Wednesday, 28 February 2007

February 28 ~ Exposure

Well.... it WAS exposing itself, this physalis! :D Cheeky little thing. I guess I'm a bit warped, perhaps, but it was the first word that came into my mind when I saw this subject (the other one was Ta-dahhh!).

I love the papery, textured feel of the physalis's bell; the look of it always fascinates me. I remember some of these growing in our back yard when I was younger, and I recall them being referred to as "Chinese Lanterns" which is such an evocative name. I can picture strings of these, illuminated from within, hanging in an Imperial garden.

I'm taking a rather big photographic plunge today (for me, anyhow). I've decided to submit a portfolio of 10 images to Outdoor Photography magazine. I don't expect to get any results from this, it's more of a personal milestone for me, is all. If I don't try, I will never know if I COULD make it. This way at least I can say I've given it a shot.

I'm still on tenterhooks waiting to hear if I've won the Location Portrait competition being run by DSLR User Magazine; I think the next issue is out on March 15th, and that's when the winner and the 2 runners-up will be published. I feel like I have every possible digit crossed!

Hope you've all had (or are having) a lovely Wednesday, and {{{HUGS}}} to you all!

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

February 27 ~ Oh My Darling....

.... oh my darling, Clementine!

Yes, I'm feeling a little bit silly today, at least as far as coming up with titles for photographs goes. Chris spotted this clementine at ASDA tonight while we were doing our groceries; I just love how it still has a leaf and stem attached to it. When he showed me, I knew that it would be the subject of today's photo in my PAD project. I also decided it would be a suitable subject for use with my trusty old sheet of Perspex to play with some reflections. :)

I'm so sorry I'm lagging behind with commenting on blogs. I keep meaning to catch up, then something else needs my attention. Please believe me when I say that you're all in my thoughts though and I send you {{HUGS}}

Hope you've had a good Tuesday!

Monday, 26 February 2007

February 26 ~ Lean on Me

Lean on Me -- it played on the radio on my drive home from work today, and this idea for a photograph came whizzing into my head. I thought about how we all have times where we need someone of our own to lean on; someone to listen, to be a shoulder to cry on, to be a sounding board, and just simply to be there. I want to thank Chris for being just that person for me.

I have moments like that on occasion, when something triggers the "Hey, that might make for a good photo!" moment. This afternoon was one of those times. This specimen won't be looking good for much longer, and I wanted to make the most of it's delicate nature. I can't remember what the florist said these are called, so if anyone knows I would be most grateful.

Today was Day One in the branch I will work in Mondays and Wednesdays. It felt decidedly odd not leaving for work at my usual time of 7:45am. I don't need to leave until 8:30am the days I'm at this branch, as it's only about a 5 minute drive from home - I kept looking at the clock thinking it MUST be time to leave for work..... but no, still too early! I know, I know - you must be thinking I'm silly not to take advantage of the extra 45 minutes or so of sleep it offers me, but I just can't sleep in. I'm almost always awake by 6:45am, with or without the aid of an alarm clock, and whether or not I need to be up early. Of course, that also means that by 9pm or so I'm ready for bed! LOL

Hope you all have had a good Monday (or are having one!) and I send you all {{{HUGS}}}

Sunday, 25 February 2007

February 25 ~ Serenity

Another grey and wet day here, so yet again I was in the "studio". Glad that the flowers I bought yesterday still look perfect.

I spent quite a lot of time tidying up the room before taking photos - it's gotten a bit disorganized since our trip to Canada, and I needed to put some order back into it. I was having a hard time keeping tabs on where all my little props were, it was that cluttered. Now, everything is in storage boxes and has its own place. Much better!

I felt so calm and tranquil while taking this photo, I couldn't help but title it "Serenity". I don't often buy white tulips, but it appealed to me yesterday; I'm glad I did get it. It just exudes peace and quiet to me. All in all, it's been a wonderful Sunday; hope you've all been enjoying yours.

Thank you so very much for visiting my blog and leaving the comments you do. I appreciate them tremendously, and they brighten my day immeasureably. {{{HUGS}}} for all who would like one.


I'm making an extra post because I'm so excited! I woke up at 4am; I've been tossing and turning, and finally decided to cut my losses and get up and log on to the Net. I'm so glad I did - I visited Digital SLR User magazine's site, and found out that this shot has made a shortlist of 16 to win their Location Portrait competition!!!

