Not the 365 ~ movies, cats, stuff.

Another catch up post, as it’s been a couple of weeks or so since the last one. First let me tell you about the movies we’ve watched of late.

On Netflix ~Black Hawk Down (2001) Ridley Scott has to be my favourite director and it’s easy to see why in this movie. Based on the real life event of the US Army raid on Mogadishu in 1993, it stars Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana, Sam Shepard, Tom Hardy and Tom Sizemore. Delta Force, the 75th Rangers and the 160th SAOR (Night Stalkers) get into terrible trouble when one of their helicopters is brought down in the middle of Mogadishu. It’s ‘on the edge of your seat’ stuff and a part of history I knew nothing about.

Fraggle rating~ bloody brilliant. )Also Josh Hartnett, he’s so cool ๐Ÿ˜).

Next up and also on Netflix is the fantastic Ed Harris in Kodachrome (2017) directed by Mark Raso and also starring Jason Sudeikis and Elizabeth Olson showing her acting chops when breaking away from the Marvel franchise. It’s a road trip sort of movie and deals with the failed Father/son relationship. Ed Harris is the irrascible Father dying of cancer, and he asks his son Ben (Sudeikis) to drive him to Dwayne’s Photo lab in Kansas as it’s the last shop able to develop rolls of Kodachrome, and Dad has 4 old rolls he has to get developed before the shop stops doing it. Olson plays his put-upon nurse. It’s all a bit predictable, I’d guessed what was on the rolls of film 5 minutes into the movie, though you don’t find out why they’re so important until the end, but Ed Harris, I’d watch him act the telephone book and he is SO good in this. Nice cameo performances from Bruce Greenwood and Wendy Crewson as Dad’s brother and wife who brought Ben up.

Fraggle rating: Excellent for Ed Harris fans, good enough for anyone else who wants a nice looking American road trip movie with smiles and pathos, good acting and a well cool car.

Phil dug out his old DVD of Stigmata (1999) directed by Rupert Wainright and starring Gabriel Byrne, Patricia Arquette and Jonathon Price. It’s a supernatural horror film about an atheist hairdresser (Arquette) who gets given a Rosary once owned by a dead Italian priest who was afflicted with stigmata. Somehow the Rosary has the same effect on Arquette and we get to see her beaten and bloodied by something invisible, all stigmata marks. She also has flashbacks of Jesus getting the same wounds she receives. Bryne plays a Catholic priest & scientist who investigates miracles and the like, and is sent to see her. At first sceptical he comes to see that it’s all happening for real and has to find out how to stop it before Arquette dies. It’s all to do with a lost gospel written by Jesus himself, that the Catholic church don’t want people to know about, as Jesus writes there’s no need for church buildings and preachy priests etc as God is within you and everywhere. Some nifty special effects in this without CGI so kudos to them for that. Byrne and Arquette have a good chemistry but the plot really is a bit daft. (Says she who loves Marvel movies ๐Ÿ™„ ) I should imagine it naffed off a lot of Catholics but it did really well at the box office, not so much with critics.

Fraggle Rating: Not so good for Catholics. Not so good for horror afficionado’s as it’s probably a bit tame by today’s gory standards. Good for horror-lightweights like me though.

Last and possibly least, Wild Horses (2015) written by, directed by and starring Robert Duvall. I found this when looking for Josh Hartnett movies and he is in it too, as is James Franco. I think this must have been a vanity project for Duvall. It’s a Western Crime movie and also stars his wife Luciana Duvall as a Texan Ranger investigating the 15 year old disappearance of a young man who was found by Duvall in bed with his youngest son (Franco). Hartnett plays his older brother, and Devon Abner as the eldest brother. Duvall’s character is the main suspect for offing the missing young lad, as he hates gay people. The gay issue is actually well addressed, and Franco makes his gay character just a normal guy, no camping it up.

Fraggle Rating: Apart from those wishing to ogle Mr.Hartnett, I can see no reason to recommend this one for anyone really, the script is hokey and the acting wooden in places, perhaps because he gave some parts to actual real people not actors. You need subtitles to understand Mr.Duvall’s mutterings, and the plot has more holes in it than a packet of Polo’s. There are a few scenes with the brothers and Duvall, collectively and individually where it’s really good to watch them play off each other, but they can’t save this from being a dud.

