The Inaugural End of Year Speech.

So it's the last few hours of 2015 and now is the time I start to have a little think about what I have done over the past year and what I would like to do better this time round. I have screwed my face up at the stuff I didn't like and wondered how the fuck I made it out of bed some days. I have pondered questions such as 'Do I actually like mince pies anymore?'  'Will I ever pay my credit card off?' 'Will I visit the hat museum in Stockport?' 'Is living in a canal boat the thing that is missing in my life?'  This time last year I wrote a list of all the stuff I wanted to do. I hoped to update it as each month went along and give myself a running commentary about how good I was to do those things. This stopped as abruptly as it started as I realised that I just can't be that efficient and things will start to happen when they need to.

My brain works at a peculiar pace. This pace will pick up in times of anxiety and I will then hoover for an hour, have a think and feel a lot better. Tell me that I have to edit important pictures or some other very important thing and you can hear the sound of the car door closing as I go for a three hour drive to collect shells off the beach. I have found that I've completed tasks that needed to be done for other things to happen and then all of the happenings start to come together at once. I feel a lot lighter and a lot calmer going into this year. I have no regrets and this is good.  

I scaled down my letters, took more time for myself and let myself get swept up in nice things which I had spent so long telling myself I shouldn't do. I will be continuing this. I went to the beach the other day and I shouted very loudly to myself and to the empty beach  'Do you know what? Fuck it and all of the shit that goes with it' I felt a lot better. I am very easily burgeoned with angst and upset, that and I'm 33 and a half and still feel 15 in my head. Maybe I think too much. I have missed out on lots of things due to grief, anxiety, indecisiveness and just not feeling like I could do things but also I think I was going through the brain motions in order to feel better again.

I did have a nice Christmas and chased the sun around the house when it came out. Some big things happened and I have started my degree again which is hurting my head slightly but this is OK also. I understand after a long time why I do certain things and why my head is full of colour and images and sound constantly and why I have to go to places to see them, hear them and feel them and that's good enough for me. This past year I have met some lovely people, lost some and started new friendships that I never expected to. I'm going to keep writing as I need to, keep taking pictures as it is what I do and keep collecting things if ever so slightly less than before. 

I have sent out and received so much lovely post throughout December. I have lots to show so I will do it in separate bits as well as a Penny Club update, as it starts all over again tomorrow. 

So we made it and tomorrow will be half price calendar day at the garden centre and this is always good. Have a nice safe evening whatever you are up to and thank you for helping me get 'it' back this past year and I will hopefully see you in the post office queue with Barbara from up the road. There's always a Barbara in the post office.

Almost....but not yet.

Does anybody else during the winter months wait for the 21st of December or this year it's the 22nd as then you know it is going to get light again and all of this dreariness will be gone? 

I do and after the great 'I am going to stay up all night and watch the summer solstice out the bedroom window 2014' affair, I am hoping that it is a nice day next week and I can go somewhere to watch the sunrise for the winter equinox. This is still to be confirmed in my head as last year I threw my alarm across the floor I was so incensed at the wake up time I had set myself. I think I just like the word equinox as it sounds grand.

Last week the sun came out briefly and did all of these nice things around the house. Low winter sun is a great love of mine topped with the shadows and white light it gives. I have three letters left to write for Christmas posting and this is all very good news. Voila.

Collections- Beach.

It's that time of year when a visit to the beach is full of treasures. Big storms churn it all up and I am at my happiest wrapped up warm with my supply of KitKats, bags and trowels. January is always good to find things that have been washed up to the strand line and I am still hoping for those elusive teeth at some point next year.

Here are some things I have found in the past month.

I can never not pick up a piece of coal.

Sea glass found on Morecambe beach. 

Half a camel. He was my find of the day.

Not much going on except Daniel and Mushrooms.

