A Story… And an Appeal

At long last, I’m back at the keyboard. I had to look up my password. Frankly, I’m even surprised that the system still knew my password. Please be assured that this chronic absence has had nothing to do with lack of desire; work and other things have got in the way. A whole story in itself…
But what has finally driven me back to the keyboard is a matter of urgency, which I am about to share. So please select an appropriate beverage (taking into account the time of day you are reading this) pull up a chair (or recline in one) and read on.

First of all, I want to recount a little story. It’s one that my father told me, many years ago.
Long ago, in France, there was a kind and wise mayor who presided over a small town. Unlike many such officials, who were greedy and only wanted to get rich and better themselves, this mayor was wise and kind, and always wanted to help the town and its people, often denying himself in the process. And so there came a day when everyone agreed that this kindness should be recognised.
Now this, as I said, was in France, and the South of France, at that. Even the least of the townsfolk had one or two vines: most had several. So a group of locals came up with a suggestion.
Their idea was, that after the next grape harvest and pressing of the grapes, every householder would bring a small jar of wine to the market square on an appointed day, where a large barrel would be set up, with a funnel in the top, so that each could pour his donation of wine into the barrel. The next day, the barrel would be presented to the mayor as a gift.
Everyone thought the idea was excellent, so the plan went ahead. But the day of the presentation ended, not in happiness,but in great embarrassment. After a short speech of thanks, the mayor placed a cup under the barrel tap, and opened it gently.
What came out was not wine, but… WATER!
What had happened, of course, was this: each householder had thought “If I just put water in, and everyone else comes with wine, no-one will be any the wiser!”

The moral of the story (I’m sorry for the triteness of the expression) is that everyone’s share – and therefore, your share – matters.

Now for the up-to-date bit: why am I telling you all this? Well, quite simply, because somebody needs our help. Your help.
Through Twitter, some of us know a young mum who is struggling, to say the least. Now, you’re probably thinking “Well, that’s hardly unique!” but let me explain; after her baby was born, two things in p-articular have happened to her: her partner (now ex) has walked out on her, and she has been diagnosed with  cancer of the oesophagus. Getting to hospital for treatment (chemotherapy) is not easy. Sarah (on Twitter here) has a carer who can drive – but needs to get her (Sarah’s) own car insured and MOT’d. Of course, many other unforeseen needs will, I’m sure, crop up. For those who don’t know, benefit claims, or adjustments to them, are often painfully long-winded in the processing stage.
Around five hundred pounds – quickly – would make an amazing difference. Sarah has, very bravely (no decent person likes to do this) asked for help; please read this, here.

Now, meanwhile, another Twitter friend, Kim (on Twitter here) has come up with an idea, and set up a separate fundraiser (look at her pinned tweet, and open the Paypal link in her Twitter header.)

So, right now, I’m asking you to do two things: firstly, donate to Kim’s fundraiser ONE POUND or ONE EURO or ONE DOLLAR. Secondly, retweet Kim’s appeal as often as you can. Alert others all you can. You will see that Kim is running a quote tweet competition as a further incentive! Oh, and if you could tweet out this blog post, I’d be delighted.

500 x £1 = £500 – it’s as simple as that. Now, can you see where the story we started with fits in?

Thank you for reading. And thank you, most of all, for helping Sarah.

With love,

Phil xx

This is not about the size of the jug, but what's in it!
This is not about the size of the jug, but what’s in it!
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My Sunday Photo: 30 September 2018

Leaves Turning RedAs we reach the end of September (that was a quick month, wasn’t it?) the changes associated with autumn are really happening fast – and they bring a beauty that is their own. I noticed this patch of red leaves and berries today. It reminded me that for sheer amazing harmony of colours, nature can never be beaten. To be a photographer is to be one who notices and learns; as I’ve said before, the journey is without end, and the views along the way are incredible.

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My Sunday Photo: 23 September 2018

Hawthorn LeavesIt seems that autumn is now well and truly here. This isn’t a bad thing for photography, though. The sunshine at a low angle, just before sunset, gives opportunities to capture the effects of transmitted light,where light is actually shining through a partially transparent object. Here is an example; I noticed this only this evening. What do you think…?

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My Sunday Photo: 16 September 2018

Class 31 Diesel LocoYesterday, I visited the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway again – the first time in a little while, because of various happenings claiming my time. Here, the Class 31 loco Devon diesel Society has completed a day’s work between Wirksworth and Duffield – and now it’s bedtime for this old (sorry, middle-aged) lady. Actually, she’s not quite 60, and looking quite well on it!
Ah, there’s nothing quite like the deep purr of a huge diesel engine coming over the early evening air…

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My Sunday Photo: 9 September 2018

MSP180909Sometimes, a small piece of nature can speak for the rest. I found this little piece only today, and it seemed to say it all; autumn is only just round the corner. In some ways I find it a sad time of year, but it certainly has its own brand of beauty. What do you think?

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My Sunday Photo: 2 September 2018

Rose at End of SummerI took this picture this week because, besides being pretty, this seemed to powerfully symbolise the end of summer. That said, today has been very warm – but I think autumn will strike very soon. the morning and evening sun now has that yellow glint.
Notice too how the rose shows amazing beauty in imperfection: what a lesson to us all!

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My Sunday Photo: 26 August 2018

Apples in the RainI know this is similar to the picture I posted five weeks ago, but the difference is in the perceived texture of the surface of the apples. Somehow, this shot seemed to sum up everything for me right now.

It is rather fascinating, how the right conditions (in terms of lighting) can enable texture – which is really down to touch, and is therefore three-dimensional – to be portrayed simply by the appearance of an object. This was what attracted me and motivated me to take the shot in the first place.

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My Sunday Photo: 12 August 2018

Begonia in the RianRain at last! This begonia plant looks grateful, doesn’t it? We all love the sunshine, but sometimes, nature shows us that we need the rain as well. Somehow, this simple view across my garden table seemed to epitomise peace and gratitude. There is something incredibly calming about looking around outdoors just after the rain has stopped, especially if there is little background noise. It was just what I needed, today.

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My Sunday Photo: 5 August 2018

Surfinia on blurred backgroundOn impulse, I just decided to experiment a little. I enjoy finding the line where photography meets art. Now, often, depth of field – or lack of it – can be a problem, but here I have deliberately used the widest aperture possible, in order to blur the other flowers behind the surfinia. This is the result, without any editing. I think this is art – almost!

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That Firefly Phil bloke, still knocking out photography and other stuff.