Do you sometimes take a picture and then realize that the thing which shows up in the viewfinder says much more to you than you were thinking as you pressed the shutter button? Or perhaps it's just me.
The little larch cones were collected this time last week - we were in Northumberland and I cried off from watching a cricket match to spend the day with Tess - some gentle garden strolling and yarn buying (and tea drinking, scone munching and plenty of nattering). A good day.
The inky fingers are courtesy of this week, back at school. With Mr left handed mastering his now-compulsory fountain pen. I'm feeling for him - he has beautiful handwriting but is struggling with trying not to smudge, as his hand passes over what he has just written. The imperfection bothers him greatly. I'm wondering why he can't just write with a pencil. But along with velcro shoes, they symbolise to him, the trappings of childhood he seems eager to leave behind.
I'm not so ready. Pushing on to the next phase used to be one of my great pleasures too. But these days? Not so much.
Especially when the photograph is such a poignant reminder of what a difference a single week makes.
The extra heft of my bag had me regretting absentmindedly leaving my camera inside when we went out yesterday evening.
But then we came across a murmuration of starlings.
And as we watched, the sunset kept getting better.
And carrying the extra weight turned from a burden into the most glorious opportunity.
Even if my philistine offspring did ask me 'Why do you keep stopping the car when it's the same old sky?'
But it really wasn't.
And just like that, it was the end of August.
And wonderful though it was, I sense that it is time for us all to get back to life on the hamster wheel. Though I can't say any of us has missed it one bit. Next week is going to be a rude shock to the system. Better check the alarm clock is still working.
Yes, I realize it is August already. I missed the last day of July - it snuck up unexpectedly, in my current free-from-the-fetters-of-the-calendar state.
But it was a month I was pleased not to have misplaced. A gentle month. One of soaking up the sun and recharging. And watching those funny boys. Johnny's expression is courtesy of attempting to master bubble gum. We still have a month of summer to crack that one!
When hubby 'upgraded' the computer, part of the unforseen improvements included ditching all photos taken between Christmas and now. Yikes. The likelihood of a mosaic for this month seemed slim. But thankfully, he battled on and managed to restore them all. Hooray!
My camera has been strangely quiet this month, it seems. Unless you count cricket photos. I have a lot of those. You can thank me for not sharing them with you. Though they might have provided a more realistic representation of where my month has gone.
Someone, who shall remain nameless, 'upgraded' the computer this weekend.
I think we all know where this is heading, don't we?
Someone has now abandoned the non-functioning domestic IT situation and departed on a business trip.
There are mutinous rumblings at home. I shall look at my flowers and rise above it. Unless, of course, he didn't back up my photos properly beforehand, in which case I may be compelled to join the angry mob.
This time of year often feels like the world is opening up to us. There's the long expanse of Summer holidays to look forward to, plans to be hatched, fun to be had. Half term is a little taster of what is to come.
The impulse to be out and about is strong - especially when sunshine beckons. I'm ready to be done with school and routine and to ease into a more indolent pace. Only 5 weeks more to go.
Lately, I'm sick of the sound of my own voice. Moaning on about my first world issues. Busy, overstretched, petty irritations. It's all such minor stuff.
Nothing that will have left the slightest ripple a few years from now. It's good to step away from all of it. To reframe and refocus on higher things.
I've always had a great deal of admiration for people with a grand plan. Something on a large scale, requiring vision and tenacity. Beautiful gardens are a prime example. To take a piece of bare earth and have a vision of it so many years from now that it is worth investing in the saplings which will one day be the pefect pleached hornbeams, framing a game of boules.
Don't want you to think we spend all our time gadding about making merry. But we've been off to the seaside visiting my folks. When we got here it was frrreeezing, with a howling wind and sleet falling. Hiding inside weather, for sure. But today, we awoke to the sun shining and positively balmy weather compared to that of late. Time to grab the camera and head out to capture some of it, in case it is a short lived interlude.
You can guess a lot about a person from the pictures they take. Their passions, their humour, their lifestyle. It's all captured there in those digital images.
And I seem to have bred a couple of photographers myself - I love finding their shots hidden on my SD card or lurking on my phone. The eldest has decided to take part in his own photo-a-day challenge on Instagram. I won't share his details with you, if you don't mind - not sure you need that much insight into the inner workings of my on-the-cusp-of-teenagehood son! But I really am pleased that they have the chance to experience the pleasure of capturing their lives through a lens.
But I'm looking for some more photographers - to help with Round 2 of The Compound Word Project. Yes, it's coming head over here for details if you're interested.
And if you flick through your digital album, tell me what your pictures are saying about you.
I've been a long time admirer of the samplers that Sue makes. Whenever she posts a new one, I think to myself 'I should do that'. And this month, I actually did it. And lo, January came out with more colour than I had expected. But I'm still relieved it's February tomorrow.
