Tag Archives: amateur photography

The older generation

This post isn’t health related but I wanted to share it anyway.  As some of you know, I can get a bit exasperated with people who whine.  I know things aren’t perfect health-care wise in either the UK or the States but on the whole we’re pretty well looked after and have comfortable lives.  I listen to my Mum’s tales of growing up in a family of 9, living in 2 rooms with a loo at the end of the garden, and my Nan doing all the cooking from scratch on a black lead grate which had to be constantly fed with coal and it’s a different world.  She used to get up at 4.30am on a Monday to start the weekly wash, having to light an open fire then put a big tub of water (hand filled by her) on the top and scrub all their clothes by hand which took all day – bear in mind she did this while being either pregnant or breastfeeding for the better part of 20 years.  There was no health-care until the NHS was introduced in 1948 because they couldn’t afford a doctor.  My Mum’s best mate was wealthier and used to be given a fresh apple every day for lunch, so she used to keep the core for my Mum to eat on the way home from school even if it had gone all brown.  Yet when my Mum talks about her childhood her eyes positively light up – despite the poverty the children were really happy and seemed much more content than today’s kids.

My step-dad was born in the village I now live in.  When I moved here 12 years ago a widower was living in my Dad’s old house.  He was cow man on the farm next to me, was paid appallingly low wages but lived in the house for free as part of his job.  He retired a few years ago and of course had to leave his home of 42 years because he was no longer employed.  My Dad asked the Farmer if he could have a look around his former family home and it was a real eye opener.  The electricity was so old it still had the old bakerlight switches which were probably lethal.  There was no central heating and no double glazing.  The floors were stone flags and must have been freezing to walk on in winter.  The bathroom was downstairs and contained a metal bath, which when I touched it was so cold my fingers actually stuck to it.  The kitchen contained a metal sink on spindle legs and one free-standing 1960s unit.  The roof was leaking and, while we were looking round, part of the bedroom ceiling actually collapsed.  It wasn’t even fit for human habitation.

The former cow man, George, still works in our village and I see him often.  Despite being in his 70s he still helps out on the farm and cuts all the grass in the village, including the Church and graveyard.  He only has 1 tooth (Lord know how he eats anything), wears a flat cap and a thick cardigan even if it’s 30C outside and is constantly covered in grass clippings.  He can talk for England but can’t hear much of what you say ’cause he’s as deaf as a post.  He’s what we call a “character” – they’re a dying breed.

This year I’ve tried my hand at photographing people, which is something I haven’t done before, focusing on old folk.  They have such life, such character, in their faces and my hope is that I can tell their stories through pictures.  This week I plucked up courage to ask George if he’d let me take his photo.  His first reaction was a suspicious “what for?!” but I won him round and got a picture of him with his grass strimmer, flat cap, cardigan and all.  I hope he likes it.

Weekly roundup

The past week has had it’s fair share of ups and down.  I’m still not taking any medication for my GERD, although I’m swigging Gaviscon Advance like it’s water.  The replacement tablet prescribed by my GP wasn’t available anywhere, so she had to change it and even that drug was only available from one pharmacy.  It had to be ordered in, so I’m currently waiting to pick it up.  To be honest, though, I don’t hold out any hope of being able to tolerate it.

I have the worst outbreak of butt hives I’ve had in ages.  It could be that the H2 blockers were doing more than just helping my stomach acid.  Or it could be down to the fact the Birch pollen season has started so my histamine burden is currently way high.  Or it could be down to the emotional stress of the past couple of weeks.  Or a combination of all of the above.

I also have a really sore throat.  Due to my M.E. I had a permanent sore throat for about 15 years, but now no longer suffer.  So I’m wondering if this is M.E. related or whether I have a mid throat infection (it’s much worse on one side than the other, which points more to the infection theory).  It’s impossible to tell if my glands are up – I had Glandular Fever when I was 13 and my glands have been like rock hard golf balls ever since.

My Mum hasn’t been good this week either.  She had to be on 3 different types of antibiotics last month for a chest infection, which has now given her the worst case of thrush I’ve ever seen.  The cream she was given isn’t touching it, so it looks like she might need oral anti-fungals.  But she’s now started coughing again, so is on yet another lot of antibiotics which will make the thrush problem worse.   She’s just so fed up of the whole merry-go-round and seems really down – I don’t blame her.

