Asthma problems again

I like winter. I like the stark beauty of bare trees again the snow, the freshness of a world blanketed in white. However, this is the fourth year in a row that winter has caused me significant problems with simply trying to breathe. But in this case the weather had a helping hand in that the boiler broke down late Xmas eve meaning no heating and no hot water. Not good when the cold is a major asthma trigger for me and with everything closed for Xmas holidays nothing could be done until the new year. No matter how often it happens it’s still scary not being able to breathe properly and having to spend all your time focusing on each breath you take. It’s also exhausting.

At the moment I’m still on oral steroids alongside my Seretide 250 inhaler. The side effects are not too bad in the scheme of things. I’m mainly extremely tired, irritable and having real difficulties in concentrating on anything for very long, but at least I can now catch my breath, and I can actually have a conversion again. I’m not sure how other people feel about that but I’m happy at least.

The current plan is to reduce the oral steroid dosage slowly and then start on a low dose of Montelukast alongside the Seretide. I’m not particularly looking forward to that as last time I tried Montelukast I had some really terrible side effects, but at the moment with everything that’s going on in the world I’ll give it another go and hope the lower dosage is more manageable. If anyone has any advice, I’d be happy to hear it.

Now I’m starting to guilt trip myself about being behind in my studies. So, the next couple of weeks is going to be spent catching up on French for the OU. There’s nothing like the pressure you put on yourself. The creative side of my work is having to take a back seat for now which is annoying, but I’ll get back to it soon enough. I just hope the rest of the year improves.

First blogpost of 2021

So here we are again at the start of a new year. I hope if you are reading this that this year will be a better one for you all. 

This year so far – Resolutions made and broken. No surprise there as I’m still in procrastination mode and chasing my latest shiny new idea.

It never ceases to amaze me just how easily distracted I can be. I’m beginning to wonder if I was a cat in a previous life.

Picture of a maine coon cat

Anyway, my current stack of projects includes:

  • Photography
  • Poetry
  • Learning Welsh
  • Finishing Open University level 1 study

Learning Welsh – The move to online learning is certainly helping with my attendance at Welsh class. As someone who suffers from chronic illness, I have found attending face to face classes regularly to be problematic at best and at worst – downright impossible. So the move to online has been a positive one for me despite the problems with broadband in rural Wales.

I really do hope that learnwelsh.cymru will keep an online option for all levels of their courses once things return to some semblance of normal rather than restricting the opportunity to learn Welsh to those who can attend a physical classroom.

Art/Writing – I’m spending a lot of time sorting through my photography archive. I’m hoping that some of my older images will provide a suitable basis for my mixed media work. I’m also intending to use some of my photography/poetry in the creation of mixed media artists books.

Open University – Just finishing level 1 study this year. French this time. I have no idea why I am so obsessed with it as I was just supposed to be taking a couple of standalone courses, but what can you do. 

So overall on paper 2021 looks like being a busy year on the study/ creative side if things go to plan. However I have found that very few things ever go exactly as planned. Life gets in the way and I can be extreme in guilt tripping myself when things go wrong.

So, for 2021 most of all I am hoping not to dwell on what goes wrong, especially things that are outside my control.

Saying goodbye to the mirrorless camera

A few years ago I made the switch from Nikon to the Panasonic Lumix GX8 because I wanted to use a lighter camera that still gave me a good range of lenses to choose from. Initially I was extremely happy with my decision, but over time I have discovered an unforeseen problem with mirrorless cameras linked to my increasing light sensitivity.

I have to wear dark sunglasses most of the time now in moderate to bright sunlight, and this in turns means that I cannot see the OLED screen clearly on the Lumix nor can I see using the electronic viewfinder. The result – no photography on bright days.

At the same time I have been having to limit my screen time on computers, phones and the like due to an increasing number of screen induced migraines. The smaller the screen the more likely I am to have a problem. This in turn has impacted my ability to focus on objects using both the OLED screen and the electronic viewfinder. The result – no photography at all.

This has been going on for a couple of years now. I take the Lumix out for the day. Try a couple of snaps and then find myself feeling increasingly depressed about the challenges surrounding using the thing, and so it goes back in its bag for another month or so until I try again.

But on Sunday I suddenly remembered that although I had traded in all my ‘good’ Nikon kit when I bought the Lumix, I had kept the old D60. So I dragged it out of storage and had a peek through the viewfinder to discovered that I could see the scene outside my bedroom window without feeling dizzy,  without straining my eyes to focus on the image in front of me even while wearing sunglasses.

For now I’m hoping to get to know the old D60 again and then get back to some photography experiments at the weekend, work allowing. So for me the problem with electronic viewfinders is that I can no longer use them and so I am saying goodbye to the lightweight mirrorless camera range and moving back to the heavier DSLRs with pentaprism viewfinders.

Let’s hope the move makes photography fun again.