Tuesday, November 22, 2005

keyhole surgery

you'll need the skill level of a surgeon to work this one out!

Go to Clare Sudbery's site Boob pencil and see if you can guess which house belongs to each one of the 13 bloggers. One is mine!

Go on.... have a go.......you've got 'til Friday 25th Nov 05

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm still here....

blimey I didn't realise it's been so long since I posted here.

I bet you've given up on me.

I have been back at work a while and that has kept me away. I have now done 2 and a bit weeks of my new part-time regime - I now work 4 days a week. I am feeling some benefit.

In the meantime I have done my first dance-out with Black Dog Molly - see our best pictures on atypical here. Tone was the official photographer.
This is me - I was very excited and so I was hitting hard! Chris was facing me and was suprised.

We had white faces and false cobwebs on our hats because it was hallowe'en, in case you were wondering.

There are more pictures here on BDM Fotki.

I was 36 yesterday and my main pressies were a new piano accordion - a nicer sound and smoother bellows (but smaller range - 2 and a half octaves) - and a new MP3 player - my other one died the night before my birthday!!! It is essential so I can listen to Spiers and Boden at work! Thanks Tone, Phil and Rich xxx

Talking of J&J we went to an amazing gig at Northwich folk club two weeks ago - I will remember it for a long time. They were awesome.

By the way - we have found a receipt for one of our broken cameras and persuaded the insurance company to repair it so we get it back in a week or so. What a wait!!! As a result of the long wait I have taken hardly any pictures. I took a few on my D70 at the apple festival at Reaseheath College in October.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

music and dancing

Tone and I have joined Black Dog Molly - a Molly side, a type of Morris dancing. It is such fun...... Tone plays guitar and I play piano accordion when I am not dancing. The dances I have learned so far all involve sticks!! but there are no bells or hankies in sight....

We will wear black and red and paint our faces black when we dance out (perform in public). The next dance out is the 29th October at Shugborough Hall for Hallowe'en. Hopefully we will be good enough to join in!

It is such a huge motivator to me for practising my accordion..... and I am also dead keen to find some local tunes and songs. I am hoping the Boat Band can help. I have found some names of tunes from a search on Mudcat discussion forum and think that the library archives might have something......

The other thing that motivates me, also tends to make me feel very inadequate and like giving up - is listening to amazing musicians like John Spiers (Squeezy) and Andy Cutting. We saw Andy last week playing very sweetly and warmly with June Tabor who has the deepest roundest voice I know and such emotion.

This is one of my favourite photos that I took - it's Squeezy's boxes at Fylde.

John Spiers is my idol along with his musical partner Jon Boden. We saw them first at Fylde Folk Festival in 2004 - twice in one day, and then with Bellowhead their band at Middlewich Folk Festival this year, and with Eliza Carthy as two of the Ratcatchers (wonderful festival, dreadful website...they have asked Tone if he is happy to let them use some of his photos!! which will definitely be an improvement).

Bellowhead are so exciting and I CANNOT sit/ stand still when they play - I HAVE to dance with ALL my soul......but it's hard to hear John's playing in many of the numbers. We saw Bellowhead again at Bridgnorth Folk Festival in August so now it's time to see them alone and I booked today to go to Northwich Folk Club on the 4th November. It's going to be a long wait. I love listening to their CD's. There is a new one due out in 3 weeks - have a listen to three MP3s on their site and see what you think........

Eliza is also fab - and her Mum Norma Waterson is brilliant too. We saw them at the New Vic and it was a beautiful evening. Not so keen on her Dad Martin Carthy but he writes well and he went up in my estimation when on watching a great programme last night about Bob Dylan it turns out they were bestest buddies!! Bob is the most amazing songwriter ever! and his early performances were so moving - I wish I'd seen him.....The new Scorcese film "No Direction Home" is so atmospheric and I can really understand why Dylan opted out of the scene - fame was no fun.

The first year we went to Middlewich was mainly to see Kate Rusby - who had Andy Cutting with her. We have seen Kate play a few times now including in Derby and Stafford. She introduced me to contemporary British folk music - I heard a snippet of Sir Eglamore on the radio one evening as I drove home and rushed into the house to turn it on and find out who she was. I was amazed at the energy and beauty of her voice and playing. She has a fantastic set of musicians behind her.

Having said that I first saw Eddi Reader in Fairground Attraction at the Queen's Theatre in Burslem in about 1986. That was probably my first ever folk gig, but I didn't know the genre. Brian Kennedy supported them and I was knocked out by him. I waited 4 years for his album The Great War of Words to come out! He has now sadly become a famous crooner in Ireland who gets women throwing their knickers at him - eeuugghh!!!

