Friday, 2 November 2012

Macro Photography- A Workshop

I am currently doing workshops for Calumet Photographic on Macro Photography. Well actually it's on Cheating at Macro Photography. I say cheating because I'm not using expensive specialist equipment. So what am I using? Mostly my everyday ordinary DSLR and current non-macro lenses.

In my workshop I'll show you how to take your ordinary kit lens and get great macro images with it. I'll explain the difference between macro and close up photography and how to achieve both. I'll also talk about some inexpensive gadgets that you can use to make things easier and I'll do a practical demonstration showing you first hand how it all works. You'll even get a chance to have a go with your own camera. Hopefully you'll take home some great macro images which you can show off and be proud of.

I've done this workshop at Calumet Photographic in Bristol and now I'm doing it in London. On Friday 9th of November I'll be at the Calumet Photographic shop on Drummond Street giving two workshops on this. You can book your place by following this link -> Macro Photography Cheat

Would you like this workshop for 50% off? 

Enter this Special Promotion Code -> LOVEMACRO when you register online for this workshop and you'll receive a 50% discount.

Happy Snapping!

Friday, 26 October 2012

My thoughts on Presidential candidate Mitt Romney

Why do so many people refuse to see what sort of man Mitt Romney is?

He's a devout Mormon, nothing wrong with being a Mormon. Though most people do not agree with some of their religious beliefs. One being having multiple wives. America has laws against that these days. Mormons are prohibited from the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, coffee and tea. They are also prohibited from viewing any thing that could be considered pornography or gambling. Nothing wrong with any of this, I think these are great traits to have actually. But some people want Church to be apart of the State and the Government. OK, who's Church? Do you want to be told that you can't have that cup of coffee in the morning or that beer during a game any more? Do you want the multiple wives law to be overturned? Think about that.

This devout Mormon was a bully in school and as a nearly grown man held down a fellow classmate and violently cut his hair off....because he was different. This same man used his religious beliefs as peaceful non violent Mormon to avoid the draft for the Vietnam War. That wasn't the only excuse he used. He sought and received two 2-S Student deferments then he sought and received a 4-D ministerial deferment. His sons also will never serve in the military, no matter what. They have clearly stated this. They have clearly stated that they believe that going on religious missions around the world to convert people to Mormonism is equal to serving their country in the Military. They refuse to send their sons to serve in the military and possibly die for their country but they are more than willing to sacrifice our sons and daughters to defend our country. And people want him to be in charge of our military? To be in charge of our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers who bravely sacrifice their lives for our country...when him and his family flat out refuse to do the same. Think about that.

Mitt Romney is a multimillionaire. He's a really good businessman. There is no doubt about that.  Do you know how he got all that money? By taking over businesses and corporations, liquidating them, selling them off and in many cases selling or rebuilding them overseas. This means that hundreds maybe thousands of honest good hard working Americans have lost their jobs directly because of Mitt Romney. He took their jobs from them and sent those jobs overseas. Sometimes he was the man up front but sometimes he was just the guy who owned the companies doing this. He did not do this for the greater good of any community or for the greater good of any company or for the greater good of America. He did this for profit, he did this for his greater good. He's profited off the backs of thousands of Americans who were left jobless. Left unable to provide for their families. Left to loose their homes and in many cases split up families. Yes, sometimes these were dying companies who were on their way out anyway, but sometimes they weren't. They were just bought and sold and the jobs sent overseas to turn an even bigger profit. How can he claim to care about good hard working Americans making good American products for Americans to buy and support the American economy? He can't, he only cares about the bottom line and turning a profit for himself. That's what he's good at, that's why he's a multimillionaire, and that's why other multimillionaires are backing him and throwing money at him. They want him in charge so that they can continue to make a profit off the backs of hard working Americans. They don't care about the greater good of America, they care about their bank accounts. Think about that.

