Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve, the tree is up and decorated, the presents are wrapped and under it and I am sat watching a Christmas film and enjoying a nice glass of wine and some chocolate.

Christmas dove... is watching you!

I thought I would share some photos of my Christmas tree with you. I always decorate it with fruit, berry's and birds. On top of the tree I always have a white dove of peace. It seems apt for this time of year, being the season of peace and goodwill to all men. I also have some robins nestled amongst the branches, and what seem to be golden sparrows and a fanciful red glittery bird of some description (let's call it the Christmas bird of Paradise).

I finished work two days ago and am so happy that I have a whole two weeks off wrk over Christmas. I very much need the break as I have been very run down. Still more medical tests to come in the new year but I think the time away from work will do me good.

I have been working on my photography and actually shot a Christmas Eve wedding. It was very small but the bride and groom were happy. It was a short shoot though with so few guests! I also took advantage of the recent snow and went out taking some pictures, some of which I am really pleased with. I will share some here soon.

It's the small hours of Christmas morning and so I will finish now. Wished you health, wealth and happiness this Christmas. may it be filled with joy and may you be on Santa's 'nice' list.


Sunday, December 05, 2010


I am so looking forward to Christmas. I always do of course. My childhood Christmases were so wonderful that the magic of this time of year has always stayed with me. I love choosing presents for friends and family, wrapping them and sending cards. I love receiving cards in the post instead of just bills and junk mail. I love that people are usually just a little bit nicer to each other. The picture is of my advent calendar which has goodies in each pocket ~ a small chocolatey treat.

This year though, Christmas cannot come quickly enough as I get two weeks off work. I so need a break. Other than a couple of odd days off, the only time off work I have had was at Easter. Work has been particularly trying this year as well, mainly due to a very difficult boss, who is a control freak and only seems to care about outputs and process. On receiving a Christmas card from a friend at work, I overheard them ask "Are you allowed to send cards through the internal mail?" The jobsworth on a nearby desk confirmed that you were not and he said "I thought so" and seemed quite satisfied with himself. It just struck me as odd as most people would say "How nice, a Christmas card from so-and-so", but then I suppose it's in character for a person who stated at a team meeting "I don't feel the need to be friendly with my staff". We are a team of four people so needless to say motivation could be better. A year of this has left me somewhat stressed.

On top of that I have been feeling very run down physically too. I went for tests and the doctor confirmed it is my thyroid again (and potentially something else) which would explain the constant tiredness, lack of concentration and the complete absence of energy. Steps are being taken and I have to go back for more tests soon. I still feel like crap all the time though so forgive my lack of blog presence.

Still, thanks to online shopping all my Christmas presents are bought. My tree will be decorated this weekend coming and I will hopefully finish writing my cards this week. I have a Christmas CD in the car and I have a list of Christmas themed films to watch, from classics such as 'White Christmas' and 'It's a Wonderful Life' through to 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' and 'Die Hard' (1&2). Even health problems can't crush the Christmas spirit in this Kat : )

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sad news

I know my last post was a month ago and once more life has got in the way of blogging. Despite my best efforts I haven't been able to find time or energy to blog and I am once again genuinely sorry for that. As ever, it's nothing in particular. Work has been very busy (a constant theme these days) and it has been hard enough keeping up with chores and finding time for photography let alone anything else. Those of you on FB will know I find 5 mins or so to update my status and say hi on there but it is so hard to find time to sit down and actually compose something.

Energy has been an issue lately too and right now I am waiting for the results of various blood tests. I think they took a whole arm full and they seem to be covering all the bases. Part of my hopes they find nothing as I don't want to be ill, but part of me also hopes they find something as I must feel this awful, all the time for a reason? Ever feel conflicted? Anyway, I intend to make a special effort to visit all of you soon. I miss your blogs.

In the mean time I have had some sad news. That handsome hound I recently photographed in my last post died of a stroke yesterday. His owner is devastated. I have known Alfie since he was a puppy and he was a beautiful dog in nature and looks. He always had a big smile and a good wag and loved a game of ball and loved his owner. He will be missed. Rest in Peace Alfred the Great.