This shot holds wonderful memories for me. I took it in July 2006 while my parents were visiting, while we were on a day trip in Northumberland. My mom spotted this little fellow wading in the water at the causeway leading to Holy Island, struck up a conversation with his parents, and asked if it was okay if we photographed him. It was a terrific day out, and to say I'm thrilled with my achievement is an understatement!!!?

Here's the link to the magazine:

Unfortunately, I have to wait until March 15th to find out if I've won - the prize is a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 lens. Even if I don't win, I'm over the moon at having been selected for the shortlist!

Okay - excited babbling done! LOL

Saturday, 24 February 2007

February 24 ~ Droplet

Managed to get out with Chris today, and we had a lovely time. He bought me some tulips, and this was my favourite shot - I converted it to black and white as the colour version didn't seem to pick out the lone water droplet as well. I don't usually convert floral photos to black and white, but I just loved the tones of this and thought it lent itself well to conversion.

Guess I'm just in a black and white photo kind of mood today, as I played around with one of my lighthouse shots too, just to see how it would look. I have to say that I'm rather pleased with the result, and think that - surprisingly - this seascape works well as a monochrome image. I'll post the lighthouse shot below; please feel free to tell me if it's rubbish! LOL

We listened to Sunderland's football match on the radio (that's soccer for all you back home in North America!) and - hooray! - we beat Derby County 2-1! We then watched England's rugby match against Ireland and were disappointed to see England get completely trounced - 43-13. What a completely different feeling.

Here's the lighthouse photo:

Hope you all have a lovely Saturday, thank you for stopping by, and {{{HUGS}}} for those that want 'em!

Friday, 23 February 2007

February 23 ~ Exploration

Well, it's Catblogging Friday, but I don't have a cat - only an Iggy. He'll have to do :) He spent a long time exploring and sniffing this physalis; he was fascinated.

Another working week has come to a close, and not a moment too soon for me! It's been a long one, and I'm glad it's over. I need to recharge my batteries and get ready for Monday, which will be the start of my 2-branch reign. I will spend Mondays and Wednesdays at one branch (the one that's totally new to me) and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at the other branch (the one where I've been based since September 2005). I'm looking forward to the challenge of having a new team of people to work with, and a new customer base to meet. Should be a lot of fun.

I'm hoping for some decent weather this weekend, but looks like I won't get it - they're forecasting cloud and rain all weekend here. So much for outdoor photography! I'm determined to have a great weekend nonetheless - maybe I'll pick up some flowers for macro shots!

Enjoy your weekend, and {{{HUGS}}} to those that want 'em!

Thursday, 22 February 2007

February 22 ~ Dreamscape

This is a bit of a departure for me, photographically speaking - I don't usually take such abstract images. I had been inspired by an article in this month's Practical Photography magazine, and decided to give it my own twist.

I'm not entirely convinced that it's effective, so would love some feedback on it. Whether it's worked or not, I feel that it pretty much sums up my mood and general feeling today - dreamy and "not quite there". I've been experiencing moments of sleepiness (I'm overtired) coupled with scatterbrainedness (is that even a word??) and this flowing, meandering composition that seemingly has no rhyme or reason seems to express those sensations well!

I'm glad it's Friday tomorrow; I will get a chance to spend some time with Chris for a change. We've both been struck down with this bug, so I've been hitting the hay rather early every night, and he's having trouble sleeping at all - not a great combination. We've decided to go out for a wander somewhere on Saturday, so I'm looking forward to that very much.

Oh, for any of you that are interested in how I took this shot, it's just some food colouring dropped into a vase of water. I rotated the photo so it looked as if the droplets were moving upwards from the bottom, and played with the saturation a bit. This was actually green food colouring against a white background, but I found it looked too harsh and clinical, so I toyed around with the colours a bit. I found the result a bit more interesting.

{{{HUGS}}} for all who want 'em - thank you all again for stopping by; I sure appreciate your commments!

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

February 21 ~ Bright Lights, Little City

I've just been fooling around with the macro lens today -- this reminded me of a mini urban jungle, complete with night lights!

I had a difficult time coming up with a photo today; maybe I'm suffering from photographer's block? I put it down to having had an extremely dull day at work today. Wednesdays are always quiet in our branch, particularly the afternoons, but today was bereft of customers! I didn't manage to speak to a single person on the phone today, so no appointments were booked either. We all felt so downhearted this afternoon that we postponed our weekly evening telephone session until tomorrow, in the hopes that our spirits will be restored.

