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Yes I did miss out 2 weeks of project 52 and I got way beyond even trying to catch up. Not only did I leave my portrait lens in the hotel when I was away with my mum, as I feared, but my kit lens has so much dust in it, it’s unusable. Everything I’ve read online says this is impossible and even a huge amount of dust makes no different to photos (complete with a demonstration of huge bits of paper stuck over the lens!) but it really does! Photos either look really dirty or like they have giant spiders crawling all over them, depending on the aperture setting :(

So I’m stuck with phone pics and my point and shoot for now. As if that wasn’t enough, my hard drive died and my computer is in for repair so i’m on my old laptop running linux with no battery. Sigh. At least the rice fields are pretty at the moment!

I really have little chance of getting my lens back now so I’m planning on buying a new one. I LOVED my 50mm f/1.8 but I did find it a little boxed in at times so i was thinking about replacing it with something a little more versatile. If any of you talented camera people could weigh in with (canon compatible) lens recommendations, I’d really appreciate it!

A Tribute

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The above photo was taken at my leaving party before I left the UK to go travelling. It’s not a perfect photo – my eyes are closed and there are some notable people missing but it still makes me smile to remember that night as it was the last time I got to see all my friends together. People often ask me if I miss the UK and if I’ve thought of going back and my answer is always the same: “I only miss my friends”.

When you travel 8,000 miles away from home it’s inevitable that you’ll miss out on some important occasions – I’ve missed out on weddings, babies being born and countless birthdays, nights out and fun times. What I didn’t anticipate was that I would be faced with the loss of one of my oldest friends so early in our lives.

Today is the funeral of my friend Andy (or Boxit as I and many others knew him best) – he’s the one on the far right. Next to him is his girlfriend Sue.  A couple of weeks ago I’d been ill in bed all day and hadn’t logged onto my computer. When I finally did that afternoon and pulled up Facebook, I had two messages from my friends saying that Boxit had been killed earlier that day in a motorbike accident.

I still think even now my brain hasn’t properly processed this information – it’s easy to almost pretend that nothing has changed when he was so far away and our only contact was online but today is the day all my friends back home will be saying goodbye and I can’t be with them.

So instead I wanted to do a little tribute here for Boxit who was always a wonderful friend to me and is part of many happy memories from my youth. We’ve been friends since we were 16 when we used to hang out at college – Boxit, Neil and Roy (middle of photo) were in a band together and I’d go and watch the practices, often sitting on a windowsill behind Boxit. He was the drummer and my position was precarious as sometimes a drumstick would fly away in his enthusiasm. Usually he’d gradually speed up through the course of a song so that Neil and Roy were sweating trying to keep up by the end.

We all had a lot of fun back in those days, before we’d started jobs and settled down. Digging around my old computer archives I found an old website we made for a “2 week party” that was at my house while my mum was on holiday (you can stop reading now mum!). We had so many laughs during those 2 weeks that I didn’t want it to end. I’m contemplating uploading that website now so anyone who was there can have a laugh (and you can see what websites looked like in 1998!)

Later, Neil and Boxit  were my first flatmates – we lived together in a tiny upper flat in Gosforth. Me and Neil would catch the bus or walk over the town moor to uni and Boxit would go to work and then we’d all meet up again in the evening back at home. So much craziness went on in that flat – I remember getting so drunk on rum that I couldn’t find the door out of my room and was bashing on the wall for someone to let me out. One night Neil and Boxit went out with Roy and Ben and came back with an American rock band (Karma to Burn), who they invited to stay overnight. Our tiny flat was full of sweaty men and Neil was sick on the bass player.

After staying in the flat for a year we moved into a bigger house (that we called Boozle) with more friends and the fun continued.

Boxit was a guy of few words – I can’t say I ever had any deep and meaningful conversations with him – but he had a huge heart and was generous with hugs. When I was upset over some drama in my life and literally crying on his shoulder, he’d tell me there was no point in being sad so “just be happy!” – he really loved life and made the most of it.

