Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Buddha in the Snow...

Feeling badly in need of some peace and tranquility today I went to visit my garden Buddha.  I have to say he was looking remarkably serene considering he had a blanket of snow in his lap.  He must have had some guiding influence over my camera (which has been misbehaving recently but now seems to have sorted its life out) as I was really pleased with the way this photo turned out - my first venture into shooting in RAW - I will definitely be trying it again.

T is for... Tree

Trees can be...

stark and all in a row...

lush and green...


dramatic in a mist... 

ethereal in the snow...

or sometimes even made of lights and put inside a snow globe...

For more ABC Wednesday posts click here

Sunday, 28 November 2010

The First Snow of Winter...

We awoke to a white world.  Everything in the garden had a covering of snow...

The other three cats stayed warm and cosy inside, but Charlie ventured out.  He wasn't at all sure about it at first...

but soon found his feet...

We decided to go to Sutton Cheney Wharf to get some wintry pictures (it's right next door to Bosworth Battle Field where Richard III lost his crown and gave Shakespeare a great idea for a play)...

It was beautiful, but bitterly cold and we were frozen, so we retreated to the warmth of Starbucks on the way home and tried to thaw out... (didn't stop me taking photos though :O))

Pet Pride

This is a close-up of Pepper looking pensive, she's probably waiting for a tin of tuna to appear.

For more Pet Pride images click here

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Tealights on a Mirror in Black and White...

I took this for my Flickr group photo challenge of 'Symmetry'.  I thought it was going to be in colour as the tealight holders are lovely shades of orange, red and yellow, but it looks much better in black and white, oh well!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The Park in the Mist

Bradgate Park on a very cold and misty Saturday morning...  The park once belonged to the Grey family, of Lady Jane fame who became Queen of England for nine days before, literally, losing her head...  

This is my image for Black and White Wednesday and Wordless Wednesday.  For more images click on the links.

S is for...

...Stratford upon Avon.

Set on the banks of the Avon in beautiful rural Warwickshire, Stratford is only forty minutes from where I live and a frequent destination for me when I'm not doing necessary things like working.  Birthplace, of course, of Shakespeare and home to the Royal Shakespeare Company, it is therefore a tourist magnet and best avoided at weekends and holidays if you value your sanity.  I like it best in the winter, or early in the morning when I feel as if I have the place to myself.  I have spent many happy hours wandering along the banks of the river, or sitting watching the world go by in a cafe, and of course watching plays in the theatre.  I have seen Patrick Stewart and David Tennant in Hamlet (it seemed that the whole world and its dog descended on Stratford that season), rather more of Ian McKewan than I wanted when he dropped his trousers and underwear in King Lear (I still don't think I've recovered completely from the shock), and laughed until I cried at The Beggars' Opera.  One Christmas we even had the cast of Coriolanus standing in the foyer singing Christmas carols to us still covered in blood etc from the play...  surreal to say the least.  I am very excited as the new theatre opens on the 24th November and David and I are off to a special member's preview evening next week.  Anyway, these are just a few images from one of my favourite places.

This has been the temporary home of the RSC for the last three years
whilst the old theatre was renovated...

...this is the new RST... (point of interest - the ashes of the late
Ian Richardson are buried in the foundations)

and this is a view of the new theatre along the Avon from Holy Trinity Church..

Sometimes it rains...

... a lot

... and sometimes it's as sunny and golden as only an autumn
morning in England can be...

...I think it's about time they got some new Christmas lights,
but it still looks pretty anyway...

Monday, 22 November 2010

Cats on Tuesday...

This is Pepper being bizarre when I tried to take her photo for a Christmas card.  David thinks she looks like she has a blow pipe ready to fire a poison dart at someone (probably Charlie), I think she's thought of a plan so cunning you could stick a tail on it and call it a weasel...

For more Cats on Tuesday click here

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Pet Pride

What happens when a bunny bites a cat's bum!  Actually Posky was yawning, but the thought made me laugh...  In case you're wondering about the relative size of these two, Posky is a BIG cat who weighs almost 6.75kg, and Ben is a very small rabbit who weighs 1.23kg...

For more Pet Pride photos click here

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Camera Critters

This reindeer told me he worked for Santa, I have my doubts as he was hanging around in a garden centre in rural South Leicestershire, still, I could be wrong....

