Sunday Snap

Here is Sunday’s snap where I post some of my favourite photos.

This is in Stirling Castle in Scotland where we were on a visit with our son David (great memories!)

I love the colours and the lighting. The yellows and greens are particularly striking.

The castle is a really great place to visit by the way. Don’t miss it!

Book Review : The Photographer’s Wife

This review really reflects the reality that if you are going to write a book review you should do so just or shortly after reading the book.

Nick Alexander’s book however has been gnawing at me for a few months now and is really one of the best I have read this year. As I intend to write reviews for every book I read from now on I decided to commence with his.

The Photographer’s Wife, Nick Alexander, Published by BIGfib books, ebook edition, 1st of October 2014. 400 pages.

We discover Barbara’s childhood during London’s Blitz. We learn of the poverty and hardship that she later shielded from her children as well as the realities of a difficult marriage to the man who became a famous and well known photographer.

Nick Alexander then weaves the story through different timelines and perspectives and we discover, through Sophie, her youngest daughter, the complex relationships between her parents, when she decides to organise a retrospective of her father’s work.

Discovering old photos and the stories behind them challenges how she sees her parents.

Nick Alexander assembles the family puzzle in an affectionate and hard to put down manner that pulled me in from the first pages and held me until the conclusion. The fact that the plot hinted at future revelations didn’t distract from the pleasure of my read.

The characters are well drawn and believable and the past through to the present style of story telling adds to the depth of the novel.

On finishing I rushed to get more of Nick Alexander’s books and look forward to the pleasure of reading them.

My favourite photos – An English Garden

I’ve taken a lot of photos since I moved back to the UK a few years ago. A lot of them have been while on holidays around the world and many have been in an around Lincolnshire, the county I now live in, or on our travels in the UK.
This particular photo was taken in Gunby Hall Gardens near Spilsby.

I like this pic because it portrays a stereotyped English Garden but also because it terlls the story of a woman painting and her top and shoes are both colour coordinated with the roses in the foreground.

I also like the height of the Foxgloves, the deep greens and the brick wall backdrop.

I know what you’re thinking.

Andy made a ball with each fist and pushed both hands down in his trouser pockets, feeling the comforting enclosure and the warmth from his thighs. He pushed down a little further, enjoying the resistance and the springiness of the cotton. The gesture somehow seemed to calm his thoughts.

“I think it’s shocking the way people treat their pets ”. Declared Alice.

He emerged from his thoughts long enough to grasp the intonation but couldn’t really reconnect with what Alice was saying.

If only she could speak a little less aggressively, he thought and shuffled from left to right and back again trying to disguise the movements by nodding his head at what he thought were appropriate moments.

“They just don’t feed them properly.” She continued, unabated.

He really did his best to appear interested but feared that he might not be convincing enough.

He muttered approval while raising his eyebrows and hoped that this was a convincing gesture of friendly understanding.

“Some people never even bother to walk their dogs, they just let them roam in the garden”. She added.

He caught a movement out of the corner of his eye and shifted his gaze long enough notice the Ice-Cream van approaching and heard the tinny melody, made, he was sure, to remind us of childhood pleasures.

An idea formed in his mind. A plan. An escape route.

“I know what your thinking Andy but I do my best. Said Alice. “I can’t always find the time to walk our three dogs every day but I do feed them a balanced diet. You know that, don’t you.”

Andy nodded, pulled his hands from his pockets and pointed to the Ice-Cream van.

“Got to go, Alice, I promised to get ice cream for the kids. Nice chatting with you.”

Graham Lawrence, 17.6.2015

Cake or fresh fruit?

When I was a kid and up to the end of my teens I ate what I liked and never had to worry about my weight. I never thought about it, worried about it or had to make decisions concerning what I ate.

As a teenager, growing up in the late sixties and early seventies, I ate what I could as money was scarcer than calories and healthy choices were not the buzz words that they are today.

In my early twenties and over the course of a few months, I fell ill with constant abdominal pain and was admitted to hospital where I started to lose weight as I couldn’t keep anything down and the use of painkillers killed any appetite I might have had.

After 5 weeks I had lost more than 20 kilos and when I was finally taken to the Operating Theatre I was just a shadow of my former self.

The surgeons were pleased with their work and proudly showed me what they had removed in a glass bottle. I was just happy to be pain free at last and looked forward, at last, to the rest of my life.

I have, rightly or wrongly, pinpointed this incident to the commencement of my problems with body weight, as since then, not only did I regain all the weight I had lost, but also I went the other way and became chronically overweight.

I’ve spent the last 40 odd years struggling to establish a stable, acceptable – to me, body weight.

At this moment I’m once again overweight. This time last year I managed, after a years effort, to drop down to a healthy BMI and went from XL to Medium.

Now I should try to take it off, again, but I can’t seem to find the motivation or the energy to embark, once again, on the weight loss quest.

It’s a constant preoccupation and a source of stress and worry.

It’s not going to go away though is it.

A disappointing birthday meal

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For my birthday I reserved a table at a Hotel in the village.

I had remembered eating there two years ago and was looking forward to going back. The last two times I tried it was fully booked. Long story short it didn’t live up to my expectations. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t excellent either. I think we will try elsewhere the next time.

I don’t wish to ‘shame’ the Hotel in question so it’s not worth naming. It does what it does and I’m sure most patrons are happy. I think the chef changed a while back and the menu has become a little succinct. There are more interesting venues for future occasions and I’ll be sure of mentioning them too.

It’s good to be back!

Blogging has changed since I last let go of my self hosted WordPress site a few years ago.

As I have more time on my hands I thought it would be a good idea to return to ‘give it another go’. I probably had more fun than success with my previous attempts but I’ve grown as a person since then and have different activities and different motivation to blog. Life is richer and sunnier somehow and I feel like telling you a bit about that from my perspective as a 60something retired bilingual ex-ex pat.

Seagull in flight near Stirling, Scotland.

Seagull in flight near Stirling, Scotland.

I have in mind a few main points I would like to expose such as travelling, photography and reading and writing.

If a had to choose a primary motivation it would probably be writing as I have a few ideas and some stories to tell and maintaining a blog is a good means of moving towards those goals.