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Happiness Is A Pink Balloon

Happiness Is A Pink Balloon

Happiness Is A Pink Balloon

Well, it’s been a truly crazy weekend! It’s always a bit crazy this time of year as we celebrate, first, my sister’s and then both my parent’s birthdays. This year my sister has reached the big four-zero and it’s an even more impressive seventy for my dad! Naturally, we organised a BIG party with family and friends coming, not just from all over the UK but also, from France and Australia. It was a great gathering with possibly the best buffet ever, definitely the best cakes ever (made by Sarah Jane from Flossy Cockles), a number of the very best musicians (from the Famous Five Band) you could hope to gather in one room, and a fantastic group of people to enjoy it all. One important thing was missing though. Dad. Yes, the birthday boy missed his own party! He was greatly missed by all of us there too. A nasty bug and adverse reaction to antibiotics forced our amazing dad to remain at home. It was really hard for us to celebrate without him! He’s the life, soul and comic relief of most gatherings, so we really owed it to him to celebrate in style. Not only that, we still had my sister and lovely mum to toast to! It was great to catch up with so many family members and friends that I hadn’t seen for ages. A few of my cousins brought their kids along and I loved watching them all play together! As always, the best toys to be found were balloons. Such a simple thing, but a child’s delight at knocking a balloon around is a timeless joy that always sucks in a few adults too! My Fotospeed challenge entry is this photo of my cousin’s little girl, Eva, having a wonderful time with one of the large, pink balloons. I think she hugged a few of them too tight and we had a several go bang, it’s all part of the fun though! Eva is the middle of three gorgeous girls and she’s a real pickle. Reminds me so much of my sister at that age! I just love the glint in her eyes and her cheeky smile. I think my dad will enjoy seeing my photos of all the kids playing! Thankfully he seems to be past the worst of it now. Rest, recovery and eventually we’ll be able to have a celebratory toast to his renewed health! Get well soon dad and Birthday Wishes to you and mum xxx

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Blue Monday: The Eye Of The Beholder

Robyn the Hooded Vulture

Blue Monday: The Eye Of The Beholder

This is Robyn, a beautiful hooded vulture belonging to the fantastic Xtreme Falconry team from Dorset. Xtreme have been putting on Bird Of Prey events at RHS Wisley Gardens for many years now and always draw a crowd. Many, like myself, return time after time to see these wonderful birds! This is my Blue Monday post for that startling ring of blue around Robyn’s eye that is distinctive of this species. Hooded vultures come from Africa where they are currently declining in numbers at an alarming rate. They are now listed as a critically endangered species. Much of the decline is from poisoning. Trappers, hunters, poachers and misinformed farmers are all gunning for these shy carrion birds. This is tragic in more ways than the obvious! Vultures are not the only creatures that will be drawn to a carcass that has been poisoned. Lions, hyenas, leopard, cheetah and hunting dogs will all feed on carrion if they are hungry and haven’t got a fresh catch. Not only that, vultures and other carrion feeders are responsible for clearing away the dead animals that when left can rot and spread disease among both local animal and human populations. There is so very much to love about vultures, if you didn’t already find them beautiful and fascinating, I hope you do now!

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Ready For The Close-Up

Dragonfly Macro

Ready For The Close-Up

I suspect that this dragonfly, at RHS Wisley Gardens, had only recently emerged when I found it yesterday. I wouldn’t usually be able to get this close to one! They have incredible eyes that take up most of the head, allowing them to see almost all around them and in higher definition than we mere humans could ever hope for. This is my entry for the Fotospeed challenge this week. Good luck everyone!

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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.

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Back Home & Back To Work

Flower Girl

We’re back in the UK from our Greek Island travels and straight back to work! Sometimes my work really is an absolute pleasure though 🙂

Sorry to have been neglecting you all but I’ll be doing my best to catch up properly when I’m a little less busy!

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Eye Dream

Eye Dream

Eye Dream

Cerulean dream
Of seas swirling
A churning mix
Of rich ultramarine
And turquoise hues
Partitioned from
The blues of
Summer skies
Under the aegis
Of crepuscular light
Crimson bright with
Teal and gold
A vision so bold
I’m in sight of
The silhouetted gis
Of birds in flight
The sound of the surf
Crashes in my ears
Within this hypnagogic
Theme it seems my
Tears are just a
Silent lamentation
In certain regret
That I but dream

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For My Eyes Only

For My Eyes Only

One of the reasons I called this blog “Taking One Day At A Time” is that that is often how I have to live my life. I hoped my photography could provide an insight into living with chronic illness. I work hard to overcome the worst aspects of my conditions by finding joy in life amongst all the wonderful things around me.

Sometimes, though, aspects of either my Crohn’s or Fibromyalgia catch up with me and cannot be ignored. Today an aspect of the Crohn’s, Surface Ocular Disease, has flared up keeping me housebound as well as in discomfort.

I can’t wave a magic wand to make it go away but by photographing my eyes I was then able to do in Photoshop what I wish for in real life. I magicked away the red, burning, tearing, irritated and inflamed sclera.

There is no magic cure for my ailments though. I really hope that my doctors can help me to get this flare up under control again. I won’t let it keep me from my photography or all the other things I love in life for too long!

I will have to balance my work with resting my eyes for a bit but I am very determined to keep up my blog.

If you want to know more about Crohn’s or colitis please visit Crohn’s & Colitis UK at http://www.nacc.org.uk

For information on Fibromyalgia please visit Arthritis UK http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/conditions/fibromyalgia.aspx

Also feel free to ask me anything about how these illnesses affect me

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Goldeneye

Goldeneye

Today didn’t go quite to plan after a problem with the central heating! Having the plumbers coming and going as well as an icy cold flat is not conducive to a productive mind.

Pixel has been a cuddly, little angel though today so he gets the starring role on the blog.

Not that this cute behaviour will last! I can almost guarantee that the moment we settle down to sleep “devil cat” will make an appearance and perform various acrobatics on the curtains 😉

Ah, the joy of kittens eh?

I’ve been working hard to process all my snow photos and Wisley images and hope to post them to my Facebook page tomorrow evening. Link through the image 🙂