Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Times past, loves lost

New years eve, the most significant night of the year, the time you spend the most looking forward and looking back, the one night that really focuses your mind on your place in time. Also one of the biggest disappointments of the year, it’s normally built up into such a big night that it fails to deliver, hopefully not this year.
But looking back on past years there have been some good ones, the Millennium for one was great fun, but for me two different years over 20 years ago stand out.
The first was the night I got engaged (for the first time) there were 4 of us there, all great friends and just the people you would want to make your big announcement too, much drinking then followed, a great night. 20+ years on and I have no idea where 2 of them are and actively avoid the one who lives close by.
The second night was a year later, by then were had broken up and I was determined to get so drunk I would not remember the previous year at all. After a very successful night I was carried home to find the girl stood out side my house in the cold, having waited for around 2 hours to see me, I have to add at this point it was also her birthday so she had chosen to spend it waiting for me 15 miles from home rather than be with her friends. It worked and we got back together for another few months, until she left for good.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thank you all

At the dog end of the year it is normally a time for reflection over what has passed and this will be no exception. What a year, I started out an unfit wreak of a man with serious doubts that I would ever work again, suffering from stress and panic attacks on a daily basis and apart from this dam cold, I’m fit and well, getting on better at work than ever I have, and doing more outside of work than ever before. A lot of the positives have come from this blog; it’s been my drive when I’m down and a way of pushing myself when I am lazy, the support I have had from every comment is immense and I just want to thank you all, leaving a comment on a blog is something that can change a day.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Look what i got!

Well after yesterdays rant back to normal, I’m still feeling crap and all the more disgruntled as I’m off work on holiday and should be enjoying myself. We have got some good friends staying over and they are being very patient with us both as we have very little energy to do too much. Hope you have all had a great time over the holidays and that Santa brought you just what you wanted, me I got loads of books and some bits for my camera, on top of that a new keyboard and mouse, both of which are making all the computer work more fun. Photo for today is of Carolyn’s presents under the tree, all wrapped by me!

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Palestine 1 Israel 271

In the season of peace and goodwill to all men, the guardian of some of the worlds most holy sites, Israel, has celebrated it by launching over 100 air strikes against the Gaza strip.
This is the same Gaza strip that they have been blockading for months, cutting off vital services and disrupting the flow of much need medical and humanitarian supplies, much needed now that they have nearly 1000 casualties to cope with after the air strikes. All these attacks are in response to rocket attack fired at them, around 70, which have lead to the death of 1 Israeli. Israel claim these rocket attacks are wrong, which is correct, and that they have been going on for a number of years, which is also correct.
But Israel has been occupying the Palestinian territories for 40 years and is in direct defiance of UN resolutions, they are suppose to be a civilised nation stale not some central African dictatorship throwing its weight about. Israel is a democracy and as such all its citizens are responsible for its actions, there is an election in a few months, lets see if they can be as brave as the USA and vote for change.

Now playing: Bob Marley & The Wailers - Get Up Stand Up
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cough splutter cough

With both of us still suffering with cold and flu, I will just post a picture and get back to feeling sorry for my self

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Friday, December 26, 2008


Hope you all had as good a day as I did, typing this on my new key board, part of a set that included a new mouse, so any mistakes are down to my being unfamiliar with the kit.
As I have hinted I was working on a project for the last few months, and today’s photo is part of that. For my mum I have made a book of poems using her words and my photos as a surprise xmas gift. Here is just one of the pages.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Kep's Christmas card

Happy Christmas all, due to having the family round for the day, my lot first then Carolyn’s, I have written this early or rather late on Christmas eve. Now I known I won’t get time to blog on the big day and so I guess that it will be the same for most people, so when ever you get chance to read this I hope the whole day went swimmingly. I wanted a really Christmassy shot for today and with Carolyn’s help here is the end result. Kep, contrary to looks, really enjoys being the centre of attention but trying to get the hat to stay on without stapes did defeat me. As I was reaching for the staple gun Caz stepped in and held it in place so that as she moved her hand I could grab a shot.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santas coming

Christmas, a time to remember.
My earliest memories are of having to wait upstairs while mum and dad sort themselves out in the kitchen, i.e. make coffee, as a child this was such a pain, but now I’m older I realise just how important coffee is. Now it’s the first thing I do on Christmas morning.
I remember me and my brother singing “wait a minute Mr postman” as loud as we could in an effort to wake our parents one Christmas morning, it must have been around 6 o’clock.
I remember crying my self to sleep because I was not there, by there I mean being in the stable when Jesus was born, I was very young at the time.
Taking my first real picture, a 110 camera part of an explorer gift set, a shot of my mates outside in the sunshine pretending is was summer, never got the film developed but I can still see the shot30+ years later.
Years later I remember a mad hour spent wrapping presents, drunk after a long Christmas eve in the pub, culminating in wrapping an American football for my brother in scraps of paper and lots of tape.
Up to date I think my best moments are spent with Caz and Kep first thing in the morning sat by the tree exchanging gifts.

