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It’s all about learning

The weather is cold, mostly wet, grey, and I haven’t had the camera out properly in weeks. So, until the weather improves, it’s all about learning again.

Last night I took a book to bed, and started trying to make sense of it! It’s the Nikon D3300 for Dummies guide, and it’s not an easy read. There’s a wealth of information on every page, but it does seem to assume a certain amount of previous knowledge.

I do want to improve my photography. There are times when I want to capture an image but I don’t know how to go about it. So, this book has been sitting on the bookshelf for over a year, and it’s time I took a closer look into the pages!

it's all about learning

I am mostly happy with the majority of my images, and I’m loving the camera. But I know there is so much more I can do. So, it’s all about learning, again. It is vital in any hobby, any craft, in any part of life, to be constantly looking to improve.

My skills are improving, I have worked my way up to Champion status on GuruShots. You can also find a selection of my images on PicFair.

2018 is almost over, and 2019 will be what we make of it. I intend to make pictures, and possibly write stories. We shall see.

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Winter Solstice

As the sun set on Winter Solstice, I was sitting in an office in Swansea, replying to customer emails for my paid job. I saw sunrise and sunset, sitting at that desk by the window.

October sunset

While we have had some laughs, we have tried our best to help customers. Trying to find solutions for issues that we have no time left to resolve. Because Christmas is coming and there are not enough days left to do anything.

But we do the best we can. One day we are the customer, and we expect the best from someone else. So we give it, every hour we sit at those desks.

And sometimes that means I neglect my own blog, and website. I am sorry.

Today was the Winter Solstice, the shortest day. This is the day when the light is lacking, and the winter deepest. Tomorrow the light begins to return and we grew anew. So it is in the cycle of the seasons, so can it be in our lives and in our work also.

We can take this moment and choose to thrive, to grow, to learn. Or we can choose to stagnate in the dark.

It’s up to you, it’s up to each of us to choose our path. Tread wisely. Step carefully.

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WordPress 5, that’s different

When the website asks for updates, I tend to just do them. It asks all the time, usually plug ins and themes, but this time it was a whole wordpress update! I just installed it, and wow, WordPress 5, that’s different…

Instead of one big space to add all your post elements, I have to add blocks? So, there’s a block for paragraphs, and you can’t put images in that. Then a block for galleries, and another for single images, and you can’t write in those.

Wordpress 5, that's different

Then yet another for headings, and a different one for quotes…

I’m not sure I’m convinced… But it looks like it’ll be ok.

And my Yoast has vanished?

Oh hang on, it’s there, in a box to the side, that I can open and close as needed. That’ll be handy, better than having to scroll up and down to fill in all the different parts.

Oh, and I can move those blocks up and down, changing the order of content, paragraphs, images. I like that!

Change is constant, and it is our choice how we react. I tend to be a bit guarded, reserving my views until I get used to something. I like to think I can see the positive. It’s not always possible.

Christmas is rapidly approaching, and some of you won’t be coping well with the upheaval, the changes in routine.

I have no real sage advice, but it’s up to you. Try to work out what’s unsettling you, ask if you can change it? How long will it last?

This update will last until the next big one, and until then my choice is to live with it, decommission the website, or switch to a different platform.

I like wordpress, so I’ll be working with it, finding out how I can make these changes work for me. No, where are my blog categories, and post tags…

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Knowing when to quit.

,Sometimes things break down, or go wrong, and often these can be fixed. But knowing when to quit is also an important skill.

It’s important to assess the problem, see if you can work out what is wrong, and then decide if it is worth the time and effort, or cost, to fix it.

The website broke a few days ago. Not for you lot, not for my site visitors, but the admin side wasn’t working properly. It took several days of research, and a few hours of work, but I managed to fix it. This is my site, I’ve built it myself, and I am learning how things work all the time. It’s worth the effort and time to resolve the problem.

So, today my washing machine refused to spin. It makes a nasty grinding noise, and the drum won’t turn. If I open the door and turn the drum by hand it goes round but it’s stiff.

You have to appreciate this machine was reconditioned when I bought it, and it moved house with us almost 7 years ago. I bought it to replace a machine that had finally given up after dealing with 2 children using cloth nappies, and my youngest hasn’t used nappies in almost 14 years.

It’s done well.

I am no plumber or engineer, and I have no clue where to start with replacing parts safely, or properly.

It’s not worth my time or effort to try to fix it myself, and it’s so old I dread to think what’s broken, or if it is even possible or economical to mend it. The sensible solution is to replace the machine.

Knowing when to quit is important – The new washing machine is being delivered on Thursday.

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Sexist tripe, or sound advice?

This has been popping up on Facebook again recently. I’m not sure of the provenance or accuracy of the image. On the surface it’s sexist tripe and to be ridiculed. But actually, if you look deeper it’s sound advice.

Sexist tripe, or sound advice?

No, wait, hear me out.

Take the blatant historical attitude towards women out, and pretend it’s not about sewing.

“Prepare yourself mentally [for sewing]. Think about what you are going to do. Never approach [sewing] with a sigh, or lackadaisically.”

Prepare yourself mentally. Think about it. It’s Monday morning, your alarm just went off, and you have to get up for work. Do you get up with determination, ready for the day ahead? Or do you roll over, snooze the alarm for another 10 minutes? How much difference does that make to your work day?

Let’s change that slightly.

“Prepare yourself mentally for the task, or day, ahead. Think about what you are going to do. Never approach your work with less than your best.”

Or, we could make it a positive statement instead.

“Prepare yourself mentally for the task, or day, ahead. Think about what you are going to do. Alway approach your work with focus and determination.”

Then there’s that bit about doing housekeeping chores first. Make the beds, do the dishes. If you refer to all these as “distractions” it doesn’t matter that they are house based, it can be anything. If there’s something that needs doing, that is distracting you, then you won’t give your best focus to the task at hand.


“When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress. [snip] Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on.”

Never mind the defined clothing, or makeup, or what might be considered “attractive”. If you are clean and tidy for work, dressed appropriately, then you will be ready to do your job.

I work in an office, we have a uniform, but we are allowed to wear jeans and trainers. This isn’t something I agree with, I think we should have a tighter dress code for the office. A firm believer in the “Dress smart, work smart” rationale, I think the way we present ourselves reflects and influences the way we work.

There are plasterers in the house today. They’re not wearing suits, they need to be in overalls. But they are both clean, tidy, polite, ready to do the job. I’ve had workmen turn up in dirty overalls, smelling unwashed, or of stale beer. I sent them away, and asked for someone else.

There is a difference between dirty, and job-stained. I’m not expecting pristine, white, or looking as new, but I do expect clean.

If you are embarrassed, or aware that you are less than well presented, you won’t do your job to the best of your ability.

The way you present yourself will affect the way others treat you. Your appearance can affect the way you behave.

So, in conclusion, that image is a bit daft, and we laugh at the sexism, the assumptions. But it’s a historical document, reflecting attitudes of the time. If you take the idea, rather than the language and attitude, it still applies today.

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