I spent quite a lot of time tonight looking at this little scene through my macro lens and imagining it as a hustling, bustling urban centre - the red tinge of the tail lights, the skyscrapers, the city streets - and thinking of the possible inhabitants of this metropolis. I ended up lost in my work - almost literally!
Hope you all have a great day and night, and {{{HUGS}}} for all who want 'em! Know I could use one.....

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

February 20 ~ Mardi Gras

It's Mardi Gras, and the gang are all feeling festive! Iggy's quite proud of his "antlers" and Flex and Ayla love their masks. Mini-Me, on the other hand, seems to be having a few issues with his, and is shouting in protest as I took this photo. They just love to ham it up for the camera!

I'm really, really touched by all your lovely comments about Nevaeh - thank you all so much! By the way, for those of you who asked, it's pronounced "Neh-vay" :) - my sister was blown away by the reaction. She's very new to photography and has taken very few shots. I'm really glad M is getting into taking photos, now that Nevaeh is into a routine and is gettting a bit bigger; it means I don't feel QUITE so lonesome for her. Between photographs and the webcam, all I'm missing are the snuggles!

Hope you're all having a good day - it's been another long haul at work, trying to book some appointments. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that in the next few days I'll have some response to all the letters I've mailed out to customers about reviewing their mortgage. Anyone in the Sunderland area want a mortage? Let me know! :D

{{{HUGS}}} to all who want 'em!

Monday, 19 February 2007

February 19 ~ Crocus

It's been a lovely day at work today - not busy enough, but it's getting there! It made a wonderful change to finally see a customer who passed the credit score, and who we could actually GET a mortgage for! I had some good news from a customer of mine, too - she has been ill with cancer, and has spent some of the past week in hospital for intensive radiotherapy. She made a special trip into the bank today just to see me and let me know that all seems to be going well. She just gave me a hug and said "thank you". I cried a bit with her, hugged a lot, and smiled even more. She's going to keep me posted. It meant so much to me that she came into the bank not to do any transactions, but just to see me. She's been on my mind a lot, especially as she has a 3 year old daughter.

As I've been composing this post, my sister Michelle paged me on MSN Messenger and sent me some new photos of Nevaeh. I can't believe how big this niece of mine has gotten! She was 3 months old on Saturday, and I miss her SO much. Here's a photo of Nevaeh (who I call Pumpkin) taken by Michelle:

Last time I saw Nevaeh, it was December 30th, and we were in Canada. Guess next time we see her, it will be Christmas 2007 and she will be 13 months old!

Sunday, 18 February 2007

February 18 ~ Open Wide

It's a beautiful, crisp and clear day today - unfortunately, I don't feel up to getting out there and enjoying it! LOL We're having a lovely lazy Sunday pottering around the house instead.

The farthest I'm venturing today is the back garden; our daffodils are a riot of vibrant yellow, and the last of the crocuses are open. This one is from the back garden - I brought it in unopened and put it in a glass of water in my "studio". This wide-open view is the result. I liked the way the stamens and scattered pollen were so prominent; it just had to become today's photo!

I've just realized that I only have 2 weeks left before I'm packed off to Birmingham again on yet another course. Guess it's time to get cracking on the pre-course prep work. Good thing work is quiet enough at present that I can get it done there, and not at home.

I hope that the day is good to you all, and that you enjoy yourselves - whatever you may be up to!

{{{HUGS}}} to those that want 'em! :)

Saturday, 17 February 2007

February 17 ~ Bewick's Swan

This is a slumbering Bewick's Swan. They're similar to Whooper Swans, but smaller. This is one of a pair of swans living at Washington Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, where I'm a member. Since it was raining at sunrise, that was a no-go photographically speaking, so I waited around the house to see if it would clear up. Sure enough, around 9am the sun peeked through the clouds, so I decided to go photograph some wildfowl. It's been a couple of months since I made the 10 minute drive to the reserve, so it was a refreshing change.

This is my favourite shot from the morning; I was watching the swans for ages before taking a single photo. The sun illuminated the water, making it look like molten gold in parts, and the swan drifted peacefully across the pond.

I seem to have shared my germs with Chris, so he's laid up with the same bug I had. I'm just going to spend the day with him, watching the FA Cup on telly and whatever else catches our eye! Maybe there'll be a few episodes of Scrubs on - we LOVE that show!

Have a wonderful Saturday everyone! {{HUGS}}

Friday, 16 February 2007

February 16 ~ For a Friend

This is Fergus. He's my monkey. A cheeky monkey, to be precise. He's holding the first daffodil to open in our garden this year. I don't have a cat for Catblogging Friday - so maybe I'll have Monkey Madness :D

Fergus is sending a special hug to all friends who need one today - free hugs all of his own to give!