Now playing: Tonus Peregrinus - Away In A Manger
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sniff, sniff

A quick thank you to all my team at work, they have all had a cold over December and have very kindly given it me for Christmas, and they did not even wrap it!
So as I sit here contemplating a number of days coughing and spluttering I will leave you with a photo of a tree. This tree is in the park at Chatsworth and to fit it in took 2 shots joined together. Now to return to the warm embrace of my chair and some more cold cure.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Alexandra Burke/Sausage

A weekend of highs and lows. It started out on a high, a trip out to meet a friend, have a pub lunch and some shopping. Then it was a rush to get home as it was my works do that night and I did not want to miss that.
The party was fancy dress and the bulk of the department did dress up which made for a good start, it was held at the local hockey club so the beer was very cheep, which completed all you need for a good night. So yesterdays post was in homage to my hang over and the pros and cons of partaking in strong drink. The picture was taken at the very start of the party and is part of the “1 Minute History of the World” and the reason I was the first there.
Now for the lows, Caz and me are both coming down with a cold, she was very ill yesterday, even beating me with my hang over, and I am now starting to feel the effects of it too, just in time for Christmas. Then the worst news of the lot, reality tv has taken over the Christmas pop charts, dam you Simon Cowell, Alexandra Burke media propelled rise to the top of the carts confirms the strangle hold of style over substance in the British charts, Sex pistols where are you now! Given the weeks of prime time TV coverage and miles of tabloid hype that the X factor winner gets, any single released would hit the number one spot, regardless of it quality. The individuals concerned may have started out as dedicated musicians and artist, but after weeks in the grip of Cowell and his team, they are as far removed from their start point as a sausage is from a pork chop, and about as unique.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh OK Just a small one!

The first thing in the human personality that dissolves in alcohol is dignity. ~Author Unknown

If drinking is interfering with your work, you're probably a heavy drinker. If work is interfering with your drinking, you're probably an alcoholic. ~Author Unknown

O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! that we should, with joy, pleasance, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts! ~William Shakespeare, Othello

First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you. ~Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald

Here's to a long life and a merry one
A quick death and an easy one
A pretty girl and an honest one
A cold beer and another one!
~Author Unknown

Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, it is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver. ~Jack Handey

I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day. ~Frank Sinatra

I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me. ~Winston Churchill

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Branching out

Typical, you spend all morning writing posts in your head and then only 2 mins after logging on I have loads to write about.
Polergirl has posted a post explaining her name, well worth watching!
Isunia, has linked to one of my posts (feel free at any time) this is because she has seen a tree like the one I have been photographing over the past 10 months. This is a coincidence as I have taken a second picture of it this month as I was passing it before the sun came up and the sky looked great.
So this is not the post I’d planned but it’s a great example of blogging taking over.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday build up.

Well it finally feels like the build up to Christmas, we have some last mad running around to do over the weekend and I still have a couple of gifts to buy next week, but all in all its all done. The last thing I was waiting for in the post has arrived and looks great and I’ve only 2 more days to do at work next week. I was thinking of doing something Christmassy on the blog but as the big day approaches I have no clear idea what to do, so it might just be a bit random.
Today’s photo is taken at the other end of the lake from yesterday’s image. I love this garage, it has a real old world feel to it, it looks as if it has not changed in 70 years, you feel it may even have had a blacksmith on site to deal with the horses.

Now playing: Suzanne Vega - Small Blue Thing
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

National icon for sale.

The worlds gone mad, or at least this small part of it. The government is set to take over more banks, they are looking at putting money into failing car manufactures, but at the same time they are trying to sell off part of the royal mail! Now I really don’t mind the fact that they want to support Jaguar and Landrover, great British icons and well worth saving, but why sell of the royal mail. This is one thing the country can be proud of, it may not be making a profit but unlike postal services in other so call civilized European countries it does the job it is supposed to do very well. We have friends that live in Spain and it is a lottery if you send them something, sometime it may arrive, but time scales will vary, other time it will vanish never to be seen, in fact the latter is most likely to be the case. This year Caz has done most of the Christmas shopping on-line, something that can only be done if you can rely on the postal service. So sod it if it makes a loss, most government do to and you don’t see us selling them to the highest bidder, but there’s a thought.
The image today is another shot of Rudyard Lake, which is about 3 mile from here. This is one of my favorite spots and this picture is just 5 mins walk from the last 2 photos, in fact you have to pass yesterdays shot to get to the day before’s shot. I try not to visit this spot too often, as the image is always the same, at least the main components, but the light always changes and as the sun rises at the far end of the lake you get fantastic colours.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Courageous Conversations

After yesterday mammoth post a short and late one due to the pressures of work, or more precisely an all day training session. This one was all about courageous conversations, you known those moments when you have to grasp the bull by the horns and say something; it seems to come naturally to bloggers. The main aim of the course was to promote an atmosphere where people felt confident in expressing their views and sharing them with others, in my team the only problem is shutting them up.
All in all it was very good and is just part of a culture change taking root in the company.
Photo today is of a holiday home near a local lake, a cross between a bathing hut, a shed and an outside loo.

