I bought a MacBook…

Anyone who’s known me for any length of time will probably know that I like technology. I embrace it and try to utilise it as much as I can. I’ve been called a geek and I’ve been called a nerd but that’s ok. I believe technology is the future. Granted, there are some technologies we definitely don’t need. My Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch mint fall into that category, but I find it quite useful.

Being such a supporter of technology, it may surprise you to know that I’ve never owned an Apple product in my whole life. I’m very much an “Android guy”. I’ve been a staunch supporter (and user) of the platform since it began operating. iOS has never interested me.

While I’m not going to turn this post into an Apple advert, millions of people can’t be wrong can they?

As I’m slipping deeper and deeper into the bottomless pit of photography – my girlfriend and my wallet can definitely attest to that – I found myself needing something with a bit more kick than my Samsung Note 10.1 2014 tablet. As much as I love that device it really isn’t up to the job anymore. I needed raw processing power. I needed more than 32 gigabytes of onboard storage. I needed a bigger, higher resolution screen. I needed all this power in a lightweight, sleek, strong package. I needed a Mac!

At least…that’s what they told me in the Apple Store in Liverpool One…but then again, they would wouldn’t they? My head was swirling as I left the store. I’d been through an in-depth-ish demonstration of the new 2014 13″ Macbook Pro Retina, instead of the MacBook Pro. The one I was interested in looking at to start with. Still not quite sure how that happened.

I still wasn’t sure about buying an Apple product though, considering how much I’ve bashed them over the years. I began to wonder if there was an alternative (by wonder I mean it was suggested to me). I went to another store (which I won’t name) and asked about it. There was an Apple rep in the store and he was far more helpful. Probably because he was a rep not a salesman but anyway, moving on.

The guy explained to me that to get the same power and everything else I needed in another brand of computer would be expensive, unreliable and probably wouldn’t las any longer than 12 months. Then I got him to go over a few of the features that had intrigued me the day before. He also said all (near enough) the same stuff the other guy had said but, and this is the strange part, in a completely different way. Which I liked. A lot. Whether he was more skilled in sale-speak, whether it was because he in fact wasn’t chasing a commission, or maybe he was genuinely trying to help a confused Android user, who’s platform and operating system of choice didn’t seem to be working for him, I don’t know. I don’t care either. I found the salesman in the Apple store to be a little pushy, and the moment I said “photography” that was all he seemed to focus on.

The rep however, did a much better job of explaining how a Macbook would help me, and not just why. He didn’t force it on me. He wasn’t pushy, and I felt I was able to take my time. The best bit is, once he’d finished explaining, not telling me, how and why a Mac would suit my needs better than other brands he buggered off and left me alone to think it over, instead of standing there gorping at me mentally spending his commission. I didn’t feel pressured at all.

I tinkered with the display model. I did a quick picture edit. I opened up some apps, typed a note, had a little play with the camera, closed the lid, picked it up, put it down and went for a walk around the other laptops.

So after some coffee and a lengthy “should I shouldn’t I” discussion both with myself and my ever patient other half, I bit the bullet and bought a shiny 2014 Macbook Pro with Retina Display.

And I f*****g LOVE it!

The rep was right. He explained it all to me, laid it out and finished his pitch with, and I quote –

“ONCE YOU START USING A MACBOOK YOU’LL WONDER WHY IT’S TAKEN YOU SO LONG”

And he wasn’t wrong.

 

At the time this post is published I’ll have been a Mac user for maybe 50 or so hours. So not very long but y’know what? In that short space of time the things I’ve been able to do with it have literally blown me away. Editing photographs is a breeze. Blogging is a breeze. I’m truly amazed at how sleek and nice it all is. There’s a bit of a learning curve to it, I’m getting over the fundamental differences, I finding it really easy.

Now if you’re reading this and thinking “You’re easily impressed Mr. Bannerman” please remember something: I’ve never used an Apple product. I tried an iPhone. Hated it. Used it once and didn’t ever bother with it again. My last “dedicated” laptop was a Dell Inspiron 1520 running Windows XP that I bought second-hand for £120. When that packed up I got a Google Chromebook. Great little machine for web browsing but not much else.

