Kyokushin! Osu!

On the weekend of the 11th of July, my husband Sean (I still have to get used to that!) had a 1-day karate seminar with his sensei Brett. They asked me to shoot some images during the day and even to bring my wet-plating things for a few images.

We set off early and headed to their normal training location just outside Bury St Edmunds. They put the mats out in the hall, waited for everyone to arrive and started their warming up. In the meanwhile, I had set up my darkroom and chemicals and snapped some images of their group, on film and with my digital camera. I do still own a digital camera and what better use than a full-day sporting event?

They then went for a jog and workout sessions in the park next to the training hall. I had no idea in advance that I was supposed to run with them and I had not prepared for it; my leather shoes were soon biting into my feet, my arms weirdly clamped to my sides whilst trying to keep my 2 cameras in check – and that’s without mentioning my absolute lack of any sort of physical fitness! Huffing and puffing in the heat of the day I managed to get some nice shots of everyone in action and when they had their lunch break they gave me just enough time to shoot 1 wet plate of the full group. Luckily I had tested my chemicals the day before and I was only a little bit off on the timing! Yes!!

The afternoon program would take place at a friendly nearby gym where they would do bag work, so we packed my chemicals away in a speed-checked military drill and rode to the gym in convoy where I shot more film and digital images till quitting time around 16.30. I can honestly say this was the most intense shooting session I had had in a while, perhaps I should pick up a sport and build up some stamina!

 

_MG_9148-2

Their regular Sunday training hall – complete with blue and pin…. OOPS I meant BLOOD red mats.

Kyokushin by Yvette Storey (6)

Mac (centre) and Brett (Centre left)

_MG_9294-12

*pant * pant * pant *

119-5-4

Sean <3

_MG_9594-49

Best team photo *EVER*

_MG_9488-34

There were plenty of demonstrations throughout the day…

_MG_9601-51

…as well as work-out sessions..

_MG_9743-64

…and kumite (sparring).

Wet plate by Yvette Storey

During lunch, there was just time for 1 quick wet plate of the whole group. Even though I can see plenty of things wrong with it – I was very pleased with my 1-shot-1-kill plate on the day.

127-13-9

In the afternoon, instructions continued in the gym

Kyokushin by Yvette Storey (74)

Feel the burn!!

135-21-16

Kyokushin by Yvette Storey (91)

Training both balance and agility

Kyokushin by Yvette Storey (109)

There were a few rounds of hilarious fights in the ring

125-11-8

_MG_9945-79

But I think it’s fair to say that everyone was knackered at the end of the day. Well done everyone. Osu!!

 

 

Etsy pop-up at the Babylon gallery in Ely

Earlier this month our Etsy Cambridge team had another pop-up event on the calendar: a mixed shop at the Babylon Gallery in Ely on the 4th and 5th of July. The Sunday would coincide with Ely’s aquafest, and we were all looking forward to enjoying some sunshine on the river and cheering on the brave souls on their home made rafts.

We’ve had 23 of our sellers come together and over the space of 2 days (not accounting for the days and days of preparation – folding those boats did not happen overnight!) we built ourselves a beautiful shop in this luscious white space. The Saturday proved to be a fine and warm day, but unfortunately we did have plenty of summer showers on the Sunday. We did not even get to see many of the boats, it was just way too busy in the shop to leave! Thank goodness we had put up our own drinks stand….!

At the end of the event, the visitor counter hit 4275. After taking a guesstimate amount off for our own team members going in and out, the estimated visitor number lies around 2000. Not bad indeed, although I have to admit that Sasha’s gorgeous flyer design might have had something to do with this!

