Do you see yourself?

21 Sep

A couple of weeks ago Sally posted this over at Blogger.Ed. She took recent posts from the Tots100 bloggers and ran them through a word frequency programme and the results were quite revealing (yes yes I know it’s not wholly indicative or representative but think of it as a snapshot in time rather than a definitive list – go with the flow!).

Time, children, life, people, food, thought.

What does this say to you?

These words speak to me of home, of doubt, of struggle and of searching.

I wonder how many would feature in a similar exercise if undertaken a century ago? Apart from the obvious ones like “phone” and “Twitter” they could be from anytime.

For me the most striking word is “alone”. Is the loneliness of parenthood contemporary? Or a middle-class feature? (I am absolutely working-class I am not self identifying)

Or is it just that we bloggers are life’s natural loners?

“Don’t you want to join us?” I was recently asked by an acquaintance when he ran across me alone after midnight in a coffeehouse that was already almost deserted. “No, I don’t,” I said.

Franz Kafka

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The MADS: The one in which I encounter living breathing people and run away and hide

17 Sep

First of all let me say congratulatulations to all the MADS 2010 winners and my fellow finalists, thoroughly well deserved even if I say so myself.

And of course big kudos kicks to Sally for not only surviving to the end of it all without a stroke but for pulling a quite diverse, need I say often divisive, community together for what was a wonderful, friendly and surprisingly laid back event. If there were any hitches in the proceedings I sure as shit didn’t spot them.

Butlins, well Butlins does what it says on the tin doesn’t it? The staff are insanely friendly and helpful, the accommodation clean, spacious and well equipped and the bar prices are fucking phenomenal – £6.70 for two large glasses of wine – ya dancer! I stayed in the older Shoreline Hotel and having had a look round the brand new Ocean Hotel I think I preferred the ambience at the older one. More British seaside iykwim?

Though I do wonder what seventh level of hell spewed forth that abomination on the left?

And I must also thank Phillips/Avent for helping make it possible for me to attend – it’s a bloody long way from here to Bognor Regis and trains, planes and automobiles fair add up.

But was it easy? Fuck no. I actually found the whole experience excruciatingly difficult. Really really hard. In fact I still feel a bit nauseous thinking about it now and want nothing more than to curl up and pretend it didn’t happen. I am not a gregarious person. I am not a “get in there” girl. I never have been. Adrift in a room full of people I don’t know is my idea of hell. If I hadn’t met with the amazing Heather on the train and the lovely Vix beforehand I doubt I would have left my room. Never in a million years could I have walked into the Coffee and Cake Reception on my own, my tummy is flipping even thinking about it.  I managed to get through the evening awards ceremony by nipping out and having a cigarette every time an opportunity to talk and mix was thrown at us – me and Dawn!

Oh how happy was I to be sat at a table with Dawn! I don’t even SMOKE…. haven’t done for years apart from the odd drunken puff. I’m one of those really “lucky” people who can smoke 10 on a night out then nothing for the next 6 or 12 months, whenever the next few and far between night out is. They’re my excuse for getting the hell away from people.

I made it to the end of the ceremony then popped back to my room for a couple of paracetamol and didn’t come out til breakfast.

I don’t think anyone noticed.

And to be honest I don’t think I could do anything like this again.

I can’t small talk or shmooze. I find the very act of introducing myself to someone quite daunting. This social ineptitude is probably why I blog in the first place. I don’t pretend to be outgoing or sociable… I just moan a bit and take photos, neither of which are necessarily welcome in a room full of new people.

Before I left I had the privilege of shooting Mini & Maxi, with a camera of course. I’d like to thank Jen for giving me the opportunity for some much needed practice!

How seriously cute are these two?

Finally…. thank you to anyone who did vote for me, and a heartfelt thank you to those who didn’t, because you guys saved me from the personal horror of having to stand up in front of a room full of strangers and speak out loud.

When I finally got home after a cancelled train, a pink double-decker and a shared taxi dash with a stranger to Gatwick I felt like I’d been away for a week, not one night. It was several days before I started rummaging through bags trying to find camera bits and any spare change. Only then did I stumble on this.

And then all the pent up nerves got the better of me.

Bastard!

I’m just going to slope off into the wallpaper now if that’s OK?

