Photography and friends

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My lovely friend on the very top of Snowden Mountain in Wales, UK

Having recently lent my camera to my friend whilst we were on holiday, I have learnt a little more about camera’s and photography through my dear friend of 30 years who is recovering from breast cancer and is an inspiration with her cheerful outlook to life.  I lent her my Panasonic Lumix G5K, set it on iA (automatic) for her showed her how to focus in on a subject and away she went.  David Bailey eat your heart out!  Not only did she take good photographs, her photographs were well thought out.  Her home life is not pleasant, so it was such a delight to see her come alive with enthusiasm.  She said she did not know she loved photography until she was given the opportunity.  As I talked to her about camera the bits I found I knew and realised that I am slowly learning more and more even it is taking a long time.

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A dandelion to be captured!

Every time I turned round Sheila was bending over or on her knees photographing some flower on the side of a road.

Having realised that she can no longer work at her three cleaning jobs anymore she has been looking for some purpose for herself.  This is a woman who gives all of herself to others, feeling that she herself should take second place…it breaks my heart when I think of how miserable her life is at home.

On holiday she bravely left off her hat unless the wind was cold!   “Nobody knows me here” she said “so they won’t laugh at me“.    “They laugh at you because you have had cancer?” I asked her, and she gave me a look that understood what I was saying.

When we got home, I set about printing out her photos for her.  She does not have a computer and is not technological in any way.  At present she says she would never learn how to use one…we will see 😉  Whilst we were away I ordered paper and inks ready and set about printing the 600 plus photos she had taken!!  When we viewing on my laptop she would say “I want that blurred one, because I took it as we were driving in the car“.  It has taken several days and I finally finished having got through two and a half packs of inks.

We will take them to her next week, (sadly we live too far apart to just ‘pop round’ with them)  and I can’t wait to give them to her.

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Bee on flower taken by Sheila

I’ve won a prize in a draw!

Whoo hoo,

My phone rang and it was someone from the Plassey Centre, Wrexham to say that the draw ticket I bought in aid of North West Cancer Research, was picked out.

I have won a Framed Limited Edition Print.  

“What is it like” I asked.

“Hang on I will have a look…………..its a scene and it is fairly large” was the reply.

So I have no idea what it is of, whether it is a print of a photo, a watercolour, or who it is by. It doesn’t matter because whatever it is I have won it. Even the fact that we have no wall space on our narrowboat home big enough for a large picture is not important.  I have emailed Eyton Framers who donated it for some information and am excited for their reply.

Logistically, we are not close to Wrexham to pick it up..just a minor detail.   I have made an arrangement to collect it when we return for a break in a few months.

I won a prize in a draw, well fancy that.

 

 

Holiday, electricity, and space

I have been on holiday..it was lovely.

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http://www.lake-vyrnwy.com/pdfs/homestaybb2.pdf
http://www.lake-vyrnwy.com/pdfs/pontradinsc2.pdf

We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast run by Rosemary at LLanfyllin, Powys.  We have been a few times now and even got married from there.  Walking into the cottage is like coming home, with Rosemary welcoming us as friends.

To begin with we stayed in the cottage (on the end) which we love, then at the end of the week we had to move to the bed and breakfast side, but we love being in there also.  The place is like being in someones home full of  pictures, china and clocks. There are so many clocks in the cottage with each one stopped with a different time so that time stands still at different times.

I love Wales as it makes me feel peaceful with so much space to breathe in.

I find myself looking at all the cottages for sale and imagining if I could live there.  The more I look I realise that I would like some isolation without close neighbours.  A garden to grow vegetables in, with a view that stretches out before me and somewhere to sit and watch birds with my little book to identify them.  Mr Hs said that you would become complacent about the view after a while, but I disagree.  I think you would always be in awe at the scene in your sight.

We did the usual National Trust sites and  visited Powis Castle, taking hundreds of photographs, Chirk Castle, and Erddig.

Having been to LLanberis several times we decided to visit the Electric Mountain tour and went down underground,  which was fascinating and not at all what I thought it would be.  When we boarded the bus we were given hard hats, and drove down into a mountain to an underground hydro electric plant.  The size of the space inside was unbelievable.  Wearing our hard hats looked down from a platform at the machinery below, the noise of the water rushing through pipes with a roar.  During peaks in electricity use, such as TV advert breaks when everyone puts their kettle on to boil water for tea, water from a lake on top of the mountain is released through the massive pipes to generate electricity.  Within 12 seconds electricity is added to the national grid to cope with the surge in use.  The waters destination is the lake at the bottom of the lake and at night when the demand is less, the generators are reversed and pump the water back up to the top lake.   Hydro Electric is so beautiful in its concept, its tiny footprint on ecology – fish have their own tunnels to travel along, its impact on global warming is minimal.  There are two hydro electric power stations in Scotland, and I wonder why there are not more in our mountainous areas?  If you get a chance visit one of these marvels of engineering.   (http://www.wales-underground.org.uk/electric/)

The holiday takes away the reality of forgetting.  There is nothing to remember, there is a reason to get lost, or be confused in somewhere new.  It is a place to just be someone who is on holiday.   At one point someone in a shop made a joke about dementia and forgetting something, I laughed and said nothing.