 

IMG_9109

Thursday: Placing of furniture, putting up origami decorations

IMG_9123

Thursday: putting out stock along the edges of the room

IMG_9112

Friday: setting up centrally

IMG_9099

This ladder is for sale too! www.1000crows.etsy.com

IMG_9115

Mixed seller display: Okko Skincare, DeLaUz, Sasha DeWitt studios, Anomaly Park, 1000crows (me!), Maureen Mace

IMG_9097

One of my photographic prints, which will become available in my newly set up shop Storey’s Silver Studios – www.storeyssilverstudios.etsy.com

IMG_9117

Mixed seller display: 1000crows (me!), Storeys Silver Studios (me again!), Louise Webber, Laura Evans, Claireabellemakes, Weaversfield

IMG_9119

The plinths available at the gallery were really useful

IMG_9098

Anomaly Park

IMG_9126

We actually had space at the till this time!

 

IMG_9133

Our little drinks stand <3

 

IMG_9134

Some of our ‘spare’ origami boats found their way outside

 

11148239_810888125673550_3024489564631707185_o

Sasha DeWitt’s beautiful flyer design

 

 

 

California Honeymoon

Monday, May 4th

We take our own car to Heathrow, as parking there for 2 weeks turns out to be about the same price as taking the train. No hauling suitcases for us and we arrive well on time. The moment we try to check in, it turns out that I made a stupid little mistake on Sean’s Esta, putting in an o instead of an 0, and he cannot be cleared to fly until we book another one on my mobile. This is super stressful but I am very glad that for the first time in a long while my phone just does what it’s asked to do.
About 12 hours later we are in the USA, collect our upgraded rental car and drive to the hotel. I am happy we brought out own satnav as I wouldn’t have wanted to navigate the streets of LA by map at night. Or by map at all! We arrive around 22:00 at the hotel.

IMG_7487

Tuesday, May 5th

After a rough and restless night we wake up silly early and cannot seem to go back to sleep. We get up at 6.30, have breakfast at the hotel around 7.30 and off for Hollywood. We see the walk of fame and sunset boulevard (which is a bit of a…dump) but we’re too early for most thing to even be open! After a much-needed coffee and a view of the Hollywood sign through a tourist binocular, we are off to see the sign closer-up.

We drive to the observatory through an amazing neighbourhood to a fantastic view over the city and hills. In the afternoon we go to the Citadel outlet shopping centre where we spend money on things we don’t really need; apart from my wetsuit ofcourse!

We have out dinner at a diner, which was a poor choice and more for convenience sake than anything else. Sean is hoping to join a local Kyukushin Dojo for their Tuesday training session tonight. He can, and does, and I for one am very impressed as I sit on the side trying really hard not to fall asleep….

IMG_7488

OMG

IMG_7492

IMG_7498

IMG_7506 IMG_7517

IMG_7528

IMG_7542 IMG_7543

IMG_7548

Wednesday, May 6th

We’re going to Disneyland!!! The ride over is smooth and after putting down $17 for parking we take the little tram to the entrance. The day start off great; The bobsled ride (Matterhorn) that Sean wants to go into, is closed for maintenance. We head into Toontown and get stuck in a ride that’s breaking down! Then we find out that pretty much all the big rides are closed – in all fairness, there was a list at the entrance, but we were way too excited to get in to look at it properly. We still have fun in several silly rides, have a blast with the great purchase of a pair of  Malificent horns (small children are easily convinced you are a villain on a day off) and going on Splash Mountain was a baaaad choice. The Indiana Jones ride, as well as the Finding Nemo submarines were an unexpected success. Then, as a final stroke of genius, the park shuts early!!!! At 19:00 things start shutting down, restaurants closing and everyone gets kicked out at 19:30…..Boooo!

IMG_7555

IMG_7559

IMG_7582

Thursday, May 7th

After a broken night due to an alarm going off, we get up, pack our bags and have breakfast. We fail to find the address to ‘It’s a wrap’ vintage shop on the satnav, so we point it toward Jack’s Surf outlet instead. We find it (disappointing), we find a secondhand bookshop nearby (also disappointing) and finally and most wonderful antique shop, filled with goodies. Ellie, the owner of Gramma’s Attic is lovely (and also went to the early-closing Disneyland yesterday) and we end up taking away a gorgeous black dress and a 1920’s-1930’s ice cream scoop. We then continue to Huntington beach where we have a great lunch at a ‘good food’ place and shop somewhat for bikini’s and surfboards. The weather is cloudy and a little chilly and there is no waves.