It's the end of my first week officially in the new job - it's been good, but tiring. Glad it's under my belt now and I can press on!

It's dark and rainy and cold out there tonight (okay, the "dark" part is a bit of a no-brainer since it's going on 8pm!) but I'm hoping for a nice morning tomorrow; I'm itching to get out with the camera for some shots. I think I'm relatively healthy again, though I'm still coughing rather a lot, but that and the weather will dictate whether I bundle up warm and venture out, or whether I will stay tucked up and cuddled in bed. Tough choice! :D

Enjoy your Fridays, and {{{HUGS}}} from me and from Fergus ---- Fergus's Friday Feeling. LOL (Did I ever mention that I'm a bit daft?)

Thursday, 15 February 2007

February 15 ~ Iggy and the Snowdrops

This is Iggy's first spring - he's fascinated by the snowdrops. I watched him stare intently at them for a long while. Wonder if he was waiting for them to do something other than be beautiful?! At least he hasn't tried to eat them ... yet!

I'm feeling almost better now, and what a relief that is. Valentine's Day was a rather quiet affair with Chris and I both being down with this bug. Oh well - we still had a lovely evening. He cooked supper, and we watched TV and laughed our heads off :)

Work is still going well, although I'm a bit frustrated at the lack of customer appointments in my diary. I spent all day today researching and calling, but not one person was home to answer my call! I sent out loads of letters though - maybe someone will call me back!

I'm looking forward to the weekend - I'm hoping to feel well enough to venture out for some sunrise photos if the weather's kind to me. Fingers crossed it will be a better weekend than the last one was!

{{HUGS}} to you all!

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

February 14 ~ With Love....

.... from me, Flex, Ayla, Mini-Me and Iggy. Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Thank you to you all for your warm get-well wishes. I'm feeling a bit more like myself today, although I'm coughing more and more, and painfully so. The other half is watching me like a hawk, saying I should go to the doctor's if it persists. I'm holding out as long as I can though, dosing myself with Night Nurse. :)

All being well, I will be catching up on blog visiting in the next day or so - thank you all for continuing to visit me! It has cheered me up no end. xoxo

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

February 13 ~ We Need a Bigger Pond!

"We need a bigger pond," said Daisy to Donald. "We seem to have outgrown this one."

"Well," said Donald, as he struggled to free himself, "we aren't ducklings anymore!"

Guess these two will be househunting soon!

It's been a rough night and rough day - the Night Nurse managed to make me feel as if I'd been hit by a sledgehammer, and made me feel suitably drowsy and almost inebriated, but I didn't sleep much all the same. As a result, I was rather wooly-headed at work today. Good news is, it looks as if I'll be signing up my first mortgage customer tomorrow! Not bad - 1 appointment seen, 1 signup! :D I'll keep you posted. Right now, I have a date with Night Nurse!

Monday, 12 February 2007

February 12 ~ Take Your Medicine!

Rough day today. Feeling worse rather than better. About to take a dose of medicine and tuck myself up in bed. Mini-Me recommends Night Nurse!

I apologize in advance - I'm on strict orders to have a very early night tonight so I will have to catch up on commenting on all your blogs tomorrow if I feel better. My better half has spoken! :)

Hopefully a good dose of Night Nurse might mean I get some sleep tonight - last night was a washout. Apparently there is a nasty virus going around at the moment, and I've been told to watch out for developing bronchitis. Eek! I'll get as much rest as I can (and if my Dad asks, I'm drinking tea with lemon as he suggests! :D )

I'm sending you all my good wishes for happy blogging, and hope that your Mondays have gone better than mine. Fingers crossed that tomorrow will be a better day on the health front.

Night night - time to take my medicine! :D

Sunday, 11 February 2007

February 11 ~ Sunny Side Up

I love the colour of egg yolks - so sunshiny and cheerful. Perfect for a day like today, when the sun didn't make an appearance yet again. I know they say that it rises every morning and sets every evening, but it sure didn't feel like the sun bothered today!

I'm still full of cold and am feeling sorry for myself - thank you to those who provided me with hugs yesterday, they sure helped! I've been taking it easy again today, dosing myself up with tea and lemon as well as paracetemol. Can't say for certain whether it's done any good, but it sure hasn't done me any harm. Fingers crossed that I get some sleep tonight - it's a big day at work tomorrow!

