Mount Teide, Tenerife

The Mystery of the Memory Card

So, we’ve had a somewhat rocky re-entry to normal life, following our return from Tenerife last week.

Most of the reasons for that are of the “can’t/don’t want to talk about it on the internet” variety – I kinda hate myself for saying that yet again, but we came home to find some close family members dealing with some really awful stuff, and those are not my stories to tell, so suffice it to say that the week got off to a pretty bleak start, which was only compounded by the awful events in Brussels on Tuesday. At times like this, when everything feels a bit meaningless and surreal, it seems so stupid to be writing about things that don’t really matter, but sometimes the things that don’t really matter are the only things that take your mind off all the rest, so here’s the story of something that REALLY doesn’t matter in the great scheme of things, but which kind of DOES matter to me, even although it shouldn’t.

We lost the memory card for my Go-Pro.

Complete with hours worth of totally irreplaceable footage, which I’d spent ages planning and filming, and which I was really looking forward to watching, and sharing with you guys.

As I said, not a big deal in the great scheme of things, but it somehow felt to me like the final straw, and no matter how many times I tell myself that it’s not important – especially not compared with the Other Stuff that’s happened this week – I just can’t seem to make myself be OK with it.

The memory card was one of two I’d taken on holiday with me. One was filled mostly with my early experiments in using the Go-Pro – so, quite a few clips that I filmed with the lens cap on, or which I don’t know why I even bothered filming AT ALL, really. The other one, however, had some pretty good stuff, including all of the footage of our day at Siam Park, which I was really looking forward to seeing again, all of the footage from our trip up Teide, and… just a bunch of other stuff that I can’t even let myself think about now. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you which of the two memory cards got lost, huh?


We’d gotten back in the early hours of Sunday morning, and after a few hours sleep, we headed to my parents’ place to collect Rubin, who’d been enjoying a cheeky little all-inclusive holiday of his own for the past two weeks. While we were there, we figured we may as well repay my parents for their dog-sitting duties by boring them rigid with our holiday videos, so we’d taken both of our Go-Pros (Because yes, we are a Two-Pro family…), which Terry hooked up to my parents’ TV, to show them some of the clips. It was while he was doing this, and switching between memory cards (two of mine and one of his) that he realised one of the cards was missing.

The good one, naturally.

(And, now I come to think of it, seeing as no one’s ever going to see that footage now, I have complete licence to totally exaggerate just HOW good it was. Guys, it was AWESOME. Like, I’d probably have won some kind of award for it, or something. Maybe even Best Documentary at the Oscars, seriously…)


It took a while for me to start worrying about this. We’d JUST been watching the footage from the card, after all, and Terry hadn’t moved from his seat on the couch while he’d been showing it, so it HAD to be somewhere close by, didn’t it? None of the rest of us had moved either, and Rubin had been sound asleep at the other end of the room the whole time (He was still sleeping when we realised the cardwas missing: we did check his fur and bed, just in case, but there was really no way he could have come over and made off with the memory card without us noticing, and it’s been a very long time since Rubin tried to swallow anything that wasn’t food, so we’re as sure as we can be that he’s innocent of all charges…), so we concentrated the search on the area around the couch, the couch itself, and Terry’s clothing – which, when we still hadn’t found the card after a good 20 minutes or so of searching, I made him go and remove, so he could shake everything out and be TOTALLY sure the memory card wasn’t stuck to something.

It wasn’t.

Another hour or more of searching commenced, during which we basically turned the place upside down – and I mean that literally:

turning the house upside down

searching the couch

That’s the couch Terry was sitting on when the card went missing. Once we’d exhausted all other options, we figured the only explanation left was that it had slipped down the side of the couch (All four of us had taken turns to put our hands down the sides and between the cushions, with no luck…) and had somehow worked its way inside it – so the couch got flipped over, the fabric at the base got removed, and Terry and my dad spent what felt like FOREVER, basically, scrabbling around inside it… and finding absolutely nothing.

