Day 96

A cloudy grey weekend is upon the northeast coast, so no light and shade today 😦 . Instead, a relaxing morning reading the paper and doing the crossword puzzles. This afternoon I’ve been setting up a special feeding station for the birds in the back garden, – the breeding pair of blackbirds have returned to the leilandi, but no takers as yet.

This evening will consist of a Chinese takeaway, a bottle of sparkly rosé, and a movie ‘Hotel Artemis’ starring Jodie Foster, it has so-so reviews, but her performance, apparently is very good, oscar worthy even according to some critics.

Such an exciting life I lead sometimes!! 🙂

day 96 ~ puzzling

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

The weather turned very rainy over the last couple of days, I thought it would never stop last night, but this morning was beautifully sunny at 7.30am and I thought ‘yippee!’ I’ll do some photography, but by 10am the clouds had come back, and the wet stuff started all over again.  Never mind, the weekend is going to be sunny, though cold, and Sophie and I are going to the Diwali festival in Sunderland, am so looking forward to photographing it, as I’ve never been to one before.  I’ll save the info for the Report.  I did however notice a lady chaffinch visiting the happy eater tree today, along with a robin, blue-tit and great tit.  They all move so fast, and it was raining so the photos are not brilliant, but I do like to try!

blue tit

great tit


lady chaffinch

The robin made me laugh, he wasn’t happy about Lady Chaffinch visiting, and had a flurried charge at her a couple of times, he doesn’t bother with the tits, I think they are far too quick, and he hides when the spuggies come as they are even more feisty than he is!

I also spent a goodly amount of time shooting one of Phil’s guitars. I have taken pictures of his guitars before, and we have the Rickenbacker on a canvass on the wall. Phil said now he also wants one of his fender, but wasn’t happy with the shadow that cuts off the curve of it at the bottom end. That happened because I shot it in a completely dark room and light painted it from the side.  So today I got out my black background, shut myself in the ‘dark room’ and reshot it but this time light painted both sides.  I’ve just shown him the re-do and now he thinks he likes the original best! Maybe! 😬. I’ve read professional photographers blogs where they moan about ‘difficult’ clients!  😀 😀

Give us a vote, the original is on the left, and my reshoot on the right, which one do you like best and why? I can’t choose, I took them both!

It’s Thanksgiving in America, and my blog reader and Facey pages are full of Happy Thanksgivings, with lots of references to Turkey’s and Pie’s.  Of course over here we have a Harvest Festival of Thanksgiving on or near the Sunday of the harvest moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox. Harvest Thanksgiving in Britain also has pre-Christian roots when the Saxons would offer the first sheaf of barley, oats, or wheat to fertility gods. When the harvest was finally collected, communities would come together for a harvest supper. When Christianity arrived in Britain many traditions remained, and today Harvest Thanksgiving is marked by churches and schools in late September/early October (same as Canada) with singing, praying and decorating with baskets of food and fruit to celebrate a successful harvest and to give thanks.  Collections of food are usually held which are then given to local charities which help the homeless and those in need.  Not quite the same Turkeyfest and Pumpkin Pie thing that the Americans do! And we are very quiet about it, at least I’ve never seen Happy Harvest Festival meme’s everywhere!  But each to his own, and I wish all my American bloggers a Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Mundanity Monday

Still managing a daily B&W, surprisingly.

Ironing ~ how mundane is that!?

Day 12

this is one of my favourite cleaning jobs

Day 13

keeping my shed nice and tidy

Day 14

Friday night is music night in our house, putting the discs back in alphabetical order is no picnic the day after

Day 15

I don’t like going to the cinema, you can’t rewind and watch bits over, or pause to go to the loo 🙂 but I made an exception, and it was a fab movie!

Day 16

The orchid petals have given up the ghost 😦

Day 17

I think about my boy a lot, he lives far away so I don’t see him often, but I keep him close in my heart, and photo’s of him as a lad make me smile.

Day 18

Another B&W week done, maybe I’ll keep going!




Thursday Thoughts

Such a lot going on in the world, another mass shooting in the USA, allegations of sexual abuse from Hollywood to Westminster, Saudi Arabia purging corruption (waggles eyebrows).  I already did my thinking about guns and the USA when the Vegas thing happened, the Texas thing didn’t even seem like a shock, it’s just how things roll over there these days.  It’s hard to have sympathy for a country who’s president says mass shootings are not a ‘gun issue’.  Only the people can change things, and sadly not enough of them won’t/don’t.