Thursday, October 07, 2010



I love to take photo of animals. Like people, it's not just a case of capturing their likeness, it's about capturing their character; what makes them who they are in a single picture. This isn't that easy as we humans see living things in motion. Essentially we are watching a movie as the pets, people and animals we see are not frozen in time in front of us, but constantly moving. The way they move and hold themselves is an essential part of who they are. So a photo is literally a moment in time and that is why my approach to photography is more journalistic than posed. I always know when I have 'the shot'. The one that captures the spirit and personality of my subject and not just how they look. I love it when someone sees a photo and says "That's so-and-so to a 'T'!"

I was recently commissioned by a client to take photos of their beloved Border Collie, Alfie. Alfie is a very personable old chap who loves his owner and likes nothing better than a game of ball, where he fixes his whole being on the ball until it is thrown for him. The first shot here is of Alfie looking at his owner. He is clearly enjoying himself. The second shot shows the intent side of him, the one that concentrates completely on his beloved ball which is just out of shot. When I showed these to the client she said, "Oh, that's definitely my Alfie" and there it was, the buzz I get from taking photos.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Got Gold!

I had the best news recently. This photograph of jellyfish was awarded 'gold' in a recent competition held by the photographic society I am a member of. This means I will be published in their magazine and entered into the annual competition with other images that were awarded gold. I'm chuffed to bits!

Of course this is a wonderful antidote to my everyday bill paying job where I continue to (barely) tolerate things. Sammy is wearing his cone again. After his leg nearly healed he chewed the scab off and so it started bleeding again. Back to square one. He's allowed to have the cone off when he is sat on the sofa with me where I can keep a close eye on him. He loves to have his ears and neck scratched when the cone comes off and closes he eyes with pleasure and purrs like a nutter. Bless.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cone of Shame

Poor little Sammy has had the cone of shame on for a few days now and is not at all happy with his new look. The problem started around 3 weeks ago when a couple of small bare patches of skin on the back of his lower leg started to bleed. A lot. I'm not kidding when I say that it looked like small animals had been sacrificed on my lounge rug and landing carpet. One trip to the vets, a course of antibiotics and steroids and a cone and he seemed to get better. However, last weekend the bleeding started again. He had worked out how to get round his old cone and so that was useless in stopping him from licking his leg and so it was back to the vet. We have more antibiotics, more steroids and a bigger cone, much to Sammy's chagrin.

The cone is transparent so at least Max can't ambush him anymore, but poor Sam doesn't understand and often asks me to take it off. He can't wash and so Max has been helping (but then lost the plot and washed the cone) and I have some moist grooming wipes.I'm really hoping this works as his poor leg is a mess. On top of that my stair and landing carpet is ruined and I dare not replace it until he's better.

The photos are a couple of recent snaps (pre-back leg issues) of my boys. I am still working long hours at work for someone who doesn't know their derriere from their arm joint and thinks Leadership is doing what they want. It's demoralising and stressful. I hope life is treating you well though.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sent with love

Now I hope you are sitting down as this is the second post this month. I know, shocking isn't it? I am pleased to be here and interacting with you all though and show you one of the things I have been up to. The photos are of my own greetings cards featuring my photos. I am so pleased with how they look. I am trialling them at the moment to see how well they sell and may consider doing packs in the future and selling them online. What do you think? I am going to also put together some calendars.

Otherwise life ticks along. Work is hell on toast. It has got to the point where it is getting me down. I dislike my job. Actually that is a fib, it's not the job I dislike, it's the way I am managed. I won't go into too much detail as you never know who is reading but I feel constantly sidelined and undermined. I have spoken to another manager but they can't do much. I need to confront my manager but I am considering how to go about this using diplomacy as I still need to work with them. They are not the sort of person who takes criticism (or another point of view even) well.

I haven't been well lately either. I was out last weekend and suddenly had the most awful stomach pains. I went to the ladies and threw up and the rest of my weekend was spent on the sofa making poorly noises and knocking back pain killers. It might be some people's idea of a good time but not mine. The whole week I have been unwell on and off. It's getting boring for me and apparently for people on FB who are now ignoring my feeble attempts to gain sympathy. Oh, woe is me. No, seriously I will be fine. I have weathered worse storms than this. I just really wish someone would get the strange alien being out of my intestines or at least persuade it to loosen it's stranglehold on my stomach. I really don't think anyone should be this much aware of their innards. It just isn't right and quite frankly I have enough other things on my mind.

