Image

Singing In The Rain

Jessica

Singing In The Rain

The rain didn’t dampen our spirits at Phoenix Rising, our free community music festival, in Woking Park yesterday! Young Jessica’s face has such a sunny disposition that says everything about the spirit of the Phoenix Cultural Centre and all the brilliant people involved in organising, performing, volunteering and promoting the project. Jessica was at the side of the bandstand watching her mum, the talented Anna Neale, perform to everyone sheltering under trees and brollies in the park. I love her expression of happiness here and felt that this would make a good image to share for Fotospeed’s weekly photo challenge! I hope she makes everyone smile 🙂

Image

Eye To Eye

Red Fox

Eye To Eye

I have produced this portrait of a vixen for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. I had the most wonderful encounter with her at Winkworth Arboretum during the week. I’d seen her wandering near the lake on a previous visit but that was fleeting. This week she approached close enough that I could have reached out to stroke her! Somehow I felt that actually would have been a violation of the trust she had given me. She is wild even if she is more used to the sight of people than many other countryside foxes! The most precious part of the encounter was when we made eye contact. She stood right in front of me for several minutes as I, naturally, chatted to her. I think she was mostly intrigued by the odd human in the motorised, moving chair! She stayed put even when I moved the camera to take her portrait. I wasn’t expecting her to lick her face, that was an added bonus! I then carried on photographing the busy blue tit parents, feeding their hungry brood, hidden in the boathouse walls. More on those blue tits soon! The vixen carried on exploring near me, stopping to sit and scratch, then circling all around me again. We chatted some more (you know what I mean!), I took a few more photos of her and then she resumed her patrol of the lakeside. I hope I will see her again on other visits but I will always treasure this particular encounter.

Image

Piglet Playtime

Piglet Playtime

Piglet Playtime

Something a bit different for Wex Monday this week! These wee little piggies are Gloucester Old Spots, a rare breed pig, that are being raised at The Cotswold Farm Park in Gloucestershire. The farm belongs to Adam Henson who is a co-presenter of BBC’s Countryfile program. He specialises in rare, British breeds of all farm animals. I had such a large album to choose from but just couldn’t get this image of the piglets out of my head! They really were so cute playing together in the field. It’s lovely to visit a free range, ethically managed farm! The park is only a part of Adam Henson’s farm and is a great day out for families and animal lovers. I even managed to bring home dinner from the wonderful farm shop!

Image

Professionally Cute

Professionally Cute!

Professionally Cute

Easter Holidays mean I get to spend more time with my grandsons! Matthew is three and does cute professionally 😉 We were at a local park enjoying the warm Spring weather and I asked him if he’d grown too big to fit through the log holes. Almost! They really do grow so quickly. Callum, who’s six, tried to fit in one too, but I didn’t get a photo of him for two reasons; one, I couldn’t see his face; two, I was laughing too much! Had such a lovely time with them I decided that this would be my entry for Wex Mondays this week. It just expresses all the joy I feel getting to spend time with the kids, watching them play and laugh. And no, you can’t have Matthew! He’s ours 😀

Image

WPC: A Good Match – Jonas And Jane

Jonas and Jane

WPC: A Good Match – Jonas And Jane

Jonas and Jane performed on Saturday night at The Wilfrid Noyce Centre in Godalming alongside Backwoods Creek and The Nefarious Picaroons. A night of Americana, Country and Stomped-up Pop in aid of Skillway, the charity chosen by the Mayor of Godalming.

Jonas and Jane are an Americana Duo from the UK who consist of harmony driven and bluegrass influenced folk. They have toured Texas, Colorado and Arizona and have played many UK festivals including two stages at Maverick Americana Festival in 2015 and the main stage at Carfest South 2015 to over 35,000 people, following a live performance of their song ‘Whispered’ on the Chris Evans BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show in August 2015.

Image

Nefarious

Ashley Paddon from The Nefarious Picaroons

Nefarious

On Saturday night we went to a charity concert in Godalming. With such rubbish weather I knew it was probably my only opportunity to get an image to put into today’s Fotospeed weekend-photography challenge! I am working on a complete set of the three bands that were playing for my Facebook page but, until then, I decided to process a couple of my photos of Ashley Paddon, from The Nefarious Picaroons. It was hard deciding which to go for as the entry but I think my lead image would make a great, colourful print! What do you all think?

