Monthly Archives: May 2012

Weekly photo challenge: Summer

I’m afraid I’m writing very little at the moment because my sadness prevails despite the sunshine.

However, I’d like to think I captured a moment of unspoilt innocence when I saw my son blowing dandelion clocks as the sun was setting behind him. These are the moments we, as parents, need to hold onto – especially during the struggles when our children want to grow up too quickly and we try desperately to slow them down. I want him to stay like this forever – but sadly, he has other ideas … and I can feel the grip loosening as the Summer heat gets stronger.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Weekly challenge

Categories: Alice's world, © Alice through the Macro Lens [2012], Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 39 Comments

Wee beastie #49

I’ve found a new best friend.

Despite the sun making an appearance round our way this week, I was beginning to think I’d run out of completely new beasties to photograph in the local woods … and I can’t afford that trip to the Butterfly Farm yet. But yesterday, this handsome creature made an appearance in a bed of nettles as soon as I started my walk.

I think it’s a red-headed Cardinal beetle, and it appears to have a bit of a bad reputation among farmers and gardeners. But whatever its reputation, it’s certainly a striking looking insect – particularly those incredible antennae.

I nearly managed to capture a picture when it took flight – opening itself up like a Transformer – but it caught me by surprise, so it’s blurred. But I added it anyway.





© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Bug-a-day, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Wee beasties #48 – Yellow dung fly

Luckily for me, this darling creature wasn’t hanging around at its usual stomping ground – cow and horse pooh.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Bug-a-day, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Water under the bridge

Humble apologies to anyone who has sent me a comment in the last few days. I know I have not responded very quickly at all to some of you, and I don’t want you to think I’m just being an ignorant arse. Things aren’t going the greatest on this end, although I have tried to continued to post something at least … but it is apparent that I am relying on my photos again.

I had been in what I considered to be a pleasant state of relatively “normal” for two whole weeks prior to – oooh (sound of thinking) – about Thursday just gone. Those of you who have read some of my earlier posts about the struggles I’ve had with my illness will know that this “normal” state is not only unusual, but a rather foreign concept for me. So foreign, in fact, that I honestly can’t put hand on heart and say that it is normal. All I do know is that it wasn’t me being very sad, and it wasn’t me being hideously anxious and temperamental and agitated and irritated and fast-moving and a bit too energised for my own liking.  On the Mood Chart scale, I was generally somewhere in the middle and it was a bit of a relief to say the least.  My medicine had been increased, and I thought I may have found the right level to get me back on track. I’ve also been going to WRAP group to help establish a plan to stay as well as possible as often as possible; Creative Writing to keep my “budding author within” juices flowing; meetings are being held at my son’s school with various agencies paying attention to his needs as the child of a mum who’s unwell;  I even went back to my job and agreed to start work again this Tuesday coming.

Then Thursday hit – and try as I might, I can’t stop feeling so, so sad.

I know there are triggers, and I can recognise what they are.

The big one is money. I’ve made some hefty (for me) payments in the last month that have taken me from just comfortably hovering in the black to living, once again, solidly in the red.

Buying tickets to Marrakech was a whim, a moment of madness, and one I can’t take back – but it was, and still is, a bargain by any standards. £119 per person for flights, transfers, and four nights in a four-star hotel in the central area of Marrakech, Morocco. Even with extra payments for half-board, luggage, airport parking, and excursions, it still comes to less than £200 each. Trouble is, I paid for three people up front, so the bank balance took a bit of a hit. But, to be honest, I don’t regret it. I’ve never done a holiday like that before … and I’m actually looking forward to it.

But, then there was the payment for the dreaded castle window that my son broke. That cost £200 of money I don’t have. And last week, I bought another car. Mine was due for MOT and taxing this month, but it was on its last legs, and was likely to cost at least £300-£400 to get it through the MOT. The bloke at the garage offered me another car instead: MOT’d till next March, sporty (so my son would like it) clean, good-looking, and in good condition … £450 plus my old dented, ugly, sounds like a dying tank, horror of a car, complete with balding tyres, rusted exhaust, and puddles of water in each footwell after the recent rains.  No brainer really … but the overdraught is now officially extended to the max, and it’s going to take me a fair few months of eating beans on toast and Ramen noodles to make it back.

Suffice it to say, I cried within minutes of paying each of the above transactions. I also cried when I didn’t become a Euro Millions millionaire this past Friday. Yep …. money is definitely a massive trigger.

Well-meaning people say, “You need to stop trying to do it all on your own. What you need is a nice man to share your life with … someone to talk to … someone to help with the bills.”

Ding, Ding! Trigger number 2 – self-esteem, or complete lack of it. Now officially heavier than I have ever been in my life, my weight seems to rise with each whiff of a chocolate bar. Simultaneously, my belief in my own self-worth decreases exponentially. I have referred myself to a new NHS run weight loss programme, and I’m due for my first meeting tomorrow afternoon … But the task seems huge (pun intended). I am already 50 pounds heavier than the last time I said I need to lose 50 pounds. Anything involving effort just seems to be too much, well, effort.

My son is also a massive trigger for me recently. But to be honest, I think that is just a by-product of the bigger issue.

