And pray tell me, what exactly is wrong with a Captains hat teamed with an oversized pair of sunglasses and a pearl encrusted handbag?

I’m writing this post to appease my husband, well not so much to appease or mollify but to convey some of his concerns about my Blog, or specifically some of its imagery.     

Basically, he doesn’t want anyone who doesn’t already know me, to get the impression that I am a bit of silly cow who likes taking ‘selfies’ of herself, wearing stupid hats and/or pulling stupid faces.

Or furthermore, should I say that he wouldn’t want anyone who doesn’t already know me,  to think that he (he, being completely anonymous on this blog) is married to a bit of a silly cow who likes taking ‘selfies’ of herself, wearing stupid hats and/or pulling stupid faces.

Just so that we are completely clear on that.

Perhaps I should explain this a little better. In essence, he very much likes what I do, he is very proud and supportive of the fact that I have started writing and sharing my ‘talents’ as he puts it with the world. It’s just the pictures that he is not sure about.

He feels that they are somewhat ‘iffy’.

I will further explain.

When I started this blog, I had literally no idea what I was doing. I had no idea how to create a blog, no idea what I would write about and no idea if anyone would actually read it.

It was, if you like, a bit of rash decision and in my usual inimitable style of just absolutely winging it, I decided to go full steam ahead anyway, certain that at some point it would all just become perfectly, abundantly clear to me what it was that I should be doing.

As a writer, I am, of course, aware that plagiarism and using other people’s materials is a complete No No and therefore all content and material should be thoroughly original. This, I assumed, was also the case with any images. Except those expressly referenced, for instance, if I wanted to write a blog that included a reference to ‘Harry Potter’ and needed to include a picture, I could hardly whip up an original. I would, of course, have to use an existing picture and request permission for its use from the owner, whilst referencing the source etc. You get the point so far?

Anyway, I am definitely not a selfie queen. I have taken in my history of owning an Android phone, about three selfies in total.

Since I don’t get out all that often, what with me being the Virtual Recluse and all that, I had to kind of go through my archives of pictures to find anything that I thought would be suitable for use alongside my stories.

Amongst my enormous number of Google Photo images, there were various holiday snaps and pictures taken on special occasions but I could not really find the sort of thing I was looking for, I had a seemingly endless supply of pictures of wonderful craggy coves in Spain surrounded by glittering azure seas and deep, lush, emerald greenery, whole hosts of images of huge stone French Chateaux standing proud and firm against dark grey skies, I had picture upon picture of skillful, artful meals we have eaten at various restaurants on our various holidays or anniversaries, there were countless pictures of my husband and I toasting each other with various flutes of Champagne, Cava or Prosecco in a multitude of different outfits with an ever changing backdrop of scenery, but none of these were right for what I had in mind, until, that is, that I delved into some pictures taken at my brother’s wedding last year.

My brother and his wife got married in a huge sixteenth century barn, ‘Let’s get Married’ by the Proclaimers became the anthem for their wedding and the Groom (my brother), his nephews (the two young sons of his soon to be sister-in-law) and my husband all looked resplendent in their kilts of the Munro Clan and Black Watch Tartans. It was a marvellous day and……hang on….wait, let’s rewind a little here because there is actually quite a funny story in the proceedings.

We flew over to Hampshire on the 12th May (my birthday) so that we could arrive in plenty of time to help decorate and setup the barn on the Friday (13th) the day before the wedding on Saturday 14th.

Upon arriving late that afternoon, a little gathering of family had been assembled, I like to think it was a surprise party for my birthday but if I’m being honest, this lot need no excuse to crack open a bottle or nine of Champagne and since they had already started and were well on their way to merriment, I can hardly claim to have been the centre of attention. My sister-in-law to be had just had her nails done and had also been for her first ever fake tan (in preparation for her wedding of course) and was busy cracking jokes about the fact that she now looked like an Oompa Loompa and that if it hadn’t calmed down considerably after a shower the next day she would have to crack out the Swarfega