Anyway, less of my complaining. Let's focus on the pretty cards and I will be thankful that I have my photography. I'm doing a wedding on Christmas Eve and have been approached to do three family / child portraits as well. Perhaps I could turn this into a business?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Long overdue update

I have been absent for some time and until I checked the date on my last post, I hadn't realised how long. From my blog stats I can see that very few people drop by and so I am probably talking to myself, though I am pretty certain a couple of my oldest blog friends will check in.

My situation at the moment is complicated. I have very little time or energy for much once work has taken more than it's fair share these days. In short I am very busy at work but very unhappy as well. I feel that I am being set up to fail for a number of reasons but I don't want to go into any more detail here. You never know who is reading. I used to blog at lunchtime but now often work through lunches.

I am so far behind on my chores at home that I just see things to do wherever I look. The list lengthens and no matter how much I seem to do, it never seems to make a difference. Just keeping the house clean is a challenge. My garden is a mess. Weeds have more or less taken over. There are dead things in pots which saddens me as I haven't had time to do anything. I fear pygmy warriors may have taken up residence in the dense undergrowth, but they too are on my list to evict.

Not everything is negative. I launched my photography portfolio website and have been working on improving my photography lately. I potentially have commissions to do a small wedding and a couple of family portraits. This is something I enjoy and this creative outlet can be a real sanity saver at times.

A blog friend commented that I had been lost to Facebook. Yes, I am active on FB, but it is not the reason I am not here. It takes just a few moments a day to update my status and check in on others through the news feed. I actually find FB to be 'noisy' with no real intimacy. It's a platform where everyone seems to be transmitting but is essentially not emotionally fulfilling like blogging. Or perhaps that's just me. I miss my blog friends but just can't seem to make time to come here and do anything meaningful. I'm working on it.

Ironically, at the same time I have been toying the idea of discontinuing my blog. I am painfully aware I have not seemed to be a good blogger. My problem is threefold. At the moment my life is not running smoothly and I do not want to share these things here. They are negative and boring and there are people who visit here that I don't want to share my inner thoughts with, including a malicious person, which covers the second issue: I do not feel I can share here any more except trivial bits and that is not what I want to write about. The third issue is time and energy. I am toying with the idea of a new blog based more around my photography but with a lot of me thrown in as well. It addresses the issues and I can stay in touch with my blog friends and bring you with me. I'm just thinking at the moment. I'll keep y'all posted. Thanks for popping by. I really do appreciate it.

I've just read this and it seems very negative - I was going to delete it but I it explains a few things. Believe me there are some good things too. Life is never black and white.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Have you got a bear in your freezer?

Among the usual dross, trying to sell me things I don't want; trying to persuade me that their vision for my life is much more desirable that what I have and I could have it if I just bought their product; there are a series of adverts for a frozen food company that make me smile every time they air and they feature a slightly disturbing polar bear.

Things are fine here. Just very very busy at work and my spare time has mostly been split between chores and having a big clear out and tidy (I have too much junk) and working on wedding photos and compiling a photobook for the bride and groom as a gift. I'm very pleased with how it looks and can't wait to see the final printed version myself.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A year ago

Bob - Beloved Cat and Companion

I can hardly believe it's been so long since I last posted. Things have been so hectic-busy-manic (one word will no longer so) that blogging took a back seat in order to retain some sanity. Of course I'm not constantly on the go, but since I was diagnosed as having hypothyroidism I seem to get tired much more quickly and it takes far longer to bounce back. That means sometimes I don't so much drop a ball, but put one down for a while. Just until I have the time and energy to juggle it again. It's self preservation really and it's been a long, hard lesson for me to learn because quite frankly I can't do the same things at the same rate that I used to before the operation. So what balls have I been juggling?

