We miss you buddy

May 15th, 2015

So, I’ve been putting off writing this post for exactly one year today.  In the fall of 2013 we got some bad news about our cat Pepsi.  They’d found a lump that turned out to be cancer and the operation to remove it was unsuccessful.  The mass had grown too large and entwined in his abdomen to take out.

We embarked on a fairly aggressive schedule of chemotherapy for him (yes, they do that for cats too!) and he responded remarkably well to the treatments.  Danni doted on him day and night hand feeding him to make sure he kept his strength up, and her efforts resulted in him gaining over a kilo while undergoing his chemo.  Our vet was amazed at his recovery and how fast his lump was shrinking, and it wouldn’t have been possible without such incredible, round-the-clock care from my wife (and a touch of help from this).

Unfortunately, after 6 months of excellent progress his cancer came out of remission and we had to say goodbye to Pepsi on May 15th, 2014.  I don’t want to talk at length about that day, but our vet came to our house and I got to sit on our bed in the sunshine and hold on to my best friend of the past 17 years while he peacefully slipped away.

Even now, a full year later I’m writing this with tears welling.

Our flat in London with his little brother Oswald

I’ve always thought of people so overly attached to their pets as a bit off, so if you’re reading this and not much of a pet lover allow me to try to explain where some of that attachment comes from.

For the entirety of my adult life, this “cat” has been my singular constant.  He joined my family shortly before I moved away from my home town for the first time to go away to college.  He’s been with me for every single move I’ve done spanning 5 cities, 3 countries and 2 continents.  He’s been there for every new job, ridden in every vehicle I’ve owned, met every girl I ever dated from my first real girlfriend all the way to my wife.  He was with me in every 4-plex, duplex, apartment, house and flat I’ve rented and he was with us when we celebrated purchasing our first home.

Taking possession of our new home!

Every time I came home miserable from a bad day at work or arrived through the door elated to be back at the end of a long holiday, he would run to greet me with his quiet, chirpy meows and happy head-butts.  After the better part of 2 decades, not having him around now has left this perfect, cat sized hole in my life.

Just arrived in the BVI

We’ve talked about getting a new furry friend, and we likely will someday.  We’re just not quite ready for that yet.  Part of me writing this has been a bit of a cathartic exercise to get these thoughts out of my head so I can let go of them, and while it’s taken several hours to write this short post I feel like it’s helped.

Always was an explorer

I think one of the big reasons I haven’t updated this site in so long was because I knew I had to write this post.  Hopefully now that I’ve managed to do this I can start paying some more attention to this site again!

We won’t ever really say farewell to our little man, and we miss him every day.

At our first house!


Chinese New Year

February 5th, 2014

February already and I haven’t made any posts or taken any photos in 2014. I hadn’t made any resolutions to take more photos this year or anything, but I kind of hoped that I’d have some more motivations but that hasn’t really happened yet. Oh well.

At any rate, Danni and I went into London for the Chinese New Year celebrations and to watch the parade that they haven’t held in a number of years.

China town all decked out

China Town looked brilliant as always, but the parade was really, really short.  Both in the route it travelled and the length of the actual parade.  We waited on the road side for the better part of an hour only to have the whole thing be over in about 10 minutes.

The autofocus on my lens had broken, so I didn't get as many clear shots as I'd like.

Still, I’m always happy to get to see the dragon and lion performers out on the streets.  I love that kind of thing, and they always do a brilliant job for Chinese New Year’s in London.

Two Dragons!

We struggled through Trafalgar Square which was ridiculously packed.  I’m probably getting old, but I honestly can’t see how anyone can have fun crushed in with tens of thousands of other people in such a small space.  Maybe they were trying to recreate an authentic Chinese experience?  At any rate, my cranky, inner old man wasn’t enjoying this part of the day, but I did get a shot of my lovely wife with the dragon as they were moving it into the Square.

Clearly the best bit of the very short parade.


My faithful lens had given up the ghost on this day and the autofocus was broken.  It’s fixed now (after an ugly repair bill), but it did mean that I got an awful lot less images than I was hoping to.  Still, there are a few more in the gallery here.

Christmas time again

December 28th, 2013

It’s time for our annual batch of Christmas photos, this time in our new home!  We managed to find an excellent tree this year, and Netflix had an excellent ‘Fireplace movie’ that I played the hell out of.  Sad, I know.  But I put our space heater under the TV and it was almost like the real thing!

Our Christmas tree, complete with TV fireplace.  Feel the warmth!

Mom had brought us some photo ball ornaments last year, so we used our family portrait from last year as a pretty good option.  The reverse was a photo of Pepsi of course.


Christmas morning and Pepsi was right in there looking for his gifts. We’re pretty lucky he’s still with us after his big surgery back in October and his on-going chemotherapy. He’s pretty tough for a cat well into his 17th year.

Pepsi was looking for his goods.

And here is this year’s family portrait. For the first time since our wedding it was just the two of us together for Christmas, so it was a nice, quiet evening and we dragged Pepsi into the photos this year.

Family portraits

Hope you all had a brilliant holidays! There are some more images in the gallery here.

Belgian Anniversary Trip

October 25th, 2013

2 years!  It’s already been two wonderful years since we got married, definitely hard to believe.  This year in particular has been a busy one with the purchase of our first home (finally!) and it’s subsequent gutting and renovations.

In order to celebrate this year, we decided to keep it simple and found an excellent deal for a weekend away in Belgium with EuroStar.  It was our intention to spend our 3 days in Brussels, but we ended up hopping over to Bruges for one of the days and it was definitely worth it.

The first day we walked ourselves ragged all over Brussels visiting all of the local tourist attractions we could find.  The favourite was obviously the little Manneken Pis, photographed on different days in different outfits.  He’s actually really small, probably only 2 feet tall or so, but very cute and a big draw.

And here we have the little peeing boy.  Shot on 2 different days, they dress him up differently all the time it seems.

Danni had once again selected an excellent hotel (this is one of her many magical powers) and everything was easily within walking distance from our doorstep.  We spent the fading hours of sunlight in the Grand Place getting a few photos of the incredible architecture. The town hall in particular was stunning and I took an awful lot of images of it during our stay there.

I dragged my tripod along again and unlike our trip to Northern Ireland, this time it actually got some use.  In addition to the low-light photos, we also did quite a few portraits of the two of us.  I really should do more of these though, I much prefer looking back on the the photos we’re in vs. images of buildings (if you’re a random internet stranger you may have a different opinion on this however).

Day 2 and we were up early to catch the train (from the station directly across the street from our hotel, well done again Danni) to Bruges.   I’m so glad we went as I think it’s one of my favourite cities so far.  It’s everything you could ever want in a medieval European town.  Cobbled streets everywhere, old buildings, canals, lovely food, not particularly crowded and oh so photogenic.  I could have easily spent a few more days there just taking photos.

There’s definitely a Venice/Amsterdam vibe to the city.  To me, it felt like the best of both of those cities.  It wasn’t as claustrophobic as Venice, and the buildings and streets felt older and more interesting than Amsterdam.  I don’t know if we just picked the right time of year, but it was also much less busy and touristy than either (especially Venice).

We also go pretty lucky with the weather too I think.  It was moody and misty when we arrived in the morning, but by late afternoon the sun was out and prompted a lovely sky as dusk approached.

We had to make sure to get a photo of us in front of the clock tower.  We watched In Bruges before and after our trip (great movie by the way, subtitles are handy to understand some of the thick Irish accents though!) and the tower features in the movie a couple of times, as does the location of the next shot.


We had our anniversary dinner in the white building on the right at a lovely table by the windows.  It was a really nice evening and a great way to spend our 2nd anniversary together.

Our final day saw us visiting the Comic Strip Museum in Brussels (interesting, but apart from Astrix, Tintin and the Smurfs I didn’t recognize any of the strips and only about 20% of the information presented was in English), and shopping for Beer & Chocolates (yes, in Belgium they both need to be capitalized).

All in all, lovely weekend with my lovely wife in a lovely part of the world.  Who could ask for anything more?

I suppose you could ask for more photos, good point.  They’re here, as always.

Beddington Park Ballet

September 15th, 2013

Danni and I have been wanting to do a bit of a photo shoot in a nearby park with Danni in her ballet shoes.  We took a short bus ride (actually 2 bus rides as I realized after the first trip that my camera battery was dead) to Beddington Park to take advantage of some of the lovely scenery.

One of my favourite shots of the day.  It wasn’t a particularly complex setup, just a single flash with a shoot-through umbrella to Danni’s left.  It doesn’t take much to make her look good!

We did a couple of natural light images that turned out quite nicely as well.

It always amazes me that someone can look so graceful while balancing themselves on their tip-toes, but I think she certainly managed it here.  There are some more photos in the gallery as usual.