Morning Walk: In Black and White

Fujifilm Pro

Have been experimenting with film.  This is a black and white roll back from the spring that I just got developed from one of many morning weekend walks.


Pirates in Greenwich: Final Chapter

There's not many pictures this post I'm afraid (the ones above are from the weekend).  They've started filming (um....FINALLY) and the Naval College is practically boarded up in every possible way.   The places where you can watch a bit of filming, there's guards there that would rather carve your heart out with a spoon than let you snap one little picture for posterity.  I can understand it though once you start actual filming there's a real issue with copyright where before little pics here and there aren't that big of a deal cause they are completely out of context of the story, yada yada.  

I can tell you I did see lots of people in period costume standing around today (I think that happens on sets)....including soldiers and horses w/carriages and people in wigs.  No Johnny D. though although he was most likely in the midst of the bazillion of extras I saw.  What they are doing with all the props I've seen over the last week, well it beats me.  I'll just have to go see the film now to find out.    I believe Pirates of the Caribbean 4 comes out May 2011---should be great fun.  

Anyway, hope you enjoyed my little series of Pirates in Greenwich.  These are the last pictures I'll be posting relating to anything Pirate related.  Please remember to not use my pictures without properly crediting each one (including a link back here).  Thanks for understanding.

Here's more pictures:

Pirates in Greenwich:  Part Deux
Pirates in Greenwich


Eat, Pray, Love: The Review

**May contain spoilers**

Here's my review of Eat, Pray, Love finally, considering I've talked about it so much on this blog.

Enjoyed the movie, but the book was better (they always are).  I would give it 3/5 stars.

Casting choices:  Julia Roberts great I think as Liz, Javier Bardem fantastic as Felipe.  Indonesian chap who played Ketut even better.  Richard Jenkins as Richard from Texas, perfect. 

Favorite quote from the film:  "Ruin is a gift"

-Too much time was spent on Liz's falling apart after her divorce.  The book is about Liz's journey to heal herself and I think this aspect was rushed.
-The spiritual depth of the book was really missing from the movie.  It felt slightly empty throughout.  India was supposed to be the most spiritual and healing, but the movie left out one of the most important parts of the book....Liz finally conquering the meditation and feeling the hand of God.
- Richard's story he tells Liz in India is powerful and a tear jerker.  Apparently its true.  When I went to the discussion w/Liz Gilbert here in London she told us about this part and how the director phoned the real Richard from Texas and asked him why he was there and what's in the movie is his real words.  Its made more powerful given that the real Richard from Texas passed away a few months ago.
- Italy was well done, but please cast people who can do accents.  A couple of the supposed Italians were obviously American trying to do accents and the Swedish friend should have a Swedish accent not American.
-Bali is beautiful.  I want to go there now to visit and see those markets!  Again....the chap who played Ketut fantastic....Javier Bardem great.
-Didn't think it was necessary to throw the naked chap in on the beach in Bali just to show that Liz had moved on from bad men.  Again this is where the spiritual aspect missing from the movie would have explained her changing more.
- The last part of Liz at the last minute not sure about being with Felipe was so Hollywood.
-Sometimes the movie felt too long!  The book you couldn't wait to find out what would happen to Liz....the movie I checked my watch sometimes.  That's not good for someone whose read the book twice!

The criticism I hear often of this movie (and the book) is that Liz Gilbert was self absorbed by taking a year out to go and work on herself.   I wonder if that criticism would be there if Liz were a man.  I think the fact she did go and work on herself is why this book has resonated so much with women and has become an international best-seller.  Women need to do this more and realize that selfish is not a bad word.  Women give too much before filling their own buckets first.  This movie/the book was great in showing that girls can go and discover their bliss too.

I will definitely see the film again (even though its not perfect) and I would recommend it to anyone wanting a great escape.  Be sure to read the book though to fill in the gaps!


Pirates in Greenwich: Part Deux

stables for the horses. 

carriage(s) for the horses

GR  stands for George Rex (King).  Queen Elizabeth has ER for an insignia.

portion of set surrounded by blue screens

adding fake dirt roads

adding columns and pillars


Props next to the huge set

So here are some more pictures of the Pirates 4 set here in Greenwich.  They seem to be getting close to filming cause all the blue screens are up, the building seems finished and the props have arrived .  I'd actually like them to just get on with the filming and finish so Greenwich can get back to normal though.  Sure its kind of fun having them here and its PIRATES and Johnny D. which is exciting, but they've made the place James and I try to go and relax a lot noisier for a couple of weeks now.    C'est la vie.  They'll be gone in October which is just round the corner.  In the meantime, I'll take pictures if I can just for fun and for memories for myself.  If filming is starting soon though..access to the Old Royal Naval College will be pretty limited.  So come back and check here often for the possibility of more pictures.  I just cant guarantee how many more I'll be able to post at this point now sorry.