  • Work: The job I started in December has been more of a learning cliff to scale than a learning curve, but it's going well. Just last week I delivered a piece of work that is going to be adopted across the team and then other departments.
  • Home: I have been trying for so long to get my home straight. There is so much to be done that it can be overwhelming but I am taking baby steps. This too, is a ball though that I sometimes have to put aside for a while as just keeping up with housework can be exhausting.
  • Photography: I launched my new portfolio website nearly two weeks ago now and I'm really pleased with how it looks. I have toyed with posting about it here but I'm undecided as the website is the real me, not my online persona. If you would like to take a look, then email me and I will send you a link.
  • Wedding: No, not mine. I also photographed a wedding this weekend just gone. It was a huge challenge but I enjoyed it. As with everything, the best laid plans went awry as the bride had hair problems and so my time taking photos with the bridesmaids getting ready completely went off the schedule. I ended up helping the bride dress and acted as a calming influence on her mother who was in a flat spin as things were running nearly an hour late with getting ready! My stage management training kicked in and as with all the best shows, it opened practically on time. The group photos were interesting as people wrangling is like cat herding but I received many compliments on keeping it fun and keeping the ball rolling. I was so tired afterwards that it took me over a day to recover. All in all I think I got some decent shots, despite the lack of time to capture any reportage ones. I am currently working on them in Photoshop so they will be ready when the happy couple return from their honeymoon.
So, lots has been keeping me from here. It is also the anniversary of when my dear Bob left. I can hardly believe it's been a whole year and I still miss him. Just little things, like when I'm working at the computer, Bob always came to sit on the windowsill next to me. Sam and Max have started to do that too, but have a habit of trying to sit in front of the keyboard instead. We're working on it...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

One Year Old!

Max and Sam - 4-5 weeks old

This week saw my boys turn one year old! Of course, I wasn't able to bring them home with me until they were 12 weeks old and they were 5 weeks old before I met them for the first time. Back then they were tiny balls of fluff that could sit in the palm of my hand!

Sam and Max - One year old

One year on and my boys have become big kitties! They have grown up so much and have become giant balls of fluff instead. Especially, Max who has become a big soft pudding of a cat with a mischievous streak a mile wide. He is also very stubborn at times but is a very loving soul too who loves his belly being rubbed.


Sam, on the other hand was quite a handful as a kitten. He was always the more timid of the two and could be quite naughty but has grown into a sweet boy. He is always the one who meets me by the door and will come running when he is called. He is also the brighter of the two and has leant quite a few tricks. His latest trick is to give me a high five when asked. He gets up on his back paws and smacks my open pal with his little paw. No, really he does!


They had recently been bought a new activity centre / scratching post and so they just had some treats and small toy mice on their birthday. The treats went down very well, with much licking of chops and the mice, well they were promptly lost under the sofa. All six of them. Happy birthday boys!


Thursday, April 01, 2010


It's that time of the year again. Spring is springing (though you'd never tell from the weather which is cold and wet!), the daffodils are blooming, new born lambs are shaking their tails in the fields and March has mysteriously vanished. Easter is finally upon us, in a frenzy of chocolate wrapped in gaudy coloured foil and thankfully, brings a few days off work. Christmas break seems so long ago...

I am feeling much better now, tough still having trouble with my asthma after the last chest infection. Healing takes time and I am trying to be patient but I would so like to walk somewhere without breaking into a wheeze of a 80 year old that has smoked a packet of cigarettes a day since their teens. Work has been crazy busy, more so than usual, and I have delivered a couple of things that should benefit the whole area. I am just waiting for the Management Board to endorse one so fingers crossed.

In my personal life I have been working on a couple of projects. The first is a damn big clear out. So far, I have thrown a load of stuff out and the place looks worse than ever! I can only hope that there will be a place for everything when I'm done and I don't disappear under a pile of random detritus before I'm done. The cats are accounted for and are banned from the spare room and study for fear that they might get trapped under something.

