Day 300~366

Day 300, there’s a milestone ­čÖé only 66 days to go, so light at the end of the tunnel. ┬áToday is also exciting as the Woman~cave has arrived!

Frego didn’t know it was coming.

“Wow, look what’s turned up in the back garden! Where did THAT come from!?”
‘Surprise! This is your new home.’
“Woah! I’m going to live in it!?”
‘Sure, when it’s all kitted out with insulation and electricity and furniture & stuff.’
“It looks so big. I’ll get lonely”
‘Oh no, Skego will be with you and the other little people and The Bears, and I’ll be there a lot making mosaics and doing photography with you’
“Well I’m not sure I want to share it!”




Day 147~366

It get’s a bit intense just focussing on the tree everyday, I’ve found that doing the 366 is so all-absorbing that I don’t take many photo’s of anything else, except iPhone shots of the cat being cute. It’s rained a mighty amount over the past 2 1/2 days and nights, but today it stopped in the afternoon so I went to the tree without the brolly, and found the world after the rain looked really pretty. ┬áI sometimes rage against the weather for keeping me in and stopping me going out to play with my camera, and I miss going off to visit new places to inspire my photography, but the Tree has taught me that you don’t need to travel far to have a good shooting fix. It’s just a 5 minute walk to get to the tree from my house, and all these photo’s were taken on the way home. ┬áMay has been a great month, as every day different things bloom, buds open, swamps dry up, then fill up, sunshine,clouds, rain, or a combination of all three, everyday has something new to see or find. ┬áMy neighbours all have gorgeous plants growing over their fences too which is jolly decent of them, and they are part of my walk to the tree. ┬áToday with the 60mm macro lens attached to my fuji-XT1 I looked under and over and through, got down low and went from above, and had a fine old time lost in the process of seeing through a lens. My advice to anyone in a mojo slump, to walk out of the door with your camera, a couple of lenses, walk for 5 minutes, then put your camera to your eye and take an hour to get home ­čÖé it’s such an adventure!

And so, on to┬áthe tree. Today I found a cute little bug on the lower branch, he’ll do for today I thought, he was so tiny, about 8mm total length, not great shots but I did the best I could with the 60mm.



This next is my favourite as you can see a little white pipe thing/collection bag (I dunno) on t he side of him.


And here’s what else I saw..




















Oh! nearly forgot..






Day 112~366

Oh another sunny day! I did go to work this morning, but had the afternoon to play macro in the back garden. I have a plant that in spring produces ┬álittle white flowers, then the new leaves are bright red and turn green by summer, so wanted to capture that. Wish I could remember what it’s called, tried google but not found it yet. It was in my mum’s garden and I’ve had it ever since she died. It’s moved house twice and still going strong, though I think needs a serious re-pot! ┬á I also have my growing patch of daisies, and a couple of dandelions. ┬áI also applied some texture to a couple of the shots courtesy of Shadowhouse Creations, Jerry is an amazing guy who makes beautiful textures and gives them away for free. He also does actions & brushes for PS at really small prices, though I have not used them so can’t say much about that. AM sure they’ll be as good as his textures.

Anyway on with the photo’s ­čÖé








I like this next one for the shot of the day,




The Howick Hall Gardens report ~ part 3

Part 1 and Part 2

I’m back from Holland, and of course have come home with more photo’s to get through, so am finishing off my report on Howick Gardens so I’m not too behind.

After finding the ginormous leaves, we walked along the riverside to have a look at the church in the grounds.

Sluice gates on the river,
Sluice gates on the river,
fruits of the Big Leaves
fruit of the Ginormous Leaves
Bridge to the church
Bridge to the church

The church is a victorian building, and houses the tomb of the Prime Minister, 2nd Earl Grey, but other than that the interior was a bit boring to be honest. Outside was more interesting,

church door
church door
heads up
heads up

The small stone gargoyles on the exterior of the north wall were all carved by Maria, 3rd Countess Grey, who was a good amateur artist, but sadly she never got round to doing the south side.

Children didn’t always live too long in this era..


Lilian, aged 2, & Sylvia, born and died on the same day.

Lots of leaves to be found with rain drops decorating them..





and some really fine spidey webs..



After Church we went back to the Hall for lunch in the Earl Grey Tea House, which was beautiful

The Earl Grey Tea House

I had a rather lush duck & orange pate on toast …


And then back outside to walk it off and take a few more shots before going home.


eyeballing the competition


another big leaf
another big leaf
lost feather
lost feather






those were all taken with the Fuji XT1 using the 60mm macro lens (much maligned in the Fuji owners world!) and my 18-55mm zoom. But of course I always take the iPhone along and these next few are from the phone.

The Hall
The Hall
Sophie on a bridge
Sophie on a bridge
odd one out
odd one out


pink hearts



and that was the end of our day out.

Now to sort out my next lot of photo’s,

laters gaters





The Howick Hall Gardens report ~part 2

Thought I’d crack on with this as I’m off to Holland tomorrow and won’t get chance to post for a few days unless I can figure out how to do it on the iPad.

