Life, photos but not the universe

Chalk and wildwood

And also feathers.  Here’s something beautiful to see and read.

Yesterday, I drove out to Wiltshire to try and get some photos of one of the White Horses (the kind that are cut out of the grass on chalk hills so that you can see them for miles).  Naturally, as soon as I was within a mile of the one I wanted to photograph, the sun clouded over.  So I stopped in some woods instead.  A grove of Beech trees on the brow of a hill.

Tomorrow I may have to return if the weather is as advertised.  Though it’s difficult to imagine sunshine in the morning since tonight it’s sleeting and wet.  And cold!



Gnarly and twisted

Gnarly and twisted

Wintery skies

Wintery skies



You can see why it would be nice to come back on a sunny day?

My goodness it’s COLD tonight.

I hope you’re all wrapped up warm and cosy.

Goodnight 🙂

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

The world gets a little cosier

Red lamps in the yew forest

Red lamps in the yew forest

So we had this lovely Canadian lady visiting.

37 years ago, Barney saw her off on a plane to Canada and hasn’t seen her since – no romantic attachment there (I can’t imagine why not).  Now in the intervening time, I’ve exchanged the odd email with her on the subject of birthdays and possible visits so when she said she was coming over and wanted to come and see us we were quite excited.  A flurry of emails confirmed an impression I’d got that I was going to like her a lot and the the final appearance showed I was quite right. (another point for the virtual world against its detractors?)

We’ve had a great weekend, exchanging life stories and having an extraordinarily good time together. We could quite happily have spent a whole week together but she had a trip to continue and we ought to be getting on with other stuff.  (If you get to read this, my name twin, there is a pilates studio in Marlborough 🙂

And we went to this place, on the Kennet and Avon Canal in the Wiltshire Downs.  It’s a place where crop circle enthusiasts meet and no doubt plan and discuss the last and latest and newest crop circle events.

Myself, I’m fairly sure that crop circles, however mysterious they appear, are man-made mainly because the designs look to me like the work of human minds.  I see nothing alien or magical in the shapes.  Our new friend said “how would you recognise alien if you saw it”?  I thought “you wouldn’t recognise it.  It would be alien”!

Good pub, good discussion, fun photos 🙂

The Barge Inn at Honey Street

The Barge Inn at Honey Street

And now it’s back to ordinary life.  I’m refreshed by contact with a lovely and very wise lady and by lots of laughter and fun and some sad tales and some nearly happy endings recounted and also by having made a new friend 🙂

So, it was all good.

The extra hour in the evening

The extra hour in the evening

And now we have the extra hour.  Evenings are earlier and in a few weeks, sunrise will be later again.

I shall have time to go out during the ‘Golden Hours’.  I’m quite looking forward to it.

October 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments


I need to pull mine up!

Often because they slither down and irritate me by leaving me with cold shins.  I hate that.

And increasingly because I can’t seem to be bothered with anything.  I get very excited over new things (like flickr groups and Canadian friends to be met for the first time) and then the novelty wears off and I look out of the window and wonder what to do now.

(Could also be because I have to go to the hygienist this afternoon and I don’t want to – odd that)

Well.  I did that and it wasn’t as bad as it might have been.

Tonight decisions about what to do have been taken out of my hands several times by a series of mini power cuts.  Couldn’t do nothin!

So it’s goodnight from me.  sleep well 🙂


wound up



October 23, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Good morning :)

Aha!  today it works 🙂

Sunrise again - it's that time of year when me and sunrise can sometimes coincide.

It's that time of year when me and sunrise sometimes coincide

From the bathroom

From the bathroom

Risen above the cloud bank

Risen above the cloud bank

October 22, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Well finally!

Every so often, I’ve been checking the poor abandoned old Quiet Pictures blog and finding that it still wouldn’t do anything.

Yesterday I checked again and Good Lord!  It’s working.  It’s possible that the blogger people actually responded to my query on their incomprehensible, unnavigable help forum but since I can’t remember the password I gave  to join it and can’t find the original query among the several thousand that have been posted since, I’ve no idea and can’t tell them anything like ‘thanks but no thanks’, or ‘too late’ or ‘Oh!’.

