In 2006 we set up a business called ‘Family Films UK’. The aim of this business was to offer a service to people whereby we would take the hours of unseen and unused film footage of their family and edit it down, to music of their choice, into watchable films that would allow people to revel in the memories they had collected, but not got around to condensing.
In order to demonstrate the potential of our business idea, we set up a blog to accompany the website. The blog would simply document the life of our own family and showcase films we made of our children – perhaps it would prompt people to wonder whether they should do such a thing for their own family.
Typically, however, we set up this business just months before the global financial crisis. The business idea, that required families to feel financially secure enough to spend surplus money on archiving their footage, foundered. We decided to shelve the plan until such a time as it seemed viable and so I made moves to delete the blog. In doing so, I read back through all of the past posts and realised that while I had been creating a tool to support and validate our business, I had also been diarising the development of our children’s lives, something I had always intended to do but never got around to.
My Dad wrote diaries throughout the period when my sisters and I were growing up and they documented honestly and thoroughly the paths we took and the attitudes of Mum and Dad throughout the stages of our lives. These diaries have become treasured family documents.
At the same time as the closing down of ‘Family Films’ was going on, Hilary also gave birth to our fifth and final child, Archie. Archie was born with Down Syndrome, which was a completely unexpected turn in the landscape of our lives. There had been no warning or indication at all. As part of my coming to terms with the implications of this news, I researched other blogs written by families who were growing up with children who had Down. I didn’t look for long, but long enough to realise that life would move on and things were not going to be nearly as worrying or hard as the voices in my head were suggesting. I was very grateful for those blogs and they helped make the decision that turned the old ‘Family Films’ blog into the new ‘J,O,S,H and Archie’ one. The website was salvaged and in many ways, the caterpillar had turned into the butterfly.
Instead of writing stuff that was done to promote a business, I could write about our family with the purpose of recording the present for the future (when it would be the past). Ask Marty McFly if you need help deciphering that last sentence.
So here we are:
‘J.O.S.H. and Archie’ is a blog based around the lives of our 5 boys – Jamie, Ollie, Sam, Harry and Archie. It’s a diary of our family life, written so that our boys will have something to look back on and see themselves growing up. It is a diary of life growing up with and without Down Syndrome, so fleeting visitors may be able to catch a glimpse into a world that they may not know much about. It’s written primarily for us, but if you fancy having a nosey around then you’re more than welcome. It’s not rocket science and it’s not high-brow culture, it’s just life as we know it.
Please feel free to comment on any aspect or post in the blog – we’d value your feedback and input.