We saw both Eddi and Brian at Middlewich this year. Eddi was ace - she had Boo Hewerdine with her who wrote many of her best songs. We are due to see Boo at Biddulph Folk Club this Friday and he is doing a song-writing workshop on Saturday at Newcastle library that we are going to. The best thing about Brian was his bass player James Blennerhassett.

There are loads of great photos on atypical folk galleries that mostly Tone took - he's getting good at the hand-held low light action shots y'know!!!

So - I hope that's given you some idea what floats my boat musically in the folk scene...... I love loads of other stuff too - but I just had to tell you all about these people and encourage you to have a listen. A good place to get some ideas about what you like is the BBC2 radio website folk pages. The Mike Harding show is available to listen to if you miss it live on a Weds eve. The discussion forums are fairly interesting if a it obsessive! If you really want obsession take a look at the minute detail in which people compare notes about tunes and songs on Mudcat cafe. It is a good place to find out about particular music you are looking for, but can be overwhelming......

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Tone's camera

I took Tone's small Canon IXUS with me to London yesterday when I went to see the fabulous Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Tate Modern.

I also went down to Trafalgar Square to see the new statue on the fourth plinth - a statue of Alison Lapper and I was amazed - it is so beautiful and fits the site perfectly. The marble is white with pale grey veins and looks like skin.

I took a few photos and this is one of my favourites. I have also posted one on atypical and on yclepta.

Just after I took these photos, I dropped Tone's camera and buggered it - and I was so angry at myself - that means we now have 2 non-functioning cameras!! Can you believe it?

I just hope our insurance is worth the money we have paid into it over the years and pays out......

Friday, September 16, 2005

oh how I miss my camera

I know I have the D70 too but I can't carry it around all the time when at work etc.

I am off to London soon so I am going to borrow Tone's Canon IXUS. I am looking forward to being able to be creative.

Being back at work for the full week this week has been rather hard. I have been thinking a lot about Work Life Balance - this is a particularly NHS policy name. Tone and I went along to Black Dog Molly on Thursday night and had great fun - I played my piano accordion properly with other people for the first time and that was a challenge! I also learned a dance.... and we are definitely going back next week.

We also tried the new Community Gospel Choir that is meeting nearby last weekend. It was ok - it's good to sing with other people - but we didn't sing very much and the songs are not quite my sort of thing.....

the next thing to do is join a T'ai Chi class on Wednesday - we were going to go this week but had too much to do.

Blimey - I should be so relaxed and happy - what's wrong with me! I had a migraine on Monday, a dizzy spell on Wednesday and sinus pain all day today.

However - we have been to see the Scottish Ballet tonight and that really entertained me for a couple of hours so I feel a lot better. The dances called The Pump Room and 32 Cryptograms were amazing. I still feel tired but hopefully I am up to the trip to London.

If you see pictures here in the next few days, you'll know I was ok..........

Friday, September 09, 2005

damaged...but not beyond repair

that is assuming the insurance pays out....

The Nikon Coolpix 4500 that I try to keep with me when I'm out and about, particuarly for sky and cone shots is poorly.

When I wanted it to take a photo on Tuesday evening it made a terrible noise and a juddering when I turned it on. I had to take the battery out to turn it off again.

The quote for repair is £240! The Autofocus motor is part of a single sealed motor and lens unit that has to be replaced. So we are going to make an insurance claim.

Hopefully it will soon be better - fingers crossed......

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I love the sky and the endless variety - I seem to have taken a lot of sky pictures lately.
Here are a few of my favourites.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I am in awe of the ability of some photographers to see the world from perspectives that I fail to see for myself. Pixibition by Poramit and Michael Singer's a visual notebook are a real inspiration. I try to be open-minded but often really struggle to not be obvious.

