52 trees – week thirty-six

Red cloth, green wall, and tree shadow

I know, I missed a week – I wasn’t feeling well, then my cat got sick, then my internet connection disappeared.  Eventually I surrendered and accepted that it just wasn’t meant to be.  I’ve taken on far too much lately.  My Airbnb room has been booked almost solidly, and I now have a long-term booking till September.  The long-term thing is a relief, as I’ll only have to clean and change sheets once a week, and I’m not doing breakfast at all.

I have this weekend to get through before that, however, and it’s typical of what I’ve been doing over the last 2-3 months.  I have someone staying at the moment, till Thursday, then he leaves at lunchtime and my next guests turn up at 3.00pm.  They stay till Saturday morning, and another guest arrives Saturday lunchtime.  Then she leaves on Sunday morning and my long-term guest is installed sometime on Sunday afternoon.

Sometimes I feel like I do nothing much other than change beds, wash sheets, iron, clean, and shop, but I’m also still working in the library and doing occasional photography work for the Town Hall Museum, as well as tending the rest of the house, looking after our large garden, keeping the rabbits and the cat alive, maintaining some sort of social life, and trying to keep up with blog posts.  Oh yes, and squeezing in the occasional bit of photography.  Frankly, I’m tired.

It’s not just the physical work that tires me, it’s the fact that, as an introvert, it’s very wearing for me to have strangers constantly in the house.  I’m a very sociable introvert, and I do enjoy meeting the huge variety of people that visit, but sometimes I long to be able to do what I want to do without having to think about how it will impact on my guests.  I long to be able to go down to the kitchen in the morning and make a cup of tea, without having to put on my hostess face and make conversation.  I long to be able to take a shower when I feel like it, rather than working around my guests’ schedules.  I long to be able to go to bed and leave the kitchen in a mess until the morning.  Most of all, I long just to be in the house on my own for a while without any obligations.

Normally I make sure I have some gaps between bookings, and this has kept me sane over the last year or so of hosting, but an offer I couldn’t refuse – of an ongoing Sunday to Thursday let – has filled in all the gaps and given me no respite.  My home no longer feels like my sanctuary, but more like a workplace with no off-duty hours.  Unable ever to switch off completely, I have worn myself down and worn myself out, so I’ve made the decision now to rent the room on a more long-term basis and hopefully free myself up to concentrate on those things that really matter to me.  The potential income is less, but it’s enough, and the lifting of pressure should more than make up for it.

Since this is all about what’s been happening on the domestic front, this week’s image continues on a domestic theme.  There’s a beautiful silver birch tree just outside the kitchen window, and in the evenings the sun shines through it, projecting the movement, light and shadow of its leaves and branches onto the kitchen wall.  It just so happened to work rather nicely with the green wall and the red tea cloth.

On a technical note, the combination of strongly contrasting light and shade and that dreaded red colour, make this a difficult choice of subject.  There are two areas where the highlights have blown somewhat – one bright spot near the top left, and an area of the red cloth near the bottom.  (Oddly enough, the other bright spot to the right of the towels hasn’t actually blown, although you might think it had.)  Short of using HDR, there really isn’t any way round this – maintaining the detail in the highlights would leave the overall exposure too dark.  However, I might have been able to claw back more of the detail in the blown areas if I could have worked with the Raw files – still haven’t got round to buying a new version of Elements!