Another diminutive handful of spring flowers for you this week: more grape hyacinths, a couple of sprigs of Pulmonaria (unknown variety) and a buff-pink primrose that’s appeared in the paving cracks in a wild part of the garden. I’ve plonked them in a small jug that belonged to my great-grandmother (my mum’s father’s mother). She lived with my grandmother in a terraced house in inner-city Birmingham on a cobbled street with a builder’s yard at the end. We stayed with them for a few months when I was about six – we’d had to leave our home in Malta in a hurry (when the British were kicked out) and my mum took me and my little brother back to her childhood home while my dad stayed behind to sort things out. I went from living by the sea in the Mediterranean sunshine to grey, urban Birmingham and it was a shock to the system.
I have patchy memories from that time: the cold classroom with high-ceilings at school, the rain, my grandma’s pantry, the freezing cold bathroom that would completely steam up when you had a bath, sitting in my great-grandma’s room holding skeins of wool for her while she wound it into balls, watching her knit ferociously. She was a severe-looking Victorian woman, born in 1888, who rarely smiled and I was a little bit frightened of her. My grandmother, on the other hand, was a down-to-earth, kind and loving woman and I adored her. I’ve often wondered how these two very different women, bound by their love for my grandfather, co-existed for so many years after he died. My grandmother cared for her mother-in-law until she died, by which time grandma was in her late 60s.
Anyway, back to the here and now. How was your weekend? I had brilliant time on the Small Beans Photo course on Saturday which was full of lightbulb moments and inspiration. After years of sticking to the auto setting, I’ve now the confidence to take the stabilisers off, as my sister-in-law puts it. Taking good photos is all about the light, which if you understand how a pinhole camera works makes perfect sense. I now understand fancy photography phrases such as ‘depth of field’ and know how to alter the aperture to get a shallower or deeper depth of field (make the background blurry or sharper), how to alter the shutter speed to capture movement, and a lot more besides.
Working on the basis that you can never take too many pictures, I’ve been annoying everyone with the camera at every photo-opportunity. My daughter had her grade 3 ballet exam yesterday afternoon and was practicing non-stop all morning (the above photo is the only one she’s happy for me to show you) and my middle son returned from a two-night CCF camp, in full camouflage gear. (I promised him I wouldn’t use a photo here…) He was grubby, extremely hungry – having existed mainly on Smarties and Jelly Babies – and exhausted, so exhausted that he actually stood still while I wiped all the camo-cream off his face with make-up remover. Any mother of a teenage boy will know this is an unusual occurrence. I had a flashback to him as a grubby toddler, presenting his mucky face for wiping.
I’m joining in with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden’s weekly get-together of gorgeous ‘vases’ from around the world.
Have a great week. I’ll be practicing with the camera.