OK onto Books I have read.

I’ve just finished reading for the second time Child of The Morning by Pauline Gedge. Never mind your Cleopatra/Anthony/Caesar romp, this is about Hatshepsut, one of the first female Pharaoh’s and lived 3,500 years ago. Her life is equally fascinating as that of Cleopatra (who’s been done to death) if not more so, and deserves a great movie, but so far no-one has picked this up. Gedge’s writing is just beautiful, lyrical yet straightforward, and reading the book is like stepping back in time. The characters come to life in your head as you read it, and you can feel the breeze from the Nile. It’s impeccably researched and I highly recommended this for anyone who loves tales of ancient Egypt.

A short story from blogger Mae Clare called In Search of MacDoogal about a chap who sells his girlfrends favourite painting, and then has to retrieve it. This took me an hour to read, and I smiled or laughed all the way through it as he and his friend encounter much upheaval along the way. A fun read on a rainy afternoon.

Work and life go on much as normal. We’ve managed to visit Shelley and the kids last weekend and sat in the garden in a cold wind with a flask of coffee. It was nice to see them though, it had been quite a while.

Livvy egging it.

We still have Sophies cats, and still don’t know when Sophie will get back. They’ve been indoor cats up to now, but Winnie has been trying to escape, and has managed a couple of times. We’ve got her vaccinated now and so are allowing them out. We thought Vinnie wouldn’t be so bothered as he never seemed to be interested,but boy were we wrong! He loves it! He has a little patrol he does around the back garden, then down the side of the house to the front where he sniffs every plant and bush, then he comes in for a snack or a kip and then does it all again, all day long. Winnie is beside herself, climbing fences, on top of my shed, on top of next doors fence and shed, but she runs in every 30 minutes to make sure we are still here, and then goes out again. Everyone happy, and we can now have our doors and windows open when the weather gets warmer!

Prowler
Basking

Most of you who visit here also know my 365 is going on over at the Universe Blog and have seen the Blossom tree doing it’s thing and Lucy the visiting Hedgehog, so I’ll skip those but it has had me off on walks for photographs and Phil and I trotted over to the Nature reserve, and I went one day to the secret lake, so here are a few from our wanderings.

The Blackthorne blossom was in full bloom when I went over to the secret lake, lovely to walk through.

A procession of Blackthorn

Some of the route is lined with gorse bushes.

Gorse

Mr.Lonely at the secret lake, hope he finds a mate.

Mr.Lonely.

Phil has had to take time off work as he is having great problems with his eyes, possibly a flare up of his glaucoma, so we went out for a walk to the nature reserve to get him out for some excercise.

The male ducks were all chasing the lady ducks at the pond, and this lady was not in the mood. Well maybe she was but playing hard to get! ๐Ÿ˜Š

the chase

Two swans live on the reserve and have swanlets every year, I think Mr. Lonely must be last years offspring. Lady Swan was hidden in her nest, could only just see her, but Lord Swan was patrolling the perimeter and keeping an eye on her.

On Patrol

When we got home my little 500 looked so cute next to the Happy Eater tree.

Minty and tree

and lastly, this little long tail tit is a daily visitor the the H.E.Tree

Mr.L-of-the-T

So that’s my catch up for now. I’ll be back at some point .

Stay frosty people! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Not the 365 ~ movies,cats,Spring etc

Thought I’d do a little catch up as I’ve been busy with the 365 over on the Universe Blog and I just know y’all are missing my Movie Monday reviews. We are still watching movies, so I’m going to do quick dash through what I thought about them.

Dead Presidents 1995 and Phil’s choice as he had it on DVD and I hadn’t seen it. Starring Larenz Tate, Keith David, Chris Tucker, Freddy Rodrigues, N’Bushe Wright and Bokeem Woodbine. It’s based partly on the real-life experiences of Haywood T. Kirkland (aka Ari S. Merretazon), whose true story was detailed in the book ย Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veteransย byย Wallace Terry, it chronicles the life of Anthony Curtis (Tate) and covers him from high school to the vietnam war and then home again to where he and his pals rob a bank. A well made film focussing on the experences of black veterans, well acted and paced, co-written, produced, and directed by Allan and Albert Hughes with skill and obvious passion. I imagine Spike Lee watched this and made notes for his Da 5 Bloods movie. I enjoyed this one much more. Fraggle Rating: underated and well worth seeing.