Now playing: Pf Project Feat. Ewan Mcgregor - Choose Life
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hey i've got a secret

As the last few posts have turned into a review of the year I might as well continue the story. By the time summer had arrived I was back at work full time and the blog was getting around 20 readers a day. Life was looking good and I was feeling very positive about most things so I took a big step.
Dyslexia, why make up a name for a condition that means you have difficulty writing and spelling that’s so hard to read and spell? Well I always had a feeling I had it, but the risk of getting tested and finding out I did not have, which would mean I was just thick and lazy, always stopped me from getting the teat done. But with my new found confidence and works help I got tested.
The result were better than I could have hoped for, I had got it, but I also had an IQ of over 120, not thick and a reason for my problems. Now I could work around the problem and beat it.

I rushed home and sat down to write the most personal post I had written, safe in the knowledge only 20 or so people would read it. That was Thursday night, the next day I was working in the morning so I posted it before going out.

Friday 3.00pm, checked the blog, 17 visitors, about right for that time of day.
3.30pm, 300 visitors, I ran down stairs to tell Caz.
3.40pm, 400 visitors, I am now getting the feeling that something is up.

A quick check of the web finds the answer, I’m blog of note!!!!!!, By the end of the weekend I had bared my soul to 11,000 people, all of whom now knew I was dyslexic, well it certainly made it easier to tell my work mates.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Blog, Fat boy, Blog

Following on from Saturdays post, here is the next stage in my year and my recovery. Blogging, for me it started as a whim, I wanted to mark my birthday and try something I had never done, so I started this. In all honesty I did not think I had ever read a blog, but once the idea was in my mind to do this I looked up blogging on Lifehackers, a site I read every day that has loads of tips for making computer time more fun and productive (its also a blog but I did not realise that at the time). Armed with their advice and some links I set this up in around 3 hours from the moment I typed blogging into their search engine. Within 3 weeks I had my first comment from someone I did not know and soon after that was in conversation with people in France and South Africa, wild! For me writing was always my weak point and to risk doing this every day was a challenge, but not one I had looked for. The blog was to be about the photos, but like a large rucksack, that space for words just cried out to be filled and I ended up writing more and more. What is strange is that the writing sometimes got more response than the photos.
The result of doing the blog was an increase in my confidence, although I was not meeting new people, some weeks I would only speak to Caz, I was communicating with them and doing something outside of my comfort zone. As time went by it started to rule my life, so I slowed it down and decided to post less on a weekend (hence quote Sunday) so that I could dedicate my time to Caz and Kep. The end result after over 300 posts, I can write, and I take better photos, both things have happened due to the simple fact that I have to make an effort.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Adventure and Oprah

Quote Sunday:
" If riding in an airplane is flying, then riding in a boat is swimming. If you want to experience the element, then get out of the vehicle. "

" You may never get rid of the butterflies, but you can teach them how to fly in formation..... "

" All people who live, die. But, not all people who die have lived "

" Adventure is just bad planning "
Roald Amundsen

" Adventure isn’t hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day to day obstacles of life -- facing new challenges, seizing new opportunities, testing our resources against the unknown and in the process, discovering our own unique potential "
John Amatt organizer and participant in Canada’s first successful expedition to the summit of Mt Everest.

" People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering. "
St. Augustine

" Life is NOT a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- ’WOW, what a ride!!! "

" An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered "
G.K. Chesterton

" Life is a fatal adventure. It can only have one end. So why not make it as far-ranging and free as possible. "
Alexander Eliot

" Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway. "
John Wayne

" The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams. "
Oprah Winfrey

Now playing: Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Chile
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Run, fat boy, Run

As it gets close to the start of a new year my mind starts to ponder what I will do next year, this time last year I had no idea I would be sitting here doing this. To give you an idea of where I was last year, I had been off work with stress and panic attacks for over 3 months, the job I was had been in for 3 years was just too hard for me to cope with. Unfortunately this was just the job I had to go back to as the unions advice was that it would be better in that department than out of it (they were right). Given my state of mind I was starting to think I would never work again, as the job I could do was beyond me ability to cope, and to even think of trying something new just made me feel worst. Physically I was drinking too much and well over weight and not getting any real exercise. My whole mind set was that I was doomed and would never reach any higher than I had.
The change, when it happened, was unremarkable. I just decided I was going to do something; I was going to start running. It sounds silly now, but that 5 min run probably save my life, although it nearly killed me at the time. Once I started the challenge and started to see I could master something, I became stronger and more able to face other tasks, like starting back to work, taking photos and sorting out areas of my life and self that were limiting my growth.