I am also working on a website. My website. It's going to be a photographic portfolio of some of my work. I am not setting up a business as such but I have been asked to photograph a wedding and do a pet portrait and I thought it would be nice to have somewhere to display my work and see where this thing takes me. More information will follow soon. Lastly, I will be collecting a new member of my pet family tomorrow and I can't wait. It's a baby Crested Gecko and these little chaps are so sweet. More news on him with pics soon. In the meantime, if you celebrate it, have a very Happy Easter.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bad Bobkat!

The title refers to me of course but has a dual meaning. I have, of course been quite remiss lately. I haven't been blogging much and have failed to visit my lovely blog friends. It goes without saying that it is my loss. I am often in awe at the way someones blog can make me smile on a bad day or inspire me or just make me think. I miss these connections and yet there is always something demanding my time at the moment.

I have also been ill for a while. Anyone that knows me on Facebook will have seen some status updates hinting at various ailments but the truth is that I am run down. My immune system just seems to have lost the will to fight and lets every horrid little bug doing the rounds set up home. I am currently suffering from another chest infection, I have also had a cold that lasted and lasted and been generally run down which prompted blood tests. If this wasn't fun enough, had a migraine that lasted a whole week. That was not fun. I have also been pulling long days at the office which haven't helped but that work ain't gonna do it itself!

So, I am bad. Remiss for neglecting my blog friends, who despite evidence to the contrary, I value greatly and poorly sick bad. It's getting me down.

On a more positive note I am working (when I can summon the energy and the time) on a personal photographic project which I hope to share here soon(ish) and I have also been asked to photograph a wedding and do a dog portrait. Nothing is ever all bad eh? : )

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


The gods of bling have clearly been smiling on me as I recently got to select a piece from the LuShae Jewelry collection and all I needed to do was tell you what I think of it. Now you might think that a freebie may colour my objectivity but I think that would be doing you, me and the seller a disservice. Thankfully, it's not an issue though as I can tell you that I am one happy bunny. I love the piece I chose and I found the whole experience of dealing with LuShae to be pleasant.

White Gold Rhodium Bonded Wreath Pendant with Pave Ruby and Emerald CZ in Silvertone

LuShae offer a wide choice of lovely jewellery pieces, including rings, earrings and pendants. The photographs here are of the piece I chose which is the wreath pendant. It wasn't easy choosing a piece as there were so many pendants to choose from that caught my eye. In the end I chose the wreath pendant as the simple circular design gave it a classic look, that although inspired by Christmas, made it a year round winner for me.

The photographs here are of the actual piece I received. Considering it had come from the other side of the planet, delivery was quite swift and it came well packaged and protected. The pendant came in a lovely blue and cream presentation box which pleased me as I hate it when a lovely piece of jewellery is presented in a cheap box. Luckily LuShae don't cut corners here.

I was very pleased with the pendant itself and have been wearing it for a couple of weeks or so now and so far it has received many compliments. It lives up to the quality promised and quite frankly the only niggle I have is that the Emerald and Ruby CZ really doesn't show up as well as it does in the picture on the website which was a little disappointing. That said this is still a great piece and one I will be wearing for quite a while. It's nice when you can safely recommend a company based on quality service and product.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Life in The Office

Ricky Gervais as David Brent - The Office (UK)

I have been so busy and this is a trend that is likely to continue for the next 3-4 weeks. Oh, work has been busy and the chores at home never seem to end but that is not it. I recently passed the first stage of a lengthy and competitive promotion process. Stage one down, two more to go! The next stage is in 3-4 weeks or so (depending on the slot I am given) and takes the form of two written exercises based on work type scenarios. The final stage is in September and is an assessment centre with written exercises and role play situations.

The whole process is very competitive with around 800 candidates all after around 170 promotion 'tickets'. These are a bit like Willy Wonka's golden tickets as they permit those that have them to apply for posts at the next level. So I suppose there is a further stage after the whole assessment process as you have to apply for posts and pass interview to get a post!

I am being very realistic about the whole thing. Very few people pass first time but on the whole I feel I am in a win-win situation. If I an unsuccessful at either of the next two stages then I am given feedback to help me address areas I am less strong in and I can always try again next time round. There are very few opportunities for such detailed feedback so I feel I even win if I lose in a way. It's not often that happens!