Hope you're all having a lovely Sunday and enjoying yourselves. :)

Saturday, 10 February 2007

February 10 ~ Slinky

Well, I'm feeling really horrid today - I'm in the grip of a terrible cold, and the weather is doing nothing to improve my mood. It's been dark, rainy and grim today - nary a snowflake to be seen, despite the weather forecasts! I guess Sunderland is just too close to the North Sea coast to get much.

I managed to get just this one photo taken today - when I walk from room to room in the house, I feel really faint. Guess I'm just going to have to stay put! To be honest, if there had been snow today, I would have felt worse as I wouldn't have been able to get out and about to take photos of it. I just can't win! LOL

Think I just need a hug.

February 9 ~ Colour Your World

Colour Your World is the name of a decorating store that I remember driving past frequently as a child. I used to love the paint sample cards and felt that I was looking at a rainbow each time I stood in front of the racks of them. When the opportunity presented itself last year to acquire some cards of my own, I didn't hesitate. Figured that they might make an interesting photo at some point. Today was the day I finally got around to doing something with them.

Although I'm posting on Saturday, this is Friday's photo - I spent a few minutes taking it before going out for an awards ceremony hosted by my employers last night.

Hope you all had a nice Friday!

Thursday, 8 February 2007

February 8 ~ Nightmare!

"Noooooooo!" shouted Mini-Me, as the monsters moved closer. He shielded his face, hoping that when he next peeked out, they would be gone. He dared to look. The monsters continued to approach. What would Mini-Me do?

Phew.... just a nightmare, but boy, did it feel real to Mini-Me!

Well, today was my first day "back at work" so to speak; my first day in my branch in a non-training capacity, anyhow! Monday I start interviewing bank customers again, and I'm really looking forward to it - it will be good to get back into a routine. I'm delighted to be the new mortgage adviser in the branch where I was the financial adviser - wonderful staff, great customers.

I also went to my new second branch today for the first time, to be introduced to everyone. It's a rather strange feeling to meet one's new co-workers, but they all seem very nice. I start there two weeks from Monday - I'll be spending every Monday and Wednesday at the new branch, and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in the branch I've always worked in. There's a big work "do" tomorrow night - bank awards - so will get to socialize a bit with them all. Looking forward to getting dressed up!

No snow here AT ALL, despite the few inches that crippled much of the south of the UK - I was SO disappointed not to see any here! :( Hope all of you who were affected by it stayed safe and warm.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

February 7 ~ Not Spring Yet!

These are the same crocuses I photographed the other day for my blog -- now they're covered in an inch or so of snow. To many of you, that may not seem much, but here in the North East of England, right near the North Sea coast, that's rather a lot. (Boy, do I miss the winters back home in Montreal - I love the snow!).

I couldn't get out and about to photograph the snow like I wanted to, as I have to get to work soon and I know it will all have melted by the time I get home. It's beautiful, soft, clingy stuff today - making the ordinary look special. I just had to rush out into the back garden to capture this, just so I could say I managed ONE snow shot! :)

Hope you all have a lovely day - I know I will! I got my early night last night, and feel SO much better for it today. I seem to have shaken off whatever bug had its grip on me, and feel terrific this morning!

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

February 6 ~ Fancy a Swim?

"Come on in, the water's fine!" called Huey to Louie.

"Brrr.... it looks chilly!" chattered Louie.

This is one of my only attempts at "colour popping" - I can see where I made a couple of boo-boos on the ducks, but I'm still proud of what I've achieved with this shot. It was fun trying something different, although the grumbles out of me while trying to colour the ducks in again might lead you to believe otherwise!

I feel a lot better today, although I have been awake tossing and turning in bed since 2am. I'm going to try for another early night tonight to catch up on my lost sleep.

Today's been a really good day - the roleplays went just fine, and I found out what bank branches I will be based at as of Monday. To my great delight, I'm going back to the branch I was at up until December 1st - this time as the mortgage specialist rather than the financial adviser. I'll spend 3 days a week there, and the remaining 2 days a week will be at a branch less than 5 minutes' drive from our front door! I'm really looking forward to getting started; I've been floating around "training" for the new role since the start of December, so I'm now ready to return to a sense of normalcy at work.

Monday, 5 February 2007

February 5 ~ Fetch!

"Fetch, Iggy, fetch!" Mini-Me shouted encouragingly. Iggy, however, did not move. Only his eyes revealed that he was taking any notice of what was going on, and he did not look impressed. Mini-Me even tried gesturing to the ball lying in front of Iggy, but to no avail. Iggy just wouldn't budge.