Let's talk about universal health care, one of the most controversial things in this election. Did you know that Mitt Romney came up with this same idea several years ago? But because it was President Obama that implemented it first for America many people are against it. Why? Why does it matter who implements it as long as it's implemented. Why are so many people against universal health care? The only reason I've heard is that Joe Blob will take advantage of the system and get health care he doesn't deserve. Well um, he already does that. Which by the way is a strong case for health care reform, not against it. In Mitt Romney's world all health care is privatized and the insurance companies are in charge of your health. That means that people who know nothing about health care, who know nothing about you and your health needs will dictate what medical treatment you can have and what prescription medications you are allowed to receive. Insurance companies are not doctors, they are in this for PROFIT. Many insurance companies have written in their small print the right to refuse to pay for medical treatment and drop you as a customer if they think your medical needs are too great....and they do. It's not written in those simple terms but that's what it means. And they will flat out refuse to cover some medical conditions. Who are they to decide what your medical needs are? There are many Americans out there with medical conditions that depend on their insurance companies for financial support. They and their families have paid into these companies for many years. They usually have this insurance through their jobs and they fight tooth and nail to hang on to these jobs because of the insurance. Even if they hate the job, even if the job is making their life a living hell they hang on to it because of the medical coverage. And then there are those that loose their jobs, therefore loosing their insurance coverage....and because they have pre-existing conditions they can't get more insurance. These people haven't done anything wrong, they aren't drains on society. They are hard working people. Mitt Romney wants to give more control to the insurance companies over your health care. Think about that.

Let's talk more about health care and health care reform. Some people don't seem to understand what health care reform or the Health Care Reform act is. It's simply about putting you and your doctor in control of your health care. It's about bringing down the cost of health care and making it more affordable and attainable for everyone. Who wouldn't want that? OH, yea, the insurance companies and the millionaires that own them that's who. Think about that.

I've experienced American health care from insured to not insured and through the military. I've also experienced the UK health care system (NHS). Our military health care system is kinda similar to the UK's NHS (National Healthcare Service). Our military healthcare service was the best I've ever seen anywhere, no one can touch it. Sadly it's not available to the general American public. But the UK's NHS is available to their general public. In America we worry about getting sick or developing cancer or being injured. Hospital and doctor bills are outrageous and our insurance, if we have it, doesn't cover everything. A lot of us will avoid or put off going to see a doctor because of the cost. Sometimes until it's too late and at the expense of our own health.

Under the US Military and under NHS I've never had to worry about myself or my family. If anyone was sick or in need of medical attention we received it. There was never any worry of how we were going to pay for anything. It was simply taken care of. If we were sick or worried about some healthcare issue we simple picked up the phone and made an appointment. There was never any worry if our insurance would cover it or if we could afford it. We never had to put our health at risk because of worrying about medical bills. Every American should have this freedom and this security in their healthcare. There is no reason for them not to have it. Well except for the greed of a few.

Mitt Romney is for less government including our education system. He said this. Sure less government sounds good but there is too little government too. There needs to be a nice balance for the greater good of all the people of the United States of America....not just the top 1%. How is cutting the education budget, cutting the wages of teachers, cutting back on teachers in general making classrooms bigger and privatizing more schools so that only the wealthy can afford a good education for their children, … how is this for the greater good of America? This is just one example of less government, there are many others. Medicare being another one. Don't confuse Medicare with Medicaid, though Medicaid is also an example. The main reason for wanting less government is having to pay less taxes. Well, where do you think the money comes from to pave the roads you drive on? The military that protects our country and our rights? The Government and State officials that are running and representing our country? The programs that protect our national treasures and wildlife? Our schools which educate our children? Our post offices which deliver our mail? Our police officers and forces? The coast guard? Public sanitation? Our Libraries? … the list goes on an on and consist of a lot of things that you take for granted every day. Think about what our lives would be like without them. Think about other countries who don't have these things and what sort of lives they live. Seriously, think about that.

Mitt Romney has stirred up a lot of support by bring up a lot of controversial subjects which people feel strongly about. Quite a good plan as he's successfully directed people away from his campaign policies which if most people would take a serious look at would probably not support. (If you can figure out what those campaign policies are that is, he's changed his mind so many times on so many things that it's difficult to know what his current stand is on most subjects) He's got people all upset over things like religion, abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, family values, etc. Which when you stop and think about really have nothing to do with running the government, these are all personal choices. The Government should not be telling people how to run and live their lives and what to believe in and which god to follow and so on. This sounds a lot like Big Brother to me! This is a good case for less Government actually. Think about that.

Against abortions? Then don't have one.
Against homosexuality? Then don't be one.