The Mule 2018. Clint Eastwood produces and directs from a script by Nick Schenk. Also based on the true story of a New York times article by Sam Dolnick “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year-Old Drug Mule”ย about a WW2 veteran called Leo Sharp who became a drug courier for the cartel in his 80’s. Well this was fun, Clint has still got it and commands the screen even though he’s in his dotage now. Not sure how but he looks good even with that many wrinkles. Anyway it’s his movie though he’s ably assisted by Bradly Cooper on his tail as Colin Bates a D.E.A agent, Michael Pรชna as Bates sidekick Trevino, Dianne Wiest as Clint’s estranged wife and a fairly small part for Lawrence Fishburn as Bates’s supervisor. Fraggle rating: Top Notch, especially for Eastwood fans.

The Alamo 2004. I’m sure someone out there will say this isn’t as good as the original Alamo movie made in 1960 starring John Wayne as Davy Crockett (perleeze ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿฅด blerk, I do NOT like John Wayne one bit) but Phil wanted the 2004 version as he really liked it so that’s what we did. No need to explain the plot I think, but just in case. In the 1830’s Texas had a revolution, small groups of Texians (that’s what they were called back then) gathered at a little town on the Mexican border called San Antonio where the Alamo compound is, and the Mexican army under the President Santa Anna came and killed them all. Dennis Quade plays Sam Houston, Billy Bob Thornton ~ Davy Crockett, Jason Patrick ~Jim Bowie and Patrick Wilson as William B Travis. I enjoyed this, the characters are well drawn and acted, and John Lee Hancock directs with a steady hand, giving the main characters room to breath. It’s a good history lesson too as we are ‘doing’ American History documentaries at the minute and it all ties in. Fraggle Rating: Good +++

Aquaman 2018. A D.C superhero movie that I hadn’t got round to. Well I have now and it wasn’t totally great, however it does have good points. Firstly it is stunningly beautiful to look at. The CGI under sea world building is easily as good as Avatar which sprang to mind straight away. Jason Momoa who plays him is well, how to put it, built like a brick s**t house as my Mum used to say, has a twinkle in his eye and gave a committed performance, as did Amber Heard as Princess Mera of Atlantis who wants to stop her brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson again) from going to war with humans and needs Aquaman (named Arthur Curry of all things) to step up, return to Atlantis and save the world. William Dafoe is phoning in a performance as the Vizier of Atlantis, and Nicole Kidman looks entirely out of place as a renegade queen who escapes atlantis, washes up at a lighthouse where the keeper Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) rescues her, falls in love with her, impregnates her and then shortly after has to be a single parent after Atlantian soldiers come to take her back to marry whoever she ran away from. Also Dolph Lundgren is in the mix as an ally King to King Orm. There’s plot holes, a daft script and some dodgy dialogue, BUT this is one of D.C’s more light hearted movies after the darkness of Batman et al, and it was a blast from start to brilliant finish. Fraggle Rating: A mixed bag but well worth seeing.

That’s it for movies!

As most of you who follow this blog also follow the Universe blog, you already know I’m doing a 365 weekly post over there, but other life still goes on of course, and I take photo’s of that along the way. Last Sunday was Mother’s Day here, and Phil’s lovely daughter popped over with an afternoon tea for Phil and I to enjoy for the day. So nice of her to do this.

Afternoon tea. And dinner. And sandwiches for work the next day!

We still have Sophie’s cats! It’s been over 3 months now and Sophie isn’t back until at least the end of May/beginning of June so we have a ways to go yet. They are a pain in the arse and a total joy depending on what mood they are in, and I can’t resist taking pictures of them.

