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The Story Behind The Picture

February 13, 2019 6:48pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 17 Comments

Creative mixed media post

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

I took a couple of photos this week as I was out and about in the land of hope and glory, and I’d like to tell you a little bit about them.

You see, there’s a lot more to just the photograph that’s sitting there in front of you. Oh yes. Oftentimes a viewer doesn’t realise the stress and trauma a picture taker has to go through but I’m here to tell you all about that. 

Waiting for God

Example 1: Bloke sat outside the church on a bench. 

Man sitting on bench outside church

Sometimes, I just like to have a wander around outside because the architecture and doors are marvellous and I have a peculiar thing for doors, as you well know. 

Anyway, I had my new Osmo Pocket with me as I wanted to test out its 3×3 photographic ability and quality. It’s a very teeny-tiny gadget and the viewing screen is hard to read but there’s an adapter that allows you to plug it into your smartphone thus using the phone as the screen touch window making it easier to see. So that’s what I was doing – wandering around the church grounds like Inspector Gadget. I spied the old man sitting alone on the bench outside the church. A picture of quiet contemplation. The father waiting for the Father. Bereft but blessed.  All that malarkey that makes a quality shot including rather perfect soft lighting caused by lack of sun. 

I love candid street photography – it’s my favourite. However, I hate doing it because it stresses me out. You have to be super stealth-like in the middle of public areas which makes you look a bit dodgy and a lot mental. This is the only way to proceed because the subject might take umbrage at being photographed if they spot you.

If you’re kind enough to ask the subject if they’d mind, you are generally met with a person asking 20 questions followed by the worst kind of unnatural forced pose which isn’t what you were after, or, an outraged psycho that thinks you’re going to sell their soul and market them on dubious sex sites.

I crept slowly toward the old man on the bench, stopping every now and then and pretending to analyse the detail on the gargoyles that I have seen a gazillion times over.  Just as I was about to take the shot he turned around and exclaimed, “A very good morning to you!” 

I nearly took the head off my Osmo gadget at being caught in the act and jerked around a bit as if I’d received a shock from my equipment. After I composed myself, I gazed at the windows above him, angling my phone and Osmo in that general direction as though they were the intended capture. Seven attempts it took me.  Seven.  And right after the shot he boomed, “You must go into the church and have a look inside!” 

In order to protect my cover I couldn’t refuse and swanned through the great doors with fake drama.  Straight away I was accosted by a member of the clergy demanding £5.00 for pictures.  That was my Costa Coffee up the spout.

Treesy Not So Peasy

Example 2: Nature

Tree in field at twilight

There’s nothing better than twilight for great pictures. In the winter months it’s much nicer because the sky takes on a dusky, ethereal mauve that makes any subject matter look like it’s painted onto the sky. I hadn’t gone out with the intention of taking photos and the only device I had on me was my phone. I happened to look out of the window of my house as the light was fading and thought it would be rather pleasant to go for a ramble in the country, through the farmer’s crop fields that are just across the road.  I reckoned I could get through a few pastures before the light faded and I was back on the pavement again.  

Wrong.  

You can’t just get onto the land from across the road because there are high hedges so you have to walk down the road a while and then cross over and go down a country lane until you come to a style. By the time I’d got there the light was fading fast. Not enough for me to turn back but enough to make me a tad wary. But onward I tromped. And I mean tromped. The fields were sodden and churned up by vicious cows. It was much like paddling. In quicksand.

As soon as I spotted the tree standing in all its majestic glory I searched my many pockets for my phone.  I took the photo and felt proud of myself for going on a random evening walk and witnessing nature at its finest. Until I tried to walk away and left my walking shoe behind and nearly slipped a disc, dropped my phone, socked foot, and cheery demeanour in the squalid mud in front of me.  My other shoe, now supporting most of my weight as I tried to pivot on it, sank deeper and deeper into the soggy trench as I tried to locate my lost one. In the dark.  

It’s amazing how quickly the the horizon disappears and the abyss looks back. Now way too far in to turn back, I had to continue half blind with feet three times the size of what they were due to the clay casks that had developed around them.  And then there were the haunting noises from rabid animals in the distance. Or supernatural hybrids. The ones you can’t see but you know can see you.  And smell you from 70 miles away.  I totally got the fear and skidded/plodded as fast I could overland to the next exit and lamplit concrete before I got eaten.

