Category: local


Do we really want another golf course on the Wirral? We already have over a dozen courses, there is even a women’s course, does it differ to men’s? Hoylake, Wallasey, Caldy, Leasowe, Bidston, Heswall, Eastham etc etc….. they rang in difficulty, Hoylake home of the Open golf championship to Adventure Golf in New Brighton. Dotted around the edges of our beautiful peninsular making the most of our parklands, there are short courses (9 holes), windy, sandy courses, a women’s course, flat courses, historic courses,  i suppose if you were a serious golfer you could play any way you fancied, as long as your a member.

If you look at the Wirral as a whole it is made up of 60 square miles of fabulous seaside, parkland, woodland,  rural walks farm, horse, west kirby, and cycling routes, historic villages, industry, great restaurants and many wonderful artists in an active artist community. There are over 320.000 people situates in towns and villages over the Wirral but there is also a lot of rural land, we have farms, pigs, cattle, sheep, turkeys, award winning farm shops, Tam O’shanter urban farm and GreenBelt land which should be left untouched.

Because of where we are situated Wirral is lucky enough to be visited by many unusutoadal birds through out the year with Parkgate being one natural hotspot. Both the Mersey and Dee estuaries are internationally important wildlife sites for waders and wildfowl in winter. We also have marsh land and reed beds home to Natterjack Toads. Do we want all of this spoiled by yet another Golf course/resort?

Jack Nicklaus is going to design our new course, he has been involved in the design of 290 courses. At least 70 Nicklaus Design courses have been ranked by major industry publications but how many have failed? Polaris World in Spain crashed and burned, Mount Holly Club Utah didn’t work so why should it work here? We dont need our environment disturbed, our animals moved from their homes, our flood plain interfered with so a minority can wack a small ball around our countryside. This will lead to new roads, new homes we wont be able to afford and more traffic!hoylake, golf,open,

This is not one of those ‘Not in my back yard’ type of cries, we really dont need this golf resort, change one of the established courses, give it a new designation but seriously dont let Jack Nicklaus ruin what is such beautiful countryside. There is a meeting on March 29th 2016 at West Kirby United Reform Church starting at 7.30pm for anyone who would like to air their views or just find out more details. Please dont leave it to others to raise their concerns, every voice needs to be heard.

Picture it, the start of a life, your born into a loving family, are brought up by that family to the best of their abilities given their social and economic backgrounds. As you grow up your family instills in you a sense of person, of responsibility and an ethos of how you should live your life and when you reach adult hood all of those things mean nothing because the government have messed up the economy of your country through their own greed and ego.
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At the age of 19 you want to leave home and start out on your own, you feel compelled to do this not because you have been forced to but because you have a partner or just want the adventure. What do you find out there in the big wide world? Well no jobs that’s for certain, not for your age group with no work experience and not so many qualifications. Now you don’t want to go home and say you have failed because in essence you haven’t but if you want to continue living in your little apartment you need to fund your living costs. There are different avenues open to you, get a job (?), live in a place with no intention of paying for it until you are tossed out, turn to crime or claim benefits.
jc sign
The benefit system was introduced to help specific people when they fell on hard times, workers who had lost their job, fallen sick or didn’t earn enough to pay for rent etc. You didn’t grow up and go straight onto benefits, that’s not what they are there for. But if you are that young person who has had to leave home, through abuse, death of parents, or by just being made homeless what is there in place to help you?
Apparently there are a few places which offer assisted living for kids aged 16 to late 20’s, find one if you can, government cuts and all. There is living on the streets, no thanks. If you are lucky to find a room to rent and are old enough to claim benefit the dear old boy network which our government is made up of these days has made it so hard to get any help that it is a wonder that there are not more kids living in a cardboard box under a bridge or committing suicide. You go to the job center, yeah right, benefits office and ask to sign on a benefit, you jump through hoops filling in a mound of forms only to be told ‘no sorry you can’t claim that, your not eligible’ on to the next form and in the end you finally manage to sort something out, yes they will pay your rent and housing benefit, they will give you money for your electric and food but to get it all they want you to perform so many different tasks on different days and if your early or if your late or if you don’t or if you do but at the wrong time, well now they have you over a barrel. There is a new word, ‘sanction’, the dreaded word no one on benefits wants to hear, because if you don’t do as your told when your told we will stop your money you naughty poverty stricken person.
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Who came up with it? Oh yes those elite and very wealthy men in suits. What they don’t understand is the harm they are doing to the young people who have no other option other than to ask for help. Like the kid who has left home, is job hunting but hasn’t found a job they like enough to stick at it, maybe they forget an appointment, don’t job search enough to satisfy a little hitler behind a desk and get a sanction. Maybe they make a few consecutive mistakes and are sanctioned for months on end, their money stops, they are told that as one benefit isn’t paying their rent then they have to pay full council tax, you owe us £700 mate, pay up by next week or else. No food or elecy? tough it out, ask your mum and dad, find the money from somewhere, don’t get caught shop lifting a butty because your starving as you’ll end up in court with a fine you have to pay out of thin air, your starving, you have nowhere to live as you have been kicked out of your supported accommodation because you can’t pay, you can’t go home, you don’t want people to think you have failed, you can’t bear to think you have failed. You wander the streets and a couple of months down the line you are sitting on a park bench wondering how you came to be homeless. Your dirty and haven’t eaten a proper meal in weeks and now you have absolutely no chance of getting a job because businesses don’t employ the homeless. All the while the suits in government shake their heads at the unemployment figures and try to find new ways to force people to get off their butts and find a job.
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Today’s government are so far removed from ordinary folk that they can’t see what harm they are doing, it would be very interesting to find out figures over the last four years, how many have committed suicide because they have been denied the help they were receiving, how many sick and disabled, young and old who have been driven to the brink when they have had their much needed money stopped because the government have moved targets or changed requirements. You can’t tell the suits to go and live like ordinary people because the suits who have enough can never live long enough like an ordinary person to understand what they go through every day, every week of their lives.
Unfortunately there isn’t a political party at the moment who can run our country like the good old fashioned Labour party, the party run by working class men for working class families and until there is a party who can we are stuck with Eaton educated wealthy men trying to tell us how to live our lives. You can’t vote them out as there is no one to replace them with so for the foreseeable future young people, the people who will eventually be responsible for our country are being battered and down trodden and forced into poverty. What kind of future can they look forward to?

