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A FEW DAYS AGO I quietly turned fifty-something. I was planning to switch off the phone and spend the whole of that day cycling a bit further from home and shooting landscape.

Things turned out differently, however: I deleted irretrievably all my July photos (up to my birthday) and spent half a day waiting to see if my IT nerd guy could retrieve any of them. He did succeed, but his software retrieved not the ones that I wanted most. Luckily, I had put some of them on Instagram @loretagema (for landscapes) and @ahappylonersdiary (for the ‘Miscellaneous’ of my life).

If I were superstitious, I would definitely see something extraordinary into it: deleting a tiny lump of your life – half of July – on your birthday! But since I’m not, I simply regard this as an opportunity to stop and think a little about my photography (and life) and continue in the same hopeful vein, trusting that my skills are improving little by little.

My birthday always puts me in a philosophical mode and I always want to have that day to myself.

On that special day I feel as if uplifted even in the little daily acts like cooking, eating, washing up, doing some work on the computer, going out into the rose garden, which is past its most beautiful and hence has become somewhat neglected. And with Foxy in tow, of course, my most loyal friend, keeping me company at all times.

And whatever I do that day I'm conscious of my birthday. It feels good, as if being bathed in a blessing…

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