So to have this monster of a laptop with a quite frankly alien operating system is both amazing and confusing. I’ve been like a small child trying to wrap his brain around an old Magic-Eye picture, but I’m embracing it as fast as I can because it works.

So have I been converted? Will I ditch my Android devices for iOS? Will I buy an iPad? Will I be queuing all night for the next bi-annual iteration of the iPhone? Certainly not.

While I’m ridiculously impressed with the MacBook and all it can do, I still have a problem with iOS. My mobile devices (phone and tablet) will remain Android based. I like the platform, I know it, I understand it and I’ve been using it for years. When it comes to laptops though, I think Apple just might have a new life-long customer.

Cheers!

Dave C. Bannerman

Ahhh a nice day off…oh wait!

We’ve all done it. You’re warm, comfortable, and very asleep in your bed. Your alarm starts to sing. You groggily open your eyes, cack-handedly swing your arm in the general direction of that hideous noise, hoping to stop it on the first pass so you can drift off back to sleep. It takes you a couple of attempts but you finally manage it. The silence is golden, order is restored. You roll over, pull up the covers, wriggle a bit and start to slide. After all, today’s your day off.

No work. No having to get up, drag yourself into the shower, brush your teeth, pull on your work clothes (whatever they may be), and schlep to that place in which you toil. Today, blissfully, wonderfully, and absolutely without doubt, is your day off. 

You’re almost positive it is. Almost.

Then, reality sets in. You suddenly realise with horror that in fact, it’s not your day off. It’s ok though, because you only closed your eyes for five minutes right? Wrong. The alarm went off an hour ago! You’re going to be late! 

With a volley of swear words, curses and all round profanity you jump from your bed and try to do everything at once. You run around your bedroom frantically gathering your clothes, which get dumped onto the bathroom floor before you hurl yourself into the shower toothbrush in hand.

Hurry up! Get a move on!

In the shower it doesn’t get any better. You fumble, drop things, soap in yours eyes? Fight through it. Move! Scalded, half blinded and with a mouth full of soap flavoured toothpaste you only just about manage to get out of the shower without doing yourself a mischief.

After you’ve found the towels, dried yourself off (sort of) and finished cleaning your teeth, you need a second to get over the shock of seeing what’s looking back at you in the mirror before reaching for the hairbrush or comb. After a bit of faffing about and some more swearing your throw the brush or come away and turn to the pile of clothes on the floor with a “that’ll do” snort and start to get dressed.

By dressed I mean your clothes are at least on your body, whether they’re on the correct way around isn’t something you concern yourself with at this point.

Come on! Get a shake on! 

Next order of business is coffee or tea. Everyones morning routine differs at this point. For the smokers, it’s kettle on, fags out, light your first happy moment of the day. For the non-smokers it might be something else. Whatever your routine is you’re doing it, and you’re doing it fast.

Ok, smokers have had their fag, non-smokers have done their thing. Kettle’s boiled, so you make a cup of whatever it is you have. And burn the gob (mouth – for anyone outside of Liverpool) off yourself as your try to drink it in one gulp. Oh happy times! Today’s going to be great! You can feel it already.

Right, so scalded, half blinded, severely irritated, with no feeling in your tongue or lips, you give yourself a quick look in the mirror and instantly wish you hadn’t. Final adjustments done it’s time to go.

You’ve missed your bus, the traffic is terrible, the train is packed to bursting. Now you’re really starting to wish it was your day off.

So after all this you make it in to work. Just about. If you just slip in quietly and start no one’ll notice. Until the tool who thinks he’s being clever shouts:

“Oh, good afternoon, what time d’you call this?”

Now, hey, listen, calm down. We all have to resist the urge to stab this gobshite, every workplace has one, so you’re not alone.

But that’s it. You’re late. Youre day is now completely out of sync. And it’s going to feel like you’re playing catch up all day. You don’t fully wake up and spend the day in a kind of haze. You’re easily irritated, and short tempered, wishing they’d all just leave you alone. It’s not going to get any better. It never does. So all you can do is try and get through the day.

Most of this happened to me this week. I’ve had a fairly busy one, with work, setting up my website, and one or two other things I have going on at the moment. We all get mixed up from time to time. There’s nothing worse than being late though.