While I hadn’t spent much time with him in recent years due to us all growing up and settling down (and me moving to Bali obviously), we still stayed in touch and he continued to be a positive influence on my life. Only a year or so ago he saved my crashed hard disk full of important files and photos by telling me to put it in the freezer over night.

So Boxit will be missed – deeply, sadly and forever by everyone close to him but especially his partner Sue who is expecting his baby girl in December. It’s a tragedy that he’ll never get to meet his daughter but his little girl, Eliza will get to know her daddy through the happy memories of others.

When I was looking through photos after I got the news that he died, I realise in every photo he looks just the same – wild hair, wide eyes and crazy smile and this is how I see him when I close my eyes, in boots and black jeans, just the same as when we were 16. I’ll be saying a prayer and raising a glass today to my old friend – goodbye, wherever you are x

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And if you thought i couldn’t get any lazier, I didn’t manage to get any photos except crappy phone pics last week! So here is Maya showing off her drawing and Kiran eating a cake.

If you’d like to see some examples of more talented photography (not difficult) I suggest you have a look at this gorgeous sunset beach portrait, this cutie with sparkler (braver than me!) and all of these beautiful shots.

Linking up, as always, with Jodi

I seem to have lost my prime lens after I went on mini holiday with my mum so fingers crossed I find it or there will be no half-decent photos on this blog for the rest of the year….

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Ok so as I’m over 2 weeks late with this, I think we’ve given up all pretense that I’m making any effort with this project anymore, but I will continue nonetheless!

Here we have a little impromptu outside bath time tea party just before I went away without my babies for the first time for two whole nights! Meep! (more on that later)

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Maya – rowing a boat down a river infested with crocodiles. Apparently.

Kiran – face lit up by the glow from the tablet. I have to hide it from him – he’s too addicted. What do you want to do Kiran? “Playing game!”

We grew a chicken! (sad ending)

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Made has always had a thing for having lots of animals around. In fact I think it’s a Balinese thing – most family compounds  will be home to a few dogs, a family of chickens and various other creatures. New visitors to Bali are often woken by the many cockerels that seem to have no concept of when it’s night or day – in fact it’s important for families to own at least one fighting cock as ceremonial cock fights are an important part of temple ceremonies and the male representative from every family is required to bring one – if they don’t have one they borrow one!

Anyway, in the time I’ve known Made we’ve gone through many many chickens, ducks, puppies, even a squirrel. None of them last very long and eventually either die, wander off or are stolen. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll have seen the two ducks that we had as pets for the last 6 months or so – raised from babies they ended up being the bane of my life, eating every single green thing in the garden (including all the grass so now we have a big patch of soil instead of a lawn) and pooing everywhere. When the girl duck started laying eggs I was happy they were at last being useful but then they ran away and decided to join the herd (flock?) of ducks that were being farmed in the rice fields. The farmer kept bringing them back but then the girl duck died suddenly (the farmer brought her back, said she was sick and she was dead within 1o minutes. The boy duck was supposed to be sacrificed for a ceremony but made couldn’t bring himself to do it so he ended up living back at the inlaws for another few months… I think he’s still there now.

So I’m not a big fan of chickens, especially the stupid loud cockerels but they make Made happy so whatever. We’ve gone through several since we’ve been at the new house, all boys that eventually lose in a cock fight and meet their demise. He came home one day with a white chicken not intended for fighting but because it “looked pretty”. It surprised us both when it started laying eggs (Made thought it was a boy). Being a small chicken, it lay rather small eggs so instead of eating them, Made decided to try raising chickens. See our ghetto nesting box:

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Yes that is a wastepaper bin lined with newspaper.

So the dutiful chicken sat on her eggs, barely coming out to eat or stretch her legs for around 21 days. If felt much longer and I was  convinced that all the eggs were duds and we were going to end up with a depressed chicken. But to my surprise I came home one morning after a night over at the inlaws and found a tiny black and white chick running around the yard!

