Friday photo hunt – my own choice

My ‘behind the scenes’ tour of Morecambe’s Winter Gardens theatre last September meant that for once I had to leave Poppie at home, something I felt a bit guilty about as my days out are as much for the dogs(s) as they are for myself. However, being dog-free meant that I was able to have a wander round the indoor Festival Market where I came across Oscar’s Cushions ‘n’ Throws, a stall selling exactly those items. And that’s when I saw it – a cushion printed with the most adorable Jack Russell face.
Now this face didn’t look anything at all like any of the dogs I’ve ever had, there was too much brown on it for a start, but for some inexplicable reason it made me think of Sophie. Maybe it was the eyes, maybe it was the facial expression, I don’t know, but something about it just grabbed me and I knew I wasn’t walking away from that stall without the cushion – so I bought it.
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Needless to say, the cushion is far too precious to be used as such so it’s on my bed for decoration only, and as I got it only four days before what would have been Sophie’s birthday it will always be thought of as ‘Sophie’s cushion’. I took the photo just after I got the cushion, intending to use it in a previous blog post, and it’s been in my archives ever since so I think this week’s photo hunt topic is now a good opportunity to use it.

Friday photo hunt – Moon

The word for this week’s photo challenge is ‘moon’ and luckily I didn’t have to go too far back in the archives to find some suitable photos. Some readers may remember one of my posts from May last year when I’d taken several shots of the moon at different times within the space of an hour, mainly to test my camera’s capabilities on long range night time shooting, so as the photos fit the topic I’m repeating some of them here.

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The sky clouded over after 10.09 shot and stayed that way for a while so I couldn’t see the moon at all, however the clouds eventually started to disperse and I managed to get a few more shots before my self-allotted hour was up.

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Admittedly the quality of some of the shots isn’t the greatest but they were really only an experiment anyway, though they came out better than I expected at the time and they do fit this topic nicely. Next week’s photo will be one of my own choosing and I have something rather nice in mind so although I don’t want to wish the time away I’m looking forward to posting that one.

Friday photo hunt – New

As far as shoes are concerned, and unlike many women, I don’t have dozens of pairs stashed in my wardrobe. My footwear needs are simple and casual – trainers or sandals in summer, trainers or wellies in winter, with a couple of pairs of ‘going out’ shoes with heels for if I ever do go anywhere which needs me to be ‘dressed up’. As far as work goes it’s trainers all the way and as I recently bought a couple of new pairs I thought they would do nicely for this week’s photo hunt topic. 
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Just over twelve months ago Michael’s girlfriend came over from Ireland to stay with us for three weeks and just before she went back home she bought a pair of boots from our local Asda store. Unable to try them on before purchase she found when she got back here that although they were supposedly her size they were a bit too small, so not having time to take them back she passed them on to me. 
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Although the boots are actually two sizes too big for me they are such a small slim fit that with a pair of insoles they do fit very well although I haven’t been anywhere in them yet. I suppose theoretically they are really second hand as I didn’t buy them myself but as they have never been worn since purchase then I’m classing them as ‘new’.
Well there you have it, a simple post to end the week, and I’ll be hopping over to Kate’s blog later to see who else is taking part in the challenge and what photos they have chosen for the topic.

Friday photo hunt – Gift/s

After the success of Kate’s weekly scavenger photo hunt during December she has decided to continue it through this month with a different topic posted each Friday. This week’s word is ‘gift/s’ and I have to admit it didn’t take much thinking power to decide on what I would use for this post – the Christmas gifts given to me by Michael.
The only thing I’d actually asked for was the Mrs Brown’s Boys dvd so everything else was a lucky bag of surprises. I saw ‘Christopher Robin’ (not to be confused with the earlier ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’) advertised on tv when the film came out a couple of years ago but as I find cinema sound too noisy I never went to see it. I have to be in the mood to see a film all the way through anyway but I think I’ll like this one when I get round to watching it.
Although I can be quite creative in certain circumstances I’m not really into handicrafts so I’ll have to be in the mood for tackling the crystal craft kit. The box says I can ‘spend a relaxing afternoon’ creating this picture but the pieces are tiny and look frustratingly fiddly so it could quite easily take me hours/days/weeks to complete it, though hopefully it’ll be more fun than frustration and will look nice when it’s finished.
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The shiny pink small ‘bag’ is a phone purse by Baylis & Harding and included the tubes of hand cream and lip gloss, definitely very useful, and the purse will come in handy when I can eventually go out for an evening meal with Michael. Coronation Street is the only soap I ever watch, and though this book is set just after WW2 and many years before the actual tv programme was born it features some of the characters who were in the soap so I’m looking forward to reading it. There was one other thing Michael gave me – a Terry’s Chocolate Orange but I couldn’t show it as I ate it at Christmas!
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Having just read Jayne’s post and re-reading this I wish I hadn’t been so materialistic, however there’s one invisible gift which definitely deserves including – the gift of unconditional love and loyalty given to me by all my dogs past and present, regardless of the time of year or the occasion, and it’s a gift I will always treasure.
Well that’s it for this week, I hope everyone likes my choices. I don’t know if I can do all four weeks this month but with something already in mind for Week 3 I’ll certainly give it a good try.

