Wednesday, 27 July 2011

NOW, this is an adventure!

Today my six year old granddaughter sat with me at the table and decided to scrap with me. Nothing unusual about that, she has been doing it since she was two but today was different. She spent ages searching through her craft box and then said "Grandma, I need a photograph of me that you don't want. I am going to cute around it and put it on my page."
I found her the pictures and she did, indeed, cut around it. She then found some special pieces of paper and card in the "bits box" and this is the result

The glitter around the photo is where she has stuck individual sequins. The flowers at the bottom of the page she got from a freebie that came with one of her magazines and the flowers around her picture are stickers BUT the stems of the flowers she cut herself as well as the trunk of the tree, the sky and the tree top. I am just so impressed with this I had to share.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

explore - day six observation

This was such a simple thing on paper. Take three photographs: where you sit, where you stand and where you sleep.
OK so the sitting one was a given. I spend a lot of time at my computer doing family history or writing stuff for the FH society journal, or answering the occasional question from FH society members (I am Chairman of our local FH society), so my chair in front of my computer is the place I will share.

the place I stand the most is by the kettle. I seem to be constantly making tea and coffee. I know I can't be because we always have milk in the fridge and we don't buy that much. However, my position in front of the kettle is something that seems to be a dominant image as far as the family are concerned.

Then we come to where I sleep. There are those, rather unkind, members of my family that will tell you that I can sleep anywhere, and they are not wrong. I have been found asleep in my chair in front of the computer, finger poised above the button on the mouse, drooling into the keyboard while a continuing slideshow of the photographs stored on my hard drive cycles across the monitor. If I sit down to watch TV I must sit upright or I will sleep and if for any reason I get to relax in a garden chair the sound of my snoring will drive all the birds away. Mr M has taken lots of pictures, over the years, of me asleep in various unusual places. However, the place I go to when I want to sleep is our bedroom and that's where my difficulty lay.
No one is allowed into our bedroom. It is our sanctuary. When my children were young - before I met Mr M - they needed a place they could be away from .... strife. I made up a rule that they were not to come into my bedroom without permission and we would not go into their bedrooms without their permission. This meant that most of the time they could escape and I had time to deflect the threat of violence.
So the rule has remained. We ask permission to go into each other's rooms and it has meant that there has always been a small space that is special.
I felt most uncomfortable about taking a picture of my bed or my bedroom. I thought long and hard about it. This is why I am writing today, because I did not want to put a picture of my bed on the internet for anyone to see. I went to sleep on the problem and when I woke up it was solved. This is my bedroom door. It is the closest you anyone will get to my bedroom - unless I am ill and you are a doctor. I am happy about it, all you are missing is a perfectly ordinary bed with sheets and pillows and stuff but it is MY bed with MY special pillows. It is my special place, my safety and only Mr M shares it.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

explore - day four Perfection

Christmas dinner at my table
What do I have in my life that I consider perfect enough not to want to change it? That's a hard question. Not because I can't think of a single thing, but because there are so many things that I wouldn't want to change, and there is always that little niggle at the back of your mind that if you did change something it might not be as good as what you have now.
So how do I narrow down the choices? I won't talk about people because you can't "have" people in the sense of owning them they have to be with you because they want to be. Could it be the three chickens I have in my tiny back yard? They are just about perfect as chickens go. They are quirky and funny and they talk to me when I feed them and clean out their house.
What about my table? My father made it in 1975. He had bought the roof beams of the old wireworks in Cwmbran because they were Oregon Pine. He had some of the timber cut into planks that were three inches thick and some of it cut into 8x8 lengths. My table is 6feet 11 inches long and 2 feet 11 inches wide - that's just like my Dad, to make it almost 7 feet by 3. He carved the date and his name into the underside of the table top so if it wasn't quite so heavy it would be the one object I would try to save from a fire. He didn't use nails or screws just dowels and glue.  So my perfect object will be my table.

As an after thought here, because the table is so heavy I wouldn't even attempt to rescue it. I have a far more important object to rescue. The file with all the negatives of our photographs. These go back to before I was born. The folder is kept on the bookshelf closest to the front door and if we ever do have a fire that is what I will try to save. Since we went digital I have my photographs stored in two different places online but those negatives, well, what can I say.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

explore - day three: Maps

We love maps, we have  a bagful and a small suitcase full. The bag is an old haversack that belonged to my dad, actually the suitcase of maps was his too, and the selection of maps is quite wide spread.
OH, OH I have just remembered that the map widget you can see on my blog is because they have a photograph of mine on there. I took a photograph of Warkworth Castle. We were sitting in the car waiting for the castle to open and I took a picture. I uploaded the holiday pics to my Flickr account and the map people saw it and asked permission to use it.
We go to lots of places that are shut. It seems to be a habit with us. We went to Jodrell Bank and it was shut, the Merchant's house in Tenby was shut. We even went to Bannockburn and it was shut and that is a field with a statue in it! But the best place we ever went was when the Vatican Library first went online. We were new to the internets then so we thought we would go and have a look. We clicked the button and waited (being on dial-up and using windows 3.11 it was slow) eventually the page opened and told us "We are sorry the Vatican Library Online is closed for refurbishment of the site".
I'll be back with more later.

