A Weight Off My Mind

If only I knew that everything would turn out alright for us in the end, I wouldn’t mind so much the interminable wait for the slow drip-drip of potential resolutions to salve and soothe the worst of the multiple irritants that seem to plague our life just now. Things had been progressing for us, slowly but surely, but sadly over the last few months everything seems to have ground almost to a shuddering halt.

We’re tired, strung out, stressed and struggling through it all as best we can. It would truly be such a weight off my mind to know for sure that this nightmarish feeling of wading through thick treacle, stiff and sticky and sucking me down, would eventually pass and all would be well in our world once more… But in the meantime, waiting hopefully for our long-wished for happy-ever-after dream is all I have for now…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Weight

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Please Don’t Google That For Me…

Please don’t Google that for me…

If on any particular occasion I can’t remember something trivial, and it’s something I know I used to know but just can’t remember it for now, please don’t rush to ‘helpfully’ Google it to find the answer for me. Honestly if I’d wanted to just Google it, I’d have picked up my phone (or laptop) and done it for myself – that’s not the purpose of me posing the question…

Say, for example, we’re watching a movie and I say ‘Oh, I recognise that guy, he played the murderer’s side-kick in (whatever the show is) a few years ago – what was his name?’ I expect us to have a puzzled discussion, an animated conversation about it, and between us make suggestions and play with the idea and (hopefully!) reach a satisfactory conclusion for ourselves, however long it takes.

If it’s someone whose name I used to know, I’ll no doubt get there in the end – or if not, maybe you will – even if it is two hours later and we’re now watching something else, entirely unrelated. Because what I want to do is use my brain, jog my sluggish memory, try to remember it for myself. Technology is great in its place but I also have a lot of data stored in my own memory banks, thank you very much, and I worry that if I don’t use it, I’ll lose it.

So humour me, let me try to work it out for myself first… I’ve worked hard to file and retain certain information in my brain over the years and sometimes it’s been in there so long I have to dig a little deeper to find it. So please don’t automatically fall over yourself to Google it for me… please don’t spoil my middle-aged fun, thank you very much… 🙂

One-Liner Wednesday

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Centre

At the centre of my struggle to source the perfect camera for me is the fact that I seem to want something that doesn’t appear to exist…

Ideally I want a compact camera that is small, but with a big APCS sensor, a fast sharp lens that can be zoomed manually, excellent autofocus, physical manual control, a silent shutter with minimal lag, a tiltable touchscreen, lots of megapixels, Optical Image Stabilisation, and oh, it has to not cost the earth. And it has to be small, did I mention small? Really small. Because however super-duper everything else may be, the reality for me is that if my camera isn’t truly tiny, then I simply don’t take it with me and end up relying on my smartphone to take photographs, which completely defeats the purpose of having a decent camera in the first place!

It’s a dilemma that frequently drives me nuts, and has done since buying my first ‘proper’ camera almost a decade ago. I do appreciate that the ideal of a one-size-fits-all camera is just that – an unrealistic ideal – and the best solution seems to be either to have more than one camera for different uses on different occasions or to decide definitively on where my main priorities lie and compromise. Except I keep changing my mind every five minutes and see-sawing up and down about what matters most to me in a camera, because ultimately I do still seem to want it all…

I have, over the years, owned two APSC sensor DSLRs and two MFT sensor Compact System Cameras. In fact, I still own both CSCs, because although I wanted an upgrade on my first – more physical manual controls, more megapixels, tiltable screen – I’ve still got a soft spot for the original smaller, far more basic pared down version, so didn’t quite get round to selling it on as planned. And much as I loved the image quality on both DSLRs, I really resented lugging them about with their bulky bodies and lenses, so more often or not they stayed at home, and sadly they were soon sold off.

