Weekly Photo Challenge: Hope

'Just' plastic bricks, but through your eyes they could be anything...

Son of Mine. His hopes. His dreams.

Today –  that maybe Mum will make time to construct a little more of Darth Maul’s Sith Infiltrator (“Mum, it amuses me, watching you struggle…”). And a very much looked-forward-to piano lesson.

Tomorrow – a visit to a friend’s house and his weekly football training with his local club.

This month – a fun half-term holiday, perhaps a visit to the cinema? That his request for his favourite dish of moules marinières isn’t ignored for much longer.

The future? Relayed to us at last night’s parents’ evening, overheard by his teacher: Son of Mine and his two best friends discussing university tuition fees, agreeing a house-share and mapping out future careers playing to their collectively agreed strengths – one in history, one in English and his own ‘specialist subject’ – maths.

Fly that kite as high as you want...

Daughter of Mine. Her hopes. Her dreams.

Today – that she manages to get her fruit smoothie, made in Food Tech, home without spilling it.

Tomorrow – to end the week without too much more homework, allowing some respite over the weekend to play in the promised snowfall.

This month – that she gets some time in half-term to hang, metaphorically speaking, sloth-like from the comfort of her bed, emerging only to have breakfast perhaps 30 minutes before the rest of the Family have lunch.

The future? Endless possibilities – secondary school is bringing out new favourites alongside the primary school years’ answers to ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ Now, a 9-year old’s dream of being a scientist, electrical engineer or contemporary dancer have been thrown aside in favour of a soon-to-be-12-year old’s world of possibilities. A textile artist. A history teacher. Or something to do with music – she has recently found ‘her‘ instrument: the saxophone. Possibly languages, which at the moment, both excite and enthuse her.

My hopes for Children of Mine?

That they continue to enjoy learning at every stage of their life. That they stay healthy, happy and fulfilled in whatever path they choose to take. And like every other parent today, that they don’t rack up massive debt on the way to get to where they want to be; then realise they didn’t want to be there in the first place…

Oh, and that they’ll visit their grumpy old mum and dad when they’re settled in a little cottage in the Lake District.  Husband of Mine will be strumming his ukulele and mandolin in the pubs for beer money.  I will be avidly blogging, blipping, tweeting and Flickring (or their future equivalents) about my adventures on the fells.

For real.



(This Could Be The) Start of Something New…

Musical theatre fans – please forgive the lame reference to High School Musical – the closest I am likely to come to that particular show is as an audience member, being far too old now to play the only part that would appeal –  ‘baddie’ Sharpay Evans.

As to the ‘something new’, well, I have started a Blipfoto journal – a daily photo journal of images seen by highonahill.

'Empty Swing' - the photo I used for my first Blip!

By way of explanation, I have always taken lots of photographs. On the shelves above me as I write are probably 50+ albums documenting most of the last 25 years of my life, and on the computer I am using are another 14,000+ digital photos, taken in the last 8 or so years since moving to a digital camera. I now take so many photos that I am way behind with printing the best for the albums, which stop at August 2008.

Last Christmas, Husband of Mine bought me a superzoom bridge camera – so called because it ‘bridges’ the gap between compact pocket cameras and DSLRs, but is able to offer complete manual control without the hassle and expense of changing lenses. Now I am slightly more knowledgeable about photography, I understand there is a slight trade-off in image quality, but at the moment I can live with that.

I have been following several other ‘blippers’ as they are known, as well as other bloggers with an eye for photography, for quite a while now, and have been inspired by the quality and creativity of their photographs. I have found Twitter is also a wonderful place to share and explore the art of photography; no prizes for guessing I follow some talented Lake District photographers for my daily Cumbrian fix!

So I finally decided that it was time to get more critical about the shots I keep, share and showcase so that I continue to learn, improve and enjoy. I could have done this on here, but for me, the posts on this blog that I feel have worked best are more about writing, sometimes illustrated by photography; rather than photography with a few words.

At the time of writing I still have my Blipfoto ‘L’ plates on, with less than 10 days of photographs under my belt. You can view my latest entry via the RSS feed in the sidebar of this blog, or click on the Blipfoto logo.