A late start to 2015

A late start to 2015……. who am i kidding we are well into the year and i have been very remiss in not posting anything other than someone else’s posts, things i want to remember etc. It’s not that i haven’t wanted to post just that i haven’t had the time. At the end of last year things really took off, i was selling at craft fairs and artisan markets every weekend, going out taking photos and working on my computer. Looking after family and myself and i kind of lost the time to post anything.
dazzle ship
I decided that i am going to start my own business and i have been working extremely hard finding bigger markets and more prestigious exhibitions and basically asking to be included in magazines, papers and any kind of of art thing going. Some i was turned down for and some i was snapped up for, so this month i have a feature in the ‘Lake’ magazine, have booked some great artisan markets in Liverpool and best of all and by sheer chance i have a booth in the Liverpool contemporary Art fair, http://www.liverpoolcontemporary.com/ it’s held at the Royal Liver Building from the 26th to the 28th June and i will be among some pretty amazing artists.
Now is the time i really could do with a patron, someone to help me start up, pay for my work to be printed and framed but that’s not going to happen anytime soon, so i am furiously hording money to pay for printing on archive papers and framing. All that adds costs onto my work which then brings me to how much i need to charge and really it goes into large amounts, i just hope i have the equations right and i’m not pricing myself too cheaply.
I have also been looking through my work, right from the beginning and the ghastly HDR stuff to the really nice stuff and you can see the leap in experience and technique and i am really pleased with how much better my work is now.
royal iris2
I have been working on some photos of the River Mersey and the ferry recently, the Three Queens are coming into Liverpool and i have the chance to sell when they are here so i am stock pilling images of Liverpool 😀 http://www.cunard.co.uk/cruise-types/anniversary-cruises-2015/ I am going to try something a little different and have coloured some of my images red or blue to play on the Liverpool and Everton football theme, it will be interesting to see how they go. I am going to try and post more as i am going to need to advertise myself to a wider audience so be prepared, i’m not lol but i will try harder, i promise.

