I’m quite shocked to find I haven’t uploaded my picture-a-day since February. This year is speeding by very alarmingly.

The beginning of March saw me starting my maternity leave, and the year has taken a predictable but nonetheless life-changing, strange, fantastic, emotional and blissful course. The pictures will just have to speak for themselves :-)

February in Pictures

March 29, 2011

January in Pictures

February 8, 2011

My main achievement this month was to grow more bulbous, which I think was my most important job. As for work, it was an almost complete waste of a month, which  is inconvenient given the very small amount of time I have left before I go on maternity leave at the beginning of March (I am extremely impatient for this).

Having come to the end of 2010, and my first six months of my Photo a Day project, I suddenly couldn’t rest until I’d made a mock-up of what I’ve always intended as its final product. I would like, every year, to make myself a retrospective calendar, a little reference showing me what I was doing on this day in 2010.

Why? Well, mainly for no reason at all, but partly because I’m tired of never being able to remember anything: I have a terrible memory and always have. My diary is not something I am likely ever to read fully again, and I think this will be enough at least to trigger vague memories. In most cases, seeing one of these pictures brings the whole day back to me, which is a thing of great value in my mind.

So far my 2011 calendar is going alright, but I think I will have to try very hard to keep it up. I hope it doesn’t become too much of a weight around my shoulders, like my diary always does after the first few months (which is consequently full of large gaps). I am also hoping desperately that it won’t turn into a baby album after April, as I fall under the Spell of the new Lord Crafthole and lose interest in all other subjects…

December in Pictures

January 24, 2011

December seems so long ago already! I can only just remember all that beautiful snow. The month split into two halves for me: the first half was all Liverpool, carrying on with my placement at the National Conservation Centre. During the time I was there, the museum directors announced, only one week in advance, the closure of its public galleries. Very sad and shocking. It was a cost-saving measure of course following the recent government cuts, but the actual museum was only a sort of secondary casualty: it was closing not directly to save money, but to be converted into offices to allow one of the museum’s admin buildings to be sold. And so, on the morning of the 18th December 2010 Liverpool woke up to find itself one museum poorer.

I was away by then, at home in Watlington for my christmas holiday. This was my longest stint at home with Crafthole since we got the house (I took a fortnight off to be with him there for our honeymoon in August, and apart from that it’s all been snatched days here and there). It was lovely.

This was our first christmas on our own in our own home as we have always previously spent the season with family in Yorkshire and the Wirral, but I having been a permanent house-guest this year was very eager to be in Crafthole Cottage. It was all placed in jeopardy on 22nd however when we woke up to be greeted with a torrent of water spurting from a burst pipe, flooding the downstairs. Crafthole knew what to do to stop the torrent and, after I had bailed out as much water as I could through the front door, our landlords knew how to save the carpets and in the end, by the time christmas came, you wouldn’t know anything had happened. I saved the section of burst pipe and used it as a tree decoration, as a reminder. It was packed away with the other decorations and will come out again next year. This is how little family traditions are started I suppose, and it’s very strange indeed to think that when the decorations come out next year, there will be three of us – our own little family :-)

Also this month I actually took some proper photographs with the proper camera and made my first wormhole in months. It is the monument to victory at Blenheim Palace, where we walked in the snow with an old friend of Crafthole’s he hasn’t seen in twenty years. It was a lovely day.

November in Pictures

December 2, 2010

All the pictures have captions and *slightly* larger versions here.

Of course, the highlight of this month, and possibly my life so far, was my twenty-week scan on 23rd, during the course of which the very energetically moving @babycrafthole was promoted from an It to a He.

What an aid to the imagination this knowledge brings: during our walk on 28th the vision of us with a little boy tripping after in a couple of years time was glorious. We talked about it a lot for the first time as we walked. Of course he was picking up beetles and cones and leaves: we have fond hopes that he will be an enthusiastic little naturalist. I have little fantasies of taking him on fossicking holidays in Devon and lots of country walks. It’s all very easy to imagine this sort of vision of the future when I’m at home in Watlington with Crafthole, but at other times, which is most of the time, it feels far too remote to me.

This month I felt the baby’s little kicks and wriggles for the first time, which slowly became more and more noticeable, less ambiguous and more often until they have become unmistakable. The 29th was the first day that they were quite relentless. It is every bit as strange as I had always assumed it would be, and prompted me to consider that I wouldn’t be a man for all the world: what an experience this is.

As ever my idyllic week at home in Watlington was passed very joyfully. I was even moved to retrieve my camera from the drawer it’s been in for the last several months and make some more offerings to Flickr. I must be happy :-)

I also published my first calendars, ready for the new year. I’ll write a post about that on my website blog. I have so far sold two and blew my share of the money immediately on an album..

I must also mention the wonderful surprise that appeared on our doorstep on 20th. We are now the very proud owners of a genuine pair of Retronaut’s goggles, courtesy of The Retronaut himself, as a wedding present. We screamed with delight when we opened the parcel!