*A quick word about my pictures I've taken of the Pirates set in Greenwich recently.  I've noticed  many of the pictures have been popping up on Johnny D. fan sites and on the Internet.  While most have credited me and linked back to my pictures and is fine, some haven't and this isn't cool.  Please make sure that if you do use my pictures that each shot has my name and link back to this site.  If you want to use them commercially then contact me to license them.  I hate being grumpy about this but this is just my policy that has been posted on my site for a long time.  Thanks...Christine xoxox

**UPDATE 27/9/10.  Here's more pictures I've done:

Pirates in Greenwich
Pirates in Greenwich:  Final Chapter


London Premiere: Eat, Pray, Love

Liz Gilbert and Brigitte Nielsen getting interviewed.

Julia Roberts + Richard Jenkins

I haven't been to a premiere in London in years.  The reason why I've been avoiding premiere's is you have to show up ungodly early to get a spot, your feet feel like they are dying, you have to forget about even going to the loo, you get shoved and grabbed in ways that you never knew possible and you're just not guaranteed of meeting anyone or seeing anyone for more than 5 minutes.   Several hours of waiting for 5 minutes of possibly seeing someone doesn't seem worth it sometimes.  But, I decided to just suck it up and go this time because I'm such a huge fan of the book.

As far as premiere's go this one was pretty small.  No Javier Bardem (sigh), no James Franco....just Julia Roberts, Richard Jenkins, the director Ryan Murphy (who apparently has something to do with Glee?), Elizabeth Gilbert and Brigitte Nielsen (who I swear was Annie Lennox when she got out of the car, but turned out to be someone that was in Rocky IV and used to be married to Sly Stallone??).

I didn't get the signatures I wanted or to meet Julia or Richard but I did get to see them fairly close and get a few shots which was fun.  Now if I can finally see this movie!  Never got to see it in the states, so I've been patiently waiting! 
So, before I go I've got a little surprise for you.   I'd like to give away ONE copy of Eat, Pray, Love signed by the author Elizabeth Gilbert  (last week at her discussion).  I was hoping to get more than one signature for the book (i.e. Julia +Javier), but I was unable to sorry!! 

I'm doing things a bit more different for this giveaway.  To enter you can do the following:

  1.  Tell me how this book has resonated with you or inspired you in the comments.  I'm always interested in hearing about the journey of others.                           
  2. Put a link to this post on your Facebook, Twitter or Blog  (doesn't have to be a fancy announcement).  Come back here and post your link in the comment section.    
  3. Make a donation to Room to Read.  They are an international literacy organization that does incredible work improving education and access to books worldwide.  They do particularly awe inspiring work with girls.    Donation can be any amount you want.   Please cut and paste the e-receipt from your donation and forward it to me (See contact page).  It may be helpful if you post back here in the comment section that you've made a donation and sent me an e-mail so I can look for it.     
Each separate task completed from this list above gets you one chance to win.  Maximum of three chances/entries per person that will then be put into a hat.   One winner for the signed book will be announced here on October 1st sometime in the morning (London time).  Hope this makes sense!

UPDATE 1/10/10....Contest now closed. 

**Please note this giveaway is sponsored by myself only.



Tuesday, 2:30pm

Happy 1st day of Autumn.
Pictures are from the last couple of days round my neighborhood.

-Wish I had a garden to hang laundry up.
-There seem to be an awful lot of spiders outside this autumn.
-England has really big spiders have I told you that?   They are sure ugly looking things.
-The weatherman predicted sunny today,  you can see by the clouds in the picture how close they were.
-Possibly going out into the city tomorrow to do something fun.  Hoping the weather holds out cause it will be very cool if I can do what I'm planning on doing.  Can't tell you yet, just in case I don't go.
-The leaves are already changing in Greenwich Park.  Seemed just yesterday it was the start of summer.  Where does the time go?


Pirates in Greenwich

Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is currently filming in Greenwich.  Movies have filmed here many times before, but I haven't cared AS much because they haven't involved a certain actor that makes me blush like a schoolgirl.........Johnny Depp.

So the set is HUGE, is hard to get decent pictures of cause there's so much security and fences surrounding everything.  They are filming till October so I'm hoping that I'll be able to get more pictures as they add to the set.  Here's what I have so far:

totally fake, but cunningly matches the other real historic buildings

Huge sets.

