Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: Photography

Me and Mine September

The observant among you will notice that this weeks post features 2 children not 3; baby boy has still yet to make an appearance despite the lady of the manor being adamant that he was going to be early. We’re now less than 2 weeks from due date so this should definitely be the last me and mine with only 4 people in the photo. September feels like it’s been a busy month but sitting down to write this I can’t exactly remember what we did that made us so busy.

This months photo was taken just last night after we’d been for a very rare dinner out with the children to Pizza Express in Marlborough. It’s the lady of the manor’s birthday today you see and the week’s schedule meant that last night was the best night to go out for dinner. We had such a lovely time eating and chatting with Matilda and Henry and then a lovely walk down Marlborough High street to look in the shop windows and enjoy this balmy late September weather. It’s also I think the first selfie that I’ve included in the me and mine posts this year, although technically I guess a lot of them are selfies just with a remote for the DSLR rather than holding a phone!

Marlborough selfie

This month I have been mainly building things and catching up on odd jobs before the baby comes; I built a pergola (finally) to go over the bench seat we put in the garden a few months ago. It’s lovely having a seat half way down the garden to sit on and has become one of Matilda’s favourite spots, I think she likes having the ‘roof’ over head. We plan to grow a rose up and over it next year which should hopefully make it even nicer to sit under. The second thing I’ve been building is a log and bin store to go behind our garage, with the log burner installed we now need somewhere to store and season the logs of course. I’m really quite enjoying building things like this, they may not be perfect but it’s great doing something practical. I have of course also been running and training for York marathon in 10 days (assuming baby boy doesn’t arrive before then).

Finished pergola

Matilda has seemingly spent September growing up by at least 2 years; she’s now going to preschool 3 days a week and it’s amazing the change in her as she gets more grown up and learns so many new things. She’s absolutely loving being there now and the ladies that run it are full of praise for how well she behaves and how she now looks after the ‘little ones’. I don’t want to boast but I’m claiming that as top parenting skills! She’s also started gymnastics this month and now spends 45 minutes every Saturday morning learning to balance, jump and roll around which is right up her street and a nice way to channel all that energy she has.

Henry has been enjoying some time with his mummy this month on the day Matilda is at preschool and he isn’t, I think he quite likes the peace and quiet and home and not having to put up with being told what to do by his sister all the time. He’s also spent much of the month scooting around on his balance bike and will happily spend most of the day going around the garden and doing races. Despite being 13 months younger than Matilda he’s as good as if not better on the bike than she is.

balance bike

The lady of the manor has spent September putting up with an awful lot of pain from the baby boy in her tummy; she had a growth scan last week as they were worried he was getting too big and found out that he was lying transverse. Certainly explains why her bump had been hurting so much! She’s also been organising everything we need to have the beautiful home birth that we’re hoping for, although not entirely sure the kids needed new clothes and beds for that…

Next month I will hopefully bring you a very exciting first family photo of us as a party of five. Which will be pretty darn cool. I think that might well be enough to keep us busy for the next few months!

dear beautiful

Me and Mine August

A day late with my me and mine August post but my planned writing time this weekend got taken up with pizza cooking and running which I’ll be honest are likely to come higher up the priority list almost every time. But here we are with another month gone, it’s the first of September and you can feel autumn coming. I love this time of year, the heat of the summer is gone and the prospect of autumnal walks, hearty roasts and stews and a roaring fire is just around the corner.

We’d planned to take another photo yesterday while out watching my brother do his first half Iron distance triathlon but in all the excitement forgot. So I’m reverting back to a photo taken earlier in the month at my sisters wedding. Not the greatest photo ever, it was so hard in the dull light of a conference room with no windows to take anything crisp and clear (I think I may have reached the end of my photography skills) but I still like it. Matilda is of course doing her fake smile face, but I can live with that as without the bribe of chocolate she wouldn’t even be looking at the camera.

Me and Mine August

August was a month of new experiences for us as a family; first time on a plane for the kids, first wedding as a family and first camping trip. Not bad really and while stressful at times was also a whole lot of fun.

Finished pizzaThis month amazingly I haven’t been doing a running race, but I have been running of course, I’m half way through the build up to the Yorkshire marathon in October. One last running focus for the year and one I’m quite excited about having set a big PB time goal. Although there is a risk that baby boy arrives early and scuppers my plans as his due date is 4 days after the marathon (the marathon was booked before the lady of the manor got pregnant I’d like to point out).

August also saw the wedding of my sister over in Ireland so involved the first trip on a plane for the monsters (ignoring the fact that Matilda flew to New Zealand aged 6 months) which was a whole lot of fun. I’ve also been perfecting my pizza recipe and cooking, which has resulted in quite honestly the most amazing pizza’s outside of Italy. Thin, crispy and full of flavour. Incidentally I wrote a post on how to build your own oven if you’re interested you can find it here.

The lady of the manor has spent August trying not to remain patient with 2 little children who have decided they most definitely don’t want to sit still at meal times but do like to argue whenever possible. She’s been enjoying afternoon naps with Matilda on the sofa while watching Frozen and doing an awesome job of growing a baby.  She also had a job interview, it may sound odd given she’s 34 weeks pregnant but it was for a NHS job that hardly ever becomes vacant so she decided to apply. She made it to the final 3 but alas didn’t get it, but hopefully a foot in the door for when she wants to return to work. The lady of the manor has also decided on a name for baby no.3, which apparently I have no choice in.

