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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.

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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?

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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!

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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!

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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

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Every Day Is Different: Day 4

Hazel O'Connor

Every Day Is Different: Day 4

Every Day Is Different

Today didn’t start very well but it certainly ended on a high note! I was up less little more than an hour before having to take myself straight back to bed. I remembered to set an an alarm as I had an important date to make this evening! Having got up for the second time, I threw on some clothes, fed the cats and rushed off to get the train up to London to meet Simon and our friend Julia. Our destination was the beautiful Union Chapel venue in Islington for a 35th Anniversary screening of the film Breaking Glass.

Hazel and her band receiving applause

This was followed by a Q&A with Hazel O’Connor, a performance with her band, Sarah Fisher and Clare Hirst, who were then joined by a full choir in front of an audience that really was packed to the rafters! I was able to copy a couple of images from my camera onto my phone to process on the train returning home. The rest of my photos today were taken on the phone, including a lovely one of me and Simon that Julia kindly took for us! Lots of interesting purples for #PurpleFriday including Heather’s dress 🙂

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Every Day Is Different: Day 1

Chrysanthemum

Every Day Is Different: Day 1

It’s Crohn’s & Colitis awareness week and this year we’re all trying to highlight that every day with chronic illness is different. I thought that I would share my life with Crohn’s alongside something that is beautifully different! Today it’s a chrysanthemum, a favourite flower of mine to gaze upon, photograph and create artwork with.

 

Today I woke up feeling awful from a night of sweats, cramps and night mares. That’s usual for me though! I also woke up with another day of horrible earache. I take medication that reduces my immune system in order to treat the Crohn’s, which is an auto-immune disease. This means that I get a lot of infections but I refuse to let it deter me from getting out and about.

Fatigue

This is the state I was in with my fatigue!

I set an alarm for 8.29am so I could try, for the second day in a row, to get an emergency appointment at the doctors. Yesterday was an epic fail as I slept through my alarm and by the time I contacted the doctors there were no appointments left! I tried and tried to get through today and all I got for about seven minutes or more was the busy tone. Then I fell asleep with the phone still in my hand and no appointment! That happens a lot to me as I have such bad fatigue and my nights are anything but restful.

CCUK

My care assistant came to help me get up, washed, medicated and dressed at 11am and by the time we had finished and I finally got through to the doctors – no appointments! I tried pleading, telling the receptionist that I’m immune compromised and explaining my difficulties in the morning (I have lost count of the number of times I have had to repeat this conversation). She just kept telling me that I had to phone at 8.30am and everyone else was in the same boat as me. I asked her to check with my GP and she said that she’d already asked her administration manager and there was nothing they could do. I broke down in tears. An infection can get really out of control with me if I don’t get treatment quickly. I felt so stupid, it’s just earache after all! But it really hurts 😦

My hubby, Simon, called me on his lunch break (he always does, lovely man) and was utterly dismayed that I still couldn’t get an appointment. Bless him, he got straight onto the phone to the doctors and had a discussion with the receptionists about what the NHS says about their duty of care for patients who need to be seen (strong words but a calm head!). He discovered that only 13 emergency appointment had actually been available today! That’s not healthcare, it’s a lottery based on whose phone connects first. Anyway, to cut the story down just a bit, suddenly they CAN fit me in but it’s a one-off special favour?!?

Every Day Is Different

I was seen by one of the doctors that I really like at 5pm who confirmed that I do have quite an infection, possibly inner and outer ear from how red and inflamed they were. So finally I have the antibiotics I need, a soothing ear spray and the relief that I will feel better soon. My hubby, my hero, thank you so much for backing me up and always being here for me!

Ornamental Chrysanthemum

Different Is Beautiful Too!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Trio – Celebrating Sam

Celebrating Sam

Weekly Photo Challenge: Trio – Celebrating Sam

Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of Sam’s birth. She continues to brighten the world and the lives of her family and friends with her beauty, both inside and out; her strength of will; consideration and empathy; love and understanding. Thank you for being a part of our lives! Much love from your Wicked Step Step Mother 😉

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat

Treat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat

I had such a treat this last week as it was Half-term Holidays and I managed to get six of my favourite little people all together for a fun filled day at RHS Wisley Gardens! They navigated the straw maze brilliantly to discover this huge pile of harvest goodies, including some giant pumpkins, in the centre. Matthew, the youngest at 2yrs old, held my wheelchair arm as we went through, pointing at which direction he thought we should go. He got most of it right too! James and Zach cheated by crawling through a hole in the straw, Callum and Mylie must have done the maze half a dozen times when we finally found the pumpkins. Rosie, my goddaughter and the eldest at 10yrs old, was a real star and stayed with me to help keep an eye on Matthew 🙂 It gave us a chance to have a good natter too. These little people mean the world to me! Well, Rosie’s not really so little anymore as she’s now taller than me! I have never been well enough, from my Crohn’s and Fibromyalgia, to have children of my own. I love spending time with the kids, especially when I can share my passion and knowledge of the natural world to inspire them while having fun outdoors. Happy Halloween to my precious munchkins and thank you for enriching my life so much 🙂