The Faithful Minions

I made them once at work when I needed to keep my hands busy while listening to a presentation. Normally I doodle but I was tired of that and, as I had sheets of paper and scissors on my desk, this was the next option.

I then brought them home and, being me, did a little photoshoot. I don’t know what these things are called, or even if they have a name in English. They don’t in my language, we just call them “figures” and they’re an ongoing joke in my family–with my sister in particular (so are wheelbarrows). I used to make them for her when she was little; she’s 13 years younger than me.

I might just keep them.

From The Window

This week’s Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge is quite up my street. The challenge is Window.

I’ve always taken pictures from my window, both with my camera and my phone, in fact the very first post on this blog was a photo I took from my window. I have a good view from my living room, and there’s this tree right next to my house, the tree that is popular with crows and starlings (and magpies sometimes, but for some reason they don’t hang out there as much, though there’s lots of them in this neighbourhood).

Taken with my Canon, zoomed in. There are similar photos to this one in some of my previous January posts. I feel it’s a very January image.

An actual view from the same window, taken with my smartphone.

My window in the living room is a roof window–I have a sloped ceiling–you can see part of the roof in the corner.

Windows are such a good subject for photography. Whether it’s the view from one, or a shot of one from the outside, or a nice still life photo with a book and a plant on the window sill. I’d like to do the latter, but my flat doesn’t offer me such an opportunity.

Dry January?

I think it means giving up drinking for the month, but as I don’t get the whole concept of alcohol, to me, and Some Photoblog, it’s just plainly… well, the absence of posts. I’ve gone back to working from home, and the opportunities to photograph this time of year are generally minimal; apart from the birds in the tree next to my house and skies from the window, which have already featured here numerous times. (Then again, Anne of Green Gables says no two sunsets are ever the same, and I trust her on this.)

My backyard–or our backyard, I should say, I live in a house converted to flats, so it’s not just mine. I took this pic while I was topping up credit for gas. How exciting!

Seeing as I have in the past posted pictures I took on my way to the supermarket, it’s quite in keeping with the theme of the blog. After all, I’ve managed to run it quite successfully while not setting a foot out of Manchester. Blogs dedicated to far way, beautiful, amazing places have gone quiet at the start of the pandemic, as travelling was halted.

Yet, here I am.

Puh-lease, anyone can photograph the Taj Mahal, but not everyone can turn their dismal backyard into art!

(Unless Taj Mahal is in your backyard, of course–I know WordPress has a lot of bloggers in India.)

The Bird Trilogy

Photographers of WordPress, do you ever print your pictures?

I did, towards the end of last year, so that I could decorate my living room walls. After all the works done on my flat, it was time for change. I bought a new string of lights with the little pegs to attach the pics. The string runs horizontally over my sofa, rounds a corner above the book shelf and ends vertically next to the book shelf. (I hope that makes sense enough for you to picture it). Here I share with you three pictures from the vertical section–you can spot the common theme:

The robin and the duck pictures have featured here before, the crow one hasn’t.

Some Photblog is not short of pictures of crows and ducks. It was the robin that was a true scoop–I was so lucky that day!

Welcome To 2022

It’s important to make a new post in a new year.

So here it is.

Pink clouds and trees in my park.

Hopefully 2022 has some good things in store for us. I expect to reach 500 posts on Some Photoblog, I’m guessing sometime in the spring. That is, if I don’t run out of ideas, last year I covered all of my favourite things.

Also am looking forward to the Death on the Nile film, gods know it’s been delayed enough.

Happy 2022, to everyone who’s reading this.

2021 Recap

The year has been… strange. World as we know it will never be the same. But there has been success with vaccines.

For Some Photoblog, however, 2021 was the most productive year ever–89 posts! The major theme was pictures of flowers taken by my smartphone on my walks, with an occasional bird thrown in.

starlings have been the stars

My DSLR camera, bless the poor thing’s mirrored heart, got some work done at last, after mostly idle 2020. The lens cap got stuck in the course of this long idleness, sending me into a state of panic (easily happens to me). I had to consult Google for a solution. Thankfully I managed to get the cap off. I even wrote a short flash fiction story about it! Which was actually inspired by a prompt at Online Writers Guild, but funny how that prompt, erm, mirrored, exactly what was going on in my life.