Friday festive photo hunt – my own choice

The last post in December’s weekly photo hunt  although it’s only Thursday, and as I’ve already written quite a long ‘looking back’ post this week I’m keeping this one fairly short and light-hearted.
Several times over the weeks prior to Christmas I’d asked Michael what he wanted and was met with the usual reply of “I don’t know, just get me anything” which really didn’t help. However, a couple of weeks ago and not long after I’d asked him the same question yet again I got an email newsletter from the animal sanctuary I support, with pictures of various long-term residents who can be sponsored rather than actually adopted. One of these is a donkey called Sean and as Michael’s first name is Sean I had the mad idea of sponsoring the donkey in his name.
Three days after I took out the sponsorship an envelope arrived with a photo of the donkey, a fact sheet with the donkey’s history, a certificate in Michael’s name (Sean) and a lapel badge. The photo was in a brown cardboard surround but I found a couple of nice frames in a local shop and framed both the photo and the certificate before wrapping them for Christmas.
Now you can’t have a donkey without giving it a carrot and it just so happened that as I was coming out of Tesco the following day my quirky sense of humour got the better of me when I spotted a round cardboard display stand in the entrance with ‘Free carrots for Rudolph’ written across the top – so I took one and wrapped it separately in Christmas paper when I got home.
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Michael’s face was a picture of total puzzlement on Christmas Day when he unwrapped the carrot, which I’d given to him first, though he was quite surprised and pleased when he unwrapped the photo and certificate. The donkey may not be an actual present as such but the sponsorship will help the animal sanctuary if only in a small way and once the place opens to the public again we’ll be able to visit Sean and see him properly. Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, yes I did get Michael a couple of proper presents which have been put away in his unit, though I’m not sure what he did with carrot.
So there you have it, my final post for this year, and thanks go to Kate for continuing to host the photo challenges – I often wonder how she manages to think of all the different topics. All that remains now is to welcome any recent new readers to my blog and thank everyone for visiting and commenting on my various posts – I hope 2021 is a much happier and healthier year for everyone.

Friday festive photo hunt – tree

This week’s festive photo hunt  topic is ‘tree’ and for something a bit different my first photo isn’t actually a tree and it’s not even mine. While taking the dogs on their bedtime walk one evening I came across a lovely tree-shaped window decoration in a house round the corner; I’m not quite sure what it is as it seems to be stuck to the window but it’s very pretty and was worth a quick photo.
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My own little tree has quite a story behind it. Back in the 1990s I worked for a local joiner/builder who also made and installed double-glazed windows and every December I would decorate the tree for the showroom at the front of the workshop, until one year when he decided the tree was past its best and with a broken stand it had to be thrown out.
The tree actually split into three sections and though nothing could be done with the bottom section the centre and smaller top sections were okay so I brought them home, put each one firmly in a planter full of sand, and decorated the two of them, giving the larger one to my partner for his flat and keeping the smaller one for myself. However, once I’d decorated them they looked so pretty I thought it would have been a shame to undecorate them so come the New Year I just put a bin bag over the top of each of them and stored them away in our respective cupboards under the stairs until the following year.
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Those two trees were brought out of hiding every Christmas until the time we went our separate ways though once I started living alone I didn’t bother with mine. It’s different now though, since Michael came back to live at home my little tree has been resurrected although I think it probably is past its best now. Maybe next year I’ll get a new one – or maybe I’ll just redecorate this one so it can stay around a while longer.

