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Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Helping to rediscover my Mojo

When my PC gave up the ghost the other month, I rather lost my mojo for photography. I think it was the thought of processing and uploading all the photos I'd taken for my 365 project that did it. Also that my session with the twins was a bit of a disaster too, will blog that later

Two things have happened recently to help me recover this lost mojo, one was that the photo I took above won December's competition in my camera club - "Black & White"

And the second was that I won six months membership to Silverlake Photo in a Twitter competition. All in all a successful finish to 2009.

And to help me keep up the momentum, I will be starting another 365 project on 01.01.2010

And there in a wood a Piggy Wig stood... or, quashing the pig myths

Now that Jessica has been living with us for a few days, I feel that I am now qualified to quash (or not) a few of the Pig myths that are flying about

Smelly Pig Not true, she definitely dosen't smell. Only her bedding has a bit of a whiff, but a quick wash every couple of days soon sorts that out.

Eat Like a Pig Oh my, so very true. She is the champ of lip smacking and guzzling. Not very good table manners at all hahaha!!!

Lazy Pig This is debatable. During the day she is scurrying around quite busily. But once she has had her dinner, then it's sack time, and she's not what you'd call an early riser either. Breakfast and coffee for humans is all sorted whilst she just lazes around in her box!

Dirty Pig Nope, certainly not dirty. She only "goes" in the same place, just like a cat with a litter tray. As she appears to pish like a racehorse though I need to find something a little more absorbent than newspaper. Will try some of those disposable changing mat things I think.

Squeal like a Pig Very true, get her cornered where she is not happy and industrial ear defenders will be required.

Sweats like a Pig Another myth bites the dust, pigs only sweat at the end of their noses!

So, that's all my pig myths busted or confirmed:-) Oh, and by the way, the girlies haven't seen her yet, so if you speak to them before they get back from their skiing trip...Mum's the word please :-D

Monday, 28 December 2009

The Christmas Bird

So, this was this years Christmas lunch, and every bit as tasty as it looks :-) It started off being soaked in a bucket with honey, sugar and spices for two days as shown in the photo below. Then I just drained it off, shoved some sausage meat in its butt, slathered over some butter, covered it in foil and popped it in the oven. It was so easy and so, so worth it, the breast was moist and succulent and just a hint of the flavourings in the meat.

The recipe is an adaptation of this one
, as I couldn't track down either Maple syrup or allspice berries, so I just left them out.


For the Turkey

  • 4-5kg Turkey
  • 6 litres water
  • 125g packet of table Salt
  • 3 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 4 Cloves
  • 2 tbsp allspice berries
  • 4 Star anise
  • 2 tbsp white Mustard seeds
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 Onions, quartered
  • 1 x 6 cm piece of Ginger, cut into 6 slices
  • 1 Orange, quartered
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp clear Honey

For the basting glaze

  • 75g Butter
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Seeing Stars

So, the other big item of news in November, was the arrival of Estrella (or Star). She is a shetland pony, trained to pull a little cart and may, or may not be in foal. She now has her very own stable
which due to the rain is not quite finished yet and will have to wait for a cart once funds allow!

She is very affeccionate and we take her for little walks, where she is completely unfazed by anything, including dogs that are bigger than her! The girlies love her and are normally more than happy to muck out, groom and walk her. How long will this last I wonder?!

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Gratuitous Christmas shot of my two house models. Hoping you all had a good one and that 2010 brings all that you wish for.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

And after that short interval I'm back :-)

So, way back on 15 November Girlie No1 entered in a duatlon with about eight of her class mates. They had to run, cycle and run again, now please bear in mind that our family have never turned out any sporting champions, her and her friend Melisa finnished joint...

last. They came running up the road together holding hands so that neither of them would actually be the last to cross the finish line. Afterwards she told me that she could see that Melisa was getting very tired so suggested this, a VPMM (very proud mummy moment) if ever there was one.

Unloaded and raring to go

DD2 and some other younger sisters, were also on hand to offer support with the banner that they had made at school

And they're off

They all thoroughly enjoyed their afternoon at the races, although we had no winners involved. It was the taking part and the feeling of accomplishment that counted.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Panning or Brushing as they call it here in Spain - had to google it ;-)

So, our local camera club decided to hold it's monthly competition with the theme of "brushing" My mind truly boggled and so I consulted the ever trusty Señor Google, and from the description found out that they were talking about panning. As I had never tried this before I decided to give it a quick whirl.

Took the girlies on a hike out to the countryside, where we found some huge bales of straw. It took very little coaxing for them to repeatedly climb up and jump off

As you can see, my efforts weren't really that successful LOL

Luckily a few days later Girlie#1 was competing in a Duathlon of running and cycling, so like the good mamarazzi that I am I took my camera along and...By jove I got it

So that's one other new thing that I've learned to do :-D

Monday, 2 November 2009


I have no PC at the moment, so am using the laptop belonging to girlie #1.

This means no photos, so I am falling behind with my flickr 365 project. I have taken the pics but haven't uploaded them. So, very annoying. I know that I'm pretty sporadic with my posting, but I'd just got back into the swing of posting fairly regularly. So, really doubly annoying.

On the bright side, after receiving a €555 bill from Telefonica for my internet connection, I have now ditched them and have one of those plug in and go mobile type connection. After being on dialup for so long it is a complete revelation. The speed...