Bye bye.

My bar buddies @ theMADS

13 Sep

Having to circumvent the restrictions here at Butlins Bognor Regis – can’t get into Twitpic (personal storage) can’t get into Flickr (personal storage) – tighter than the proverbial duck’s arse and worse than a school tbh.

Anyway – name that drinking buddie (ok hover over the pics and read).

Parteeeeee time 🙂

Fix it Friday #70

10 Sep

Wow – 70 weeks of Fix it Friday. That’s donkeys it is.

I’m officially converted to the Lightroom side – seriously converted. If you haven’t bought it yet why not?

This fix took me 10 seconds.

I’m not even trying anymore.

Import in Lightroom 3. Sharpen a lot. Noise Reduction about half. Slight warm. Slight Vignette. Badaboom.

10 seconds from this…

to this….

I’m gobsmacked at what this software can do!

Want to come out to play?

5 Sep

Wanna come on a photowalk round Edinburgh on Saturday 9th October?

What’s a Photowalk you ask?

Well you sort of walk, and take photos.

That’s it really.

No matter what kind of camera you have, be it a phone, or an all singing all dancing dSLR or anything in between… walking about taking photos is kinda fun.

Especially in Edinburgh.

A rough itinerary…

  • 14:00 Meetup outside Waverley Station
  • 14:00-16:00 Walk and take photos! I will plan a route to include the Grassmarket, Greyfriars Cemetery, The Royal Mile and time permitting, Princess Street Gardens. I am also working on getting permission from some places with roofs as a wet weather backup.
  • 16:00-17:00 Make our way to Calton Hill, weather permitting, for some cityscapes in the hour before sunset.
  • 17:00-hometime Eat, drink and make merry at a venue to be decided.

Given the route and the necessity for popping into the nearest hostelry at the slightest drop of rain this event won’t be suitable for children.

I have a few participants already lined up but the more the merrier I always say, hence this blog plug.

You can either email me or leave me a comment with your email address so I can add you to the list of attendees and keep you up to date with arrangements.

And… if you want to skip the walking bit and just come for the food and drink bit that will be tickety-boo too.

I look forward to meeting new friends, taking some fab fotees and, with permission, sharing them to showcase our pretty darn beautiful capital city.

Make sure you are sitting down cos I'm going to say something nice

3 Sep

For 12 years I have (almost) religiously harangued my son whenever he leaves the house to check he has his drugs with him.  The little one even started joining in as soon as he could talk. Very cute it was too.

So I have absolutely so explanation as to why we turned up at Edinburgh Airport a few weeks ago with 1 epipen, half an inch of Piriton syrup and absolutely no prednisolone steroids for our 12 hours journey to the USA. There was a full, in fact double, complement of drugs in our checked in luggage but for the plane that was it. Woefully inadequate.

British Airways carry a supply of epipens on board, their cabin crew are trained to administer them and their meals are all nut-free but I was still uncomfortable travelling without any steroids. Andrew’s awkwardly allergic to more than just nuts.

I was carrying the tear off bit from his last prescription, the bit you use for repeat orders, just in case we needed to fill it in the US. On the off chance, a bleary eyed 6am off chance, I popped into the Boots branch in the airport departure lounge to see if I could buy steroids over the counter. That wasn’t an option but the pharmacist on duty took my slip, called the out of hours service in Perthshire, managed to get permission to dispense the drugs without prescription and made me a very happy and contented, if somewhat doofus mother.

Now it might surprise you to hear I write letters. Real letters. Usually whining moaning letters to whoever’s made me feel fed up that week. I very rarely post them as I find the writing process is usually enough to placate me (or make me feel like a right prat – one or t’other).

Back home from our holiday I decided to write a nice letter. A thank you letter. A boy did that lovely pharmacist save me from a hideous journey full of angst and panic letter. A cheers for saving my son from 9 hours of “You’re 13 – for crying out loud check your own bag!” letter.

I even posted it.

And not only did the people at Boots thank me for thanking them… they thanked me for thanking them and promised to pass on my thanks to the branch and sent me a thank you for thanking us gift.

Aren’t Boots lovely?

Just my colours too.

Should I thank them?

And then she was blonde

2 Sep

(think I liked it black – there’s no telling kids!)