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Go to File menu > Open Recent > choose the last catalog name that you were working on > Relaunch
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Additional comment: when you make a backup of your catalog file, you are not backing up the photos. You must make backups of your photos using some non-Lightroom third party tools
Additional comment #2: since your most recent backup was three months ago, you need to begin making regular and automated backups of BOTH your catalog file (this is done through Lightroom) and your photos (done via third-party software), no excuses! The backups MUST go on a different physical disk than the originals.
Thank you very much. I got in a muddle and re-opened old ones so I am pretty sure any recent trace is gone now but its ok, I have started the laborious task and in fact it is not as bad as I thought, not all of them need editing and I exported the wedding ones already as edited jpegs.
I have installed a lightroom plugin which does automatic backups every week to be saved on a location on my external hard drive where it imports the photos from also as I only have a mac air.
Thank you to you both for your time and attention
Maybe I'm not reading this correctly, but I don't see an indication that your main catalog is gone, but simply that you opened a new one. I would suggest searching your computer for .lrcat files, looking for the largest one that was opened/edited right before you made this mistake. Double-click on it to open it.
That said, I totally agree with dj_paige on the importance of backups of the catalog and your photos. I'm glad you're making regular catalog backups now so that you can go back in time if your catalog becomes corrupted. I'm hoping you are also backing up your photos and the catalog (and backups of it) to another external drive in case your main external drive fails.