Monday 7 March 2011

In Focus and a look at the bigger picture

Yesterday we took a break from working on the website (Steve) and preparing for the exhibition (me) to go to Focus on Imaging, a huge photographic trade show at the NEC Birmingham.  In previous years we have spent the whole day there walking round and round and round, and come away absolutely exhausted.  We have finally learnt the lesson the hard way (and about time too!)  

This time we paced ourselves - arriving after an early lunch, using the disabled parking area to avoid a long haul from a remote car park and having a cup of tea to rehydrate as soon as we felt tired.  Steve had been specially invited to the RPS stand to meet the society's president who wanted to say a personal thank you for the work he does as a moderator on the RPS forum.  We also met one of the trustees who not only remembered Steve as a moderator, but also my image of the Allotment in June which was the RHS Photograph of the Year last year - so we were both chuffed!

We picked up some cord, D-rings and screws ready for hanging the exhibition on Thursday. Handled a few cameras, but found nothing that was quite right for our purposes - a camera small and light enough to go in a pocket, but with a viewfinder, ability to take RAW images and, if possible, a zoom lens.  Both of us had a go at shooting professional models.  It was a real eye-opener to take pictures of someone who comes to life in front of a lens and can deal with being stared at by dozens of strangers clutching cameras without "freezing".

Our last foray was into the Caravan Gallery, where we chatted to the photographers (difficult not to in such a confined space!) and saw pictures that brought tears of laughter to our eyes. If it comes to a town near you, please go visit - it's great!

Back to reality today, catching up with our friends in the online meso community.  Debbie in Plymouth is looking forward to going back to work after a long break.  She's had a positive response to her last treatment in Germany and there is the possibility of PCT funding if this continues. Ronny in Maidstone is out of hospital where she has been treated for serious problems with her kidneys - probably a side effect of chemo. While waiting for the results of her latest scan, Mavis - also in Kent - has been doing great work raising awareness with her book and letters to MPs.  Karen here in Oxford has secured major improvements to the care of patients on clinical trials, after her husband died whilst on a drug trial for meso treatment - there will be an article in the Daily Mail tomorrow.  Jan is returning to the USA for cryo-ablation treatment after discovering some disease progression in February.

Further afield, Anita in Australia has given an interview about living with mesothelioma to the Herald Sun - all good stuff to raise awareness.  I have added a new link to a blog by Julie, also in Australia, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in July 2008 and is currently slogging it out on the front line of the battle after an increase in tumour growth.  She is such a brave lady, as are all the meso warriors.  Plans for Global Asbestos Awareness Week 1-8 April are progressing well co-ordinated by my namesake in the ADAO.  I've been in touch with the local press about doing a feature and am told someone will probably be in contact about a feature.  We shall see!

Our solicitor has been in touch briefly to say that the team is waiting for the report from the asbestos sampling company on further samples taken from the building where Steve believes he was exposed back in the early 70s.  I'd be surprised if they find anything given the passage of time and the clean up that's taken place since, but you never know.....

Looking forward to seeing some of you at the private view next Sunday.  If there are any meso warriors out there within striking distance of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, with no plans for next Sunday afternoon, why not join us?

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