Sofa Day
Vinnie in default position
For two of these shots I had to get the stepladder out to retrieve her ๐Ÿ™„
looking for mischief.
ready for action

I’ve been enjoying having a few non rainy days and getting out to take photo’s for the 365, and also found other things along the way.

Swans on the muddy day!
Target Rocks, South Shields
Badass Crow

I found these fragments on the coast. I think it’s a letter of heartbreak, or castigation, I can’t make it all out, but it’s on a broken plate or something. Strange.

broken

The hedgehogs have woken up and are visiting every night now, but we’ve also had a little one that visits during the day, so managed to get a couple of shots.

Lucy

Hedgehogs are not usually out during the day, and this one is quite small, but she appears to be well, eating, drinking and running about well, so we are not too worried.

And finally, Spring is happening, at last, and soon the Happy Eater tree will do it’s glorious display, I can’t wait for warmer times!

Springading!

Corona Chronicles ~ 9

It’s been a few weeks since I did an update, so here’s number 9. I’m now in my 8th week back at work and it’s not letting up. I’m getting through 48 patients a week, and have got a routine down pat now. Masks are compulsory of course and I’ve got used to wearing one for most of the day, though when I have a plastic apron and my headlamp on I get uncomfortable and hot, but I’d rather that than be unprotected. So far no virus detected so although I’m certainly not blasรฉ I’m also not too worried.

Phil is more worried as it’s so difficult in the full bifta, with face shields, masks, gowns and xray lead gowns to cope with, he is dreading a 2nd wave.

We have had an entertaining 4 weeks at home however. At the beginning of June Sophie got on a plane and went to Spain to visit her chap Mentat. They hadn’t seen each other for 3 months due to the lockdowns first there and then here. She was only going for 2 weeks and asked me to have her 2 cats whilst she was away and of course I said yes. Then the flight she was on got cancelled but they gave her an earlier one so that made it 3 weeks, and then her home flight was re-arranged for later and we’ve ended up with them for a month! Today when I get home Phil and I will return them.

They are a funny pair, Vinnie is HUGE and just wants to eat and sleep

Vinnie

and Winnie is small, doesn’t eat a huge amount and is mad as a box of frogs, chasing balls, up a height, here, there and everywhere!

Winnie on top of a door ๐Ÿ™„

They’ve been no trouble, well maybe there was an incident when Winnie climbed the curtains

๐Ÿ˜†

and a few times we couldn’t find her

๐Ÿง

they like sleeping a lot, especially in the sunshine

๐Ÿ’ค

and Winnie loves being in a box

or in a plastic bag

but her favourite spot is our Herky’s old place of preference

Vinnie really liked Phil

๐Ÿ™‚

and he can do the cute thing too

and he made us laugh as he is too big for the cat toilet Sophie provided and has to stick his head out the door!

๐Ÿ˜‚

It took Vinnie 2 days to come out from under our bed when he first arrived, but Winnie just got straight into everything. We’ve had to keep doors and windows shut as she is an escape artiste extraordinaire, which hasn’t been easy, so am looking forward to opening up the conservatory again when it’s warm. But we will miss them when they’ve gone home, it’s been so nice to have pets for a while.

But no, we won’t be getting our own, we still haven’t forgotten the trauma of Skye & Storm, and are not ready to be open to that again, and maybe one day we’ll be able to go on holiday again too!

Talking of which, it’s my birthday next month and it’s traditional to go away for that. We’re going to stay in Jedburgh for a couple of nights, a place not too far away but somewhere I’ve wanted to take my camera for a long time, so will look forward to that.

The garden wildlife is still ongoing, not as many hedgehogs as there were in spring when it was hot, but June and July have been pretty dismal regarding rain so the Hedgeies probably have enough natural food, the bugs and stuff. We have had an unexpected visitor though,

He was a bit of a surprise!

And that’s all my news!

The Corona Chronicles ~ 5

Here we are again, it’s kinda like that movie Groundhog Day, only more people are dying every day so perhaps not. Sorry, just watched last nights Panorama on the lack of PPE for frontline workers in the hospitals, and seen the exposure of the incompetence, and stupidity of the government, and the lies they have told. It is criminal. There is still not anywhere near enough protective kit for the length of time this virus is going to be with us. The programme made me so angry, and I cried over it. Probably not the best thing to have watched straight after Phil has gone to work his first night shift this week.

