Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Hardest Post To Write...

Yesterday morning about 1015am, i took one of the hardest phone calls i have ever received. My Mum, Hilda Joan Martin, had passed away sometime in the previous night. Bringing her a cup of tea in the morning, my Father was the one to discover that she had passed away peacefully in her sleep. I am grateful that the evening before, i spoke to my Mum on the phone, as she had just returned home from another stay in hospital, one of many over the previous 5 or 6 months due to many problems she had encountered during those months, chief amongst which was a weakened heart.

Hilda Joan Martin... My Mum.

 There was no weak heart in my mind when it comes to remembering my Mother. Having suffered many medical problems throughout her life, she fought and lived with them. She didn't give up, although at times i knew she wanted to. She was tough in many ways that you would not think of when you looked at my Mum. An inner toughness that gave her a longer life than many would have thought over her lifetime. My Mum was always there for me and my Sister Karen, and my Dad. Sure, we had our problems like any other family, but as a family we worked through them and are still a close family. We saw and spoke to each other on a regular basis, we shared each others lives as a family.

I've always had my Mum there... Until today. I woke up for the first time to realise that she wasn't going to be there, and that is going to hurt for a long time to come.

I'm not the only one. My Dad, my Sister, and her Grand children Ben and Jed will miss her also. My Uncles and Aunties, of which there are many, have lost a Sister. My Grandmother has lost a Daughter. It's going to be a hard few weeks and months coming to terms with such a huge loss in our lives.

I looked on my mobile phone today. it contains the entire text conversation between me and my Mum since i bought the phone. Things like that are going to pop up from time to time. Photo's, messages and other digital contacts that my Mum took to, like Facebook and Skype, will remind me when i least expect it, that she is no longer here with us.

Most of my memories though are in my head. There are plenty of them to remember her with. Good times when i was small, and good times not so long ago. My Mum will sure be missed by a great many people, but she will without doubt, never be forgotten.

I Love you Mum.  

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Floating Turds 2... The Revenge.

A few years back, during the flooding in the town of Lewes, i did my bit and filmed for the TV News. I have good memories of those few days when trickling rivers turned into raging torrents and nature decided to reclaim long forgotten natural floodplains. I even got some good feedback from the head honchos at the BBC. I guess they remembered, for today i found myself up to my knees in flood water again in West Sussex where heavy rain has swollen the rivers, saturated the rural areas and overloaded the drainage systems.

A floating turd hunt. June 2012.

My guess is that we will have more of this to come in the next few years if the climate change mob are to be believed. Or were they claiming drought and water shortages..? i can never remember. Anyway, i again found myself balls deep in flood water and sewage overflow from the good people of the South of England, avoiding floating turds and other detritus from households who suddenly found water seeping up through the floorboards and in through their doors. As much as i try to put a little humour into this blog post, i find myself unable to put aside the misery and upset that nature can throw at people by washing away their valuables, memories and sofa. I feel for the victims, i really do.

Mobile home... sorry, Houseboat for sale... £100.00 or nearest offer.

Not only do they have to deal with the calamity of having next doors belongings floating through the living room, they also have to put up with the likes of me and my reporter knocking on their door to ask how they feel right now. Some people we spoke to at the mobile home park are now homeless, with much of what they own ruined.

"How the blinking buggery do you think i feel..." would be my answer.

We were however, welcomed. We were offered cups of tea, shown around and treated with kindness from those who had spent the past 24 hours struggling to keep their lives and properties together. That's the British for you. When the turd of life floats through their letterbox and the god of the sewer pipe relocates their dining room table to the next town via the high street, they will always smile at you and offer a cup of tea.

Just check the chocolate brownie on the side before eating... ok...?

You can see what i saw on my youtube channel... Here

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.


Sunday, 3 June 2012

The Problem With Infographics...

In today's digital media world, the infographic has seen a rise in popularity. Easy to produce and share with the world they can impart information in an easily digestible manner. A quick glance can give you the required data and knowledge needed to either make a decision or find an answer. For the TV News, a good infographic can inform the public in a quick and timely fashion.


All it takes is one little piece of misleading information, a word or symbol that confuses the reader. Take for example, the infographic below, sent to me by my good friend and journalist Tom Hepworth. It invites you to find out whether you are the rock singer, Meatloaf.

I had no idea that i could indeed be Meatloaf, i certainly don't remember much of the rock and roll lifestyle if i were him, or where all my money went. My point is that even a simple infographic like this can lead to a world of confusion because of one word... 'That'.

Does anybody know what 'That' is...? If i was Meatloaf, i would surely know what 'that' is, in which case, i have no need for the infographic. But it asks me if i am Meatloaf... Am i...? Let us find out. Would i do anything for love...? Well yes, of course i would, most people would do anything for love wouldn't they...? So i answer 'yes'.

Infographics... Confusing.

Now, here comes the sticking point. It asks me if would even do 'That'. Now, not knowing whether i am Meatloaf, i don't know what 'That' is... With me so far...? You see, Meatloaf would know what 'that' is, in which case, follow the arrows and bingo... You are indeed Meatloaf. But the infographic is asking me if i am Meatloaf right...? And yes, i would do anything for love but, i don't know what 'that' is... and whether i would do it or not.

'That' could be anything. It could be something that gets you arrested, laughed at, scorned in public, or banished from your local community. I am not going to admit that i would do 'that' without knowing what 'that' is... You see...? No...? Exactly. I can only get through half of the infographic and i get stuck. And i still don't know whether i am Meatloaf or not.

Look... quite obviously, i am not Meatloaf. My Missus tells me that i do not go like a bat out of hell and i can't ever remember seeing paradise by the dashboard light. But i cannot follow the no arrow on the infographic because i would do anything for love... so i am forced to go down the route of admitting to doing... 'That'. Hence the confusion problem.

So... infographic producers, please think through the questions before sharing your infographic with the world. As for me, i'm going to lie down in the dark somewhere with a stiff drink until the confusion passes, and try to figure out with my over stimulated imagination, just what 'That' could possibly be... the results could be astonishing.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.