Kent County Show

We spent today at the Kent County Show in Detling. Our dog training club was running dog games there in aid of the Royal Marsden Hospital and we decided to go along.

We’ve never been to a big agricultural show like this before and it was obviously quite the place to see and be seen among the people of Deepest Kent. I understand that over 90,000 visitors were expected over the three days.

Atttactions included traditional crafts; the Kent Police Band; Popchoir; livestock shows; a vintage vehicle show; traction engines. There was so much to see.

It was great to be able to take our dogs along with us for what must, to them, have been a long and eventful walkies. They largely behaved well except for when Oscar decided to bark at a cow in the show ring, which unsettled her; and when he was frightened by a mobility tricycle coming up behind him.

Raffles had a go at the scurry event but was distracted from his pursuit of a tennis ball after jumping three bales of hay by the irresistible aroma of a little girl’s chips. Oscar crashed into a fence by trying to take an alternative route that avoided strenuous jumping, but eventually retrieved a dummy in the correct way despite a bloody nosey. We didn’t think either of our boys would fancy the dash n’ splash: they’re both a bit too cautious for that.

It was a great, relaxed day out, and one I’d recommend, especially for townies like us. It’s still on tomorrow if you’re interested.

Not in Kansas anymore

This little chap scuttled across my path on my way back from supper this evening. We’re a long way from the sea but we’ve had some tempestuous weather so perhaps he was sucked up into the air and deposited here. I hope it’s not too arduous for him.

Monsoon life

Monsoon life

Once again I am in India visiting my mum.

The monsoon has started, bring relief and refreshment after months of extreme, building heat. Despite the dinginess, it really is pleasant to go out in the warm rain.

Here are some photos I took on the way from the airport to the Dignity Lifestyle resort. I was expertly driven, as usual, by Mr Namdev and the photos were taken from a moving car so you’ll have to excuse the blurriness. On reflection I should have been brave and used a very fast shutter speed on Manual focus to reduce the blur but you live and learn I guess.

There’s low cloud and revered cows trundling down the busy Mumbai arterial road or even sitting down making everyone work around them, while hitchhiking crows and people going about their normal business. Those are pomogranates being sold at the roadside in that rain-blurred picture. They looked so pretty and reminded me of how the French stallholders piled up their own wares at our local market in our Western Parisian suburb.

Up the road outside Karjat is a film studio where, I think, a recent US music video was filmed, controversial for its inaccuracies and apparent exploitation of the idea of India. The only elephants you’re likely to find around this part of the world are made of painted plaster.

Trip to the Chelsea Flower Show


Off to the Chelsea Flower Show which, we are told, was suffering from a lack of sponsors and exhibitors’ gardens this year. Still, it made for a lovely afternoon out in unseasonably clement weather (we have almost given up booking outdoor summer events in London as they are almost always rained off. It’s not much fun shivering in a puddle on a wet seat while you wait to see whether there will be any tennis that day.)

There was a preponderance of lupins and alliums at the show this year, and some beautiful peonies. Plenty of people sneezing their heads off due to the mixture of air pollution and pollen too, but I suppose that it is permissible to do that in these surroundings. Generally the gardens were pink and purple-themed, but the random passing scarlet-clad Chelsea pensioners (I thought it rude to take pictures) blended well with the South African yellow and orange garden.

Though I am no longer the avid armchair gardener of bygone days, this has given me some inspiration so I’m hoping to pop up to our local garden centre in due course.


Mini explosion

I spent yesterday learning the basics of DSLR photography (even though my camera is mirrorless and therefore technically not DSLR) in the middle of an industrial estate – turned arts complex just outside Wimbledon. DSLR Photography Courses have a range of different offerings and a voucher for this one was a Christmas gift from the OH.

I’d been looking forward to the course for ages. I have bought lots of books on Aperture and Shutter Speed (not to mention the ones that my dear friend @fizzandnonsense, who has taught herself to take wonderful photos, sent me,) but sometimes nothing but being taught in person will do. Our tutor for the day, Aga, explained that learning to take photographs is like learning to drive: it’s a sort of muscle memory taught by thousands of different experiences, all of them slightly different. 

We could only scratch the surface of the art in one day, of course and, just as my singing lessons have revealed, sometimes it’s easy to feel demoralised because you come away pondering exactly how much there is to learn and how long it will take, but I hope it will be an interesting journey. That’s what people say these days, isn’t it? 

I’ll have to dust off Lightroom and actually work out how to use it, but I’m hoping that this will be the start of some nice picture taking. Above is picture of Aga playing with water balloons in the car park outside the studio. Yes, I know that the exposure is a bit dark – it was a very dull day – and that the background is sucky but you’re supposed to be focusing on the exploding water droplets. For me just remembering to press the button in time was a feat in itself. 


How’s she doing, your mum?

It’s about time that I updated you on my mum’s life in India. 

My most recent trip was a couple of weeks ago, and I was despondent about going, partly because I spent most of MsDD’s Easter holiday away from home, away from her, and partly because when I went to see mum in January, it was clear that she no longer recognised me. She was quite gloomy and uncommunicative. I was very sensible and rational, and told myself that this was because I form no part of mum’s day anymore. The nurses, who were keen to get her repeat her amusing little quips, are now her whole day to day life so of course she won’t treat me, a virtual stranger, as one of her gang.

“LThey’d just had a ridiculous heatwave in Neral as I arrived and some of the floor tiles in the common day room had lifted so this part of the building was too dangerous to be used by the frail old ladies and gentlemen. (They’re looking into replacing the tiles as soon as possible.) It’s really difficult to keep an open-plan building cool in 45 degree heat, so the ladies and gentlemen were taking turns having everyone around to theirs to hang out with the air conditioning and watch TV.

I spent quite a lot of time with my mum watching Marathi TV and railing at the characters in the soaps. We revisited an old joke when two characters shared a hug and I put my hand up to shield us and yelled “Break!” which is what my mum always used to do at any public display of the tiniest bit of intimacy. I think this made her chuckle.

On one occasion mum did recognise me, I think, when she asked why I wasn’t at school but it was fleeting. 

And so it goes. And I’ve booked another trip for June. 




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