He had a friend with him who didn't say a lot but who seemed to be getting into the Christmas spirit...

Click here for more Camera Critters

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

R is for...

Two of my favourite things, a book and a film.  The first is a book of poetry by Carol Ann Duffy called Rapture, which I was first drawn to by its cover (the hardback version): red board with a silver illustration and writing - truly beautiful.  Rapture is a book of love poems, in fact it is as the description says 'a book-length love poem'. It chronicles a love affair, from the first infatuation and passion to the final separation, and is as beautiful, uplifting and heartbreaking as the process itself.

This is the first poem in the collection:


Uninvited, the thought of you stayed too late in my head,
so I went to bed, dreaming you hard, hard, woke with your name,
like tears, soft, salt, on my lips, the sound of its bright syllables
like a charm, like a spell,

                                       Falling in love
is glamorous hell; the crouched parched heart
like a tiger ready to kill; a flame's fierce licks under the skin,
Into my life, larger than life, beautiful, you strolled in.

I hid in my ordinary days, in the long grass of routine,
in my camouflage rooms.  You sprawled in my gaze,
staring back from anyone's face, from the shape of a cloud,
from the pining, earth-struck moon which gapes at me

as I open the bedrom door.  The curtains stir.  There you are
on the bed, like a gift, like a touchable dream.

And this is the final one:


'That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!'
Robert Browning

I wake to a dark hour out of time, go to the window.
No stars in this black sky, no moon to speak of, no name
or number to the hour, no skelf of light.  I let in air.
The garden's sudden scent's an open grave.
What do I have

                        to help me, without spell or prayer,
endure this hour, endless, heartless, anonymous,
the death of love?  Only the other hours -
the air made famous where you stood,
the grand hotel, flushing with light, which blazed us
on the night,

                   the hour it took for you
to make a ring of grass and marry me.  I say your name
again.  It is a key, unlocking all the dark,
so death swings open on its hinge.
I hear a bird being its song,
piercing the hour, to bring first light this Christmas dawn,
a gift, the blush of memory.

My second R is a film called Romuald et Juliette, which I first saw about twenty years ago and which has remained a favourite.  A french romantic comedy, it is the story of Romuald, a wealthy business man with a fabulous lifestyle, but married to a wife who doesn't love him, and with colleagues who are out to get his job.  It is also the story of Juliette, his black cleaning lady, married and divorced five times and living in a cramped apartment with her children.  It tells of how Juliette helps Romuald uncover the dirty goings-on in the yogurt business he runs, how she takes him in, helps him to save his career, but in the end is let down by him in her hour of need.  It is a gem of a film, funny, uplifting and heartwarming.  Can the story end happily with all finding true love and fulfilment?  Of course it can.

For more R words visit ABC Wednesday.

Your help needed urgently
We want to help these two kittties who are facing death by gas chamber - please donate or pass this on - Pogo and Ping Pong!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Cats on Tuesday

In which Pepper is excited and Charlie shows his cynical side...

'What does that hyperactive little idiot want now?  I'm talking to The Count, he's the only
one you can get any sense out of around here...'

'Look Charlie! Mum has been out shopping and has bought some Christmas stuff.
There are Christmas cards and wrapping paper, sweets and gingerbread, an advent candle
and things for us too! Isn't it exciting? It must mean that Santa's coming soon'.

'Give me strength, that girl needs a sedative... Yes Pepper I am totally overcome with the excitement
of it all... Hmmm did you say there are things for us there?  What kind of things?'

'Well, Ben has a Santa...

...and some other bunny sweeties...

...and we have a scratching post that says "Santa Stop here"...

...and a bag of catnip toys...

...and what's really exciting is that there are green and red collar things, which must mean
Mum is going to be holding auditions soon for this year's Christmas card!! I can't wait for Santa
to come!  Oh I could burst with excitement!!'

'Ah if wishing only made it so... anyway, if anyone's going to be wearing a fancy collar it's going to
be me.  In fact I think I'll just try it for size now'.

'Charlie, we're not meant to have them yet. Take that off or I'm telling Mum!'

'Muuuuuum!! Charlie's being bad again...'

'Oh Pepper, I forgot to tell you, Santa won't be coming this year.
In fact he's dead.  He was mauled to death by one
of his reindeer...'

'I so hate him...'

For more kitties go to Cats on Tuesday


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