By this point, not only was I pretty upset to have lost all of my footage, my parents and Terry were completely puzzled as to how the card could have managed to vanish into thin air: we were determined not to give up, so we started the search again, working with the precision of some kind of crack forensics team from a TV crime drama. All of the furniture was pulled out and inspected. The couch was once more subjected to some pretty invasive examination. All four of us conducted a finger-tip search of the living room rug (for about the 12th time that day), after which the rug was shaken, beaten, and rolled in every direction, in a bid to dislodge anything inside. But there was NOTHING inside: and we know that because, having tried everything else, my mum got out the Dyson, vacuumed the rug, vacummed it again, vacummed it for a third time, then emptied the dust container thingy and went through it like someone searching for priceless artefacts on an archaeological dig.

While this was going on, my dad searched every square inch of house that Terry had been on or near, while I patted Terry down like a prison warden searching for contraband.

We never found it: and we searched for hours, so whichever place you’re about to suggest, YES, we tried there. We really did. It had just completely vanished.

Just to try to minimise the amount of scolding I know I’m going to get here: no, I don’t have a backup, and yes, I know how stupid that is. In my defence, I’m normally careful to the point of paranoia about backing everything up, but as I’ve mentioned, the laptop died early in the holiday (right in the middle of me backing up the first memory card to it, actually…), so we couldn’t back the cards up while we were away, and when we got home we were so tired from the travelling, not to mention strung out by the news we’d just come home to, that it just wasn’t at the top of my mind. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

GoPro permit for Siam Park

(We had to get special permission to film inside Siam Park. Then we went and lost all the damn footage – lol!)

Like I said, it really doesn’t matter: not in the great scheme of things, and definitely not compared to all of the other things that have gone on in the world this week. In the SMALL scheme of things, though, it kind of DOES matter, because those were my memories, you know? Precious. Irreplaceable. All week I’ve been telling myself it’s OK, because I still have the ACTUAL memories, the ones inside my head, and those I can’t lose. (Well, I mean, I HOPE not, anyway…) I will, however, lose all the little things I’d recorded on those cards: the random details that fade from memory, and which I’d wanted to preserve, but which I’m now unlikely to ever see again. I have to admit, that stings a little, as does the sheer mystery of the thing: if you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you’ll know that I lose things a LOT, and also that I tend to take it pretty hard when I do. I just can’t STAND not knowing what happened to something: there’s almost nothing I hate more than losing some precious possession, and of all the things I’ve lost, I think this has to be the worst – or the most personal, anyway.

It could still turn up, obviously. I mean, I seriously doubt that it will now, because we left no couch unturned in our search, and I suspect that if we didn’t find it in the first 3 hours of searching, we’re probably not going to find it three days, weeks, or even months later, are we? Our best guess is that it’s inside the couch somewhere, in some hard-to-reach place that would only now be accessible if we were to take the thing apart – which we’re obviously not going to do, because it’s JUST A THING, AMBER. Why do I always have to care so much about stupid stuff that can’t be helped?

So we’ll wait and see if it ever re-appears. In the meantime, well, I guess I just keep on reminding myself that it REALLY doesn’t matter, and that I’m dwelling on thing like this, purely because it’s easier than thinking about the things that DO matter: the big things, the important things, the things that are truly irreplaceable. The grand scheme of things.

There’s not much else that matters, is there?

(If anyone has tips on how to get a teeny-tiny memory card out of a couch without destroying the thing, though, I’d love to hear them…)


[Header photo by Hert Niks on Unsplash]

P.S. I write a weekly diary which goes out every Friday to my subscribers. Sign up below to get on the list...

I also write books
  • Myra


    At the end of a camping holiday Raymond couldn’t find the car keys. We searched everywhere several times over – I still have a visual image of my sister shaking her toothbrush to see if it fell out. In the end we had to call recovery people who opened the car and guess what was in the boot?

