Monday, 28 January 2013

Gargoyles In The Snow....

It was a bit snowy last week, so much so - even my gargoyle who guards the garden got covered. I love him and I wish now we'd bought two so he'd have a chum. But the place we got him from has closed down now so he'll have to remain a solitary gargoyle instead.

I am knitting one as well, but it's one of those projects that is taking an age, it's not complicated but it is fiddly and so I've been concentrating on other things instead - like a poncho for my niece, some skulls for a friend of mine and some knitted fruit for my Mum. Thinking about it though I've been working on him or rather not working on him for over 18 months so I really need to pull my finger out and get him finished.....

So note to self - do more of gargoyle before starting anything else.....

Do any of you have anything unfinished that is hanging over you giving you a vague sense of guilt but equally not quite enough oomph to get it finished?

Monday, 21 January 2013

Targets and Permissions....

It's very snowy today - the back garden looks like a winter wonderland and in spite of being on a get fitter to improve my general health kick (it started last July and is paying dividends) I've decided to wuss out of walking down the hill to the gym this evening. It's too cold and slippy plus I have cleaned the house from top to bottom today (a proper clean as opposed to a quick wipe round with one of those disinfectant wipes) and tackled and completed the ironing mountain. So it's not like I've been sat on my arse all day. Though I have been sat on it for some of it.

I do feel a bit guilty though for wussing out of the gym though - even though I have lots of walking planned for the rest of the week, it's the same when I read a book at home. I ADORE reading, it's one of my favourite things to do but I still feel naughty doing it at home during the day - on the bus or the train, waiting for a chum to turn up whilst sitting in a cafe or waiting for an appointment is okay. I feel no guilt then - if anything a little smug as I am doing something productive with my time but at home when there's other things I could be doing - like sorting out the kitchen cupboards or sorting out the spare room (in spite of two bin bags of books being taken to Poverty Aid the other week but the room looks as depressingly cluttered as ever) but most of all it's the feeling that I should be 'outside'.

My grandparents had a real thing about 'outside' and 'getting fresh air' - something which unless it was raining (I grew up in South Manchester so thankfully this was often) you should be doing rather than sitting inside with either the television on or reading a book. 'You should be out there getting fresh air' was my Nana's constant refrain whenever she saw me with my head in a book. Unless it was raining and then there was still stuff you could be doing like tidying up....

And that has kind of stuck with me - I can read voraciously and without guilt on holiday but the only time I don't have a vague sense of guilt reading at home is either in the bath (carefully - obviously and not with too precious a book either in case it takes a dip - Jackie Collins are especially good for this) or just before going to sleep. Any other time - unless it's a Saturday afternoon and throwing it down I still feel I should be outside doing something else.....

I don't feel the same sense of unease knitting though - but then most of the things I am knitting are for someone else (currently working on a selection of knitted fruit for my Mum, the orange is a bastard to do so she is only getting one of those and a clementine instead) but I think I would if it was something just for me.

But back to the gym (which fingers crossed  I will be by the end of the week anyway..) I had a fitness test last week and I ran a mile in 12 minutes and 29 seconds, not record breaking but it is a big achievement for me as last July I couldn't have run for more than 30 seconds at a time and when I take the test again in a few weeks I hope to be a bit quicker again. I feel loads better for it so I have no intention of wussing out on it long term and I might just read a bit more of my book before I watch Miranda later.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

If you go down in the woods today......

If you live in North Leeds and looked through the trees today you might have seen this, I love mooching about the woods and the bridlepaths and seeing what I can see through and with my camera. This was taken on the digital lumix but I also use lovely old film cameras too - they don't have the screen on the back so you can't check you're getting the view you want as go along so they can be a bit hit and miss and in order to get decent pics you need a sunny day really. I know it's not as quick and easy as digital - but for me that's part of the point. I want to really think about what I'm doing as opposed to just pointing and shooting.

Plus I love the look and feel of film and the tactile relationship you have with it - memory cards aren't anywhere near as exciting or romantic. Plus there is just an indefinable something magical about film, even if it is more expensive, a bit more fiddly and faffy. I love the faff of film though. The click as you insert the cartridge and the slight tension as you line up the holes with the sprockets and wind it on and take the first blank pic before closing the back of the camera and then clicking away  for hopefully 36 times :-)

I like using cameras with a screen but I like using cameras with a viewfinder more, I've got an instant fuji camera that is a joy to use - it's like a big kids camera for adults and whilst it doesn't quite have the proustian instant polaroid noise as it spits the pic out - it's still the aces and it still helps if you put the pic under your armpit whilst it develops.

I haven't developed my own pics for years - I live with two cats and cats and chemicals aren't a good combination so I take them to a nice man in Headingley who does them for me instead - all the excitement of film and none of the resultant chemical faff - I'm not so keen on that side of film. Plus for me there is still the excitement of handing over your numbered papered slip and getting back the envelop containing your images and having a quick scan of the test print and being all giddy and holding up the negatives to the light.

Going back to using film has improved my digital pictures - I no longer click,click,click as film is more finite than a memory card and in order not to waste it you have to really line up your shot, and really think about it before you press the button and fire the shutter. Digital cameras might have fake electric shutter noises but nothing beats the noise and feel of the real thing.

I know we are in a digital ever quickening revolution but LONG LIVE FILM!!!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Wondering what 2013 will bring....

I'm hoping it will bring all sorts of loveliness, namely lots more visits to the cinema - mostly to the Hyde Park Picture House, The Cottage Road, Armley Mills Picture Palace in Leeds,  Pictureville in that Bradford and hopefully a return visit to the Ritz in Malton and trips further afield to the Electric Cinema in that Birmingham and the Tyneside Cinema in that Newcastle. I haven't been to either of those two but they are on the list for 'must visits' this year as they look so delightful.

I love proper old picture palaces that have individuality and character as opposed to the nameless faceless look the same wherever they are multiplexes staffed by bored teenagers who don't seem to give a monkey's either about their patrons or the films they are showing. I could be doing multiplexes and their staff a great disservice there but I really don't like them and would far rather see a film elsewhere. I like to see films somewhere with a bit of character and that it's an occasion to visit rather than in a big characterless shed that seems more bothered about selling you sweets and ocean loads of teeth rotting fizzy drinks.

So rant about multiplexes and their evils aside what else does 2013 hold? well most importantly I'm hoping it brings health and comparative wealth to my loved ones after bouts of rotten ill health last year, a few trips to the seaside namely Cleethorpes, Whitby, Scarborough and Filey , lots more knitting adventures - learnt a new way to increase at the weekend by purling into the front and back of the stitch, and I also hope to learn how to knit in the round, crochet and intarsia. I'm partway through a toilet roll holder at the moment - it's in black and purple and in a kind of lacework stitch and I intend to adorn the finished item with knitted skulls.

Along with hopefully selling some more of my knitted goods, I'm hoping to take part in more photography exhibitions, and either barter or sell more of my work. I'm also hoping to work more on my writing - have more or less finished one short story about a man who murders his mother and I'd like to do more.

I also want to be able to run further than I can at the moment - my aim is to be able to run round the bridlepath in Meanwood without having to stop every so often to catch my breath. I'm getting there slowly but surely but it is hard. Here's hoping the more I try the easier it will get....

What are you hoping 2013 will bring?