I’ve left them a message saying goodbye on the old blog 🙂

Another ‘every so often’.   Sometimes I attempt to learn something new and technical about my camera.  Yesterday evening I went out with the tripod and tried out some new settings.*  Well I got pictures but they didn’t come out a lot different from what I have been doing randomly all along.  Disappointing.

Brimpton Church

Brimpton Church

So this morning I read the manual.  I’m still a dummy.  I still don’t understand what they’re telling me.


Never mind.  there was one morning when Barney woke me up to see the sun rise 🙂

Only the photos won’t upload!

Oh well – tomorrow maybe ^^

Goodnight 🙂

*Small aperture (for biggest depth of field) and long exposure (to compensate for less light with the small aperture).

October 21, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Just pics

I don’t know if I said but I’ve been invited to join a private group on Flick to discuss and vote on pictures to be in the group pool.  I’ve spent quite a lot of time recently critiquing and voting on other people pics (rather nervously, they’re very good) and also (even more nervously) watching the voting on one of mine.  It’s half and half at the moment!  It’s weird because it’s almost like speaking a different language, all about pictures and how they’re made and how they work.  I’m learning a lot but I’m also finding out what I could do better.

And then I come back here and Oh Look! there are ordinary (extraordinary) people who don’t talk about photos all the time!*  Like I said I’ll get it all sorted out eventually.

Meanwhile, one of Barney’s old uni friends is coming to stay from Canada.  It’s turning out to be quite a challenge organising it across an eight hour time difference!  We finally spoke tonight on the phone. And I think we’ve got it sorted.  Should be fun 🙂  I just hope it doesn’t stop being British Summertime before she gets here.  (when I was trying to organise Barney’s 40th birthday party I phoned her at five am her time – but I think she’s forgiven me)

And today, middle, married girl came and we went through all the wedding photos.  This was such fun.  She’s loving being a Mrs 🙂  They both came to dinner last night and you know?  I think he’s loving being a Mr too 🙂

Around Loweswater - a nice flat walk

The road can lean as much as it likes - just so long as it doesn't go uphill.

Loweswater and some really nice, really far away hills.

Last weekend the music group I play fiddle with, busked in thatcham.  It was really fun because all my fiddle teacher’s little pupils came and earned us lots of money for the charity. I wouldn’t say we were brilliant, musically, but we certainly earned points for cuteness 🙂   The smallest one wouldn’t play unless fiddle teacher played with him – no not up there please, down here with me.  So, dedicated as she is, she got down on her knees on the pavement and played with him.  This made me feel quite the complete wuss for whinging about my mountains!

Anyway, I’m goig to bed.  It’s late again – but then I’m always late – and tomorrow I shall make time to go visiting.

I hope you’re all well and good (but not too good) and I hope the sun shines now and then.  It has been doing here.  And aren’t the Autumn colours coming along beautifully?  🙂


*Actually they don’t talk about pictures all the time either but the chat threads move a bit fast for me.

October 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Kendal Mint Cake

I am beginning to understand why people say they don’t feel as old as they are.

Most of the time I was panting up the sides of hills and hobbling down the other sides it was quite baffling to be feeling like a quite small person climbing small mounds and finding them satisfactorily mountainous while simultaneously finding small mountains almost too much for a normally indolent, fifty year old smoker’s body.

Some KMC would have been a very good thing (though not for the aging teeth).  And it would have been nice to have had my ten year old body.  I used to be a bit of a mountain goat – I seem to recall skipping down steep rocky places as if they were the stairs in our house. On the other hand I used not to carry much.  Half a kilo of camera might have slowed me down a bit.

And even as a small fit child, I didn’t like going up hills 🙂

Anyway, since getting back I seem to have been hugely busy doing very little.  So I haven’t been here much.  Shouldn’t really be here now as it’s very late.  Never mind.  I’ll get it all together eventually.

Rainbow over Derwent Water from Catbells

Rainbow over Derwent Water, from Catbells

‘Night all.  Sleep well if you aren’t already.

October 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Need a holiday now

Or possibly a wheelchair.  Before I go any further, I must tell you that however much to the contrary it may seem, I really, truly loved a very large number of the minutes we spent going up and down mountains in the pouring rain.  This may read like a litany of awful experiences but quite often, it was the view, not the height, which took my breath away.