Call yourself a Christian? Then think about what Christianity is about and start acting like one. Think about what sort of person Jesus was and think about what he'd do in any given situation you feel strongly about. How do you think he'd feel about all of this hate and violence against our fellow man? He said it before, I'd imagine he'd say it again...'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.' We can't go around telling people how to live their lives, what to believe in and not believe in. That is their personal decision. As long as they aren't hurting anyone then we should stay out of it. It's none of our business. That's between them and their God, if they have one.

We have gone to war with other countries to protect people from religious persecution and Genocide....a lot of our American ancestors who founded and created the America we now live in were fleeing religious persecution..... are we going to start being those other countries now?

Things far too many current Republicans are saying and doing. ( I say current as Republicans have not always been this bad and there are some truly good and great Republicans, past and present. Sadly Romney and Ryan are not one of them. ) These are Republicans that Romney and Ryan support and who support them as well as comments from general Romney/Ryan supporters. (For the record Romney has tried to distance himself from some of these.) In no particular order...
  1. You can not get pregnant from 'legitimate rape'.
  2. Wisconsin State Rep says 'Some girls, they rape so easy'.
  3. GOP lawmakers seek to legally redefine rape as “forcible rape” so fewer women will qualify as victims. In other words, some rape is OK.
  4. “I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
  5. Abortion clause signed by Tagg Romney in surrogate birth contract.
  6. Pregnancy never endangers the mother's life.
  7. Against planned parenthood.
  8. Against birth control coverage.
  9. Medicare Vouchers.
  10. Romney said America doesn't have people who die because they don't have insurance.
  11. Compared Immigrants to dogs.
  12. Women should not run for public office or vote. They are too hormonal.
  13. Women are too emotional and too diabolical to vote. (Mississippi)
  14. The President controls gas prices.
  15. B rated movie about President Obama is loosely based on fact so it must be true.
  16. Millions of copies of Anti-Obama movie mailed to Ohio residents.
  17. Ryan pretends to wash dishes in soup kitchen for a photo opp in an attempt to make himself appear charitable.
  18. Ann Romney says serving in Mormon Missions is the same as Military Service.
  19. Romney tells CEOs to pressure their employees to vote for him. And they do, threatening their employees if President Obama is re-elected.
  20. Koch industries threatened employees if President Obama wins re-election.
  21. Lacks Enterprises CEO threatens paycut if employees vote for President Obama.
  22. ASG Software Solutions threatens to fire employees if President Obama is re-elected.
  23. CEO of Westgate Resorts threatens works with unemployment if President Obama is re-elected.
  24. Binders full of women.
  25. 47%
  26. Birthers.
  27. Bain Capital
  28. Why don't aeroplane windows open?
  29. It's a feminazi leftist lie that women don't get paid equally.
  30. Wrong election date given to Latinos in Arizona.
  31. Mitt Romney's son owns company that made 2012 voting machines.
  32. GOP election boards mail Ohio voters wrong polling information and cut early voting in Democrat heavy areas.
  33. New Mexico Republican official caught on video illegally teaching voter suppression tactics.
  34. Thousands of Democrats re-registered as Republicans without their permission in Riverside County, California.
  35. GOP phone volunteer told caller 'Obama is a socialist Muslim and he'll take away Medicare'.
  36. GOP firm exposed for fraudulent voter registration in Florida.
  37. Romney exploits ex-Navy Seal Hero's death in Libya to promote his Presidential Campaign.
  38. GOP Congressman votes to cut funding for Embassy security, then blames Obama for Libya attacks.
  39. Slavery wasn't so bad.
  40. Republican legislator says 'Slavery was a blessing in disguise.'
  41. Republican congressman says science is all lies from the pit of hell.
  42. Racist yard displays including nooses, watermelons and 'Go back to Kenya' signs.
  43. Let's put the WHITE back in White House.
  44. Republican candidate welcomes President Obama to Tennessee by showing him picture of his gun.
  45. Scott Brown staff mock Elizabeth Warren with tomahawk chop and war cries.
  46. Mitt Romney praises Adolph Hitler's energy ideas.
  47. Only black people have civil rights.
  48. Romney says middle class income is $200,000 - $250,000 and less.
  49. 55 anti-women votes by house republicans since 2011
  50. GOP head of Senate Republicans said their number one goal was to make Obama a one-term president.
  51. Romney to NASCAR fans “I like those fancy raincoats you bought, really sprung for the big bucks.” Romney says he's not a NASCAR fan but “some of My friends own NASCAR teams”.
  52. Corporations are People my friends.
  53. $10,000 dollar bet?
  54. Romney > 'I get speaker fees sometimes but not very much.' $374,327.62 in one year isn't very much.
  55. Obama is a socialist
  56. Obama is a communist
  57. Obama is a Nazi
  58. etc
  59. etc