Later in the afternoon we take the I-5 south to San Diego. Along the way we managed to slow puncture the front tire, which we keep filling up and after checking into the hotel we exchange the car at Dollar rental. Since we’re already in that area we go into Old Town for some Mexican food.

IMG_7592

IMG_7595 IMG_7596

Friday, May 8th

Tonight, and this morning in San Diego it doesn’t just rain – it pours! Bad news for us is that this means that we cannot go surfing, unless we’d like to risk infections and/ or becoming very ill. Apparently, when it rains after a dry spell, all the crap from the city washes into the sea. Not only that, they get the rubbish from Mexico on top of that! Needless to say, we stay on dry land today. We talk a while with a surf dude at ‘the Surf Bunker’ named Travis, who recommends going to the Wavehouse further down the road. With our luck though, its closed! Closed!!

Thank goodness there is an arcade next door that is open and we throw some quarters at our misery. Afterwards, we drive to San Diego antique district where we have beautiful burritos for lunch / early dinner and shop around a little. Sean even manages to find some retro games to take home. We then ask the satnav to take us to a cinema, to have a look if there is anything we want to see perhaps, it guides us to Sea World… which is closed….and after resetting the directions to another cinema it doesn’t have anything we’d like to see.

Back at the hotel, we walk to a pizza place for cake and margaritas and quickly jump into the hotel pool before it shuts for the night.

IMG_7633

IMG_7626

IMG_7617 IMG_7616

Saturday, May 9th

We check out of our hotel in the morning, drive to the same Japanese-run fruit-and-crepe place we had breakfast yesterday and then go on to a secondhand board shop we passed yesterday (you may have guessed by now that it was closed at that time). Sean finds himself a great board, just what he was looking for. Across the road there is a kite festival going on and we decide to join in by getting ourselves a dragon kite. We have ice creams, enjoy the show and the great weather for today the sun is out in force!

At around 13:00 we set our satnav back to LA, first to the Anaheim center of photography. We arrive around 16:30 – it looks abandoned and it’s… CLOSED! When the machine wants to charge us $14 for the privilege of undergoing this nonsense, I throw a little fit and get back in the car without paying the ticket. Lucky for me, a kind lady actually lets us out of the complex. We try the Getty instead. The satnav guides us to the rear of the building and after some cursing, swearing and honking by my fellow road users, we arrive at the Getty. Which is open!

We view their photography collection on display and after being thoroughly disappointed with the (second half of the) day, we pay for parking and head towards our hotel.

IMG_7650

IMG_7666

Sunday, May 10th

Today, we’re off to the Rosebowl, a giant monthly fleamarket held in Pasadena, LA. We get up at 6:30, enjoy our complimentary breakfast, pack up and we’re on our way. We get there nice and early around 7:30 and dang! They did not lie when they said it was big! We decide to skip all the new stuff as we won’t have time for that and focus on the antiques and vintage clothing sections as those will be hard enough to cover as-is. There is some amazing stuff for sale on this market – some cheap, some bizar, some wonderful and everything suited for every budget. We manage to find some amazing things: I get a short dress with apple print, a small musical box with a dancing man, a flight suit and a full leather sports / weekend bag. Sean finds a retro skateboard deck, fully made of wood and a bunch of retro games.

With pain in my heart, we leave around 13:00 to head for Vegas.

Driving through the Mojave desert is not as I imagined it. It’s not actually very desolate with petrol stations around every other corner – and what’s up with those little fences next to the Motorway? Are they afraid people will wander off into nowhere? We stop a few times and reach Vegas around 18:00. We booked a room at the Luxor (the pyramid) and after refreshing ourselves, I change into my old new black Cinderella dress for dinner and we take a walk on the strip.

