A Crazy Couple of Weeks ...

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I made the first insurance claim after someone drove into Dad’s car, in The Warehouse/Countdown carpark, in South Dunedin.

I was so annoyed. The offender left no details, neither massive shop had cameras in the carpark, and it was going to cost us $400nz to have the dent and scratch repaired.

But then, I was driving home on 30 April, using a turning lane when the vehicle that was meant to give way to me … didn’t.

She slammed into me in the dark and, fully present, I can still remember the lights and this massive cacophony of sound, as she hit the driver’s side on poor little Percy Fish, Dad’s Mazda Demio.

Mr 7 said to me later, on hearing that Percy Fish would probably be written-off … Percy made the ultimate sacrifice for you.

He was right. If I had been hit either side of the actual point of impact, that wouldn’t have been me, climbing out over the passenger’s seat to escape.

I escaped injury, mostly. My head ached for a few days, and I was definitely off-balance but life is leveling out again, and I’m working on all kinds of ‘things I must do’ projects.

We need to find a new car. I think I might have done that today but we need all the details to come together as soon as is possible. So that’s a work in progress.

My little brother, Kim, saw me trying to save for a new laptop. My Dell had done a massive amount of work, over a number of years and I was using an external keyboard and mouse. I had dropped it recently, having hurt my back, and the laptop’s innards were spilling out.

I was turning it on using a pen … applying a gentle amount of steady pressure, and praying a little, each time.

Kim, happy to know that I’m here with Dad, mentioned he had a spare laptop no one at his place was using and voila, that turned up at the weekend.

Now I can spend what I saved on setting the new one up. The ‘new one’ that is exactly like the one I have here on life-support. So that’s something.

I liken using this new one to how people must have felt when electricity first arrived :-) It’s so much simpler than all the pieces, and processes, previously required.

Autumn is here. The morning’s are becoming colder, although we haven’t had a full-on frost yet.

And Dad. Well, he comes and he goes. We had quite a challenging period recently, one that had me thinking he might need to move to 24/7 care but no, he returned, and is as good as ever … kind of.

He started physio on his destroyed knees and, oddly enough, it seems to be helping.

He still loves the RSA. I still love it too. The people there are good people and sitting there, at the blokes table, listening to them chat and mock, or asking their advice on electricians (the bathroom light exploded, into a million pieces, over my head the day after the big night-time accident), and where to find a replacement car … on a budget but reliable.

I’m living on mushroom soup, freshly-made, ignoring the fattening properties of coconut milk. It tastes healthy, and makes me happy. Dad has frozen dinners delivered. Nutritious and what he is used to … roasts, cottage pies and etc. It’s just me doing the soup thing.

It’s okay, I’m getting there. I have accepted that it takes a long time to return ‘home’, after 15 years out in other worlds. I am both resisting, and accepting. I think it’s the only way. I flee Mosgiel whenever I can but accept I must live here while Dad needs me.

I hope to get back into my photographic life, as I carve out the space here in this new life. Perhaps I needed some down-time, while I work out what’s next.

Let’s see it.

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From theWomen I Know and Admire Series - Diny Naus

This beautiful series of images popped up on my Facebook wall this morning and I wrote to the photographer, asking if I might share them.  To put them together in this small montage, some cropping was involved.  Apologies to Diny but the story is more about her than about them.  I want it to be about her way of seeing and being, out there in the world ...

Diny and I met when she attended a photography workshop of mine.  She flew in from Hong Kong.  I arrived from Belgium.  Two New Zealanders, together in Genova.  We wandered and became friends.  It turned out there was so very much to admire about her.

Seeing her series from Beijing this morning made me realise, again, just how lucky I am to have women like her come into my life.  The photographs reminded me of the extraordinary privilege in meeting curious courageous wandering women like her.  There have been so many now.  With their permission, I would like to start sharing their stories, and photographs. 

But Diny ... Introducing her series, she wrote, 'Yesterday snapped this guy who'd managed to find his little piece of peace and quiet in this city of 20 million. I showed him the photo and he insisted I get in the hammock so he could shoot me. I love these interactions. Beijing people are very friendly!

And I thought yes, the people are friendly but you have that sparkle, that curiousity, that courage too!  And her eye ... in a city of 20 million she found this oasis of peace :-)

My client base seems to be made up of women living in countries not their own - but not always, I remember that small group of beautiful Genovese women I once spent the day working with in their city.

Women who are over 40 - but sometimes they're not.  They all have this delightful spark though.  Wise women, old souls who share deeply in the atmosphere that forms when women work together.

