Sunday, 23 December 2007

Sloe Gin

I've been meaning to try making sloe gin for ages and this year I finally got round to it. The demijohn was half filled with Tanqueray gin (only the best!) then topped up with sloes and sugar and then left for weeks and shaken around every few days. We cracked it open on Friday night for a pre-Christmas taster and all ended up very merry... it was great, sweet because of the sugar but with a sharp tang from the sloes, and the colour was wonderful. Final verdict is don't bother coming round for a taster... it's not going to last that long!!!

Cheeeeers, and cherry mistmas!!!!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007


It's 31 October, the deadline for me to have sorted the clutter in my dining room and make it re-usable again, and as you can see I made it with a few hours to spare. There are still some things in the room which I just can't find anywhere else for so they will have to stay there for now but at least the room is once again usable. I need to re-decorate as I'm not sure about the red and also fix up two more blinds on the narrow windows in the bay, and I also need to start work on the spare bedroom as some of the stuff from the dining room has ended up in that room. Verdict on the de-cluttering process? It was good to have a clutter buddy who I felt I couldn't let down, so thank you Grace and I hope your de-cluttering is going to work out OK, and also encouragement from Angharad and some of my friends, who have been watching and commenting on my progress. Thanks for your support everyone and I hope you are impressed!

Sunday, 14 October 2007


OK Grace, now I'm feeling really smug! How's this for progress. I've thrown lots of stuff out, put all the chairs I am in the middle of restoring up in the loft, and left loads of things outside the front of the house with notes on for people to take if they want them (and they all went within a matter of hours). There's still quite a bit to do but at last I can see the carpet. I'm now down to the hard core clutter and I've no idea how I am going to sort it out but whatever it is it has to happen by the end of the month. I think I'm on target how about you?

Thursday, 27 September 2007

The time has come ...

I have to unglue myself from Flickr and all the other distractions and sort this room out. I'm turning into a bag lady, hoarding rubbish. I don't understand why I do it. The parts of my house that I actually use are completely clutter free, verging on minimalist (you can see a pic of my living room elsewhere on this Blog as proof of this). But now, with the help of my Flickr friend Grace I am going to get this sorted. We are now "Clutter Buddies" and will be supporting and encouraging each other in our endeavours to clear the clutter from our homes and lives. OK Grace, here we go... this is the awfulness I have to deal with. I'll try really hard not to just move it to the other room that is like this... ahhhh, I might not have mentioned that... there is actually another room (a bedroom), possibly even worse than this, that I have to sort. It's not much use as a guest bedroom as there's currently no room for a bed as you can see!

My deadline for sorting the dining room out is the end of October... that's October 2007! I'll post some follow-up shots to record progress and will be checking out Grace's progress on her de-cluttering and reporting back on that too. Wish me luck... slap my wrists... tell me I'm not the only one who does this... send me words of encouragement!!!

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Yo Yo

I'm finding my new yo yo very therapeutic and I'm particularly enjoying hooking up with J to learn all those new moves

Wednesday, 1 August 2007


Another self-portrait this time with the glasses. I could produce a long list of everything I see that I don't like but I've been told off by my friends for doing this and they're right of course. I should trust people to be attracted by who I am not what I look like ... I know ... but can I just mention those lips, they're not exactly what you'd call "kissy lips" now are they ... and there are lines that seem to have appeared overnight, and my nose is too long, and ........ OK, OK, I know, I've got a really nice personality - but isn't that what they say about people who are ugly!!!

Sunday, 22 July 2007


This is one of the few shots I have of myself without my glasses, and for that reason it's quite flattering. Everybody else sees me with my glasses on but that's not what I see nor how I think of myself and for this reason I want others to see me as I really am. And if you look carefully you can just see the strap of my red polka-dot bikini which I intend to wear throughout my holiday with my friend Viki in August!

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Clutterfree zone

Clutterfree zone, originally uploaded by Red Snapper9.

I've never really understood how it is that some parts of my house are so clutterfree whilst others are just a mess. (You can see examples of this in the photos of my desk earlier in my Blog). It's as though there are two sides to me which need to be nurtured - the creative person who needs to have lots of things around her to stimulate her imagination, to leave her mark on the world she occupies; and the other person who needs simple and calming spaces. Perhaps I need the clutterfree spaces as a respite from the busy mind side. I certainly have a tendency to be manic and this may just be an extension of this. Whatever the reason I know that this simple space is important for my sanity and is hence an interesting insight into my character, and my taste ... I don't do chintz!