Now playing: Lisa Loeb - Stay I Missed You
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Friday, December 12, 2008

3 little lines

I was asked today to send round the competition form that I finished on Wednesday to all the people in my department, as the request came from my big boss I did it as soon as I got to my desk. When I say “as soon as” this really means after I had agonized over the 3 lines of text introducing the email for ½ an hour. Now I known this sounds stupid but I get so nervous about writing stuff that people read, daft when this has had over 40,000 visitors, but when mailing to the department I really feel the pressure to get it just right, not that I don’t care about this but this is mine and really only I can say its wrong. Still I sent off the mail and within a few mins had some nice comments about it.
Photo is of an old dock on the canal, I’ve photographed this no end during the summer as it has such great texture and reflections, but this shot of it is the first to reach the blog.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Life, Traveling, Daisy!

Right, I said yesterday that I would pass on the Smile stone award and this is it.
First let me explain why I’m choosing these three. They are all very different blog, although two are from Paris, each show a simple picture of life well away from mine here, even if the lives they show are far from simple. All have brightened my over the passed months and the comments they leave have lifted me up when I’ve been feeling down. So I’m awarding the Smile stone to Daisy, travelling, but not in love, and Marjolein.
Last Thursday I mentioned that I had 2 projects that needed doing, both are now done, both are some of the best work I have ever finished, by that I mean that I often don’t finish something totally, but both these two needed to be as perfect as I have ever achieved.
The photo project is still under wraps, and will soon be wrapped.
The work one was emailed with 15 mins to spare, after I had to add 85 names of the people who work in the department to it. Once it was sent I found out that if we make the next stage it involves a 45mins presentation to the board, more pressure then.
Photo today shows that you have to look every where for shots, in a snowy landscape, this was right at my feet.

Now playing: Duffy - Syrup & Honey
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stoned and smiling

I’ve had another blog award, this time from Polergirl, it’s the Smile stone award, It is an award for bloggers, who show kindness and spread happiness around, so I’m flattered to get it. Polergirl shared 10 things that made her smile, so I’ll do the same:

1. Polergirl, reading you blog always leaves me smiling, even the sad post have a positive turn.
2. My team at work, there is always one of us on the edge of a breakdown and the rest always rally round.
3. Beer
4. Mountains, or at least being on top of them.
5. Finishing a project, I will have finished 2 by the end of today.
6. Finishing cutting the lawn.
7. You’ve been framed, particular the ones where you can see the idiot is about to come a cropper.
8. Good comments on the blog (hint hint)
9. Kep
10. Caz’s face when we are out on a walk and we let Kep of f the lead, as he starts to run free her face just lights up.

I will pass this on tomorror as I have to get some work done, one thing that wipes the smile off my face. Photo was taken some months ago and fits with the award so I’ve decided to use it. This stone was on a cairn ½ way up a mountain in the lake district.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Help mum my tong is stuck

Mum help my tongs stuck, not something you hear every day is it. But it’s the first thing that popped into my head as I looked at this photo. Kep, as I have said before, loves water and, as long as it does not involve a bath, he cannot be kept out of it. So around this time of year this happens, Kep dives at water only to find its gone hard? Now I’m not one to talk about memory problems, but each year he seems to forget he has seen this before and spends loads of time investigating the problem. The fun bit is when he finds out that it’s not hard enough; don’t worry though we keep him on a lead and don’t let him go too far out and if he should get into difficulty Caz always has a buoyancy aid she can throw in, ME.
I have two good pieces of news; first Polergirl has had some promising news from the docs, check out her latest up date.
Second, the girl is back, new name and new blog but same old (young) girl. Pop over and check her out unless you’re offended by sex with dead chickens?
Just realised this post is my 300th, wow! Who would have thought it, 300 pictures and 56,500 words and still 65 days to go.

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Monday, December 8, 2008


We got the tree and only got lost once, a new record. Spent the weekend cleaning and putting up the decorations and tree, great fun, with Christmas music playing in the back ground. Sunday dawn bright and clear with the hardest frost of the year so far, so we grabbed are rucksacks and headed to Chatsworth. What a fantastic day, Kep had a whale of a time and seems to be back on top form, he pulled Caz round for the whole walk and spent ½ hour off the lead running like a mad thing, great to see.
I took loads of photos that should keep the blog going for a week at least, and here is the first one. This is a small pool on the ridge over looking Bakewell, and normally is a disappointing damp patch of marsh and mud, but it look fantastic in the cold mid day sun.

Now playing: Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Road Trippin'
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Sunday, December 7, 2008

After you

I look like a duck. It's the way my mouth curls up, or my nose tilts up. I should have played Howard the Duck.
Michelle Pfeiffer

Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.
Michael Caine

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
Douglas Adams

“Ridicule is the Burden of Genius.”
Daffy duck

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

On the ropes

Its Christmas tree time, wish me luck. Every year we get our tree from the same garden centre that is only a few miles from home. Each year without fail we get lost in the maze of little lanes that criss-cross that area, sometimes taking hours to travel what is about 5 miles. Then when we get there it’s the line up from hell as you try to find a “nice” tree, all year I look at trees as just part of the scenery and all of a sudden I have to judge one on its looks! Its like choosing a puppy, will it be right for the house, will it make a mess, will it be better then everyone else’s? So while I’m doing that, I’ll leave you with this photo taken on one cold morning this week.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Decembers tree

