Everyday Life: Donuts, Chickens & Cars

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I’m writing this from my sofa, propped up on cushions. Don’t I often seem to start like this? Maybe it’s the only time I get to sit down and share.

Yesterday I made a quick dash to the doctors to show him my double-sized left ankle, as I felt the sickness and shakes of cellulitis kicking in. I’d like to think I’m pretty hardcore, but I wanted antibiotics and quick-smart.

“If you don’t take your tablets and rest it well, you could end up in hospital,” he said with a warning tone. I know, I know. (Years ago I spent several nights in hospital because of cellulitis. They said I could have lost my leg, and they tried to feed me a curried egg sandwich. I don’t know which was more shocking). I was willing to be a good patient and follow his instructions.

“Just remember,” he said, as I stood to leave the room, “you’ll not be able to go out in the sun, and you’ll have diarrhoea!”

Welcome to my bank holiday weekend!

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Let’s think about the good times, hey?! Earlier in the month I filled my birthday present flask with ginger cordial, and headed off to the Norfolk coast.

There’s not much better than the sound of the sea. The sun shone and it was wonderful, I searched for beach treasure and meandered. My birthday party snacks got a bit warm – the teacake was a melted mess, but my drink, in it’s special shiny Hydroflask, stayed perfectly chilled. (I guess that’s why they give it a 100 year guarantee!)

I really wanted to show you this lovely black recycled sari silk necklace that Harjit gave me for my birthday, I wore it with glee, but I just couldn’t do it justice in a self portrait. (If you want to, you can look at her whole collection here: Jewelled Buddha).

A week or so later I had another lovely seaside day out, this time with Aoife. I ate that doughnut with whippy ice-cream (top) at Hunstanton, had a sausage roll and saw the most magnificent memorial at Houghton Hall,  and watched Aoife swim in the sea at Wells… whilst I held her stuff and didn’t let her pants blow away. I’m a good friend.

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I’ve mentioned it before, and I will mention it again (and again), because I’ve been really pleased to have the chance to play around with the new CAT S60 phone. It’s super strong, the battery lasts for ages, and it’s waterproof to five metres. It’s also got a built in thermal imaging camera, which I’m a little bit obsessed with. It’s been labelled the ‘ultimate construction phone’ and used by extreme sportspeople. It’s supposed to be a ‘rugged’ phone for those working in more hazardous situations. I was most definitely the first person to use it for a nighttime chicken hunt.

It’s like a cross between Predator vision and a Global Hypercolor sensation, and I’ll never get bored of that!

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We launched the Shutter Hub BRIGHT exhibition at St James’s Institute of Oncology in Leeds. I had this idea that the exhibition could bring colour and light to what might not be such a bright day for it’s viewers, and was hopeful that it could have some kind of impact, however small. It’s already surpassed my expectations, and I couldn’t be more pleased. You can read some of the special stories that have come to light, here – please do. If you are in Leeds and can pop by for a look, it’s really worth it, there’s some fantastic work on show, and 25% from all sales will be donated to the Yorkshire Cancer Centre Appeal.

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You know that Adam accidentally put the Elise in the wall at Hethel earlier this month? (He’s since become a fibreglassing expert).
Well, luckily that didn’t stop Jaguar lending us a new XE R-Sport to have a play with.

I really liked the R-Sport styling. It wasn’t as fast as I had hoped, but it was very refined. The car handled incredibly well, and coped with the bumpy fen roads beautifully – which was a huge relief for me as I spend most of my time being thrown off the drivers seat in a lowered  old Golf GTI Turbo… got to mention the turbo! Good job I didn’t take the XE to get fuel though – what felt like a petrol engine was actually the 2.0 180bhp turbocharged diesel!

I’d normally go for a much more subtle interior but I did really like the contrasting black and oyster, especially with the perforated leather. I would have liked to accessorise the passenger seat with a punnet of strawberries, or a perhaps a chicken, though.

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Sandra was very ill. She has since become very well, so don’t worry, but she was in a very bad way. One morning Adam went to let the hens out, they came bustling through the door with their usual gusto, but Sandra took one step and just fell to the floor. She couldn’t get up, she couldn’t do anything. Adam brought her into the house, and I hoped that a couple of hours in a blanket might perk her up. It didn’t. Her body was all twisted, her head tilted as if she was trying to turn it upside down. I thought she was bound to die. I kept her with me most of the day, and made her a cosy nest in the back hall that night.

The next morning she still seemed disoriented, she couldn’t stand or eat, so I bundled her into the car (the Golf, I hasten to add!) and off to the vets. She was a very good passenger. A man in the waiting room made a ‘joke’ that his dog would eat my chicken if it saw her. If Sandra was on good form she would have kicked that dogs arse.

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Any way, I suppose I felt better for visiting the vet, but Sandra seemed indifferent. We think she’d had a stroke, or some kind of nervous issue. She took bed and breakfast in our house, and every day she improved a little bit. She drank loads of water, ate a diet of bananas and meal worms, and managed to take a few steps. 

One day I was working at my desk and got the feeling that someone was watching me – it was Sandra – stood, peering round the doorframe, just looking, for ages! For a couple of days she seemed weirdly intrigued by me, she just wanted to look at me, with her wonky sideways head. I think she knew I’d helped her, but it was a bit freaky!

After seven nights in the house, she was well enough to go outside into a small run on her own, and now, now she’s back out with the gang. The hierarchy has changed, Sasha thought she was in charge whilst Sandra was away, she got annoyed and formed a breakaway gang – just her and Margaret. The other four hang out together – yes, Patty Slipper now has a gang of friends! She also doesn’t smell so bad anymore (but she is still sleeping in our house every night!)

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I’m thinking Australia must have a different fathers day to us? I got asked by an Australian magazine to contribute to finishing their sentence, in honour of dads, and I did, but I’m really not sure it was what they were after.

The best thing my dad taught me was… if you pick up a bad passenger you can always drive them into a lamp post.

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I’d never visited Ickworth House before, but I met up with photographer Jayne Lloyd there, wandered the gardens (they have a Stumpery – sounds better than it is, but still, Stumpery!) and had lunch at the Ickworth Hotel. There was this amazing plant growing in the conservatory, and I am now on a mission to hunt one down for myself.

Someone (it was Sandra) laid a giant whopper of an egg on the lawn. I’ve not dared crack it yet, but I am hoping for a triple yolker. The one on the right is a normal large egg.

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I’ve been working hard, and enjoying it. Getting all my ducks in a row, so to speak, and getting ready for a busy couple of months coming up.

You know how nothing happens all year, but then you get asked to all the things at the same time?

Renaissance Photography Awards champagne reception, leaving drinks for Jack from Metro, a trip to Birmingham with my friend Ryazan from Two Monkeys Travel, reviewing portfolios for photographers in London, the launch of a new ethical food store, Cambridge School of Art’s MA private view, the Good Funeral Awards, and a fun instagram walk in Cambridge with Claireabelle Makes… I think that’s all!

But I’ve got other plans. I’m off to see the wizard (wizard/surgeon, whatever) for a minor operation (it’s okay, I’m actually looking forward to it!) to remove a couple of lumps from my head. One of them might be my brain, or a pea, the other one is definitely the remains of my unicorn horn.

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