My hubby.

He worked some shifts last week, and it isn’t easy to do 13 hours in full astonaut kit sometimes for 3 or 4 hours at a time during an operation. In ICU the nurses do it in 2 hour swaps, so they get a break, but there’s not enough staff to do that in theatres as they’re either off sick or seconded to ICU ๐Ÿ™„.

I heard on the news we’ve become 2nd only to Italy in the European Death Race, go us.

OK sorry, sorry, Fek me I don’t mean to be a doom and gloom merchant, but it’s just so astronomically sad, and it didn’t have to be like this.

I needed to get that off me chest!

Onwards ever onwards, what is going on with the weather?? It’s been almost summer-like here for about 3 weeks. I guess really this is what Spring used to be like before clouds took over. I have been musing that perhaps because there is so much less shit being put into the atmosphere from planes and boats and trains and cars, that there’s nothing to make many clouds from any more. ๐Ÿ™‚ It has been so cool to see video’s of animals ‘taking back the world’ too, this makes me smile. ๐Ÿ˜Š

I have returned to playing with Potatoshop Photoshop to make twirly things out of normal photos.

I made this from the photo of the sunset I posted in my last Chronicle.

Wardley Sunset

and this from a collage of iphone selfies I took on our travels abroad, that I then made into a Wedding Anniversary card for Phil (8 years last Monday!) I’ll spare you the original ๐Ÿคฃ

Groovy

I’ve also been esconced in my shed with bits of wire, water,dandelions, and little people.

seed
Seed Forest
Shelter in a storm
Wiggles
Domination
Hanging On
Bound

A fair amount of mess was made in the process. I need to perfect these somewhat, they’re not bad for first attempts but hopefully I will regale you with better ones next time.

Ther has been an affaire du coeur in our garden last week. We had two hedgehogs snuffling together in a mating ritual that was a) funny as fek, b) interminable and c) noisy. The chap Hedgehog (they’re called Hogs, and lady hedgehogs are called Sows, but they seem too cute for that), snuffles around the Lady Hedgehog, going around her in circles and snorting at her nether regions. It goes on for ages. We kept popping out from watching our movie to see if they were still going, and he was snuffling for about 3 hours all told. Dammit though they went off to the dark part of the garden where the cameras can’t pick them up, still I got videos of the 2 of them in the garden and it’s up on the Youtube Hedgey channel. (Link in the menu) If they did The Deed, (and I so hope they did!) the hoglettes will be out and about at the beginning of July. Fingers crossed they turn up on camera.

So that’s it folks, hope you are all well, keeping your chins up and staying frosty.

The Corona Chronicles ~ 4

Into week four of lockdown, and though it feels like it’s been forever, I still haven’t really ‘settled’ into it. No routine has popped up, the yoga went out the window when I pulled a muscle in my back ๐Ÿ™„ but at least the house is spotless and the washing done! They’ve just announced the lockdown is to continue until at least the beginning of May which is 2 or 3 weeks away, but I’ll be surprised if it’s lifted even then. The incompetancy of the government has never been so obvious/staggering/unbelievable – delete as applicable (I still can’t stop myself reading the news daily) the latest is our Health secretary launching a green enamel badge with CARE written on it, for carers in the community to buy themselves to make them feel appreciated. You couldn’t make this up. The care badge is the idea of a consortium of business people in the care business who run care homes, the chairman of it owns several of the homes. His instagram feed looks like something out of Hello magazine. They run Care England, a registered charity, apparently the leading representative body for independent care servicesย in England.ย Charity my arse.

Phil was refitted for a FFP3 mask on Sunday so is now able to do his job and also to work in ICU if required. His shifts change constantly as people go sick so he’s been off all this week as he’s now covering the weekend instead of his normal shifts this week. As it’s been sunny for a few days (mostly) even if quite chilly, he’s got the garden up to scratch.

Battling the Leilandi.

