Photo101: Seeing double…or is that triple?

Today’s photo assignment – nearly the last – asks us to focus on something that you have two of. These fellow’s have a little story behind them.


Known as Cat1 and Cat2, we bought number one (and no I don’t know which one is which) as a cheap  toy for our youngest daughter on our return from being evacuated out of Islamabad. We had to wait a while for our worldly goods to catch up with us, so a quick trip to IKEA was needed to buy some of the essentials. Cat was a bit of an after-thought, but rapidly became one of those favourites all parents dread losing. So much so, that we decided to buy a second – just in case number one went missing….

So there were two.

And then, there were…


Oh yes, so paranoid were we of losing those wretched cats that we bought another. And she didn’t lose any of them! So now we have Cat1, Cat2 and Cat3. The triplets.

Photo101: The eclipse through a glass window

I was struggling to see the eclipse from my back room on Friday morning – but managed to snap a few photos using my camera phone. I joined neighbours out the front and we were lucky enough to have the lend of some proper eclipse glasses and had quite a show. But it was only when I looked back at my photos that I realised I HAD managed to get a picture of the eclipsed sun – reflected on something in the glass. It’s a rubbish photo but it’s got a little special centre!


Treasure: Photo101

Today’s task for the photo101 workshop is to photograph something you “treasure”. This wasn’t going to be easy – there were so many thing I could have chosen! As a typical traveller, I have collected little “treasures” from around the world all my life. Should it be the jar of shells from the Philippines? Or the beautiful carved wooden bowl from New Zealand? So many little treasures in the house, with their own tale to tell. And that was before I started considering the treasures the children had collected, which range from old pebbles to dusty conkers…

In the end though it was my youngest daughter who decided it for me. I found her playing with some of my jewellery, a couple of pretty necklaces I keep inside the little purple velvet pouch they originally came in. I don’t really wear jewellery, much to her dismay. However, I have held onto these pieces because they have a special place in my heart.

treasure collage with frame

I bought these two necklaces (and a third, wherever it’s gone) in Thailand in 2005. I was there on my own, I had flown all the way from Jamaica – where I lived at the time – to help out with the UK government’s post-tsunami asssistance. It was a pretty harrowing time, as I am sure you can imagine. I was working as a press officer but you’re never completely shielded from the awful human tragedy at a time like this.

But in the middle of it all, I discovered I was pregnant with my first daughter. To say I was shocked was an understatement. It wasn’t unplanned, but it was a lot quicker than we had been expecting! I certainly wouldn’t have volunteered to fly to the other side of the world had I thought for a moment I was carrying another little person.

So I have held onto these necklaces and whenever I take them out and look at them (and very occasionally wear them), I remember that strange period in my life when I was surrounded by the most horrible suffering but had discovered my own, very precious little treasure inside me.

Beautiful Clearwater

I’m cheating a bit this morning and combining two events – photo 101’s theme of the day “moment and motion” and Tiny’s Expat’s weekly Show Your World. [edited to say: I have now added a third event: Monday Escapes]

Clearwater is on the Gulf coast of Florida, about two hour’s drive from Orlando. We visit Florida a lot – my husband’s only living relative, his brother, lives there so we try and get there as often as we can. But while we all enjoy the theme parks and the roller coasters, there is so much more to this beautiful state than just Disney and Orlando. One of the things we love more than anything is getting AWAY from the Brit tourists and discovering the “wilder” side of Florida. Of course Clearwater isn’t exactly wild, nor is it getting away, but it does have the most beautiful beach.


Here my two daughters are running with pure joy across the cool, white sand – joy at the space and the feeling of the soft powder beneath their bare feet.

Later we walked on the splendid pier that stretches out into the sea, watching the fishermen being dive bombed by pelicans and the groups of friends and families waiting for the sun to go down. I managed to snap this picture of a seagull passing – looking, no doubt, for any tasty morsel dropped by bird or man.


We’re going back to Florida soon, for one last trip before we head to South Africa. I can already feel the heat of the sun on my shoulders, hear the sounds of the children squealing in the swimming pool, taste the first beer as we salute the evening,  smell  the fried hash browns of the diner breakfasts, see the huge ocean and the bright sky. I can’t wait.

