Pet Portraits by
Sally Jane Photographic Art
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28 May 2007


I saw this image on flickr and it's got to be a classic. How many mornings have you felt just like this? I can certainly identify with the lioness. Paul moans at me because I'm an 7-8 hours a night person when he survives on 5-6 hours. Mind you, there is a difference between living and surviving and I'm not the one that falls asleep when we go out anywhere in the evening. :-)
Paul is most definitely a lark to my owl, something that is becoming more obvious the older we get.

27 May 2007

A very Satifying Day

OK so the weather and my PC might have prevented us from going away this weekend but that doesn't mean it was a complete washout. Yesterday was a very satisfying day. It started with Paul bringing me breakfast in bed. This always leads to something else as for some reason breakfast in bed makes me feel very playful:-) Them Paul fixed my's no wonder I married this guy! After lunch we took Brac for a long walk in the woods. Then we went shopping and bought some beautiful sea bass for dinner that I cooked baked in salt (the salt forms a hard shell that evenly distributes the heat and doesn't penetrate the fish at all) and served with a Mediterranean style potato dish with tomatoes and onions. Really scrummy.
That was followed by strawberries & cream, espresso coffee and an episode of Dr Who (A cult SciFi series over here in the UK) with the three of us all cuddled up on the sofa. Heaven.

26 May 2007

I'm Back!

My lovely husband has fixed it for me. It was the power supply. Apparently it wasn't up to the job that was being asked of it so it's a wonder it didn't pack in before. We were originally planning on flying off somewhere for the long weekend but as the weather was well and truly against us (Dull today but heavy rain and wind for Sunday & Monday for all of England, Channel Islands and NW France) we decided to go to PC World instead to buy a new power supply. It's now installed and to my great relief works fine. Hopefully for several more years.
If that hadn't cured the problem it would have meant a new PC even though mine is less than 3 years old (old in 'techie' terms but still new by my reckoning). The thought of re-installing everything on a new system as well as having to accept Windows Vista was really daunting. So, I was so pleased that when I pressed that button on the front of my machine it sprang into life once more and everything was just as I left it.
Still the experience was not without a positive note. I thought I had just about everything covered in respect of backing up in the event of a PC failure but it's not until it does happen that you find out what you've missed. My photographic printer I use for my pet portraits is only accessible from this PC including all the printer profiles for ensuring the printer prints exact colours. Another even greater oversight is that I had stored all my login, password and registration details for various web sites, e-mail accounts and software on this PC and these had not been backed up. If I had had to buy a replacement PC I would have been stuffed trying to install a lot of the software I have without the registration details. All this will have to be amended so I am better prepared next time.

24 May 2007

Cut Off

Today my PC died. I think the power unit has burnt out. I am using Paul's PC to write this but it's not convenient and I don't have access to my e-mail on this PC. Hense it is going to be difficult for me to keep up-to-date with blogging until I get back up and running. Hopefully fairly soon fingers crossed.

20 May 2007

Another Show, Another Rosette (but only just!)

Brac and I went to our second show of the season. I took Paul with me today which is unusual but he was happy to go and as I have now got a tent that I can set up as a stool for my Pet Portraits I thought this would be ideal. He could man the stool while I worked Brac. Nice idea but Paul's salesman techniques were sadly lacking. He kept telling me of the 'ones that got away' and in each case he failed even to give them so much as a leaflet. I actually came home with the same mount of leaflets I went with and I don't do that even if I'm not there to give them out! He meant well and I would have struggled to get the tent up without him.
As for Brac. Still very excited about going to shows. He saw me packing the car last night so knew it was a show day this morning. Brac sleeps in his kennel outside and each morning when I go out to let him in he is always in his kennel. This morning I was up much earlier than normal and he was ready and waiting for me at the back door.
He was full of enthusiasm throughout the day and when he worked his beginners round he did some lovely heel work. His recall was spot on but his last test was a retrieve and just when I thought I was in with a chance he decided otherwise. He charged at the dumbbell, ran around the ring with it chomping on it as he went and when he did finally present it to me he refused to give it up without a fight. Not exactly what the judge was looking for.
Despite all that the rest of the round had been so good that he still managed, somehow, to get into 5th place out of about 38 dogs so not a complete disaster.

17 May 2007

One Swallow Doesn't Make a Summer...but maybe a handful of Swifts do!