 I’ve had cramp in my thighs from this experience for two days and when I went to crouch down to fetch something from under my table last night, I couldn’t get back up without hauling myself up with almighty force using the kitchen counter as support.

Talk about stupid.  But I’d rather you call me something nicer and since it’s “Get a different name day” today, I’d like to be known as The Queen of Arts.

Poem about names on a piece of paper

What would your new name be?  Tell me in the comments below and make it good or I’ll have to  chop off your head.

Punishment And Pies

February 6, 2019 8:00am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 12 Comments

February winter scene

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

February. I’m trying to survive it but it’s hard. Gloomy, cold, and uninspiring. The only answer is to give up your resolutions and start enjoying yourself again.   

Teddy bear crumpet

I found out that Asda makes crumpets in the shape of teddy bears. And I am 5.  Remarkably, ripping the head off a buttered up bear does wonders for your spirits. Breakfast is exciting again.

I also noticed this little thing in the shop…

Coconut pet

Perhaps there’s a theme going on here. I nearly bought it and put it in a cage.  I thought it would be amusing to show off my new pet to visitors, unnerve them, and make them leave early.  

It’s amazing the fun ideas you can come up with when you pay attention to things.

Talking of Boredom…

Ground hog day in the UK

It was recently Groundhog Day, although in the UK it’s been that way every day since we decided to Brexit. Every time I put the news on I envy Bill Murray. He had it easy.

 Apparently, Punxsutawney Phil, the sage and wisdomous groundhog, came out and predicted an early spring. 

He’s wrong.

Amateur.

Uromastyx lizard

Kevin has been in brumation for flipping ages, most annoyingly. However, on Groundhog Day he came out of his cave, had a quick look round, gave me a filthy look, and then went back to bed again.  

Move over Phil, my money is on Kevzilla the Klimate Kaller. 

Kevin clearly predicts winter for a further 6 weeks. 

Talking of Staying Warm…

When it’s cold outside, stay inside and watch something hot.  

Frank Castle “The Punisher” works for me.  Marvel’s finest hero. End of.

I’m now on the hunt for a bulletproof vest with a skull on which I think would be a fitting accompaniment to my bewwwts, lizard and pet coconut.  You gotta keep ahead of the curve. 

Talking of Top Crust…

Pieminister menu

I went out on Sunday to a restaurant that I have been meaning to visit for ages. 

The Pieminister.   And this one knows how to make a deal. 

Pieminister Sunday Best

What better than to warm up by tucking into a Great British Pie? And, fortuitously, on a Sunday, they make a Sunday best: pie, mash, mushy peas, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, pigs in blankets, crackling and gravy.

A Great British Pie

  Blighty fodder at its finest.

Eating is very on trend at the moment because the great powerhouse that is China has said so.

Pigs nose quote

Chinese New Year ~ Year of the pig. That means you can eat as much bacon as you want. 

There’s always a bright side. 

The January Sale

January 23, 2019 5:28pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 8 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

In the form of a poem about the January sales.

 

The January Sale

Black Friday and Christmas didn’t cause enough strife,

To put you off malls and shopping for life,

It seems that spending’s become a bad habit,

And commercials encourage with, ”Last Chance To Grab It!”

You valiantly decide to get out in the thicket,

Declaring, “There’s just no rest for the wicked!”

Your family regard you, somewhat perplexed,

As you defiantly counter, “There’s a SALE on at Next!”

You hold your resolve and venture to town,

Wrapped up in your coat and wearing a frown,

And a purposeful look leaving others no doubt,

You’re ready to battle and give it some clout!

You jostle and elbow, working up muscle,

Through over-fed crowds that are still farting brussels,

Who seem to have lost any sense of good manners,

Now hypnotised by the red SALE banners.

You undo your scarf as you make a mad dash,

Cos it’s causing a terrible prickly-heat rash,

Itching and sweaty and dreadfully frail,

You finally reach the reduced clothing rails.

It’s last years old stock, much to your chagrin,

But you made a commitment to land a good bargain,

You grab out at anything close to your size,

In the hope you might land a fruitful surprise.