    March 26, 2016
  • Aww I understand how upsetting something as small as this can be when it feels like everything else is going wrong too… I really hope for your sake it does appear somewhere soon but don’t let it spoil the fab holiday you’ve had! <3

    Gisforgingers xx

    March 26, 2016
  • Hi Amber, that so annoying when that happen. I hope you do find it, it will turn up when you least expect it too. Oh and one more thing – Happy Easter. xx

    March 26, 2016
  • Oh Amber, it’s hideous when something like this happens. We were once helping my in-laws move house in the middle of a freezing winter’s day, and my fingers must have shrunk with the cold and it wasn’t until that night that I realised that my engagement ring was no longer on my finger. Naturally I was devastated, but realised that the chances of finding it were slim to none considering the amount of packing, moving and unpacking we had done that day, and the fact that it could be anywhere in one of two, pretty chaotic, houses, 2 vans, a couple of cars or even in the snow-filled driveways and gardens of both houses, or worse, the tip.

    We finished the house move, and headed back down south fairly despondently, having given up the ring as long lost.

    I couldn’t believe it when, a week later, my mother-in-law called to say she had found my ring, caught inside one of my father-in-law’s old trousers pockets, inside a suitcase, that had been put in their new attic. She had turned the place upside down for me and had remembered that I had packed a load of bags that had been chucked up there . That was my Christmas miracle that year. Here’s hoping for an Easter one for you – I have everything crossed for you

    Becs xx

    March 26, 2016
  • Fran


    Life is sometimes quite hard and then even the littlest things get us. And losing treasured holiday memory is not that little a thing. You needn’t apologise, at all. Only idiots say stuff like ‘how dare you be upset about this when children are starving/bombs are dropping!’. That is not how human life works, at all. It’s often the small things that break us, whereas we go numb in front of the big ones. I hope your family gets better soon, and that the black hole which swallowed the memory card decides to spit it back out. 🙂

    March 26, 2016
  • Dang, the next time I lose something, can you and your family help me find it ’cause you guys are thorough!!!

    But seriously, the little (but really not so little thing ’cause it is for your job!) things in life seem more unbearable and yet petty when you have larger things going on, so I really don’t blame you for being upset.

    March 26, 2016
  • Laura


    I really feel for you Amber, you have every right to be upset. Also, how frustrating that it seemed to vanish into thin air! This happened to a pair of glasses I had once and will perplex me forever more!
    Try and think of it as a potential memory time capsule, when that sofa is past its best and tip bound you can spend a fun afternoon tearing it to shreds and you never know…xx

    March 26, 2016
  • I loose things constantly and they usually turn up the next time I’ve lost something and I’m looking for it. Memory cards are the worst because really you can drop the little bits everywhere. They’re right up there with earrings for things that get lost that really once someone says it’s lost you have to give it up until it’s randomly found in a place you’re certain it wouldn’t be like under the car seat or in your pocket. And you’re like why is there, I wasn’t even wearing these trousers? Here’s hoping it mysteriously turns up.

    Fashion and Happy Things

    March 27, 2016
  • Did the dog eat it? Cose IDK I feel like there is more of the story.

    March 27, 2016
  • How frustrating and sad 🙁 I would feel the same as you – especially if I’d done lots of planning. What you’ve described is basically my nightmare. And yeah, it might not be a big deal compared to lots of the bad things that happened, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t still feel upset about it. Fingers crossed it turns up somewhere really random – I feel like it has to!

    March 27, 2016
  • If it’s anything like my life it will turn up where you least suspect it. Somewhere Terry hadn’t been since coming back from the holiday. And then the mystery will become ‘how did it get there?’ and it will never be solved.

    March 27, 2016
  • Catherine


    Hi Amber, just catching up with you after my holiday and I’m really sorry to hear you came back from your well deserved break to bad news. I really hope things start to improve for you and your loved ones.

    March 30, 2016
  • Lily


    Rubbish. 🙁 It’s a last resort, but you could call the hotel, Amber? They might have found one while turning the room over.

    March 31, 2016
  • I understand you so much. During my trip to Paris on New Year’s Eve my camera was stolen, on the very last day, together with its memory card and every photo we had taken during the trip. And of course, even though I had my computer with me, I was stupid enough not to back it up. A few of them were actually very good, “I’m gonna print them and hang them in the living room” good. Of course in the great scheme of things is not important, but it sucks not to be able to live again the moments of you trip.

    April 1, 2016
  • Glad you managed to recover all your footage from Tenerife, especially Teide and Siam Park. Siam Park is an amazing water park. You must have got some great footage sliding down those massive water slides.

    December 18, 2016