On a grey muggy day like today (and the past week) it's hard to think about summer. As I trudged around the playing field with Brac (I'm only walking him on grass until his foot toughens up a bit more) my thoughts were more about considering how many more circuits I should do before returning for lunch. That was until a familiar but distant sound penetrated my skull. It was the screaming of what sounded like a swift. I looked up and scanned the sky from where the sound came and sure enough two swifts were flying in lazy loops and calling out to each other. They were hard to amke out against the thunderous clouds but as I scanned further I saw more high up, tossing and turning as if celebrating the end of their arduous journey. There were about half a dozen in all, not many but a sure sign that Summer is only around the corner.

15 May 2007

Dog Tired

Dog Tired
Originally uploaded by Kangaroo Shoes.

I've just seen this image on Flickr and thought it too good not to blog. I reckon they are on a metre!

14 May 2007


For any of you interested in digital photography Flickr is a really good site to check out. I discovered it thanks to An Aussie, a Frenchman and a Burmese blog and an from a video lecture posted on Digital Photography School blog. So I took a look, explored the site a bit, read the T's & C's and decided to give it a try. You can use the site for free but there are some constraints but nothing too serious if you are just a casual photographer. To get full, unlimited use of the site there is an annual fee but it's only about £12.50 currently so it's not going to sting that much.
I think it's the kind of site that will appeal to bloggers as you quickly get to know and chat with other photographers with similar interests particularly if you join some of the special interest groups.
I've signed up for a year's membership and have been steadily uploading images and getting feedback on my work. If you click on the thumbnails below you can see some of the stuff I've submitted so far. What I really need to do now is get out there with the camera but it's not stopped raining since I joined!

12 May 2007

Back in the Ring

Brac and I took part in our first obedience competition of the year. Yes, I know, it's May already and we've only just started, but those of you who read my blog regularly will know why. Anyway, Brac had clearly missed competing because he was beside himself when we got there. We were drawn first on for one of the classes (we entered two) so we waited at the side of the ring while the judge and steward walked the course. As soon as Brac saw this he started whining because he wanted to be in the ring with them. when it was his turn he almost dragged me in there. So much for obedience. Despite this I thought he worked a good round although he was a little forward of me and he anticipated on one of the exercises, the recall. He did it beautifully but he didn't wait to be asked. Naturally he was marked down for this and his forward working but the judge said she loved his enthusiasm and wished more dogs were that keen.
For the second class he was a little more settled although I didn't think he worked as well in the heelwork. Even so we came joint 2nd with two other handlers so had a run-off for 2nd 3rd & 4th place. In the end we came 3rd out of about 40 dogs in the class so not a bad result and at least we got to go home with a rosette.
He is now crashed out in the hall probably dreaming about all the friends he met.

11 May 2007


Things could have been worse. I went in with my friend at the doctors. She was told that her condition was as bad as it could get without being terminal. She has the chance of making a full recovery but only if she helps herself. Sometimes I think she is trying to self destruct and the hard part will be keeping her focused and positive. Going to the doctors and having the tests done was the first time she has ever taken any of the advice she has asked me for. I hope this is a turning point. She knew she was ill but was always too scared to find out just how ill. I hope now she will stop burying her head in the sand and concentrate on getting better but it will be a struggle.

Bad day

Today is not going to be a good day. Today I have to take a long term friend of mine to the doctors to get the results of a test. She is very scared and she knows the results are going to be bad. How bad we don't know but even the best case scenario is a long, rocky road. I spent much of the last 24 hours worrying about it but that makes me feel bad because what ever I feel will not compare to what she is going through.
I know you will all be keeping your fingers crossed for her today and maybe even thinking of her in your prayers.

09 May 2007

Sally Jane's Pet Portraits goes Global

This is my first pet portrait commission from Australia. She is an Australian cattle dog from New South Wales. Her owner confirmed today that the portrait arrived in the post in perfect condition so I'm quite relieved. I always worry about the post as it's the one part of the operation that I have no control over other than to keep piling on the bubble wrap!
Her owner is thrilled with her portrait I'm pleased to say and is thinking of getting one done of her husbands dog. I'm thrilled too because this was my first overseas commission. Hopefully one of many more to come.

07 May 2007

Happy Bunnies

On Saturday we flew up to our gliding club at Bidford-Upon-Avon for the bank holiday weekend. Yes, that's right, we flew! Paul has finally got his beloved aeroplane a TB21 back from intensive care with the maintenance engineers at Biggin Hill and it seems (tough wood) to be working properly. This last bit was whispered as I'm sure it's all just an illusion really and it's actually just a defective as ever. It's been about 18 months since it started having problems and the last 6 months it has been on the verge of having the plug pulled on it. Paul was getting more and more despondent as although the engineers could see problem they couldn't find the cause. When we were told it was fixed and we could fly it this weekend we only half believed it as we had been at that point so many time before only for the fault to reappear. This time it looks like they might have actually succeeded as the engine and turbo behaved beautifully on the short flight to and from the gliding club. I now have a happy husband.

