Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Late night ravings of a mentalist Pt II

After reading through my previous post a couple of times and the tone of some of the others, I'm going to give the flip side of things tonight!
Living with Kidney Failure is a challenge there's no doubt about it. Some days it takes all my effort just to put on a brave face and err... face the day ahead, trying not to show how I actually feel.

But overall? When I look back over my life and take a long hard look at myself I realise that there were times - even years that went by where I was foolish, selfish and narrow minded. Not able to see beyond my own wants and needs. And I hurt a lot of people along the way.
My kidney failure changed all that. I slowly but surely began to see things from a different point of view.
I've seen much worse off people than me, I've seen much braver people than me, I've seen people giving up tremendous things for the ones they love - without question or want of recourse.

And been well and truly humbled and put in my place.

I like to think that although it is a terrible thing to happen to someone, I wouldn't be the person I am today without my kidney failure and all that has transpired along the way.

And that is: Someone that I like.

It's no longer all about me and what I want, although I still have hopes and aspirations (I at last realise no-one resents me for those), life for me now is more about how I can get both the most out of life and also help those whom I care about.

I no longer cast my thoughts inward (so much) anymore, but rather spend a whole lot more time and energy trying to see other people's points of view and trying to help solve their problems. And I'm enjoying it.

I'm not a particularly religious person, but I do sometimes get the distinct feeling that someone is watching over me - and that I occasionally I have been brought to Earth with a bump - with a good few lessons learnt along the way.

So overall I remain upbeat and positive with my occasional weak moment (I think we're all entitled to those...) and will confront the future with my head held high - although occasionally with gritted teeth....!

Anyway enough rambling here's another photo from Blakeney:

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Late night ravings of a mentalist

Well its now in the wee hours of Sunday morning and I've just heard the rumble of thunder in the distance. My room is hot and stuffy and after treating myself to a couple of glasses of wine I'm still wide awake. Sometimes my brain or what's left of it is working overtime, flitting from one thing to the next, never really settling on one continuous thought - this is one of those nights!

I don't know how many people actually read my blog and to be honest I'm not too worried, I created it so I had some sort of outflow for my passion for photography, but also for times like this where I feel I have to vent pent up thoughts and emotions.

Something that I find hard to express vocally to those that care about me is that I do struggle emotionally at times. I guess like anyone in my position I don't wish to be an added burden to family and friends who not only have their own worries but also worry more than enough about me already.
So perhaps just putting it in writing/type will help - sort of a catharsis!

So what's bothering me tonight then?
I'm very good at compartmentalizing things and pushing things to one side in order to deal with problems at hand. Dad calls it "bottling it all up". It's a "skill" that's probably kept me sane and relatively upbeat through the years of varying degrees of illness. The down side is that although I've packed these thoughts and emotions away, they are still there waiting to be dealt with at a later date.

Something that I've never really confronted head on is the fact that I'm not a normal person who decides his or her own fate, but rather someone who has to try and make the most of a shitty situation, a situation where you have no control over your overall future.
I'm simply not the person I was before my kidney failure in so far that I will never be able to do a lot of the things that I always dreamed about doing.
I dreamed in the run up and immediately after my first transplant that I would go to Uni and study photography and then travel the world.
I managed the first part - just, after fighting Hodgkins Lymphoma in my final year - which damaged the kidney (the lymphoma not the final year, although it was hard graft!)
For a good few years I have spent the time with a slowly deteriorating kidney helping my parents with their work while I tried to get some level of "fitness" when in fact things became harder and harder due to gradual failure of the kidney ultimately leading to the present where I'm of very limited use to my folks and have to travel to Cambridge 3 times a week for 4 hours treatment just to stay alive, waiting for a transplant that may or may not work.
I've been here before of course and this time I'm not a scared 19 year old, but I am now 34 with bad Gout that seems to strike at any time which I will most likely have for the rest of my life.
Dreams of travelling to far off places seem very distant right now, and as for a career in Landscape and nature photography? Well that may no longer be possible full-time at any rate. It would be a great challenge for a healthy person these days.

So its with an element of sadness but also relief that I write what is turning into an epic post.
Perhaps if I'm lucky enough to get another transplant that works and lucky enough to find someone who will employ someone like me on wage where I'm lucky enough to have a place of my own and lucky enough to be able to treat myself to the occasional holiday abroad with my camera I'll be happy. Maybe, just maybe I might be lucky enough to meet someone on the way who understands my situation and falls hopelessly in love with me!

Oh, and I want a pet dog at some time too!
Not too much to ask for is it?!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Brancaster Staithe

After enjoying Pensthorpe I decided to carry on up to the coast since it was such a fine day, and peculiarly for me I still had some energy left. I pulled into the quay at Brancaster Staithe, attached my 28 - 105mm lens and went for another walk.

At first nothing really sung out to me and I took a few lack-lustre images before retracing my steps and walking round the back to the boat yard where bits of piping, old fishing nets and lobster pots were gathered along with machinery that I can only assume were meant for sifting mussels, since there was also an abundance of empty shells lying around here and there.

The machinery sparked my interest as I thought they may make strong images as low saturation pieces with the rust just showing through, but after having a quick play in Lightroom I decided the images were stronger as they were but with added vignetting.

Two other images that got the same treatment was one of a boat and one of what I guess is a mussel bed.
In all it was worth the extra mileage, though today I've paid the price and I'm crippled! Still, I have the weekend to recover!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Back to Pensthorpe

I was originally planning on going to Pensthorpe Wildfowl Park on the weekend when we are taking part in the food and garden fair, but after thinking about the mass of people and problems parking I went today instead!

Springwatch are filming at the moment so Pensthorpe is even more popular than usual, and I did keep an eye out for the Greater Kate Humble, but alas she was nowhere to be seen...

The weather was bright and beautiful and it was a joy and revelation walking around this time of year. The "wildfowl" are certainly not shy and many were with young so were a bit combative, one goose flapping right up to my leg to show me what's what as I tried to walk past.

There was one fella that caught my eye - a greylag goose poking his head up by the handrail of the first bridge as you leave the viewing centre. Thought it made a great image.

Obviously while I was there I had to get a few pictures of the young chicks, so I attached 150-500mm Big Bertha Lens so as not to intrude and got a few good images

I'm already looking forward to going back