The walk of shame into your workplace, looking, quite literally, like you’ve just fallen out of bed, carrying a ‘not quite right’ feeling in your gut. You’ve had no time to prepare. No chance to psyche yourself up for the day ahead. Your routine disappeared and you’re just in a bad mood. Why?

Because you thought you had a day off! 

Are you in tomorrow? Better check.

Cheers!

Dave C. Bannerman.   

Here we go!

So my first website is alive and kicking! It’s taken a while to set this up but here it is. I’m still not so sure about the er…pastel purple/pink background though. Anyway, why’s this site here?

Because I’ve recently been told need to organise myself a little bit!

If you’ve seen the welcome page you’ll probably be aware that I write the occasional blog, and take the occasional photograph. I blogged on WordPress (admittedly not much) and posted my photographic efforts to my facebook page: www.facbook.com/saysathousandwords which you should definately check out, just click the link.

If you’d like to see my blog on WordPress just click this link: www.davecbannerman.wordpress.com

So why build this website?

Well everything is starting to seem a little bit all over the place. I have blogs here, photo galleries there, and nothing central.

Until now that is!

I’ve purpose built this website so I can keep everything in one place. All together. Blogs, photographs, and things I’m hoping to add in the future. It’ll hopefully make life easier, I’ll be able to create more content, and you, you lovely people, will be able to find it and view it quickly and easily with no fuss. That’s the theory anyway! I will absolutely keep the Facebook page going going as well as all my other social media stuff

So that’s it! Enjoy the site, stick it in your bookmarks, and I’ll be posting to Facebook as more content appears.

One last thing, if you’re reading this on WordPress and fancy a glimpse at the  then click the link: www.davecbannerman.com

The site is still a work in progress so bear with me, and check back often!

Dave C. Bannerman

“Well, this is awkward”

I was on a night out recently, getting my groove on and shaking my erm…boo-tay, and something happened which had never happened before.

I was recognised by a gentleman who’d recently had surgery at the hospital I work at and had spent some time under my care.

Let’s call him Bob, and I’ll tell you what happened.

So there I was, doing my impression of an electrocuted chicken. Fully believing of course that I was gods gift to the dancefloor, and Michael Flatly wouldn’t stand a chance in a one-on-one dance-off with me, when Bob spots me.

He came over and asked if I was Dave. I, slightly suspicious, said I was. Bob then made things a little clearer by explaining who he was.

Bob, it seems, was a previous patient on my ward.

So me being a compassionate and caring kind of fella, I instinctively asked him how he was doing and before I knew it he was trying to show me his scar.

Now please bear in mind I was on a night out with my girlfriend, we were in a relatively busy nightclub and I wasn’t in uniform. Also, the scar from the particular type of surgery Bob had is in quite a… sensitive area. Yet, he proceeded to show me anyway. This made me uncomfortable for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, a fully grown man exposing parts of his body he wouldn’t normally expose to another fully grown, and at the moment very hairy, man in a nightclub, while hairy mans girlfriend looks on is giving, absolutely and without question, the wrong impression. Thankfully my girlfriend is in the same line of work as me so completely understood.

Secondly, I wasn’t on duty. We’d enjoyed a nice meal and were well on the way to being happily sozzled. I was on a night out. Time away from my job. My time. Our time. The truth is I didn’t want to see his scar.

Now if any of that sounds strange to you then it’s about to get weirder. But if you’re reading this and understanding then see how you feel about this next bit.

Bob, having recognised me, announced who he was, and come within literally millimeters of exposing his backside, offered to buy me a drink. I politely refused his offer. But it only served to send my uncomfortable-o-meter into overdrive. I suddenly had an almost overwhelming urge to drain the drink I had and leave the club.

And I don’t know why.

It was a lovely thing to do. I know he was only trying to show his appreciation and express his gratitude but it didn’t feel right accepting his offer of a drink.

If you’re reading this thinking “weirdo, why not just accept the drink and enjoy it?” then you have a valid point, but let me try to explain.

The first thing I need you to understand is that I wasn’t on duty. I know I’ve said it previously but that’s the main point. We were in a nightclub I couldn’t fathom why this obviously well-rounded, intelligent, tough-looking guy felt it it necessary to almost drop his trousers in front of me. I was “off the clock” if you like. I was drinking and being my usual suave, spohisticated self. By suave I mean dancing like I had fireants down my trousers, and by sophisticated I mean having to concentrate on getting my drinks in my mouth and not down the front of my shirt, in my hair or anywhere else a drink doesn’t belong.

