My Top 11 Photos of 2011

I joined Google+ in October and started participating for real about three weeks ago.  I’m enjoying it, not only as a great platform to show off my work and see what other photographers are up to, but also as a place to get a challenge or two.
Recently we were  invited everyone to post our top 11 photographs of the year.
After a lot of sifting through my back catalogue – searching, choosing, discarding, re-choosing – with a sigh of relief (and a big round of applause) here are
my Top 11:

Kitsilano Pool, Vancouver, BC, Canada
May 2011

Academic Bikes

Oxford, UK
October 2011


Birmingham, UK
December 2011


Pacific Rim, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
September 2011


Fraser River, Vancouver, BC, Canada
August 2011

Edge of the World

Pacific Rim, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
September 2011

Cottage Country

Six Mile Lake, Ontario, Canada
August 2011

Touching the Sky

Canmore, Alberta, Canada
July 2011

Garlic – Yum!

Burlington, Ontario, Canada
August 2011

The Other Photographer

Pacific Rim, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
September 2011

Not Gone Fishing

Dungeness, Kent, UK
March 2011
I do hope you like them (or at least one of them!!!) and please come and visit me on Google+ as Julie Mellors or The Truly Useful Company.    It’s fun!

10 Weird Things You’ll Miss If You Stay Home

If you never want to leave home, skip this post. 
If you want to stay in and not miss any episodes of X-Nauseating, skip this post.
If you think a trip to the shops is excitement enough, skip this post.

But if you want to know what’s out there, here’s a personally obtained sample 🙂
Incredible towel art in Cuba
Such extravagance
I could do an entire posting of just these!! 
The only trouble is you have still have to make the bed
Do the Italian’s know he’s missing?
Surfer’s Paradise, Australia
So wildly out of place
Stunning covered tropical garden complete with turtles
Where else do you go after drinks and before dinner in Spain’s capital?

Of course I got my letter
This is the only photo I’m allowed to show Muggles
Just in case you lose your train of thought, you can find it here
The Green Gypsy Caravan
South Island, New Zealand
Highly specialized staff  required
Are you supposed to tip extra?
In Andalusia you can witness the impossible!
Granada, Spain, it’s not just the Alhambra that’s unique!
Friendly family holidays in New Zealand for all sorts of families
South Island, New Zealand
Cow in denim
Lubeck, Germany
Me hanging out with the locals
Brisbane, Australia
Hope you enjoyed these photos.  I definitely enjoyed getting them

2822 Miles by Bus – Toronto, Ontario to Nanaimo, British Columbia or Bust!

This summer, in a mad moment I decided to see Canada by bus.  Well half of Canada.

Overall (as there were a few glitches) it was a great experience and an amazing opportunity to see this beautiful country.

Bring sandwiches!

Where it all started – Toronto
The first loyal steed! Greyhound – Toronto to Winnipeg
Why Sudbury isn’t well known for fresh air
Highway 17 – One of a 1000 lakes!
Highway 17 – A few of a million trees!
Highway 17 – Canadian Shield country
Somewhere in Northern Ontario
Cheeky Monkey – One of my traveling companions
Lots and lots of trains – heaven for trainspotters!
Sunrise in Saskatchewan
Little house on the prairie
Big sky country!
Security line up in Calgary
The view of TranCanada from the back of the bus
Rocky Mountains, Alberta
Big ooooh and ahhhs people 🙂
Really, really early into Vancouver
And so worth getting up for!

Off the bus and onto the ferry

Finally at my parents, north of Nanaimo
Happy and tired so not at my most glamorous
Off for a long shower!!

Life 101 – Why It’s OK For Good Plans To Fail

One thing I can say for sure, is that this year has not been dull. For a variety of very good reasons, after 15 years abroad, I moved back  to Canada. Hurrah for dual citizenship! However, after a few months the wisdom of the move is precariously in question. (Update – I moved back to the UK in October, no regrets :-))

I haven’t made any definite decisions about the future (I know which way I am leaning heavily towards) but I have made one decision:  I won’t  beat myself up about the possibility of having made a mistake!

What I’ve learned by making good plans that worked, or went awry or by following bad plans that worked, or went awry, is that sh*t happens.  You can dwell incessantly on what you could have, should would, have done and then one day you’ll have to move on and get over it! 

Yes but no guarantees on the answer!
Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC – 2011

So before jumping head long into my next cunning plan, here’s what I’ve learned from my life so far and most recently this experience:

1.  You definitely learn new things about yourself. What you will and won’t put up with becomes much more clear as does what you can and cannot do.  You also realise  you can be pretty ruthless if you have to be.  Good news is you are also incredibly kind and generous.  Overall you reach a nice balance by becoming much more understanding of other human’s foibles.

2.  You find out who your friends really are.  Those fair weather people who just want things from you (time, money, validation etc), well they just disappear because you are not longer so freely available.  Your real friends take that phone call at 1 in the morning because you just need to talk (and you screwed up the time difference).

3.  New uses/ways are learned for old things.  When packing up two suitcases and two boxes for a big move you need to make sure it’s really worth hauling across the globe. Yes my complete collection of House on DVD is worth it!

