An incompetent photographer

At the wedding there was a photographer. He did his thing and the next day sent a link to an online album. My daughter and new husband could order prints of those they liked.
She sent me the link and the password. I took a look wondering if there was a way of removing the watermark. There was not. Then I looked again at the password.
I went up a directory to the photographer’s main album which is visible to anyone. All the albums he had were there – weddings, xmas family photos and more.

The password for each and every one of them was the surname of the featured people. The password was there in plain sight and if other customers had a clue they could look at what are meant to be photos that are privately shared.

I’ve msg’d my daughter and told her. I said she should demand the photographer change the password. If he does not then I’ll name him.

On gaming

When I left Automattic one of the things I wrote in my farewell post was

I have a huge gaming backlog (Fallout New Vegas beckons)

That backlog has grown (got to buy a good game deal, right?) but it has not gone down. It has been bugging me as to why an activity (video games) that I have played since I was a teen at school (truant yay!) just has not figured in my life since April when I got all the time I needed to play.

After some time I figured that is was escapism.

Flip back some years …. I am caring for Jacqui. I have an increasingly stressful job at Automattic yet I still found time to play so many games – Burnout Paradise, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Far Cry 4 and others took thousands of hours of my time.
Playing those – and many many more – games gave my mind a rest, a diversion, an escape. I very much believe in games providing the escape you need from life and that made sense.

Look at now. I have no caring role since Jacqui died. I left Automattic in April this year, so maybe my need for escapism has gone so that’s why I don’t play games.

That made sense to me. Almost.

I got to thinking about all the years – decades – I have played games. I would bunk off school to go into the city and plug 10 pence into video game cabinets. I got the Megadrive (Genesis), SNES, PS, Saturn, Dreamcast and way more yet in those days I did not have the job at Automattic and Jacqui was well.
Looking at it that way, the use of games as escapism makes no sense. I had nothing to escape from.

Over the last few days I have made an effort – and it was an effort – to play some games. I even renewed my PS+ subscription to play online.

And earlier it hit me.

I played games because I enjoyed them. There is not now any enjoyment. It is not fun, it is not satisfying, it’s just something to do to pass the time. In some ways once I open a game it becomes a chore.

When I realised this I thought about other activities – walking the dogs, TV, films, reading. There is no enjoyment in any of them.
There may be a fleeting like in a short video, a meme.
But overall my enjoyment level has flatlined.

“It’s dead Jim.”


Yesterday my youngest daughter got married.

First plans involved 100+ guests, reception.
Then Covid Tier 2 caused it to be cancelled.

Second plan involved 15 at the wedding followed by a socially distant meal afterwards.
Last week their area dropped into Tier 3.

The ceremony went ahead, and then we all went home. Not ideal, but the two of them really enjoyed the ceremony and the photos after and they are just relieved that at last they could become a couple.

I got the full ceremony on video, took a shedload of pics and the happy couple now have all those.

No pics of the bride and groom will be here.

IMG 1010

Two years ago

14 December 2018

Lauren – one of Jacqui’s carers – came into the house just as I was getting up. She shouted for me

What happened after is branded into my mind
I have dreamt those minutes, the day, again and again and again

I don’t want to remember tomorrow

I want to remember today in 2018

I want to remember the last thing she said
I want to remember the last time she smiled, that she heard me, felt me touch her, look in her eyes, know that I loved her.

I remember much of that day and the repercussions of one visit affected me not only immediately after but continue to this day

I wrote somewhere that Jacqui had said goodbye to both daughters on their last visit, had said goodbye to the other visitors, had said goodbye to her carers.

But she didn’t say goodbye to me

27 September 1986

Today is our 34th Wedding Anniversary

Jacqui and I met in 1983.
We got engaged in 1984 (she asked me on Valentine’s Day)

There’s a line in ‘Three Man & a Baby’ or ‘Three Men & a Little Lady’ (both of which J loved) which is “Fish or cut bait”. Basically “do it or stop it”. In 1986 that was where we were and I said it.
Get wed or stop pretending.

We booked the church for the first available date. It was about five weeks away.

27 September 1986

Some people said J was pregnant – nope
Some gave our relationship six months – we had a longer relationship than all who said that did in their own lives.