Part 1 and the history bit are HERE┬áso this is basically just more pictures of dead flowers ­čśÇ (I jest). After the Bog Garden we wandered around the rest of the┬ágardens to the back of the Hall

gate detail
gate detail
dead flower :)
dead flower ­čÖé
avenue of pots
avenue of pots





A lot of the grass had purple and white crocuses growing through which we thought really strange as they usually appear in spring, however it turns out they are autumn crocuses, colchicums no less, Its leaves, corm and seeds are poisonous. Murderess Catherine Wilson is thought to have used it to poison a number of victims in the 19th century.

Howick Hall
Howick Hall

You can see why I didn’t shoot many pictures with the sky included. I suppose I could replace it in potatoshop, but it belongs to the day, so there it stays.


lots of poison
lots of poison

Autumn foliage now..






could have done with just a bit of sun though!

We came across some ginormous leaves..



and even more ginormous leaves..


Sophie took one of me holding a leaf so you can see how big they are

me & ginormous leaves
me & ginormous leaves (courtesy of Sophie Cormack)

I have hamster cheeks!!! Where did THEY come from!!??

Well, that’ll do for now, back to the packing, have a fab weekend wordypeeps

laters gaters







The Howick Hall Gardens report ~ part 1

Our Indian Summer ended on Friday evening, and Sophie and I had planned on going to Howick Hall Gardens no Saturday. It was foggy and dull grey when we set off, and it remained grey and dull the whole day in spite of ┬átelling each other it might brighten up in a bit. The good news is that it was fine weather to employ the 60mm fuji macro lens, soft light combined with no wind. ┬áSo ┬áfirst…ta.dah….

The Edumacation.

Earl Grey is a famous guy if you drink the tea he invented, and Howick Hall was┬áhis ancestral gaff.┬áThe tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, to suit the water from the well at Howick, using bergamot in particular to offset the taste of the lime in it.┬á Lady Grey used it in London when entertaining as a political hostess, and it proved so popular that she was asked if it could be sold to others, which is how Twinings came to market it and it is now sold worldwide.┬á Sadly the Greys, being unbusinesslike, failed to register the trade mark and as a result they have never received a penny in royalties. ┬áCharles was Prime Minister from 1830 to 1834, during which time the Great Reform Bill of 1832 was passed┬ástarting┬áthe process of parliamentary reform which eventually led to our modern democracy. I bet David Cameron wouldn’t have failed to register the trademark!!

I’ll spare you the house history as it isn’t open to the public.┬áThe gardens at Howick are primarily the work of Charles, 5th Earl Grey, his wife Mabel, and their daughter Lady Mary Howick between 1920 and 2001. They established and maintained an informal and natural style of gardening first advocated by William Robinson in the late 19th Century, which completely replaced the more formal Victorian planting of their ancestors. All that is left of the old garden are some of the mature trees; all else was swept away.

and onto the pretty pictures…

Howick Hall
Howick Hall

First we visited the Bog Garden, which is a load of plants around a pond in a boggy area, a lot of the plants are exotic from┬áIndia, North America, New Zealand, Japan, China and Europe (just about the whole world then ­čÖé )

To the bog garden
To the bog garden
The Bog Garden
The Bog Garden


Of course a lot of the flowering plants were done for the year, but I like shooting the aftermath..






holding on..
holding on..


empty clover









That will do for part 1, I do like taking macro’s of plants, it forces you to see stuff you wouldn’t normally notice, and the complicated structure and patterns involved in them are mind boggling really.

laters gaters







Mount Grace Priory~ part 6

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Of course when there is such a garden as the one at Mount Grace you ┬áhave to get the macro lens in full swing on the camera, it would be rude not to. ­čÖé My 60mm macro does quite a good job I think.

And this ends my outing to the priory, a lovely day for me to remember and fun to be out with Sophie. Hope my WPeeps have had a good weekend, am off to Scotland to work tomorrow, hope to get a few views through the camera ­čÖé

laters gaters


Mount Grace Priory~part 5

After we visited the house and the priory we explored the estate which has a beautiful garden and also area with a lake and wildflowers. 

wild flowers
wild flowers



a drinking venue for Japanese maples
up the garden path
up the garden path
hydrangea (I think :) )
hydrangea (I think ­čÖé )


duck, reflecting.
a reflecting duck
blue sky moment
blue sky moment
Japanese maple
Japanese maple
another one
another one

you can maybe tell I quite liked the Japanese maples!

Further out from the beautifully kept gardens, is a kind of wilderness area where we saw geese and duck families..

Bath time
Bath time



catch up!
catch up!

It was at this point I knew I had to purchase a longer zoom lens!! These shots are all taken with the 18-55mm kit lens. You can see the babies better if you click on the pictures.

Next time will be the last trip to MGP, and we’ll be having a look at the flowers and see what the macro lens can do.

laters gaters