Saturday, 12 May 2007


This image hit me directly I saw it posted on Ditch the Kitch's photostream - you can see the original photo here. The light and textures are wonderful and I couldn't resist seeing if I could draw something that would do it justice. Denis is a constant inspiration to me for the way in which he pushes the boundaries and creates wonderfully vibrant and intense images. He is warm, sweet and adorable, and I love the alchemy he works!

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Red hair

Red head

I've never really played around with my photos in order to create new images. I'm not sure why this is. On the whole my preference is for what you might call "straightforward" photos rather than the more elaborate fantasy-type images, and yet a number of my contacts on Flickr create these types of image and there are many that I really like. I have no doubt that viewing these images and thinking about why I like them has really helped to wider my horizons and stimulate creativity and for this I am very grateful. I have therefore decided that I will occasionally play around with some of my photos to see what sort of new images I can create and how far I can take this as I think this will help to make me more creative in the widest sense. This is quite a simple starting shot. I tried it with various hair colours and may play around some more with these to see how I might put them together, but for now this is me in my hippy days with red hair.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007


Iris Reticulata, originally uploaded by Red Snapper9.

All my favourite flowers are spring flowers and I especially love those with complex and trumpet like blooms like this amazing Iris. Only nature could produce something so exquisite. I really could just sit and look at this for hours and marvel at its beauty, and whatever else that may be happening in my life this will always bring me joy.

Saturday, 31 March 2007

Ireland Beach

Ireland Beach, originally uploaded by Red Snapper9.

I've been feeling very wistfull lately; thinking about how different my life might have been if I had made different choices at different times in my life. I can never understand those people who say they have no regrets and wouldn't change anything in their lives. This seems bizarre to me. There's never enough time to do everything one would want so how can anyone say they would do everything the same again? As for regrets, well, my life is full of those, but perhaps that's more to do with having the type of character that has a tendency to beat oneself up. Interesting to reflect on what would be my biggest regret, and if I could change one thing what would it be? I'll need to think about this, but on second thoughts it's probably best not to! This shot from Ireland is one that often comes to mind when I think about the happy times I had in this lovely country. I half dream of one day moving to Ireland to hide away in a small cottage with lots of dogs somewhere very remote - perhaps it's the pull of my Irish roots - but I know this will never happen.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Sally Clark 1965-2007

I was away for the weekend in Somerset when the news of Sally Clark's death was announced. She was found dead at her home in the morning having passed away during the night. The terrible experiences this woman had to go through with the loss of her two children was so awful, and then to be accused of their murder and have to spend 3 years in prison. It's impossible to imagine what it must have been like for her and from all reports she never fully recovered from the awful miscarriage of justice she suffered. The news of her death really affected me and reading again her statement when her conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal is one of the saddest things.

Monday, 19 March 2007


Swans, originally uploaded by Red Snapper9.

I spent so long thinking about this shot and trying to decide if it was any good, how I might change it, whether it was better in colour, was the light too bright, would it have been better if both swans had been completely symmetrical. In the end I decided it wasn't very good and got really down about how useless I was at photography. The professionals say never to compromise on your photos; aim for perfection, but I never seem to get anywhere near this. There's always something not right about my photos and always so many on Flickr that are so much better. I wasn't going to post it and don't know why I changed my mind but having uploaded it I've had lots of really nice comments. It's great to get this positive feedback but it also makes me feel even worse inasmuch as I clearly can't even tell what's a good photo any more. I'm getting close to giving up. What's the point of having an expensive camera if you can't take quality photos.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

My desk at home

My desk, originally uploaded by Red Snapper9.

I got my new work laptop today. Great to get a new toy but nightmare getting all those files and emails transferred over. Still not sure about this CD/DVD stuff. The new Dell only refers to a DVD drive but it's not clear if I can use this for CDs as well or if these are one more thing in the list of techie stuff that is on the path to obsolescence. It's going to take me forever to transfer the files and this made me think about how long I must spend sitting in front of either my personal or work computers. It's easy to say "too long" but I think this is rather a glib response. I certainly don't think all those people who want my help to solve a computer-related problem would agree. I have, in other words, picked up a considerable amount of knowledge and experience of one sort or another from sitting here at my laptop and perhaps, most important of all, I have met some really nice people who have become real friends.

Sunday, 11 March 2007


Blackthorn, originally uploaded by Red Snapper9.

I love the little flowers of Blackthorn blossom. Such a tiny flower but with such intricate features.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor, originally uploaded by Red Snapper9.