No, it’s not his fault in any way. If I’m honest with myself, the third legitimate trigger that almost immediately leads to sadness and sobbing is the fact that I’ve been dwelling on the past so much lately. I miss the young, carefree lifestyle I used to have. I travelled all over the place – never  stayed in one place longer than a few months at most – sometimes weeks – just got up and moved on whenever things got tough or boring. I miss the adrenalin of living by my wits, bullshitting my way into, and out of, all sorts of crazy situations. And I miss being able to just quit a job and fuck off somewhere else – somewhere I could start fresh where no one knew me.

But that was no life to raise a child, and when I was blessed with my son, it was important that he have a stable environment. He needed a house to call home. So, instead of the wanderlust and brevity that had been my life until then, we returned to England. And for eleven long years, I have stayed in the same house, in the same job, in the same mindwarp. Just me and my child.

I look at old photos and I cry. I hear from old friends on facebook, and I weep. And I think back to those times, and I sob my idiot heart out for what used to be.

So, once again, to those I have failed to respond to recently, I apologise. But my head has been in a different place lately … and I’m not entirely sure what to do about it.

But, knowing the nature of this stupid disease, it is an odds-on certainty that any minute now, this too will pass.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Just me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Wee beasties # 47 – Earwig

Q.  What did the earwig say as it fell down the stairs?

A.  Earwig go!!

That was one of the few childhood jokes I remember.  Strange how most of the jokes I recall seemed to involve some poor creature falling down stairs, but anyway …

I also remember seeing lots of earwigs as a child, and I don’t think I’ve seen any for years until walking (yes, you’ve guessed it) in the woods yesterday.

As for the story we all learned as children that earwigs crawl into your ear and lay eggs in your brain, that is an urban myth. Earwigs are harmless! And, in my opinion, a beautiful shade of brown. In fact, they remind me of the colour of a conker (horse chestnut / buckeye).

Also, I found, as you can see, earwigs are very shy and prefer to hide during daylight hours. I had to mess with Nature again for this one, and coax one of them away from their hiding place just long enough to get a picture. Apparently, you can tell the sex of an earwig by its pincers at the end of its tail. Males’ are rounder, and females’ are longer and … well, not so round. That said, in my humble opinion then – pictures 1,2 and 4 are females, and picture 2 is a male.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Bug-a-day, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Weekly photo challenge: Hands

I didn’t really think of anything that was fitting for this week’s challenge about hands.

I went scouring my photo albums for pictures taking during one of my previous “lives,” when I used to film professional American football. I have loads of pictures of athletic, muscular men leaping for the ball with outstretched hands – but, lately, looking back on things from my past have reduced me to tears …. and this was no exception. So I couldn’t use them!

As for taking a picture of my own hands, well – suffice it to say I don’t have the most pleasant looking digits, and I chew my nails, so that’s off the menu.

I was at a loss … but then I saw MindMindful’s contribution, and as soon as she said “solarizing effect” it reminded me of an arty little creation I made at a Christingle service here in our village. I don’t know if other countries have Christingle, but here it’s a children’s service that’s performed early in December in Churches of England.

The Christingle itself is comprised of an orange (representing the World), circled with a red ribbon (Christ’s blood), with sweets and dried fruits (fruits of the earth) skewered into the orange in four places (four seasons). A candle is in the top and is lit by another person’s candle, sometimes to the tune of “This little light of mine” to symbolise Jesus as the Light of the World.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Photo challenge: Blue – playing with bubbles

I was in the mood to play around with bubbles today (rediscovering my inner child as I’m supposed to). It started with me experimenting with a couple of blue things in the house – a plate and a rubberised coaster thingie – and seeing if anything interesting developed. (Click on the pictures themselves to get clearer images.)

Then I added water ….

Then I added a bit of washing up liquid.

The colours that danced across the bubbles reminded me of the oil and water pictures I took a few weeks ago. The difference this time was that I didn’t need to do  ANY post-photo messing around (except cropping the pictures) !


© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Weekly photo challenge

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Wee beasties #46 – The Sting (so to speak…)

They’re here – one of my least favourite signs of Summer.

I saw a Greenfly with wings (i.e. full adult) perched on a rose stem this afternoon.

All very well to see only one, but I already suspected that round the next leaf corner would be some of its disgusting, pesky aphid offspring.

Yep … there they were… in all their diabolical glory.

But, some of you more alert viewers may have noticed from the first picture there were other creatures in the neighbourhood … and rumour has it that these particular creatures like to feast on aphids.

Now I know it’s wrong to interfere with the laws of Nature, but I couldn’t help myself. I was compelled to collect a couple from a nearby bush and put that theory to the test. And the results are now in ….

Ladybirds love to eat greenfly aphids.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Bug-a-day, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Weekly photo challenge: blue too

Don’t have any other reasons to show these, so thought I’d throw them into the challenge too.


© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]


Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Weekly photo challenge: Blue AND Wee Beasties #45

Thought I’d kill two birds, so to speak, with this one and use this wee beastie as an excuse to belatedly join the belated WordPress photo challenge.

I have tried and tried – but I haven’t been able to identify this spider, so if anyone can help, I would truly love to give it a label. I think the shapes of the legs are unusual and beautiful – and the colouring, well … see for yourself.


© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]



Categories: Alice's world, Bug-a-day, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

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