A Lid For Every Saucepan

The dating website that currently has me as a member has a number of phrases that loop continually on its homepage:

Where bat met ball

Where salt met pepper

Where gin met tonic

The implication being that for any ingredient there is some perfect and complimentary match out there (and perhaps subliminally reminding us of When Harry Met Sally).  This is perhaps a smart move, for as you read the profiles of other users there is a word that comes up time and time again.  Chemistry.  The expectation that two people, either as a result of commonality, or perhaps difference, will react positively towards each other.

Hang on.  Commonality or difference?  How can that be?  Surely you must seek one or the other?

It’s hard to say.  I have great rapport with a friend who is 11 years younger than me, unlikely on the face of it, but we work in similar fields, have an appreciation of art and creativity (albeit through very different strains) and have a habit of finding coincidences within our otherwise disparate lives.  Which is the key component of our friendship?  If only it was so easy.

I had a conversation with a Vampire Queen (a user name rather than a hereditary title!) this week, a fellow member of the website, and though we are unlikely to meet given the distance between us we had an enjoyable chat which began with yet another dichotomy; her profile states that she values both sexiness and celibacy.  Initially I considered these mutually exclusive, but then perhaps I needed a different metaphor to help me understand.  As she also gave me the title of today’s piece it seemed appropriate to follow her theme.

I enjoy cooking, but infrequently follow recipes.  Over the years I’ve developed a knowledge of ingredients that work together, that have chemistry if you like.  Pork and apple, tomato and basil, rice and peas, are pretty well-known, but what about strawberries and pepper, Stilton with sweet mince, chilli chocolate?  These are all combinations that might once have raised an eyebrow but perhaps due to our constant diet of TV food programmes they don’t seem so outlandish.

Looking to use up a little pastry in my refrigerator, I turned to a classic combination; prosciutto and mozzarella, perhaps familiar to us as common pizza ingredients, and commonly served together as an appetizer in Italy, but what of another flavour?  Salty ham, cool soft cheese, fruity fig?  Served raw they would work, but did they have the chemistry for an easily assembled tart?  You’ll have to decide.

As with finding a suitable date, it’s a matter of taste.






“How Distant Your Heart”/”How Close Your Soul”*

Not really a photography entry today, just an observation on the strange world of online dating at the suggestion of a friend who has featured on this blog herself in the past.  When I dipped my toe in these waters a few weeks back I happened upon a former colleague so naturally sent her a “fancy seeing you here” message.  In her reply she told me that she’d left the site after too many experiences with “dirty old men”.  Hmmm.  “Nice to know which category I fall into now.”  I replied.  Needless to say she backpedalled, wished me luck, and said at least I wouldn’t have to worry about them.

And yet there were still strange experiences in store.  The woman in Stockholm who I originally gave what I thought was a polite brush off too (only been to Stockholm once, and no immediate plans to pass that way again soon) who challenged me about that response and has turned into a platonic pen friend.

Then the enigmatic Mrs Smith whose monosyllabic responses seemed calculated to be provocative, and she was, provoking frustration and irritation (though at least she pointed me in roughly the right direction to get some pictures).

Most people on the site I have been using post a few pictures of themselves, but many do not.  If you’ll excuse the pun I find it hard to get the whole picture without an accompanying image.  If you think yourself so unattractive that you daren’t put a picture on the site, then how are you going to get over the challenge of that first face to face meeting?   I can understand that some people don’t want to share an image for professional reasons, and I had some nice chats with someone fitting this category who on sending me her photograph clearly had nothing to hide.  There were others of whom that cannot be said!  At the other end of the scale, shortly after making contact with one woman, she sent me this image of “her younger self” completely unbidden (I added the blurring).  What message was she trying to convey?  I don’t know as I never managed to develop a conversation with her.blur

And then there was the delightful lady who sent me a couple of  abusive texts for having the temerity to decline a meeting with her, waited several hours and then sent me another.  Not bitter at all then.  I didn’t have her picture but I was reminded of her when out riding at the weekend and finally encountered the fish wife Dolly Peel._MG_7261 _MG_7260-Edit

I just can’t get away from pictures it seems.  I’ve suspended my membership of the site now, but not before encountering the subject of  a couple of shots made yellow by a the colour temperature of the light they were shot in, which was coupled with the fact that she lives some distance away and I didn’t seem to match the profile she was seeking.  It should have been a non-starter.

Still, sitting here in Widnes as I write this, there’s an interesting metaphor at hand.  There’s a structure here dating back to the late 1950’s that transformed the local economy.  The Runcorn Gap made insignificant by a 50+ year old!_MG_7333_4_5

*In 2007 Harold Budd collaborated with Robin Guthrie to simultaneously release a pair of albums that could rightly be called twins: After the Night Falls and Before the Day Breaks.  The tracks on each album are linked to the corresponding track on the other, hence the pairing of these pieces, which seemed appropriate.

How Distant Your Heart      How Close Your Soul



January 1st.

A time of looking forward, resolutions and new starts.

12 months ago I was beginning a project to photograph a different portrait every day, and of course ultimately i failed. The project became overarching, and on a laptop that struggled to process even a single edit per photograph was way too time consuming. Come November it had contributed to the break up of my marriage, and with the loss of one beauty, so I lost the ability to find beauty elsewhere. I’ve only used my camera once in the last few weeks, and tellingly that was to take shots in darkness.

My life this year will be very different; moving house, seeing less of my family, and bidding farewell to the delights of Whitburn and the bay that has provided so much inspiration. However, finding a new source could be the inspiration I need to pick up my DSLR once more.

Already I’ve ventured into the new and strange world of online dating which has given me some degree of future focus, though whether that also leads to new places and new images who knows? I’m trying to keep my feet on the ground and balance any sense of optimism against the inevitable losses.

The future of the blog is unpredictable. It might morph into something completely different, or it may remain a photo blog with only occasional updates. Time will tell, but thank you for reading.

Happy New Year.