Oh gosh there is no end to this list. The point I'm trying to make is that this is the sort of thing that the Republican party stands for these days and these are the people who support Romney. Do we really want people who think and act like this to be in power? Especially the current Republicans who are in office who have stated that their number one priority is to make President Obama a one term president. Shouldn't their number one priority be the American people who put them in office? Think about this. Seriously think about this.

I may be an American living in the UK but I am not out of touch. I know and hear from a lot of people back home in the States. I also read and listen to the news. What do I hear? I hear a lot of hate coming from the Republican side. I have yet to hear one rational reason from anyone on why they are voting for Romney. It's all extreme hatred for President Obama, but not one person has given one good honest reason for this either. The things they spout about are things that simply are not true and can be easily proven as not true. Things like the high fuel prices are Obama's fault, Obama's a socialist Muslim, Obama's not even American, Obama is an atheist, Obama is racist, I'm tried of not having any money and it's all Obama's fault, I can't find work and it's Obama's fault, the economy is worse since he became President, unemployment is higher than it's ever been since he became President, Obama hasn't fixed the economy like he said he would...and so on. In fact none of that is true. Jobless rates have been falling all around America, housing recovery is on the rise, the economy is on the rise and the President does not control fuel prices.

Oh but people exclaim he hasn't fixed the economy! He promised four years ago to fix the economy. Let's take a logical look at this. When President Clinton left office and turned things over to President Bush our economy was sitting pretty, the best it had been in more years than we could remember. President Bush was handed the economy on a silver platter. President Bush took that economy and run it into the ground in 8 years. President Bush handed over a very poor economy and a huge debt to President Obama. Of course changes didn't happen over night but the economy is turning around now, things are changing for the better in just 4 years. The facts are in the current figures. But the President Obama haters refuse to see this and want to turn it over to an new Republican President who is busy lining up the same people who worked for President Bush for his advisers and cabinet while all the while promising us he's going to 'fix' the economy in 8-10 years. Not 4, which is what President Obama has had so far.

Note, I changed 'Republicans' to 'President Obama haters' because not all Republicans are President Obama haters and quite a few are voting for President Obama to be re-elected. And they aren't the only ones. Major newspapers and magazines across the country are endorsing President Obama's re-election, even the ones who traditionally endorse the Republican candidate. Remember Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell? He endorses President Obama's re-election. Nobel prize winners are coming forward and endorsing his re-election. Polls across the globe show that the rest of the world overwhelmingly supports President Obama's re-election.

I have found that the people supporting the Romney/Ryan ticket are very angry, very hateful, very selfish and eager to blame President Obama for everything wrong in their lives. These past four years they have shown nothing but hate, contempt and disrespect to President Obama. This is very anti-American, unpatriotic and bordering on treason. Not to mention disrespectful of the American way of life.

In 2008 when President Obama took office the Republican party didn't seem to realize that the election was over. That when the election was over we were all back on the same team. That it was time to rally behind the new President and get down to business of deciding how best to move forward and how best to serve the American people. … After all, together we stand, divided we fall.

On the other hand I've found supporters of re-electing President Obama to be quite hopeful, positive, very caring, compassionate, respectful and understanding of their fellow man and very Christian like. I know which world I'd rather live in. I've thought about it.

Tamara Kwan
An American living in the UK...on the outside looking in.

Sunday, 26 August 2012


Can-Am Spyder RS-S
Earlier this week, Fraser's Motorcycles posted up on their Facebook page that they had a Spyder RS-S motorbike...or is that motortrike?.... on loan for their customers to come have a look at and test drive. We thought it was a cool looking machine and thought it'd be fun to drop everything and go do a spontaneous  photoshoot right then and we did! We being me and model James Artaius.

