Summer Photo Fun – 2014 – Texture


The kids chose Texture as the penultimate theme of this weeks SummerPhotoFun which was a great theme I thought.  I like it when the themes they choose can be interpreted in so many different ways depending upon how you see the world and texture is a classic sample of that, everything you see or touch has an element of texture to it be it part of the built environment or something natural.  What could me more natural than an animal and the photo of the octopus is surely an amazing example of the variety of textures contained with the animal kingdom.  Texture can also bring out the absolute beauty in the simplest things that we take for granted, brick, slate, wood, plastic, sand, wool, stone and plastic all look amazing when looked at as they are and then of course they change again when constructed into something, the incredible shape and texture of the bullring in Birmingham or the sand sculpture of Einstein for example.  I really enjoyed this weeks theme and as always huge thanks to everyone who contributed.

Click on the gallery to open it and you can see all of the photos individually in full size, there really are some crackers this week.  Apologies if I’ve missed anyone out, if I have just let me know.



December Photo Fun – Week 3 – Red



Red was the theme chosen by the kids for the third week of this year’s DecemberPhotoFun and it was a lovely theme as it enabled contributors to link it to Christmas if they wanted to as, after all Red is a classic Christmas colour, but gave complete free rein when it came to interpretation and as always there have been lots of lovely photos.  The kids have chosen a single colour a couple of times before (green and yellow from memory) and I really like seeing the gallery with all the interpretations expressed through one vivid colour.  Red is one of the first colours ever used in art as ochre was mixed with iron oxide and used in cave paintings 170,000 years ago and is a colour that runs through many societies signalling as it can passion, love, warmth, life, beauty, danger, happiness, Christmas of course, socialism and is a colour that appears in many countries flags and sports kits.  Many of these were represented in the photos that came through this week.  As always click on the gallery to see all the photos as they came in and huge thanks for all who contributed (hope I haven’t missed anyone) and do let us know which ones you liked.





Summer Photo Fun 2013 – Week 1 – Fresh


It was good fun sitting down with the kids a couple of days before they broke up from school, chatting over plans for things and with them coming up with all sorts of themes for the second running of of our Summer Photo Fun idea.  One of the things that is interesting for me is seeing how they come up with the themes, firstly just jotting down ideas then honing that to a shortlist, then coming up with an agreed 6 and then thinking about what would make a good order.  Having set quite a few themes they now think about ideas in a different way, thinking about how they could potentially be interpreted, how they will work together, what sort of variety they want.

Fresh was a nice theme to get us up and running this summer as we have been faced with unseasonably hot summery weather and the kids were looking forward to the freshness of the start of the summer holidays knowing that they will move on to fresh starts when they head back to school in September.

Clearly weather, food and flowers featured heavily creating lots of gorgeous colours and some very mouthwatering treats in the gallery but there were some other lovely ideas, a fresh painting from an artist in scotland, the shower head, fresh tarmac, paw prints, fresh welding, fresh bandage and the fresh ink of the tattoo in the photo at the the top.  It was also great to have some photos in from kids as well, the more the merrier.

As we go through the 6 weeks we are also playing with the idea of seeing if we can photos in that match the theme but from different countries, states, places etc to see if we can get an A-Z of pictures.  You’ve all done well already and I’ll update the main summerphotofun page as we go through the summer to see how we are getting along.

Finally huge thanks to all of you who embrace this idea and play along with us and help spread the word, it’s hugely appreciated.  Check out the gallery below and let us know which ones you liked.  If you want to see the photos in full size click on the gallery and you will be able to scroll through the individually.





Apples and Pears

Given the name of this blog, I really do have to pay homage to my favourite alcoholic drinks, cider and perry. And of course I don’t mean those tasteless fizzy things that wouldn’t know an apple or pear if they bumped into each other. I mean the real thing, made with proper cider apples and perry pears. Eating varieties are used sometimes, but they’re just not as nice (in my humble opinion). There’s wonderful variety if you know where to look for it – take, for example, the beer festival at The Hoop in Stock, Essex, where I was whiling away part of the bank holiday weekend.

There’s always a good range of ciders and perries at their annual festival. The only shame this time was as it was the first day and there weren’t very many cider drinkers in, there wasn’t a barrel change while we were there to offer even more choice. There were some tried and tested producers on show and some new ones to me. I rather liked the Shaky Bridge from Sandfords (Devon) and Biddenden’s Bushell (Kent). I could have done with some sweets though, as I’ll always head for that end of the taste spectrum – never dry, let alone very dry (I also tend to prefer still over sparkling, but there are exceptions). An interesting comparison came a couple of days later when I had a bottle of Shaky Bridge. I liked it, but not as much as the draught. It just goes to show what a difference there can be between the two.

Unfortunately, when we were there they didn’t have any from Gwynt y Ddraig or Gwatkin on yet. The former is a bit of a mixed bag for me, some I like some I don’t, so it would have been good to try some more. And they have great names like the delicious Dog Dancer and the still to be tried Haymaker, Happy Daze and Fiery Fox. Gwatkin seems to be the one that suits me best, as I’ve really enjoyed nearly all the ones I’ve tried (a fair few!), particularly the Norman and Stoke Red ciders.

Obviously I wouldn’t go as far as to name favourites, but definitely amongst the top ones are the Gwatkin Farmhouse Perry and Weston’s Herefordshire Perry. Smooth, fruity and always drunk to be savoured, not just to satisfy a fancy for something alcoholic. I even resist drinking them when I have them in – because once it’s gone it’s gone. Silly really because I’m still missing out either way! But they’re tricky to find up here so I want to make the most of them when I can. Beats a bottle of lager any day.


The idea for this blog was born on a sunny, early autumn day sat in a beach cafe bar in Malaga. A group of like-minded people with a desire to share their lives and experience through reading and writing, but not really sure how to make this happen.

Some of us are experienced bloggers, some write for a living and the rest starting out on the writing journey. We were quite taken with the idea of a blog that allows people who don’t normally do this sort of thing to have a go. Dipping toes in the online water was a theme we returned to time and time again over that weekend in Andalusia.

The name Into The Orchard came out of a thought that is quite obvious I think. We liked the notion that the very act of writing and reading is in itself nourishment. I don’t want to get too pretentious so I’ll leave it at that.

So here it is, unheralded and low key, just the way we wanted it to be.

We hope you enjoy it and if you’d like to contribute, you can come into the orchard too – just leave a comment on the blog and we’ll get in touch.