Going back in time

The main PC is at the doctors with a nasty virus, I am blaming the girlies for downloading music. So I decided to dig through my Flickr archives for something to post :-)

Way back in March of this year, we went to Muricia where one of our camera club members gave a talk on the use of natural and artificial light in outdoor photography. We used fill flash, reflectors and off camera flashes. We had "real live" models and makeup artists as well. Fortunately we all met up rather early and as the girlies were with their Daddy, I didn't have to worry about them getting in the way, getting lost or getting a cob on as they weren't being used as models - hahaha!
This picture actually got to number 19 on Flickr Explore, which is my highest placed explore, laughable really as the original was seriously over exposed. However, there is still something about it that I like, which is what counts I guess.

The models were all complete professionals and so easy and fun to work with. Only had a few language barrier problems

with this one, where I wanted them to look lovingly into each others eyes! Don't think that the chemistry was there actually.After this shoot, we retired to a nearby hotel, for an absolutely splendid lunch, and then spent the afternoon wandering around Murcia taking more photos and generally enjoying the day. As evening came we tried a few nocturnals, a disaster for me and of course it was obligatory to round the night off with a fantastic Tarta Murciana, a lovely spicy meat pie.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Beautiful Bugs

Last Saturday 1000's of these dragonflies flew past the house. I have never seen anything quite like it. I tried to take some shots of them in the air to no avail, but then noticed that some were landing in my field. A quick change of lens and I managed to get some quite lovely photos. Unfortunately we were on the way out to a birthday party for one of the girlies friends, so I didn't have quite as much time as I would have liked.

They were green


and they were red

Friday, 23 October 2009

The Birthday Present

Charlotte had a guitar for her birthday, she is desperate to play, aspirations of Hanah Montana I think. Well, we managed to sort it out and found a lovely young man for her lessons. There are just four of them in her group, for an hour on a Saturday morning. She has been told by Javier that she needs to practice for an hour a day - so thankfull she didn't have aspirations for the violin!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Training begins

Now that Pepito has been in the house for a couple of weeks, I decided that he should have a little liberty in the kitchen. I have been trying to hand feed him in the cage, but he's not having much of that! So, making sure all winndows and doors were firmly shut - kitchens on the whole have wipe clean surfaces! I thought I would let him out for a bit - bad mistake.

He crashed around into the windows, and eventually flew down on to the floor.

Tried hiding behind the leg of the chair

Thought about climbing the leg of the chair

Just about..

made it on to the leg of the table

And finally flew up onto one of the kitchen chairs.

I tried to coax him back into his cage, but he wasn't too keen, so I removed the base and just popped it over the top of him. Thankfully this worked a treat, I was a little concerned that I'd never get him to go back in. So, any parrot trainers out there, all hints and tips will be gratefully received :-)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Partiendo Olivas

I've started picking the olives, some we are going to let turn black and have pressed for oil :-) These have been bashed with a stone to split open and are then left in water - to be changed every 12 hours - for a couple of days, to get rid of the bitterness. They are then stored in salty and herbed water for about a week, and are then ready to eat :-)

Friday, 16 October 2009

An outing at last

It's been a while since we had a photowalk with AFOTO, so I was quite pleased that when after the course at Callosa de Segura, they announced that there would be a KDD (quedada- meeting) for all to attend. I really only know the odd bar and high street in Callosa, so it was quite interesting to hit some other streets, that were unknown to me. We went upwards to the hermita of San Roque, and up again towards some old abandoned houses - always something interesting to photograph there. Whilst some of our group managed some stunning landscapes and some interesting portraits, I managed a number of "detalles" as I love all the quirky things you find in these old houses. Old bakelite lightsith still hanging on a wall, I am amazed that electricity was this far out of the main town centre and wonder how long ago these houses were abandoned?
This is the view of Callosa de Segura from the Hernita de San Roque

Wondering if these chairs were abandoned too, or brought up later?

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Introducing ...

This is Pepito, the latest member of the family. Juan brought him around the other day - why didn't I find myself a man who brings me the more traditional type of gift. I mean what's wrong with flowers, chocolates or even jewellery?

I had to take the photo through the bars of the cage as he is not terrible tame, although I am hoping to rectify that over time. I *think* that he is a parakeet, but I'm not really too sure. If anybody can identify him, I would be really pleased

Friday, 9 October 2009

Ugly Bug

Look what I found! It's a Praying Mantis and was just asking to have it's photo taken. It proved a very amiable model, and let me take loads of photos.

I used my Canon 100mm
f/2.8, which hasn't had an airing for ages. I must start doing a few more macro shots again. Unfortunately I don't suppose I will be able to find a willing model like this one every day!

Thursday, 8 October 2009


I seem to have a problem with landscape photography, that I don't really know how to sort out. My images always seem kind of flat and uninteresting. I know that we are all our own best critics, and when you know that there is a fault or something wrong with your picture, your eyes are just drawn straight to it. I have been trying just this past week though, and am quite pleased with the sunset picture above. This is obviously helped by the canal (luckily full at the time) leading through to the background, and the reflection of the setting sun.

Here, I am rather liking the fact that I managed to get some feeling of volume to those lovely fluffy white clouds, and the road travelling into the distance helps with acheiving some sort of perspective or depth. The fact that I took it whilst travelling along the motorway must also give me some brownie ponts too no?

I'm fairly pleased with this one too, the view from my front terrace, although I obviously need an artistic director to do things like remove the plastic table - hahaha

Monday, 5 October 2009

A Hard Day's Night

When I first saw The Liverpool Band at the comparsa of the Contrabandistas during the Moors and Christians fiestas of Orihuela. I was very impressed. They are an all Spanish Beatles tribute band and are really, really good.

Tonight they were playing in a Bar on the coast and we went down to see them. Still very good, but it was so much better in the open air. Where the stage was a lot bigger, better lit and with better acoustics. Will still be keeping an eye on their web page however, and would like to see them play again at another outdoor venue.