Above - Photo Credit: Sam Goldby
Above - Photo Credit: Karl Rivett
It is fitting that two friends have been to both Rio and London over the past few weeks, and along the way both have taken some exceptional photos.
I decided to play around with both of these, and initially, I liked the results, and sent both Sam and Karl copies of the "enhanced" photos, and got back positive responses.
But do you know, the more I look at them, the more I see how good the original photos are, and that the "enhanced" photos, with the added lighting, and image fine tuning, seem to actually detract from the original luminosity, and simple statements that both original photos have. Let me know what you think, as I would be interested to see if it's just me.
Anyhow, on a much more positive note, I can get to apologising ( I know, ....again..) for being away for such a long time, however I have been taking the opportunity to take stock as they say, since I handed my notice in at work.
I finished work at the end of June, and prior to my resignation (and I am not going to get into the why's and wherefore's publicly, it's a done deal) both Peter and I had some sensible discussions about what happens next, and from that, the paperwork was put in, and a month later, there I was looking at being at home, looking for work and for once, while I have been out of work, looking to enjoy the sunshine! (In the past it has always been winter)
So despite all my best efforts not to find another job and enjoy the sunshine, pottering around the house, reading, relaxing, watching a) Wimbledon and b) Olympics, and having the odd chilled glass of wine, with the glass wall of the kitchen open, and just looking at the garden from the deck, and did I mention the odd glass of wine, (it has been very nice), I have secured a six month contract with a firm, starting at the end of the month. Hurrah!
One thing we (me and Peter) did discuss was about working more to fit in around us, especially after taking into account all of what happened last year, and now start to look forward to enjoy more time where we can enjoy life a little better and enjoy each other more. Taking a step back from the treadmill of work so to speak, albeit a small, but significant step.
So I have been looking for roles that will give us more flexibility, and although there is always going to be the doubts about "what happens after 6 months", for me this is the ideal time to look for this sort of work, having already got a good solid background in what I do, I can now start to look at these shorter term positions that will give us that flexibility that we are looking for.
With a lot of positive thinking, it will work out just like we want it to.
While I have been languishing at home, while Peter trudges off to work in the mornings, and as I wave him goodbye from the step, casually wrapping my smoking jacket around me, and wandering back into the house to summon cook to go through menus, and have the gardener show me the pick of the crop.....ooh-er, sorry, running into Shades of Grey territory there.. where was I.
Oh yes, so while I have been off, I have managed to get absolutely zero of the things done that I wanted to (OK I have done some, but believe me it has been an effort), but just in case I had another attack of cabin fever, we dashed over to Paris for a few days to catch up with some old friends!
We had a super time catching up with our old friends from New Zealand, who now live in Abu Dhabi, and we also managed to catch up one evening with one of my oldest friends, who lives in Paris. Needless to say we ate too much (well I did) but with great company and super weather, it was such a lovely time.
As always we took the Eurostar direct from London to Paris, and I have to say, St Pancras station knocks the socks off the Gare du Nord now! However, Paris came through for us. The city is much better, cleaner, friendlier, and so much easier to get around. Bertrand Delanoë, the Mayor of Paris, has been in office for over 10 years now, and I think he has done outstanding things with the city.
We took an apartment with our NZ/AD friends and their daughters, and it was OK, although the view from the lounge windows was spoiled rather..... seriously, this was our view! How fab is that!
Going back to what I was saying about the city, Montmartre always suffered from being a tad too close to Pigalle, that had a certain reputation, lots of single ladies if you get my drift, but seriously, it is much easier and much, much less intimidating to walk around now, all you have to keep an eye out for is the guys trying to make and sell friendship bracelets out of three strings of cotton and a prayer... fitting I suppose, so close to the Sacre Coeur.
The only one thing that I was overwhelmed with, and thinking back, it was never that bad, was the sheer amount of graffiti everywhere. we could even look out across a rooftop from our bedroom window, and a chimney stack had a tag on it, I kid you not! The van above was completely clean before the guy walked into a bakers for a loaf..... admittedly in France, you can never walk into a bakers just for a loaf, the law says you have to leave with at least 24 different types of breakfast goods too... well that's what I heard and I never heard too many complaints at breakfast ;o)
One thing we just had to do, was take a trip up the Eiffel Tower. Now if you haven't been before, it is worth it on a sunny day, just be prepared to queue, and pre-book your tickets, that way you only queue half as much! In a year or so too, they will have finished some of the developments on the first stage, and I believe they are going to install a glass floor... that's the last time I go up it then. I worked out a few years back, it's not that I don't like heights, it is the actual getting to the top of wherever (Tower/Mountain/ Ski Slope) I don't like. Bizarre I know.
I have to admit though, when you do see Paris form the top, on a sunny day, you can just see the vision of those builders as everything radiates out from the centre, and all the various arches and landmarks line up throughout the city. I had forgotten how much I enjoy Paris. Not so romantic as Rome, but equally as beautiful to me.
For the past week or so, we have been at home (with Peter still working away) and we've managed to catch up with friends and enjoy the warm sunny weather we have been having, after such a long wet spring. Today though, you can just feel the tiny chill on the evening air, as the sun begins to dip ever earlier, until it darkens now around 9pm. I have a week left to make as much of the daytime sunshine as I can, and enjoy the garden, a bit like this wonderful Dragonfly, and of course, the hens!
Lastly, I don't often mention places I shop, nor do I like to advertise too much for things, however over on the side of the page, I have added two links. One is for a wonderful site called Tweedmans, that offers the most amazing second hand jackets etc (and yes I did buy one and I love it) and the other is for Village Hats - which kind of speaks for itself. I love both sites, but I have yet to buy a hat, as unfortunately I have a head for hats, that goes with my head for heights! I can get away with a flat cap (but that is in my genes, being from "Up-North") just about!
Anyway, that's it for now folks. For those of you in Summer, enjoy the weather, and those of you in Winter, think what you have to look forward to! Take Care.