We walked more miles and climbed more hills this week than I would normally do in a month.  It was undoubtedly very good for me and character forming to boot.  I thank the heavens for good boots!

I will tell you about it while I wait to see if any of my hasty, windblown, wobbly shots came out 🙂

We arrived in Cumbria of the English lakes, clutching our Wainright* book, on a sunny Sunday morning.  We wandered Ambleside and bought a pair of matching gilet fleece thingies in a sale.  We decided to do a short easy walk up a very small mountain.  The view was splendiferous and there was a jackdaw touting his bright silver stare and gleaming feathers in hopes of getting a bit of left over tourist lunch.  After a while, and after a few photos, my legs agreed that it was worth attempting to walk the longer way back.  Near the lower end of the walk back, the road went down steeply and one of my knees suddenly hurt a lot.  I walked the rest of the way down crabwise.

Next morning, the sun did not shine but rain fell steadily from stormy skies so we went to Keswick and walked wetly around it.  Also we went to a pencil museum (which was actually very interesting indeed).  Then the skies cleared, just enough that we thought we might do another, even easier, walk up to see Aire Force – a beautiful waterfall in the woods.  Up being the operative part.  And we were wrong about the rain, it returned and lent the woods and boulders a splendidly gloomy and doomladen air.

Aire Force

Aire Force

After passing a number of cateracts, plunging into dark ravines we decided that we might just possibly have missed the hole in the wall through which we had intended to walk round the fells above to get the most impressive views of Ullswater, shrouded in mist.

We made our way back down through the twisty forest and had a wonderful cream tea in the cafe.  Then returned, as the evening sun came out and gleamed brightly on all the wet leaves and rocks and crags, to our B&B and our enormous bed.  I love extra large beds!  Where we lay stranded like wet fish until we had enough energy to shower and go out for dinner.

Oddly enough, it was raining the next morning so we went to Kendal where we didn’t find the famous Kendal mint cake shop but where I did buy a little raincoat for my camera.  There’s something inhibiting about exposing expensive digital stuff to the elements.  I said to Barney (now being equipped to take wet photos and keen to try it out) let’s go to Coniston and look at the view through the mist and rain and eat pies.  So we bought pies (crappies, I seem to have written in my notepad but that must be an error surely?) and wonderfully, as we arrived at the lake, the sun came out and clouds and sunshine competed for being the most dramatic and beautiful.  And the pies were hot and the water sparkled 🙂

Coniston Water

Coniston Water

As it wasn’t yet time to collapse completely, we went on to Tarn Hows to view the picture book lake and I got to wander off in the sun and take pictures all by myself while Barney sat in the car and read Wainright.  (Plotting my next near downfall!)  Rain swept in white gusts across the distant Fells and the sun illuminated it.

Weather - Tarn Hows

Weather - Tarn Hows

I found a small crag of my very own (a very small one, about ten feet high) with a puddle in the middle of it.

Mig's Crag

Mig's Crag 🙂

The next day, the sun and rain alternated but as we drove fellwards, the skies ahead suggested that it might be worth attempting our first real, serious climb, up Catbells with views over Derwent Water and a pleasant walk back along the lakeside through Manesty Woods.  Wainright said this walk would be enjoyed by children and grandmothers as well as more serious walkers.

