Locked away from all the systematic change outdoors, encapsulated in a world of renovation and down-sizing.
With the dwindled calendar of photography work, an opportunity to pretend to be a plasterer, decorator and fixer of houses.
The wonder of YouTube and "how to" clips and suddenly we are all professionals. The pretence begins to whine down once those first ripples of un-straighten walls bulge and shadow in low-light. Fortunately my days in photography are not numbered just yet.
Curiously this full time fondness of all things DIY has led to an upsurge in drinking coffee. I had never realised there was a connection and occurs generally as soon as you reach a snag in your work. Those moment to ponder and reminding yourself from Eric the Welsh plasterer's YouTube channel once more.
Come post lockdown/ post tier down there is a lot of finger's crossed for next year from 'to be married' couples, event organisers and suppliers. But being pragmatic, it's a long road to recover from this year's hurricane of bad news. This time of year may have been usually reserved for reflection and celebration of the last twelve months, but instead it's more of forget and hope.
The sound of drilling as our builder concentrates on demolishing the back wall of our house. It is a photographer's DIY period of the year.
Another expletive but a chuckle at how hard our bricks are. The full throttle of his work vibrating the laptop screen so much to give a whole new meaning to camera shake whilst I summarise through last year's pictures.
In a way January is always stressful, scheduling hopeful work for the months ahead after the heavy recuperation of New Year celebrations.
This time the added burden of builder Bob (he could be Phil, John, Ron) and the task of deciding bathroom and kitchen layouts with my other half. My job as a photographer has taken a backseat until that correct bathroom shade of colour is agreed.
So please do invite me away for a cup of tea even if you don't require my photographic services right this minute..
As a form of meditation and escapism digging a vegetable patch in the back garden has taken precedence in these mixed weather days we are having. A chance for my thoughts to meander, and my shooting finger to recuperate from those gruelling 1500 picture weddings.
Through the quieter times a reason to look back and update the website (see weddings 2019). Possibly the most hardest issue as a photographer is to be your own critic. Hence why my selection from this year of so-called 'best of' may not be everybody's 'best of'.
When I look back on a wedding picture selection I hope to see a collection, it's the way I mostly shoot. I don't want a single individual brilliance, although it might help to have that flare occasionally. But instead I try to portray a storyline with stills, generally I get it.
That's what makes it harder to pick out the highlights, the day was the highlight, the memories were as well. The single frame is for the artist, what you learn from and work with from the masters in the field of photography.
Currently I am being bombarded with entry requests for wedding photograph of the year style competitions. How do you judge? They were not at the wedding. How would they know the picture reflects any truth, where's the honesty in some super-duper back lit spectacular image? They aren't going to except my picture of a groom smashing a defensively clearance in an impromptu football match during a wedding reception.
Rant over, one more plot to dig.
Mustn't grumble, the summer season wasn't all that bad. Through wind, rain and occasionally very hot sun I explored new corners of the East of England with a bit of London thrown in. Different smily faces, laughs and tumbles. The occasional drunken lurch towards my camera but mostly I was an un-noticed observer, an artist waiting for the second to record.
And not a single "I don't" at the alter, no hairy moments apart from the odd gust of seaside air in Southend (is it always windy there!?).
The fright of thinking I was attending the wrong church on one wedding, only to realise I was an hour early. A battery death on a precious cake cutting moment, resolved with a minute's delay and a fresh set of power for the flashgun. I'm only human.
Recommendation though; If avoidable don't try to move home during a week of four weddings and a party, because there is only seven days in a week.. I apologise if anyone attending those weddings heard my creaking bones.
Only now have the thousands of images taken all been processed and presented. My square eyes staring at a computer screen are having a breather, resting with some outdoor Suffolk air whilst digging in our new garden.
I fell victim to the 'smartphone arm' at the last wedding photographed. This protruded body part with gadget attached intent to photograph a 'selfie' whilst inview of an all important bride and groom picture. Even five years ago this irritable phenomenon would never have occurred.
If these demon hands were recording something that is likely to be seen for prosperity and fondly remembered in years to come then I will take my photographer's hat off and welcome this intrusion. Sadly I can guess a week and that picture/video will be forgotten like so many other billions of phone recordings. Lost into the technolgical dustbin. Whilst muggins photographer has to work a photoshop miracle to preserve a wedding's critical moment and keep a stray secret arm at bay.