The Saudi thing is interesting, but I’ll wait to see where it ends up before committing too many thoughts on it, the Crown Prince has certainly got an agenda though.

The sex abuse thing, well that’s gone ballistic, and whilst Kevin Spacey is being edited out of his latest movie and being replaced by Christopher Plummer, here we have the suicide of a labour MP who topped himself without knowing what the allegations consisted of.  I have never been sexually abused or assaulted, can’t even think of a time when anyone put a hand on my knee and I’d like to  think if they did, my withering look would have them cease and desist.  But I am an old bird with the confidence that age brings, and a lot of the ladies, and men, who are now making the allegations were young, and working in places where their bosses are male and powerful.  Of course, allegations are just that until proven otherwise, but that isn’t the case for Weinstein, Spacey et al.  There’s been no arrests or trials, oh I’m not saying they didn’t do what they’re accused of, seems pretty obvious they did, but it seems pretty obvious because I’m reading about it on the web, on social media outlets, in the newspapers, seeing it on the news.  This has been the trial, the verdict and the punishment, all without a court of law.  That seems to be the way it’s going anyway.

I believe Weinstein and Spacey are holed up getting ‘treatment’ in the same private rehab centre, “Gentle Path at The Meadows is especially designed to treat and work with male sex addicts … “We also understand that when men gather together with the intention of changing the core of who they are, without distraction from the outside world, a container of safety is created in which they can begin the recovery process,” the website states.  “patients learn how to use their interactions with horses as a way to move past barriers in their own relationships with family and friends”.   Horses??? 🙄   Are horses going to train them to keep their hands to themselves and their dicks in their pants?  It makes me laugh that it’s they who need to ‘recover’, what about the people they (allegedly) abused? Maybe some grovelling and reparation to their victims would be a better way to go. And a prison sentence. Without horses.

So that’s da nooze, and my thoughts on it.

I’ve finally finished the damned tiger table, for those of you who remember the work-in-progress article I did for Clockwork Clouds (which you can read at the last stretch was traumatic to say the least.  It all went horribly wrong when I had to transfer it to the table, I didn’t use enough tile adhesive, and when I came to soak to the brown paper loads of the tiles came loose.  I’d also used too much PVA glue and it was just ugh! a nightmare. I was not happy.  But I worked on putting as much right as I could, and this is the end result.

I learned a lot about what not to do and not how to do it, and that’s the best that can be said!  The next project is already in my. head and that will be done in a completely different way.

laters gaters 🙂


Mundanity Monday

SO my first full week of the project, and I’ve managed a mundane shot every day, and have been playing with different tones in B&W mode.

Day 5 fell on halloween, I hadn’t had time to get and carve a pumpkin so after work I shot off to Asda as they’d had loads when I went a couple of days beforehand (should have got one then!) of course there were no pumpkins left 😦 but I did find this cheap and tacky plastic one which lights up with different coloured lights, so made do with that.

Day 6 was a housework day, and there’s nothing more mundane than doing the washing up!

Day 7 was a chill day, and I took some time to have a coffee and read the paper

Day 8 I decided to try a new recipe for dinner, Alfredo Salmon Pasta, which was very easy and very yummy (link to recipe HERE)

Day 9 I was so pleased with last night’s recipe I thought I’d try another one, stuffed baked potatoes which was also very easy and yummy but we won’t have them again as Phil nearly died of heartburn!

Day 10, was a sunny but cold day, I cleaned the kitchen and noticed how the low sun sent a wide shaft of light  through the kitchen. I love the light and shade, so cool in B&W.

Day 11, back to work today and the first early morning frost on my car!

SO that’s that. More mundanity next Monday 🙂 stay tooned!

Halloween’s been.