The second thing is… I didn’t recognise Bob. I couldn’t swear to ever having met him. I can’t recall if I accidentally made this obvious. A suspicious look when he said my name, or a blank stare when he told me how he knew me. Had I offended him? Did he believe I should remember him?

I unwillingly found myself in an unenviable position. On one hand I didn’t want to offend Bob, had I done so the situation might’ve gotten out of hand – drink is a powerful and dangerous catalyst. On the other hand I was slightly irritated with the whole sequence of events, and was doing my best to hide it. It’s a fine line I was treading and just for an instant I was wishing myself anywhere else.

I suppose I was shocked he remembered me, and was able to pick me out in a dark nightclub. Also, I’m not used to men, particularly men I don’t know, showing me parts of themselves in nightclubs. It’s a strange little idiosyncrasy I have. I don’t like it, and I don’t want it to happen.

People in my line of work come into contact with so many people it can get a bit ridiculous. We see hundreds of faces, hear hundreds of names and hear thousands of facts about peoples lives. Ninety-nine per cent of these faces, names and facts don’t stick. It’s not possible to remember everyone. There are exceptions. A particularly amusing patient, a particularly poorly patient, perhaps one with a big personality, or one who’s not particularly pleasant -yes they do exist- or a patient you care for for an extended period. In my particular field though, these exceptions are rare, but they do happen.

But, and here’s where I began to maybe understand a little better, for the patient it’s potentially (hopefully) a once in a lifetime experience. And it’s seldom enjoyable. So that patient is obviously going to remember the person who maybe made them laugh, or sat and chatted with them for a minute, or alleviated a fear or concern they had. So maybe I’d done one of the above or something similar for this patient. But I had no way of knowing because I didn’t remember him.

It’s not that I didn’t appreciate Bob thanking me, or offering me a drink, I did. I thought it was a really nice gesture, but where does it end?

If you work somewhere like a hospital you run the risk of coming into contact with patients outside. But I feel there still needs to be that distance. That separation. It’s a tricky gray area that’s not really covered by any policy or procedure. Everyone handles it a bit differently. Everyone has different views on it.

If you take care of someone after major sugery you’re in a singularly delicate position. You give highly personal care. You help people in ways that mortifies them. You have to be respectful, tactful and above all understanding. You should take an interest in the person. This all helps you to be more effective at your job and give the patient the best care you can.

Getting to know a patients likes and dislikes, their feelings on different things, a little bit of their history. It all helps. I’ll give you an example.

One particular patient of mine revealed that he hated the smell of latex gloves. We were discussing cars and how he used them once while working on his engine. He told me the smell on his hands afterwards made him feel queasy. This patient needed help to eat. So, knowing that he didn’t like the smell of latex I asked him how he felt about me assissting him to eat his meal without me wearing the gloves. He agreed. Meal enjoyed. No sick bowl necessary.

I only found this out because I saw he had a motoring magazine in his bag and I used that to start a conversation.

“Oh, are you a car man Mr. Smith? What’s your favourite? Do you watch motor racing?”

See? It’s easy.

But just because the guy dancing with his girlfriend took an interest in you, or the lady at the bar helped you get back on your feet doesn’t mean you’re friends for life. You needed looking after at that moment, and that person gave you the help you needed and if they were any good, asked certain questions to get the information they needed to look after you properly.

Once you leave the hospital though,  that’s it. End of relationship. Don’t be offended if they don’t remember you. If they see you and recognise you and ask how you are then great, but chances are they probably won’t. Because since he helped you that guy dancing like he’s got an itch he can’t reach has helped a hundred other patients, given a hundred other bed baths, which all mix in with the five thousand he gave before yours. That lady has most likely forgotten all about the help she gave you because she’s been busy helping others.

Wondering if I’d offended Bob played on my mind the rest of the night. My job is hard enough, anyone who does it will tell you that. Once we’re out of uniform we tend to just let go of it. If we had to remember all of the faces we’ve cared for in our careers in case we bump into one of them in a nightclub we’d be dribbling wrecks. It’s just not possible.