You wait in the queue for a year and a day,

And before you drop dead you’re back on your way,

To show the naysayers your fabulous gear, 

And how much money you’ve saved this New Year.

But as you start to undo all the wrapping,

You realise that someone should give you a slapping,

There’s clearly no doubt you are out of your mind,

If you thought all this tat was a genius find.

The leopard print dress with the top-to-toe zipper,

Would only look right on an overweight stripper,

And the jumpsuit you snagged in neon cerise,

Should have people calling the fashion police.

The granny-fied corset they said defies gravity,

Is nothing short of a visual travesty,

And doomed to make any new romance go south,

Cos it just made you throw up a bit in your mouth.

The jumper, though cashmere, a heinous mistake,

Tried on by so many it has lost all its shape,

And spoiled by a mark much like dried up saliva,

Which explains why the thing was only a fiver.

Your audience mock and pass comments quite snide,

And profess what a nice time they’ve had stuck inside,

To go to the sales is absurd and insane,

And you’ve only your easily-led self to blame.

You snatch at the hideous things you have bought,

Trying to think of a smart-arse retort,

And then comes a moment of God-given clarity,

“At least I’ve got something to donate to charity!”

 

~Jules Smith ~ January 2019

Hair, There, And Somewhere

January 17, 2019 9:12pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 14 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday On A Thursday!

Because…

Yesterday I was in the hair salon for five hours.

FIVE. HOURS.

I could be halfway to America in that time.  

I know I’ve got a fair amount of hair but that’s just ridiculous. 

There was a point where I seemed to be laying at the basin for hours. I don’t remember how many times they washed my hair but it seemed somewhat excessive and they had to put the massage chair on 4 times because it ran through its cycle.  Now, this might sound nice but not when laying down with all the pressure on your neck. It cuts off the blood supply.  There were times when I nearly passed out. I don’t know, maybe I did and that’s why it took so bloody long. 

“Have you booked a summer holiday?”  This is hairdresser speak for I’ve got sod all else to chat about.

“No. But maybe I should because by the time I get out of here I’ll have missed the boat.!”

“I know. You’ve been here for ages!”

“You noticed! Those 5 inches of my tresses that have been cut off might have grown back by the time we’re done here and it’ll all have to be done again!”

“Ha ha ha!”

By the time I stood up I nearly had a seizure.

“I’ve forgotten how to walk.”

“It’s OK, I’m just going to take you over to this chair here…”

Please. NO. JUST. LET. ME. GO. 

“I’ve just got to put this treatment on. It’s in two stages.”

Kill me.

“Can I please sit up.”

“No. It might sting your eyes.”

“So this fandabidozi treatment you’re putting on will make my hair like a curtain of golden glory but can also make me blind?”

“It’s very potent.  It stays in your hair for up to 13 shampoos.”

“Good.  Because I won’t be washing it again until June.  Wait…It IS June…”

Extra- Tressestrial

I began to wonder if I was in a different part of space-time and had been captured by aliens. Maybe I thought I was at a hair salon, but in fact, had been taken away in one of the Chariots of the Gods.  They say that when you think of something it happens, and lately I’ve spent far too much time listening to Erich Von Dëniken and waiting for aliens to return in a swanky spaceship to take me to Planet Party.  

But this is no party.

And time does not speed here. 

AT. ALL

Game of Thrones

Sat on one long enough so I should be the ruler of something.

Maybe I’m still caught in that programme I took part in on Netflix.

Bandersnatch. Where you choose your own adventure.

  See, some bright spark thought I’d like this so off I went to see.  It’s a short film where you can pick what happens next.  This is so utterly stressful because I need to know what happens in every possible scenario. Ergo, the short film lasts for hours and hours if you’re me.  Especially if, like me,  you try and trick it by picking the same answers in case something different happens. 

Perhaps I missed this part where the kid ends up in an alien salon fighting for his life to get out of the chair and out of the door to freedom.

Shave head – OR – stay in the salon

Shave it!  PLEASE!  I don’t care anymore. 

And then…

“I’ve just got to leave that on for ten minutes…” Which is hairdresser speak for we’re not ready for you yet because you missed your blow-dry time slot.  It was 3 hours ago.  Now you have to wait until the other client is done. 

