Posted on April 3, 2008 in Hounds by Jay8 Comments »

Miss April

This dog spends half her life upside down, grinning at the camera. See? Greyhounds are couch potatoes.

Go on. You know you want one!

Posted on April 3, 2008 in Life, the Universe and Everything by JayComments Off

Dress300Well, here we are, the clocks have only just gone back and spring has only just sprung, so I thought I’d be right on time this year and go buy some things for my summer wardrobe.

I went to Marks and Spencer where they do a rather tasty range called Per Una, which they tell me translates as ‘for one woman’. Well, they do have more than one of each item so that’s not perhaps strictly accurate, but not very many more than one. I chose a cool and pretty dress which I tried on in some haste, and I took it home. But, oh dear! There’d been rather too much haste in my fitting and the dress I brought home was Too Big. Sure, I’d rather it was that way round, and yes, it does make me happy to be taking a dress back to change for a smaller size, but when I returned it to the shop I found that there WERE no more smaller sizes.

Confidently, I asked if I might order one. Equally confidently, the very nice lady on the till said that no, I couldn’t. Why? Because that line was finished now. Dead and gone. And here we were still in bloody March, for goodness’ sake! Should I rush out and buy up my winter woollies, then? The till lady was sympathetic, but could not conjure me up a in size 14R. She suggested I try the internet, since they kept their own stocks and might have one left.

I tried the internet. The dress didn’t even appear in the list, let alone in my size.

But there is a happy ending. Today I drove over to a nearby town and called in to their Marks and Sparks on the chance that they might have this dress in my size. And they did! There is was, nestling next to a size 12L on a rack of forlorn and lonely fellow end-of-liners.

I think it would be nice to know where we stand though, don’t you? Exactly what time of year do we need to go shopping for summer clothes? Easter is clearly far too late. How about Christmas? Can you imagine the queues? Or maybe we should all get invitations and mark our diaries to get ourselves into town between, say, February 20th and 27th or miss our chance for the year.

PhoneJohnny2Some years ago I did a City and Guilds photography course. It didn’t include any digital photography at all – digital was around alright, but hadn’t made it as far as the C&G syllabus, though they were thinking about introducing it. Being fairly resistant to new technology anyway, I wasn’t particularly interested in digital and couldn’t see that it would ever be as good as film (Ha!) so I bought a whole lot of equipment which is now pretty much redundant. I do still use my lovely Contax Aria from time to time, but I must admit I’ve been completely seduced by digital and now use a Canon digital SLR, my Other Half’s little compact Panasonic Lumix, and yes, I admit it, my phone.

It’s interesting to note that my mobile phone camera is almost identical to our very first digital compact camera and takes pretty decent snapshots. It’s slow though, which means your subject has to be pretty much motionless to get a truly sharp image. Still, many of the pictures you’ll see in this blog were taken with the phone, including the one of Johnny Depp at the Dead Man’s Chest premiere in London. It did help that the day was very hot and bright, of course.

Sadly, when the fibromyalgia hit, I could no longer contort myself into the positions needed to carry on a proper pursuit of photography. My particular interest was insects, and for that you need to be able to bend, lean, stretch, and do anything you can to get close enough to your subject – and you need to be able to hold very still for as long as it takes because macro lenses magnify the slightest movement, and I can’t do that anymore. I start to shake. I know I could use a tripod and remote release, and I do, on occasion, but I have less interest in capturing my subject and setting up a tank than I do in natural photography in situ. Also, my capacity for carrying equipment is very near to zero. Even the Canon on its own makes my neck and shoulders ache.

So these days I confine my photography pretty much to dogs and scenery – the easy stuff. It’s still fun, but basically it means that I’m just taking nice snaps, unlike the lady who runs the Vulture Cafe who takes some stunning pictures of wildlife, especially birds. She lives in America, so you’ll see pictures of some interesting stuff there.