Wistful Wednesday

Once upon a time there were 2 sisters, called Storm and Skye, who were surrogate children to a nice lady called Alicia, who couldn’t have children of her own. She treated them like princesses, the best toys, the best quality food, they even had their own bathroom.  Because she lived on a main road though, the sisters were not allowed out to play, but they were happy and loved.  Then after 5 1/2 years, a miracle happened for Alicia and her husband and she found she was pregnant. Pop! Nine months later out came a little baby boy. It didn’t take Alicia long to realise she couldn’t give the same amount of time to the sisters as she had before the baby came, and so with a heavy heart she got in touch with the adoption centre to see if they could find a new home for them.

Just at the same time Mr. & Mrs.Fraggle were looking at the adoption website and saw a picture of Max, who looked well cool, so went down to see if they could have him home with them, but sadly Max had been already chosen by someone else, so they sighed, it was not meant to be, and went home a bit forlorn.  The next day they got an email from the centre, which included pictures of Storm and Skye, asking if they would be willing to take on the sisters.  They were beautiful, the Fraggles fell in love, and arranged to pick them up in a couple of days.  Mrs. Fraggle went to collect them while Mr. Fraggle was at work.  She couldn’t believe the amount of stuff that came with them! Bags of toys, blankets, portable toilets (with lids) boxes of food and biscuits, and a heart-breaking letter from Alicia telling all about the sisters habits and how hard it was to give them up.

The sisters soon settled in, and Skye decided to be Mr.Fraggle’s best pal, and Storm was Mrs.Fraggle’s.  They all lived so happily together, and bit by bit the sisters gingerly went outside into the garden, and at last experienced the great outdoors, though they never went far. Now and again Storm would be a bit sick overnight, but heartily ate everything she was given. After a while though, she was being sick every night, and started eating things she shouldn’t. Medical intervention was swift, and the Fraggles learned she had an inoperable tumour and didn’t have long to live. Storm had only been with them for 6 months at this point, and was only 6 years old, so you can imagine how shocked and upset the Fraggles were.  They looked after her and kept her going for another 3 months, but in the end Storm was too poorly to carry on. Mr.Fraggle had to take her to her final goodbye on his own, as Mrs. Fraggle was away that weekend.  Skye was a bit quiet when Storm didn’t come home, but soon went back to her nutty ways, and though she was always Mr. Fraggles special pal, she also tried to make up to Mrs. Fraggle for the loss of Storm. She entertained them daily and missed them when they were at work.  Then, after a while, she stopped being entertaining, and slowed right down, no more chasing the laser light or having mad half hours careering up and down the stairs. Sometimes she wouldn’t eat anything for a day or so, sometimes longer, and sometimes she would be sick and eat weird stuff.  Medical intervention again, and another tumour that couldn’t be cured.  The Fraggles were devastated.  Skye was only 6 & 1/2, had only been with them just over a year.  So yet again they carried on, looking after her, cuddling her whenever she came for comfort, and finally she too, was too poorly to carry on.  Mrs. Fraggle had to take her for the last goodbye, as Mr.Fraggle was working.

That day was a year ago today, and there isn’t a day goes by when I don’t think of Skye, her little cute and silly face looks out at me from my computer screen, and both their pictures are on all the pages of the calendar in the kitchen.  It has been an unending undercurrent of sadness in our lives that is nowhere near ending as yet.  One day in the future we’ll look back on all her antics and  just be happy to have known her and her sister, but that time is not yet here.

Skye & Storm kittens, photo courtesy of Alicia
The laydeez




Across the pond 2017

Back at the end of 2016 my friend from across the pond in Rochester NY, Kathy, and I, decided to do a collaboration throughout 2017, where once a month we would take a square iPhone shot each on a given theme, and I would put the shots into a diptych and post them on this blog. We took it in turns to choose a theme, and now at the end of 2017 beginning of 2018 our collaboration has come to an end. It was great fun as neither of us knew what the other one planned.  Kathys blog is at https://kmsalvatore.wordpress.com however Kathy hasn’t blogged for a while as she’s been through a lot of family health issues and upheavals this year.  She still managed a shot each month though in spite of it all, and the good news is that things are getting better so hopefully she’ll be back on the blog this new year!

Here is our collaboration in full, with our final shots to see out the old year.