September in Pictures

November 10, 2010

August was a busy month to say the least (new job, PhD transfer viva, wedding, house moving) but I mentioned in my August in Pictures entry that there was more to it still. Something more important in itself than everything else put together. It is summed up in the most significant image of my life so far, taken on September 20th 2010, but far too amazing to squeeze into a single day I think.

We thank everybody on Twitter who contributed to our wonderful wedding presents (we were incredibly touched, thank you thank you), and I’d like to let you know that we’re saving the champagne for a day somewhere around April 7th 2011… *beams*

October in Pictures

November 1, 2010

I have been swapping phones with Crafthole lately due to one of them working in Watlington and one of them not, so I let the Photo-a-Day Project slip a lot. We have ourselves all sorted out now though so I have my old iphone back at last. I’ve started it up again as well as a proper diary, which I haven’t done seriously since 2006 (our first winter living on a canal boat put an end to my diary-writing days and I never quite picked it up again). I’m hoping they’ll both be a spur for each other, as they are nice compliments.

Diary writing is a strange thing to do in many ways, and I can’t imagine who is ever going to read through them all. I write the diary in the same way, and maybe for the same reasons, as I write this blog: I don’t assume a readership, I do it for the feeling of purpose it gives me and as an aid to my own TERRIBLE memory.

I will try to explain what I mean by purpose. When I created my flickr account it had a huge impact on my motivation to take photographs: having a destination for my work, whether anybody looked or not, provided me with a reason to go out and make more. A diary somehow motivates me in the same way with the rest of my life. Also, if I do nothing worthy of note I feel it much more strongly if I also am forced to write about it afterwards. So simply having somewhere to document my life and the things I am interested in, to put a little of myself in a book or online, is a therapy and a motivator. Even when something bad happened, there was always the consolation of, “well, it’s something to write in the diary” as my brother and I used to say to each other. I’m quite excited about starting it up again :-)

August in Pictures

October 29, 2010

I have let it all slide a bit lately… my general level of interest in everything has taken a bit of a slump. I haven’t taken a photograph since mid summer and my website and blog have been standing idle. I haven’t even opened a book for months, so what on earth have I been doing. My photo-a-day project did last until the end of August,

so I do have something to show, which is a good thing as August was an incredibly eventful month. On 2nd Crafthole started his new job in London: Project Manager with AOC Archaeology. He had been unemployed for 18 months (barring four months working in Ireland last winter) so this was a momentous occasion for us and a cause of much joy. It did necessitate him moving a long way from me, but Oxfordshire is our home and having him there gives me a base in a funny sort of way.

On 9th I gave my PhD transfer viva presentation, which I have been preparing for for quite a long time and got myself into such a state about. In fact I think I made myself ill over it. No matter now: I passed! I therefore could now add the letters MPhil after my name, if I was that way inclined, which I’m not.

On 12th I travelled down to Oxfordshire with my very old friends Beth and Amy and at 11am on Friday 13th August Crafthole & I were married in Abingdon Registry Office, to the strains of Albioni and Boccherini, with a small audience of close family and witnesses.

We met more people shortly after and took a riverboat down the Thames to Oxford, where we met more people at a pub in Iffley Village. I took not even a single photograph all day so don’t have much to show here. I may try and get a few more bits together and write a little more about it.

The following Monday (16th) we hired a van and moved our furniture down to Crafthole Cottage in Watlington, Oxfordshire, which we had been renting since the beginning of the month.

I spent most of the rest of the month living a life of unbridled luxury living in our beautiful little house. There are beams on the ceilings and barely a right angle in the whole house, and we love it. I had no internet connection (it only finally got installed very recently), which may be the start of why I lapsed so much in all online activities.

I now visit for a few days once a month, which isn’t quite enough to keep me going but it’s the best I can do. Due to other developments, which I have kept to myself, that may be about to change, but I’ll not go into that now…

July in Pictures

August 3, 2010

I recently started a sort of online diary through an iPhone app called Project 365. One picture a day, either as a record of your life or as a way of training yourself to be a better photographer, forcing you to constantly be on the lookout for photographs. I started a few days after we had our iPhone extravaganza (Crafthole got one to celebrate his new job which promises to end our recent woes and I just did some freelance work that will pay for mine). They are not the new ones, or the previous model, but the one before that. They don’t have a compass and the camera is the worst one I’ve had on a phone yet both in terms of resolution, terrible noise levels and complete lack of control (all the newer models have metering options and higher resolution), but there are some lovely apps to download that make up for all this. Besides, my previous phone had been broken for months so this iPhone has revolutionised my life and I love it.

I am one month in now (almost) on my Project 365 and think it’s by far  my favourite app. I hope I keep it up.

All the pictures have captions, though some of them don’t make sense (where I have replaced pictures it sometimes won’t update the caption when I upload). Click on the link to see the whole thing :-)

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