Today’s photo is of the tree I’ve being shooting over the last 10 months, little did I know that when I took the first photo that I would be putting myself at some risk only a few months letter to repeat the shot. The tree is only 5 mins from home and right by the side of a country lane and as it was time to shoot it again and it had just snowed, it seemed the perfect time. I was ok up to the point I left the main road, which had been gritted and was clear. The little lane was still just packed, frozen snow, with little or no grip, but my trust VW Polo battled on, reaching the tree in just over ¼ of an hour after leaving home. I got out and took the shot and in a sprit of adventure walked down the lane to the corner where I came across 3 cars that were stuck in the snow. Ever helpful I assisted two of the cars back up the hill and turned them round the third car was too far down the bank and after much work we managed to get it onto the lower road which was clear. Then it was my turn, I could turn round and head home or go on and risk the bank, I took the bank, very steep and very icy but great fun, once it was over. Another photo for the blog done.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

too much pressure

There are times when I’m my own worst enemy and this is one of them. I don’t put my self out much, to do anything out side of my normal job is very rare for me, but a month ago I nominated my department for our internal award scheme. This was a big step for me as it involved writing 150 words that had to sum up a department of 80+ people by me a new found dyslexic. Still I did it and we are now through to the next stage and I have been asked to write the submission. To put this into perspective, there’s a lot riding on this, first department pride, to win would be a giant feather in our cap as it always has been to win this award, second, money; there is a prize that goes to the winning team and third with talk of a merger floating around earlier this year, to win would help secure the departments position with in the company. So pride, cash and our jobs on the line, no pressure then! The submission involves 1500 words highlighting why we are the best and needs to be in by Wednesday, so on top of my normal job I’m trying to develop a corporate writing style and get it all done without impacting on my customers.
I would be happy if that was the only thing I had going on but, I am also working on a hush hush photography project that is taking up hours and hours of my free time and has a very tight dead line, but more of that in the new year!
Photo today taken this time yesterday around our local canal.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hello out there

WOW! Thank you for all the comments, it was like Christmas reading the comments as they were mailed to me, it is so fascinating hearing about peoples normal lives and the fact that they are just the same but different to mine really makes me feel part of the world. It great that lots of you are looking forward to spending time with families or friends, put paid to the idea of a lot of sad lonely people hunched over their keyboards with not a soul in the world. Lots of interesting jobs going on, but most would rather be at home reading, drinking coffee or in bed. All of which I can agree with whole heartedly. Then there is the blogs, some I have seen a number of times, others I remember visiting and am glad I have rediscovered. My blog counter tells me each day where people have come from and now I can put a face to some of those visitors, Isabella, I always wonder who was visiting from Sweden and now I know. David loved your blog, I really hope all goes well, Suburbia, take it, it really is an excellent idea, and Nella after reading your blog I bet your morning coffee is fantastic and is not on its own, Gingerbread Biscotti perhaps?
So again thank you and if you feel you missed out pop back to the post and have ago, there’s no time limit. If you feel like doing it on your blog I can really recommend it, a last thank you to Marjolein who's idea it was in the first place.

Now playing: Republica - Picture Me
via FoxyTunes

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

De Lurker day leave a comment!

It’s snowing and lots of it, just charging up the mobile phone and then I’ll be charging off into the white hell to take some pictures. I won’t be heading into the hill like I did this time last year as I now know that a VW polo is not a Jeep in disguise and after only just getting out of trouble then I have learned my lesson.
Seen a great idea on Marjolein blog, so I’m borrowing it, as I’m interested about all of you as well. So all you lurkers out there, i.e. people who visit but don’t leave a comment, I have a little questionnaire for you - and also for the regular commenter's:

1. Who are you and where are you from? (mainly for the lurkers)
2. What will you be doing today?
3. What do you wish you had planned instead?
4. What’s the thing you’re looking forward to most?

Just a bit of fun, no pressure.
Photo today for all the first time commentors is a shot of Bridge 9 on the local canal.

Now playing: EMF - Unbelievable
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Red red Robin

Been on a training course today, hence the late post. The course was about call handling and how to treat your customer on the telephone and for the first time it did not mention how to sell things to your customer at the same time. Now one of my main complaints when I ring somewhere is that they always try to sell me something and although my company has long since moved away from that approach it is still expected that you can be able to offer the customer other products in a professional manner, but now, like a lot of companies it is seen that customer service comes first, just as it should be. On the flip side of this I have been trying to buy something off Curry’s and had nothing but trouble with their call centre and shop, who refused to do even the simplest thing of calling me back when asked, let alone getting the thing I had paid for on time.
Photo today of the first Robin of the winter, great to see the little red fellow back.

Now playing: INXS - Listen Like Thieves
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Sunday, November 30, 2008

He's the man

Sunday quotes, inspired by Polergirl.

Operator! Give me the number for 911!

Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'Sir' without adding, 'You're making a scene.'

Lisa, if you don't like your job you don't strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way.

Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose: it's how drunk you get.

Marge, you're as beautiful as Princess Leia and as smart as Yoda.

I want to share something with you: The three little sentences that will get you through life. Number 1: Cover for me. Number 2: Oh, good idea, Boss! Number 3: It was like that when I got here.

I think Smithers picked me because of my motivational skills. Everyone says they have to work a lot harder when I'm around.

'To Start Press Any Key'. Where's the ANY key?

Homer Simpson

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Exist

I’ve had the first concrete proof that I exist, in the blogging world any way; I have had a letter from Google. Well I say letter its more like a card, just to confirm I am who I say I am for the adsence scheme. Now I know I blog and others have seen the blog, but getting a letter, even such a small one, that is a direct result of the blog, makes it seem real. Think about your blog, do you get any communication from it other than on your computer, so other than the thing that you create it on you get nothing else and then a letter arrives all the way from New York! Am I just being a little strange or is this making any sense?
Photo to day from the canal walk earlier this week, the way the light hit this pieces of scrap made it stand out and worth a shot.

Now playing: Morrissey - How Soon Is Now? (Live)
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Friday, November 28, 2008

House work

Just the perfect morning for taking photos, so I was in the office by 8.15 and did not see any of it. Why is it that whenever I have good weather I’m stuck in work, or is it just that the day looks better when you can not get at it?
Quite weekend just me, Caz and Kep and a lot of house work getting the place ready for Christmas. So I’ll rush off and grab a late lunch and get started.
Photo of better days walking by the canal.

Now playing: Suzanne Vega - Marlene On The Wall
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Randomness and peace

Jen tagged me today! The link to her blog is:

Here are the rules:
1) Link to the person who tagged you
2) Post the rules on your blog (copy and paste 1-6)
3) Write 6 random things about yourself
4) Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them
5) Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up...

Hmmm, six random things about me...ok:

1. I HATE cheese.

2. I still have my first teddy bear, had him at the age of 2 weeks!

3. I love maps; I can sit and look at them for hours.

4. Once ripped a book up during an argument with a girlfriend 20+ years ago and still feel bad about it (it was not even a good book)

5. I am so forgetful that I control our joint xmas list, so that when friends buy us something, by the time Christmas day arrives I have forgotten what we are having and it comes as a total surprise.

6. I once had a crisp (I think they are called chips in the USA) habit and consumed 70 bags a week.


Just because they are all very different blogs and should give some very random answers.
Photo today is called Peace, one of a set i have been working on for some time.

Now playing: Fugees - The Score (my favorite album of all time)
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Vat cut con

VAT, Value added tax, since when has adding tax been a value? Now they have decided to cut it by 2.5% and this is suppose to make us all rush out and by something! How many items that were at £9.99 last week will still be at £9.99 in the week following the change? I think all of them; this cut will just be a excuse for the shops to reclaim some of their margin that has already been cut to the bone in an effort to get more sales out of our empty pockets. If the government wanted us to have more money to spend cut income tax, then we would see the benefit and not the shop owners.
Away from the questionable decisions of the government and back to what makes life worth while, a clear frosty morning spent walking by the canal, hard to believe that this was just yesterday as the weather out side is grey and wet now.

Now playing: Depeche Mode - Enjoy The Silence
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gary's new dog.

After the popularity of the post on how we got Kep, now the story of how I gave him away.
Kep was your typical puppy, cute, clumsy and always looking for trouble and in a household that had never had a puppy or a child he wrecked havoc. If he could eat it he did, if he could not eat it he at least chewed it into submission. If it was fragile and in reach it was soon turned into a million pieces and when you turn round to shout at him, you were met with a pair of the most lovely eyes you have any seen, that seemed to say, I’m an angel, I could not have done that in any way. We doted on him, he was spoiled. Then one day I came home to find pup and wife having a disagreement, pup had decided that Caz’s hair was too long and had helpfully tried to shorten it, while loving Kep a lot, Caz was very upset at having him hanging off her hair and at that point shouted at me to get rid of him. Now we all say things that we don’t mean, but to a newly married man, his wife’s wishes were like the word of god, and I set about the task of getting rid of the pup the very next day.
Enter Gary, he was a friend who worked in the same shopping centre as I did, but in a different shop, and he loved dogs. So I approached the subject of him having Kep, and he, like a good pal, jumped at the chance, but that night when I informed Caz, instead of being the wonderful husband, I was the villain of the pieces, how could I imagine that she wanted to get rid of Kep! What was I thinking!!
So Kep stayed and luckily so did I, Gary took it well, but always reminds me of it when ever we meet and Kep comes up in the conversation.
Photo is of Kep doing one of his part times job, lighting setup tester.

Now playing: Portishead - All Mine
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Food and drink

Following on from yesterday, all the quote were from Terry Pratchett, one of my favourite writers and one of the most imaginative and literate as well.
The photo is a view from the Peak District taken last week, when I started to work on the image it was grey and dark outside and now it looks like it does in the photo, a weird case of life imitating art. An exhausting weekend I must have driven hundreds of miles, but very good to see old friend again.
One old friend that has made an unwelcome return is my belly, for months it has been safely under wraps, but too much food and beer and not enough exercise has taken its toll, time for a diet, again.