My brother was wandering around with a glass of red wine in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other, clearly thoroughly enjoying himself, Mama J (the mother of the bride) was on top form, the in-laws were in high spirits and it wasn’t long before myself, my husband and my Mum who had all just arrived, made ourselves right at home. The party moved from my sister-in-law’s brother’s house, back to their own house in order that they could put their young daughter (my niece) to bed and at one point we were all gathered midway between the two houses (they live very close to each other) on the street being a bit rowdy. I decided I fancied a ‘birthday cigarette’ (I do smoke occasionally) so I produced a delicate little pack of very slim, menthol cigarettes from my handbag. A small crowd of ex-smokers gathered around me, marvelling at the tiny little cigarettes, dreamily inhaling my second-hand smoke and before I knew it, under the guise of a ‘closer inspection’, they had pinched the pack off me and were now all standing there with a cigarette in each of their mouths, passing around my lighter and greedily puffing away, to exclamations of “Ahhhhhh lovely” or “God, I’ve missed this” . Even my brother had a cigarette in his mouth and he has never smoked. Bear in mind, if you will, that this was still only about seven o’clock in the evening and we were all already very merry, a group of rebel delinquents puffing away on cigarettes,  stood at the end of the driveway with champagne and wine glasses in our hands, some with bottles stuffed under their arm (supplies for later!) and using the bonnet of my Mum’s Estate car as an emergency table.

The evening continued much in this raucous vein, more bottles of Champagne were unstoppered and drained and eventually we ran out… by 10 o’clock we were all in the garden, passing around cigarettes and eager to do some shots….. my sister-in-law-to-be came out of the house with a tray of shot glasses and a bottle of Amaretto “It’s all I could find” she said shrugging her shoulders…. Did it stop any of us? Did it heck. Unperturbed we all did a shot or two of Amaretto. Bleugh………..disgusting!

Eventually, we drifted off on our separate ways to turn in for the night knowing that we had a busy and not ‘unimportant’ day to follow. My Mum was staying with my brother and her soon to be daughter-in-law, we were staying at Mama J’s, the in-laws wandered back home across the road. Peace and quiet were once again, restored to the neighbourhood.

The next morning we woke early to various stages of hangovers. My husband’s was immediate and a brisk walk and an emergency Snickers bar were involved, mine came on several hours later when we were already heavily involved in our duties, with the familiar stomach churning sensations, I felt like I had celebrated my birthday with a glass of Champagne for each and every one of my 44 years. Everyone, with the exception of my Mum who had remained fairly restrained the evening before, looked a little jaded, a little green around the gills and OH MY GOD there was so much to be done. There was an entire barn to decorate and furnish. There was Champagne, wine, beer and spirits sufficient to sink the Titanic to be unloaded and setup, it was as much as we could do to look at it without heaving. We were, of course, joined by other sensible family members, people who had not been involved in our impromptu evening of debauchery, people who had gone to bed at a reasonable hour with the work ahead in mind, without the need for Champagne, cigarettes and shots.

There were place names to be set from a seating order and a complicated plan for coloured seat covers with coordinating but not matching napkins, table decorations and balloons (Purple with Yellow, Orange with Green, Blue with Pink) It was too much for my addled brain. My sweet, chilled out sister-in-law-to-be, had several Bridezilla moments during the course of the day and we were all feeling tired, worse for wear and decidedly useless.

Who’s stupid idea was it to get drunk the night before, the day before, the big day anyway? I had a sneaky suspicion that no doubt I had been a big part in encouraging said shenanigans, certainly I find that if the words “stupid idea” are used then my name is rarely too far behind them, so I said as little as possible each time someone asked the obvious question. We plodded on through what seemed like a never ending day. Finally, by about six o’clock we had achieved all that we could at the barn, ahead of the day itself.

On the way home, my S.I.L.T.B. suddenly remembered that we still needed to get some flowers to make her bouquet with…..Yikes. A quick dash to Marks and Spencers followed and several premium bunches of large, colourful roses were acquired! Also, I had intended to have a practice run of her hair and makeup ready for the next morning, since she had asked me to help her with these and I had never done anyone else’s hair and makeup before but as seven o’clock approached and exhaustion set in, we finally conceded to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen and that we should all have some food, a reasonably early night and face the following day with a fresh new vigour.

The next morning I was up just before six o’clock. Everyone else was still asleep so I jumped in the shower, after which I checked the bouquet that I had made the night before which was wrapped and in the fridge to stay fresh. I made hot drinks and toast and took this into my husband. A little while later others started to surface. I made more hot drinks, my husband was charged with the early shift of entertaining our young niece and the womenfolk set about getting themselves ready. The ceremony was not until the afternoon so we had plenty of time. The mother of the bride went off to the hairdressers, my mother was still over at my brother’s getting ready herself and whilst my S.I.L.T.B. took a shower and prepared herself for me to do her hair and makeup, I set about doing my own makeup and getting my outfit ready so that I could concentrate on the ‘Bride To Be’.