He also had to go to ASDA to pick up his eye drops prescription and did a full shopping thing whilst he was there, Took me a good 1/2 hour to wash it all down in the garden and pass it through the window for Phil to put away! We must look like mad people to our neighbours, but after reading about people licking their hands and wiping them over products on the shelves in shops, I don’t really care. My hands have cracked open in a couple of places from all the handwashing so am going to have to use gloves more often indoors.

I’m still doing a bit of photography. I have to post a ‘fast shutter speed’ photo in the 52 frames group on Sunday so my ‘diving Homers’ last week were a good practice and I spent 4 hours yesterday dropping things in various receptacles. It’s not easy as I only have wrong size vases, I really need a fish tank, and no flash, but the sun was so bright I did it outside with a reflector instead. Out of nearly 500 shots I only got 6 useable ones, have narrowed it down to 2 but can’t decide which I like best and I can only post one, let me know if you have a preference!

Red Pepper Meteor
Tumbling Dice

Hedgehogs are still visiting the garden and I’m keeping their Youtube channel up to date, you can find the link on the home page of this blog, don’t think it shows up in the reader though. We’ve seen some in the flesh so to speak on the past couple of evenings and it’s cool to hear them crunching on their biscuits and see them running along on their little legs, they don’t half shift when they want to. Hope we get hoglettes this year!

I’m keeping in touch with Sophie, we are really missing our outings and I feel bad for her as her chap Mentat lives in Spain and is in lockdown there. Although they use Skype to talk it’s not the same, and with no end in sight of getting together in the near future it’s hard for them both.

My great friend Kathy who moved to Florida for good with her hubby on Saturday facetimed me today and that was just brilliant. When all this is over we are planning get togethers both here and over there. Something to look forward to.

Have just stood outside and heard the estate clapping, honking car horns, setting off fireworks, all to support the key workers, it’s quite amazing to hear it, we don’t of course, Phil is far too cool to clap and he just wants everyone to stop clapping and stop voting Tory, that would be thanks enough for him. Anyway that’s it for this week, it’s Phil’s Thursday night movie tonight, he hasn’t told me yet what it is, he does like to make it a surprise ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope y’all are staying frosty,

and here’s a pretty to finish with

Wardley Sunset 15th April 2020

The Corona Chronicles ~ 3

Week 3 and things are deteriorating at Phil’s work as the Corvid cases increase in the North East. On Sunday (while social media was posting pictures of people gathering in parks and not social distancing), Phil was seconded to the Intensive Care Unit for the first time, where they have a couple of CV19 cases. First he had to be sent to have a mask fitted, there are 2 types of fitted mask, and once it has been fitted to your face they then test it’s efficacy. Neither mask worked for Phil, and leaked when tested on him, so he had to do without. Back in ICU they had him being a ‘runner’, which means he stands in the corridor outside a cubicle in which there’s a patient being nursed by a nurse in full astronaut gear. She holds up the patients readings and he copies it onto a sheet outside the door, and passes through anything the nurse asks for. The corridor is narrow, no social distancing possible and lots of people in it. By the time he did his next shift, yesterday, it was decided he couldn’t go to ICU without a fitted mask, nor could he do his normal job, as intubating patients in theatre carries a risk of airborne infection and all patients, in the absence of testing, are deemed CV19 positive until otherwise informed. So he is now a runner outside the anaesthetic room, passing through equipment etc to the anaesthetist and Operating Dept Assistants inside. We are, selfishly, quite glad it worked out that way, as he won’t deal directly with patients, but he’s not holding out much hope of the virus bypassing him, 3 of his colleagues are off sick or self isolating, and one of his colleagues’ Mum was diagnosed with it on Wednesday and was dead by Sunday. He came home last night after a 13hr shift completely drained, and is thankful he went part-time a year ago, though he may be required to do more if the staff are depleted too much.

I am cooking nice things to cheer him up! I have been amusing myself with my camera, and yesterday afternoon spent 2 hours doing splash photograpahy. I don’t have the right lighting for it but had a go anyway in a sunny patch in the kitchen, 284 photo’s taken and all got deleted! ๐Ÿคฃ but it was fun trying and making a mess. I tried again today in the garden hoping sunlight would do the trick, and had better results, but still pretty rubbish.