It’s that time of year again when everyone goes a bit silly, dresses up their kids in daft costumes, and wander the streets purloining sweeties from people on their doorstep.  I know a few people (Pete! 🙂 ) my boss Brenda  and our office manager Lynn, and my own hubby, who’d rather turn off all the lights and hide behind the sofa than answer the door to the  trick or treaters.  It’s thought that today’s Halloween celebrations have been imported from America, but in reality it’s  the Celtic festival of Samhaibut that started it all off.  The Americans just took it over the top is all.  I remember  when I was a kid we’d have Halloween celebrations, mischief night as it was known and we (the street kids) would wrap peoples cars/dustbins/doorhandles etc in toilet paper, stick rude paintings on their windows and such like. Pumpkins were employed back then too, my Mum was great at carving them, and I like to do them too.  Originally called Jack ‘o Lanterns, the practice of carving Jack-o’-lanterns goes back to the Irish legend of Jack, a lazy but shrewd farmer who tricked the Devil into a tree, then refused to let the Devil down unless the Devil agreed to never let Jack into Hell . The story goes that the Devil agreed, but when Jack died, he was too sinful to be allowed into Heaven, and the Devil wouldn’t let him into Hell. So, Jack carved out one of his turnips, put a candle inside it, and began endlessly wandering the Earth for a resting place. He was known as Jack of the Lantern, or Jack-O’-Lantern. We’d also have family competitions, bobbing for apples (trying to pick an apple out of a bowl of water only using your mouth)  trying to eat an apple dangling from a string without using your hands, and all sorts of other daft games. And we didn’t know much about American traditions at all!

When I lived in Hemel Hempstead when Ben was a little lad, I’d get my pals round on Halloween, and decorate the front room with ghosts and crows and spiders and webs made from black paper. We’d all dress up and have sweets, cakes, the apple games and pumpkins everywhere, and when the trick or treaters came round we’d make them come in and bob for an apple before they had to dig their hands into a bowl of flour to find the sweets, don’t think in these days where everyone is paranoid that I could get away with that now!

So now I put a pumpkin outside my door, buy a big bowl of sweets, and when they come knocking I make them all have their picture taken to get the sweeties. If Mum or Dad are with them I ask permission and give them my email for if they want a copy of the shot.  No-one’s minded – so far! I love the happy little dudes and dudettes and we have a giggle at their costumes.  It’s possibly the only time of year I actually meet any of our neighbours in the vicinity, we’re stuck out at the edge of the estate in a secret cut de sac.  I answer the door on and off for about an hour, then the pumpkin comes in, the door light goes off, and that’s it for another year. Roll on 2018 🎃

This year’s scary peeps


Monday Miscellany

On Friday this week my old Pal Helen down in Biggleswade challenged me to take part in a Facebook photography challenge that’s doing the rounds –  ‘Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people and no explanations’.  These type of challenges happen a lot, and I don’t usually bother, but I liked the cut of this one’s gib as black and white photography is not my thing ~ gimme colour! and lots of it! 🙂 . But I remember my black and white month last February in my 366 was really enjoyable for me, and so decided to join in this time.  It’s got me thinking, it isn’t that easy to find something about ‘your life’ to photograph.  Most of life, for me at least is about the mundane, getting up, washing, going to work, eating stuff, doing the laundry. Of course exciting things happen, holidays, mince & mash dinner, meeting friends, going out with my camera, but mostly it’s everyday mundanity.

I looked up the definition of mundane/mundanity, and got some examples  “Superman hid his heroic feats by posing as his mundane alter ego, Clark Kent.” Mundane, from the Latin word mundus, “world,” originally referred to things on earth. (from Well I’m no superman but that sounded quite exciting! ‘Any company that advertises itself as ‘fun’ is simply making a desperate and futile attempt to distract attention away from the soul-destroying mundanity that is the reality of its day-to-day life.’ (Oxford English dictionary) and that sounds quite depressing! So I’m going with Miriam Webster’s definition~  dull and ordinary. : relating to ordinary life on earth rather than to spiritual things.  Once the 7 day challenge is over on faceache, I’m going to carry on, and am calling it my ‘Mundanity Project’.  I think that fits in with Monday Miscellany quite nicely.  I’m not sure how long the project will be, I’m leaving it open ended, but will take a photo each day until I don’t want to do it anymore.

Here’s this Mondays collection

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Black and white photography is a whole different ball game than colour, your mind has to think in a different way when composing, and lighting, and choosing the right subject too. Hopefully I will improve as I go on!

laters gaters 🙂


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!

Monday Miscellany

I’m having a change for Monday, and as I’m not sure what I’ll post, it’s going to be of a miscellaneous nature.

I spotted a wonderfully coloured sky one evening last week and hung out of the bedroom window to capture it as best I could.

also had a shot at the moon, though it’s not one of my best (had a couple of wine’s prior and that’s never good for focussing!).

night moon

and this from a few weeks ago

day moon

No doubt I’ll have another go at some point.

