So what have I been doing? I’ll make a list. In January I have:
• Read a book
• Made a cushion
• Spent a weekend in Dublin
One of my very bestest friends is Irish and lives in Dublin, and she invited me over to get away from my car-crash life for a weekend. I’ve been over there a fair few times now and have done most of the touristy things like Temple Bar, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, the Ha’Penny Bridge, having my picture taken with Molly Malone... So this weekend was one of R&R, tea & cake, good friends & good times.
This is the main entrance to the Gaol, I loved the dragons.
We visited Kilmainham Gaol as I’d been a few years ago and was keen to go back. M. had not been there since a school trip about 15 years ago and was surprised how much she enjoyed it. If you’re ever in Dublin make it a must-see, it’s only E6 for an hour-long guided tour and you learn so much about the country’s bloody history. Going there made me want to rush home and watch Michael Collins and The Wind that Shakes the Barley to get a better idea of what went on.
This is the newer end of the Gaol which you may have seen in such films as In The Name of the Father, or in U2's A Celebration video.
On the Sunday we took the train out to Howth which is a picturesque little harbour town in North Co. Dublin. There are several cliff-top walks to be done, a fabulous flea market, TWO lighthouses and loads of bijou little shops and restaurants.
After Saturday’s night out it was quite late by the time we arrived so we had a brisk walk up onto the cliff-top, peeking in at people’s quaint cottages (W.B. Yeats lived in one for a time) and not-so-quaint enormous mansion houses and around the harbour.
I was quite taken with the lamp in the window here...
Oh it was so beautiful it took my breath away, just what we needed after a night on the Guinness.
A good portion of fish and chips to settle the stomach ended a perfect afternoon.
• Been to the cinema
• Decluttered - six bags of *stuff* to the charity shop and £100 made on eBay (still more to do sadly)
• Joined a knitting group, only I crochet. Six squares now done for the Baby Blanket, thirty to go. What’s that you say? When’s the due date? This Friday. I know.
• Had a haircut
• Been out for lunch
• Started Photography course
I bought the Dream DSLR I mentioned here and signed up to a photography night class (#9 on my 28 Things list). It all started off a bit over my head but with a bit of practice I’m starting to understand certain things. Here’s what I’ve done so far:
I’ve learned how to fiddle with (technical term) the ISO, shutter speed and aperture settings to brighten images where light is limited, whilst retaining crisp focus (this is the best example I have but it's not great!)
I’ve learned about depth of field and how to achieve different effects with the aperture settings. I love love LOVE shallow depth of field pictures like these (where a tiny bit of the image is in focus and the background fades into blur)
I was brave and went out and about taking pictures by myself, and found that bright sunny days produce the crispest but not necessarily the most interesting or atmospheric pictures
We went on a ‘field trip’ to the seaside to experiment taking pictures in low light. This is one of my faves, I love how the street lights have that twinkly star effect. Not a clue how I achieved it
And of course I have about a squillion pics of my unwilling subjects Mavis and Sally. They look so sweet cuddled up together don’t they?
But in actual fact this scene almost deteriorated into hissing and fisticuffs when Sally encroached on Mavis’s personal space by plonking herself down almost on top of her. If Mavis could tut loudly I’m fairly sure she would have. (I think I still had my camera set for shallow DOF pics at this point – can you see how my cacti are all blurred?!)
• Signed up to Three Peaks Challenge – that is, climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in 24 hours. That’s 24 consecutive hours, including travelling between them. I think I may have had a slight lapse of sanity for a moment
• Been out for tea and cake (more than once)
Phew! So there you go, I’ve been fairly busy despite the lack of blogging, but I do hope to manage my time a bit better in future so I can write about things as I go rather than in one long ramble on the last day of the month (sorry). Hope you’ve found it at least a bit interesting though. Would love to know what you think of my photos?