Diving Homer

Because I’d not been happy with the afternoon’s results yesterday I thought I’d have a bash at shooting the moon, but first I tried a shot of Venus, which is really bigger and brighter than other stars and planets at the moment. I don’t have a superduper lens to get any detail of it, but if you click on the picture to embiggen it you can also see the constellation Pleiades (known as the seven sisters) just below it.

rubbish shot of Venus and Pleiades.

the moon was easier ๐Ÿ™‚

it wasn’t pink

Also to amuse meself I’ve been creating arty farty abstracts from old flower shots,

helter skelter
portal

that one is my favourite so far.

I haven’t been out much, walked up to the shops and back but it’s a pain dodging dog walkers and kids on bikes along the way. I started a Yin Yoga course to keep me fit which I’m actually liking doing so might stick with it!

The hedgehogs are back and we are getting 2 or 3 visiting in the wee hours, here’s last nights visitors, click on through to the big version on Youtube, you can see the hedgies better, there are a few more there from this week too.

I’m keeping up with my 52 frames weekly challenge over on the universe blog, thanks to those of you who’ve visited and commented, I really appreciate it. This is the link https://fragglerocking.org/project-type/52-frames/

also I’ve done another section for the Photographic anthology here https://fragglerocking.org/project-type/anthology/

(Kim the links might work for you now ๐Ÿ™‚ )

and so a little smile to end this one with….

๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

The Corona Chronicles ~ 2

Well that’s my first week of isolation done, and no symptoms so my clients at work were presumably all clear, at least when they saw me. Phil of course is still going into work. Although there have been 3 C19 deaths at his hospital so far they haven’t had to use the Operating theatre staff, but they are wearing protective eyeware, plastic aprons and gloves to deal with the emergency operations they have to do. When he gets home he heads straight to the shower, puts all his clothes in a bag and they go straight in the washing machine. I open all the doors so he doesn’t have to touch the handles. Any shopping is disinfected and decanted into clean pots where necessary, and the kitchen surfaces disinfected afterwards. Bags all discarded, hands scrubbed with soap. I haven’t been out except once to the local shop and though we shoppers stood 2 meters apart, the corridors are thin and the lad filling the shelves brushed by everyone on his way, sigh.

Last week the nation stood outside their houses or leaned out of their windows and clapped and wooted and banged saucepans to applaud our NHS staff. When we heard it was going to happen Phil said he didn’t need people to clap for him, he needed the NHS to be better funded, have personal protection kit, and for people to stop voting for the Tory Bastards as he calls them. But when it kicked off and we could hear the amount of people on our estate who participated he was quite surprised, and a little chuffed I think. It IS nice to be appreciated.

Luckily we have had some sunny days, even though it was too cold to bask in it, and I turned my camera on now and then and took some photo’s. My blossom tree is shedding petals now in the wind and looks a bit bare, but it was lush when it reached full bloom and I sat and waited for the blutits to come so I could get a picture of one amongst the blossom.

bluetit and blossom

I turned the Helios loose on the tree too,

Last year I bought a Japanese maple which doesn’t like wind and as we had a surfeit of that last year it promptly died, or so I thought, but it appears to be working again so I thought I’d best catch it quick.

Resurrection

Mum’s plant is firing up, I can never remember the name of it, though someone tells me anytime I post a picture of it, it will always be just Mum’s plant in my head.

Just before the red leaves appear, it produces tiny bell shape flowers which the bees seem to love.

Bee bells.

There’s a lot of huge bees around this week, mostly getting trapped in our conservatory and having to be rescued and released. Maybe Queens looking for places to nest. I found one in our water barrel on it’s back, flapping it’s wings and buzzing for all the world like it was having an angry swimming session, I rescued that one too. ๐Ÿ™‚

The conservatory plant, another resurrection, is up and running with new leaves

Wait for me!!

and my Mothers Day flowers from Shelley and the kids are still going strong after 3 weeks.