Now playing: Stereophonics - Mr. Writer
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Sunday, November 23, 2008


Quote Sunday,

“Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.”

“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.”

“It is often said that before you die your life passes before your eyes. It is in fact true. It's called living.”

“It's not worth doing something unless you were doing something that someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing.”

“Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.”

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”

“People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."”

“Genius is always allowed some leeway, once the hammer has been pried from its hands and the blood has been cleaned up”

Because his books (nearly all of them!) are all on a shelf on their own and I felt guilty that they did not get on the photo.

Now playing: David Bowie - The Jean Genie
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Saturday, November 22, 2008


Right short post as we have guest’s, after yesterdays post I’ll tag (drum roll) Aim’s and Daisy, with the Book worm award, the way it works is: you open the closest book on page 46 and write out the 5th sentence on the page (and the following 2-5 sentences). Why these two, well I known they are both well read and I think they are from quite different back ground so the books could be very interesting.
Picture from the trip into the peak district earlier this week.

Now playing: Duran Duran - Save A Prayer
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Friday, November 21, 2008


Kasia, has tagged me with the book worm award, in the hope it will inspire a photo.
The way it works is: you open the closest book on page 46 and write out the 5th sentence on the page (and the following 2-5 sentences). Great now to choose a book! As you can see I have a few (the shelves are mostly double stacked) So here it is.

See? These shoes are built to absorb shocks.
He’s right. I barely felt that.

Now with an explanation

See? These shoes are built to absorb shocks. (John showing Garfield jogging shoes he has brought him)
WHACK! (Garfield hitting John with said shoes)
He’s right. I barely felt that.

The 5th Garfield treasury.

Look around I will pick two of you tomorrow!

By the way this is a very hard photo to get, it is made up of 4 shot joined up as the room is very small.

Now playing: The Cult - Edie (Ciao Baby)
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lifes challenges

First off an apology for the picture, it’s not up to my usual quality, at least I’m not happy with it, but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen this and am dead happy I managed to get a shot of it, time permitting I will try to get back there soon for another go.
Now some sad news, Girl with a mask has stopped blogging, I don’t known how many of you have read her blog, but for me it was one of the first I found and inspired me on a number of days. She does say she will be back in some form and I can only hope it won’t take long. But as one favourite goes so a new one comes along, I’m loving Polargirl’s blog, it’s become my first stop in a morning and has yet to disappoint so I’m adding it to my list at the side so you can all have a look.
As long term readers will know I have in the passed suffered with stress and panic attack, so much so that I was off work for 6 months, only returning in March, new situations and public speaking are 2 areas that give me problems, so yesterday and today finds me briefing the whole department, in ¼ hour slots and today I’m receiving my art award from our CEO, now if only I could find a hole to crawl into.

Now playing: Blondie - Europa
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dog and gun

Topsey turvey day today, as I was out before 8am to take some photos and am now blogging at lunch time. Its not often that I go out just to take pictures, I nearly always carry a camera so that any walk I do turns into a photo shoot, but for me to go out to a place just to photograph it is very rare. Today’s target was a local beauty spot and with it being ¾ of a hour away I had to leave early and hope the weather was ok when I got there. The place is a wooded valley with a river running down the middle, its on a major walking route and is quite lovely, oh and it was shut. Now when I say shut I don’t mean that it had not opened, as it always open, what I mean is that today it was closed off and the reason was that the valley was being used by a hunting party. Now I’ve seen the odd bloke wandering around the countryside with a shot gun, but this was a proper English hunting party, tweed, plus fours, Landrovers, cloth caps, waxed jackets and lots of gundogs and retrievers, fantastic, if I had not been so intimidated by all the men with guns I would have taken some pictures. On top of that they were all very polite and on seeing me looking up the valley, camera in hand, asked if I wanted to go in, a quick check to make sure they weren’t just offering me a head start, and off I went to take my pictures. Pictures done I’m now back and starting the process of sorting them. This is the first of them, a detail shot of an old barn.

Now playing: Adam and the Ants - Los Rancheros
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Birthday boy

Kep was 12 yesterday, so we brought him this as a present. It seems only a few days ago that we were traveling up into the hills outside Leek to go to look at some pups, Caz had done all the running about and now the only thing left to do was to see if we liked one or not (silly question when you look back at it). The pups were on a farm just off the main Leek to Buxton road at its highest point, right up in the hills. They were kept in a shed at the back, with just a little straw for bedding, and their mum of course. Unknown to me most of the pups had already been spoken for, Caz also had in mind a Blue Merle pup while I was leaning towards a black and white collie (Caz also knew that the black and whites were all gone). I went into the shed first and crouched down near the pups, Caz stood behind me, the pups for their part took no notice of me except for a little grey and white ball of fluff, who fought his way out of the pile of pups, wobbled over to me and crawled up on to my knee, settling straight down as if he owned it. Unknown to me this was the only pup that we could have and by that point I was well and truly hooked, but it would be another couple of weeks before we could bring him home. I really cannot describe how cute he was, so small and with a pink button nose, he means the world to me.