Anyway, for now I am chuffed that I passed the first stage as quite a few people didn't. I had a small celebration at home with a bottle of Champagne (it is so important to celebrate the successes along the way). Wish me luck for stage two and please understand if my blogging is erratic. It's all a bit like preparing for exams!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snow Business

Frozen Britain taken by Nasa's Terra satellite on 7 January 2010

Snow is not a usual feature of Britain's winters. Sure, it can be found in the Highlands of Scotland and on the peaks in Wales and Northern England, and we have the occasional flurry which may hang around for a day or two, but nothing like this. This is snow that means business. It's several inches thick and it's here to stay at least for the time being. The big kid in me loves the snow even if it made it a little more inconvenient to go to work at first. What I can't stand is the perpetual whining from the majority of my fellow countrymen. I continually hear the chorus of 'Someone should do something about this'. Indeed, the Government should legislate against winter and ban the snow, except in areas where it is pretty and can be used to make snowmen, no?

Tintern in the snow

The shelves in many supermarkets have been stripped bare from panic buyers. There is no salt or kitty litter to be had as people are using to grit their paths, something they say, the council should be responsible for. The call for more cat litter and salt is putting additional demands on an already strained supply chain trying to cope with the panic buying of food. Hello?! Your home is your own responsibility and if we all go out there are cleared our drives and the path in front of our homes then these would be clear! This is all symptomatic of how the welfare state has enfeebled the country. Meanwhile, the same people whining about not being able to go to work are outside playing in the snow and building snowmen rather than going to work. If you travel a few miles to a hill to slide down it on a tea tray then you sure as hell can get to work. Not exactly the blitz spirit that our grandparents would recognise.

Tintern Abbey

Having been in work all week, I took the weekend as an opportunity to go out and see the snow and get some fresh (and freezing) air. I ventured over to Tintern to photograph the Abbey in the snow. The clouds were threatening more snow, but the sun kept breaking through to reveal a blue sky and make the snow glisten.

After a while my hands were so cold that I needed to get warm. We decided to retire to a local hostelry to thaw out and for sustenance. The Anchor, was beautifully warm and cosy inside. I had the most delicious burger I have ever tasted and soon felt the feeling come back to my numb fingers and cold cheeks.

Tintern is among the earliest of Cistercian settlements in Wales and was founded in 1131 by monks sent directly from Normandy at the behest of Walter fitz Richard de Clare, the Earl of Chepstow, on the banks of the river Wye. Tintern, as with all monastic institutions, was suppressed by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, between 1536/9. The nearby Anchor Inn was probably the abbey's watergate and a 13th century arch links it with the slipway.

The Abbey is situated on the River Wye in Monmouthshire and the ruins have inspired the Wordsworth poem "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" and Tennysons's poem "Tears, Idle Tears" and more than one painting by Turner. It also featured in Prince of Thieves and in the video for Iron Maiden's "Can I Play With Madness".

Once we had warmed up,we ventured out again and walked along the river before heading back along the main road towards the Abbey again and the warmth of the car. It was cold, but beautiful and although we saw a few other stalwart souls, the place was quiet and still in the blanket of snow.

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Boys

Max and Sam are now nine months old and as you can see from the photos, they have grown somewhat. When they are fully grown (they grow up to two years in age) they will be between 12-20lbs in weight so they still have some growing to do.


The older they get, the more their personalities develop. Sammy is still the more reserved of the two, suspicious of visitors, sometimes moody and often tells me off when I stop him doing something or make him do something he doesn't want to. He is however, very sweet, loves his chin being tickled and the one more likely to keep a close eye on me. He loves being picked up for cuddles and nestles his head into my shoulder. When he plays with Max, he is the rougher of the too and when he plays with me he loves to jump in the air and catch things.


Max is the bigger of the pair and a lovable rogue. He has a cheeky streak a mile wide and is a wide open book. He has the loudest purr and bestows it on me liberally. He loves having his tummy rubbed and likes to chase things across the ground. He will do anything for a treat and will shake paws, beg and sit on command (as will Sam) and also likes to give me 'kisses' which basically means I get a wet nose.

My boys are growing up, but they are growing into beautiful cats don't you think?