Caroline Shipsey

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Forum Fever

I don't belong to many forums, they can be great sources of help, information and advice or they can be time wasting, or they can get nasty.

Such is the case with a private forum that I belong to - why write about it here then? Well, this is my blog and I can express my feelings here, after all I'm just talking to myself.

There are always people who are regarded as being superior because of the number and content of their posts. Then there are the ones who write 100 words when 20 would suffice, the pompous ones, full of themselves who just have to keep on and on making the same point - their point of view, in case we forget who they are.

It's all too easy to overstep the mark when correcting a statement, demanding justification of facts etc, banging on and about how this or that is wrong. Too easy to forget there is a real person on the receiving end. Of course we can never know what is going on in another persons life, and that is why I believe we should always write with courtesy and consideration.

I don't want to be part of a community that reduces a lady to tears, who says she wants to die because of how she has been treated, especially when this lady is struggling at home with a loved one who is very ill.

Of course the perpetrators of the unpleasantness are only a tiny part of said forum but they make a big noise, some are moderators. It's a 'no win' situation, shut up and put up etc and nothing I can say or do will make any difference, but at least I've got it off my chest.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Photo Books Online

Making your own photo books online is a great way to share your photos and also makes a special gift - perhaps for Mother's Day. In a matter of minutes you can create a personalized book with hardcover, and for an additional fee have it sent to you within 3 day. This amazing service is being offered by Photobox as a special offer for Mother's Day.

The reproduction quality is quite outstanding in all respects and although it's fantastic to produce a real book of your photos, this isn't going to be commercially viable. Whilst the cost is quite reasonable for something totally unique, to be able to sell multiple copies in a shop or gallery you would need to either negotiate a special price or find another way to get them produced.

Almost 20 years ago Tim Shipsey(my now ex husband) and I had our first book published
- Images of Exmoor. It took weeks of work with a designer to settle on the layout, size, number of pages, jacket design etc. Then the prints were sent to Singapore where the book would be printed. Several weeks passed before the proof pages arrived for scrutiny, and in some cases rejection. Then a further 6 weeks or so before the books were dispatched from Singapore, yet another delay while they sat on the docks at Tilbury, and then the big day when the pallets were delivered to the publisher.

The original print run was for 5,000 copies which sold in around 18 months without being remaindered, apparently a great achievement for a very specialized market! Five years later our second book hit the bookshop shelves and was similarly successful, though some copies were remaindered.

There is no denying the sense of pride and achievement when holding the first copy in my hands, and then on receiving the first royalty cheque!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Seasonal Affective Disorder Depression

Just over a week ago I started to use light therapy in desperation to try and help with the depression that has really knocked me this winter.

It's difficult to tell with depression whether you really are depressed, just feeling a bit down in the dumps or have some kind of clinical depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is sometimes referred to as 'Winter Blues' because many people in the UK are only affected during the winter months when the clocks go back an hour. It is caused by a lack of sunlight during the winter – light that the body relies on to function correctly.

Lack of sunlight which the body requires to produce two essential chemicals - serotonin and melatonin - causes SAD. When the body is exposed to sunlight it produces serotonin which is connected to feelings of well-being, and also the trigger to stop producing melatonin which prepares the body for sleep.

When you don't get enough sunlight, typically during the winter months, then you can feel lethargic, slow and weary, generally down. By using special lamps which emit light at the correct intensity, the body behaves as though it's received a healthy dose of sunlight.

I've always been wary of whether this is true, possibly because I've been depressed and on medication for several years now, but no matter, I always feel much worse during the long grey days of winter.

The winter of 2010/2011 has been a particularly dismal one up here at Priddy - day after day of rain, fog, cold, grey, dark skies - and even now it still isn't very spring-like outside.

So in desperation I thought I would try a neat little product called the Litebook. As it has a 60 day guarantee I had nothing to lose and having spoken with the suppliers was confident returning it wouldn't be a problem, with no questions asked.

I could hardly wait to get to this bit - IT WORKS!! My miserable, pessimistic mood has completely gone, I've got new energy and my concentration and my thought process is so much better too. I've only had it a week but there is no way I could be kidding myself about this, I'm almost scared though, that I'll wake up one morning and the gloomy mood will be sitting on my shoulders again. However, this does feel quite different to just a passing moment of euphoria and I would certainly recommend anyone who has an inkling of SAD to try the Litebook.

You can see images of Litebook SAD Light and read about the other conditions it can help with.
I would like to add that I received mine the next day after ordering and subsequent contact with customer services has been excellent.

You can read more about depression on my website, starting with the depression checklist.

Monday, 7 March 2011

-3°C Brrrrrrrr!

The past few days have been quite pleasant weatherwise, the sun has almost broken through a couple of times and there's no doubt that nature thinks that spring is here.

Buds are filling out on bushes in the hedgerows and daffodils are tentatively opening their flowers, bringing such a welcome splash of colour in my garden. Amazingly snowdrops are still hanging on, as a drive from home to Blagdon, followed by a walk at Ubley proved - patches of white on the verges, and nestling at the bottom of hedges in many places.

This morning is frosty yet again but at least it looks as though it will be a sunny day. My enthusiasm for gardening increases 1000 fold at this time of the year but more so this year because so much damage has been done by the snow and very cold temperatures in Dec/January. Everything I planted in pots and baskets that should have provided some winter colour just rotted away:(

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A New Month - Where are the spring flowers?

Today is St David's Day - the patron saint of Wales and the beautiful, bright, cheerful Daffodil is the spring flowering bulb associated with it - no sign of any up here on the Mendips though:(

The first spring flowering bulb to appear is always the Snowdrop and these delicate little flowers are still hanging on in my garden and in banks and hedgerows all around. Forsythia is almost into flower and other buds are breaking on shrubs in the garden but the weather is stuck.

Day after day has been cold and grey, foggy and damp or worse pouring with rain. I'm sick of it and sick with it - I'm sure that my problem (one of them!) is Season Affective Disorder - a type of depression which is worsened in the type of weather I've just described and can be relieved by using a special kind of light box. So today, even though it's supposed to be spring I've given in, and am now eagerly awaiting delivery of my Litebook Elite. I'll let you know how things go, I've got 60 days to decide whether or not it works for me - if it doesn't it can be returned for a full refund.