Are you curious to find out what is seen by highonahill?

I’m Bloglovin’ it…

I’ve not yet found a completely satisfactory way, to me at any rate, of keeping track of the blogs I’d like to read. There are a few that I dip into regularly, but there are so many more that I find by accident, read a little of, vow to return to and yet never do.

I tried Google Reader but find its layout so bitty and unattractive. So I was really pleased to discover Bloglovin, a web-based reader that is extremely simple to use and easy on the eye as it displays each blog in its original design.

First impressions are great. And there are iPhone and Android apps so you can easily read posts on mobile devices too.

So far, I’m Bloglovin’ it – try it for yourself and follow my blog with Bloglovin

Muddy Puddle

Husband of Mine has some time off in a week or so, and has gone to Homebase this morning with Son of Mine to get supplies. Gravel – to fill in the potholes in the drive that are now huge thanks to the snow we had this year. And paint – to give the utility room a much needed make-over.

Once upon a time, I would have spent hours agonising over paint choices, buying tester pots, painting large swatches and leaving them on the wall to look at them in all lights before finally making a decision.

Now? A quick check on the paint manufacturer’s website to find the perfect colour.

“Muddy Puddle, one of our favourite and most flexible neutral shades.”

Easy. Decision made based on the colour of the mud brought in every day by the Family, not to mention the Cat’s paw prints and the blood and guts from the array of small mammals she brings in and dissects. She’s cute though, in a ‘love-and-hate relationship’ kind of way.

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Time taken to decide? About 10 minutes.

Then another 30 to blog about it.


‘Good things get better, bad get worse. Wait, I think I meant that in reverse.’ – Company

Things can go backwards, yes? Some of my favourite things are backwards – Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along – where the story is told in reverse chronological order and the opening episode of Series 3 of Red Dwarf set on a version of Earth where everything is reversed.

So this is the week I start a backwards blog project.

You see, I’ve just been up to the Lakes with the Family; the first time we’ve been up there in the true winter months. I thought it would be fun to blog whilst there, having taken with me no less than three cameras, a laptop, a iPod Touch and a mobile with the WordPress app installed.

I thought I could easily keep up with postaweek2011 this way. But understandably, I spent more time up the mountains than writing about them. My ideas of a daily blog became nothing more than scribbled (what is the digital equivalent of ‘scribbled’? ‘tapped’? ‘prodded’?) notes:

Sunday. Tried to get to Giants Hands. Daughter of Mine – bad ankle. Portinscale gift shop. Bought postcards. Photography by lake – Nicol End. Husband and Son of Mine went on to find geocache. Daughter of Mine rescued in car. Keswick Festival of Light in evening. Chips, curry sauce and pint of Jennings in front of The Sound of Music.

You get the gist. Not hugely entertaining. And not even accompanied by one of the 800+ photos I had taken as I had managed to forget the leads to connect the better of my two cameras to the laptop, and the ones shot on my phone were only really suitable for a quick Facebook update.

So here’s one for starters. Family of Mine atop High Rigg with views to Skiddaw and Blencathra.

So there may be blog entries to follow. Backwards. Memories of things that were.

Or are they things that might be?

Defecting? No, defective…

Random thoughts have surfaced in the last few blogless months about defecting to another blog hosting platform. This has mainly been because I have been frustrated by the slowness of the WordPress interface – I often get no further than my dashboard before the page ‘freezes’ and I run out of time to even begin a post, let alone say anything meaningful.

So today, I decided I would migrate my blog to another platform, which I did, successfully, within just a few minutes. Hoorah! I could now unlease a new burst of creativity onto the world at large. But no, it wasn’t to be. No sooner had I viewed my neatly imported WordPress-created blog posts, the whole new interface crashed, leaving me with ‘connection error’ messages in pop-up boxes all over my screen.

Ooh, the irony of it! Switching tabs back to WordPress showed it working perfectly for the first time all day. Perhaps it was meant to be? At last, a few words have been posted – who knows, there may be more to follow…