I also have a happy dog as finally Brac's paw seems to have calloused over properly. It will be a while before the thick layer of the pad grows back over the new skin so it is still fragile but he is at least now able to go out without having a boot on. Gentle walking on grass only for a while I think until it toughens up a bit but it looks good for his show on Saturday. Assuming he doesn't find another flint to step on! This photo is him asleep on the back seat of the aircraft flying home. He is wearing ear defenders are to protect his hearing.

We didn't exactly do any gliding while we were at Bidford but we did get our glider it out of it's box before realising that those who were already launched were struggling with the failing conditions and having to land. So we gave it a clean and put it away again. Sunday was overcast all day so no thermals to make it worth launching and today was a wash out this morning. After lunch we packed up to fly back home only for the weather to break and give the most stonkinggliding conditions for ages. By now most people had also packed up and gone so there was no one to take advantage of it. As we were getting thrown around by the thermals in our powered aircraft on our return home we didn't see one glider anywhere and the visibility was fantastic. No doubt there were a lot of glider pilots sitting in their cars on their way home cursing that the good weather arrived too late. Still it was a British bank holiday so what else could we expect?
(This is Brac looking cool at the laucn point.)

04 May 2007

Love to Lead Question 17 (Just for fun)

Ok so no prises for this question it's just for the fun of it, but why not?

Question - Is Global Warming a Media Myth?

My answer - Prophecy or Scare Mongering?

It’s always difficult these days trying to pick the fact from the fiction from the news. Sad to say even the BBC news waters down it’s facts so much it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. I’m sure if you asked them or any of the news papers they would tell you it is what their customers (we) want; that facts alone are boring. That may be true, certainly a hyped up story sells better than a cold report of facts alone but when it comes to really important stuff how do we actually know what to believe?

I get really annoyed when the press take it upon themselves to make up facts. A example of this was reported on the BBC1 lunchtime news only a couple of weeks ago. They showed us images of Hawthorn in flower. It was the middle of April and they were claiming this was a sign of global warming because the ‘nick name’ for this plant is the May Tree. This plant would probably been given this nick name over a thousand years ago when the temperatures in this country were certainly cooler than today. As kids my sister and I used to comment on what a silly name this plant had seeing as it nearly always seemed to flower in April! I’m sorry to say this was so long ago that no one had heard of global warming. OK so we do live in the South East where the climate is warmer but this was a really poor example and one that made me wonder how many other examples put up by the media were also rubbish.

The facts that I think we can take for granted are that our annual temperatures do appear to be getting warmer. Winter snow when I was a kid was something we could look forward to, now it is just a brief possibility. The south East of England has always been the driest part of the UK and yes we do seem to be having more ‘droughts’ but I think this is more due to the increase in demand for water here than the lack of rainfall.

One a global count I cannot say so I have to rely on what ‘experts’ tell me. It has been shown that as the Earth wobbles on its axis changes in global temperatures do occur causing ice ages and droughts every few thousand years and may be that is all this is. I think there might be something in that but I don’t think that is the entire story. As a species we do cause an increasingly large amount of pollution and I can’t see how we could expect to get away with that and think the world will just cope.

Unfortunately global warming is such an important subject we can’t afford to take chances. Get it wrong and ignore the warning signs and the damage we create for the future could be catastrophic with no way of putting it right. Act now to combat it and we could help prevent that. If it turns out later that the climate changed for natural reasons well, hey, nothing lost but in the mean time we learned to be less polluting.

Media hype in my opinion is undermining the campaign for us to clean up our act. There is a good work of fiction on this subject by Michael Crichton called ‘State of Fear’. Even though it is in itself total fiction it successfully highlights the need for us to separate fact from fiction in the media.

Thanks guys

Well I didn't win the lap top, infact, despite your support, I came last. Hey ho, I guess I'm just not that good at putting together an argument. Thanks to all of you who voted anyway it was a bit of fun.
The Love to Lead team have decided to continue posting questions for debate even though there are no prises to be won so I shall probably continue to get stuck in. I bet I win it now! This weeks question is about Global Warming. I've not composed my answer yet, might not get around to doing it until next week now as we are off for the bank holiday weekend, but I will answer the question. In the mean time why don't some of you have a go as well. The only stipulation is that you must have a blog site that has been up and running for 6 months to enter. Why? Don't ask me, it's just the rules.
Just click on the title of this blog post to go to the Love to Lead site.

11 Tips for Better Candid Photography

I came across the Digital Photography School's blog today and read this great article about taking candid photographs. If you like photography this article is really worth a read.