“You know that sitting down kills you?”  I said.

Purgatory?

Am I dead? Is this Hell’s Hairdressers?  

It’s funny because just the other day someone told me it takes 20-30 seconds for your brain to cut off after you’ve died. So, that means you can still hear people for that long once you’ve been pronounced a gonner. 

What a horrible thing to tell me. Which, I made quite clear to the teller. 

Imagine that, though. There you are, dead, and all you can hear is crying (if you’re lucky) and wailing or, other things:

“Never liked her anyway…”

“Never mind, she’s gone now.  Shall we have a pizza?”

I was very upset about this information. I have since informed many people that if they are at my side when I slip off the dish they must converse with me in a normal manner for at least 40 seconds so I ease out gently and don’t panic. 

Otherwise, I’m coming back in my spaceship with guns.

All that said, I managed to escape the salon before midnight with very lovely hair despite terrible whiplash caused by basin brutality.  

Kakorrhaphiophobia

January 9, 2019 1:15pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 19 Comments

An American Street Sign

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

I’m in that New Year’s grip of fear of failure.  I’ve only just ventured up the mountain but the summit is a long way off.  It would be easier to turn around and sack it off but I’ve been good for a whole 8 days. Laughable to some, miraculous for me. I’m a creature of habit; bad ones. They’re way more fun. The meagre baby steps I’ve taken up the steep and waring peak of perfection are a great measure of success to me and fuelling the Jules Drive onward. 

Talking of Steps…

steps made from wine bottlesles

These wine steps are my favourite and once I’ve mastered my SAS life challenge, I might install some in my abode.  I met them at a wine tasting experience bought for me before Christmas when days were fun and I became a wine snob. However, I found out yesterday morning that I’m a long way off sommelier status.

I arrived promptly at the coffee house at 8 am. Getting out and into the big wide world on a crisp and chilly morning does wonders for the spirit. And way nicer when it’s not a gym day and you can sit pleasantly amongst the early risers without having to cycle around a digital version of Lake Tahoe trying desperately to keep your cucumber water down.  

The warm, inviting aroma of extortionately priced coffee wafted through the air and the grinding from the coffee machines gave a sense that all was well; ready to fuel an industrious people before they set about their painstaking paper-pushing. I ordered a non-pretentious latte because healthy people are stupid and drink chai keep it simple and I sat down and noticed a spare newspaper available.  What better than to exercise my brain with an early morning crossword before getting to the task of writing. I managed to complete the puzzle bar one four letter word for wine sediment where I couldn’t make dregs fit.  Annoyingly, I had to look this up and found that it is known as “lees”.

Obviously, I never knew this because my wine snobbery is in its infancy and I don’t drink straight from the aged oak barrel. 

On the drive back I tuned into BBC Radio 4 where they were discussing tomatoes.  Apparently, one should not keep these juicy little reds in the fridge as I do because it stops the enzyme that gives them their delicious, off-the-vine taste.

I looked at the time on my car dash and realised that in the space of 49 minutes I’d learnt two highly important things and I still had another 14 hours to go before it was bedtime and I could sleep off the monotony. 

Happiness and joy de vivre. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

Filled with all this astounding knowledge it might have been the perfect night to attend a pub quiz but I don’t think my resolve is yet strong enough to avoid in-your-face temptation. I’m easily led astray.  They say it takes 21 days to get into new habits even though I feel as though I’ve already done a lifetime of poverty and obedience. 

But Let’s Face Facts…

There are many other ways to spend time whilst waiting for your next bowl of homemade, life-giving, Jewish chicken soup. 

Face masks. They come in many varieties: scrub, peel, boiling hot and mud. They are also highly effective at stopping you from opening your mouth to put something in it because you have to keep still. Also, opening the door to people like this scares the crap out of them, leaving me in peace, of an evening, to binge on Netflix, read my books and find interesting things to do with fruit.

Arse Into Gear And Hands Full

January 2, 2019 6:41pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 14 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

Happy New Year to all my fabulous readers!  