Friday festive photo hunt – baking

The topic for this week’s festive photo hunt  is Baking and this one did initially present a challenge as baking is one thing I don’t normally do, however a friend of mine just recently moved house and for some reason, during sorting out and packing away various kitchen stuff, she gave me a jar of mincemeat. Now I love mincemeat and could quite happily eat it by the spoonful straight out of the jar but with this challenge in mind I decided to get my brain into gear and make a small batch of mince pies.
Not having made anything like that for many years I wasn’t sure how they would turn out. They aren’t very big and they are certainly not perfect but as Michael doesn’t like mince pies anyway they are only for myself so it doesn’t matter what they look like.
I’ve sampled a couple and they are nicer than I expected them to be so I thought I’d better set up a suitably festive photo of some of them before I eat them all – in fact as I write this I’m just about to make a mug of tea and have a couple more.

Friday festive photo hunt – decorations

For something a bit different for December Kate’s monthly photo challenge  has gained a Christmas theme and gone weekly with a photo, or photos, posted each Friday except Christmas Day. The topic for this week is Decorations and I could think of nothing better than the highly decorated house front just a few doors up from the family home in Roscrea.
The couple who live there originally put a few decorations in the front garden just for their kids but after compliments from a few neighbours they decided to continue each year but adding at least one different thing each time; they also have a ‘post box’ on the gate post for people to post donations if they wish and these all go to a local charity.

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I only started going over to Ireland in 2016 but unfortunately the photos I took of the decorations that year didn’t come out too well. I should actually be over there now for a short break but circumstances being as they are I’ve been unable to go, however I’m keeping my fingers crossed that in twelve months time I’ll be able to see what’s been added to the decorations and take some more photos.

Scavenger photo hunt – November

It’s almost the end of November and the monthly photo challenge has arrived again – where does the time go? This month’s topics are – House plants, Ring/s, Harbour, Window, Sky, and as usual, my own choice, so here goes –
I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I’m not a gardener in any way, shape or form, and that goes for indoor gardening as well as the outdoor stuff, so although I do like house plants I very rarely have any. I’ve had lots of various ones in the past and though I start off with good intentions and they look nice for a while I eventually forget to water them and they just die, so when I wanted to make a certain corner of the bathroom look a bit nicer I got an artificial trailing thing which does the job nicely.

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House plant – the artificial trailing ivy

Over to Anglesey now and while on a camping holiday there in 2015 I came across the ‘Time and Tide’ bell, installed on Cemaes beach the previous year. It was sculpted by Marcus Vergette and is known locally as St. Patrick’s Bell as it’s situated not far from where St. Patrick is said to have founded his first church in 440 AD after being shipwrecked close to the shore. There’s an inscription on the bell in the form of a poem by Glyndwr Thomas – “Above the waves, melodiously, Sounds the name of a saint so fair, A bell whose knell is here to tell, Patrick’s eternal prayer” – and it rings twice a day with the waves at high tide.

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Ring/s – St. Patrick’s Bell, Cemaes beach, Anglesey

Although Cemaes is only a small village with not much there it’s also a nice little place with a very photogenic harbour, especially when the tide is in. I can never resist paying a visit and taking a few photos whenever I’m camping on Anglesey so it was hard to decide which of the many to use for the next topic, however I finally decided on this one taken in May 2013.

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Harbour – Cemaes, Anglesey

The next photo is one I used in a post twelve months ago but it’s so nice I couldn’t resist using it again. Walking through a local park one evening on my way home from an afternoon out I passed the back of a nearby church; the lights were on in the building, lighting up the stained glass windows, and while most of them looked quite plain the one behind the altar was something else. In the dark of the evening the deep colours of the stained glass really stood out and though I was looking at it from the outside it was certainly worth taking a photo.

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Window – Stained glass window in a local church, seen from outside

Choosing a ‘sky’ shot for the next topic wasn’t easy as I have quite a few photos which would lend themselves, however while searching the archives I came across this one taken on the last day of November 2017. I was on the second day of a five-day break in Ireland and had been to Kildare and Portlaiose; the late afternoon shot was taken from the window of the moving coach as I was on my way back to Roscrea.