This picture was taken just before the picture of cones on atypical. I am pleased with both of them - they are the sort of thing I mean, along with the Sainsbury's shot a few days ago.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


I have not been taking many pictures of flowers in the garden recently.
This is for 3 main reasons -
1 - I took a lot last year and feel like I'm repeating myself.
2 - the new lens has a low success rate - I take get one good photo from about every 10 I take.
3 - Being at home and in the mood at a time when the weather is right - if it's windy it is VERY hard to get good photos with the lens at 1:1 close-up as the depth of field is so small. I took a few yesterday - in the wind, but with late sun. Only a couple turned out - one of which was this.... echinacea or coneflower just coming into bloom.


sky over Sainsbury's

Tone and I have just come home from a weekend T'ai Chi for beginners course. I am feeling very dozy. It was challenging, fun and cleared my mind rather successfully.
On our way home we called at the supermarket for the ingredients to make our own ice cream and nice things for tea with our friend Kim.
We had the camera with us, as Tone took some photos of the teacher and the class - which I guess he will post later to either bloghawk or atypical.

sky over Sainsbury's
Originally uploaded by

I saw this photo on the car park - I like the dynamic angles of the porch against the sky. It is a hot bright day. I don't usually like supermarket architecture - and the rest of this shop is a large corrogatedmetal shed - but this feature drew my attention today.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Originally uploaded by atypicalblog.

Well... this is my first time with flickr - Tone and I sat together for hours tonight setting up an account and uploading pictures. I needed to test it out before going to bed. I chose this one as it's black and white - it was taken with the D70.

flickr is grt!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


On friday night our neighbours came round for a meal - then they moved house yesterday to a place about half an hour away. We will miss them all - Dawn, Andrew, Jacob and Alysha.

On Saturday though we had a cheery day visiting Ness gardens with Jude and Alastair. The gardens were mildly disappointing although we took quite a few snaps. So, we went across to Liverpool under the tunnel (aaaggghhhh - don't like long tunnels much!), to Crosby. There is an amazingly splendiforous art installation by Antony Gormley of Angel of the North fame there.

Gormley Posted by Picasa

It's one hundred iron casts of the artist standing upright facing the sea, placed along the 3 km beach.... and we have posted some pictures here already to give you a sense of it. Take a look at these websites for more info - BBC, Visit Liverpool, Sefton Coast, The Lightbox, and get yourselves down/ up there from wherever you are - especially if you are into photography - it's very inspiring with the industry, the beach, the Wirral and North Wales mountains in the distance and then the fantastic figures.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Dorothy Clive

The Dorothy Clive garden is a beautiful, varied and peaceful garden open to the public in North Staffordshire next to the border with Shropshire. We visit a couple of times a year. Today we went with our friends - James,Mandy, Chris, Jude and their friend Noe. We went in Chris and Jude's vehicle which is they bought as it converts to a sleeper/ camper. That may be the type we will get. Chris and Jude are about to move to Cumbria - they hope the move is next weekend. We had a really relaxed afternoon - Tone took a lot of photos - James and he love to talk photography.

I will miss Chris and Jude a great deal - and I hope we will be able to visit them often in the Lake District - which is at least a fabulous place to have to go to to see them. Bon voyage friends... x

Thursday, July 28, 2005


I've just bought Annie Lennox latest album - Bare - and it's wonderful beautifully produced. The cover photo is fantastic. It prompted me to go to her website to try to get a picture - I could not download one as it's all flash, so this is from another site. However - go there and visit the gallery- the photos are amazing - she is so beautiful - more so with age I think...and she has worked with a friend of hers to do the photography herself so you see what she really wants you to see.

The description she gives of this photograph includes the lines "I have exposed myself through the work to reveal aspects of an inner world which are fragile.. broke, but not entir$ely smashed... I am a mature woman facing up to the failed expectations of life and facing up to the "core" issues. I don't want to represent myself visually in some kind of cliched, air-brushed, saccharine kind of way. I want to reveal myself as I am....The image is timeless, genderfree and racially ambiguous."

annie lennox Posted by Picasa

Alison Lapper's photography - buy it!

Alison Lapper Posted by Picasa

yclepta has posted about Alison Lapper - I also saw the programme about her - I have done some research and found that she uses photography and other media to explore herself and perceptions of others. I also saw a programme a few years ago - I think it was Child of Our Time - about her pregnancy and bringing up Parys as a baby. She is a true inspiration - celebrating her body's beauty and using her skills to show that she is more than able - society disables her by our attitudes. There are some beautiful images here. They are for sale too.

And did you know you can get an interest free loan from the arts council to Own Art yourself - up to £2,000!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


As you can see I have joined a webring for people with Elizabeth in their name - it's my middle name. I like it - as a child I got called Pennyliz by my uncle who called his daughter Jane, Janeyliz. I did not like Penny and called myself Mary Elizabeth for a while - why Mary I do not know - and it's not that much different.

I hope I get some visitors to my blog now I'm on a couple of rings.