January ~ Water
February ~ Graffiti
March~New Growth
April ~ Music
May ~ Food
June ~ Festival or event
July ~ People in B&W

August~ use the plotograph app to make stills with moving parts.

September ~ the lego girls





October ~ bottles
November ~ animals in the wild, (kind of)

Our last theme for December was something American, something British. Kathy did the Ginny brew house Christmas tree, which is made from kegs of beer and is 26 ft. tall. I did the Tyne Bridge.

Hope you all enjoyed following along as much as we did doing it!

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



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 🙂

Monday Mobile Moments ~ PIP app

My latest app acquisition for the iPhone, is also available on android, and is called PIP (picture in picture).  Meant for the selfie generation (of which I am not) it’s a fun app with several ways to make a picture inside a picture. It’s easy enough to use, though full of annoying adverts for more apps etc. as the version I downloaded was free.  You can take pictures (of yourself or someone/thing else) and also use the photo’s you already have in your library.  The pictures come out at low resolution so are no good for anything other than sending to your Mum or Instagram, but it’s just a bit of fun, and there’s nothing more to it than that!

This is Cal, originally taken with the Hipstamatic app, Laos film & lens combo, then brought into PIP and the magic bottle added

Cal and sister Liddy off to the shops for some M&M’s

and Liddy with god knows what all over her gob





Thursday Thoughts

The weather is crap. All day grey, dark and rain.  Last week I wrote that I was looking forward to the colours of Autumn, but this isn’t quite what I meant!  But, I have a roof on my house, the garden furniture is still in the garden, soaked, but there, my car is not upside down  over the fence.  I didn’t wade to the shop up to my knees in muddy water to find no supplies, and I have water coming out of the tap to fill the kettle still working through the wonder of electricity.  Chopwell Woods are not on fire and blocking out the daylight, and I am not packing a bag to head to a shelter. I’m warm and toasty in my home, and bloody grateful I live in a land so far not plagued with extreme climatic conditions.   I cannot imagine how the people in Irma’s swathe must feel, or those living in the path of the fires in Montana, Oregon, Washington & California,  or the family’s of over 1200 people killed in the floods of India, Nepal and most of South East Asia,  they are devastated for being through it or panicked that it’s on the way, nothing that I’ve ever experienced, or am likely to.  Or maybe I will?

I wish the world and the leaders of it would see this as an apocalyptic  warning, that instead of political point scoring, instead of religious persecution, instead of killing each other, instead of funding terrorism, instead of being isolationist, instead of being greedy, instead of all the shit we do to  each other and the planet, we should be doing so much better for each other and this ball we live on.   Mother Nature has had enough.

In other news, I burnt my fingers this morning after stupidly heating up a cup of tea in the microwave in a metal coated mug, then even more stupidly attempting to pick it up.  I give myself todays Darwin Award. Surprisingly the metal didn’t create an arc in the microwave thereby blowing it up, and even more surprisingly the cup and tea survived. I however, have sticky plasters over blisters and hurt too much to do my mosaicing. 😦

Shout out to a fab blog time!

This time I’m giving a shout out to Sarah at https://travelswithchoppy.com. More or less it’s the dressing up adventures of Choppy and Schooner, a dog and a cat, the celebration of mad national holidays in style, but also of travels and bad puns 🙂 a smile a day guaranteed.

tell her I sent ya.


Monday Mobile Moments ~ Hipstamatic

I think of all the millions of photography apps for the iPhone that are available, Hipstamatic is my absolute favourite and the one I use most.  Released in December 2009,with version 100, we are now on 339 and the app is still going strong.  It simulates different films and lenses, which you can use in any combination, and then you can change those combinations after the shot is taken if you change your mind.  Every now and then they release a new combination, which is an in app purchase currently at 0.99p a time.  The app itself is free and comes with a few preloaded films and lenses to get you started.I have had the app since it came out so have built up quite a collection over the past 8 years.  You can combine a film and lens and make it a favourite, and you can shake the phone to get a random combination.

You can choose different camera cases for the look of it

and you can choose to shoot in classic mode

or pro mode

the advantage of pro mode is the ability to change aspect ratio’s, classic mode only has square ratio, also you can set the focus, ISO, shutter speed and white balance by means of a very responsive slider

Choosing a combination of film & lens is easy once you’ve taken a shot

or just choose them separately

as well as choosing lens and film, there is a full suite of editing adjustments that can be made, clarity, definition, exposure, tone curves, depth of field, and lots more, so this is a really versatile app. You can also bring photos in that you’ve taken with other apps, or even your digital SLR if you’ve imported them into your iPhoto library and edit those within the app too.

