Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: bracken (page 3 of 5)

The Fool’s photos – Morning has broken

The daily 5.45am dog walk has been a little bit easier in the last week with the beautiful sunny mornings. It’s also inspired my to take my camera with me and try to capture what is my very favourite part of the day.

I love the fresh, new feeling to mornings like this. So peaceful and full of expectation, you can feel the heat building but for now it is a very pleasant temperature. There are very few cars around and the only sound is that of pigeons cooing. A real privilege to be out there taking it all in.

So here’s a few shots from this week, in my never ending quest to actually learn about my camera I had a play around with the settings. I was desperate to get a photo of Bracken with a blurry sunny background using a low aperture. This was hard work as he never stays still! But finally managed it.

I was also trying to capture the dew on the grass being lit up by the sunlight. In this I failed, mainly I think because I really needed a tripod to take the photo so that I was still enough to avoid blur with a slow shutter speed.

Aside from changing the aperture and the ISO I’m still a way off really knowing how to use all the settings but that’s part of the adventure right?


It’s just another day right?

Tomorrow is a big day in the life of this fool, tomorrow I turn the grand old age of 30. Now I’m not someone who gets particularly depressed or obsessed by getting older but this one does feel different. In your twenties you still feel connected to when you were at school and university, you can remember what it felt like when you graduated and then walked into a ‘proper’ job for the first time.

But telling people you’re 30 is a realisation that you are now an adult, with a mortgage and a wife and a baby and a dog and another baby due in 4 weeks. How the hell did that happen?

Not that I spent my twenties as a partying single male mind, oh no I’ve been old before my time for some years. The lady of the manor and I have been together since I was 17 and married when I was 23. I’ve always chosen drinking a good ale in a pub over vodka and red bull in a dark and sticky night club. And I’m ok with that, I’ve never really cared about not doing the ‘normal’ student thing. I like being me.

But now that I’m a 30 year old am I still ok with that? To be quite honest I think I am. Yes being a grown up brings new stresses and worrying about money. But it feels like we are finally living the life we dreamed of 10 years ago.

30 year old whiskey

In our dream Victorian house, with a beautiful daughter, a very crazy and cuddly Springer Spaniel and maybe, just maybe, a little baby boy to complete the set. We even seem to have some money for once with the last of the university/wedding/graduation debts gone and paid for.

So I think tomorrow will be ok, I shall enjoy my last day of my twenties and look forward to the excitement of my thirties and the adventures they will bring. Plus if all else fails I’ll drink this rather fabulous 30 year old whisky my brother bought me for my birthday. Cheers!

P.S The lady of the manor and I will be seeing in my birthday in a spa hotel in Wiltshire WITH NO BABY, should be fab.

Crufts 2012 – the winners are….

Thanks to everyone that entered the competition, it was actually really interesting reading what your favourite dogs are. I love the fact that we all go through the same decision process of choosing a dog but end up with a very different answer. I think it’s probably that sheer variety of types of dog each with their own needs that makes them such a popular pet.

So without further ado I have randomly selected 2 winners and am pleased to announce that Kerry Jean Lister and Amy (@nomnomZackyV) have both won a pair of tickets to the event. Congratulations to you both, I’ll be in contact with you via Twitter.

Don’t forget that you can buy tickets from the Crufts homepage here Under 8’s go free when accompanied by an adult.

I’ll leave you with a photo of my own favourite breed – the English Springer Spaniel, this is our dog Bracken who last week turned the grand old age of 2. Hopefully in the next couple of years we’ll get him a friend to keep him company, whether it’s another Springer or not remains to be decided.

Happy Birthday Bracken

I suddenly remembered today that it was Bracken’s birthday yesterday and he is now the grand old age of 2! Last year I published this post with some of the best bits from his first year, he was our first baby and definitely gets spoilt rotten. Mainly by the lady of the manor I might add and Matilda has very quickly learnt how to give him food when she’s eating.  In fact she’ll often throw food on the floor on purpose purely to entice him out from under the table so she can see him!

His position in the family has changed dramatically with the arrival of Matilda and the impending arrival of the sprout.  As you can see from his best bits in his 2nd year of life there is a distinct difference in the content of the photos, but he has adapted perfectly. Him and Matilda get on amazingly, he’ll curl up next to her on the floor and she’ll happily stroke him. She also founds it hilarious when he chases his tale or chews a stick and loves having her feet licked.

