SATURDAY 31 DECEMBER
AM I SHOUTING? YOU BET!
Ok I’ll quieten down now. I really can’t believe a whole year has gone by since I started this blog and that I’ve managed a daily post and photo. As New Years Eve is a traditional time to reflect on the past year here are my thoughts and a resume of events.
On a personal note it has been quite an emotional time. The year started quietly with the first notable event being an enjoyable few days in our touring caravan, Rosie, at Kingsbury Water Park near Birmingham. A few weeks later in mid February Mother in law had the first of several falls and ended up in hospital until early April with a couple of broken/dislocated bones. She was home less than a fortnight before we set off to Mexico with the boys for Huw and Mels wedding. That was a wonderful occasion but the second week away was marred by the news that MiL had fallen and was in hospital again. She came home shortly after we did and was able to attend the wedding reception a week later. About this time Ian & I also bought ourselves some pushbikes which have been great for helping us keep fit.
In June we spent a very cold and wet time at Silverstone. Despite the weather we had a great few days with splendid company although we were grateful to have Rosie and her heating! Later in the month MiL fell and was readmitted to hospital for 9 days causing us to cancel our planned week in Stratford on Avon. We managed to go up on our wedding anniversary to see The Merchant of Venice at the RSC and stayed overnight in a B&B. In July we had a lovely 10 days in the Norfolk Broads, although the onset was delayed by MiL needing an emergency opthalmic opinion! Our biking improved no end on all the flat terrain there, it’s so much easier than in Wales!
Also around this time we had the great news that Mel was pregnant and we should be grandparents next March.
At the end of July we were at Broad Haven with Gaz and Vicky trying to be cheerful before they moved out to Australia. In August our last night at home with Gaz and Huw was one of the most difficult times ever. It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. It turns out we probably speak to Gaz more now than when he was in Cardiff! We have become great fans of Skype.
A weekend near Chippenham with A&A, immediately after taking Gaz & Vicky to the airport, was a highlight and great cheerer upper. Our drunken attempts at pool on the Friday night will live long in the memory! The rest of the summer was spent in Broadhaven and then we returned to Stratford to A Midsummer Nights Dream en route to the Peak District for another week in Rosie. This time we had A&B for company. After a quiet October the big event of the second half of the year was our trip to Australia. It was reassuring to see Gaz and Vicky happy there and Vicky had organised some wonderful trips for us. Fraser Island undoubtedly being the best. A weekend with my cousin John resurrected family ties. We were particularly pleased to introduce him to the iPad2 and pass on the Skype bug. December has been a bit of a social whirl with visitors and nights out.
As you see I chose an eventful year to record! As far as my photographic year goes things are harder to summarise. I’m sure my images have improved although there are quite a few duds amongst them. Although I’ve taken a photo a day far too many have been taken at the end of the day purely so I could say I had done that days photo. Even so some of my eveing ones on the dining table have turned out well. I feel my composition has improved, in particular I’m learning to keep things simple and have acquired a liking for negative space. I’m getting to grips with artificial lighting although I have a long way to go on that score but find I can see light in a scene better than ever. I have had some fun with Photoshop, particularly in shrinking myself and I have learnt the basics of using textures. I’ve discovered I like black and white and am aware when taking a photo if that will be the best processing method. There are probably other things that will come to me over time. The downside of a daily photo, other than actually having to take one is the incessant pressure to move on. There were days when I took several reasonable photos but would only have time & space to process a couple so the other languish on the hard disc while I move on to the next day’s efforts.
Although this is the last day of my year I think I will do a further post with some of my favourite photos and thought to the future. Perhaps in a weeks time when I’ve had time to think about things.
Anyway New Years Eve – we had a super time in a bar/restaurant in Porth with Huw and Mel & Mels parents…..and guess what? No idea of a special photo!! So all I have is a little remnder that time is nearly up, for 2011 and this blog. A Happy New Year to you all!
Friday 30 December
Last night when uploading my photo on the computer a message flashed up saying the startup disc was nearly full. As it was late I just closed the Mac down and went to bed and Ian & I tackled it this morning. Startup disc turned out to mean the complete hard drive! We’ve a terabyte drive and 998GB were used! Aarrgh. We moved a load of photos and stuff over onto a separate hard drive but that only freed up about 100GB, there was obviously something fishy going on. Ian had to go over to Huw’s where he’d promised to help him install more loft insulation so I was left to figure it out.
My hunch proved right that it was to do with our email account. A couple of weeks ago Ian emailed a very large file containing several pictures and a video clip. It was over 200mb and not suprisingly the computer struggled! Eventually the recipient let us know he’d received the files ok. Ever since then our aol email has been running very slow and recently hasn’t been picking up new mail. The little rotating circle signifying its thinking just keps on circling and Ian’s message and photos had appeared in a mail folder entitled “Recovered from my Mac” Whenever I deleted this message it would just reappear. Anyway after a bit of research I found this was not an uncommon problem and the root of our storage issues. This 200mb file had duplicated itself over 2,000 times! It was possible to delete these although not by obvious means and I immediately acquired an extra 650 GB of free space! Aol still wasn’t behaving itself but I left it to visit Mum & Dad. By the time I got home late in the afternoon Ian had solved the final bit of the puzzle and everything is working fine. Hurrah! Computers are great but a real pain when they do stupid things like that!
Anyway I didn’t have time for a photo,again, until late this evening so here’s another tabletop construction. As I had a blue theme yesterday I’ve gone for red today.