Eight years ago the Open Golf came to The Wirral, we had money thrown at us to improve Hoylake, which they did really well but it didn’t go all the way through it just kind of stopped up by the Anchor, still Hoylake was left looking pretty. We had thousands of bodies and their cars visiting and they were neatly parked in massive carparks and shuttled in and out. They (quite a few but not all) visited our pubs and wine bars leaving behind their money and going home with great impressions and wonderful memories and we are doing it all over again this month. We have Tigers, McIlroys, Scotts, players from all over the world and they have brought their caddies, managers, families and goodness knows how many other people all geared up to make their week go without a hitch. http://www.royal-liverpool-golf.com/ Our hotels and guest houses are full and if you wander down Market St after 8pm you can hear people commenting on how it feels like you are in a foreign country as there is such a great holiday atmosphere.
During July we have also held Hoylake’s festival of firsts, a fortnight of entertainment and art, the shops, pubs and bars have local poetry and art in their windows and on their walls, which add’s to the great feel of excitement in Hoylake. Thursday was the first day of the Open and i went to Hoylake with Chris to say Hi to our artist friends manning their art stalls hoping to sell their art to the milling hordes. There were plenty of hordes and some selling of art but i was more interested in the movement of Hoylake, the people and the change of pace. People pored from the golf club, jumped on buses and trains or headed for the pubs and bars, they spilled out over the pavements onto the grass and laughed and joked and drank. Prime opportunity for some great street photography.

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We wandered along Market St slowly, chatting to people we know, stopping and sitting drinking in the atmosphere and taking photos of the people doing the same as us. Along the way we walked past Jill’s Cookshop where i have several photographs entered into the Festival of Firsts art competition, in the window is the Lighthouse at Fort Perch and underneath it is….. a Silver award!!! 🙂 Way to go me! and congratulations to all of the others awarded.
fort perch lighthouse
Of course we were really excited and whenever anyone went to look in the shop window Chris would dash over and tell them that i took the photo, i think he is rather proud of me. After we hung out and chatted and took loads of photos we drove down to the promenade and drove along to the RNLI station just in time for a beautiful sunset, a great time to take some photos of the Grace Darling sculpture.

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The sister to the Black Pearl in New Brighton. We watched the sun go down together then headed home to replace the hustle and bustle of Market St with the hustle and bustle of family life. (Read BEDTIME) We have two more days of the golf and then weeks of getting everywhere back to normal again. I hope they bring the Open back to Hoylake eventually it is an amazing event and an amazing opportunity for Hoylake and the Wirral.

I think this is the first wanderings with Chris post of the year, we haven’t been out very much because of ill health and commitments but it was a beautiful spring day, the sun was shining and we just had to get out of the house and go for a walk. For the past few years i have been battling with Fibromyalgia and arthritis in my hip and knee so walking is very painful and slow and Chris has had problems with his legs too so our walk down to the nature reserve was slow! Just before we went in through the gate we stopped for a look out over the fields towards Greasby and there posing majestically in the pond was a Grey Heron. Major excitement! I managed to get 20 or so shots before it flew off to the other side of the pond, i’m not convinced that they are totally in focus as i didn’t have time to use my tripod but what a beautiful bird!
The nature reserve is actually reclaimed land, back in the distant past when i was a child it was actually the local refuse tip and over time a dip developed which filled with water. I can remember during one winter taking our dog down and walking out onto the ice that had formed on the pond, looking back we are really lucky the ice didn’t break under us. When the council decided that the refuse tip was ‘full’ they landscaped and a group of local families asked the council if they could turn it into a Nature reserve. After a great deal of time and hard work they dug out the pond, planted trees and rushes, added an island in the middle and soon after the wildlife flocked to it. It’s even stocked with fish.
We had a slow walk around the pond and i managed to take quite a few photos, there was lots of blossom and spring flowers and ducks, geese etc, i can’t wait for the babies to appear, cute little chicks to photograph and be chased away from 🙂 We have a couple of buzzards which i would love to photograph but i don’t know where they roost and they fly way to high for me to successfully photograph. We had a lovely walk and on the way home bumped into a lovely lady called Diane and her horse Aztec, Diane let me take some photos of her with Aztec, i hope she likes them. Hopefully with the nice weather over the coming weeks we will get out more, with or without children, i cant wait to see where our adventures take us next.

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I had the idea for an image that was nagging me, so on Saturday while it was lovely and sunny i dragged Chris out to Willaston to go and photograph the old train station. I ended up with 70 odd images hoping one would be ‘the one’. Today, after i pried my laptop from my daughters pre-teen fingers, i decided to tackle my idea. Then realised i didn’t have any idea how to go about it. I visited my favorite ‘how to’ blog (thanks Russel Ray) but couldn’t find what i wanted there so ventured onto youtube and found it first time! http://youtu.be/AvKXaCXZKWs flyingicestudios. So after a try or three i finally managed to figure it out and after three hours managed to come up with this image.
red phone box on the station platform
This is how it started life.
Willaston train station red phone box
Which one do you favour? I like both but am particularly please with the black and white one and with myself for achieving it!

