BBC Countryfile Magazine
For my 65th birthday, my wife bought me a very good DSLR, which I started to use regularly on our daily walks in the area. A few months later, my wife’s health deteriorated badly and, in December 2019, she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour and passed away seven weeks later. Her funeral was just before Covid lockdowns. As you can imagine, family, friends and I were devastated by this and it was made worse by the lockdowns and isolation we had to deal with just when we needed family and friends for support.
When the lockdowns were eased,
I was able to go out walking locally on ‘our’ walks on fields adjacent to our estate and started to take my camera with me. It seemed very apt, under the circumstances, to walk these paths with the camera that my wife had bought me.
I started to post my photos on a local Facebook page and was pleased and encouraged to carry on with this, due to the lovely comments received, especially from the older residents who were not able to get out themselves.
More camera equipment was purchased, the Countryfile Calendar Competition entered, RSPB joined, along with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, where, due to my photos, I was asked to feature in ‘My Wild Life’ and my videos featured in their social posts.
The point of this letter is that without the outdoors, nature and photography, and meeting like-minded people,
I don’t think that I would have survived beyond the six months after my wife’s passing due to being very depressed and isolated.
So I would encourage anyone and everyone to get out there as much as possible, just walking and watching, with binoculars, cameras or just your eyes, as it has certainly helped me cope with life these last two years. Clive Wood, via email
Editor Fergus Collins replies:
Thank you for this very moving letter and the wonderful photo you sent with it. I hope this provides inspiration for other readers facing similar challenging circumstances.