I couldn't go to Fraser's and not ride my bike, so I hopped on our Yamaha Majesty 400 and rode to Gloucester to pick up James. Then headed on over to Fraser's. I did contact them in advance to make sure it was OK. :-)

Side note: I recently passed my motorcycle test and we bought a Yamaha Majesty from Fraser's Motorcycles. Lovely bike, I love ridding it. Here's a photo of it:
Yamaha Majesty 400
Back to the Spyder and the impromptu photoshoot....

We got there sometime after 3pm, so it was the middle of the day. The weather report said rain and the clouds were heavy all day so I was quite surprised when we got there and the sun came out! You might think that was a good thing, but for me it wasn't. It ruined my plans for the shoot. Well not ruined, just made it more difficult.

The image I wanted to take, which I'd envisioned in my head, was the subject lit up and the background dark. I'd planned on setting up a couple flash guns to try and light up the subject leaving the background dark and moody. But with direct sunlight this isn't so easy to do, that and my second flash gun depends on infra-red light which it can't see in direct sunlight. So bugger. But I did have my radio triggers and could fire one flash gun with that. So I used one off camera flashgun on a light stand.

James was great, didn't have to give him much direction, he knows how to pose. So he had fun posing and I had fun snapping away. The photo at the top was my favourite from the day. My husband says it looks like a studio shot and at first he thought I'd taken it down to my studio. But it's not and I didn't. It was taken right there in the busy parking lot with bikes all around it. Including my bike stupidly parked right behind it. So there is quite a bit of photoshoping going on but nothing too extensive. Mainly because I don't have time to fluff around much with photos these days.

For the top photo the sun graciously went behind a cloud, flashgun on stand in front of the bike to camera right. The camera was a full framed Canon 5D MII with a Canon 24-70mm 2.8L lens. Camera settings were: Manual; 1/200th sec exposure at f13; ISO 100.

Here's the original RAW file right out of the camera along with images showing what I did in the RAW processing (developing stage) and what I did in Photoshop.
If I'd had more flash power I could have gotten the background even darker, so less photoshopping. I look forward to trying this again one day. I've been thinking about investing in some new kit, maybe that new kit will be more flash power. :-D

Here is another photo from the same shoot. This one doesn't have so much photoshopping done to it.

A big thank you to James for coming out to play with me and a really big thank you to the folks at Fraser's Motorcycles for letting us have a play at their shop. We might have to do this again soon. It was really fun!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Caption This!

OK, this photo needs a caption. Give it your best shot!
Leave your caption in the comment section below or send it to me and I'll add it for you. :-D

Have fun! Ideally keep it family friendly please, maybe PG13. Thank you.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Olympic Torch Relay through Stroud

Bunting over Stroud
Wow! What a day! I have never seen so many people in Stroud before! I heard several people say this as well. It was packed with people all through the Olympic Torch Relay route through Stroud. It was amazing!
Crowds awaiting the Torch around Stroud's Four Clocks
Sadly, besides the Olympic Torch Relay, not a lot was happening in Stroud. The hype was to get to town early as there was lots of things happening before the torch arrived. I got there early and walked around. I couldn't find much of anything happening except lots and lots of people wondering around town. Well outside the Sub Rooms there was a little bit of entertainment.
Entertainment outside Stroud Subscription Rooms
That aside, I really enjoyed walking around town talking to people and taking photographs. There was a lot of energy in the air and lots of things to photograph :-)
Bunting Flags on fence along Rowcroft road in Stroud
One of the banners around Stroud
My secret location for photographing the Olympic Torch Relay. 
Last week I went for a walk around Stroud looking for a good place to photograph the Olympic Torch Relay from. I found what I thought was in ideal location and I requested permission from the business which occupied the location. The manager was eager to give me permission but she had to seek permission from an higher authority. Come the day before the Relay was to come to Stroud I still hadn't received word if I had permission or not. So I found a second location and asked the owner if I may shoot from his upstairs window and was given permission on the spot! Thank you Hussein of FIFTEEN Café Bistro in Stroud. This turned out to be a better spot than I'd originally staked out. :-D  Plus they do lunch! I had a lovely lunch there while I was waiting for everything to kick off. They had plenty of cold drinks to help me cool off in the lovely hot weather too. Thank you FIFTEEN!
Seen on business door in Stroud
This image of a door in town amused me. Love the No Smoking sign next to the torch. :-D
A couple of famous faces spotted in Stroud
This so needs to be part of a Caption Competition :-D 
Friends of mine looking for parking. Hi Annie! 
Our local roaming reporter Carl Hewlett
It's Annie again! With her niece. Annie is the lady in charge of all those lovely old photos you see around Stroud. 
Here are a few more of my favourite images from the day.

