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Being bored and not able to go far from home, what a nightmare! I am constantly being told ‘enjoy it while you can, soon you will be back to normal, running around after everyone wishing you had more time for your self.’ True! Too true but it doesn’t help, at all. So what do you do? Spend money of course. I decided that if i can’t take photos outside away from home then i would make it possible to take photos at home. I bought a light box and a couple of lights and i am going to start a small  project photographing fruit and veg among other things. I have a fancy for creating some photos with snails, i found a small snail climbing a flower stem and liked the look of it and wondered if i could reconstruct it. I also want to photograph thin sliced fruit in fizzy water, flowers against coloured backgrounds. There are numerous ways for me to use my new toys. All i have to do now is, well, do it!

I don’t know what to call this post as i haven’t written anything here for a while, it’s not that i haven’t been busy I’ve just been busy in a different way. I have had a difficult working year up until now, nothing seems to have gone right and at every turn i seem to have been hindered in one way or another and not able to make my art.

I have been battling with ill health for many years now, i have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis among other things which have both got to a point where i have struggled with every day life. The arthritis in my hip had become so bad that just to walk i was taking morphine and paracetamol to get me through it. I have a great Doctor, she helps me so much and we both decided that we had to do something about the hip, she told me about the prerequisites for having the hip joint replaced and armed with multiple leaflets i went home to talk it through with my family. We would need to put a lot of thought into it as i am a carer for my mum who has cancer and i am the only driver in the house, the one who gets everyone everywhere on time. There is a lot resting on my shoulders that would have to be delegated carefully to others.

One thing on the list for the hip replacement was weight, body mass, i hold my hands up and can say that yes Chris and i have let things slip a bit, ill health and medication with side effects of weight gain weren’t helping me and i was told i needed to loose weight.

 

I guess in my heart i new that this year was going to be the year things had to change, i looked deep inside and new that i couldn’t go on with the way things were and made a pact with myself that i would do everything possible to fix my hip. I committed to loosing weight to take the strain off my joints and so far have lost over 2 stone and dragged Chris in with me which has been good for him too.

At the beginning of April i went in for surgery and had a total hip replacement. I was a model patient, did everything i was asked to the best of my abilities and pain threshold, which wasn’t easy i can tell you! Now at home i am forced to sit quietly with my feet up wearing the most ridiculous white pressure stockings, taking many short walks throughout the day. I am healing  incredibly quickly and recovering well but oh am i bored!

 

Chester Arts Fair

 

November is the start of the truly busy time for craft fairs, artisan markets and most notably for myself, the Chester Arts Fair. This will be my third outing with a Deepbridge sponsored arts fair and hand on heart i have to say i just love them. You are guaranteed a very healthy footfall, fabulous art work from truly great artists who are all very friendly and you are guaranteed to find something to buy at reasonable prices. If you fancy visiting, Christmas gifts and all that, i have added a ticket to my Facebook page that you can download for free and this will give you free entrance in to the Arts Fair.

 

 

chester, arts, fair, grey, friars, tickets, complimentary, deepbridge, blackmango, spikeymouse

Over the years the Blue Bells on Grange Hill have multiplied exponentially. We now have a sea of flowers along the bottom of the hill which in the Spring is a beautiful sight. I  dont know how they got there as there never were Blue Bells on the Hill when i was a child, not that i can remember anyway. Maybe someone has planted them hoping to make a beautiful sea of Blue, it certainly worked.

 

Late one evening last week.

When I was taking my son back to his flat in Rock Ferry, I drove down Borough road and thought ‘oh that would be a great photo’. There on the opposite side of the street were a row of commercial premises with flats above. ‘So what’ I can hear you think. Well the reason I found them so interesting was because of the decay, dilapidation and forlornness of the buildings. high street, shops, closed, boarded up, vacant, empty, flats, disussed,

Where once there had been bustling shops with a myriad of different families living over them there now stood these forlorn looking buildings just waiting to be knocked down. While I was taking my photos a guy came out of the end building and started chatting to my husband. He actually lived in the flat over the, what we thought was empty, end retail space. Spray painting cars as a hobby, he was the last person in the block of old sshop, sign, old, faded, painted, high street, hops.

He told us that the shops had slowly closed over time, been bought and sold without anyone new moving in and eventually been bought by the council and left to rot. Apparently the council wants to knock all of the block down and turn it into green space. Not that we don’t need new homes of course, we all know we should be building on brown site land to save the countryside though, don’t we? Read more……….

BeeWirral; Help in the Community

beewirral, livvy, livingstonestreet, poverty, birkenhead,BeeWirral is a not for profit Community Interest Company. Dedicated to supporting families in making positive choices so that they can improve their own life chances.  Running activities in Livingstone Street Community Center since 2014, their aim is to become a community resource. Somewhere that residents can go to take part in training, courses, activities and support services. They have a full timetable of activities which includes things like infant massage, baby groups, a quilting group, and gardening group, with something to suit everyone. Funded by Reaching Communities, The Morgan Foundation, John Moores Foundation, CFM and Your Wirral, this is a wonderful tool for the community Read more……….

high streetIn every community there is almost always a high street. From small corner shops to supermarkets, family owned shops to co-operatives. When times are good our high street flourishes the community and neighbourhood are strong and cohesive and times are good.

