Saturday, June 28, 2008

Another milestone...

... To Me!

Today is my birthday! I have had some nice presents including a great tripod for my camera, tickets to see Jools Holland and some money which I put towards a small aquarium. I used to keep tropical fish when I was younger and thought it was about time I got some more. I expect you'll see pictures of the tank and the fish before too long!

I got back from Edinburgh yesterday after a really long drive back made worse by two long delays due to accidents on the road and long tail backs. I had a great time though and will write about it soon. I won't be around much for another week or so as I am going away for the week on a course with work so I still won't get round to visiting as often as I would like too. I will pop by as soon as I can though as I miss visiting my favourite blogs (that's yours by the way!).

Meanwhile I am extending the deadline on the caption competition (post below) as there haven't been many entries. I bought back some lovely postcards from Edinburgh in anticipation of sending the winner(s) one; so if you fancy a handwritten postcard of Edinburgh from me then get captioning!

I'm off to celebrate my birthday now :)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Good Knight

Jousting Display ~ Templecombe Medieaval Fayre, June 2008

The Templecombe Medieaval Fayre was an eclectic event with sword combat, a re-enacted battle, stalls, falconry, belly dancing and jousting. I have previously posted about the belly dancing *here* and the battle *here*. The jousting was a very professional show, combining horsemanship, traditional jousting and combat skills with comedy. As ever there was a 'good' knight and there was a 'bad' knight who coveted the prize of the crown at any cost and received many a 'boo' from the crowd of spectators.

The knights completed many tests including jousting, spearing items on the ground from horseback, hitting targets and armed combat. Of course the 'bad' knight tried to cheat to secure the crown but in the end of course he didn't win it.

I am off for a few days to Edinburgh taking a well earned break so I won't be around in blogland this week to visit. I just finished my last job and it was a mad rush to get everything finished before I left so I need a rest! I am looking forward to Edinburgh very much as it looks like a beautiful city.

While I am away I am leaving the photo above for your consideration. It is one of those photo's that I have taken that is begging for a caption, so go ahead and use your imagination! The competition will run while I am away and I will pick a winner on my return next Saturday (which also happens to be my birthday). The winner will get a pretty postcard, handwritten from me and sent via snail mail (so note, if you win you'll need to send me an address to receive your prize). So get inventive and get captioning and good luck :) I'll see you all when I get back!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I wish I had his job

Did you ever wish that someone would pay for you to travel around the world and visit different countries? Did you ever hope that you could leave your job and do something that you enjoyed? Well, Matt did just that.

You can read his story *here*. It's a modern day fairy tale. Man gives up job to travel around Asia and runs out of dosh. He posts a video on the Internet of him doing a silly dance on his travels. A friend tells a friend who tells a friend who works in a gum company who then offer to pay for him to travel around the world and film himself doing his dance. Man comes back with video and then convinces the company to let him do it all again, this time dancing with people who have emailed him. I gotta say, I take my hat off to him.

I am of course insanely jealous, travel being one of my loves and also one I can't afford to do near as often as I would like to. I am at least off to Edinburgh next week for a few days for a well earned break having just completed my last day in my old job. I will be taking photos but there will be no dancing, not by me at any rate. So Matt, been to Edinburgh on your dance tour yet?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Have you heard of Lauren Bernat? No? Well, you might be more acquainted with her derrière thanks to her boyfriend and You Tube.

It seems that Lauren was unknowingly filmed by her nearest and dearest while using her Wii Fit Hula Game while in her undies. As any loved one would, he then posted it on You Tube. To date over 3 million people have viewed the video which shows the hapless girl gyrating her hips. You can read the story *here*.

Apparently she was livid when she found out and who could blame her? That is until she became an overnight celeb and claimed her fifteen minutes of fame. The only conclusion I am left with is that it is not okay to secretly film someone you care about and post it on the Internet UNLESS several million people view it and you make the news. There was I thinking it was not okay, full stop. Clearly I was unaware of the 'media rule' and not 'up' with modern morals.

With reality TV well and truly established, turning out, for the large part, untalented nobodies (with the exception of some shows which are based on talent) it is hardly surprising that such a banal clip would catch the eye of the media and rocket Lauren and her bottom to instant, if fleeting fame. What has surprised me is that she has apparently forgiven her boyfriend because so many people viewed the video. This leads me to wonder what the number of viewers has to be before such an act is forgiven? Is it one million, two million? Quite frankly if anyone did this to me they would be entering a world of pain. In my humble opinion, I think there is something wrong when someone is willing to court fame at just about any cost and if said fame interferes with our moral judgement in society.

There was speculation that this was an advertising stunt but all involved, including Nintendo deny it. Of course they do.

