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2010

Still waiting for rain

Still waiting for rain

by Clare Mansell
Still waiting for rain

I am feeling rather envious of my friends in the UK at the moment with their chilly conditions and early winter snow. Here in Cyprus we are the other end of that same weather system and for us it has meant a particularly dry November.

It’s now been about 7 months since we had rain, by now the grass should be green, but instead everything is parched and dusty. This is not good news for our dogs either, in their brief encounters with grass they have been delirious, rolling in it, laying on it and eating it, and this year they’ll be waiting longer for that pleasure.

Waiting for rain

I must admit I am looking forward to our move to Scotland more and more, and to getting the dogs away from the island and safe from the poisonings and snakes. We should be leaving in April before Cyprus really heats up and then heading to Lossiemouth via my parents (who are literally at the other end of the UK!) before driving 12 hours up to the Highlands… with the dogs!

Our UK posting is going to mean we will be reunited with possessions we put into storage 4 years ago – before we were even married! I’ve forgotten most of what we have, but I do know I have clothes amongst it, which is a rather horrific thought!

Returning to the UK also means we’ll be able to buy some furniture of our own and I have been gently easing my husband into the idea that this will almost certainly involve thrift shops, antique markets and eBay. The biennial assembling and reconstructing of our Ikea furniture has come to symbolise the temporariness and blandness of our home, so I have grand ideas beyond the world of flatpack… we shall see if they come to fruition in the spring!

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Berengaria Hotel

Berengaria Hotel

by Clare Mansell
Berengara Hotel window Autumn at Berengaria
Berengaria top floor 

 I have always had a bit of a thing for abandoned places. It’s something about the heady concoction of the silence, the decay and the history that draws me in. Handily enough, because of it’s complicated history, Cyprus has a large number of derelict buildings, hotels and even old cars to explore.

Berengaria Hotel

Amongst the most impressive is the Berengaria Hotel, located 4600ft up in the Troodos Mountains, it was once one of Cyprus’s grandest residences. I only found out about it by chance, but once I’d navigated through a few photos on Flickr, I was itching to visit.
It was built in the 1920s and run successfully for 60 years, but after being bought in the 1980s it fell into disrepair. It’s lost its roof several times to arson attacks and the interior has been stripped out in anticipation of a renovation that’s never happened, but it’s still hauntingly beautiful.
The two 1960s swimming pools are relatively intact (if full of green water) and although the hotel has been stripped of absolutely everything, there were a few interesting bits of history in a derelict house in the grounds, including some of the hotels china…

Berengaria Hotel china

Its particularly fascinating to be able to compare the interior photos with what it looked like at its launch. Sadly after 25 years of neglect it seems unlikely it will ever open its doors again.
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Assignment finished!

Assignment finished!

by Clare Mansell

The deadline for the Guardian competition is on Sunday and I have finally finished putting the images together! It’s been an amazing few weeks. I set out with a grand plan to photograph the British military at work, fully knowing how difficult that was likely to be, but friends and colleagues rallied round and I had some incredible experiences getting the shots, most of which I sadly can’t tell you about! 🙂

I have learned huge amounts at a galloping pace and challenged myself on many levels. I am now going to wait and hope for a review of my photos on their website, and then see what the results of the competition are… I’ll keep you posted, in the meantime you can see the images here.

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Creations

Creations

by Clare Mansell
Macbook case 3

First of all I should say that I’m going to leave you hanging on our new posting for just a little longer. We may receive absolute confirmation we are going there in a call tomorrow, so I’ll wait till we hear that before I tell you more…

And whilst you wait with baited breath, I have creations to share! First off Jim baked brioche this weekend, it’s a recipe from Richard Bertinet’s book and the proving of the dough took 14 hours alone, well worth the wait though! I’ve blogged about Richard Bertinet before, we are big fans!

This weekend I have made two laptop cases for work colleagues. I made one last month, and then everyone wanted one! This one is my favourite, I think I’m going to have to make another for myself in this fabric…

And I also made an SLR camera strap, another special request from a friend. I plan to start selling these (and a few other bits) soon, so if like me, you are bored with having Nikon or Canon draped round your neck,watch this space, I’ll also be doing a giveaway when the shop is up and running!

Camera strap
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Still tweaking but…

Still tweaking but…

by Clare Mansell
Vehicle Support Specialist B&W

Photograph 2 of 6 for the competition is done! I was weighed down with tripods, reflectors and lenses (most of which I really have no idea how to use!) and in the end shot this with my least favourite lens and no extra equipment. My model was incredibly tolerant and in return I told him I’d get him a print to send to his mum!

Photo 3 of 6, the military Padre has also been taken, but I’m still debating which shot to use….  Hope your Monday was also productive!

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