Updated: Apr 30, 2020
Still from the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch advert.
I think it's fair to say that my 2019 didn't get off to the best start! I was very poorly and in hospital over Christmas and New Year with pneumonia, which was no fun at all! I have thankfully fully recovered, but unfortunately I have now been put in a new life changing situation! Apologies if this is too frank for some people!
Unfortunately my disability, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, means I have progressive muscle weakness that has meant my swallowing has deteriorated. Food was going down the wrong way and eventually caused the pneumonia. The only solution was to fit a tube in my stomach and I had the procedure done on New Years Eve. All my food is now taken through a tube and this bypasses the swallowing, which has now become too dangerous because it could go on my lungs, and that could cause an infection. The good thing is that the risk has been substantially reduced, but the fact I now can't enjoy food is a bitter blow, as it's one of the great pleasures in life! Not to mention the social side of it!
I'm pleased to say I'm doing well now and I'm slowly getting my strength back, whilst getting used to my new situation. Now I've got the energy to get out and about again, I'm planning some photography sessions which will be a good focus. Any suggestions would be appreciated! I recently went on a walk up Reigate Hill, which was really inspiring; so I might take my camera back another time and take some shots of the beautiful view up there. Anyway whatever I decide to do I'll post it on here!
On a more positive note! Some of you may have also seen me appear briefly on the TV over Christmas and New Year! I wrote about it a while back, but because I was ill I haven't been able to update you until now. I was lucky enough, along with my dad, to be filmed for the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch advert back in October. It was a really exciting and memorable day! It was through dad that we got the opportunity, as someone found his Instagram page and saw a picture of us doing the Big Garden Birdwatch. The weird thing is that it took several hours for just a few seconds of film! The filming took place at the RSPB's HQ Sandy in Bedfordshire, which was a really lovely place! The Lodge nature reserve, as it's also known, is made up of mostly heathland, woodland and acid grassland with some really rare species like the Natterjack Toad. I would like to go back at some point and do some proper birding!
For the filming they took us to a heathy track and took shots of us using our telescopes. They then did a comical shot to make it look like I've seen something and go driving off after it and dad then realises and runs after me! It was really good fun! After the filming which lasted over 3 hours, they then recorded me saying a few things like "for the love of nature" and "how will you Big Garden Birdwatch". I think the most interesting part was just seeing how they went about it, the planning involved was impressive! The highlight of the day was getting to meet and chat with Springwatch presenter Chris Packham who was being filmed when I arrived! We had a good conversation about accessibility at nature reserves, it was really interesting hearing his views! Read my related post at bottom of the page for more on that!
Dad and I did manage to do our Big Garden Birdwatch in the end and we saw quite a good variety of birds in the hour including over 20 House Sparrows, several Starlings and more besides. For those who don't know about the Big Garden Birdwatch, it is the worlds largest wildlife survey and this year celebrated it's 40th year! What you have to do is record how many birds you see in your garden in 1 hour. That includes the different species you see and how many of each bird you see. You'll have to wait till next year now though to take part!
So that's all from me for now and I will keep you posted on what I get up to very soon! In the mean time enjoy the advert! I appear near the end.
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch advert.