Sorry Mini-Me - looks like another training session is called for!

It's been an ordinary Monday here - work, grocery shopping, and some studying. I have my roleplays tomrorow with my boss in preparation for getting signed off and able to interview mortgage customers. Just another hoop to jump through! LOL

I feel like I'm coming down with something - so it's early to bed for me! Hope you all have had a good Monday! :)

Sunday, 4 February 2007

February 4 ~ First Crocus

Today I found the first crocus blooming in my garden. Definitely a sign that spring's on its way! Strangely enough, this is fully open before my snowdrops - they should be open in the next few days I hope. I love this time of year, when buds begin to form and flowers to bloom. Won't be very long and my daffodils will be open too.

Having a lovely lazy Sunday today - we've been out for lunch and will watch the rugby later. Nothing much on the agenda, just a nice day in. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, 3 February 2007

February 3 ~ Introducing Iggy

I was in the back garden today with Flex, Ayla and Mini-Me enjoying the beautiful sunshine, when they spotted this little fellow hiding in the grass. He looked forlorn and very hungry - so they fed him and promptly decided to adopt him. They've named him Iggy; perhaps not the most original of names, but it fits.

Welcome to the gang, Iggy!

I also went out at sunrise this morning. After being away all week cooped up in the training centre, I really wanted to get some fresh air and clear my head. Went to the Quayside and took photos of the bridges and buildings of Newcastle and Gateshead. Here's a couple....

Before I forget - I have a new friend here on my blog. Meet Minkey, my pet monkey (guess I watched too many Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau films!). Please stop by and feed him a banana from time to time - he loves them!

February 2 ~ From the Seaside

I'm HOME, at long last! What a week it's been.

Managed to catch the 12:30pm train from Birmingham to Durham and got in the door at 4:30pm. The train wasn't too crowded, and I managed to sit on my own all the way from Doncaster - it's lovely to have a seat beside you to put your bags down on!

I was SO glad to see Chris - I missed him something fierce! Looking forward to my first proper night's sleep since last Saturday.... I'm SO tired!

February 1 ~ Studying

Last night of the course, and yet again my photographic skills and inspiration seem to have abandoned me. I am tired and weary and just want to be back home with Chris. It's amazing how much you miss your own bed and pillows - I just can't get comfy here!

Mini-Me was busy studying for the last day - he wanted to get things done as quickly as possible. Home tomorrow - hooray! :)

January 31 ~ Snowdrops

Finally! Sunshine!!!!

I managed to get out and walk around the grounds on Wednesday, and boy - did I ever need it! I was feeling frustrated and upset over the course; the trainer seemed to have taken a dislike to me for some reason that I couldn't fathom. Good thing most of the people with me on the course are lovely!

It felt wonderful to be outdoors again after being inside since Sunday afternoon - and I was delighted to spot these snowdrops in bloom. After my walk, I felt refreshed.

I had a birdwatching first for me, too - a kingfisher flew right past me as I stood by the edge of the pond!! Unfortunately, he didn't land anywhere that I could see, and despite waiting until dusk, he didn't come back. That flash of iridescent blue as he shot by was fantastic!

January 30 ~ Pencil Case

Day two of the course, and the work is piling up. Mini-Me feels he needs to do some coursework in the evening, so he's getting a pen out of the pencil case for it.

I was really struggling for a subject on Tuesday - I felt rather flat and down; was missing home. The weather had been dull and grey too, so couldn't go out into the grounds to cheer myself up.

Oh well - at least I managed a photo!

January 29 ~ Still Confused

Despite his best attempts the other week while we were away, Mini-Me still cannot figure out how to watch the TV in the room. He has now given up on the remote control, and decided to try turning the telly on himself. He didn't succeed though - he's not very technologically minded! LOL :)

Ayla was feeling a bit less homesick by Monday - guess that the sound sleep she had sorted her out. The course is really tiring; it's very intense and the trainer wasn't much cop.... oh well!

January 28 ~ Homesick

Well, I'm back from Solihull, and what a long week it seemed! It's so good to be home. I'll be playing catch-up today, as I managed to get a photo every day I was away. Hooray! :) My apologies for the poor quality of most of them, and the rather unimaginative subjects - there was no chance that I could bring my tripod - so things were handheld - nor was there all that much to photograph.

This is Sunday's photo: we had arrived at the training centre and unpacked, and Ayla was feeling very homesick. Fortunately for her, she'd brought her teddy bear so she could cuddle him to ease her mind.