What do you mean, it’s been 2016 for several weeks? But I’m sure it was Christmas only a couple of days ago!!
Don’t worry. I haven’t really lost my marbles. The Christmas decorations have been packed away in their boxes and returned to the loft, but it seems that it’s only in the last week that I’ve had a kind of breathing space from being really busy and/or unwell. You see, it was in the run-up to Christmas that my stupid old neck1 started giving me trouble again and though I did go to the chiropractor, I ended up with visual problems which took me to the hospital A&E because I feared it was a detached retina, and then on to an opthalmologist who said it wasn’t, and to my doctor who said it was a migraine-type disturbance almost certainly due to my neck problems and I should ‘learn to know my limits’. It lasted a week or so before slowly settling down and then I caught flu.
Yep, I know, most people who say they have flu only really have a bad cold, but this laid me up for two or three weeks and I was still coughing badly for another week. Well, that was before Christmas and I still cough now and then. It seems to have triggered a kind of vicious circle with my asthma, but it is improving, I’m happy to say.
Anyway, this is not going to be a post all about my boring health2.
I’ve decided that I’d like to get back to blogging again and so I’m setting myself the task of writing more consistently with a view to getting a blog book done at the end of the year. It’ll be a bit more like a diary of my life, though still written in the same style as I’ve always done: some factual stuff, some righteous anger, some gentle wit perhaps, and a lot of guff3. What triggered this decision? Because after a longish break, I’m back doing the family genealogy again and one of the things which has kept me so busy was a book which I’ve just made using Photobox. You don’t see the connection, do you? But if you stick with this, you will.
In case you don’t know, Photobox is a website which helps you to make all kinds of stuff using your own photographs. I’m really only interested in the photo books, because they’re really versatile and well-suited to making really quite neat and tidy records of all those bits of family history that I have knocking around. I’ve now made several books: I did one of the family photo albums which my father made when I was a child, I made one each of my two sons’ childhood drawings, and now I’ve made a ‘scrapbook’ of my mother’s life.
When Mum died in 2011, my brother and I cleared her bungalow, which was packed to the gills with all kinds of stuff she couldn’t (or wouldn’t) throw out. There were bags and bags full of old magazines, catalogues, pamphlets, scraps of paper, greetings cards, letters, bills – you name it – all mixed up together. There was a whole ottoman full of knitting wool and there were scores of knitting and sewing patterns. There were example of some in those being worn in the old family albums, dating back to the 1960s, that’s how old they were. Ornaments, clothes, trinkets, gadgets, umpteen pairs of scissors and trays of ancient cutlery, hundreds of (by then) dead houseplants and empty pots and vases. Single gloves waiting in vain for their partners. Half empty bottles of alcohol dating back to the year dot. I can’t tell you how much stuff we found. It was bloody hard deciding what to bring home4, and it has taken an absolute age to sort through it, but I’ve done it.
One reason that making the book was so difficult was that, before the migraine and then the flu hit me, I’d bought a 100-page photobook credit with Photobox5 and I had to use it before the end of December. Since I was only just fit enough to stand in the kitchen and cook the Christmas dinner when it came to it, it was a close-run thing, I can tell you! I had hundreds of photos and papers to scan and resize and upload, and I also spent some time searching through dust-laden boxes for bits and pieces which I knew I had somewhere, and wanted for the book. Did I tell you I was still coughing? Maybe all that dust didn’t help.
I’ve decided to do another book for my Dad’s life, and I’m also collecting stuff for an eventual book for my own. I have no idea when I’m going to fit our own family photo albums in!
Ah, well. It’s all good fun, isn’t it? One must have one’s hobbies, or one really would go nuts.
1 And I do mean ‘old’. I got my first senior discount yesterday. It was a peculiar mixture of a ‘Wow, excellent!’ moment and mild depression. But anyway, the neck was damaged decades ago carrying No. 1 son on my shoulders, and doesn’t get any better with age.
2 There are quite a few, from myxoedema to fibromyalgia and including things like torn rotator cuffs, sprained ankles, asthma, TMJ, allergies, the neck, and … well, it’s all just boring.
3 Guff = nonsense, rubbish, drivel, waffle or empty talk. In Norfolk dialect, it would be called ‘squit’, apparently!
4 Not the alcohol, no. That was an easy decision; we poured it down the loo.
5 The way Photobox works is that you choose what you want to make and buy a credit for it. You then have a certain amount of time in which to complete your project or you lose your money – which is a bit crap, but that’s the way it goes. I only buy credits when there’s a special offer, and I pay a little bit extra to get three months to create it instead of the usual one, but when you have a 100-page book to do and no scans done, it’s still a bit tight.