The wedding cost around £1000 which we paid for ourselves (about 2.5 months joint wages).
That covered buying J’s dress, the cake, hiring my suit, the reception, fees for whatever.
The car from church to reception was a favour from a friend of J’s mum.
The photographer was a friend of mine who I gave the camera to on the day (he was not expecting it).
There was no – and never was later – a honeymoon.
On the Friday we were living together in the flat and by Sunday night we were married living in the same situation.


34 years ago

And here I am but Jacqui is not.
This is our second wedding anniversary since she died.
We never made a big deal of the date, but we always said “Love you”
We even said it without words.
We meant that every year.
We said that every day to each other, especially in the last few years.
I wish she was around so I could say it again to her.

I can’t yet watch the videos of her and the girls when they were little – because I was filming. And until I do I’ll not remember her voice.

I was with Jacqui from when I was 18 to 54. My adult life. She helped me more than I can describe, and more than I want to reveal, to get through this world. Losing her isn’t just losing her, it is so much more than that but all wrapped up in it being her.

I was going to link many music videos that meant much to me, to J, to me about her and from her about me. Too revealing even if you will not realise.

When Jacqui died, part of me did too.

The tagline on this blog:
“I’d tell you but I don’t trust you.”
What it should read is
“I’d tell you but you don’t love me.”

Jacqui loved me.

I loved her.

Project Garden continues

Weather was good today, forecast is for crap weather for three days so along with eldest we went to a garden center.

Lots of money, some varied plant posts and varied plants.
Probably going to buy another bunch of pots & plants for the right side. But for now, the new arrivals remain in their original plastic pots and at the weekend I’ll repot them to the proper pots.
Apart from the pansies – which will live in hanging baskets – they are perennials, pollinator friendly and I picked them because I like them.

2015 ….
“Hey Mark, in 5 years time you’ll be wandering around a garden centre and enjoying it”


Task complete

The area behind the rear garage door is now pretty much complete.

The weed membrane is working really well and the bindweed looks to be dead.
The gap between the walls is – while not pretty because membrane can be seen – is covered in pea gravel.
The mess that covered the block paving is clear.

The rear garage door does not really need to open, so that area could be used, but I’ve no idea what for.
Eldest suggested a brick BBQ, but why build something that would be used a handful of days only? Same for her other suggestion of an outside pizza over (my g3ferrari works perfectly and predictably).

If anything I’m leaning toward building a walk-in cage for some ferrets.

Or maybe nothing.

More garden

The nettles and bindweed have been chopped back, weedkilled again and covered.

The area is covered with a trampoline bouncy thing fabric + weed membrane + wood so the wind fails to remove it.
ETA to take that off? April 2021 maybe

Next in the garden are three steps in this one pic.

On the left I need to fill the gap between the walls with stone / gravel.
In the middle I need to weed, clean and tidy
On the right I need to repaint the garage brickwork (it’s breeze blocks), then clean, strip, sand and paint the back garage door.

The first two items are when I have the motivation. The garage stuff I need both good weather and the motivation. (It’s like planets aligning….)

As to why the garage has a full back door that leads onto a garden? Apparently a previous owner of the house owned a boat. So the garage is bigger than a single, not as wide as a double and longer than most. Weird.
Oh, and it’ll be green. The paint for the door that is.

The front door of the garage also needs repainting. I did it several years ago but it’s flaked. I have 3 choices:
– the same boring white
– sunflower yellow (which Jacqui would have liked)
– or both

Time will tell 🙂

Nature at the end of the garden

When we moved into the house there was an old wood frame greenhouse at the end of the garden just beyond a small picket fence. You can see that in this pic:

We never used the greenhouse but in that same area there was a playhouse which the girls used.

Then because of the dogs we had at the time we had a wire fence put around the whole garden. The foxes could still come and go but the dogs could not. Girls grew, playhouse got neglected, greenhouse remained empty and we decided to just let nature do it’s thing.

Because of the trees it’s a very low light area, so not much grows.
I had wondered for a while how big that area was, and what things looked like now. Armed with shears – to cut my way through – I ventured in.

Lots of brambles, ivy coats the floor, nettles and a few other plants on the edges.

The greenhouse

The playhouse

Lots of green looking out the back

The garden is about 11 meters wide, and that area is about 10 meters deep. So that’s a sizeable chunk of ground. Could it be used? Yes if you were happy to chop down trees and spend a heap of money on it. I’m not about to do either. I am content that nature continues to do it’s thing and hopefully it’s a refuge for bugs and tiny animals that are less welcome in neatly manicured gardens.