Surely this is an issue about R.E.S.P.E.C.T (as Aretha would say). Not just about the lack of it shown by her boyfriend but also self-respect? Here endeth the rant.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Divas of Dance

Desert Divas ~ Templecombe Mediaeval Fayre, June 2008

I have a confession to make. When it comes to dancing I'm no disco diva. I can move to the music and I can even keep off toes (mine and others) but I just can't make my body go where I want it to. I also went to an all girls school and when we did dancing I always got to lead which causes problems as an adult woman as I'm not so good at the following. All in all I am much happier watching and in the case of belly dancing, I feel something akin to relief that I don't have to participate. So it was a guilt free Bobkat that watched the Desert Divas put on a belly dancing display at Templecombe Mediaeval Fayre a couple of weekends ago.

Now, I haven't the first idea about what constitutes good belly dancing but the women seemed to enjoy themselves, the crowd were
appreciative and as far as I was concerned they made great photographic subjects as they were colourful and provided interesting forms as they moved.

While belly dancing certainly wasn't practised in mediaeval Britain it dates back to ancient times in the East and was practised as a form of folk dance across areas in the Middle East. It was only at the end of the 19th century that Raqs Sharqi to give it it's proper name became known as 'belly dancing' and in fact the dance involves using the whole of the body to express the emotion the dancer is experiencing from the music.

I watched one of the dances and decided that rather than capture photos of the scene in front of me, I wanted to focus on the colourful costumes, the body forms and the impression of movement in some of the shots through the fluid movement of the fabrics. While belly dancing was unexpected at such an event which was other wise full of swords fighting, jousting, battles, the swirl of fabric and the rhythmic music did provide a colourful break from the clink and clang of metal armour and swords and kept me and my camera occupied.

I have posted some of my favourite photos of the dancers on my photoblog and it is likely that one or two more will be posted soon so do pop over and take a look :) Just follow the link on the picture in my side bar which shows the most recent photo to be posted or click *here*.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Battle at Templecombe

Medieaval Re-enactors ~ Templecombe Medieaval Fayre, June 2008

The first weekend in June I went to Templecombe Medieaval Fayre in Somerset. This is an annual event, organised by a couple of re-enactment groups in the South West of England a.k.a. bunch of otherwise seemingly normal folk who like to dress up at weekends and hit each other as per the days of yore. The day forecast rain and sunny intervals but we Brits are used to such meteorological turbulence and headed out anyway. When we got to the event the field was pretty muddy but other than being a bit overcast we were pretty lucky with the rain.

It was a fairly modest event but I have to say it was one of the better organised I have been to. There were a number of things to do and see including stalls selling, clothing, jewellery, archery kit, wooden items etc., there were places to eat and drink (and get real Somerset cider which is nothing like the stuff known as cider in the US!), there was falconry, jousting and belly dancing as well of course sword combat and a battle!

The battle was very entertaining and everyone who took part put on a good show for the audience. The organisers had built a wooden castle at one of the battle field which was defended valiantly by the Lord and his retainers. The Lord had rebelled against paying taxes and so the King had sent a loyal Lord of the Court to bring the rebellious Lord back into line.
A big battle ensued complete with canon where the defenders were driven back into the safety of their castle. Eventually a truce was called and Knights from both sides fought each other to try and determine the outcome. This ended in a draw and so the defenders pledged to give the women and children safe passage before a siege developed. However, the attackers started to slaughter them and this resulted in a big end battle where many a valiant Knight was slain.

Re-enactment events like this are not just fun however. This one was a small local effort raising money for charity, but they are also importnat in that they expose the public, and children in particular to history. Of course I had my camera with me and despite the crowd of people in front of me I managed to get a few decent shots you see here. I think the smoke from the canons and the moody weather just added to the atmosphere of the photos. I will post some more pics soon of the belly dancers but meanwhile I posted one recently on my photoblog which you can view *here*.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Tale of Two Films

Once upon a time there was a woman who lived in the suburbs of a city. She worked hard all week and so jealously guarded her free time. She enjoyed doing many things but once of her favourite things was watching a good film, preferably with a glass of wine or something chocolately. One weekend she watched two films. The first film was something she wasn't expecting to enjoy, while the second film seemed to be just right.

The first film was 'Letters From Iwo Jima' and although it was not a happy film, she thoroughly enjoyed it. It had wonderful directing and was beautifully shot. The story was touching and yet never resorted to cheap emotional tugging of heart strings. It simply seemed to tell the story of the men who fought on that island. It exceeded her expectations.

The second film was 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'. This film had a great action pedigree and although Harrison Ford was as fantastic as ever she was thoroughly disappointed by it. It seemed to rely far too much on Green screen and CGI effects at the expense of the story, which was so far fetched that she simply wasn't buying it.

Isn't it funny how life hardly ever turns out the way you thought it would?