My phone packed in on Friday night. It isn't a matter for the Red Cross but it was still annoying all the same. Instead I used the house phone and ate salt and shake crisps like 1998. I finished two books and watched The Golden Girls. I made phone calls like Hyacinth Bucket to the bosses of many companies and ventured to Liverpool this morning to visit a place called the Genius Bar where I positioned myself on high seats not made for people who are 5ft 4. The nice genius man said my phone had become unresponsive and asked if I had completed all the button presses and is the battery dead? 'What where you doing before it switched off?' He said. I wanted to say something rude but I kept it in and I was given a replacement.

I left and got myself a cup of expensive unresponsive tea and thought about going to the Chinese supermarket. In the car park lift, a man with many dry cleaned suits under his arm was talking to his mum on the phone about chicken drumsticks.  He likes them but only when he wants them, not every weekend and certainly not Cajun. Exiting the lift I found a 1p and then a Tears for Fears CD in front of my car. I shall be their custodians and I forgot how good this song is! I was singing so much I missed the supermarket turn off but still a good mornings work and enlightenment about chicken drumsticks.

Daniel is having his flea drops after and I have bought tuna so as to treat said occasion as a party so that he doesn't lick it off like last time and throw up in my shoes. 

It was bloody cold out today and I need a hat. Daniel doesn't like hats but I have fashioned him a papoose for outside walks. Daniel hates outside this week.

He hates that his chair has unfinished paint on it.

Hates it.

He cannot even bring himself to look at it.

My mountain berries and peppers are still doing good work, but Daniel hates them.

He lost two whiskers on the carpet last Thursday and is filled with angst about why they fell out.

These are good though aren't they?

Adopt a Slide - 19th Century Glass Eyeballs

I first saw adopt a slide on twitter earlier this year. It is the slide collection of the Visual Resources Centre (VRC) at Manchester School of Art. I haven't been able to visit the department and look at the collection for myself yet but I spotted slide number DS11-003 on twitter and knew that was the slide for me.

I love slides and have over 500 or so of my own of various different things, an old mill in Leigh that's since been demolished, local housing estates and fishing villages in Wales. I started taking pictures on slide film in college and it produces stills of a moment in time in such vivid colour. A small portrait that held up to the light can show you the world from last week or 60 years ago.

Adopt a Slide is a really important project and incredibly interesting even more-so as the image library is currently under threat from closure. Analogue methods of cataloguing aren't seen as important as they were when things can be so easily digitised and put online. I disagree and there is a need for these pieces of history to be saved and if I had a big warehouse somewhere they could all live in there nice for all to see forever.

The slide I chose to adopt is 19th Century Glass Eyeballs.

'I was born with congenital cataract in my right eye. Everything I see out of that eye is blurred and foggy, a bit like when you put eye ointment in but permanently. My left eye is my good eye and even though I am now long sighted in it and it has to work twice as hard to see, to have one working eye is good enough for me.

I chose photography as my profession and I never struggled with seeing until about five years ago when my eyes became significantly worse. I have worn glasses since I was four and then decided in my teenage wisdom I wouldn't be wearing them any more. I was finally told off at age 25 by the ophthalmologist and told to wear my super strength glasses all the time and to and start and take care of my eyes as you only get the two you have.

I remember sitting in the eye clinic waiting room after having many tests and there was an older gentleman sat opposite me, smartly dressed in a green suit. He was reading the paper and then he got called in and asked to take out his eye! I haven’t got a very strong stomach and anything blood or eyeball based makes me feel a bit queasy and sometimes I faint.  

I however became fascinated with this notion of the smart old man in his green suit reading the paper having just the one eye like me but also his was far superior as it was made of glass. I wanted to ask him how it felt, what had happened to his eye before the new eye? Did you have a colour choice? I controlled my thoughts as I felt it would have been incredibly rude to ask him such things. I sat back in my chair and said to myself ‘Fancy that, a glass eye’

 I really like this slide as it’s from a time when prosthesis where in their early stages and I like the big selection altogether in their velvet lined compartments. My interest in glass eyes hasn't gone unnoticed and it’s not something that you can bring up in conversation on a visit to the shops but to have adopted this slide is very special and my one seeing eye likes it very much.'

 You can adopt a slide by visiting and follow the instructions.