Women who are single, or have no dependent children, or women whose children are grown - but then again, sometimes none of this is true either.

My clients are women who are quite fearless and full of curiousity.   They are usually intelligent, wise, and laughter is usually a feature of our time spent together.  As is confusion, frustration and delight.

But sometimes it's all about feeling the fear and doing it anyway ... because they don't want to be fearful anymore.  Fearful of traveling alone, fearful of photographing strangers, of asking permission to photograph those strangers, and most of all, fearful of the techno-speak that has confused so many of us when kind men explain things very very technically.

I have to confess that t took me years to break through and learn the simple equation that is how your camera works.  That's what I share during these workshops, the simple equation via a series of exercises.

And so you can see, the workshops always end up being about more than photography.  With Diny, and so many others, I also get to experience the benefits of their wisdom, knowledge and courage. I meet new heroes and role models. 

I came away from my time with her, admiring so much about her and being able to keep up with her stories of life out here in the world ... it's simply inspirational. 

I have this idea that we need more women like her to write of their lives, share the magic while being honest about the struggles too.  Diny does that for me ... and sometimes, on a sunny Monday she gives me permission to share something of the beauty she found in a Chinese city of 20 million.

Grazie mille, Diny.  For both the use of your photographs, and for your friendship.

The Story of 3 Birds That Rescued Themselves ...

My favourite cafe was closed the other day and I ended up at a nearby restaurant, hoping the espresso would be drinkable, knowing I didn't want to wander too much further in my search for good coffee.

Sitting there I noticed a rooster totally owning the small garden beyond the hedge in the grounds of the restaurant.  It amused me.  This was centre-city Antwerp.

A few minutes later I watched him visit with the pigeon you see in the series of photographs.  And honestly, they seemed to be greeting each other. 

I asked Vitaliy, the waiter, about them when he returned with a second, spresso and he told me the loveliest story.

The restaurant is called De Markt and the Bird Market is held weekly in the square nearby. Christoph the Rooster arrived first, after escaping the market, and set up home in the garden.  They named him after the manager I was told.

Then Micheal the Pigeon arrived and he stayed too.  He's named after the restaurant's Italian chef.  Vitaliy told me, smiling a little, that Christoph the Rooster often 'shouts at' Micheal the Pigeon ...

And finally, I think that third bird is a Crow.  He's quite motley but he moved in too and I love that.  How did those birds know they could set up home in the garden of a restaurant in the city of Antwerp.

And they've stayed

I loved the story.  I'll go back soon, I'll take Miss 11 with me.  She's visiting this week.  We have plans.

Something New ...

I went out with my camera, just for a moment or two, and was lost in our tiny little pocket-sized Belgian garden here in the city of Antwerp.

I loved the way photographing the shadows of plants became, very much, about painting with light ...

The word "photography" was created from the Greek roots φωτός (phōtos), genitive of φῶς (phōs), "light"[2] and γραφή (graphé) "representation by means of lines" or "drawing",[3] together meaning "drawing with light".

Source: Wikipedia.

Enough of Beautiful Things ... the world is a serious place.

Once upon a time, a tour bus stopped like this ... in Rome.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Kahlil Gibran

I do believe I have finished with the 3 beautiful things posts.  It pulled me out of the dark place and allowed me to celebrate some of the beautiful things but it's not really my style ...

Well, there was that and the fact that today was another dark day.  But really, dark and grey and wintery.  I had to go out in it, twice, so far.

But I fly tomorrow.  I love leaving.  Always, since I was a small child.

These days it goes like this.  The night before, if not sooner, I wonder whatinthehellIamdoing and have some anxiety about all that could go wrong. 

The night before, I sleep badly and, these days, the Belgian bloke mocks me a little.

But then I get on the airport bus and voila, some alchemy occurs and I relax.

I reach the airport boarding lounge and enter that state of ohwellIhopeIreachmydestination.Nothingtobedonenow.

I hate leaving, I love leaving.  Always.  Even on my trike as that very small child.  Fearful and yet needing to go.

Jack and Kay have sent photographs of my destination ... that small village somewhere in Italy.  I do believe I may post one or two photographs.  I'm hoping to photograph at least one good sunset and a sunrise.  I'm hoping for fresh air and good espresso.  I'm hoping to write and take a few hundred good photographs.  I'm hoping to walk far and often.  And that I come home so much healthier than I left.

Just all that.

I'm listening to Josh Garrels ... because I've just found him and I love his music, so much!