My latest combo the Laos set, has the peculiar ability to make everything black and white, or desaturated,except greens, which it turns red, and is getting good use on my days out!


The app has never been available for android phones, and I’m not sure why but imagine Apple Pay them to keep it exclusive!  Hipstamatic was the first photography app I bought, and I’ve been through a fair few apps since 2009, mostly now deleted, but the endless possibilities with Hipstamatic would make me choose this over all the others, if I could have only one.



Across The Pond ~ August 2017

Our ongoing collaboration of iPhone photography (details HERE).  For August it was Kathy’s turn to choose the theme, and she chose ‘use the Plotograph app’, which I featured back in the blog HERE

Of course it’s not possible to do them as a diptych so have run them together in a short video.  Mine are the boring clouds, and Kathy has done a fab job with a shot of some boys playing in a playground.

Monday Mobile Moments ~Gudak app review.

I came across this fun little app, based on the old Kodak instant cameras.  In this day of instant phone camera shots it’s a bit of a kick back to days of film, when you have to wait to see what you shots you took.  As you can see from the view finder at the top, it’s quite difficult to tell what your looking at, which is part of the fun, just aim in the general direction and press the big yellow button.  Once you’ve taken 24 shots, you press the green processing button, and 3 days later they are ready to bring into your library.  Once you’ve used your 24 shots, it’s a 12 hour wait until you get a new roll of film.  The shots come out resembling photo’s taken on the old Kodak instants, a bit grainy, a colourcast reminiscent of the 70’s, and the occasional light leak.  I read a few reviews myself before getting the app, and from them find it is possible to cheat the app by altering the date on your iPhone!  That kind of negates the whole point of having it, but people are very impatient these days.  Needless to say I waited the full 3 days and am posting a few of them for illustration.

A couple from Chesswell Hall ruins

and used at a country show

and around my house and garden





Monday Mobile Moments

I was clearing out my iPhone album this weekend to free up some space, and was struck by how many photo’s of signs I’ve taken in the past few years. SO I thought I’d share a few here and entitle my post

The Signs Of (my) Life

Italy 2013
Pub in Leighton Buzzard 2016
Bruges 2012
Columbus, Ohio 2014
Columbus 2014
Lake Ontario 2014
rest stop on Interstate 90 2014
Kentucky 2014
Nashville 2014
Nashville 2014
New York Times Square 2014
Sign of the Times (Square) 2014

Which one’s your fave?


Have a good week Wordypeeps!




Monday Mobile Moment~ Plotograph review

Today I’m reviewing a new app for iPhone, iPad and Mac, though it will be available for android too in the fullness of time.  The app is called Plotagraph, and it animates photographs, where you want them to be animated.  Firstly the pro version for this for Mac users is bonkersly expensive, at a monthly subscription of £20 a month, which is far out of my price range for sure! However the app for the iPhone and iPad is cheaper at a one off cost of £4.99, still a fair amount for what is really a bit of a gimmick/fad.  There are digital artists out there though who are doing amazing work with the full version and you can check out some really cool animations HERE.  

The iPhone app doesn’t have as many features, but it does a fair job when you get the hang of it.  My iPad is too old for the tech, but my iPhone isn’t, so the following pictures were created with that.  In order to make an animation, it’s a matter of anchoring the bits you don’t want to move, and then placing arrows in the direction you do want things to move.  The speed of the animation is controlled by the length of the arrows, short for slow, and long for fast, and there is an overall speed dial for your finished article.

It takes a bit of time, and being on a small screen doesn’t help, so would think it a lot easier on the bigger iPad, but these are some I’ve played around with, press the play button to see the effect, they last 10 seconds.



I’m not a digital artist, though I do dabble now and then, so I wouldn’t get the full version unless it was drastically reduced in price, and of course you can’t print these and hang ’em on the wall, but I enjoyed bringing some old photos to life between clients at work today!  The app is fairly easy to get the hang of, and my only annoyance is that there is no reset button to wipe clean all your pointers at once, and I can’t find a way to delete any from the library it creates. Other than that, it’s a cool toy if you’re that way inclined.