I am now recharged, and have come back to appointments to meet the new memory clinic, and consultant.  Get that out of the way and off we go to escape out onto the canal systems in our boat.

This might offend – I don’t believe in god

These are my thoughts on religion

I don’t believe in god and like to think myself as an Informed Atheist.

My parents are Methodists and my sister and I were brought up to attend Sunday school every week and I finally stopped my association with the church when I was 18.  At 16 I had become a Sunday school teacher myself and grew to question the material I was given to use in the lessons.  I did not believe that god made the world…nor anything after that.

My mother told me I was wicked and evil for not believing in god.  The more I thought about why I do not believe the more I wanted to explore religion in general.  It felt like being on the outside of a tank studying the contents but not being part of it.  What I saw in religious history was social control by men during a time when they wanted power in their societies, and there being no better way of doing that with a god that no one could dare to question.  With that came the power of the religious men who ruled the nations each with their own brand of religion.  Listening to people talking about how everything ‘is gods will’; is to me hearing how no-one wants to take responsibility for their own actions or accept that things do happen without a reason – deal with it and move on.  We all die of something, whether our bodies can no longer regenerate cells and repair itself, or illness; that is natural, there is no design by a deity when that will happen.  Death by war, accidental death or murder is not natural and is caused by man.

I studied the History of Science at the University of Leicester and for my final year I chose  ‘Science and Religion’ with Professor Brock and this is where I learnt how different religions have been constructed from the beginning of the human race.  There were seven students in this class and some who were devout Christians,  I asked one fellow student if it dented his belief in god and he replied that it did not change his belief in anyway.

We learnt about the bible and how long it took to write, the context of the times it was written, and re-written, culminating with the study of the learned men who research the original writings and various translations which changed the context of the writing.

Throughout history the revelation of scientific theories has meant that religious belief has had to be adjusted and manipulated to cope with the anomalies.

The increasing explosion of population puts a strain on geological and other resources so men fight for their patch.   In 1798 Thomas Malthus wrote An Essay On The Principle Of Population which I read in its entirety.  Thomas Malthus was a minister who within his writings talked about the earth only being able to sustain the number of people it can feed, the same as animals.  Yes, his writings were very controversial and certainly racist, but he approached the idea of people’s relation to their environment theories that Darwin and Wallace would have read and pondered upon in their evolutionary theories. Darwin struggled with his religious belief after publishing his Origin Species, although came to be content with god designed evolution as well.

When I look at Islam, I wonder why any god would decide that women were inferior and not seen with equal power in society.  Here is where I say: please don’t try and convince me that women are not repressed as human beings in the Muslim faith. Nature vs nurture – Muslim girls grow up being taught their place as decided by Allah/Patriarchal leaders and male followers .

Circumcision in girls – so that is acceptable?  No of course not, but it is done in the name of religion for no religious reason that anyone can fathom apart from the repression of women by the men who rule in the name of religion.

I am not advocating women’s liberation because that is a nonsense; we are human beings with different strengths and weaknesses that give us a natural ability to survive as a species.

The more I read and studied the more I understood what religion is and what its effect has been on the world.

War is being raged in the name of religion and it matters not which faction of religious parties are fighting or in which country because it is about power of male leaders in countries where on the whole, women are repressed and dominated.

Faith;  why should people have the need to have faith in something to be happy.  Without faith most people would be unable to cope with mans ability to be so cruel, so inhumane.

Okay, some would say where does ones sense of morals come from if not from religion, although its debatable whether all religion have a good sense of moral living.  The need to survive in animals creates tolerance throughout the animal world, and we are just another animal who happens to have evolved a larger brain.

I have Alzheimer’s and Fibromyalgia, and hypermobility so that I now have arthritis.  I have a headache in the right side of my head every day which I have had for several years.  It turns out I may have brain damage from trauma to my head as a child (my mother always aimed for my head when she hit me regularly).   These things just are; some is a genetic predisposition, the damage of my brain comes from someone who believes fiercely in god.  Ironically my mother’s own vascular dementia was first noticed in church, having gone to the toilets and not able to find her way out again.

I cannot understand why anyone needs to have some higher person to be able to love themselves, to know how it feels to be a nice person and not hurt anyone else, and enjoy each day without the promise of a (non existent) heaven. To know what is good and what is bad.

I simply, have no need for faith or religion.

Wishes

I had a call from the Research Nurse regarding the Brain for Dementia Study that I expressed an interest in.  It is to do with the progression of the disease, with a yearly 2 hour meeting with testing on my cognitive abilities, and donation of my brain and spinal cord on death.  She will send me the details about the study and will pass my name on to the Research Group at Manchester which is the area that I come under now.

This is good news because I finally feel like I am taking some control over my choices  regardless of whether I will remember that I am in this study; it is me who has asked for this.