Share Your World: 22 October 2018

Name two books that have influenced you, and share how?

Hmmm… Choosing only two books out of a lifetime of voracious reading is really difficult – should I choose fiction or non-fiction? If fiction, do I choose those basic childhood reading books that originally kindled my love of independent reading in the first place, or those adult books that for a million different reasons remain most memorable to me now? And if non-fiction, do I choose history books or cookery books or self-help books, or all those extra-curricular academic text-books I read of my own volition while completing my degree? To be honest I think every book I’ve ever read has influenced me in some way or another, even if only to remind me never to read that particular author (or subject-matter) again! πŸ™‚

In your opinion, where is the line between art and not art?

Oooh, great question! I often ponder the ‘Is photography art?’ question – or more to the point for me, ‘When is photography art?’ So here is a visual explanation of my own personal understanding of art and not art…

This is a photograph of a cotton rug on my kitchen floor – to me this is photography, not art – it is a direct realistic representation of what I see before me.


This is me altering that reality by playing about with creating a zoomburst image of the same rug – to me it’s no longer just straightforward photography, because I’m adding something I hope is a little artistic and creative: a deliberate motion blur by zooming the lens in from wide to tele while taking the shot…

But to me these resulting images still look a little dull for my tastes, so I keep on trying… To begin with I’m trying hard to hold the camera as steady as possible, but when during one shot as well as zooming in I accidentally move my position while the shutter is open, I discover I prefer the softer blurred effect of losing that sharp focus, so take some more experimental shots this way… much more interesting!

And finally, I wonder how it might look if I deliberately make an active steady swirling circular movement while also zooming the lens in while the shutter is open… et voila! The end result is no longer a photographic realistic representation of a rug, it’s a multi-colour abstract image made by me, and it is this uniquely creative response to what is effectively the same subject taken by the same person with the same camera that to me makes it art πŸ™‚

My favourite image is the last one in my slideshow – here it is again juxtaposed with the original – my personal vision of art vs not art…

What is something that really annoys you, but doesn’t bother most people?

The older I get, the more of a grumpy old woman I become – but I don’t suppose my grumps and gripes are that much different from anyone else’s at my age. But I honestly don’t understand why American dates are written partially backwards – I mean, either have year, month, day as a format or day, month, year – but month, day, year simply makes no sense to me at all  πŸ™‚

Share Your World: 22 October 2018


Share Your World: 15 Oct 2018

What’s the biggest screw-up in the kitchen that you were responsible for?

Um… I’m not actually a bad cook in general and tend to have an instinctive intuition about how to right things that start to go wrong along the way. But I do remember once my younger sister and I (in our early teens) deciding to make a fancy cheese and rice souffle for family and friends. It was… um… an interesting experiment, shall we say? Altogether too dense in texture, too solid, too heavy – just not anything light or souffle-like at all… but it tasted beautifully cheesy! And thankfully all the adults present smiled indulgently and stoically chewed their way through it anyway πŸ™‚

What, in your opinion, makes people believe absurd conspiracy theories?

Hmmm… personally, I think that when the most glaringly obvious reality or truth of any particular important situation grates too far against the strongly-held belief system of someone (or a specific group of someones), they become over-agitated at the depth of the discrepancy and seek to find any alternative explanation that fits their own ‘truth’, however fantastical it may be to the rest of us.

In 40 years what will people be nostalgic for?

Privacy – I fear in the very near future it will become ‘normal’ for our every living and breathing moment to be photographed, recorded and shared either by ourselves or others, in our current personal ‘private’ as well as our social ‘public’ lives – hang on, does that maybe count as a conspiracy theory?

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Don’t care what they’re called, hot dogs for me come under the old Crocodile Dundee ‘tastes shit, but you can live on it’ label πŸ™‚

What made you laugh last week?