I was reminded today about my trip to Glastonbury. Although I go to Somerset a lot I rarely go inland and it's a number of years since I was last in Glastonbury. It's an interesting town, lots of shops with crystals and other hippy-type trinkets. The Tor is just outside the town, located in the middle of the Somerset Levels and can be seen from miles around. The view from the top is spectacular and worth the walk up the hill to the top. I most often see it from The Quantock Hills some miles to the west of Glastonbury, where on a clear day the Tor has a mystical quality as it stands out on the horizon.

I never got to go to the Festival but I imagine it would be a similar atmosphere to that at WOMAD. I am lucky to have been part of the group of people that brought back the Rock Festival to Reading and also brought WOMAD (what we used to call the World of Meals and Drinks) to the town. I can remember it as being an exciting time. We had just taken majority control of the Council and as Chair of Leisure Martin was determined to get the Rock Festival back. Our contacts through Ron Bartholomew, the Festival Site Director, who was also our boss at the Housing Co-op made it easy to negotiate with Harold Pendleton for the return of the Festival. It was always great fun, lots of eating and drinking and loud music. But it was always WOMAD that was my first love. Back stage was a constant parade of all those people and artists that you loved to listen to and the food and workshop events were amazing especially the parades around the site. Happy days which, like most things in life, only really come into focus many years after the event!

Thursday, 8 March 2007

In celebration of International Women's Day

International Women's Day, originally uploaded by Red Snapper9.

One of the roses I made in my cake decorating course. Not perfect but I thought it would be a nice image for this special day.

A friend recently sent me a link to a web site he thought I might enjoy - It's one of those sites that you can get completely immersed in and not surface for hours. It's great. I love the eccentricity combined with such useful and interesting information. It's one of the wittiest and most enjoyable sites I have come across on the web. I lead a pretty run-of-the-mill kind of life nowadays but I like to think there is a little eccentric and bohemian seed inside me that never really got the opportunity to grow and that one day I'll set it free to grow in the way that Zyra has done. In the meantime I'll have to settle for periodic visits to sites like this. Check it out for yourself. It's great fun and not possible to see it all in a day!!!

ZYRA - Interesting eccentric site with thousands of pages of useful information on a wealth of subjects, oodles of fascinating and amusing items, and an encyclopaedic set of things connected together conceptually, plus a gateway to thousands of places around the world.

Monday, 5 March 2007


Camelia, originally uploaded by Red Snapper9.

Walk on Saturday was around Douai Abbey. The church there is so lovely and in such a pretty setting. The weather was great so lots of photos, then I saw this huge camelia shrub covered in flowers with this one bloom in shade with a flash of sunlight across it. Very windy but somehow managed to get a reasonable shot - not as sharp as I would like but worth keeping for the colours and feel of spring.

Friday, 2 March 2007

Hanging on the telephone

This is what happens when you are stuck on hold while instant messaging with Syamntic support. It's midnight and you realise you've lost it when you start taking photos of little furry fellas sitting on your laptop keyboard


This is my special little man, Spike. I can't believe how much I adore this little fellow. He's getting on a bit now and I can't bear the thought that he wont always be by my side. There's always one dog in your life that is the special one, and he's the one; the gentlest, sweetest natured and most loving dog I have every had.

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Red Snapper9

Here we go with my new blog - my chance to reflect on some of the things that are important to me.

AT this time of the year I love getting out into the countryside to photograph different types of fungi. I have a friend who loves to pick and eat wild fungi even if she isn’t sure what it is. I, on the other hand wouldn’t even touch any of it let alone eat it. This made me think about taking risks and why some of us are inveterate risk takers whilst others, like me, do everything we can to avoid taking risks. The biggest risk I take these days is crossing the road. I guess it must have something to do with fear of failure and discomfort at unforeseen consequences.

Putting yourself forward as a potential candidate for election, particularly at a Parliamentary level, is pretty much of a risk and I really admire people who are prepared to put themselves on the line and face the risk of losing. But the risks we take in politics are nothing compared to the risks that some people take in the course of their work. Journalists who work in war zones for example, risk their lives every day. Like Anna Politikovskaya, the US-born Russian journalist who was brutally murdered, shot to death in her apartment on 7 October in what is believed to have been a contract killing. She was outspoken in her criticism of the Chechin conflict and the Putin administration . She risked her life because she believed that what she had to say needed to be heard, and that must surely be an example to us all. In all the publicity about the dreadful circumstances surrounding the death of Alexander Litvinenko let's not forget the courage and commitment shown by Anna throughout her career as a journalist. Her death was just as tragic.