However, the week hasn’t been all bad – in fact, quite the opposite.  The first week I stopped the H2 blockers for my reflux the pain was like nothing on earth, possibly from rebound acid production.  But this week it’s actually settled down to at least an acceptable level and I no longer feel like I can’t manage it.  I’m not saying it’s any fun, but it’s (kind of) bearable.

The weather has also been great this week.  Still in single figures, but dry and spring-like.  I’ve even managed to potter about in the garden for half an hour most mornings doing a bit of pruning and having a general tidy up after winter.   Being amongst nature in the fresh air never fails to lift my spirits and I sat mesmerized watching some sparrows taking in twigs and straw to my nest boxes.

Having been largely stuck in bed for the past 2 weeks it’s given me the opportunity to start a new blog (my friend K says I’m a blog addict and I need professional help 😉 ).  As many of you know, I have a passion for amateur photography which started 4 years ago when I adopted Bertie.  I’ve never had a lesson in my life and when I first started hadn’t got a clue what I was doing – it took me an entire year just to decipher the manual of my DSLR camera 😉 .   In addition, none the information I read either in books or online seemed aimed at a total beginner and assumed all sorts of knowledge I didn’t possess.  So it’s been a really steep learning curve trying to figure it all out.  To save anyone else going through the same trials I thought I’d start a blog on what I’ve learned and share my experience with others interested in improving their photography skills.  The site is called ‘The Amateur Photographer’ if anyone is interested – it’s best to start at the beginning as the posts all build on each other.

It was Mother’s Day here in the UK last weekend, so I managed to pull myself together enough to take my Mum out for lunch (well, OK, technically my Dad took us all out for lunch as I’m broke and couldn’t afford the bill).  With my stomach problems I thought it would be a nightmare, but actually I coped alright given the circumstances.  My Mum was sent some flowers off my brother, so I thought I’d leave you with a picture of a Ranunculus from the bouquet – isn’t nature wonderful?



I mentioned in a previous blog post that I have exciting news.  Well it’s exciting to me and no-one else but I thought I’d share anyway 😉

As regular readers of my blog know I have a passion for photography.  I started taking photos when I adopted my Mini Schnauzer Bertie in 2011.  Hadn’t the foggiest clue what I was doing (still don’t!) but I love it.

In September I decided to join my local Camera Club to see if I could improve my skills.  The Club holds regular in-house competitions which are judged by an outsider from another Camera Club.  Your pictures are critiqued in front of everyone, which is mortifying, but the point is that you learn not only from your own mistakes but from everyone else’s.  It’s also nice to get inspiration from other people’s pictures, particularly the Advanced class who’ve been taking photos for donkeys years.

I entered my first competition this week with a photo of some Honesty seeds and the judging was last night.  The result………fanfare please………is that I was awarded 2nd place!  Can’t believe it for my very first photo entry and I’m thrilled to bits 🙂


My second piece of exciting news is that many of my photos are now available for sale!  Some of my friends asked if they could buy my pictures as cards, prints or posters so I’ve placed them online.  I only make measly pennies on each one, but I’m not in it for the money – I just love taking photos of wildlife, my gorgeous dog and the stunning area around where I live, and it’s a bit pointless taking pictures unless you share them.

My UK shop is at http://www.photoboxgallery.com/jaks where you can buy prints, posters, mousemats, jigsaws, fridge magnets, stickers, coasters and cushions but sadly not greetings cards (Photobox stupidly don’t offer them for sale).  If anyone sees a photo they like but would love, for example, a canvas or foam board print, please email me through the site and I can provide a price.

My international shop, available in most countries including the UK, is at http://www.redbubble.com/people/jaks/shop where you can buy cards, prints, posters, mugs, t-shirts, cushions, duvets, mobile phone skins, tablet skins and laptop skins (note: not all photos available in all products).  Just click on the picture you like from the gallery, and available products will be shown if you scroll down the page.

If buying greetings cards from Redbubble from the UK there is unfortunately up to a 2 week delivery time as they are printed in the States, though the time should be quicker for posters as they are printed in the UK if ordered in the UK (printed in the States if ordered from the States).  Unfortunately I can’t provide postage and packaging costs as it depends on your country of origin, so this is calculated at checkout.

I’m just an amateur, so don’t expect the Mona Lisa, but I hope you enjoy looking through the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them 🙂 .