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Sky – somewhere between Portlaoise and Roscrea, Ireland

I had no difficulty at all in choosing the final shot, in fact I decided to use two as they are so topical. If anyone is watching this year’s I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here you’ll know it’s coming from Gwrych Castle in North Wales; a derelict and dangerous ruin for many years it’s now in the slow process of being renovated by the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust. I’ve camped several times at a lovely site just down the lane from the castle and in August 2016 I went on a guided tour of part of the grounds during a special open day, however three years previously, before any renovations began, I found a path round the back of the castle and managed to sneak into the grounds through a gap in the security fence. Although most of the actual buildings were boarded up I was able to wander freely up and down the paths and steps of the inner grounds, and as the place is built on several levels I got some good shots looking down from one of the upper turrets.

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Gwrych Castle, setting for I’m A Celebrity… 2020

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Incidentally, I’m A Celebrity isn’t a programme I would normally watch – I saw the very first one years back and decided it wasn’t my type of thing so haven’t seen it since – however I’m making an exception this time just because of the location, and sad person that I am I’m actually finding it quite entertaining.
Well that’s just about it for my selections this month, I hope everyone likes what I’ve chosen for the topics. As usual I’m linking up with Kate’s blog, time to make a brew now then I’ll hop across to see what everyone else has chosen this time.

Scavenger photo hunt – October

It’s photo hunt time once again, and though I didn’t take part last month as I had – and still have – a backlog of posts to write, this month’s topics seemed reasonably easy so I’ve got my brain into gear and I’m joining in this time. The topics are – sweet treat, starts with ‘W’, reading now, hobby/crafting, something purple, and as always, my own choice.
I’d already thought of a photo for the first topic but an even better subject came my way just yesterday evening when I picked Michael up from work. He wanted to call in our local Asda on the way home but I didn’t want anything myself so I waited in the van for him and when he came out he presented me with a long box containing a Sid The Sausage Dog party cake which had been reduced in price. Now I know I like cake but I don’t eat nearly as much now as I once did so I don’t know what made him think I could eat all this – it’s 18ins long and according to the box serves 24. He said he doesn’t want any of it so I think I’ll be taking it round to my friend’s later and sharing some of it with her.
Sweet treat – party cake
I don’t know about any other areas of the country but just recently my local area has been subject to several days of rain, especially on Wednesday and yesterday when it rained more or less non-stop. Of course rainy weather means very wet and probably muddy dog walks so for the next topic I could think of nothing better than my welly boots.
Starts with ‘W’ – welly boots
A while ago Michael bought me Paul O’Grady’s Country Life, an autobiography about the star’s home life with his motley collection of animals. I very rarely read autobiographies but I do like Paul O’Grady and this book looked interesting, however it was the latest in a series of five and though it could probably be read as a stand alone book I didn’t want to read it without reading the other four first, so I sent for them all via the internet and I’ve recently got round to reading the first one.
Reading now – Paul O’Grady’s first autobiography
As I don’t bake, knit, sew, crochet, draw, paint etc I have no actual crafting hobbies but along with photography and writing this blog my other main hobby – if it can be called a hobby – is camping. I fell in love with it back in 1997, became a solo camper eleven years ago and love to get away for a few days in the tent whenever I can. Unfortunately, due to the strange times we are all currently living in, I haven’t been able to camp at all this year but hopefully next year I’ll be able to continue my hobby.
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Hobby/crafting – the tent which goes with my camping hobby
Purple isn’t a colour which has ever really featured in my life and I don’t really have anything that colour. I’d already used my purple fluffy tombola prize in a previous month’s photo challenge, however I recently remembered the squeaky bone in the box of dog toys. Along with three tennis balls it was in the dog transporter which I bought from the animal sanctuary in January but for some reason Poppie has never been interested in it.
Something purple – one of Poppie’s squeaky dog toys
Looking through the archives for a suitable photo for my own choice I came across one which I’d completely forgotten about. While camping on Anglesey four years ago I was driving down a narrow country lane when I had to stop quite suddenly – running down the lane in front of me was a female quail followed by her brood of eight or nine very tiny chicks. The little things were all over the road and I didn’t dare drive any further in case I ran over them so I got out to shoo them into the safety of the long grass under the nearby hedge, but before they all disappeared I gently picked one up and took an arm’s length photo of it before putting it back in the grass and returning to the van.
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My own choice – a quail chick on Anglesey
Well that just about wraps things up for this month, I hope everyone likes my selections. Thanks go to Kate for continuing to host the challenge, time now for a brew and to see what everyone else has chosen this time.