Where/what is your comfort zone...your escape?

Mine is seated in a comfortable computer chair sitting in front of my computer screen. Anglepoise lamp on one side and with radiant heater warming my legs – sit there for hours sometimes, absorbed and losing track of time. Feel safe there. Turn my head and see the cherry tree branches outside the window and the sky and clouds above.

Accompanied by my big Yeti insulated tea mug – stays hot for hours! And often with one of my cats snoozing on top of a warm computer.

I’m sure we all have our comfort zones. What’s yours?


Sounds very cosy Bonzocat! Twice a week or so, once I have put by bags of shopping in the car, or collected my order of bread and croissants,I like to have a walk with my camera at the ready. The frosty landscape yesterday was super. And it’s nice to walk around streets empty of tourists! It feels like an escape from just walking round the garden, gathering up the leaves or sitting in front of the computer screen.


On the one hand I do waste hours ‘sitting in front of my computer screen’. On the other hand, one of my favourite ways of spending time is in exactly the same position but editing my photographs with Adobe Lightroom.

This software really has made it possible to ‘paint with light’. I don’t mean making montages with Photoshop - dropping a UFO onto a moonlit picture of Glastonbury Tor, for example - but using the software’s capabilties to remedy the inevitable shortcomings of the original image or simply enhancing what is already looking promising - tweaking.

Occupied thus, I can go all day, missing meals, getting a square bum … It’s enormously satisfying.

Friends have a lovely country house on the edge of Exmoor. It’s listed on Air BnB and ‘Home and Away’ - it can sleep 20, so is v popular with family groups celebrating an event.

The photograph of the dining table was obviously one of the most important to show off the house. It took a couple of hours to set it up to photograph and at least another couple of hours to get Lightroom to make the most of it.

For example, the sheen on the backs of the leather chairs was present but needed lifting just a little. Each candle flame had to be controlled. Each plate had to be lifted a little as they receded. The fireplace was a black hole but the data was there in the RAW file and was brought out. The lantern had to be carefully treated to look believable. The foil on the far bottle of fizz was given a lift. The label on the near bottle was also lifted.

It took a great deal of time and careful thought, but I don’t think it looks fake. It was a gas to do.


I like cosy – very comforting.

I used to go out in the early morning with my camera – a little wild flower poking its head out of a ditch, oddly shaped tree or an ancient tractor rusting away.

When I get my new battery tricycle I shall be off out into the fields and tractor trails with the camera again. Can’t wait!


Phew, that photo must have taken a lot of patience!

I use Adobe Elements and like you love to enhance or mess about with images and videos.

And I do too, sit there sometimes, not eating, not really thinking about anything except to get finished what’s started.

I began sending off images to Dreamstime Image Library - USA. Never thought that anyone would want to buy one of my photos – but did, but just one! Sorry little photo of an abandoned fox terrier, FiFi, who turned up at my garden gate and adopted me. She was pretty well depressed for a while, and I think it shows in the photo.

No money in photography unless you do it for a living though.

On one of my photo expeditions into town (Saintes) unexpectedly found a chateau in dire need of repair.

Will we get told off for uploading photos in this thread….!


Looks like great walking countryside Fleur.

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Just thought I’d show Fifi a few months later, on the sunbed, looking relaxed and happy, and ready for instant action!


My escape, is to take a walk around the two small fields which I’m trying to change from grass to wildflower meadows. I’ve also got a small square bit of field nearer the house in which I’m planting ‘rescued’ fruit trees (the peach saplings found growing in the midst of the sumac/staghorn copse, for example) and whatever I find around, and throughout this patch I’ve mowed some paths. It’s called Mary’s Meander. I like to walk through that patch and just see how the trees and bushes are doing, and then walk down the sides of the fields toward the pond and check on the trees I’ve planted. They range in height from inches to eight-feet tall: pine trees and beech, a red oak, and some other oaks, and two alders down by the small pond… At this point in my life in France, I suppose that taking stock of my gardening work and its growth helps remind me of my progress. Slow but steady. I suppose someday I’ll be able to say that my art is my ‘escape’ which, like some of you were describing, I hope will allow me to lose myself for hours. But for now, at this stage, it’s watching the saplings and bushes getting stuck in.


I have a few….

The everyday moments when we rouse from Dreamtime and I open the back door to let everyone out for a wee…:grinning:

Maybe half hour later grabbing a coffee and sitting on the back step watching the sunrise…

Now it’s getting colder another comfort zone is gas heater on around 6pm and getting under a blanket on the sofa for a “let’s put our feet up for 5 minutes” while my collies relax on their blankets with a natural chew…(my pup bounds onto the sofa in sheer excitement so I have a bit of difficulty actually getting onto the sofa to put my feet up but it’s so funny it’s part of my comfort zone routine at the minute :grinning:)


What’s a natural chew please ?

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At the minute they’ve got bully sticks

Aka pizzle sticks and I think in French they are cimiers

They are a definite favourite and they last a while….

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Good on you MaryW, sounds like you’re doing your bit for the environment – trees, wildflower meadows and pond. Lots there to help nature recover.


I am learning to adapt to a changing life due to an arthritic spine problem. Whereas I used to get up at around 5.30am and sit and spin for a couple of hours with just the corner light on next to the fire that stayed in overnight; I now wake up and refresh my hot water bottle and sit in bed and knit with the heater on low in my bedroom. The house is still quiet and the 5 cats, 3 dogs and 28 assorted hens and chicks and 14 sheep are all quiet also. I watch the light change and listen to the young ones waiting for their school bus.


Poetry :slight_smile:


Reading it, or composing it?

Both . . . :slight_smile:

I like poetry too, and have listened mainly to BBC’s Roger McGough programmes, for centuries!

I prefer to hear poetry spoken than trying to read it – so much more is brought to it by hearing it spoken than by my reading it.

Have done my fair share of writing but the results will remain forever anonymous!

I’m a bit at two with reading poetry. I don’t really know why. Sometimes I find it is too affecting. Or it’s simply incomprehensible to me. I have friends, a husband and wife who, along with Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, must be the only married couples both with entries in the Oxford Book of 20th Century Verse. The poems of both my friends are entirely beyond me.

But as for listening to it, I can get along with just one piece, ‘The Four Quartets’ read by the poet, T.S. Eliot. There is the ‘thespian’ take on it, read by Paul Scofield but Eliot’s somewhat droning delivery I find entirely mesmerising

And as for the line, "Thirty years, largely wasted… " Gets me every time.

I bought 2 LPs, before CDs existed, I think, of Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas.

And I so much prefer Richard Burton’s BBC rendition of it than the author’s, which I found boring and monotonous to listen to. I need the dramatic sprucing up that Richard Burton & Cast brings to it. His version is magic to me!

Have just read a bit of the written version and hear RB, not DT, in my mind!

For me, the voice and it’s delivery is as important as the words. When all come together as a whole, are compatible, I am satisfied. A lazy reader am I perhaps, wanting someone else to prepare it for me - like a good meal!

Seamus Heaney reading his own translation of Beowolf (or indeed anything). The cadence of an Irish poet, even when speaking in English.

Incidentally, I think (but happy to be proved wrong) that Ireland is one of the few Catholic cultures where the oral/literary tradtion was much stronger than the visual one (Yes, I do know of Heaney’s NI background) But historically on the island of Ireland, while the visually symbolic had been important - eg the amazing and scarily fragile,high crosses that have survived for so long over th ecenturies. by cotrast, the image was never central to Irish cultural identity (please don’t cite tourist images of shamrocks, shillealeighs or leprauchauns as evidence to the contrary!)