None of the other eggs hatched so the mother hen only had one little one to look after and she took to motherhood well, sheltering her baby under her wing and shooing us off if we got too close. The little chick seemed to be happy and healthy but then I found him dead on the ground when he was about 2 weeks old :( He was still in the place where they slept and had been running around fine the night before so I’m inclined to think that the mother smothered him by accident :(

I knew nothing about chicken rearing before this but after doing a little research, the death rate for baby chicks seems to be fairly high so it’s not too surprising, although a bit of a shame as we only had one and he was so cute! I guess we will just wait for the mama hen to get broody again and try again – it’s nice that it’s so easy and we just provide somewhere safe and dry to nest and let her get on with it! I always thought you needed a load of expensive equipment for raising chickens…

Here are a few more photos. RIP baby chick!

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I don’t have a photo of Kiran yet this week but I’m determined not to be late with this one and I’m hardly on the computer at the moment as grandma is here visiting! So I’ll update with Kiran’s photo later.

Maya has a new friend and it was her birthday this week so we went over for a little party. She has a bamboo fort with swings, a trampoline and a swimming pool so obviously Maya thinks she’s died and gone to heaven every time we go over there! I accidentally on purpose kind of left it too late to enrol her in pre-school this year (although we could probably do it mid term) and instead looking forward to more time playing and swimming with my girl :)

Updated with my handsome boy as promised:

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I love his hair! I never want to cut it!

So many pictures to love last week! I found it hard to choose just a few: Belly and big sister, magical woods, and being silly.

Linking up with Jodi

Adventures in weaning

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Kiran had his last breastfeed about a week and a half ago so I think I can say at this point that he’s finally weaned. This was rather overdue – I’d alwaya intended to stop around the 2 year mark (I’m not one of those women who can breastfeed their kids until they’re 4+ though I have huge respect for those who do). After over 3 years of breastfeeding with only a 3 month break between weaning Maya and Kiran being born, I was done. I wanted my body back!

I knew weaning Kiran was never going to be an easy task as he was far more attached than Maya ever was. Maya was down to only a couple of feeds a day when I started weaning her at 10 months and by the time I totally phased it out at 12 months, she barely noticed. I substituted night feeds for a bottle of water and that was that.

Kiran however would scream at me if I refused and work himself up into quite a state. His word for feeding is “numbedik” – a contraction of the Balinese for “little drink”, minum bedik,  and I was getting really tired of those being his first words to me every time he saw me. Obviously a simple distraction/refusal plan was never going to work with Kiran.

I’d heard that Japanese women put sticking plasters over their nipples and say they have an “owie” so I tried this first. It worked right up until bed time when he started hysterically screaming at me again and telling me to take the plaster off. in desperation i googled and found a mumsnet thread where several women had put vinegar on their nipples with success. i’d already tried the Balinese method of coffee a few months back with no success but I had vinegar in the house so worth a try right?

The next time he tried I told him that because I had “owies” and it hurt he could try but it would taste bad. Of course he wanted to try, which he soon regretted. He didn’t try again after that :p I couldn’t believe it was so easy after all that effort! He did ask a few more times and asked if it “still hurt numbedik?” but I just showed him the plasters again and he gave up. 28 months – not a bad run!

Freeeeeeeedom! I was also an emotional wreck when I weaned Maya (i guess being heavily pregnant didn’t help) but no hormonal craziness this time. Hurray!

Even better, since he’s been weaned he’s slept through the night at least twice. This has NEVER happened before. He’s nappy-free at night time now too. Where did my baby go?!

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Ok so I blatantly didn’t get organised last week as I’m a whole day late with posting this again and i didn’t even get the DSLR out this week. So all I have are a couple of phone snaps from the beach – glad we went, it seems to be a constant battle to reclaim our Sunday family time. Made some important decisions for my business and family this last week – I’m giving up freelance writing and it’s all or nothing for now! Wish me luck!

Last week I loved this magical light, this little artist, and these thoughtful portraits.

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