Daphne Edwards, Olympic Torch Bearer 

Daphne is an active member of the Stonehouse Wheelers Cycling Club and the current secretary of the Stroud Valleys Cycling Club. This reminds me, I need to get back out on my push bike! Vroom Vroom?
See this little fellah? He's attached to the George Holloway statue below. 
 If I was young and in top shape, I'd climb up there and cut him down....then photograph him all over town and take him on adventures. Now who's going to steal my idea? :-D
George Holloway statue in Stroud

LockKeeper's Café after the Olympic Torch Relay through Stroud
The end of another great day in Stroud. Thanks to everyone who made it possible. It was great seeing everyone!

Links to more images and videos:
If you'd like to see more of my images from this day you can see them here: Olympic Torch Relay Stroud
You can find some of Carl Hewlett's images here: The Olympic Torch Relay in Pictures SNJ
You can see a video from Stroud Community TV here: Olympic Torch in Stroud 2012
My tweeted mobile uploads:
Eddie from Softdata made this video of the Olympic Torch going through Gloucester on Thursday: Olympic Torch Gloucester 2012
BBC Radio Gloucester has posted some photos on their FB page here: BBC Radio Gloucestershire and the Olympic Torch Relay
BBC in Pictures: Olympic torch relay day 5
BBC in Pictures: Olympic torch relay day 6
Images and reports on Stroud FM: <-Yes, those are my images :-D
BBC Live Torch Cam:

As I see and find more galleries and videos I'll post them here, so check back for updates. :-)

Please also feel free to post other links to other Olympic galleries and video. Thank you!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Olympic Torch coming to Stroud

Olympic banners in Stroud, Gloucestershire
Tomorrow the Olympic Torch will be coming to Stroud. I'm looking forward to it as a cycling friend of mine is one of the torch bearers and I think I've got a prime spot for photographing her coming through town all sorted out. I sorted out the permissions today so I'm hoping it will all go smoothly tomorrow.

Olympic banners in Stroud
 There's Olympic bunting and flags and banners all over Stroud this week, ready for the torch bearers to come though. The town as a whole is looking quite festive. Wish I'd taken more photos now, but I'll make up for it tomorrow.

There is one stretch of the Stroud Olympic Torch route that I am worried about though and hope someone cleans it up before tomorrow afternoon.

Unsightly bird droppings under the rail bridge on Rowcroft road in Stroud
Yep you guessed it, the unsightly bird droppings under the rail bridge on Rowcroft road. Not just on the pavement but all over the road as well, which you can clearly see in the image above (taken earlier today). When ever I walk to town I have to walk through this and it's not a very pleasant experience. In all the years I've lived here and of all the hundreds of times I've walked under this bridge I've only ever been pooped on once...but that was once too many for me. That said, I still walk this way.

I'm looking forward to photographing the Olympic Torch Relay through Stroud tomorrow, in my secret location. I'll also be photographing the Olympic Torch Relay through Gloucester on Thursday morning as well. Got my spot all sorted for that too. ;-)

If you see me say Hi!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Motorcycle Practice, Cyclist & Ice Cream by the Canal

Me, right after I received my CBT certificate in April 2011
What a gorgeous Sunday we've had. I started my day off with motorbike manoeuvres. Met up with some friends and we practised for our motorcycle tests coming up. I've got my Theory test this Thursday! I've been practising for that too. Wish me luck! Vroom Vroom! ;-)
Fraser's of Gloucester
You might ask, why is this mad woman taking a motorcycle test at her age. Well I'll tell you. Back in my early 20's I had a motorcycle licence and a lovely Honda Helix 250. The bike was way bigger than me back then and I don't remember being afraid to ride it. Actually I really enjoyed riding it. I only gave it up because it wasn't practical for carrying babies around on.
Me on my Honda Helix back in the late 1980's 
Well, the guys at Fraser's of Gloucester heard about my past on a bike and decided to tempt me back on one. They like a good challenge these guys. So they nudged me in the direction to get my CBT which I did through Motag. My instructor was fantastic and very patient with me, he had me riding in no time at all! Thank you Mr. Orton. :-)
The Suzuki Burgman I'm currently ridding from Fraser's of Gloucester
This is the bike I've been riding around, you may have spotted me on it or seen the bike parked somewhere. I love riding this bike, it's sooo much easier to park than the big Volkswagen Passat we have. Lots more fun to ride as well. Not to mention  much more economical. Vroom Vroom!
Suziki Burgman
One of the main features that I love about this bike is the big trunk space, plenty of room for lots of camera gear. :-D Once I pass my test we are getting a bit bigger bike. My husband has a motorcycle licence and he wants to ride it too....he can't be seen on a smaller bike. ;-)