Tomorrow will be my last photo and I’d like to make it a good one although I do struggle with these grey rainy days. Being as it will be New Years Eve I’ll probably do my final post on 1st January and then that will be the end of this blog 🙁 I’m going to leave it as a single year project and will switch back to posting on Mog’s Travels when we do anything interesting. I’ll continue taking lots of photos but without the relentless pressure of having to do one every day. I’m still considering my options for sharing them – more on that in the New Year.
Thursday 29 December.
It really is miserable weather at the moment. We had nothing planned for today so I spent most of the time on the computer, catching up with the blog and sorting through old photos. Ian needs new trainers so decided to pop over to the shops at Talbot Green but was beaten back by the huge traffic jams of people heading to the sales. For a photo I was experimenting with lighting and as a recent Daily Challenge was Blue I dug out the blue bottles I used earlier in the year & a water spray.
Wednesday 28 December
Had a very uneventful day today and did nothing worth writing about. I’d treated myself to set of precut bokeh shapes so had a play with them for todays photo. Really they’re just for backgrounds so these two photos aren’t really complete but anyway here’s some hearts and smiley faces
Tuesday 27 December
Ian’s foot has been painful since the end of last week and he’s been trying to rest it. Today however he was desperate to get out of the house so we went for a drive around the Brecon Beacons. It was a cold miserable grey day with intermittent drizzle and I took my camera without much hope of a decent photo. When we turned of the Heads of the Valleys Road over Llangynidr Mountain I spotted these electricity pylons. They’re the sort of thing I usually avoid photographing but today they seemed to be appropriate for the mood of the day and added to the bleakness of the moorland
From Llangynidr we drove over the old narrow mediaeval bridge then took the road past Tretower to Talgarth. We were hoping for a cup of tea at the Honey Pot but it was closed. We headed to Brecon then and Storey Arms where we had our cup of tea with a bacon roll in the biting wind of the car park. There were quite a few hardy bikers up there, personally I was grateful for a nice warm car! From there we came home & took things easy for the rest of the day
Monday 26 December
After lunch I Dad & I visited the hospital for the third day running and took Mum the rest of her presents. Then I dropped him off back home in Porthcawl. Ian & I were supposed to be having an evening out with Huw and Mel but Ian had an upset tummy & I was shattered. A quiet evening and early night was just what we needed.
Not having thought of a photo till nearly bedtime I stuck with the Christmas theme with photo of a wreath of bells that I have hanging up.
Sunday 25 December
After breakfast and making preparations for todays big cooking effort Dad and I first went to visit Mum. We found her in the ward dining room being helped to open presents from the ward staff. They’d raised money through a raffle and all the residents were given a goodly selection of mainly toiletries and chocolates. I was glad I’d taken only half the presents from home as she doesn’t have the attention span to cope with much. She was very happy there, enjoyed pulling the cracker I bought and we left her smiling and wearing her paper hat.
We picked up Enid on our way home where we skyped Vicky & Gaz after opening their presents. Huw and co arrived just after 2.00. The original plan was to eat lunch then but my oven had decided to go on strike and everything took longer than expected to cook. We had fun opening all our presents and didn’t eat until about 4.00. Despite the delay the food was excellent and everyone seemed to enjoy it. After clearing all away I finally felt I could relax! The evening was spent chatting and playing Kinect games. Huw took Enid and the rest of the family home, leaving Dad to spend another night with us.
I didn’t take many photos and they were all pretty rubbishy so here’s one taken over dinner
Saturday 24 December
Final preparations for Christmas are all done. At mid day I drove over to Porthcawl to pick up Dad who is staying with us over Christmas. We visited Mum en route though she was quite sleepy today. The three of us had a quiet meal together and then watched the film “The Kings Speach” which Dad really enjoyed, particularly as he clearly remembered the events in it. Ian went to bed & later I introduced Dad to Skype. First was a chat with cousin John and Sue in Canberra. Dad has only seen him once since he emigrated to Aus 30 years ago and so really enjoyed catching up with him and being shown around the house and garden via iPad. Next we spoke to Gaz and Vicky. It was Christmas morning in Australia and they were waiting until after speaking to all the family at home before opening their presents. Its a shame they’re so far away at this time of year. Christmas is all about family and they’re obviously missing us. Anyway, we wished them a merry Christmas and Dad marvelled at the wonders of modern technology!
Just before going to bed I took this photo of the slightly wonky Christmas tree.
Oh Dear, it’s a whole week since I posted here so I’ve a lot of catching up to do. Apologies in advance for the coming photos. My mind has been on anything but photography and most days I’ve just snapped a quick photo to make sure I completed the project. I’m certainly not going to end this year with my best shots.
Friday 23 December
It was a wet and wild day and we didn’t do a lot. Ian has a painful foot and is hobbling about the house. I set off early to go to the supermarket for the veg etc and then in to Ponty to the butcher to pick up the joint of meat we’d ordered – no turkey for us this year, we fancied a change! Unpacking & finding a home for it all took a while. The camping fridge we bought a couple of years ago, once more proved very useful! After a quiet afternoon I wrapped up the Christmas presents which gave todays photo.
Thursday 22 December
Well I got it wrong yesterday, today is the shortest day! It was a fairly quiet day as I caught up with some cleaning and tidying at home. For a photo I decided to revisit soap bubbles. I tried them earlier in the year but struggled to get sharp images without a flash . Tonight I set up my new flash umbrella but rather than getting shots of interesting swirling colours in the soap film I got reflections of me taking photos in my dining room! Bother!