I didn’t get up to much this year, I only visited two places outside Manchester–Lyme Park and Halifax, but the visits were that much more enjoyable. I also took a walk to Castlefield one Saturday at the end of February to have a look at the sets of Peaky Blinders that was being filmed there, and I came home with some fantastic shots–not just of the sets, but of early spring too. I think there are altogether four posts made out of that one single walk.

crocuses always please

Autumn has also been good, we’ve been really lucky with the leaves this year.

On the pop culture side, I covered some of my favourite things: Agatha Christie (a reposted entry from 2019 with new photos taken this year), Game of Thrones, Star Trek, and most of all, actor Sam Claflin to whom I dedicated a 5200-words-long post. (I didn’t realise it was that long!) I pretty much carry a flag with his name on it–because someone has to.

hello handsome

In the world of movies, after a dry 2020, we’ve finally seen some delayed cinematic releases, and more. Marvel have treated us to four films in total, and they were all fantastic (Black Widow, Shang-Chi, Eternals and, most of all, Spider-Man No Way Home), plus five series on Disney+. While I’m not a big fan of James Bond, I did go to see No Time To Die, as it was Daniel Craig’s final outing, and because it was the first major picture to be delayed in the early months of the pandemic. I can say it’s my favourite now–it really was something else–and I loved the gorgeous cinematography. Cary Joji Fukunaga also directed the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre; if you’ve seen it, you know it has the right gothic feel. (I acknowledge that, as much as I’m fond of butchering that story.) Dune also finally made its appearance, a difficult book to translate to screen, but Denis Villeneuve pulled it off. The soundtrack was just *chef’s kiss*, Hans Zimmer outdid himself–and that’s saying a lot!

In the streaming world, everyone went mad for Squid Game, and I’m happy for a non-English language show to achieve such a huge success. Speaking of non-English shows, French series Lupin also enjoyed big popularity–I love me some heist. The last show I want to give a shout out to is The Irregulars, a Sherlock Holmes adjacent series featuring the group of street kids known as Baker Street Irregulars. Unusually for Sherlock Holmes-verse, it’s a paranormal mystery, with a diverse cast. I liked it so much more than that bloody Enola Holmes last year (this is an unpopular opinion and I stand by it), but unfortunately it has not been renewed by Netflix. In episode three, I spotted a familiar sight–The Cage at Lyme Park. Thus I became the Leonardo Di Caprio pointing at the screen meme.

Just like last year, I listened to a lot of Taylor Swift, who has been re-releasing her old music to get back her rights. Most memorable is probably the ten-minute version of All Too Well, to which she recorded a short film as a music video. My most streamed song this year, though, was Wellerman, a remixed sea shanty that went viral thanks to TikTok at the beginning of the year. Not surprising since I played it on loop!

Elsewhere on my writing blog, it’s also been a successful year. I particularly enjoyed myself by murdering an English classic (guess which one), dreaming about being seduced to the dark side by hot villains, and experimenting with a day in the life of a very fictional Home Secretary in a fictionalised version of Britain. But the most popular story turned out to be I Fall In Love With You Every Day. Same as previously mentioned The Camera Smiles, it, too, was a response to a prompt by Online Writers Guild.

I think I went on for long enough, so let me wrap this up with Pepper, my constant and only companion. In October I had some massive work done on my flat (landlord at last realised what terrible state it was in), so I now have a brand new kitchen and bathroom–a side note, you don’t realise how a thing like that can completely change your mindset–and one of the builders remarked that every time they brought something new in, such as tools or materials, the cat “must come and check everything”. Of course, as all cat owners know, this is a completely normal cat behaviour, but the builder clearly didn’t know it, and it still makes me laugh to this day.

Thank you for visiting my blog in 2021 and all the best for 2022!

Merry Christmas 2021!

So I managed to squeeze in one more Christmas post.