After our manoeuvres practice I scootered down to Waitrose in Stroud to pick up some lunch and then across to the London Road Car park where The Stonehouse Wheelers cycle club were gathering for their Sunday ride.  The push bike kind of cycles not the motorbike kind. I used to be a regular rider with this group, was even their Honourable Secretary for a while, but then I got busy with photography. I must get back on my bike this summer. I must, I must, I must!

As I had the wrong kind of bike, I wished them well on their cycle ride around the country side and said I'd meet with them later at their tea stop. Which I did, later, walking down the hill to meet with them.

Stonehouse Wheelers Cycling Club arrive at The LockKeeper's Café
This past Sunday the Stonehouse Wheeler's Cycling club had their tea stop at the LockKeeper's Café in Stroud. What a beautiful day to sit down by the canal with a cup of tea and a cake after a long ride around our beautiful country side.
Stonehouse Wheelers enjoying their tea & cake by the canal in Stroud. 
This is a new tea stop for cycle club, they are always on the look out for great tea stops for their Sunday rides. I heard a lot of good comments about this tea stop and how much everyone enjoyed it and how nice everyone was at the LockKeeper's and how grateful they were that the Café was open for them. This just might become a regular stop for them. If the Stonehouse Wheelers gives a café a thumbs up then you know it's got to be good, as they are serious about their tea stops.
Daphne, Olympic Torch Bearer and avid cyclist. (That's my husband Peter on the right)
Daphne Edwards, an active member of the Stonehouse Wheelers and secretary of the Stroud Valleys Cycling Club, joined the group for a bit of tea and cake out in the lovely sunshine down by the canal. You may have heard about Daphne and her honour of being one of the Olympic Torch Bearers for our area. She's definitely one of the coolest grandma's around!
Winstones Cotswold Ice Cream by the Canal
The LockKeeper's Café sell my favourite ice cream, Winstones Cotswold Ice Cream, nom nom nom. Of course I couldn't resist having some out in the sunshine down by the canal. :-D
Canal Locks in Stroud
Tea by the Canal in Stroud
After the cyclist departed on their way I had a lovely walk up the hill back home with my husband, him pushing his bike. Well it is a push bike. :-p 

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Wind in the Willows with ice cream!

Winstone's Ice Cream Factory
This afternoon DreamShed Theatre preformed their adaptation of Wind in the Willows up on Rodborough common at The Ice Cream Factory (AKA Winstones Ice Cream). This show was especially performed to help raise funds and awareness for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. More specifically to help inspire school children and residents alike in the Cotswolds to learn more about river bank conservation and how to save the water vole in our area.
Dreamshed Theatre preform Wind in the Willows
There was a lovely turn out of people of all ages to see this very special performance. The performers from Dreamshed Theatre did a top notch job of entertaining and educating the crowed at the same time.  There was lots of laughter and fun had by all. I can highly recommend going to see them if you get the chance.
Crowds enjoying the show
They couldn't have had a better day either, lovely sunshine with just the right mixture of clouds. It wasn't too windy either....though this was a play about the 'Wind' in the Willows. ;-)
Ratty and Mole
Cotswold TV was there as well, busy recording the event. You'll have to check out their channel later for a little preview of the day.
The bad guys enjoying a tickle
Mole, Toad, Ratty and the Badger
The bad guys at it again!
Ratty is up to something
The whole gang at the end of the show! Well done guys! 
Toad and Mole enjoying the famous Winstone's Cotswold Ice Cream
Ratty enjoying a nice natter with his Winstone's Ice Cream
Badger anticipating how good his Winstone's Ice Cream is going to be. 
Winstone's Ice Cream Factory
I can't think of a better way to spend Saturday afternoon, can you? nom nom nom ;-)