take the rest of this week off!  Dental pain and trauma is just so horrible, and I’m surviving on soup :/ .  Never mind it’ll all get better soon I hope.  I’ll be posting the main reports on all the places we visited over on the universe blog.  I’ve cried a fair few times this holiday, at the wickedness of war, the sadness of young men buried too soon, the humility of those who survived, and at the kindness of strangers in other lands.  I’ve learned a lot of history, and seen some amazing places, had some lovely food, met some really cool people, driven many miles through France, Belgium and Holland and had a great time in the company of my wonderful, slightly mad husband.  We lost everything we had at least three times, where’s my purse? Where’s my other camera battery? where did I put this, that and the other.  Phil left his box of models on top of the car in the carpark in Dover and only realised 10 minutes after we checked into the hotel, (run Forest! Run!).  We got into Europe via Calais without a hitch but got searched by armed soldiers (they looked no older than 18!) on the way back at Calais. Then searched by the UK border force at Calais. Then pulled off and questioned and searched by the UK border force in Dover- practicing for Brexit no doubt! I pity all those Brits who go off to Provence and the like every summer, they’re in for a treat! 😀  Driving in Europe is lovely. Long straight motorways and no-one sits in the middle lane holding everyone else up, the only traffic jam was getting around Antwerp on the ring road, but even that was moving reasonably well.   Got back to Dover and then took 13hrs to do the what should be a 6hr journey home, because of roadworks, traffic jams and stupid sods who crashed and had the A1 closed!  In Europe we  found Radio 4 on AM and got edumacated about Lucien Freud the artist, the Russian revolution, on womens hour we laughed at Sarah Milligan and listened to Hilary Clinton about democracy and social media. Turned off the god spots but found  Jane Gardam (author) talking to Kirsty Young on desert Island discs, all fascinating stuff. Phil did his judging at the model show, which was huge and heaving with modellers, trade stands, club displays and some amazing models in the competition, over 2000!  I couldn’t photograph them all but did the best I could before my eyes went all googly.  Here are a few I-phone shots I took along the way

Dinner at our fave Chinese restaurant the night before we sailed.
Banksy in Dover making a point, or unmaking one I suppose.
white cliffs and seagulls (no bluebirds!)
waiting for dinner in Bruges
where did I put the car park ticket!!??
lunchtime selfie in Waterloo
one top of Lions Mound, Waterloo
soldier at Calais
going home



Ready to go

I’m just about ready for our road trip, We’ll be going to Bruges, Arnhem, Waterloo, Bastogne, and then to a model show in Eindhoven where Phil is one of the judges of the competition.  The sat~ nav is programmed, clothes packed, car serviced, and Phil’s models for display all ready to go.

Yesterday I downloaded Lightroom and photoshop to my laptop so I can process photo’s along the way, ~ I usually come home with 100’s and it takes forever but I’ll have time at the model show when Phil’s off doing his judging/shopping/socialising!  Hopefully the weather won’t be too awful, but it won’t matter much as we’ll be in museums for most of the time.

I won’t be posting for the week, but in the meantime, the 2nd half of my old road trip to Marseille is up on the Fragglefilm blog, to those of you who are not following that blog I’ll say WHY NOT?? get on it! It’s full of nostalgic goodness!  🙂 🙂 (That’s my version of self promotion :D)

heres the link


See you soon!

Across the Pond 9 ~ Sept 2017

Our ongoing collaboration of iPhone photography (details HERE).

It was my turn to choose the theme for September, and thought Frego and Lady O could do with an outing

I took Frego to the coast, and Kathy put Lady O on a chest of drawers 🙂

Friday Film Shot

Last weekend Sophie and I went to track down some not very well known ruins, Cresswell Hall, of which little is left other than the stables and part of the colonnade, and afterwards we went to Druridge Bay which had a vintage car fair on. Full reports on The Universe blog to come.  Still having problems with the film in the rollei, it isn’t winding on properly, so will need a trip to the menders.

The Collonade, Mother Nature is taking it all back.

part of the outer wall

then from Druridge

and those are the only postable shots.



Thursday Thoughts

It’s been a busy week, and mostly I’ve been thinking about going away tomorrow.  It’s my son’s birthday on Saturday, and he and his lady, Charlotte, wanted to go away to Amsterdam for a few days,

Charlotte & Ben

but couldn’t find anyone prepared to dogsit for them.


In desperation he rang and asked me, so off I’m going to Leighton Buzzard for 6 days.  Lots of washing, ironing and packing done over the past few days, and think I’ve got everything but the kitchen sink 🙂  I’ve checked out the nearby National Trust properties, so will  hopefully be making some Fraggle Reports from down south for a change.  I’ll also be going to Biggleswade to see my friend Helen and if the weather’s good go on a photo outing.


Also I’ll get to see my grandson Lewis who I haven’t seen in over 6 months, so am really looking forward to that 🙂

Lewis & Ben

But mostly I’ll be walking the dog and keeping her company. She’s a Staffy, and a very loving dog, and in all the times I’ve visited Ben, I’ve never heard her bark, so she’s also a very quiet dog, though she gets excited to see people.

But I’ll miss being at home and miss my hubby, although Phil’s on night shift next week so wouldn’t see much of him anyway.  I’ll also be missing the Sunderland Air Show, which I mean to go to photograph every year, but something else always comes up to prevent me! Maybe next year! It’s a 5 hour journey to Leighton Buzzard, and on the busiest weekend (other than Easter) for travelling of the year, as schools are breaking up for summer and everyones heading off on their holidays or to the airports, so am not looking forward to the travelling tomorrow.  Driving down south is quite different from up here, the traffic is faster, more dense, and more aggressive, but nothing I can’t cope with.  My son calls me Miss Daisy when we’re in the car together!

I will still be posting here and on the Universe blog now and then, I’m taking a laptop, Ipad and all the usual gizmo’s that we can’t do without these days, so my regular readers won’t get chance to miss me 😂

So stay tooned, I’ll be back 🙂

Friday Film Shot

A bit of a disappointing haul from 3 rolls I sent in for developing. From the roll I took at South Shields beach only 5 of 12 came out, and the 2 rolls I shot at Howick Hall Gardens I got 15 out of 24 :/ .  I think it was something to do with loading the film, as some of the shots had partial exposures of the following shot on them, but have managed to crop them so they are not too bad, but still, I will have to be more careful and try to figure out where I’m going wrong.

Anyway these are the 5 from South Shields, cropped to remove the weird bits.

Well at least I’m getting the exposure more or less right, so onwards and upwards!


Monday Mobile Moments

On Saturday Sophie and I revisited Howick Hall Gardens  and I didn’t take the fuji as I was using the Rollei mainly. But I did take a few iPhone shots for todays post as well 🙂

We had a nice lunch there too, lovely dining room which you can see in my previous post from the Hall HERE

Though I’m glad I had the pate on toast and not what Sophie had!

There will be a report on the gardens at some point when I get my films developed, over on the universe blog 🙂