When I got the black and white photos back I was disappointed - they seem dull and lacking in contrast. Tone explained that they have lots of contrast the main problem is the sky was very blank a lot of the time. So everything looks like shades of grey - little white or black. I am not sure but the processing could be a factor as the film was C41 - it was developed using colour processing - quicker and cheaper.

Having a second look there are a few that I really like. Of course the other issue is that I am used to taking 100's of pictures on the digital and only really liking perhaps 10-20%, and even though I used 3 b/w films on holiday which seemed like a real extravagance, that's only 96 photos altogether and I've not got the 24 film processing back yet. (Hopefully tomorrow). So I can only expect about 10-20 reallly good ones.

We have now put up 4 galleries of pictures from the digital - mostly Tone's because I focussed my efforts on the black and white. The sheep in Northumbria, the pics with Tone on (obviously), a few pictures on the Cumbria page (foxgloves, fern in pool of light, parasol at Windermere) and the close-up of the gunnera flower and the turbo at the hydro power station in Scotland are mine. They are not very exciting - I like the sheep best I think - not usually an interesting subject - it helps that there are clouds in the sky.

I carry the Nikon Coolpix 2500 around with me most of the time - in the car or my bag. Last week I had not got it and the sky was really black with some sun peeking through on my way home from work. I am still thinking about that - I know it's pointless - but the camera is back in my bag now..

Sunday, July 24, 2005

feeling low and tired out?

Yes - me too.

I have got 2 weeks off work, sick, thanks to my GP.

I will take some time to be creative and to rest - therapeutic activity.

That may include blogging and taking pictures.....

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Summer holiday..

We've just been on a summer holiday...
to some most beautiful parts of Britain - Dumfries and Galloway - via Cumbria - and home via Northumbria. We truly loved Galloway - Portpatrick, the Mull, Glentrool - and Kirkudbright in Dumfrieshire was a real place to escape to - perhaps permanently!

Here is the first picture on atypical - one of Tone's. I did not take many on the D70 - I took my Retinette and used black and white film for the first time in about 6 years - it was great fun. The fixed lens was really liberating - I had to do all the composing by moving around, rather than zooming in and out. I can't wait for the results. If I like them, Tone suggests we get our own developing kit...

Thursday, June 30, 2005


yclepta posted about Learning Disability Awareness Week. Last Saturday I was staffing a stall in the Potteries Shopping Centre to raise awareness of learning disability and promoting the inclusion of people with learning disabilities. It was a great day. I love the photos here. They really tell a story of how much people with learning disabilities have to offer our community life.

'Andy and Marc duo'
Entered by - Andy Ledbury
Story behind the picture
"I sometimes find music lessons easier than normal lessons because all I have to do is read the music. It is better than handwriting.
Playing the cornet makes me feel like a musician. I feel proud. "

Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Birmingham photos

I went to a meeting in Birmingham - it was a regional network meeting run by the Valuing People team - for people who plan and pay for services for people with learning disabilities.

It was baking hot and a fantastic day for taking pictures. I did not have much time so I just took a few shots as I walked through the bullring on my way to the station. Take and look at more pictures.

spots and stripes Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

new lens

We bought a new lens last week - Tone got it when he was in London. It's a Sigma 50mm DG EX f2.8 macro. One of the main reasons for buying it was so that I can improve my close-up shots of flowers/ plants. The Nikon Coolpix 4500 has a fantastic macro facility, but it lacks flexibility - I cannot easily adjust the ISO and the aperture.

I have been experimenting -

euphorbia Posted by Hello

Take a look at the clematis pictures and let me know what you think.....

Sanity Fair

We went to the 5th annual Sanity Fair a couple of weeks ago in the Stoke-on-Trent city centre. I took a lot of photos - I had good fun and I was pleased with my efforts.

cult sis Posted by Hello
What do you think of this photo of the Cultural Sisters street performance?
Tone usually does the majority of the photography at the event, but this year he played guitar with About Dylan and showed the new elected Mayor round. Tone took some great pics too - what do you think of our sanity fair gallery?

Sanity Fair is an annual event that includes a street festival and a conference. It demonstrates to the wider community that people with experience of mental distress do make a valuable contribution and we can, together, combat stigma and prejudice at a local, national and international level. The planning, design and delivery is by people who have direct personal experience of mental distress - Media Action Group for Mental Health.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

My new blog

Hello there

Welcome to my new blog - I am going to be doing random writings - mostly related to the photography, places, people and events that you see on atypical the photoblog I publish with my partner Tone.

Please take a look and let me know what you think.