We set up in the dining room, makeup, hair accessories, jewellery. My S.I.L.T.B. did not normally wear a lot of makeup, usually just mascara, so I was conscious that even with a very natural look, she may feel over made-up. Now that her fake tan had toned down to a nice healthy glow, she did not need foundation, just a little translucent face powder to keep the shine at bay. I brushed her cheeks lightly with a peachy coloured bronzer to accentuate her cheekbones. Her eyes were given a lift with a natural palette of eye shadows and just a smidge of brow definer, some mid-brown eyeliner was used on the upper lids to frame her beautiful blue eyes and mascara applied. Her lips were also kept natural with a creamy dusky rose. We pulled the top section of her blonde hair back into a slight bouffant which was fixed at the back using diamante and pearl hairpins and allowed her fringe to fall naturally, then, using curling tongs I gave her some lovely springy corkscrew curls to frame her pretty face. Simple pearl and marcasite earrings finished the look.

When she looked in the mirror, she gasped in genuine surprise “I look like a proper Bride” she squealed excitedly. Bless her for having the faith in me to achieve it and also for being totally over the moon with the end result. We were indeed, so carried away with how gorgeous she already looked that we completely forgot to even try the long veil that sadly remained hanging over the back of a dining chair, only to be discovered the next morning.

Later she slipped on her ivory lace, tea-length wedding dress and her ‘hot orange’ satin shoes and handing her the bright pink, yellow and orange bouquet and a glass of champagne we toasted the ‘Bride’ as we waited for the cars to arrive.

So, bringing us back to the start, the men were resplendent in full Prince Charlie regalia, flying both the colours of the Munro’s and the Black Watch, the Bride looked absolutely stunning, the barn was magnificent with its high cathedral ceiling, its stone walls and its funky colourful make-over. The Thai curry street food buffet served in the courtyard was bountiful. The Prosecco was free flowing and we had long forgotten about our hang-overs of the previous day. It truly was a fabulous day, full of love, fun and laughter.

As well as a Land Rover that served teas and coffees (very, very good coffee actually) and an ice cream van that served delicious farm made dairy ice cream, not to mention a whole host of other little treats that were available as you made your way around the barn, they also had one of those photo booth things, where you get to try on lots of silly hats, masks, feather boas, oversized glasses and pull lots of stupid faces, all loosened up by several bottles of Prosecco that naturally will have been downed in the course of the day. You also get to keep all the pictures.

Well, I guess I must have used the Photobooth five or six times that evening with various people, some cute ‘couples’ pictures with my husband, a set of four, daft pictures with our friends, a set with my new sister-in-law and her crazy mother, Mama J (aka The Horse) and a couple of other trips with my family and other animals! Ha Ha Ha Ha.

I have never really considered myself to be particularly photogenic so I have always been quite determined to try and look as fetching as possible, even if I am always horribly and depressingly disappointed with the final results. It is, therefore, quite rare to have pictures of me pulling silly faces, trying on silly hats and generally just having a laugh where photos are concerned.

This photo booth, however, possessed a touch of magic about it. It was the camera equivalent of a Grimms fairy tale mirror. No matter what hideous faces we pulled, it always seemed to portray us in a rather flattering light. At first I thought it was because I was seeing everything through a Prosecco infused haze and I imagined that when I looked at the pictures once sober, I would indeed decide that they were all utterly hideous but amazingly, even weeks later, they continued to delight and amuse me rather than shock and revile me and I decided that the stupid hats and the silly expressions were just the sort of self-deprecating imagery that was needed on a blog that is full of such nonsense, balderdash and gibberish.

My husband, very cautiously decided to voice his concerns to me one morning, whilst still maintaining his absolute, wholehearted support for my project but said that he felt, however, that some of these pictures might show me in a slightly silly light.

I thought about it for a few seconds before replying:

Well, I certainly bloody hope so

So I think we can safely say that it’s 1-0 to the slightly silly cow, wearing a silly hat and pulling a stupid face. Yesssss!





I can’t think where I get it from


My Dad  xxx






Thanks for reading,  just one more week away from another silly pic.

The Virtual Recluse

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