This has been a weekend for revelling in the white stuff. What had been, in the diary, a jumbled expanse of commitments, suddenly transformed into a blank canvas. Such is the magic of snow.
Don't laugh at my movie making skills - I had to get Mark to help me a little bit (filming the live action downhill sections, as well as a teeny bit of technical knowhow). But somehow, in spite of my ineptitude, the finished thing is somehow so much more than the sum of its parts.
And I am seriously contemplating a little Creating Time Capsules course. These days, like the snow, pass so quickly. Somehow it feels important to capture them.
Safe to say, I would make a terrible wedding photographer. Because I am very bad indeed at taking pictures of the main event. So much pressure to sum up all that Christmas entails in a visual checklist - the bird, the table, the tree, assembled family, opening presents...
But in the plethora of obvious photo opportunities, it's the little moments round the margins that catch my eye.
In the quiet minutes when there is space to really look.
Those are the things I have come to enjoy photographing the best. Even on the days stuffed full of all things festive, the crispy edges can be the tastiest bit.
There's been some alarming rumblings about a pumpkin shortage this year. Bad weather, mumble mumble, too cold, mutter, they don't like it wet sort of talk.
But that's not why I got my little ornamental gourds early - they are just so cheerful on the shelves outside the back door, that I like to have them there for as long as possible.
Though when I compare them to the shelves of years gone by, there seem to be fewer mini-pumpkin types. Perhaps the stories are true after all.
(the same shelves in 2009)
Actually, the shape of the pumpkins aren't the only thing I notice about these photos. It's the pictures themselves. DSLR verus lazy phone Instagram shot - I feel ashamed of my efforts of late.
There's no real reason behind not picking up my proper camera. No excuse for failing to make the effort to think about how to make a photograph look more interesting. But somehow it has happened. And when I see the results I feel a little bit sad.
Clearly, there's a photography mojo shortage round these parts. Must do better.
Sports Day today. Blue is my boys' house colour.
The 2012 Victor Ludorum.
That's one proud boy. I think he earned his moment.
You know, normally I feel vaguely uncomfortable if my children are singled out in some way. Always wary of tall poppy syndrome and the potential for backlash. Usually, if you point out the acomplishments of one of my own, I'll find a way of letting you know that they have feet of clay. But just for today, when people said how well he'd done, I stopped at 'thank you'.
It's all well and good lazing about in the grass, if you have the chance.
Some of us have had a rather more frantic day supervising the 'on road' portion of cycle proficiency.
It was, quite frankly, an eye opener.
Who knew your personality was expressed in the way you ride a bike?
I was tasked, at one point, to take photos.
The girls studiously ignored me and concentrated on their road positioning.
The boys yelled 'Hi Ali', pulled funny faces and rode with no hands on the handlebars.
God help us when it's time for them to learn to drive.
A quick mention that this coming week marks Poppytalk's Summer Colours 2012. Full details are here, but in brief, a week of celebrating the hues of summer with your camera.
The schedule is as follows:
June 25, Monday - Green
June 26, Tuesday - Yellow
June 27, Wednesday - Pink
June 28, Thursday -Red
June 29, Friday - Blue
And what do you mean, 'Where's the grey?', you cynical Brits.
In all the striving that this time of year brings - to be better, to be thinner, to get fit, to eat more healthily, to keep a more organized house - one important kernel of truth always seems to get missed.
Perhaps the easiest way to be happy is to find a way to appreciate the present, as it stands.
Anyone else joining in?
As a person who has always been very excited by new things, it shocks me to be confronted with evidence of what a creature of habit I truly am.
I may never have realized, had it not been for blogging.
This post has sat on my screen all weekend. The idea being that seeing it there might trigger a suitable conclusion to my thoughts. But one has yet to arrive.
So many of us seem a bit ho-hum about writing our blogs of late. It's not new any more. We're not striving to connect with our tribe. We're in our groove. Or rut, depending on how you think of it.
There seems to have been an exodus of late (to the lure of Twitter, perhaps). But for me, there has always been, in the midst of the quest for the novel, a background comfort in the familiarity of routine. And so it continues.
This year, I really wanted to go for the Project 365 properly. Five months completed- that went fast. Though not quite as fast as the video suggests. It's made with Pummelvision - addictive, I tell you.
I am always so pleased later when I look back at the little capture of days. Even if some of them are a shot of the final moments before sleep, because the day hasn't seemed too photo worthy. It's not the quality of the photographs, it's the capturing of a phase.
When I was in my twenties, I refused to own a camera. It seemed that on many days, taking pictures would put me one step removed from really experiencing what was going on around me. Funny, because now I wonder if you can only really understand the significance of what you've experienced when you look back on it.
Or perhaps that's just age talking.
And first completed month of my project 365 for this year.
Though not technically accomplished, or perhaps remotely interesting to anyone but me, I do find these little snippets of captured life pleasing. And I see that at least one aim for this year (having more fresh flowers in the house) seems to be working out.