Have you been to Florida – and if so, have you managed to escape from the maddening crowds? Do you have any suggestions for special places to visit?

show your world

My Travel Monkey

Architecture – look around you and what do you see? Photo101

Another of my attempts at taking some snaps – this time the theme is Architecture – with a tip to try out using black and white or monochrome. I live in a beautiful town full of gorgeous Georgian houses, so this shouldn’t have been as hard as it was. But a) Georgian houses are beautiful but do not necessarily make dramatic pictures; b) the light is what I think is technically known as very “flat” today and c) I have injured my back so finding it hard to walk very far or for long.

However I valiantly stepped out with my camera and ignoring the curious looks from students at the local University campus just over the road, snapped away. I’m not massively proud of my efforts but thought they looked better once I had turned them black or white. I’ll keep this one in mind though next time we go somewhere with any really dramatic architecture! In the meantime, ladies and gentlemen, I give you – my photographs!

The duck house

The duck house

The house behind the trees

The house behind the trees

Spooky post

Spooky post

Detail from the local church

Detail from the local church

Spooky house

Spooky house

Solitary – Photo101

Today’s theme was meant to be solitude but as I was thinking what to shoot I got it wrong and thought it was solitary. I liked this little scene in the childrens’ room – one of the dollies (Raimi) looks like she’s been put into “solitary confinement” or what we might call being sent to Coventry, while all the other teddies huddle together and whisper about her.

Raimi left out too

Bliss: A Moment in Time

Today’s photo101 challenge is to capture our idea of ‘bliss’. I was tempted to take a picture of a box of Hotel Chocolat chocolates because obviously that is the most blissful thing I could think of. But I came across this picture of my youngest daughter, M, on a swing in our garden in St Lucia and I love the double meaning. It’s bliss for her, swinging in the garden, mastering something she’s just seen her older sister do. But her little baby chubbiness is also blissful – you forget this stage so quickly, when you’re trying to cope with endless tantrums and fights and mounds of washing…don’t you just want to go and squeeze her?

Martha on a swing in St Lucia

She’s got it!

I’ve also just noticed her shoes are on the wrong feet!



Seychelles Mama

Photo101 – Water

Another picture for the Photo101 workshop. This time the theme is water. It’s a shame we don’t still live in St Lucia – I coined my twitter name @strandedatsea because every time I looked out of the window all I could see was the beautiful Caribbean sea. Water, water everywhere! But sadly I am still in blustery grey England where the rain hasn’t even obliged with my quest to get a photo of water today. Instead as I walked down the road on the way into town to buy cotton wool and pink leggings for World Book Day costumes (don’t ask!), I snapped this puddle scene.


I love the way the bare trees are reflected in the pool – the leafless branches, the mud and the cloudy sky all sum this country up nicely. I think I am starting to see a theme in my photo101 posts – things that represent what I will leave behind when we move to South Africa. Some I will miss, some less so. I wonder if I will be able to continue with this theme through the workshop?


The Photo101 assignment this morning was to portray a street. I had a look at some of the other entries and saw some great pictures of exotic roads in interesting places. Then I looked out of the window at my town and though blah! I live in a very typically surburban locality where the streets are your fairly typcial tree-and-car lined avenues. Nothing jumped out at me as interesting enough for a photograph. While out running I came across a nice little scenario – a grey squirrel, a post box and a traffic warden, all in one shot. Very British. But I didn’t have my camera with me so couldn’t take a snap. I thought of getting a picture of a pot-hole and doing a political posting about micro/macro politics and how they use things like pot-holes either to represent the bigger problem or distract us from it. But when I looked I realised they’d filled in all the pot-holes in our local streets!

In the end I headed out with my camera, snapping as I went. I started playing around with exposure and this is the photo that I eventually chose.. I like it because it looks like there’s been some sort of explosion in the background – almost apocalyptic. Juxtaposed with the serene street scene in front, it could be the start of a bad Z-list movie. What do you reckon?



So I have decided to join the photography 101 workshop for the month of March. Apologies in advance for some of the random pictures that may start appearing on my blog, but this is my attempt to try and improve the photos that I use here.

The first assignment was called ‘home’ which is fairly prosaic, knowing that I will soon be leaving my home and all the things I love about it. I have recently blogged about how I already know I will be homesick as soon as we leave – and some of the things I know I will miss. One of those things is the view from our kitchen window, my own window onto the world. But I’m not the only one watching out of this window, and my first photograph for the 101 workshop shows our own llittle version of someone who will forever represent this country watching and waving at the world outside.