So if you see someone who’s looked after you, please, leave them alone unless they recognise you. Show your gratitude another way. Send a card to the ward. Take a box of chocolates in so that the staff can accept your gratitude in the context and environment most comfortable to them. Keep the staff-patient barrier. We need it, because if that barrier comes down… we’d never be off duty.

Of course, everyone thinks differently. You may think I’m being harsh, over sensitive or even a bit of a bastard, but as I’ve said on this blog in previous posts these are my personal feelings. I would never ignore a patient outside of the hospital, and I do take an interest in how patients get on after their operations, we all do, we like success stories. That doesn’t mean we want to drink with them.

So to wrap up I’ll leave you with this. Keep it in context. If you see someone who’s looked after you think twice before you approach them. If you really must approach them then maybe just smile and say hi, but let us buy our own drinks. You know how hard we work for them!

Cheers all!

Dave C. Bannerman.

The Night Shift

If you’re a shift worker, or have been in the past, then this blog will (hopefully) ring true with you. If you’re not, and never have been, if you’re part of the 9-5 brigade then read on, and spare a thought for that grumpy, bleary eyed, slightly mental-looking person in a uniform you glance at on the the bus. You’re traveling to your office, in your suit and tie, all fresh and ready to face the day. But, pull your eyes away from whatever gadget you’re engrossed in and look around. You’ll generally see at least one. It’s normally the one who’s yawning and nodding off on the back seat where it’s (usually) nice and warm. In most cases that person isn’t a fruitloop, that person has probably just finished a night shift, and all they want to do is go home, have a hot drink, and get into bed.

 

Working nights is part of any shift workers job, be it permanent on intermittent. Many people work permanent nights, and many people, like me, work them periodically. This blog is based on, and written from, my personal feelings about working nights. Still, I’m sure my feelings and experiences aren’t unique. I would like to stress again, just be clear, I’m not a permanent night shift worker.

 

So first thing’s first. The strangest thing for me about working nights, and potentially the most obvious for you dear reader is this: You sleep through the day and work through the night! Right away it’s unnatural. Human beings weren’t meant to work nights. Night time is, or was, for sleeping.

“IF WE WERE MEANT TO WORK NIGHTS,

WE WOULDN’T NEED LIGHTS”

-Anonymous

We live in a 24-hour society now, where we’re all starting to get used to supermarkets being open all night for example, but in certain lines of work night shifts have always been there. I’m not going to get into higher arguments about the pros and cons of a 24-hour society. I’ll work from one simple premise: Night shifts are necessary. Anywhere that members of the public need to be either looked after or locked up, like hospitals and prisons, as well as infrastructure like the emergency services, travel or construction. Places like factories, shipping offices, newspaper companies, delivery firms, the Post Office and many more. These are the areas of our now 24-hour society you’ll find the night shift workers. These, as well as many others have always been 24-hour societies.

You already knew all that though, right? Of course you did, being the intelligent human being you are.

But! If you’ve never worked through the night, I’m going to try and take you through it. Sitting comfortably? Got a cuppa? Yes? Ok, here we go!

The first thing I want to talk about is the feeling of working nights. Personally, working nights feels totally different than working the day shift. I don’t mean in the obvious way, the fact that it’s not light outside. I’ve never been able to put my finger on exactly what it is, but there’s a definite difference. It can feel pretty surreal depending on how you prepare, but we’ll get to that. For now, just take my word for it, it’s different.

I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone who works nights, but when I work them I don’t feel in sync with the rest of the world. There’s a feeling of disconnection, like you take a break from life. Strange I know but these are my experiences don’t forget. They vary from person to person.

Another thing I find difficult to get used to is having breakfast when almost everyone else is having their evening meal. On the flip side of that, it’s an even stranger feeling having cravings for a takeaway and a beer at 8 o’clock in the morning. I generally just settle for toast.

Speaking of food, working nights is usually when you eat more junk food and…well I’m going to say it, crap, than any other time in your working life. You tend to eat a lot of sugar, and most people justify that by saying it gives them the energy they need to get through the shift. Fair enough. Microwave meals or sandwiches are a night staff food-favourite, as well as cakes, chocolate, and crisps. My diet changes radically during my night shifts because the time there’s a proper meal available to eat is usually exactly 10 minutes after I’ve just woken up and can’t even look at it nevermind eat it.