Matilda in bridemaid dressMatilda has spent most of August growing it would seem as many of her clothes no longer fit. She has also been constantly hungry during the day to go with it, not that this makes her eat any faster of course. She’s also been a bridesmaid for the first time and LOVED wearing a pretty dress all day and could be seen twirling it at any opportunity. I did however have to sneak taking photos as she’s decided she definitely doesn’t want her photo taken any more and just hides her head if I point a camera at her.

Finally in August we learnt that Matilda is a daredevil and loves climbing, she’s climbing 2 (small) climbing walls at playgrounds plus up the cargo net on the side of a large playground without any fear or trouble. Looks like I may have a climbing buddy at the climbing wall next time I go!

Henry as a page boyHenry has been mainly angry in August, everything is ‘my do it’ and if you try to help or tell him no you can guarantee a tantrum. I guess we’ve hit the terrible two’s? Tantrums never last long with him though and within a couple of minutes he’s back to his normal cuddly self like it never happened.

August has also seen Henry’s obsession with tractors go to another level with harvest season in full swing. We have a farm next to our house and Henry spends hours sat at the top of his slide looking over the fence and watching the tractors come and go. We have of course also been to watch the combine harvester in the fields near us, one of my favourite things and love being able to explain to Henry how the harvest works and for him to see his books come to life.

Finally Henry did a great impression of a well behaved page boy at the wedding and even kept his outfit on all day which I was amazed about.

September in theory is going to be a quieter month as we get ready for the arrival of baby no. 3, but we’ll see, if he comes early then it could be the craziest month of them all!

dear beautiful

The Gallery – my photo resolution

I own a decent camera, it’s a DSLR, a Nikon D60 to be precise. It takes very good photos, however most of the time this is on auto so the skill from me is just spotting the photo opportunity. I have been trying over the past few months to start turning that big dial on the top away from auto and to P, S or A. It’s a scary thing and a very quick route to massive frustration when the BLOODY CAMERA WON’T DO WHAT I WANT. But I do love taking photos and would love to at least be a little bit proficient in using this fancy camera properly so I know that it’s a good photo because I took it.

So with this weeks prompt from Tara Lara being My photography resolution I am putting into writing that I will use manual mode for the majority of the time. I will learn exactly what a high aperture is, how I select it on my camera and when to use it. I will learn how to meter properly with my camera. I will try manual focus some of the time and most of all I will take some great photos.

So in the spirit of this I had a go on Sunday taking a few photos of my favourite subject. I set the camera to the lowest f-stop possible and increased the ISO a little to take account of the low winter light (does it sound like I know what I’m doing? Don’t be fooled). Not a bad start I don’t think. I do find that the autofocus struggles a little bit on close up photos in particular so a few of turned out a little blurry. Also I hope to get a 50mm lens soon which has a lower possible f-stop and therefore should be better for taking these sort of photos;

The Gallery – World Photography Day

Last Friday was World Photography Day so in celebration Tara has set us this as the prompt for the Gallery. In my mind a good photograph is all about capturing a moment and being able to communicate what that moment felt like to whoever views your photo’s. I don’t think it even needs to be the most technically perfect photo, often some of the best photo’s aren’t the ones someone has spent hours planning and preparing for. Instead spotting a unique moment and capturing that split second in time, one that will never be repeated again is an amazing skill in itself.

I don’t profess to be even remotely an expert in taking photo’s, but I do have a DSLR and I do love taking photo’s and trying to learn how to change the settings to best capture what my eyes are seeing. With the arrival of Matilda the camera has had a lot of use and at the weekend I had a perfect opportunity to take some more photo’s. Matilda is at that stage where she wants to sit up but isn’t yet able to by herself. So we borrowed a Bumbo off my brother and she was in love from the first second and couldn’t stop grinning to herself.

I tried playing with the settings on the second photo and using Aperture priority m, it gives a warmer feeling to the photo but I couldn’t get it quite right to not then blur when she moves. Whenever she smiles she also waves her hands around so challenging!

If you want to shoot the moon, make sure that you know why

The lyric is from one of my favourite Paul Weller songs, which brings back many happy memories of when I was courting the current lady of the manor. By courting I of course mean snogging in my bedroom age 18, but courting sounds so much more romantic.

But it’s also a question that I’ve found myself asking tonight, perhaps it’s the first clear night for a good while, or maybe it’s the beautiful big moon that is showing tonight. Whatever it is, it is definitely at least in part inspired by Cosmic Girlies photoblog where I’ve been lurking for a while. If you like taking photo’s and want some easy to follow instructions on taking photo’s then check it out. I’ve been looking at all the settings on my fancy DSLR for a while and figured it was time to get out of auto mode, so inspired by Cosmic Girlie I’ve been giving it a go. So here in all it’s glory is my attempt at a moon photo:

The gallery: black and white

Here’s my (Slightly late) entry for this weeks gallery, check out Tara’s blog here for all the details and this weeks entrants.

As I use a digital camera I don’t generally set out to take a photo in black and white, but with the power of picasa one click of the button and any photo is black and white! I have to say though that often changing a photo to black and white can often give an extra dimension to a photo.

My first entry is this photo from a friend’s wedding at Tortworth court last year, I love the distorted image you can see in this big vase.



And of course at any opportunity I love to show off the bean, the ultimate black and white picture surely?