Image

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Meg Barwell

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

Music and lighting really is the embodiment of ambience! I prefer my music LIVE and ORIGINAL. Fortunately, there is an abundance of musical talent in my area with many local, live-music venues and promoters! I am blessed to be able to call some of these fantastic musicians my friends and artistic collaborators. I love discovering new music! Open-mic nights are a great way to support local talent and and enjoy an eclectic mix of musical genres.

One Winter’s Night is the brainchild of Guildford based promoter and musician Gavin Thomas. Produced every January by GT Live Sessions, this concert is a collection of acoustic performances at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. It was fantastic to watch my friends Richard and Calliopi, from Cardboard Carousel, and Claudia Stark perform on a big stage where they truly belong! The lighting design from John Harris along with the subtle staging from Liza Cheal and Jamie Barber, of the Yvonne Arnaud, added yet more ambience to what was a magical evening of music from the community, for the community.

Thanks to sponsorship from KP Snacks Limited, all the money raised on the night will be donated to two local charities, Challengers and The Onslow Ward at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. Challengers are an independent charity, developing and delivering inclusive play and leisure for disabled children and young people across Surrey, Hampshire and the surrounding areas. Onslow Ward is the inpatient unit for Oncology and Haematology at the Royal Surrey Hospital. The ward is in desperate need of a powered hoist that can be positioned by any bed on the ward, enabling a single nurse/carer to safely move patients in and out of the beds. I know the Royal Surrey Hospital very well myself as it is where I was first admitted with Crohn’s nearly twenty two years ago. They saved my life. My first stay as an inpatient was for about six weeks so I know how much of a difference a hoist like this will mean to both staff and patients alike!

The Dirty Carols and Sophie & Vikki

Tom Gortler

Claudia Stark

Keith Bayley featuring Gavin Thomas

Eva Perrin Fontana

Cardboard Carousel

Portland

Meg Barwell

Bare Jams

And finally…..

I’ve also put together a compilation video of the nights’ performances for your enjoyment! Please note that The Dirty Carols recreate songs that you may know well, BUT with alternate and slightly rude (sometimes, oh okay, most of the time!) lyrics. If you are playing this video to younger people, or are of a sensitive nature, then you may forward through (or mute) their hilarious songs. No offence is intended or taken!

Image

101 Reasons To Visit Kos Island

Kastri Island viewed from the ruins of Agios Stefanos

101 Reasons To Visit Kos Island

Pictures speak louder than words, so I have 101 photographs that I believe will speak directly to your hearts on the beauty and appeal of this fascinating Greek island.

My piece of advice to you all this week, as part of the WordPress Discover Challenge, is to believe what your eyes see through my images of Kos and not what the world’s media would have you believe! Visit Kos and other Greek Islands, they are affordable, welcoming, enthralling and perfectly safe. You won’t regret it!

All these photographs were taken between June 21st and July 5th 2016. Most were shot on the Sony a6000 mirrorless camera, NFC transferred to my Sony Xperia Z5 smartphone and edited in Snapseed and Adobe PS Touch Apps.

Part of WPC: Look Up for the wonderful birds of Greece!

Image

Blue Monday: The Apple Of My Eye

Sweet Treat For A Blue Tit

Blue Monday: The Apple Of My Eye

Rosie

The apple of my eye is my goddaughter Rosie! Today is her eleventh birthday but she won’t get to see my Happy Birthday post for a week as she’s spread her wings, like the birds and butterflies, and flown (well ferried, but that doesn’t fit my photos!) over the English Chanel to France on a school trip. The girls weren’t allowed to take anything with a WiFi or Network Data connection, probably so they actually focus on getting to know France rather than their phones. I can see a certain amount of sense to this but the internet can also be such a useful tool when traveling! So I can’t send her a Birthday email but we did all gather together yesterday for a lovely birthday lunch! These photos were all taken at a visit to RHS Wisley Gardens during the February half-term holiday.

Happy Birthday Beautiful Girl!

Blue Monday is hosted by Jeanne at Backyard Neighbor
Smiling Sally