Am just starting a long series of books by Sven Hassel, set in WW2. Sven is a Danish chap who ends up in a German penal battalion after first being incarcerated in a prison camp. It’s about a German platoon (Porta, Tiny, Old Man, the Legionnaire, Heide, Barcelona-Blom, Sven,etc.) on different fronts during WWII and narrates the atrocity and absurdity of war, not to mention the brutality and stupidity of the nazi regime.  The characters are just brilliant and whilst the theme of course is dark, there’s so much humour in the books.  I read a few many years ago, but now want to do them all, I may be some time! After those I’ll be re-doing Donald Jack’s The Bandy Papers, about a WW1 aircraft pilot, funny as anything but also full of pathos.  6 volumes but my are they expensive on eBay! Have managed to find the first 2 at a reasonable price, but some of them are going for £20-£60!!  I read them as a teenager, they were my Dad’s books (he was in the airforce) but don’t know what happened to them, sadly.  And expensively!  

I’ve seen 2 films lately, the first was the classic and epic 1977 movie, A Bridge Too Far.  As we’ll be visiting Arnhem next week Phil thought it would be a good idea for me to see it. What a brilliant film it was too. I loved the overblown way the Americans were portrayed, full of smarts and derring-do, and loved even more our overblown stiff British upper lip portrayal.  The part on Arnhem Bridge where a German soldier comes to ask for the brits surrender is just hilarious, and that the British officer has his black umbrella with him at all times was class.  Absolutely sterling stuff! Everyone and his dog was in it, Dirk Bogarde, Anthony Hopkins, Ryan O’Neil, Sean Connery, James Can, Elliot Gould, Robert Redford, the list goes on and on.  I can’t believe anyone reading this hasn’t seen it, but just incase, it’s about the WW2 Market Garden Operation, where basically we made a total balls up of the objectives which were to capture and hold some bridges crossing the Rhine. Especially Arnhem. I’ll be taking photo’s of it next week as it’s still there.

The 2nd film I saw was Trainspotting 2.  Phil really wanted to watch the 1st again before we saw it, but we don’t have a copy of it, and though it’s in sky store, we resent having to cough up even more when we already pay for Sky movies. (Sheisters.)  Anyway the movie was OK, and showed what had become of the lads after 20 years, but you couldn’t watch it really without having seen the first movie. I liked it well enough, but it didn’t have the same impact as the first which I suppose is true of the majority of sequels, and gritty realism isn’t my thing overmuch anyway. It had a few laughs along the way which was it’s saving grace, and the original cast Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle, all did a cracking job with the acting, but the plot to me was a bit meh.

SO that’s the first Monday Miscellany over and done with,

laters gaters 🙂

Thursday Thoughts

It’s been a busy day for me, I worked an extra morning at the clinic, then did some shopping and came home to have a mad cooking session.  Now and again Phil or I will do a job lot of dishes and freeze them so we don’t have to mess about cooking when we get home from work.  Today I did Bolognese, and Chili Con Carne.  It was messy

the bolognese turned out well

and we had the chili with home made garlic bread for dinner and it was lush!

I feel very domesticated.

It was nice to have the sun coming through the kitchen window setting all my flappers off

I also came across some new flappers on my photography outing last weekend very pleased with a dinosaur, elephant, shaun the sheep, and owl and best of all a unicorn!

This evening Phil and I have been booking a ferry and hotels for our trip next month.  Phil is exhibiting his models at the big model show in Eindhoven in a few weekends time, as well as being one of the judges of the competition, very prestigious!  We are setting off the weekend before and stopping off at various places on our way to the model show. We start in Bruges, then Arnhem, Waterloo, and Bastogne staying one night in each place and visiting lots of museums and battlefields and the like. Apart from our weekend in Poland at Eddy’s we haven’t had a holiday this year, so am looking forward to being away, and taking lots of photographs.  It’ll be a whirlwind tour!  A lot of driving of course, but I’m no stranger to that, and Phil will do some too. Less than 4 weeks to go so now I can start being a bit excited!  We are also thinking of a week in the sun somewhere in December when Phil retires for 2 weeks, so I’m thinking Canary Islands.  Their last war took place between 1402 and 1496 so I think I can safely say we’ll be having a break from our usual travel itinerary!  It will be a nice change as though it’s cool to learn stuff and also see new places, I do get quite sad doing all the war stuff sometimes. And it will be nice to have some proper sunshine! (Fingers and toes crossed!).