The New Year is now six weeks old and those weeks have zipped past so quickly, its true what they say about how quickly time goes as you get older and i’m now one off fifty, gulp. Chris and I, well we haven’t done much wandering this year, poor Chris has to have more surgery on his leg, (bad veins) so he has found it more difficult than usual to wander with me.
We have kept our wanderings local as i have had an urge to photograph squirrels. We only have Grey’s locally but they have been fun to photograph. We have to adventure out to Formby to get Red’s which is a bit too far at present.
We went down to Eastham Country Park and had a great time watching the wildlife and birds, it was a lovely day and i found loads of things to photograph. There were lots of different Fungi too and i got up close and personal with an inquisitive squirrel, its just a shame i had a long lens on as i couldn’t focus close enough and it was one of those really great ‘shots that got away’ moments.

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Chester Zoo calling

I love Chester Zoo, its one of my favorite places to go and i try to go each summer. We, as a family, visit the zoo where ever we are on holiday and we have been to quite a few over the past few years. We have enjoyed Longleat, Twycross, Knowsley safari park, south lakes wildlife park, New forest wildlife park to name a few. But you cant help compare them all to Chester zoo. We introduced a friends husband who came all the way from Tenerife, unfortunatley we went on one of the worst days of the summer and he renamed the zoo Chester Loo as we seemed to stop off at every toilet in the zoo 🙂 and hardly saw any of the animals as they were sheltering from the rain. Any way i digress, THIS time we had a gorgeous sunny day, the zoo has had a good breading year and we managed to see the tiger cubs, baby elephants and rhino, we didn’t see the cheetah cubs unfortunately but there were plenty of other animals to see.

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We had a storm a few nights back, well quite a few now and i dragged Chris out to New Brighton because i thought it would be a good idea to photograph the lighthouse during the storm. I wanted to try a night time/twilight photograph with a slow shutter speed to get the smooth action of the waves around the lighthouse. It rained and the wind howled and i found it very difficult keeping the camera, which was on a tripod, still. I only got a few shots in before it became too wild and we retreated back to the car. This is the best of the lot.perch lighthouse in last nights storm
I also had a few mistakes and this is the one i liked the best.
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I can’t sleep.  Not quite an unusual occurrence as it may seem. My daughter brought it on tonight, she is 11 years old and has hit puberty with a wallop, i don’t like her at the moment sad to say, she is nasty, foul mouthed, contrary, if i say it’s black she say’s it’s white, parents every where will understand. She also has problems sleeping, it all stems from her having to sleep in our room until she was 6, our house is on the small side, 3 adults and 3 kids and only 3 bedrooms, until we went up into the loft. The boys are up there and she now has the box room, read ‘cant swing a cat room’ and she has tried! I think she misses the company, tonight she went to bed at 9pm and was still not settled at 11.30 so now i can’t sleep because of worrying about her, it’s school next week, big school, that doesn’t help. I worry she is going to be sleep deprived in senior school like she was all through year 6, it affects her work and now she is going into serious study she needs her whits about her, it’s not time to be messing up, so i worry and i cant sleep. I have fibromyalgia and one of the awful components to it, for me, is not having the greatest sleep patterns, so i have to be careful of stress at bedtime, so tonight i cant sleep. I am stressed because my mum has cancer, my aunt has just passed away, my husband is not well, my kids are, well kids, so i cant sleep. Grrrrrrr it’s 3.40am and i cant sleep! So, i write. ………….. I went for a ‘wander with Chris’ on Tuesday evening, we went down to the beach and had a walk around the marine lake, well a bit of it as i got cold. We went so i could take some photo’s of the sunset, we have great sunset’s here, legendary, and Tuesday’s was golden!

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Funny how a good sunset bring’s out the photographer’s, i want to consider myself a promising and talented photographer, i think i am right in saying it, I’ve sold stuff, been in magazines etc and i have put together quite a good kit and know how to use it 🙂 and when i go out, camera slung around my neck, i laugh like a loon inside as i walk around, past other camera slung people and we are all trying hard not to scope each others kit out, is their’s better than mine, look mine is more sophisticated, wish my lens was that big and you can see them out of the corner of your eye doing the same to you as they walk nonchalantly past you. I’d love to see what their photo’s look like, are they better or worse? Who know’s because no one ever stop’s to chat, they just scuttle on past with a quick glance to make sure their camera is better than your’s. sigh………………… Wednesday Chris and i wandered over to Hilbre Island, i haven’t been there in year’s, it was a killer walk it really hurt but it was worth the pain,

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i am processing the photo’s and i think i have some good one’s, one’s that please me, finger’s crossed. So really i should be able to sleep, now i can guarantee i will loose half the day catching up, vicious is this circle.

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