OMG last night my eldest daughter whatsapped me a trendy B&W arm’s length close-up pic of her partner on his knees sweetly kissing her 6-month baby bump. It was supposed to be all romantic and lovely but at first glance all I could see was what looked like him kissing her deliberately sticking-out butt, as if she’d just had a Brazillian butt-lift and was shoving it in his face! And after I pointed it out, once she’d seen it too apparently she couldn’t then un-see it and couldn’t stop laughing either! So there we we’re, either end of a phone 600 miles apart giggling our heads off… πŸ™‚

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Share Your World: 23 July 2018

What is your choice of puzzle – jigsaw, crossword, wordsearch, mazes, logic or numeric puzzles, something else, or nothing?

I used to try to do the three sudoku puzzles printed in the Metro (daily free newpaper given out at London tube stations) on my half-hour-or-so-each-way commute to and from work – they were labelled ‘easy’, ‘moderate’ and ‘difficult’. I usually (but not always) managed the easy one, generally struggled partially through the moderate one, and rarely even got started on the difficult one. However once (and only once, it was never to be repeated) I actually managed to complete all three in the one day – result!

List at least five favourite treats (and it doesn’t have to be food)?

A long, uninterrupted soak in a hot bath – long ago, as a young mum of three children born with 12 months between the first two and 15 months between the second and third, the peace and quiet of relaxing in the bath in the evening after they were all tucked up in bed soon became an absolute luxury I’ve never lost the feeling for.

Spending time with my much-loved children and grandchildren, who at the moment I’m unable to see as often as I would like ❀

Expensive perfume – not because it’s expensive, but just because those particular perfume scents I seem to prefer tend to be expensive.

Good quality milk chocolate, creamy and smooth and melt-in-the-mouth… mmmmm…!

Having books to read to feed my curiosity and imagination – whether fiction or non-fiction, words digested in silence and solitude have always opened up the world for me.

What is your favourite type of dog?

As a family we had two labradors while I was growing up, first a golden lab and then a black one, so I suppose I’ll always have a bit of a soft spot in my heart for that particular breed.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this week?

Seeing a grainy grey ultrasound scan image of grandbaby number six, who is due to be born early in the new year… πŸ™‚

Cee’s Share Your World

Share Your World: 9th July 2018

What would you name the autobiography of your life?

‘Outside Looking In’

Which do you prefer: sweet, salty or buttery?

Er… all of the above, depending on my mood. I definitely love the sweet sensuous sticky feeling of good milk chocolate melting gently in the mouth, but I also love the salty crunch of savoury crisps (potato chips in US), and what’s a better comfort food in winter than a steaming cup of tea and toasted teacakes slathered in butter or hot buttered toast πŸ™‚

What’s the finest education?

Β ‘Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling ofΒ  vessel’ – Socrates

I absolutely love learning – I really enjoyed my formal education at school, and as an adult have attended both college (attaining a practical healthcare qualification) and university (where I achieved a first class honours degree in psychosocial studies, and also later gained a post-graduate certificate in positive psychology).

But I also love informal learning – independent reading, practical experimenting, everyday life experience, deliberately developing creativity, building on basic common sense. To me, the finest education is all-inclusive, being a bit of a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. And above all, being constantly open-minded, open-hearted, and as non-judgemental of others as possible ❀

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?

I’m struggling a bit with life at the moment, so find it difficult to smile at much right now, but I decided if I thought hard enough, I would find something. And I did. We’ve had a bit of a heatwave recently, so all have our windows open day and night, and living in close proximity in a city leaves not much room for privacy.

The other day I overheard our neighbours’ autistic 9 year old son having a strop in their back garden – he was yelling frustratedly at his mum ‘Who cares? I don’t care, I don’t care! Who cares?’ and when his very patient mum repeatedly replied calmly and lovingly ‘I care, I care’ his 4 year old sister, not wanting to be left out, piped up quizzically with ‘Uh… Mummy, do I care?’ That little snippet of family interaction certainly made me smile… πŸ™‚

Cee’s Share Your World

Share Your World: 14 May 2018

Complete this sentence: This sandwich could really use some…

Freshly ground black pepper. I realised that whatever kind of bread or whatever favourite filling I may choose to make – sharp cheese with smoked ham, creamy egg mayonnaise, hot crispy bacon and chilled avocado – I always finish it off with a good grind of black pepper before putting on the lid with a final flourish and scoffing the lot with gusto πŸ™‚

What is you least favourite candy?

