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I picked up these conkers on my photo walk around the village yesterday, and put them in the fridge to keep them as fresh as possible until I got round to photographing them. I think the fridge may now be full of tiny bugs – but you can’t have everything.

My resolution to get out and do some work in the garden today fell at the first hurdle: my back had clearly taken the threat seriously, and began playing up overnight, so I slept badly and got up stiff, sore and grumpy. So it was another morning at my desk – this time going through some photo files from a couple of years ago, and deleting all the ones I couldn’t find a reason for keeping. In some ways it’s rather heartening to look back to what is really a fairly short time ago, and realise how much my skills have improved, and how much higher my standards are now than they were then. Though to be fair, I’ve also acquired much better lenses in that time, and I’m now examining my shots on a huge, high-resolution screen, which emphasises every flaw. I read a furious rant by a retired person on Facebook today, complaining about the fact that people who are using much more expensive gear than he can afford keep smugly repeating a line he finds offensive, that it’s the skill of the photographer that creates a good photo and not expensive equipment – and though I didn’t absolutely agree with him I did take his point. The best equipment in the world won’t help you if you’re a rotten photographer; but however good you are, poor equipment will definitely limit your potential to produce good images.

This afternoon I went for a fast walk around the boundary of the village with R (who has also hurt his back, and therefore can’t run at the moment). It was good to be out in the fresh air and working hard enough to get a little out of breath, but I came home racked with memories of walking the dogs around that same route – Arthur always liked to persuade me to do the outer circuit of the village if possible, while Roley, who was a lazy little swine, would desperately try to pull us down every possible short cut that might get him back to his sofa quicker. There were days when having to do two dog walks felt like a massive chore – but today I was so envious of people who were out and about with their dogs that it was all I could do to smile and make like a nice person.

I hadn’t taken a camera with me, so as not to interrupt the walking – so when we got back home and I started to think about a blip I was glad to remember that there were conkers in the fridge. And relieved to find that R hadn’t eaten them for lunch.