National Park And Pride

In the true spirit of change and resolution, I took myself off to the gym this morning and figured it must have been a while since I went because everything had changed: new-fangled machinery, high tech TV’s, everything in a different place, and so on. I halted on the spot like a deer in the headlights looking like one of those new people who roll up with their posh water bottle, shiny lycra clothes, and blinding-white trainers, even though I’ve been a member of this gym for years. 

I finally figured out where the cross trainer was and hopped onto it pretending to figure out the playlist on my phone whilst surreptitiously looking at the new equipment and wondering how the sodding hell it worked. 

“Touchscreen”, it said.  Easy. Like an iPhone. I got this.  

However, it wasn’t like an iPhone AT. All. And it kept asking me to enter my “Wellbeing” status for motivational help and tracking. I kept pressing buttons in the vain hope it would do something and I ended up cross-training my way around Yosemite Park. Yes. Indeed.  

The arty-farty new equipment allows you to be visually stimulated as though you’re running through a beautiful area and there are many to choose from. Since I’ve always fancied a gander at this National Park I went for free this morning for 30 minutes which saved me £800 in flights. Tomorrow I’m going to India. 

And then, shame upon shame. “Follow TV guidance” kept popping up on the screen. I looked around to see what was going on and when I realised, the whole of the packed to the rafters gym watched my heart rate spike to heart attack level. There, on the big TV on the wall, in front of all the psycho cardiopaths, were my details:  speed – heart rate- challenges, goals and DESPERATE FAILINGS.  I’m surprised it didn’t have warning lights and buzzers because it may as well have done, “This is what happens when you stay away from the gym and eat shit and drink gin.” Needless to say, I just lost 700 calories via humiliation and embarrassment. 

A Bird On The Hand Is Worth A Few Gone To Mush

I received lots of lovely gifts for Christmas but there are two that made the whole event much more fun. 

The family tradition is to sit around and open up presents one-by-one and “Ooh” and “Aghhh” at each other’s prizes.  In my pile lay a present from my mother and on the label it said, “This is to be opened last.” 

The time came. Everybody had finished and all that was left was for me to unwrap the mystery gift. 

 “Everybody pay attention and wait until you see this,” my mother said.

“Is it going to blow up?”  I asked.

“No. Not yet.”

“Do I have to be careful?” I queried, as I tore into the box. 

“No.”

Somebody else muttered something sarcastic to me, I don’t remember what exactly as I’m used to smart arses in my family.

“You’re going to regret saying that!” my mother warned.

And then, before I’d even seen what my gift was another family member uttered (in a low and fearful voice ) “OH. MY. GOD.  If this is what I think it is then we’ve gotta ….RUN!!!!”

People upped and sped out of the living room like their lives depended on it, screaming advice to each other as they scarpered.

“QUICK! GET OUTSIDE BEFORE SHE COMES!”

“I CAN”T FIND MY SHOES!  SAVE YOURSELF!”

You don’t expect to hear these fear-fuelled words leave people’s mouths as you open up your presents on Christmas Day.  Unless, of course,  you belong to my tribe and have been tormented by me for years. 

As soon as I unwrapped the present I shrieked with delight and ran out of the room after my traumatised victims. One was behind a chair crying and begging me not to hurt them and the other had locked themselves outside in the cold and taken the key with them so I couldn’t get out. 

Meet Bobble.

Now to everyone else, this is just a harmless hand puppet.  To those who know me well, this is a terrible monster that had now, in their eyes, just come to life.

  “Bobble” is a bird-type character that I invented with just my hand as the tool to bring laughter and fear into many peoples lives for a long time.  And then he appeared in full body via a Christmas gift ready to scare the crap out of everyone. And Oh, how well that went!

I can’t tell you of my excitement. The power of the puppet master reigns. 

Talking Of Hand Held Happiness…

My other gift is a gadget I spied on an American TV advert recently and wanted immediately. They have only just come out and I am the first person in my city to have one. Even the staff at Jessops camera shop didn’t have their stock item yet and so I let them play with mine. This made me the queen of nerd heaven.  

The Osmo Pocket. 

I LOVE IT.

And now, with both hands occupied all I can do is run my mouth. Again. So, I’ll leave you with this piece of wisdom:  2019 is the year of the pig. I don’t know what that means exactly but I think it means you can eat as much bacon as you want.

This year is looking good already. 

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