This Christmas has to be one of the best for a very long time, indeed for at least 5 years. I have received some wonderful, thoughtful and useful gifts from family and friends and like a Prodigal Son, I was reunited with my church family after a very long period wandering in the darkness of my mind and of spiralling ill-health issues.

As I sit here and ponder what to write, I consider the fact that I must make an accurate record of all that I have done. Not for any old reason, but for a purely selfish and personal one. You see, last year I started to show signs of muddled-ness. After some tests, it was determined that I have early onset of memory loss, so that is why I am being quite particular in what I note in my journal. In the future I can read through my journals and hopefully keep my mind and memory’s alive.

Much as I do when I go out to take photographs, as I always carry a small note book in my camera bag and in it I write down how a shot went, how I took it and why. I also make a note of the weather at the time as that has a great impact upon both myself and my images. I shall make my jottings available here on my site, so that others can make use of them, so keep an eye out for them.

Here I am then, sitting here writing as explained whilst enjoying a lovely glass of my favourite tipple – Jack Daniels Honey whiskey (there are other makes of whiskey available). A most flavoursome and warming drink I have ever encountered and one that I find stimulates my creativity, but only in small doses of course – and I do mean the whiskey and not my creativity!

Oops, I’ve started to digress as usual…

So I’m writing in my journal and as I do that, my mind has to work hard at remembering what it is that I have done today. Yes, it is that bad! Can you imagine then what it is like for me to get to a place that holds some photographic interest and I set my camera up (on a tripod if required) and everything in my head is blank. Sounds unbelievable doesn’t it, almost like a horror story, welcome to my new life…

Please don’t think that I am trying to garner your sympathy, that is not the case, far from it. If you knew me personally, you would know that I hate any kind of attention seeking with a vengeance. Stand strong is my mantra, face your foe with all your heart and carry your faith as a shield before you for strength I say.

So I’m standing there, or sitting in my wheelchair if it’s a bad day and I notice a little bright sticker attached by thread to my camera and it has a simple message.

Look in your notebook for a little help!

A bit like Dorothy and the little bottle of shrinking potion, but when I read that little sticker, it is like I am standing in a dark place and all of a sudden someone switches on the light and all becomes clearer. Little electrical pulses begin to stir inside my head and before you know it, I’m back in the zone!

So with a little bit of pre-thought, before things get really bad, start to make notes. Get a journal for everyday memories and reminders and a little note book for the camera bag. Prepare yourself not for failure, but for adaptation, to be able to continue doing what you like for as long as you can.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid or embarrassed of what others might make of you. I often have some great conversations with people of all ages who see my little camera tag and ask through inquisitiveness what it is for. I don’t find it embarrassing to speak of my issues, indeed it helps others to understand me better and actually saves them from embarrassment, which in turn would make me feel bad.

Remember that as it is hard to deal with, just as it is hard for me to keep to what I am trying to write down and not wander off into another story, things can be done to help you. People will help you if you explain your memory issues, your anger, your frustration, your fear and your emotions. As humans we all want to help others if we can, but it isn’t possible if we are not told what ails you!

A trouble shared, is a trouble halved

Bless you all and I sincerely hope your new year (2018) to come is a full and enjoyable one. That your camera battery is always charged and that pictorial shots present them selves to you often.