Buildings real, banner fake

 Brick work looks like it was meant to be there!

Just threw this one in there cause I loved how the light hit the painted chapel! (Apparently they are filming bits here too)

*update 27/9/10. Here's more pictures I've done:


My evening with Elizabeth Gilbert

The queue of women (and a few brave men) was already nearly round the block at Cadogan Hall when the car pulled up and out popped Elizabeth Gilbert.  Its hard not to recognize her blond silhouette from a mile away after all the countless interviews she's done since Eat, Pray, Love skyrocketed her to fame.  My spot in the queue happened to be next to the stage door.  Our eyes briefly met just after she got out of the taxi as her eyes grazed through the crowd.  I gave her a quick smile and she gave one back.  I could tell she was a tad nervous having to walk right through the hoards of women in order to get into the hall.  She gave everyone a gracious smile though and said, "Thanks everyone for waiting" and then went in.  It felt almost surreal getting to see her in person but also natural like I was seeing an old friend.

After waiting in numerous lines of people we were allowed into the Hall.  There were so many women there, all touched by Liz's book.  I didn't feel so bad I had gone alone for this reason.  It also helped that I was next to some chatty gals who instantly put me at ease.

The simple hall had a small church like stage, set with what looked like a cafe table with water and two chairs- one for the interviewer Paul Holdengräber and one for Liz.  It looked like we'd be eavesdropping on two friends meeting for tea.  I liked the intimate feel of that.

When Liz and Paul eventually came out and started talking you were instantly drawn into their conversation and put at ease.  He asked Liz about her early work and life before delving into Eat, Pray, Love and Committed.  Everything revealed was something new to me which was amazing considering all the interviews with her I've seen and read.

Elizabeth's ease with herself, her palpable happiness with life, her intellect (she's very well read) and charm were incredibly inspiring.  The entire evening was spent hearing women nod in agreement to practically everything.  I wish I had taken notes so I could remember all the profound things that were said last night.  All I can do is take with the memory of how I felt.  At the end I felt inspired and wanting to do better in my life.  I know that I was meant to be there in that audience.

The evening ended far too quickly.  I rushed out at the end so I could get a spot in line for the book signing.  Pictures weren't allowed but I didn't care.  I got to meet Elizabeth Gilbert, tell her how wonderful it was to meet her and get some signed books.  I only wish I got to talk to her longer, but based on the 500+ people behind me, I was grateful for the few seconds I had.

Experiences like last night (I'm still beaming), make me incredibly grateful to live in this city.  It was such a wonderful amazing evening and one that I'll remember forever.  Liz Gilbert deserves all the success and happiness that has and will come to her.

'One is never too poor to have a story to tell'....
'Growing up is the process of finding ones' appetite'..
"I'm a root vegetable now. I'm a nice turnip" - Liz Gilbert describing her move from globe-trotter to gardener.

(Quotes from last night)

Paul Holdengräber and Elizabeth Gilbert

Highlights of the discussion are available on video via the intelligence squared website.


Flowers in the Sunshine

If you remember I wrote previously about this little orchid back in August.   When I came back from my trip they were all in full bloom.

Today for the first time in what seems like weeks, the sun is shining today.  Not a cloud in the sky.  The morning sunshine hit these little blossoms and a big smile came across my face.  I just had to take a picture.

 Nearly got my groove back and sunny days sure help.  Off to hear Elizabeth Gilbert speak about her book Eat, Pray, Love tonight and fill my 'bucket' you could say.  Hoping to get a chance to meet her but we shall see what happens.

Love to you



My first Real Polaroids

When I went to the states I bought a Polaroid one600 classic camera and some packs of film from the Impossible Project.  I've been ogling Polaroid blogs for so long (and making fake ones with Polaroid.net)  I thought why the heck not and with the exchange rate it was the only way it was  affordable for me right now to get started with the world of Polaroid.  I really actually wanted a SX-70 camera because they are an SLR camera, but I got this one to start me off (plus SX70's are £300 and that's nearly three weeks of groceries!).  I have a feeling instead of cats when I get to be an old lady, I'll have a dozen or so various digital, vintage and Polaroid cameras round the house.  Just hope that I don't have to wait till I'm an old lady to actually get these cameras I'm dreaming of. 

So, being caulky I thought taking Polaroids would be a lot easier.  Its not.  My camera being the Polaroid it is cant focus so I have to make sure the point of interest is not too far away or too close.  The film I got was expired Giambarba film and Impossible colour film.  The Giambarba not a problem except its expired and with expired you never know what's going to happen....goes extra dark, pink lines, etc. etc.  The colour film I was told worked in my specific camera but it doesn't so I've been experimenting with it...putting filters, plastic bags (best pic yet actually), adjusting the exposure.  I guess this is the beauty of polaroid, the sheer unpredictability of it.  I just wish the film wasn't so darn pricey, hard to find and the fact I've wasted SO many shots just getting the hang of it.  I'm now exploring the Impossible Project's black and white film (which should be easier I think)... so pictures to come eventually when I stop freaking out about messing up or wasting a shot. 

I know I shouldn't whinge (Brit. for complain) about it cause its something I've never done before.  I guess I honestly WAS surprised that this was as hard as it was.  The whole point and shoot thing registered with me was being EASY, but its much much harder than it looks.   So I am totally in awe now of the sheer talent of anyone who can pull off a decent Polaroid.  Here's a few amazing Polaroid photographers for you to ogle:

 Nectar and Light
Mocking Bird
Susannah Conway

And finally here are my first real Polaroids.  The first two are from Paris, the last are from the US.


Not bad for using a plastic sandwich bag as a filter eh?

exposure/blacks/brightness adjusted


The Art of Balance

Ruby Beach, USA

This week has been tough to get back into the swing of things.  Usually its a bit easier to adjust to life after a holiday but James and I have felt rather unsettled this time round coming home.   I think its a sign we needed the break, the chance to re-charge and reconnect.  Maybe there's also a teeny bit of fear there too.  Fear that the peace and embracing the present moment will somehow disappear into the chaos of our daily life until the next holiday.   My heart knows that this fear is a gift though...a gift to teach me to trust the universe that everything will be OK and that balance, the peace, the ease of life I feel on holiday can be found anytime I need it if I just slow down and listen. 

I'm far from perfect from this but I'm working towards not panicking, embracing the messiness life brings and remembering to treat myself with kindness.  Yoga, meditation, art and nature are what's guiding me.

I'd love to hear what things are guiding you right now.



Meet my niece and nephew

Met them the first time just recently on my trip to the US.

Adorable...but I'm probably a bit biased.


Paris: Cafés and a Cathedral

Pictures:  Angelina and Les Editeurs
                Notre Dame Cathedral

James and I both love the 'sitting in cafes for hours' part of Paris.  Time seems to stand still and all your worries go away whilst you watch the world go by.  When you're done with the touristy stuff you have lots more time for lounging around in cafes and restaurants.  We didn't mind doing that at all this trip.  Two places we like to go to when we come are Angelina and Les Editeurs.   Angelina is mostly famous for their chocolat chaud, deserts and that it used to be Coco Chanel's old tea place but they are a great place for light lunches too (price semi-OK).  Les Editeurs is in St Germain des Pres and the food is fantastic and a reasonable price for Paris.  We love it cause the interiors are surrounded by bookshelves full of old books.  Its our kind of place.  We also tried the famous Les Deux Magots but I'd never go there again.  Overpriced, horrible tea (which is all we could afford to get there) and snobby atmosphere.  You can't win them all I guess.

On the last day we had some time before our Eurostar train left.  We decided to walk to Notre Dame for some quiet meditation because we were both feeling melancholy about leaving.  It was pretty early to go....round 8:30/9 am I believe.  There were hardly any tourists when we went in which I found unusual but fantastic.  The first thing I heard was this amazing choir music being played over the sound system.  Besides one or two tourists the only people who were there were local who like us were looking for a teeny bit of solitude before being thrust back into the chaos of daily life.  As I walked through the cathedral the feelings of peace were overwhelming.  Its hard not to feel something in this particular church, some sense of a higher power no matter what religious belief you come from.

James found the statue of Joan d'Arc.  I lit a candle and said a prayer for myself asking God for strength to deal with the uncertainty and chaos right now in my life.  The tears were just streaming down my face.  James and I then looked for a perfect place to light a candle for my brother Spencer.    We picked right underneath the famous rose windows.  Those windows take my breath away every time I see them.  What better place to honor the life of my brother?  It was perfect. 

I think anyone who ever wants to see Notre Dame should go first thing in the morning so you can feel the peace and the solitude this church brings.  Its now my most favorite thing to do.  Every time I come to Paris, we will come to Notre Dame on the last day to meditate and to either light a candle in prayer or gratitude.


There's no way I could post all my Paris pictures on the blog, the rest of my pics are on my flickr stream of course if you want to check them out.