IMG_7672

96-10

98-11

99-12

IMG_7705 IMG_7710

Monday, May 11th

We agree that Vegas is a little like Disneyland meets Times Square; the buildings are mad and everything is expensive around here. Even though we are – I am – happy to have seen it, we’re also happy to have been here at night time. It looks so …. dead… during the day! We drive towards the North side of the strip to try and find the ‘World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop’ from the TV show. It’s a lot smaller than we thought it would be and after checking out the other shops as well, just across the street we set off for Death Valley.

Today’s drive will be out longest, according to our planning so wanting a fairly early start we leave Vegas at 11:00. Within the hour, there are plains with Joshua trees, mountain ranges and vast open spaces of hostile rocky terrain. We see sand dunes, salt flats, gravel pits, dust plain, dust devils and snowy hilltops. This is amazing and I am a little sad that I ‘only’ brought my medium format camera with me, instead of a proper proper old big one.

We get to our destination, a hotel at a half-way point at around 20:30, half an hour before reception closes for the night. We settle in with some store-bought cheesecake and a B horror movie. And I can tell you that watching a B-horror movie, set in a small town in the middle of nowhere is NOT a good thing to watch when staying overnight in a small town in the middle of nowhere!

IMG_7725 IMG_7727

IMG_7728

IMG_7735

IMG_7744

IMG_7752 IMG_7753

65-6

84-9

Tuesday, May 12th

After a restless night we pack up and go find breakfast in the nearest town. We have a look around some small shops, get a drink in the saloon (it has horse ties and swinging doors and everything!) and set course for the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park. Our hotel keeper advised us a different route than satnav wanted us to take, so we drove for many a mile through orange growing country before going off into the hills again. Along the way we stop at a lovely antiques shop where I manage to find a few stereo cards to add to my ever growing collection.

Going through Sequoia National Park is tough – an hours of slowly winding upwards, fortunately with stunning views to easy my pain. We reach the old man around 17:00, have a good look around – but not too good as it’s freezing cold up here – and then go find food and out hotel for the night.

IMG_7813 IMG_7808

IMG_7815

IMG_7819

IMG_7829

Sherman! Buddy!

IMG_7839

IMG_7830

58-5

Wednesday, May 13th

We leave the hotel early in the morning, after some amazing complimentary self-cooked waffles. Today we’ll be setting course for Yosemite National Park. We drive a while and stop along the way at some random antique shops and I manage to find myself a beast of an X-ray lens. I don’t yet know how I should be using it – let’s just say it won’t be for original purposes. We reach Yosemite proper at around 13:00, drive a little further in but do not really have time to do a walk as we had planned as we’ll need to reach San Fran by the end of today. We also managed to miss inspiration point, but I suppose the Tunnel view vantage point more than made up for that. We also have our lunch there, on a log next to a stream….ahhh. Relaxation! It’s out first ‘normal’ sandwiches we have had here and the desert we got – a cake/custard vanilla/ banana whatever sort of pudding mix – is utterly delicious!

Then, we drive another 3+ hours to San Francisco, arriving at around 19:30. We check online for tickets to Alcatraz, but as it turns out, May is not a slow season around here and everything is sold out! The night tours are even sold out for the next 2 months! Oh well, we head out for a slice of pizza and dive into a book shop that’s open late.

36-3

48-4

IMG_7849 IMG_7860 IMG_7861

IMG_7873

IMG_7885

Thursday, May 14th

Today we’ll be spending the day in San Fransisco. Going up Polk street, we have breakfast at a ‘French’ Boulangerie place, having coffee from a cereal bowl (honestly, these Americans! ;-)) Visiting the Fisherman’s Wharf, we quickly determine this is NOT for us as the area is overly touristy and walking onwards to the Alcatraz landing dock we see that normal tours are booked up till Tuesday. Sean does receive some kind compliments on his wooden skateboard deck from the local bums, which is nice. We take a street tram towards Mission street – we are hoping to find a skate shop that can fit Sean’s deck with some trucks and wheels. We find one and he gets the work done.

