It’s been a while since I tagged a post ‘travel’. Two years, in fact. After a far longer gap between trips than I could ever have imagined and the longest since I took my first parent-free holiday after my A levels, this weekend I’ve finally got on a plane again.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about it to be honest. Very early in all of this I made peace with the fact that I probably wouldn’t get overseas again before 2022. But this weekend ended up being the latest our hotel would let us extend a booking that had been made way back in January 2020.
I’m in Gibraltar. The trip isn’t quite what we originally planned. We had been set to travel by train from London through France and Spain and also had a day trip to Morocco planned. None of that is possible (or at least not without a lot of paperwork!) at the moment so EasyJet in and out it was.
From my balcony I enjoy the golden hour and look out over the Strait of Gibraltar to the coastlines of Spain and Morocco. Europe and Africa – two places that have my heart.
At the end of my summer holidays I had a flurry of activity photographing friends who had turned 40 during the last year who for obvious reasons I had not been able to photograph at the time. One of those was LoveLustLondon who turned 40 last October.
One again I headed off to Epping Forest, which is fast becoming one of my favourite places for a photography adventure. As we wandered we found this perfect spot of dappled sunlight.
“Is it any wonder? Is there any hope? 100 miles per hour Yet the race just still runs slow The race just still feels slow.”
I had a bit of stage fright on this prompt. I have done so many music posts it has its own tag on my site. I even did a whole week of lyrics-inspired photos for February Photofest this year. It’s funny how it’s often the prompt that seem to be made for you that trip you up.
Anyway, this photo wasn’t actually shot for the blog, it was shot for a friend’s birthday. Tailor-made birthday nudes are a thing if you’re close to me. But then I wondered whether I could use it this weekend and googled ‘100mph songs’ and bingo! There are actually two songs called 100mph, one by Stereophonics and one by Prince. I’m not against Prince appearing on my blog but the Welsh boys’ lyrics were more appropriate to the story.
This is the grave of a racing driver called Percy Lambert. He was the first driver to race 100 miles in an hour. He set the record in February 1913 but it was taken from him in the April. On 31st October 1913 he tried to regain his record but a tyre burst and he was killed. His grave reads “A modest friend, a fine gentleman and a thorough sportsman.” A broken column on a gravestone indicates a life cut short. He was 32 and due to be married two weeks later.
I originally had plans to photograph my friend here but this is right on the main path of the very well kept Brompton Cemetery, right next to the chapel and not an easy spot for a man to drop his trousers so I had to rethink and got him a birthday shot with the help of a quick cheeky lift of a summer dress.
Way back on the 1st October 2020 I tweeted that I wanted Ouse Valley Viaduct to be the location of Kateroo’s 40th birthday shoot. Clearly the small matter of a pandemic got in the way of that happening in time for her actual birthday in December 2020 but this week we finally caught up with it. What an incredible day we had. Seven of us decamped to the Sussex countryside for a few hours of photography, picnicking and dodging of frisky cows in a field.
We knew if the sun was on our side the fiery tones of Ruth’s hair and the viaduct’s bricks would be a match made in heaven. This turned out exactly how I wanted it to, but there are many more to show from this day, including more of Ruth, some group shots, some of The Other Livvy and Exhibit A and some of me. So expect to see a lot of these arches over the coming months!
I’ve written before about now much I like the downtime in long lazy afternoons of fucking. This photo was taken during one of those moments. Not this week; this week there was some filthy filming which will remain private and a very silly photo that may one day be used here for no reason other than it fully showcases my fat belly and I like it anyway. Progress.
This photo was actually taken back in June but I look at it often. I like the comfortable intimacy of it and it reminds me of how calm and content I feel in those moments. Calmness very much feels like the defining hallmark of this friendship. Well, that and the fantastic not-at-all-calm sex!
This hasn’t been the easiest of periods to live through, even for those of us lucky enough to not find the lockdowns traumatic. Aside from just coping with the pandemic and keeping a business alive through it, there’s been stuff in my personal life that I’ve needed to work through and make peace with. My monthly hangouts with this man are such a source of joy and happiness. Occasionally the ghosts of past relationships will rise up and fire a dose of insecurity into our conversations but again, that word calm springs to mind. No yawning silences or recriminations, just quiet reassurance or kind deflection of whatever is unsettling me.
Nurturing casual commitment-free partnerships isn’t always an easy thing to do well. When neither of you have any interest in the relationship escalator but you also know you like hanging out and making plans it can feel like a fine line to tread. At least it does to me, sometimes. But I think he and I are doing very well at it. Healthy communication and a good balance of time just the two of us mixed up with planning for future filthy fun adventures. It’s a part of my life and a dynamic that I value so much and, as I’ve mentioned, makes me feel so very calm.
This weekend I’m delighted to host a shot of the delicious @19syllables, taking by Mr Syllables!
I’ve been taking some time away from Twitter; reading some other things, doing some other things, talking with other people, but some habits die hard, and a penchant for nudity always comes with you wherever you go.
Earlier this week I walked the Seven Sisters from Seaford to Eastbourne. It’s a beautiful walk. Shortly before I made my last descent into Eastbourne I snapped a quick image in the cliff top wild grass.
This is not really a sexy or sinful photo! But my blog is also a bit of diary of my antics and adventures with friends and so this shot is getting a placemarker.
I’ve got into outdoor swimming over this last year (yeah yeah, me and 4 million other middle aged women!) and I slip into rivers and lakes whenever I can. So far I’ve remained accident-free, but my luck ran out last Sunday when my coccyx hit a rock on the way into a river in Wales.
The progress of the bruise has been deeply fascinating, from a neat little circle of purple last weekend to the mass of colour it is now. I’ll be back with another amazing tree shot next weekend but for now I’m posting my posterior for posterity!
“The forest cradles my shadow as hers; and gives my soul company without saying a word.” Angie Weiland-Crosby
I think that quote may just perfectly sum up what the woods have meant to me over the last 16 months. I haven’t had as much time to lose myself in them since life started getting busy again. But in the midst of a ridiculous time at work it was glorious to escape to the forest for an afternoon of wandering with good company and my camera. I returned revived and calmed.