Despite a fairly full schedule booked for today I had to cry off as my illness hasn’t run its course yet. I know I am getting better but its just too slow for my liking. Maybe tomorrow. In the meantime I did not have my haircut today, I didn’t do any of the other chores I intended and I have not been out with a camera. Because my throat is still sore I have also eschewed coffee for several days and that is beginning to annoy me. I need my Nespresso fix.

My usual recourse is “tidying up”. Dead days see me clearing the desk in my study for the umpteenth time and the usual mutterings of “so that’s where that went!” I always find something to throw away and the order lasts a good 72 hours before the clutter creeps up on me again. I do have some ‘moth pots’ on the desk that have been there for months and I must empty them out and clean them. I am happy to relate that they do not contain dead moths but small samples of fungi I collected to ID some time ago. I really must get round to it. I’m sure it was only April when I collected them.

I have also trawled the financial sites, trying to work out whether we are just seeing the start of a modest correction or the bears are back in town. I feel good that I sold my Apple shares before the recent down tick and I have plenty of powder dry in the pension fund to buy if the prices correct further. I have been waiting for a pullback in several defensive stocks for some time but so far they have not reached my buy target. Many good dividend stocks are now overbought in my view. I suspect that the inch by inch crawl forward will continue with occasional hiccups but US politics scares the pants off me. I am reasonably apolitical so I don’t have strong views on Obama or Romney in that sense although I confess I find Romney a rather daunting prospect as President. Anybody who says he is going to declare China a currency manipulator as his first act as President surely has no clue about the real world. I would like to think it is all hot air and of course I believe we are still waiting for Obama to close Guantanamo……….. but if there is another paralyzed parliament then the prospect of compromise over the fiscal cliff will become more elusive. In the meantime if I ever need reminding that we are all doomed I turn to my learned friend Satyajit Das. He posted this recently and it is well worth a read but don’t expect too many laughs. Das is one of the best after dinner speakers I know. A fine mind, cutting with both wit and analytics and an excellent companion with whom to discuss birding and eco-travel.

And so I came back to my catalogue of images. A little pruning here was in order too. Then I found an image I have played with on many occasions. I don’t know why I am drawn to it so strongly. On the face of it it is nothing special but I am always fascinated by the face in the window.

Here is an earlier version:

And here is this morning’s rework:

The most obvious change is the B&W conversion. I had always wanted to preserve the colours that scream Florence (or at least Italy) at me. However the more I experiment with monochrome the more I enjoy the flexibility of tone, grain and contrast. I feel I get more detail out of black and white. But I have also corrected some of the perspective distortion created by the angle of view. That forces a crop that makes the woman at the window bigger in the frame. It is more obvious that she is behind a barred window and I always wonder why they needed to put the bars there in the first place. Is she a mysterious captive, puffing on her cigarette, looking disconsolately down at the free flowing passage of humanity. Are the bars original or recent? Who is she and what is the story of her life? Maybe I need to write a book about her.

I am sure this is an image I will work again and again. If you have thoughts on the image or indeed the woman at the window, do please share them.