But it’s not just what you eat, another consideration is how you eat all this stuff that’s ultimately really bad for you. Rather than just having one sitting, like you would at home around the dinner table, you graze. Food is picked at all night long, so you usually end up eating three or even four times the amount of junk than you would if you were to sit down and eat constantly for thirty minutes or so.

All this junk food, and for some people unusually high amounts of caffeine, adds to the yucky, uncomfortable feeling of having to stay awakeall night in the first place. Yes, you might get the burst of energy you want or need, but it doesn’t last, so to keep it going you eat more junk, and eventually you just end up feeling sick. I am, however, aware that there are some night shift workers who do try to eat healthily, but they still have a go at any goodies left for the staff by a grateful, recently discharged patient and don’t let them tell you otherwise.

Ok, let’s try something. For the next thirty seconds I want you to close your eyes and think of a hospital.

Hello? Down here! Hi. Did you do it? You probably saw busy waiting rooms, bustling corridors, noise, clatter and activity right? Doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants and porters all rushing around quite busy and needing to have finished what they’re doing five minutes ago yes? Well, at night, that doesn’t happen.

Ok, in some places it does, like A&E departments, but for the most part, a hospital is a completely different place at night. Empty corridors, unmanned desks, no ancillary staff, cleaners, physiotherapists, secretaries, pharmacists, all gone home. For the most part there’s only silence. Hospitals at night are quite frankly, very eerie places.

Except…except when there’s that particular doctor who insists on wearing his clicky-clacky winkle-pickers. You know the one, he sounds like a tap-dancing baby elephant as he struts down the ward and proceeds to shout instead of speak to the nurses and shows a complete disregard for the ill people who are trying to sleep less than twenty feet away. He clearly either chose the noisiest shoes ever created, and was never told that he has something called in ‘indoor voice’ and really doesn’t need to shout to the nurse sitting three feet away from him because, after all, she isn’t deaf, or he’s just not particularly well mannered.

Rant over. If you’re reading this Dr. Loudmouth Clacky Shoes please sort yourself out.

Ok. Deep breath.

A lot of night shift workers, the permanent ones that is, will often mention the ‘wall’. The wall is a point in the night where you are so tired you have to stop for a few minutes. For me this usually happens around 4am but it varies from person to person. If you can make it through this particular event you can look forward to your ‘second wind’. Second wind is the term given to that inexplicable burst of energy you get once you get through the ‘wall’. Often this burst of energy is accompanied by a type of giddy hysteria, where you will generally find the most ridiculous things ridiculously funny, and some of that energy you’ve suddenly been granted is dispelled through fits of laughter. I’m not sure if there’s a name for this but I quite like the sound of ‘funny 5am’, so we’ll go with that.

After ‘funny 5am’ it’s time to steel yourself and push on with the most difficult part of the shift. The Final Push. 

This is by far the worst part of the shift for me. Summoning up the energy to do all those time-dictated jobs that can’t be done before hand, but need doing now. It turns into a race between you and the clock. It happens all of a sudden and if you’re not careful, can catch you completely off guard. It’s a slog and no mistake.

In the end it comes down to personal preference. Yes, the money can be better on nights and yes, you get more time off depending on how many you work. There are no visitors to deal with, and scans and other procedures are rare, usually only in emergencies. and night shifts tend to run to a little more of a routine than day shifts do. But personally, I prefer days. I’m not built for nights. Nights are for sleeping, and other activities. A list on which work doesn’t appear voluntarily.

A colleague of mine put it best this week when she said…

“WORKING NIGHTS IS CRAP”

While I will always do my share of nights along with the rest of the shift-working world, I wholeheartedly agree with what my colleague said, and to be quite honest, I couldn’t have put it better myself!

Night all!

Dave C. Bannerman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a while…

Having fallen woefully short of a target I set myself in a previous post, it’s been another year since my last appearance. Yes, I have considered closing this blog, but decided against it for one reason: I want to write a blog. I do find it difficult to keep a blog going but I’m feeling a new determination or this now. I could give you the standard excuse.

“I HAVE NOTHING TO WRITE ABOUT, AND WHEN SOMETHING DOES HAPPEN I DON’T HAVE THE TIME TO WRITE A BLOG”

 

Time waits for no blog

Time waits for no blog.