Very impromptu still life smartphone pics, brought to life by the Christmas bouquet I got at Tesco, instead of a Christmas tree. I quickly took the photos so that I could remove those red berries–I think they might be poisonous and I don’t want my cat to eat them.

Fun fact about me: I don’t drink alcohol. But I can’t resist me some Baileys during festive time. This one will last me till the end of the year.

And of course, the true Christmas classic:

The movie Die Hard. You can stream it on Disney+ if you’re a subscriber, though no doubt it will be shown in TV too.

Because it is not Christmas until Holly Gennaro McClane punches that douchebag reporter in the face!

Have a merry Christmas if you celebrate, peaceful Christmas if you don’t feel like celebrating, or just good chillout time if you don’t celebrate.

Christmas in the City 2021

I like a Christmas post every year, so here it is, and it’s all about Christmas in Manchester. Christmas markets are back after last year’s absence.

MCR is short for Manchester, and bee is a symbol of the city, in case you’re wondering.

Above and below shots are from inside Printworks.

Tree in my neighbourhood, outside a Methodist church.

Bonus – just for fun, I am forever amused about how the actor Adam Driver reigns over the stalls in Piccadilly Gardens. Not literally, it’s just a perfume advert!

This is probably my last post before Christmas, so if I don’t see you before then, have a happy holiday time, or peaceful holiday time, whichever one you prefer.

A Festive Memory

This week’s Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge is a festive memory.

This is a good one for me, for I do have a festive memory–as a child, I was very much into Christmas. What I used to love the most about the holiday was the Christmas tree. My mum used to buy a real Christmas tree and we would always decorate it together (well, she’d have done most of the job, as I realise now). And I would spend my whole time by the Christmas tree and I would play there.

Once, probably like 1986, sometime in the limbo between Christmas and New Year, I was once again playing near the Christmas tree and my mum was sitting on the sofa watching TV. I was suddenly struck by an idea of sliding under the tree and pretend I’m a Christmas present. Being a kid, that’s exactly what I did and I said: “Look, mummy, I’m a Christmas present!” Next thing, the Christmas tree fell.

Nothing serious happened, to me or to the tree, my mum put it back up and collected the fallen decorations and hung them back onto the branches. One of the decorations, a bauble, got stuck on the net curtain. I don’t know how, it was the glittery stuff it was covered with that must have somehow made it stick to the net curtain. (Is this where I say: “it was the eighties”?)

So that is my festive memory.

Because this is a photography blog, I have pics to share too.

Being a Christmas obsessed kid, and a kid who drew a lot, I started for myself a Christmas book. It was just a sketchbook where I drew Christmas things every year. I still have it to this day. When it looked like I was settling in the UK, I brought it over from my home country. It is not such a relic as it would seem, it has undergone a lot of changes throughout the years (decades!) and only two years ago I redid the cover. But some of my old drawings still remain. The oldest one is dated 1989.

We actually had a sofa like that. And the painting on the wall. And the plant.

This one is from the following year:

Drawing a giant Christmas tree next to tiny furniture and people just shows how much it meant to me

Vesele Vianoce means Merry Christmas in Slovak, in case you couldn’t tell.

More contemporary, this is 2019 (although it feels like a lifetime ago). Not much effort put into this one, it’s just a fanart of Mariah Carey’s Christmas album.

Actually, speaking of memories, I remember when All I Want For Christmas Is You was released in 1994. Little did we know it would become such a classic.

Mask drying on the radiator

That’s it. That’s the picture.

After I just washed it.

Wearing a mask is annoying. It’s not something you’d choose to do by yourself. Unless you’re, like, Spider-Man or something. It also makes your glasses fog up. Such a drag.

But, it does have a few advantages. It helps protect you from covid, it helps you protect others from covid, in many places there is a legal requirement to wear one (unless you’re exempt), and, when the cold days come, it keeps the lower part of your face warm.

Also, when you’re doing your supermarket shopping, and they play music at the said supermarket, you can lip sync to the song–and nobody can tell.

It was Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen. Come on, it’s a tune!