Sometimes the mad plan works out  spectacularly 🙂
Long Mynd, Shropshire, UK – 2009

4.  Confidence and independence increases.  It’s OK to say you’re new and that things are confusing but you have to rely on those gut feelings and ensure you aren’t taken advantage of.  eg. I have learned (once again) house-sharing is not for me.  I will never again be seduced by a big window and a fancy desk.

5.  At parties you’ll be a stellar guest with the been there done that stories. Tread carefully as here, you could easily become a bore if you over do it.  Oh, you definitely add to your repertoire of insightful, funny, tragic stories. Have I ever told you the one about…..?

6.  You can share wisdom as in be a good example and not a horrible warning.  Don’t become the poster child for  “how not to experience life”, become a connoisseur and revel in the good bits version.  However no candy coating here.  If something went horribly wrong and there is a point to the story then share but don’t dwell.  Victimhood not welcome!

7.  When you realise the error of your ways, you enable yourself to make better future choices. Because after a few “mistakes” everyone learns to avoid a few real clangers!

8.  What’s really important to you is clarified.  Sometimes you have to do it the hard way to find out what you really care about and what really matters to you.  And it’s not stuff and things.

9.  Mistakes make life a lot more interesting.  I have friends who’ve had the same job for 20 something years.  They’re still waiting to go to Rome, take a boat out to Milford Sound and drive across the Rockies.  Sometimes I’m jealous but then I remember I’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt.  Yep also had the indecent proposal in Vancouver, the bear in my campsite in Ontario and the car break down in the Australian bush. Life’s rich tapestry.

Lake Louise, Alberta
July 2005

10. Pride – you know you’ve tried.  No one can ever say you didn’t give it your all.  There is no shame in changing your mind but it would be a shame if you have no mind to change.

And sometimes a “mistake”, isn’t a mistake.  It’s just called having a life.

I’ll let you know what happens



Hello, goodbye – Just for a bit :-)

Due my current situation (in traveling mode), this blog will be going on a hiatus.
See you again soon 🙂
Highway 5, Ontario, Canada
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by
the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. 
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. 
Catch the trade winds in your sails. 
Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

Why You Should Really Go To New Zealand – Sheep, Shoes and Compostable Loos

Sorry folks.  Giving Social Media “how tos” a rest.  I’m just not in the “zone”.

Beside doing “information” as a profession and as a hobby, I’ve also been know to travel.  
You’ve seen all the gorgeous beaches, the lovely sunsets, the fantastic surf and plethora of vineyards that New Zealand has to offer.   But have you seen the REAL New Zealand?

This is a handpicked selection of my photos on why you should go (as if you even need convincing!). 

Because you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a 15 foot kiwi.

 Intriguing folk art of very large bugs
Punakaiki, South Island

 The fantastic compostable loos at the 
unforgettable Mussel Inn
and something to read while passing the “time”
Onekaka, Golden Bay, South Island
 Always caring, helpful advice
Somewhere west of Riverton, South Island
 The Men’s showers.
For the Girls, Xena is on the other side
Porpoise Bay campsite, South Island
 Waiting for the Post
Dairy farm on the North Island
Traffic jam
East Cape, North Island
Because there aren’t enough sheep 
already, some life like replicants
Havelock, North Island
As promised a very large Kiwi
Somewhere around Wainui Bay, South Island
 Shoes, just shoes
Dunno, was a bit lost – South Island
Beach sculpture 
New Zealand Day celebrations
Fox River, South Island
The most southern point of New Zealand
Just to prove I WAS there
Insightful Social Media revelations back next week.

It’s Different in Canada….How they Celebrate the Festive Season – Part 2

Last week I entranced you with my holiday photos from Vancouver.  This week you can shiver at the cold in the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia and Alberta.

Going over Revelstoke Pass on the way to Alberta
Hardy Canadian and Canadian icon
Less Hardy Canadians indulge indoors 
Tim Hortons a great Canadian tradition
Highway sign – Back on the road
Another hardy Canadian
Taken just outside my brother’s condo
New Year’s Eve in Canmore, Alberta
But we went to Party on the Pond anyway!
Canmore, Alberta
Me getting ready to go out
Even the family dog has to wear booties!

It’s Different in Canada….How they Celebrate the Festive Season – Part 1

Yes, I’ve been away, thus the articles on Cloud Computing and semi successful Location Independence.  Now I have my Mac back and I’ve started sorted through a few of the 1400 photos I took.
Don’t recoil in horror, I won’t make you look at them all!!!
I spent the festive season with my friends and family in British Columbia and Alberta and I thought you like to know how they celebrate in the Great White North.
So for your visual delectation, Christmas in Vancouver, BC
Disclaimer – These are snaps!  Not up to my usual standards are photographic excellence %-)
Jingle Dog!!
 They take pride in their work

Ocean Cement Co., Granville Island
The Gingerbread House at VanDusen Botanical Gardens
Even more lights at VanDusen Botanical Gardens
Decorating the Tree
Kidsbooks – not just books for Kids!
Happy Santa?
Peking Lounge, Chinatown
Even the family vehicle isn’t left out
Next week I’ll regale you with New Year’s in Alberta.  Just 900 more photos to sift through…..