So Happy Birthday Bracken, we can’t imagine not having you and will never tire of coming home to your whole body wiggling in excitement. Perhaps you can have a piece of cheese to celebrate.

Fools photos – a snowy walk and the stealth dog

In my continuing attempts to learn how to use my camera properly I seized the opportunity of a snowy dog walk this morning to try and take a few snaps. It’s actually surprising how hard it is taking photo’s in the snow, when it was overcast as it was today they can end up looking a little washed out.

After a bit of playing with the settings I selected the lowest f-stop possible (6.3) and then realised that I also needed a low ISO to let all that light in. I’m still struggling with closer up shots, not sure if it’s showing the limitation of the lens or me not quite getting the settings right. I also made a few small adjustments in Picassa before uploading here.

Appreciate any thoughts/inputs. Particularly tips for shooting in the snow. I really like the first one, not entirely sure why, maybe because of the contrast with the red brick? The second is tractor prints in the soil that looked pretty cool with the snow on them, you could almost imagine them to bit mountains. The one of Bracken is there purely because I think he’s a handsome chat and he was like a crazy puppy in the snow. Oh and in some of the photos I took he was like a stealth dog that you could only see because of his ears!

A monster in the night

The lady of the manor didn’t manage to get out with the hound today as the weather was what could be best described as damp. So being the amazing husband that I am I decided to take him out for a ‘quick’ 5 mile run along the canal when I got home.

Now it may sound a bit weird but I actually really enjoy running in the dark, it’s deadly quiet and really focuses your mind as you concentrate on what the ground is like ahead of you. The stretch along the canal is pitch black with no street lights for almost 2 miles which means that Bracken can be off the lead running around for a good period.

So there we were happily plodding along (me not him, he was flying around at 100mph) enjoying the peace and quiet when the light of my head torch picked up 2 eyes looking at me on the path ahead.

Shit, what’s that, is it a fox? Shit, Bracken come her. 

I don’t think Bracken and foxes will get on. Shit. And I’m a long way from any help.

Wait, no that’s not a fox it’s too big. Shit, it’s an Alsatian. BRACKEN COME HERE

Oh god, don’t go up to him, he’s probably not going to like a bouncer springer. Shit.

Ok, he’s going up to him, please be a nice dog, please be a nice dog.

They’re playing, ok, maybe it’s ok.

I’m not sure who was more surprised, the guy fishing with his Alsatian seeing a crazy guy running or me meeting an Alsatian in the middle of the path. But actually he was a really nice dog and I had to drag Bracken away from playing with him.

Oh and in case you’re interested here’s what the intrepid explorers looked like.

Friendly bacteria?

We have a healthy (or unhealthy depending on your perspective) attitude to bacteria in this household. I’m a firm believer that the modern worlds obsession with cleaning and use of bleach etc has a detrimental effect on our susceptibility to sickness later in life. Add in the fact that we have a dog and quite honestly you can’t hope to keep a baby in a perfectly clean environment.

Bracken is inherently a social dog and will be near you no matter where in the house you are or what you are doing (not upstairs though, that is strictly off limits). This includes being social with Matilda, whenever she is lying on the floor playing he lies with her, if she’s in her high chair eating he’s on the floor waiting for the rejected food items. A trick he learnt VERY quickly. Matilda also figured out very quickly that if she holds out her hand either with food in it or on it Bracken will lick it clean. No doubt this is precisely what will happen to food she doesn’t want to eat in the future also. He also joins us in the bathroom when it’s bath time for Matilda, although this may have something to do with the heated floor.

Now we do try to stop him licking her face, because let’s be honest who wants that? Plus if he’s licked her hands we try to give them some sort of wipe before they get stuffed in her mouth. But not every time and there is no way we will always see it happen (thick as thieves those 2).

But is this really a problem, are you throwing your hands up at the horror of it all? Inevitably as she starts to crawl and walk its going to get a whole lot worse isn’t it? She’ll be crawling around at the perfect height for him to lick her head. I also fully expect them to both spend lots of time snuggled up on the sofa watching TV and ‘sharing’ food, you know ‘a lick for you, a lick for me’?

 However I’m sure I’m not the only one who grew up eating soil, climbing trees, eating food after its been dropped on the floor and I turned out ok. So what say you? Healthy or unhealthy? Relaxed parenting or irresponsible?

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