The Gallery: Black and White


Point Helbronner

I am always a bit stumped when I’m asked to submit black and white photos for anything. and I suspect I’m not alone in resorting to a little photo editing. Luckily I have plenty of photos to play around with, but these ones, taken over a huge glacier in the Alps between France and Italy are some of my favourite. They probably work well because there isn’t much colour in the originals- just a blue sky and a a bit of red for the cable cars.

Six years ago we spent a week in the summer holidays in Chamonix, which is a popular ski resort in the winter. In the summer it’s a fantastic place to stay with families, and we were with a company who took the children for the day 4/7 days, so the parents could get out and explore on their own.

DH and I got out and about on our own, and had a few adventures, but the most thrilling thing we did was take a series of cable cars up to the top of the Aiguille du Midi, then rode the Panoramic Mont Blanc Cable Car across to Point Helbronner, in Italy.

It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. I’m not a fan of heights and we were a long way up. The cables seemed very loose and blew around in the wind as they traveled above the ice and snow. And when you looked straight down you could see how deep the ravines in the ice were.

I couldn’t help thinking about what would happen if we fell.

And once we’d crossed from France to Italy safely, we had to go back again. This time, I tried not to look down as often.

View from Panoramic Mont Blanc Cable Car

The scenery was fantastic. We had this car to ourselves and felt like we were the only people on earth until the carriages going in the opposite direction whirred past and we all waved to each other.

See those little dots? They are people who chose to climb up the mountains and risk life and limb while doing so. We saw plenty of them staggering through the snow, perched on ledges and climbing the jagged rocks. They did not look like they were having fun.

It looked far too much like hard work to me and I was relieved to be able to look down on them, even though we were bouncing around in a metal bauble on a bit of  steel rope. To be fair, I’d not describe our experience as fun either. But it was a ‘Once in a lifetime’ experience and I’m glad we did it.

Though I admit to breathing a sigh of relief when we made it back to Chamonix safely and I had solid ground under my feet once again.

For more black and white photos, check out this week’s Gallery over at Sticky Fingers.


The Gallery: A Younger Me

It’s July 2000.  We are on our honeymoon and are travelling by train to Italy. Look at me, I’m so excited!

Baguette on a train
We took the Eurostar to Paris, then took a sleeper to Sienna to start our Italian adventure.

My French is pitiful, but luckily DH’s is better so he noticed a sign at the train station saying that the cleaning and catering staff were on strike. We stocked up on baguettes, water and chocolate. An American family in the compartment next to us weren’t so observant and spent the entire trip hungry and complaining about the state of the loos.

During the two weeks we were away, we travelled from Sienna, to Florence, to Rome and finally to Venice. DH took most of the photos  in those days so there are a lot of me and not so many of him. I am pulling some really stupid tourist faces. It didn’t matter because in the summer, Italy is full of tourists.

I look so young because I was. In some of these photos I’m only 29 as I turned 30 while we were in Venice. We went out for a gondolier ride for my birthday and there was a photo taken but I don’t seem to have it on my computer. Here’s one of me with a gondolier in the background instead.


I’m glad I have these photos of me.  I don’t look at them often but it’s nice to remember DH and I had a life before we had children.

My only regret is that we didn’t make more of the the time we had before kids. We  should have travelled more.


This week The Gallery is full of photos of younger bloggers. To take a look at what we got up to, check out  This week’s Gallery over at Sticky Fingers.


The Gallery: Self Portrait

Hmm, a difficult one this. I’m not keen on being on the business end of the camera these days. But then, I never was.

I’ve been scrolling through old photos recently and came across a few of me taken on honeymoon in Italy in July 2000.

I look so young, so happy, so newly wed. And yes, so slim. If I posted a photo of myself  13 years ago, I just know what everyone is going to fixate on. Oh, weren’t you slim? Oh, what a shame; you’ve got such a pretty face…

I look at my fresh faced self all those years ago and  feel a bit sorry for that girl in the photos. She really had no idea what she was getting herself in for as far as raising a family went.  She’s got some sharp shocks ahead of her. Four kids! She didn’t even know if she would be able to have one!

So I’m not going to show you a conventional self portrait but I am going to show you this photo of me instead.I know it’s a bit of a cop out.

Colossus of the Nile statue

The picture was taken in the New Wing of the Vatican Museum, which we visited when we were in Rome. It’s of a large statue called Colossus of the Nile. The reclining man is a river god, identified as such by the sphinxes and crocodiles.  The 16 babies are thought to represent how much the level of the Nile rises when it floods, fertilizing the region as it does so.  This carving has been dated back to the First century A.D, but was probably a Roman copy of an already existing Greek statue.

And there is me, peering out between a gap between the river god’s arm and stomach. I’m smiling because I didn’t think I could be seen. But when we got the photos back after our holiday ( remember having to *wait* to see what your photos turned out like?), I was surprised to see how obvious I was.

I’m not recognisable though, am I? Not if you don’t already know me.

Why have I not put a ‘proper’ photo of me up?

It’s not that I hate the way I look, far from it. I think I’m more at ease with my face and body than 99% of people I know. It’s what other people think when they look at me that bothers me. I know it shouldn’t but it does. That’s obviously something I have to work on, eh?

Or is it society that needs to be less judgmental instead?

For more faces from behind the blogs, check out this week’s Gallery over at Sticky Fingers.

Galllery Badges

From Switzerland, to France… via Italy.

I guess it’s a mark of how much confidence we have in our satnav.

‘Miss Polly’ built into the car and is usually pretty trustworthy. She’s not led us into a lake or instructed us to do a U-turn on the M25 in the 6 years we’ve had the car.

So yesterday when we had to drive from Saas Fee to Belle Plagne, we loaded the car up, merely glanced at the suggested route last just under 4 hours, and blithely drove off down the mountain.

DH had used Googlemaps to print out a back up map and both versions of our route were in agreement until we reached Chamonix. Then Miss Polly instructed us to bear left and it was only then we realised that the traffic we were caught up in was actually queuing for the Mont Blanc tunnel.

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The Gallery: Travel.

This week, at The Gallery, the theme is Travel. It’s a subject that’s dear to my heart, as without travel I wouldn’t have come to the UK and found the rest of my life waiting for me.

And it’s one of the reasons we’ve chosen to raise a family in the UK, rather than head back downunder.

As a family, we love to travel. We’ve been to 4 of the seven continents and plan to do something about two of the missing three in the next couple of years. Most of the time we fly because we have to, but when it’s all possible we take the train, or drive.

When you have this much luggage, it makes sense to take the car if you can.

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