Well I am back. I haven't done much with the maps except stick a few choice bits in my playbook and cut out some circles (I wonder what they could be for.... Hmmm). I am the map reader. Mr M can look at a map and have it in his head. There was a game for the computer called Dungeonmaster that required your character to walk along passages and fight monsters. Sometimes the monsters chased you and Mr M could make his character run backwards while throwing things at the monster and he knew which way to jump at all times. I need the map. I need it in front of me. Having said that I am a good navigator (or nagavator as it sometimes gets called by a six year old) I don't need to turn the map upside down to be able to give directions. OH, and when those directions are ignored I can get us back onto the road we need without having to turn around.
Mr M says that it is impossible to get lost in this country because the furthest you can be from the sea is 78 miles and there is bound to be at least one signpost between where we are and the coast. We have never ended up in someone's farmyard although it has been a close call on a couple of occasions. However there have been lots of serendipitous moments because of our detours the best one being the ford. This was a day when we were going from Bude to St Austell and when we got to three miles from Camelford we found the tailback. There are traffic lights in Camelford because of the narrow road. My map is dead good and shows ALL the roads. Mr M had his Jeep so we turned off the main road and followed the little lanes and byeways. Suddenly there was the ford. We drove through. Mr M stopped the Jeep, turned to me and grinned. He reversed back through the ford and then drove through it again.
"Will you take my photograph driving though?" he asked and the excited little boy expression on his face just melted my heart. Without a second thought I jumped out of the Jeep and prepared to take the pictures. He reversed through the ford again and then slowly drove forward so that I could take lots of pictures. I clambered back into the Jeep and we looked at the pictures just to make sure and then we drove on. As we came out of the lanes not far from the Eden Project Mr M said "It was so good to see you standing out there with the camera, just like old times." And it felt good too.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Explore - day two. A postcard

I have trawled through loads of postcards from various adventures and also read again the holiday journals. It is very hard to choose just one event as a significant adventure because they all have significance. I finally chose this picture, even though it is not a postcard, because it has all the significance in it for those people who know the background.
This holiday was a big adventure simply because of what had gone on before it. I was ill with Myalgicencephalomyelitis (ME) for about ten years until 1997 when it began to recede. I was just at the stage when I considered myself "back to normal" when circumstances meant that my elderly parents came to live with us. By 2001 I was clinging to my sanity and teetering on the egde of mental exhaustion. My parents moved to a care home and I began the struggle with agoraphobia. My Dad died in 2003 followed by Mum in 2006 and by that time I just didn't go out.
All this time Mr M was being a constant support and NEVER complaining. By 2008 I was beginning to go out with him in the car, sometimes just up the road and back and sometimes to the home of my favourite cousin. Gradually the times I could stay out got longer and we reached a point where my eldest son offered us the use of his time-share apartment in Cornwall for a week. I will gloss over the journey down there except to say I managed it. Then there were things like strange beds and shower rooms and french doors and different furniture. You get the picture?
On this day we went to the Lizard point and we walked along the path. I was clinging to Mr M and really scared because I don't do heights at all and this was a CLIFF TOP path.
Mr M said "Stand there and look brave and I'll take your picture to show everyone how brave you are"
So there I stand leaning on my walking stick at the edge of a cliff that is thousa....... about thirty metres high and I wasn't afraid because I was so concerned that everyone who saw the picture would see how fat I had become!
That was the turning point. From then on going out has become easier, the panic attacks are rare now, although we still talk of the one I had in Fowey and regard that as the benchmark for all others, and I can walk to the school across the road to collect my granddaughter most days from school.
So this is my most significant adventure and the one I would have written home about if I hadn't written it all in the holiday journal

Monday, 18 July 2011

Explore - day one. Eeek a self portrait!

 My first attempt EVER to take a picture of me in a mirror and for the first one I wasn't ready! can you believe that?
They both look strange but more like me than any other photograph I have ever seen. This, of course is because it is the me I see in the mirror every time I look while photographs taken by someone else are of me as they see me - quite interesting really.

I am also supposed to write a "Note to Self" about why I am doing this course and stuff like that. I wrote it in my playbook. Now that was fun to make even if I did get one of the pictures upside down ~sigh~ this meant a little jiggling of papers but I am dead pleased with it.

The second self portrait is kind of grainy and when I went back and looked at the mirror I realised that it has a thin coating of dust on it - I am such a good housekeeper that it has only a thin coating.
I am a follower of the Quentin Crisp school of housewifery. When the dust is a quarter inch thick it compacts down and protects the surfaces so under no circumstances should it be moved.
I am also a follower of the Chatsworth school of home decorating. They have rooms that were painted in 1796 and they haven't been touched since so I have decided that my house will not be decorated for two hundred years.... of course I won't care then will I? hee hee.
So I have embarked on my exploration - I wonder where I will go tomorrow.....

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Resistance is useless I am 203 of several hundred

I just couldn't help myself. I tried, I really did. I need to sign up for another class like I need a hole in my head. I kept away from Shimelle's blog so she couldn't tempt me. I ignored all the stuff on Farcebork because I really, really don't want to struggle with another class.

Well, here I am. I have signed up for Explore. I am looking forward to the daily prompts dropping into my inbox. I haven't the faintest idea what it is about but I know it will stretch me in unexpected directions. I know it will make me think really hard about what I am photographing and what I am journalling, in short it is bound to be another great Shimelle class and resistance is useless.