But I won’t, and here’s why. While the second part of that “reason” could be, to an extent, viewed as somewhat valid, the first part, the part about having nothing to write about, simply isn’t true. Let me break it down, dealing with the second part first. Ready? And we’re off!

“…I DON’T HAVE THE TIME TO WRITE A BLOG”

We all have time constraints. Jobs, deadlines, families, pets. A lot of people have kids (I don’t but a lot of people do) and all of these things and many many others pull us in one direction or another. Everything we do costs us time and there’s only so many hours in the day. So to find the time to sit down, think about, and write a blog can be difficult. Here’s the counter argument. Other people manage it. People who have far busier lives than me. People with far more demands on their time manage to sit down and write stunning blogs on any topic you can think of. Some people even manage to do it on a daily basis!

So not having time to write is no excuse. I have the time. If I didn’t, considering I’ve already stated that I want to write a blog, it would be up to me to find the time to do it. So, now I’ve deconstructed that part of the excuse, let’s see if I can dismantle the first part. Here we go.

“I HAVE NOTHING TO WRITE ABOUT AND WHEN SOMETHING INTERESTING DOES HAPPEN…”

This is the part of the excuse that would crumble like a dried out meringue. Once I’d finally decided that yes, I do want to write a blog, the next logical question to ask myself would be well, why haven’t I been writing? This took a little thought.

Initially, I’d considered citing a lack of things to write about as my reason for not writing. But this simply isn’t the case. During the last 12 months I’ve had no shortage of experiences, problems and life developments, both good and bad, to write about. The heartbreaking loss of a beloved pet. An epic battle with depression that I almost didn’t win (I’m not arrogant enough to believe that war is over yet either). A brand new relationship. Discovering a brand new passion and rekindling an old one (photography and writing respectively). So I can’t truthfully say that I’ve had no material to write about.

Then I tried to excuse my lack of enthusiasm by convincing myself that nobody would be interested in anything I had to say. That I would be writing all this and no one would ever see it. The more I thought about that though, the more I thought so what? It’s my blog. If nobody reads it is that going to negatively impact on my life? Will I lie awake at night worrying about it? The answer was really quite simple: Nope.

When you start a blog you ‘pays your money and takes your chances’. Nobody giving a fig about what you write, or how you write is a risk you run. I could pander to the masses and write about what everyone’s talking about or reading or watching on television. Or I could write for me. If people take an interest, great! If they don’t, well so what?

A lot of people write for cathartic reasons. It makes them feel better. I think I might be one of those people. At this point I would like to mention that at the time of writing this post my life is in the best shape it’s been in for years and I’m hopeful that’s going to continue. But it still may be a useful thing to do. When I consider that I could’ve had a record of all the things that I’ve been through in the last year, it makes me sad to realise I haven’t recorded any of it with words. It just seems like such a waste. I’ve always quite liked the idea of recording my experiences. Not in a teenage “dear diary” way, but rather something I can look at and remind myself of things that have happened.

Ok, so if you’re still awake and reading this then your staying power is to be commended. But where are we at this point? Shall we have a quick recap? Let’s do that. Just to refresh you (and me!)

I’ve decided that I want to write a blog. I’ve determined that I need to find time to do it. I’ve realised that I’ve missed so many opportunities for a good blog post, maybe even some great ones. I can’t help that now. Those posts never were and never will be. I’ve worked out, all by myself, that writing a blog may be useful to me, as I’m the kind of person who likes to record things.

Right, ready for more? On we go.

The next potential reason (excuse) my mind latched onto was the blogging wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. When something happened the idea of blogging about it didn’t occur to me. It was only after the event that I thought oh, I’ll write about that. By then though the details were fading and I just didn’t bother. This brought me back to my original question: do I really want a blog? After more thought and introspection, I came back to the same answer. Yes. But now I had a plausible, but not excusable reason for not writing. It was something I could work on.

So how do I go about changing this? Do I constantly ask myself is there a blog in this everytime something happens? Will I remember to do that? I use mobile apps, so maybe I could do it that way? Make notes for a once-a-week-blog? I like the idea of that.

Another result of my introspection was this: I lack the discipline to sit and write a blog.