Anything with marzipan in it. But I do have a really sweet tooth, so will try most things.

What sign are you? Do you believe in Astrology?

Sun sign Sagittarius with moon in Cancer. In the past I have had a personal horoscope created for me, so yes, to a certain extent I probably do believe in astrology. It makes as much sense to me as any other faith-based belief system out there πŸ™‚

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?

Being sent a standard mobile phone pic of my dad and my son both formally dressed in kilts at a recent family wedding in Scotland I was sadly unable to attend.Β Dad is looking a bit tired, standing a little lopsided as he’s clearly trying to keep his walking stick out of view, and my son is standing head and shoulders above his grandfather, ram-rod straight as if on parade, stiff as a six-foot poker and looking rabbit-frozen-in-the-headlights uncomfortable at the inevitable attention. But the photograph makes my heart burst with love because Dad has had a couple of strokes over the last few months so is not as mobile as he once was, and my son intensely dislikes being included in photographs, so seeing them both standing there together so deliberately is a very precious image, and one that means the world to meΒ  ❀

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Share Your World: 30 April 2018

Do you use paper money? If so, is your money arranged sequentially according to denomination?

Yes, and yes. In several different types of currency collections throughout the house. I have variously English money (for where I live now), Scottish money (for when I visit family in Scotland), Euros (for when we visit Europe) and American money (for when we visit my husband’s family in America). All arranged facing the same way (face up, right way round) and in sequence from highest to lowest denomination. Oh, and at work I get really annoyed when people don’t place the notes tidily in the till drawer – face up, the right way round, in sequential order…Β  Control freak? Me? Nahhh…!

Are you comfortable doing nothing? For long stretches of time?

That depends on what you consider ‘doing nothing’. Resting is resting, day-dreaming is day-dreaming, meditating is meditating, thinking quietly is thinking quietly, waiting is waiting. All valuable passive ‘activities’ I take part in from time to time as necessary πŸ™‚

What is your greatest strength?

Um… the ability to do nothing for long stretches of time?

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?

Thinking about my grandchildren ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀

Share Your World: 30 April 2018

Share Your World: 16 April 2018

List things or events that changed your life?

Um… off the top of my head I’d have to include becoming a mum at 18, becoming a grandmother at 38, and getting a degree at 40 (just to prove to myself that I could!)

Complete this sentence: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s...

One of my favourite childhood memories of my paternal grandmother – a hard-working, no-nonsense farmer’s wife – is of her usual after-dinner ritual rest.

Dinner on the farm was the main meal eaten in the middle of the day, and so late mornings were always a busy time, taken up with cooking and laying the large table with as many places as were needed. After everyone had eaten and the myriad dishes were all washed and put away, my grandmother would sit herself down at her kitchen fireside armchair, put her feet up on her footstool, put the day’s newspaper over her face, and have a quiet little nap for half an hour or so. Her nap time was sacrosanct, a time that was not to be interrupted for anything less important than a life or death situation, and we all respected that.

On one particular day I remember my dad and my grandad (like two peas in a pod, but a generation apart) being a bit tardy in leaving the kitchen after eating, and were both standing looking out the window with one pair of binoculars between them, arguing good naturedly (in their typical father/son way) over whether or not the winged black speck they were looking at soaring high in the sky was a seagull or an airoplane. My dad was sure it was a plane, my grandad was convinced it was a seagull, and neither would give up their favoured view. As my grandmother settled herself in her armchair and raised her newspaper to her face, an indication that silence should commence, she commented abruptly ‘Humph… If that’s a bloody seagull it’s got a jet engine up its arse!’

Ha ha ha, the memory of the absolute shock on my young face that my grandmother said ‘bloody’ and ‘arse’ still makes me smile todayΒ  πŸ™‚

What genre of music do you like?

Classical, jazz, soul, R&B, soft rock, reggae, pop, hip-hop, garage, indie… pretty much everything, I just like music ❀

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?

With nice weather at last, I’ve really appreciated the abundance of beautiful spring blooms all around us

Share Your World: 16 April 2018