Now playing: Guns 'n' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
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Monday, November 17, 2008

polydactyly (paw-lee-dak-till-lee)

Normal cats have four toes and one dewclaw on each front paw and four toes on each hind paw. Polydactyl cats may have as many as seven digits on front and/or hind paws, and various combinations of anywhere from four to seven are common, although each of the front and rear paws are typically the same. Polydactyly is most commonly found on the front paws only, as in the case of Jr.
Jr for want of a better word is one of my nephews, and Saturday night was the first time I remembered to take a camera when we went visiting, they’ve had him since March. Now by up bringing I’m a cat person, we always had cats at home as a kid, but by choice I am now a dog person, Caz loves dogs (she’s not very keen on cats at all) a real case of love me love my dog (or nearly all dogs, forsaking all cats, totally). Having said that I still have a soft spot for cats and spent a lot of Saturday night rolling around on the floor getting my leg scratched and photographing the cats (they have 3).
For all you dog lovers, a picture of Kep tomorrow, as today is his 12 birthday, so at some point I will grab a shot of him, probably after we return from the vets, if he is still speaking to me, that is.
I had a technical question about the lens used for the close up photos, it’s a Tamron 90mm macro lens, although I like to try to take photos with the minimum of kit, you cannot beat a good macro lens and at 90mm it makes a good portrait lens as well. The shots were taken using one of my studio flashes, the pencil shot was all hand held, pencils in one hand camera in the other.

Now playing: Guns 'n' Roses - Cats in the cradle and the silver spoon
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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Meet Jr.

Little Paws Prayer

This is a prayer for little paws
All up and down the land,
Driven away, no friendly voice
Never an outstretched hand.
For weary paws of little beasts
Torn and stained with red,
And never a home and never a rest,
Till little beasts are dead.
Oh God of homeless things, look down
And try to ease the way
Of all the little weary paws
That walk the world

Author Unknown

Now playing: Squeeze - Cool For Cats
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Enter the Polergirl

Photo yesterday was of a pasta machine for any of you that were interested, today the image is of some pins with coloured heads, I just love the contrast of the sharp hard steel with the bright friendly colours of the heads.
Now some sad news, one of my very close friends has suffered a loss, but I don’t think he will get much sympathy here. He is in the process of becoming a blog widow, my other very good friend (I only have a couple, perhaps I should get out more) Polergirl has just started a blog, now I know I should not be doing this as you can only read so many blogs a day, and her writing and reason for blogging are so much better than mine, but please pop along and have a look, I think that it could be a really good read. Remembering my first comment from someone I’d never met, I was so excited and only had to wait 3 weeks! Just let her know who sent you, it might get me bigger scoops of ice cream next time I’m there.

Now playing: Iron Maiden - Run to The Hills
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Friday, November 14, 2008

Pencils pins and pasta

My post “Bob” was one of the posts featured on “Authorblog” yesterday, this blog for those of you that have not been there, features links to post of Excellence from around the world, picking on one as post of the day and a number of runners up, one was me!, the winning post was the one I highlighted from Daisy a few days ago. Since I started the blog I wanted to get a post on there, as so many of the posts are of a really high standard, and now I’m on there!!! So a big thank you to David.
The picture today is another close up, I find this type of photography fascinating and will try to do some more in the next few days.

Now playing: The English Beat - Twist & Crawl
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Thursday, November 13, 2008


Fear! In some ways our fears help to define our personalities, they are, if not entirely unique in themselves, at least unique in their strength and combination. Me I’m terrified of wasps, I work in a very large open plan office (football field size at least) and if there is a wasp in the room I’m on edge, almost to the point of not being able to do my job. Caz hates wood lice in much the same way; I am never as popular as when one is in need of disposal. Kep has developed a fear of the vets over the past few weeks, which has lead to me parking in strange places to fool him about his ultimate destination.

Clowns seems to be a popular fear, if that the right way to word it, coulrophobia is an abnormal or exaggerated fear of Clowns, it’s got a name so you can’t be on your own. The strangest fear I have ever come across was one held by a builder I knew, picture your average builder, rough, tough and down to earth, and now picture one with a fear of gingiber laganum (Ginger cake), yes ginger cake, nice tasty, not renowned for it ability to attack on sight. He foolishly let on to his work mates about this, who effectively immobilised his van by leaving a cake on the driver’s seat and refusing to remove it. As I wrote about yesterday they say that if you face your fears you can beat them, bugger that, if I’m afraid of something there must be a good reason, so I’m keep well away from wasps.

Picture today was taken along with the last two days pictures, I love close up photography, it gives you a glimpse of the world you do not always see, I chose the subjects randomly as you cannot really tell how they will look till you take the photo.

Now playing: The English Beat - Tears of a Clown
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