Photography and MDUK Meetup
This week wasn’t quite so busy, with some pleasant times between stresses. I had a lovely time with my mindful photography group and also an MDUK meetup with Catherine Woodhead, the CEO of MDUK and Nicole Beebee South West Regional Development Manager, for a walk round Slimbridge.
This week began with a trip to Worcester. I really wanted to get some good pictures of movement before our photography club meeting the following day. I knew I’d get some decent flowing water at the weir. My luck was in as it was still quite overcast, this allowed for some long exposures without blowing out highlights.
After this my carer suddenly thought to check if there were any horse races in Worcester that day, what could be better than a running horse to demonstrate movement? I am not a horse racing fan and had never even seen a race before, but I really wanted to photograph those horses!
We managed to find a vantage point overlooking the course, I set my camera up and just hoped. Surprisingly for my first attempt I managed to get some decent shots. After this I had to rush home for an online meeting with DMD Pathfinders.
Tuesday was our mindful photography meeting, after an accessibility hiccup, we met at Stroud Brewery. After a catch up we spotted a small issue, a little step, but one of the staff knocked up a mini ramp within minutes and we were off. We did a mindfulness exercise outside then went for a walk along the canal.
Following the canal we spotted some ducklings, then Llamas, Stroud is a strange town! We then regrouped to share our photos. Afterwards we checked out the pub’s new media room which was pretty impressive. Then, us boys, stayed to chat for a while. Matt also kindly let me try his new Canon 50mm f1.2 lens. I may now have lens envy!
It was lovely being in our group again, we are all very unique and each bring something special. I count myself lucky to have met these people and become friends with them.
Wednesday I visited Overton House to catch up with Mental Health trainer Mark Hashimi. We had a nice chat and I showed him some of the material we use when giving our mental health workshop. Hearing positive feedback from a professional, who gives training himself, has reassured me that what our group is doing is safe and also valuable.
Mark made a few suggestions which I will take back to the group. He also offered to put me in touch with some people from organisations which may be interested in some of our work. I new feel a new energy to go forward with what our group has started. Hopefully we can it into the wider world and ultimately help more people.
Barnwood Trust have also offered to sign me up for a mental health first aid course, which Mark will be running later in the year.
This has become even more important to me since my friend Ruth took her own life two weeks ago. I respect her decision and will never judge her for it, although I will miss her and our chats, along with the warmth and love she gave me.
I won’t say much as our chat’s were private, but I will say that even in her darkest times she would ask how I was and never treated me as different because of my disability. Allowing me to talk to her when she was in deep pain and being completely honest about very difficult things is something I will never forget. I will forever be grateful for the trust she gave me.
Slimbridge with MDUK
On Friday I visited Slimbridge and met up with CEO of MDUK Catherine Woodhead (who I hadn’tseen since SoX) and Regional Development Manager Nicole Beebee. We had a lovely morning wandering round and getting to know each other.
Both Catherine and Nicole were friendly and fun people to spend time with on a beautiful sunny day. Nicole developed a deep affection for geese and kingfishers too I believe. I think we all had a great time and their antics definitely distracted me from my current stresses.
This wasn’t a formal meeting so we didn’t chat about serious and deep topics. I think it’s a good foundation to have though. If those discussions do happen in the future we will have a better understanding of where each other is coming from.
You can find my photographs on –