That’s a hard thing to admit. Nobody likes admitting their faults but this is a big one of mine. I have a very short attention span and I’m easily distracted. While hard to admit, I believe admitting there’s a problem, especially to yourself, is the first step in solving it. So step one? Done!

I mentioned I’d discovered a new passion, that passion is photography. It’s still very early days – a little over three weeks by the time this post is published- but so far I’m really enjoying it. I’m enjoying the learning process and I get a thrill out of seeing my photographs slowly improve as time goes on. Still, they won’t be winning any awards but I’m ok with that. I’m still only learning. I do a lot of post-process work on my photographs. I edit to try to bring out the best in a photograph, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I want the photographs I’ve put time and effort into capturing to look as good as they can look. So I edit. I have a facebook page. Go to www.facbook.com/saysathousandwords if you’d like to see the best of my photographs to date. I’m also considering setting up a website but that’s still in the planning stages.

My point is, I have to sit down and put the photographs through post-process which means I have to be disciplined and do it. Otherwise what’s the point? Exactly. There wouldn’t be one. So maybe I can transpose that discipline into a blog? It’s worth a try right?

Let me learn to walk before I can run. I’ll limit it to one a week for a couple of months (unless I have a burning desire to write about something) and see how I go with that. I’ve written that before, more than once in fact. So until I actually produce a weekly blog, that’s just an empty statement.

I’ve been told my mind needs organising. I completely agree. So for the third year in a row, and with the best of intentions I’ll say:

Let’s give this another go!

 

Dave C. Bannerman.

 

Finally joined the reading revolution!

Alas, ’tis true. After declaring point blank that I would never buy an e-reader I caved. I’m now the proud, and somewhat amazed, owner of a shiny Kindle Fire. Why am I amazed? I’m amazed it’s taken me this long to get one if I am to be totally honest.

I like reading. I have to admit I’m a very slow reader though. I get distracted. I can’t help it. I’ve always been that way. I find it hard to settle down and focus, but I maintain that I enjoy reading. Some people buy books because they like the idea of having them. Some people buy books because they think they look nice on the shelf. Others buy books to make themselves appear more intelligent than they actually are. I buy books to read them. It just takes me a bit longer than everyone else.

Most people I know own a Kindle. My GRANDMOTHER owns a Kindle. They swear by them. They’re always saying how good they are. ‘Oh you can carry so many books’. What the hell for? You can only read one book at a time!

I’m halfway through the Song of Ice and Fire series, and if you don’t know the books, they’re pretty big, heavy and bulky. I recently took a trip and took the current book I’m reading with me. Big. Heavy. Bulky. It began to annoy me having to carry it around. I’d have to get it out of my bag, find my page, I’m sure I read this bit…Oh the book marks fell out! Hassle.

So when I got home I started thinking about Kindles. I’d seen a few people with them while I was on my travels and I have to admit they did look easier to handle than my 600-page hulking paperback.

I went online and read some reviews. Watched a couple of videos, the usual stuff. I was liking what I was seeing. So I decided to go for it. Went to the nearest outlet and purchased one.

Within a couple of hours I was off and reading. Account set up, Kindle set to how I wanted it, and a couple of book’s downloaded after a bit of fumbling about. I’m actually writing this blog on it as I lay in bed. I can hear seagulls in the distance and the dogs snoring in the hallway downstairs.

What took me so long? I should’ve learned from previous experience. When touchscreen phones came out I avoided them. Then I got one and loved it. When tablets came out, I avoided them too. Until I got one. Now I wouldn’t be without it. This particular Kindle is a tablet as well with many more features than your basic Kindle. I didn’t buy it to show off though. It’s just the one I liked.

Will I be using it as a tablet? Will I sync my email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts? Short answer: no. My tablet and phone are cluttered enough with that lot. I have enough trouble keeping on top of those, clearing junk mail and adding and removing people. This is a Kindle first. So that’ll be it’s primary function. I say that now though, ask me again in a few weeks.

All in all I’m very happy with it, If and plan on taking it wherever I go. If there are any typos in this blog I do apologize. It’s 2:30 in the morning and I’m very tired. I did read a whole book yesterday afternoon. That’s a massive achievement for me 🙂 

NDB.