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Yesterday morning I had a nice lie in and didn’t get up until just after 6am.

I sat in the garden with my coffee for a while before I decided it was too lovely a morning to waste and I should head out with my camera. Now usually I would head to the Common or a lake or something like that, but I fancied a bit of a change and as it was Good Friday, I thought an empty town centre would make a nice change so I headed to nearby Camberley.

I parked the car just off a main road and walked around the corner and saw this little dog tied to a bicycle outside a newsagents and then, in a service area usually confined to parking for Smart cars shrink-wrapped with the McChina Wok Away logo, I spotted an old London Routemaster bus.

So I had to go and investigate. There was a man in a hat  standing next to it.

“Hello,” I said, “I like your bus.”

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The owner was a guy called Chris, who lives in Worthing and works in Camberley and he was waiting for his mate so he could park his Lambretta in the back of his bus (as you do) and head off for a car rally.

I took his photo and Tweeted it to our live blog team so they could put it up on our website.

Chris has owned buses before but this one is special. The chassis number is RM1955. The number 955 is significant to him because it was his father’s Air Force number. The first time Chris saw the bus, his father had just died. So he bought the bus.

I chatted to him until his friend turned up and then went to take a photo of the war memorial.

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I took close ups of the names too for our First World War project at work.

I did have a walk along the river on the way home.

This morning I headed off in a different direction to do a bit of research for a feature I am planning to write. I went to the neighbouring village of Hartley Wintney to follow a trail through the village and beyond.

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It’s a pretty little place and I found parts of it I had never seen before.

I had no idea, for example, that the village had planted a Millennium Orchard.

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The board lists all the different variety of trees. There must be about 40 different varieties of apple, a dozen or so nut trees, various berries – I thought it was a lovely idea.

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I also added another war memorial to my collection. I shall collate all the names from it at a later date.

I was standing by the pond on the village green, wondering whether I have the time to start a village green project, when an elderly man came up and started talking about the young Egyptian ducklings. Good grief, could he talk :)

Within five minutes I knew he had moved to the village from neighbouring Odiham as a teenager and, apart from eight years living in London, had spent the rest of his life in the village (he’s nearly 81). He’d like to move back to Odiham but his daughter wouldn’t be able to visit him there, so he’s now stuck in Hartley Wintney till he dies. And that, apparently, is the fault of the Conservative government and inflation (both of these are also responsible for the fact there are now only two pubs in the village instead of seven). He’s not a big fan of the Conservative Party, in fact, he would go as far as to say the only good Tory is a dead Tory. He’s also very pleased David Cameron got stung by a jellyfish because he probably deserved it.

It was a very entertaining chat (albeit a little one-sided).

When I finally extracted myself from our deep and meaningful conversation, I decided I deserved a coffee and grabbed one from a little artisan bakery with tables outside.

I was sitting there enjoying the sunshine when an elderly lady and an equally elderly dog stopped by the table. She looked a little flustered.

I smiled at her.

“Now I am in a muddle,” she said.

“Why, what’s the matter?” I replied.

“Well I want some bread,” she said, “But I can’t take Rosie in there.”

“Would you like me to look after your dog?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said, “And my shopping.”

And that’s how I ended up with an old lady’s shopping and a random dog sitting outside a cafe in Hartley Wintney.

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I have to say the dog was very cute though :)

Simon’s Wood.

I’ve found a new place to play. It’s called Simon’s Wood (don’t know who Simon was – I should find out really).

It’s just up the road from me, only a couple of miles, but I haven’t been there since I was a kid.

Contrary to the weather man’s guess, it was actually an ok day weather wise yesterday and, as I haven’t been out with my camera for ages, I thought I would indulge myself.

I got lost and had to track down a dog walker to direct me back to the car.

I went looking for the colours of early autumn. I got a couple of shots I was happy with. There are acres and acres of woods and all different types of trees, it’s very pretty and it smells amazing at this time of year.

I practiced taking pictures of fungi.

 

At one point I got barked at by a dog and startled its owner because I was taking pictures in a bush, off the path.

“Well officer, I was on my hands and knees in a bush with my camera in this popular walking spot …” yep, that sounds innocent enough lol. Actually the owner was very nice once he’d recovered :).

You know I have absolutely no idea what any of these things are. I need another reference book.

But it seems like somewhere that is going to be worth visiting again and again as the seasons change.

Lots of deciduous and coniferous trees, a small area of heathland, heathers, a small lake and, rumour has it, there’s a nudist camp in there somewhere too :)

I’ve never taken shots of life models before lol. Although I think I should probably stick to the nature rather than the naturists!

Now, although today is Monday and I don’t work Mondays, today I am going to work. I am going in a) because we have a couple of special publications coming up that I don’t want to leave for the others to have to do on their own and b) because I have this week left and then I am on holiday for two weeks woo hoo.

Man is coming down Friday and we shall spend a week mooching about down south and a week mooching about in and around Nottingham. I can’t wait. It is also gorgeous daughter number 2’s 20th birthday next week and my 47th the week after.

My self-imposed countdown clock on this blog has already ticked down to 3 years to my 50th birthday (which I think is a bit rude two weeks in advance).

 

 

Smelly dog was rejected.

Well my submission to the stockphoto agency was turned down … but actually, I’m pretty excited about that.

I logged on to the website last night to see the words ‘I’m sorry, your submission was not selected at this time’.

What I hadn’t realised was that it was an all-or-nothing thing. Every single one of the ten photos had to make the grade.

Seven didn’t … but three did and this has given me great hope. Some of my photographs are good enough.

And, there was actually good feedback on those that didn’t make the grade.

Smelly dog here, was not liked at all. Their experts didn’t like the lighting, the point of focus or the cropping/composition of the picture. They did, however, like a picture of Stanely, one of some barbed wire and the reflection of reeds in the pond.

There was advice on why the photograph had been rejected and, with all of them, when I looked at what they were saying, I could see their point.

So actually, this is a really positive thing, not as positive as them all being accepted, obviously.

But this gives me hope. I wasn’t dismissed out of hand, some of my photography does make the grade and I already have other pictures that I can submit.

One drawback, I’m limited to one submission of ten photos per month, so I can’t submit another batch until July 24.

That does, however, give me plenty of time to work harder at getting them right.

I have two weeks off work from Friday and I’m going to take every opportunity to go out with my camera.

I’ll keep on plugging away until I get it right.

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Couldn’t think of anything to say this morning, so I grabbed my camera and went out for a walk around the lake (that’s the exercise box ticked for today).

I tried to take some photos of the swifts – but they’re too damn quick for me and it all went horribly wrong.

I opted for subjects that didn’t fly away … some ducks and a few weeds.

Doesn’t sound like a very inspiring subject but I’m quite pleased with a few of them.

And I got some exercise.

And people are very friendly first thing in the morning. I met some walkers, some dog walkers and another photographer.

Ducks’ assembly point.

I think these are lillies or irises or something like that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also took some props with me … I got some very strange looks setting up shots with my rubber ducks.

Ha ha, at least I made people smile. Probably because I was giggling as I placed my rubber ducks in ridiculous places.

I also came across a very smelly dog.

I got talking to a lady with two dogs and smelly dog had joined her on her walk round the lake.

She was getting back into her car so smelly dog attached himself to me and followed me back around the lake the other way.

He was happy enough but he had no collar and was filthy and he couldn’t put any weight on one of his back legs. I tried to catch him to see if he was ok, but he wasn’t having anything.

To be honest, I am not sure what I would have done with a very smelly dog even if I had managed to catch him.

Smelly dog.