Friday, 29 February 2008

In front of the lens

Let me ask you a question:

Before the husband did his back in we went to the beach for his birthday earlier this month ( was THAT mild). The place was heaving with people; hearty dog-walkers, families with cute kiddies running around in brightly coloured wellies, elderly promenaders donning hats and sticks, some dudey surfers looking to brave the sea and a flock of photographers wielding tripods and zoom lenses obviously on some sort of club outing.

We nestled into an out-of-the-way spot, off the main drag and set up our barbeque bits. Max and Chloe climbed on the groynes and we lit the coals which smoked and smoked and smoked. To our left, a couple were climbing some rocks with two ferrets on leads sniffing around the crevices. To our right an older lady with white hair - probably a member of the photographers' troop - set up a camera on a tripod and trained the lens right on us. A few minutes later a man came and set up his camera right next to her. So there were two - looking directly at us.

They were really quite close and 'in your face'. If they had just been snapping quickly I wouldn't have minded really, but they were all tripodded up and stayed there for ages, taking picture after picture. We began to feel a little under the spotlight and it felt intrusive. Were they taking pictures of us or focusing on the ferrets?

Eventually my husband went up to the old lady and asked. Yes, she was taking pictures of us she said - the smoke from the barbeque looked beautiful apparently. Husband then commented - fairly I think - that he would have preferred that she ask our permission before taking pictures of us at which she acted surprised and mildly defensive, making out it was her right as a photographer to take pictures of whatever and whomsoever she liked.

Did she have a right? I don't think so. I always thought you had to ask permission to take photos of people, whatever country you are in - and especially when there are children involved.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Back problems

My husband 'put his back out' on Sunday. Apparently all he did was stand up a bit too suddenly having been kneeling down to clear out the fireplace.

I came back from football with Chloe (two unbelievably tense matches, in which C got repeatedly whacked in the head by the ball and was herself complaining of backache) to find Max complaining of a headache and husband hobbling around like an old man. I myself had a splitting headache - really honestly I did- but didn't bother to mention it, it would have seemed all too contrived in the circumstances.

So it was an aching rag-tag bunch of us who sat down to watch the rugby that afternoon.

Come the end of the match though, while three of us felt much better, the husband had frozen in place and couldn't move even an inch without sparking off a series of agonisingly painful spasms in his back. Even the most basic thing like turning his head caused him to be racked in extreme pain. I'd never seen anyone in quite such agony (except myself in childbirth - but then again I never actually saw myself).

I bought some Neurofen from the local shop but it did little to help. It just seemed so ludicrous. How could one small action have such a dramatic effect?

Over the course of the evening it got even worse, and we set up a mattress on the floor for him to sleep downstairs. It was a long night, with cries of pain from downstairs requiring my help and attention and two children, for some reason deciding to share my bed and taking up all the room.

The following morning it had become almost farcical. I returned from school drop-off to find him sliding along the dining room floor trying to get to the bathroom. Stronger painkillers which I quickly bought from the chemist did nothing to help. He was stuck on the floor for ages. All sorts of strategies and solutions were mooted, thought up, tried. But he just couldn't get up. The pair of us were getting quite hysterical with it all but, with cruel irony, laughing made it hurt even more.

I spoke to the doctor and she prescribed a pharmacopia of pills - muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories, mega-paracetamol. But we had to wait four hours to administer these. When they finally kicked in we managed to get him back on his feet. It was an almost epiphanous moment .

Today, he is much better. We have rigged up the sofa bed, he can get in and out of it and walk to the bathroom. But it's still desperately fragile and he is still in pain.

To top it all it's his birthday: Happy Birthday darling!

Now I've been awarded a couple of awards which I must dutifully pass along.

Maddy has very kindly given me a Bloggers of the World award which I pass to: Swearing Mother, Diary of a Housewife, Too young for a Midlife too old for a tantrum, Manic Mother of Five, Land of Sand, Tomfoolery and anyone I nominated for the other award below who already has it!

Belle has given me the Excellent blogger award which comes with the following instructions:

I love being a part of the blogging community and part of all the friendships that I've formed so I wanted to give a blog award for all of you out there that have Excellent Blogs. By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you have to award it to 10 more people whose blogs you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want but please award at least 10.

I nominate: Tomfoolery, Identity Crisis, She's like the wind, Crystal Jigsaw, 3kidsnojob, Itchy feet at 40, Flowerpot, Witterer on Autism, Land of Sand, The Write Eye and Mother of Shrek.

As I have just found out that most of these already have said award - anyone who does is welcome to take the bloggers of the world award instead. Anyone who I haven't nominated, please feel free to take either!.