When you start to add things in like redundancy, unemployment, benefit cuts and sanctions then people don’t have money to spend. Every penny is spoken for so splashing out on that nice duvet cover, rug, bottle of wine or meal out stops.

Shop rent and rates go up, produce goes up because transportation costs are high and slowly the shops struggle to make enough profit to cover costs. Shops change hands, close down and the high street becomes a desolate waste land.

The effect on the community can be harsh, people spend less and less on their homes, with poor educational chances crime rates go up, ill health from poor nutrition and lack of access to basic health services affect the neighbourhood an inequality between individual’s and families becomes apparent and social segregation occurs. Those who have a job live on the nice side of the street where as those on benefit live on the wrong side of the street. It has to have an impact on peoples state of mind.

This can make for good community spirit as everyone is in the same situation or similar but often people feel displaced and on their own.

Read More…

librarys closedClosing library’s

Reading, one of the most useful, mischievous, secretly rebellious of acts. I can remember from an early age going to the local library with my mum to change my books and then later with my friends to do homework and to hang out. They were always a quiet peaceful place to go and sit and read a book or magazine in. If you needed help the librarian could always be counted on to find what you were looking for. In the days pre internet that consisted of Encyclopedia Britannica and paper and pen!  Closing libraries is a fine way to keep the poor powerless, anyone could walk through those solid wooden doors and read quietly and learn. Our local library is the free custodian of local stories packed with drama and emotions and the history of where we live, filled with radical, stupid, exciting ideas all in one place, what more could you want. Get ride of libraries and you can wave goodbye to the type of escapism that is only found in books. Take away the library and you take away the one truly powerful thing for people who can’t afford an ipad or kindle or who have no quiet place.

There are so many other things the library gives you easy access to, the council offices re-situated there as the buildings housing them were sold off  to save money. Instead of going to the Town Hall to get help with your benefit or arrange your rent now you go to the library. Computers giving anyone access to the internet, for a fee. The Citizens Advice Bureau, trained volunteers there to help with free advice.  It is our community lifeline, sometimes our only access to the internet, take this away from the old, poor, disables and you take away our power and confidence. Every day we face the unintended consequences of our governments ill thought out and criticised moves to save money and combine benefits, thought out and implemented by those without money worries, who have no problem with paying their bills and their mortgages, is this just a way to punish the poor and balance the books on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society.

Crowdfunding

I have not heard a great deal about it and certainly no one i know has ever asked me to contribute to their crowd funding project, quite possibly that is a good thing as i spend most of my money on my photographs! But then i had an idea for a photographic project and as it developed i realised i was going to have to fund it in some way. My project is called ‘Poverty is a state of mind’ and i started it because of the things i have read in the media and experienced my self with regard to benefits and the stigma attached to people on them. I knew what i wanted to aim for and realised that as i am a landscape photographer i would actually need a new camera lens as all the ones i have are telephoto/zoom and if i am going to speak to charities and individuals it would be nice to be able to offer a donation for their time. Then i have the cost of printing my photographs to exhibit them, so there is indeed quite an expense to be covered. I looked at a few crowdfunding sites, Justgiving, Fundingtree, Kickstarter, Indigogo to name a few, there are literally loads out there and decided to go with Fotofund as it is aimed at photographers.

poverty

Crowdfunding is a way of raising your finance by asking a large number of people each for a small amount of money. Crowdfunding uses the internet to talk to thousands – if not millions – of potential funders. Typically, those seeking funds will set up a profile of their project on a website (Fotofund) then they can then use social media, alongside traditional networks of friends, family and work aquaintances, to raise money. Once a donation is made you then reward the donor with something, either a photograph or set of photographs from your project down to a thank you on social media. Typically you would work an hour a day posting on your blog, up dating your website, using social media, sending emails and ringing potential donors. Its hard graft and you have to do it to see the results.

You can visit my Fotofund page at http://en.fotofund.org/campaigns/poverty-state-mind-damn-government-dictates/  pass it along on your social media if you would and look out for future posts.

 

Poverty is a state of mind

My Fotofund project is in need of donations. I am running out of time and money and need to find backers as soon as possible. Please click on the link and read about my project, i think it is a worth while subject.

‘I want to document the effects the austerity measures have created. The struggle families go through to provide the basic necessities for every day living. The struggle young people go through to find work and the punitive measures used against them if they fail. To explore the changes it has made in the definition of poverty and how it differs in the 21st century.’

poverty

‘There have been so many changes to the benefit system. No longer do you get to sign on, walk out the door and collect your money. Now it is job searching 6 days a week and prove it. They have moved the posts on disability benefits. Where once you were helped if you couldn’t do certain things, now you are helped because you can do certain things, only this way there are significantly more people taken off the benefit than are helped. We now have ‘sanctions’ the suspension of your benefit if you don’t toe the line. I want to document the struggle, heartache, despair, that is felt by the people who perhaps didn’t vote in the Tory government and to do that i want to produce a body of photographic work that will show case the emotion, bring to your attention the abject poverty modern families find themselves in.  To show you the effects of the reforms on men, women and children and what it can do to their mental well being’………..

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