The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Here Comes Summer

Nothing screams summer to me more loudly than the play of sunshine and shadows in the narrow street of our old village cores. It almost feels like a game of hide and seek.
Birgu (22)
The crazy season (as I like to call it) made its grand entrance this week. It will bring with it unrelenting heat and spectacular, fiery sunsets. Days at the beach and the comforting feel of sand between the toes.
Birgu (21)
Evening walks in streets such as these. Balmy nights and sea-breezes. Oleander flowers and sweet seasonal fruit. BBQs, parties and long talks under moonlit skies. Some cool wine and the soothing song of the crickets …
These are the summer memories that I hope to be sharing with you in the coming weeks.
Photographs taken in the  streets of Birgu

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Enjoying. Wishing. Longing.

I am officially back and hope to be posting regularly and doing the rounds again – although summer brings with it its own array of distractions which will probably interfere with my schedule. But I will try – pinky promise. So here I am …
Enjoying cool north-westerly breezes, sunshine and the scent of honeysuckle wafting through open windows
Wishing that I was still a school girl to be able to enjoy the summer break.
Longing for lazy moments and happy memories.
USA 662b
Reading ‘ Lessons From San Quentin’ – yes, that San Quentin.
Listening to Mindy Gledhill and Motley Crue – I know, the styles are miles apart.
Loving this summer’s fashion, the vibrant hues, the florals, the frills.
Dreaming … but I’ve already told you what I’m dreaming about haven’t I?
USA 663b

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Thoughts On A Dying Gaul

The day I saw him, I could so easily have passed by, dismissing him as just another sculpture from the ancient world. Yet something about him made me stop and linger by his side. There was no doubt in my mind that this man was suffering; that his life’s blood was ebbing away. I could see it in the anguish in his face. Here was another life lost to the legions of Rome. I wondered what his name might have been; how old he was when he died; what loved ones he left behind. What were his last conscious thoughts as his blood darkened the grass of  Gaul and his broken body finally sank to the ground? I was staring into the face of a man who had lived over two thousand years ago – and though he has long since been forgotten and his body has returned to the earth, yet he lives still: a statue frozen in marble and in time.  A poignant reminder, really, of how Europe was formed.
Malta & Italy 2003 293
Photographed (by my husband) at
The Capitoline  Museum

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Fabulous Fridays: Free Actions For Photoshop

I know that I’ve said in a fairly recent post that I have no clue how to use Photoshop. And that is still true. I do, however, like to use Actions specially created for Photoshop. These Actions are used to enhance a photo, to give it a vintage look or to just create a bright summery look. Actions are created by people who have mastered Photoshop and can play around with it. For those of us who are more technically challenged, like me, downloading these actions is both easier and much, much faster than experimenting with Photoshop itself. I did some research on Google and, at first, all I could find were actions that you needed to pay for. I did not want to fork out cash for something which I knew I would not be using every day. So I searched a little more and found out that there are some sweet souls out there who have actions that you can download for free.
Ree Drummond has several such free actions for Photoshop on her blog The Pioneer Woman. You can go to her photography page here to download these actions yourselves (if you are so inclined).
Here are some examples of what photo actions can do:
Original photo
Bingemma, Gnejna & Dwejra (25)
After applying ‘Soft and Faded’ action
Bingemma, Gnejna & Dwejra (25c)
After applying ‘Old West’ action
Bingemma, Gnejna & Dwejra (25d)
After applying ‘Seventies’ action.
Bingemma, Gnejna & Dwejra (25seventies)
You can play around with the actions to get the exact mood that you want to project. I did not re-touch these photos after applying the actions so you can see the end results for yourselves. Once you get the gist of it, they are pretty easy to apply and you will find complete instructions on how to download the actions to your computer in Ree’s article: Pioneer Woman’s Actions Update. 
You can apply the same action twice to the same photo or apply two or more actions on top of each other to get the look you are going for. Using actions on photos is fun and enables you to use the same photo a number of times while always having a different look. I will now stop rambling and let you discover and play around with these actions yourselves.
Oh, one last thing. Even if you are not into photography, I suggest you visit The Pioneer Woman blog because you will find a treasure trove of interesting information from recipes to the confessions of a self-proclaimed desperate house-wife. The Pioneer Woman blog is a fun find by itself.


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