We carry on a few blocks to a bunch of Antique and thrift stores before going towards Chinatown. Chinatown, like Fisherman’s wharf is unfortunately yet another tourist trap. We do sit in at a great teashop, having a full-on taster session with the salesgirl. We opted for dinner at the ‘Great Eastern Restaurant’, a place where apparently Barack Obama once had a Dim Sum take-away, or so the proudly displayed newspaper clipping tells us. We walk back to the Hotel UP the giant sloping hills, wandering what it would be like to live here (and having to carry shopping bags up this hill….and what if you forgot the butter….?)

IMG_7890

32-1 IMG_7907 IMG_7913

Friday, May 15th

We walk over to Lombard street ‘the crookedest street in the world’ – which was yet again, disappointing. We walk back to our hotel to check out and head over to Santa Cruz instead. Sadly for us, there’s not much surf going on. The winds are fierce (and a bit chilly). We park at the hotel, take a walk on the pier where we spot a group of sea lions chilling out, go over the boardwalk and have some hotdogs for lunch. The place we decided to sit down at, the picnic basket also does these amazing wild flavours of ice cream, most of them from local farms.

We take the car for a drive round some other beaches in the area and to a local surfshop to get Sean a boardbag. We visit the museum of surfing at the lighthouse and then lo and behold! There’s waves!! Sean heads out on his new board, we meet a new surfer in the area and help him out a bit. Afterwards, we head into the Santa Cruz main street for dinner and some late night shopping. I could get used to shops being open till 22:00!

33-2

IMG_7978 IMG_7939

IMG_7944

70-7

Saturday, May 16th

We have some complimentary waffles and head out to the beach. Again, no waves! Instead, we check out some of the sample sales advertised along the roads and make several unplanned stops for yard sales in between. At a local surfshop, Sean finds some tiny fins to go with his board and I find some vintage clothing to put on Etsy. Win!

We then drive South along the Coastal Highway, stopping countless times to take photos. When we arrive at our hotel for tonight, the historic Santa Maria Inn, it turns out that it played host to the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Eva Gardner, Judy Garland, etc etc. No=one famous stayed in our room, however. We take it easy for the night as there is nothing to do or see in this area.

IMG_8006

IMG_8008

IMG_8009 IMG_8023

IMG_8032

IMG_8042

Sunday, May 17th

We get up quite late and re-pack all of our stuff. My hand luggage now has a killer weight due to that massive ‘radioactive’ lens I just ‘had’ to buy. We enjoy a continental breakfast and set off to Venice beach, where we booked the last hotel of this trip. We are hoping to meet up with James Cooper, one of Sean’s former colleagues who lives somewhere in the area. We arrive fairly early and after a bit of faff parking the car, we walk up to Santa Monica Boulevard, play a few games in the arcade and end up at ‘Hama Sushi’ in Venice for food. They are not the cheapest place, I’m sure, but their dishes seem quite original and sure were tasty!

IMG_8063

IMG_8076 IMG_8068

IMG_8057

Monday, May 18th

It is our final morning and again, there are no waves! We have been unlucky on this trip with quite a few things, but thank goodness there was also plenty fun stuff and more than enough to make us want to come back!

We have out breakfast at a nearby cafe, complete with building site ambience. We grab the car, check out a few shops on the South side of Venice and then drive towards Santa Monica. There, we get bored real quick with the dime-a-dozen up-scale shops, but we do manage to find a massive charity shop. We have crepes for lunch and head back to the car. The car!! Where did that car go!!!!

PANIC STATIONS EVERYONE!!! WHERE DID THAT CAR GO!?!?!

Turns out we were looking in the wrong building…..sigh….

The rest of the day runs smoothly, dropping off the car, getting to the airport and faking my hand luggage really isn’t that heavy at all. Bye bye California! We hope to visit again soon!

IMG_8093