Going with a Micro Four Thirds sensor in a CSC set-up allows me the versatility of a relatively small camera body and relatively neat and light inter-changable lenses – and the image quality is perfectly lovely, but just not quite up to the APSC standard I prefer. However small they may be, I still don’t tend to take all my lenses with me at any one time though – I like to choose one and stick with it for the day, but then often get frustrated at the limitations that creates. And still I don’t take it everywhere with me whichever lens it has on…

In know that ultimately the best camera for me is going to be the one I always take with me – and this is why I know I haven’t quite found it yet – but sometimes it feels like my never-ending quest to find something that not only takes good enough images for my liking but also fits into my seriously restrictive size parameters may just go on for ever… 😦

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Centre

My Yoga Journey: Persistence

For the last nine days in a row I’ve actually succeeded in practising a little bit of yoga every day – woo-hoo!

I’d decided that ten minutes of yoga a day would be my minimum goal to begin with. Trying to do too much, too soon and ultimately giving up rather than risk feeling like a failure is one of my bad habits in life, so I wanted initially to set the bar at a realistic level for me at the moment and will raise it incrementally as my slow but steady improvement warrants it.

Ten minutes a day might not sound much but even so I do feel the stretch on stiff joints and flabby muscles and my persistence is starting to pay off already. The difference in how far I can bend and reach and hold every day is noticeable enough to keep me keeping on, so much so that on some days I’ve done fifteen minutes, and yesterday it was a full twenty minutes of practice.

My plan is just to carry on as I am in building the habit of daily yoga practice into my everyday life, based on the premise that doing something, anything, for however short a time on a regular basis is always far better than doing nothing at all. And hopefully soon enough my motivation to continue will come solidly from enjoying past results already achieved rather than relying on will-power and shaky future expectation… 🙂

From Dingy to Delightful

I’ve got a few rather disappointing photographs in my archive that were taken as unavoidably hurried one-off captures in a particular moment in time where there is often no real chance of going back to take a better shot – a now-or-never, take-it-as-it-is, like-it-or-not shot. And disappointing as many of them are, being pretty much unique for whatever reason, I’ve kept the resulting images for posterity.

For example, on our way from London to Brighton by train in late December 2011 (between Christmas and New Year actually), the weather was dull and damp and decidedly dingy as we quickly rattled past the iconic four chimneys of Battersea Power Station early on in our journey. The near-derelict ex-industrial building was ear-marked for planned redevelopment into a modern housing/ office complex in the near future, so I knew potentially this could be my last chance to capture her pre-facelift, so to speak.

(For those of you unaware of the iconic industrial beauty that is Battersea Power Station, she had been the cover-girl for Pink Floyd’s 1977 album ‘Animals’, taking pride of place along with a flying pig – it’s a classic, look it up!)

So with anticipation growing as we reached the location, I grabbed as many shots in passing as I could in the awkward circumstances – relatively fast-moving train with grubby windows, minimal options for a clear line of sight from the train tracks we were on, only a few seconds in which to frame and focus and fire, and of course intense pressure on myself to get it right because there would be no second chance.

In no time at all we were past and my chance was gone, so in the end this particular shot was the best of the bunch…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s quite clearly still recognisable as the empty shell of Battersea Power Station, all four chimneys are in the frame and thankfully my shot is actually in focus – hooray! But thirty-five years after being immortalised on an abum cover (the original image was taken in December 1976), my image seems disappointingly dingy, looking dull and dismal and – let’s face it, boring as hell. And not even a flying pig between her ears to brighten her up…

So how to jazz up my dull photograph seven years later? Post-processing with the application of a colourful digital filter, of course…

battersea-power-station

Ta-dahhh! How cheerfully non-dingy is this for a final image 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Dingy

Weekly Smile: 29 October 2018

me-oct-2018

Me after being out and about for a brisk walk in the freshest of fresh air on this bright and chilly autumn day, keeping my head warm and cosy in my new blue knitted bobble hat! And then some post-processing with a very colourful online art filter effect to help me smile even more 🙂

Weekly Smile