As I expected, the climb was steep.  So after a few feet I was impressively out of breath and my legs were completely jelly.  But it was all just a question of taking a bit longer, I thought, remembering the children and Grannies who had enjoyed this ‘walk’.  Until I got halfway up a steep, rocky outcrop and realised that I was poised above a drop on either side of a narrow selection of footholds – all of which the jellyness of my legs wouldn’t allow me to reach.  The moment of acute panic wasn’t so much about the immediate fear of inadvertant flying (bad enough I assure you) but about the realisation that I had already gone too far to turn back.  There was absolutely no way in a million years that I could ever ever ever do this bit in reverse.  They would just have to send the helicopters in to lift me off.  And what the hell kind of grannies and children enjoyed this walk, I wondered furiously? The thought of the grannies spurred me on (and the five minutes of frozen panic gave my legs a rest and me time to get my breath back) so I made it over the rest of the rocky bit to the first ‘little’ peak.  And got the first eyeful of the main peak which was not at all near but very very high above and very very thin!!!  Oh No.  Oh dear me no!!!!  There’s no way I can go all the way up there I decided.  There has to be an easy way down from here where I can sit by the roadside and wait for Barney to get the car and rescue me.  For some reason I didn’t say any of this apart from a sort of breathlessly feeble squeak.  This caused Barney to say kindly, no hurry, take your time, have some coffee.  It’s not far now, the views will be even better up there.  Which reminded me that I ought to be taking photos.  This revived me a bit (it’s amazing how taking a photo does revive me) and we staggered onward and upward.  Quite a lot (of staggering and upwardsness).  The thin bit was wider than it looked from a long way down and the top was wide enough to walk about on in a wobbly sort of way and  – Oh, I forgot the gusts of wind and sudden sidewayspours of rain and occasional bursts of blinding, full frontal sunlight that accompanied us up, like teasing, mischievious and not altogether friendly goblins (or boggarts as they used to be called in the North) – anyway, the view was worth all of the climb, every bit of it, and distant rain marched across the peaks and valleys and the sun and the clouds all did their thing again.

rain and sun

rain and sun

Catbells peak and view

Catbells peak and view (halfway up)

(If you can see the very tiny little bristle-like things on top of the peak, you might be surprised to learn that they are full sized people – just to give you an idea of the scale)

So after eating lunch, seated on a rock overlooking Derwent Water, we took our wet backsides down the fell.  Down a steep zigzag path. After about twenty feet, my knee let me know that this kind of gradient was actually not an option.  I descended the rest of the Fell crabwise.  (Getting the hang of the crabwise thing after a while.  It’s quite simple, you do a swoop down to the next foothold with the right foot while balanced on the left leg and then bring the left leg down to join it.  Then you repeat the movement a lot – for the next half hour in fact. Tremendously good exercise for the left thigh but a bit hard on the right foot and left hip.  On smooth bits, you do a kind of rocking hobble.  It must look very interesting from any other perspective than mine.)  I blessed my walking stick on this bit as, without it, the only way down would have been to lie down and let Barney roll me down the hillside.  (Which would have been a lot faster but I didn’t trust him to keep me under control.)

Right.  So on to the next bit of the walk, along the lakeshore through pleasant woodlands.  Very nice woodlands and lakeshore but very wet as the rain had now settled to downpour mode (no doubt up on Catbells it was still doing sidewayspour in gusts).  The lake was dramatically lashed by the wind and the trees sang a deep windy song above our heads.  Occasionally we spied a distant sunny peak.  My feet hurt. It was a mere mile and a half to the road and then just a short vertical walk up to where we parked the car.  Amazingly, the car hadn’t rolled away down the hill and would you believe it, the sun came out 🙂

I shall leave you here, wet, aching and simply dying to know what heroic feats we next achieved, though, in fact, Catbells, at four and a half miles, nearly finished this Granny off completely and I refused to even contemplate Haystacks and Buttermere (seven and a half miles).  Frustrating for Barney of course but I think he realised that the only way we’d both get up Haystacks would be with me riding piggyback 🙂  I did encourage him to do it without me but he didn’t seem keen.  I don’t know why.

*For those of you who don’t know of him, AW Wainwright, wrote wonderful walkers guides for the Lake District fells, illustrated with maps and sketches and full of marvellous detailed information.  They may have been the first pocket sized walkers guides.

October 6, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Yay! I have Internet

For five minutes!

Missing you all lots, having a lovely time and wish you were here!

Really 🙂

It’s been wet and windy and sunny and altogether fantastic.  I’m using the interenet in our 2nd B&B (first one ran out of vacancies for us yesterday) and have to go and get ready to go in search o dinner in a minute so I can’t write much 😦  but the Lakes are as lovely as always and we have climbed at leat one mountain!  (though it’s not officially clasified as a mountain but quite obviously this is an error.  I still have aching legs to prove it was most definitely a mountain, albeit a very small one.

Got to go now…Ill be back in a day or two.

Lots of love all


October 3, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments