The Path to Nowhere

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Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

Taken by Bren Ryan Taken by Bren Ryan

One of the many places I love to visit is Sheffield Park Gardens in Kent… It has everything there you could imagine, lakes, woodland walks, beautiful scenery and wildlife.  The above picture was taken of one of the many winding paths that are within the grounds.  Again this photograph was processed using, textures added in Photoshop and final edits carried out in Lightroom.

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Holiday of a lifetime – Part 1


Pre Departure

Our holiday started in earnest back in April 2015… the previous year we came into a little bit of money, and then came the inevitable decision, do we go on holiday and cheer up our kitchen or do we have a whole new kitchen refit?

Well there was no hesitation in my mind… holiday and new cupboard doors and floor.  That is what you get when you have two golden retriever puppies, chewed doors and lino tiles ripped up.  And as the dogs were now out of the stage of mass destruction we both knew that the kitchen needed doing.  So the burning question was whole refit or just a patch up job?

For months we have seen online a holiday in America where you tour the West Coast and we both fell in love with this holiday… so decision made… kitchen patch up and holiday.

Originally we booked our holiday for this coming September, but then realised that it was my father-in-laws 80th birthday the day after we got back… so we enquired about bringing our holiday forward.  By luck the dates we had now chosen were now cheaper and the even after having to pay the administration fee for changing our holiday… the money we saved paid for our night at a London Heathrow hotel along with the car park fee.

Courtesy of Renaissance Hotel Website

Our flight was due to leave at 13.55 hrs on April 30th… so the Wednesday before we packed the puppies off to kennels… (their first time) and headed towards Heathrow.  By luck we found the hotel without any major problems and parked the car and headed towards the reception, where we checked in…

By luck our room was on the ground floor, and was very nice… we hadn’t booked a room overlooking the runway, and can say even though we were within spitting distance of the runway… the room was pretty well soundproofed.

Courtesy of Three Magpies Public House

That evening we decided to have dinner at the local pub called ‘Three Magpies’. The service was excellent and the food was good too.  It was a friendly pub and we were made to feel very welcome.

Of course this being the first time the dogs were in kennels we were a bit apprehensive but our minds were put at rest when we called Mick (the owner) at Berry Court Kennels who told us that the dogs had settled down with no problems and they were fine.

For the evening we had a quick drink in the hotel and then headed to bed as we knew that the next day was going to be hectic and we had a long flight ahead of us. We had booked our taxi, via the hotel concierge, already for the next morning as we had to be at Terminal 5 by 10.30 am to meet our tour manager, Julia, prior to checking in at at 11 am.

Could we sleep properly… no the excitement was too much.  Plus I was a little apprehensive as it was a 10 and a half hour flight and I knew damn well, sitting there for all that time would make me stiff and sore.   And the last thing I wanted was to hobble off of a plane.

We awoke the morning of our flight early, had a shower, made sure we didn’t leave anything behind, had one last check of the car to make sure it was secure and headed off to Terminal 5 in our pre-booked taxi, which arrived on time… luckily.

Mind you the taxi driver did say that earlier there had been an accident and it was taking hours to get to the terminal… Thank God I didn’t know that at the time… otherwise I would have been in a right old panic.  Flight nerves was getting to me… I am a funny sort of passenger… I love flying, and have no fear of it at all… and I love the window seat.  It is just that damn take-off and landing I hate.  Once that is over and done with I am fine.

Our holiday was booked via Great Rain Journeys and here we are waiting at Terminal 5, all checked in and roaring to go on the Las Vegas and The Golden West Tour 2015.

Mind you the only criticism many of the people who were booked on this holiday did have was that Great Rail had booked a block booking of seats  on the plane.. by luck we were seated together but many of the other couples on our flight had seats that were not next to each other.  Mind you once we boarded the plane our tour guide managed to sort every one out and those who weren’t seated together initially, were now seated with their respective partners.  Wish was luck. But honestly this should never have happened.

Surely whoever was doing the seating plan whether it be computer or person, should realise that many people with the same surname would be wanting to sit with each other.

Anyway after check-in we walked around the duty free shops and then when called went, via the monorail, to Gate C (can’t remember which one) to board the A380 to San Francisco… Finally we were on our way… Our flight was due to take off at 13.55 but after minor delays we finally taxied to the runway at 2.25 for take off….. on no that dreaded bloody take off.

Phew… we are up…. now to sit back, relax and enjoy the view.

When ‘Taking Out’ is the only real option

Watching the news yesterday afternoon reporting on the case being heard at the Old Bailey about the grandmother Palmira Silva who was tragically beheaded by Nicholas Salvador, I can’t help but wonder why this guy wasn’t just shot dead by Police.

Earlier he had been seen attacking a woman in her car and he was armed with a machete and a pole and the Police were running from house to house dragging children to safety and telling people to run for their lives.

The Daily Mail says

Armed police officers raced to the scene in Nightingale Road, Edmonton, and ran through the street shouting at people to run for their lives.

Children screamed as police used battering rams and metal batons to smash windows and doors before dragging them to safety.

Sky News Report, that in a video the jury was shown you could hear on Police Officer shout..

“He’s agitated and lethal … he needs taking out.”

It wasn’t long before he was seen by a Police Helicopter holding the severed head of Mrs Silva up towards them… surely on that helicopter should have been a police marksman who could have taken him out there and then.

The honest is truth is the Police are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Someone would have shouted Police brutality if this maniac had been killed there and then.

Forever and a day, Mrs Silva’s family will have to live with the knowledge of how someone they loved died.  How they died at the hands of this crazed man. Children will forever remember those frantic moments where they were in fear.

If this was a dog running the streets attacking people, there would be no hesitation in shooting the dog… I am sorry to say, but in my opinion this person was no better than a crazed dog at the time.

I am of the firm belief if you are armed and running amok then you should face the consequence of losing your life.  Going armed and equipped with weapons to me gives a clear indication that could do something dreadful or you are breaking the law.

In this country we do not have an arms policy.  We are NOT entitled to bear arms… we are NOT allowed to walk around the streets armed.  We know that is the law so should you ever decide to be armed then I honestly believe that you should be taken out… should you pose a threat to the public or the police.

It isn’t about being black or white, or whether you are Christian or Muslim or whether you are an immigrant… it is about abiding by the laws of our land. The police have a terrible job at times… their prime directive is to protect the public.. yet if they do protect the public by killing people who pose a threat… then they are hauled before inquiry upon inquiry having to defend why they took the action they did.  Or they are put in front of a jury charged with a crime of unlawful killing.

Of course we don’t want a Police Force that is trigger happy and there has to be safeguards.. but in a clear case where someone is on the rampage like Salvador was then they only way to minimise risk to the public is, as the Police officer said, ‘Take them out’.

Mrs Silva did NOT deserve to die…. perhaps if the Police had taken this guy out at the very beginning when he was running amok then perhaps we might have seen a different outcome.. Perhaps two children and six grandchildren might not be mourning the loss of a loved one.

It is all well and good the government forcing health trust to have cut back after cut back enforced upon them… but services like mental health are the first ones to suffer the cutbacks… And it isn’t long before the system is broken due to lack of funds.

There are not enough places for the mentally ill people to be… and the only solution is for health trusts to allow mentally ill people, people who should in their opinion be somewhere secure, free to on our streets.

Back in April 2015 the Daily Mirror reported that they had received a letter from 100  mental health workers and in that letter it notes

….that in the last five years mental health budgets have been cut by 8.25% in real terms and mental health nursing numbers cut by 6% – despite pledges by ministers for it have “parity of esteem” with physical health.

The letter also states

Cuts to the police force and local authority social care departments have further weakened the safety net that should be available to the public that we serve.

Cutbacks don’t hurt ‘Dishface’ Cameron, they don’t hurt the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, cutbacks hurt the people like Palmira Silva, the children of Edmonton.. it affects these people

Hackberry Rust Bucket

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Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

Taken by Ashley Ryan Taken by Ashley Ryan

After we left Las Vegas we visited the Hoover Dam and then we headed towards Williams travelling on the notorious Route 66. Unfortunately that day…  I was suffering from a blister, so it was left to him to do most of the photography.  Luckily we were travelling by coach and I just stayed on the bus at Hackberry.  The above picture was taken of an abandoned old car… sitting outside Hackberry Petrol Station.

We were told of how thriving towns turned overnight into ghost towns when they opened the Interstate 40, which bypassed many towns.  Luckily today, these places can be seen in their raw element… and Hackberry is just one of those places that should be on everyone’s list of places to visit.

Various service stations in town served U.S. Route 66 travellers after the highway came to town in 1926; all were shut down…

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Memories are important

Picture: ITV
Picture: ITV
Picture: ITV

Icouldn’t agree more on that statement… but £2000 for a child’s party.. please get real.  No child needs a birthday party that costs that amount… and to be perfectly honest, all you are doing my love is creating the next spoilt brat.

What will she want next year?  A party that costs £3000… where does this stop?

You can see the makings of spoilt children especially when a mother has this to say this when questioned whether it puts unfair burden on other parents at parties that Princess may attend… ‘Her name’s Princess – so other parents will expect her to be extravagant.’ 

So if my mother had christened me Asshole, does that mean other parents should expect me to be an asshole and they should deal with it?  FFS get real. All this woman is doing is turning two innocent children into spoilt brats. Kids that other parents want their children to avoid, kids that nobody will tolerate because of their ways.

Sophie May Dixon, isn’t new to controversy is she?  Remember this is the mum that spray tans her kids at three years old.

90% of readers who bothered to vote, voted that she was spoiling her child with this two grand party… and not treating them.. Yes I am one of those who voted that the children were being spoilt.

metro poll

Sophie said on ITV,  ‘Memories are what’s important. She had a pony party but it’s only once in a year that you have to give them something little. They haven’t asked for it. There’s a big difference between a spoilt child and a treated child.’ 

Her name’s Princess – so other parents will expect her to be extravagant.’

But what she is failing to see is that giving the top brick of the chimney to her children, and probably raking up the debt, does not give them the moral compass they need in life.  As they grow older, because they were spoilt as children, they will expect it all through their adulthood.

Giving children a party for their birthday has been something that has been done for decades… I can remember having birthday parties… jelly and Ice Cream, pass the parcel and musical chairs…  I never grew up feeling deprived.  I never grew up being spoilt.  And do you know what… those parties used to be great fun. And I grew up feeling loved and wanted by my parents.

I know Princess never asked for this party and she is not to blame.  But what could happen is she could ask for something that will set her family back thousands….

Nowadays there seems to be too much of giving your kid everything they ask for. Children need to learn the word ‘No’ at times, and understand ‘No’ means ‘No’. There is nothing worse than seeing a spoilt brat of kid, screaming, sulking because they have been told ‘no’.  Especially when it is a child that is of the age that should know better.

But in this story do you know who I feel sorry for?…. The poor parents who struggle day to day and then will have to disappoint their children because they want a party like so and so… a party like what Princess had… and they can’t give it to them because they just don’t have the money.

They say the old ways are the best ways… and I have just come to the grave conclusion that I wholeheartedly agree with that statement.  They are the best ways.

Into the woods we go…

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Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

Taken by Ashley Ryan Taken by Ashley Ryan

Taken at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens… in the wooded walk. This picture is the start of the wooded walk…

Taken by Bren Ryan Taken by Bren Ryan

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Introducing Daniel Schoumakers and Kerstin Frank

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Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

As many of you have now gathered I am into this textured photography… To me adding a texture to a photograph gives that photograph a whole new dimension.  I just love blending the layers, changing the opacity and playing around with textures and I find I now have a hard job processing a photograph without adding a texture. :D :D

Today in my Facebook News Feed I came across this post…. by Daniel Schoumakers

I just loved the texture and had to enquire whether Daniel had a link to this particular texture and the artist Kerstin Frank.

Daniel gave me the link to Kerstin Frank on Flickr  and I just love their artwork also.  Here is a selection of work from Kerstin Frank

Daniel in also a member of Flickr and I do hope you enjoy their work as much as I do.  Here is a selection of Daniel’s photos that…

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Katie Hopkins…. Please

Katie Hopkins

Do us all a favor and shove your head up your ass and drown on your own crap… to put it crudely.  People are applauding her article… about fat people eating themselves to death and facing the consequences by piling on the pounds and demonising  people who are applauding fat people because they won’t just sit in the corner away from society and hide.

katie hopkins article

Now you listen here rent-a-gob Hopkins… some fat people are fat because of an underlying cause they were born with… or due to an illness.   Or they get fat because of their medication they have to take… in order to stop them from DYING or BEING IN PAIN.

How dare you, basically say that fat people shouldn’t be allowed to be on TV… I pay my licence fee like you so don’t tell me who I can and can’t watch on my own TV.

And if the TV and media only showed size 0 people and fatness was frowned upon how many teenagers and adults will end up with eating disorders because they are a little chubby? How many people will die… because they have become bulimic, anorexic or both because they are frightened to gain a couple of pounds… and their heart can’t cope with the strain no longer?  All because fat people are frowned upon and a disgrace to society.

I agree there are some people who can’t help themselves and keep away from the fridge, but your article doesn’t make them feel any better about themselves, does it?  In fact, to put it mildly, it will send them scurrying back to the fridge for another peace of chocolate cake, because you have made their low-esteem just sink to a new lower depth.

Fat people need education, help and fat people do definitely not need bigots and bullies, like you, wading into them making them feel ten times worse than they already do feel.  When there are bullies like you around, to be perfectly honest, these people don’t stand a chance… you will knock their self-confidence with every breath you take and word you write.

Answer me this Katie Hopkins what about the person who relies on a medication that is renowned for causing weight gain?  Should they be tucked away in the corner and hidden away from view and never get a chance to be on TV because they have an illness and the medication they take to combat that illness piles on the pounds?  Or should they not take the medication and possibly die?  Or should they refuse to take the medication to stop the pain they have to live with every day?

You have lumped all fat people in your article into one category… over indulging in food causes you to be fat.  You have not thought about the child that was born with an illness and has to take medication for the rest of their life and forever until their final breath will be over-weight.  Or the adult that develops an illness, like PMR (Polymyalgia Rheumatica), and has to take steroids in order to be out of pain. Steroids that cause them to balloon up…. don’t you think they look at themselves in the mirror and wish they were back to the weight they used to be?  Don’t you think they hate their own reflection and their self- esteem is at an all time low? Tell me what do they do?  Do they take the medication to stop the pain or do they suffer to stay slim?

Well thank you Katie Hopkins, you have made us feel a whole lot worse.  I was smaller than you were once upon a time… but medication has caused me to gain weight… medication I need to take to stop being in pain and to stop me from having a stroke.

People in pain, can’t exercise… and believe me we wish we were able to exercise. People with PMR have every large muscle in their body aching.  And believe me, if we hit the gym like you expect us to do… we’d be laid up in bed for a week.  And only when you have an illness like PMR, do you really know what pain is at times.

So rent-a-gob not all fat people are fat because we raid the fridge… some fat people are fat because of illness and through medication… well done Hopkins you really have made us feel great today…. NOT.

Education is the way forward… children being taught was is healthy and what is not …. an income that is enough so that families can afford to eat healthy foods and they don’t have to rely on cheap foods that are full of carbohydrates.  Haven’t you noticed, Katie dear, that all healthy foods are a whole lot more expensive than processed foods?

When you get people, like yourself, that are bigots and bullies, through your articles  you do not combat obesity, you make the problem more profound.

Obesity and its underlying causes can be a vicious circle…. you eat and gain weight… articles like yours condemn you… which then makes you feel like eating more and turning to comfort foods.

All you’ve done today with your article… is make the problem worse.  Well done… hope you are proud of yourself.  Just for your information and to educate you on some of the factors of obesity caused through illness…

  • Hypothyroidism. This is a condition where the thyroid gland, located in the neck, produces too little thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone regulates our metabolism. So too little hormone slows the metabolism and often causes weight gain. If your doctor suspects thyroid disease as a cause of your obesity, he or she may perform blood tests to check your hormone levels.
  • Cushing’s syndrome. This condition results when the adrenal glands (located on top of each kidney) produce an excess amount of a steroid hormone called cortisol. This leads to a build-up of fat in characteristic sites such as the face, upper back, and abdomen.
  • Depression. Some people with depression overeat, which can lead to obesity.

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Suck on that Hopkins…

I felt the earth move….


Now talk about a strange feeling… something I have never encountered in my life, and by god did it feel strange. No matter where I was… even on a bridge I felt the same sensation.

Well it started in San Francisco, as I stood still on any pavement and even when I walked at a slow pace, I could feel the earth move under my feet… it felt like a rumbling sensation… just like you get, so I am told, if you happen to stand above a tube track that is close to the surface when a tube comes roaring through the tunnels.

I have never felt this sensation at all in my life.. not even in London where tubes are roaring up and down those lines at a constant pace.

Then when I went to Las Vegas I felt it even stronger in certain parts of the strip… than others but nowhere near as strong as I felt it in San Francisco.. In San Francisco it was a more intense sort of sensation of something rumbling under my feet.  Honestly I told the old man about it, whilst we were in Las Vegas and I was called weird…. but by luck one of our coach party heard me and said they had the same feeling…


She also told me that someone had told her, it could be caused through a minor ear infection…. so I took it that this was happening due to the flight over to America… and thought no more of it.  Even though it didn’t feel as if I had an ear infection.

Throughout our stay, no matter where we went, I could feel this sensation at times.

But here is the strange thing… if it was a minor ear infection and I felt this sensation at the airport as we were leaving San Francisco, then why didn’t I feel it all once we landed?  Surely a minor ear infection wouldn’t clear up in a 10 hour flight, would it?  But since arriving back in the UK I haven’t felt it once.

And here are the coincidences..  We left San Francisco early Sunday morning of the 3rd May 2015 and they had an earthquake that afternoon and just over two weeks after we left Las Vegas they felt the effects of an earthquake in Nevada.

Talk about weird sensations…  Now isn’t there a song about the earth moving under your feet? :D :D

Yosemite National Park

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Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

After we left San Francisco we caught the train on theSan Joaquin route through California’s Central Valley to Merced…. then we bordered a coach and travelled to Yosemite National Park.  The scenery and views from the coach were spectacular…. and as we neared Yosemite National Park the road we were travelling on meandered with the River Merced all the way to Yosemite.

At Yosemite, we were given a guided tour of the valley floor including spectacular views of El Capitan and the Bridalveil Falls.

This photograph was taken as we stood by the lake looking back towards those impressive rocks.

Taken by Bren Ryan Taken by Bren Ryan

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Flying the flag


st-georges-flag-largeNow we have been back in the UK for just over 10 days and I do miss being in the United States.  I just love the scenery, the warmth and the friendliness of the people.

Wherever you went, you were made to feel welcome and my god do they serve big portions.  Never in my life have I had pancakes for breakfast, but I just couldn’t resist them whilst over there.  And as for the Welch’s Grape Jelly, I would murder for that right now… I just loved the taste.

Where we stayed in San Francisco, the local Cafe owner introduced me to sourdough bread, which is a speciality of San Francisco and I loved it.  No more white bread for me whilst there,  I was happy munching away on the sourdough bread.

One thing I did notice over in the states the number of homes that had the Stars and Stripes Flag hanging from flagpoles in the ground or from flagpoles that are attached to the sides of the houses.

stars and stripes

Well that gave me an idea…. well him mainly after I mentioned how I thought it was very patriotic…. the St George’s cross will be hung from our house.

Whilst in Monterey we visited the local Home Depot and found an aluminium bracket that is placed on your wall all ready to hold a flagpole.  Well as soon as he touched down, he was on Amazon ordering the flag (which has arrived) and we are now awaiting delivery of the flagpole itself.

So when the delivery driver delivers that pole, come rain or shine, the following weekend we will be raising our flag…. and then probably taking it down the following week where the bloody council might object to the St. George Cross just in case it offends someone, just like they did in Radstock back in 2013.

All I hope he doesn’t go around singing Flying the Flag….

Palace of Fine Arts

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Originally posted on Ryan Photography:

Taken by Bren Ryan Taken by Bren Ryan

I have been back from my holidays for just over 10 days now and after mounds of washing and ironing and catching up on those mundane chores, I’ve just got around to putting our photographs of our trip into Lightroom.

We had a wonderful two weeks, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in America… which I will tell you more about in future posts, but the first image that I have processed in one taken in San Francisco of the the Palace of Fine Arts.

We spent three nights and two days in San Francisco (wish it was more) and on a coach tour we visited the Palace of Fine Arts and after seeing such a beautiful place we had to return on our spare day to visit this spectacular place.  I just loved it there, and I do have to thank Laura Macky for her suggestion of…

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