Phil finished his labour-of-love tank last week, most of you have seen the work in process shots I’ve taken along the way last year. He photographs it against a white card backdrop which he tapes to the conservatory table and pegs up on the clothes drier. On Thursday he went to take his shots of the finished tank, and when he’d finished, cleared away the drier having forgotten the tank was still on the table. ‘Oops’ was not the word I and the rest of Gateshead heard as it shimmied off the paper and crashed to the floor.

He’s had to put it all back to rights of course, but was not a happy person for a few days while doing so. All done now though, and the little men in, I’ll get a shot of it when it’s sorted and on the base, (before he drops it hopefully ๐Ÿ˜€ :D)

At the weekend we had a video call with Phil’s son and daughter which lasted an hour. It’s a good way to keep in touch and just have a chat and a laugh.

I’ve decided to work on a couple of books of photos I’m planning on doing, and that will take some time to sort, so I’m definitely making the most of the lockdown, just got to decide what I’m going to do, I’m thinking of a book on the castles I’ve photographed for one, arty farty flowers for another, and maybe Newcastle, but I’m not sure which to choose first, if at all. I don’t suppose it matters, they’re only for me.

I am restricting my input of news, reading the paper each morning and hear the odd snippet on the radio, is bad enough and I may have to stop reading the paper and go straight to the crossword, as mostly it’s bad stuff and there’s nothing much I can do about it. Instead of the 6 o’clock news we watch Narcos on Netflix, before that it was Narcos Mexico so I’ve learned a lot about how not to run a drug cartel ๐Ÿ™‚ and am not adding Mexico or Columbia to my list of places to visit before I die. Though at this rate I won’t be visiting anywhere except the back garden and my shed.

I started doing excercises last week. Most of the country and lots of people in other countries have been doing the Joe Wicks live stream excercises on Youtube at 9am here. He started doing it for kids, but because he looks like a cross between Jon Snow, & Heathcliffe all the Mummy’s hearts went a-flutter and now everyone’s joining in and he’s getting famous. Yes he gets revenue from adverts on his channel but he’s donating 100% to the NHS so he’s nearly a saint now. I did his workout last Tuesday afternoon, and couldn’t walk without ouching for 3 days, sitting down and standing up was like a knife sticking in my bum, and I’ve just about recovered enough to sit on the sofa and watch him! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=joe+wicks

So week 1 over, and as Phil is not at work today we are planning a walk into the greenery around where we live this afternoon, if the rain holds off, and I’ll take a camera with me. Hope all my pals who visit here are keeping well and sane,

stay frosty my friends!

Day 365 ~ The End

So that is that. A 365 project is not always as easy as you’d think, it doesn’t sound hard, just one picture a day, but when the weather is pants and you’re knackered after a days work, sometimes the creative juices are nowhere to be found and you end up doing what I call ‘throw away’ shots. I don’t think I made too many of those, but more than I’d like.

I wanted to explore Black & White photography, as I’m such a colour junkie normally, and I think I’ve done OK there. I have shifted how I view things and have been constantly on the look out for light and shade, making more of contrasts than I used to do. I feel I’ve learned and grown into it.

So what next? As always I’ll be going on outings with Sophie and writing them up over on the Universe Blog. As well as that I will be delving more into my film photography, I did very little of that this year as outings and the 365 took up my photography time. This year I’m going to attempt one roll a month, so you won’t see anything much before mid February when the first roll gets developed, and then I’ll be doing a weekly post with some of the results. These will all go up on the Fragglefilm blog so if you are not following there go on over and click the Follow button ๐Ÿ™‚ !

I’ll still be popping up on here too with various bits and pieces.

Lastly I especially want to thank Pete, Kim, April and Naomi, who have commented on just about every photo I’ve posted here this year, I really appreciate that, that support meant a lot to me and helped keep me going. And thanks to anyone who liked my posts and popped in a comment occasionally too, you are also very much appreciated.

Happy New Year everyone and see you next year hopefully!

Day 365 ~ ready to go!

Day 363

Hmm, if this is day 363, then 365 will be on 30th December, and as I started this on Jan 01, I should be doing my last one on Dec 31st. ๐Ÿ˜ณ Dang it, will have to check and see if I’ve mislabelled one.

In the meantime, back to the Land of The Giants

Day 363 (maybe) The Pastry Portals to Vollyvont Land.