Saturday 17 August 2013

Some of my blog followers (may the tribe increase) are aware of my hobby of photographing - or trying to photograph - birds of a feather. I like walking in the countryside, or anywhere, but I also like something to do at the same time. Thus I began snapping birds with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28. A bridge camera that's light to carry and doesn't require a Phd to operate. Annette is very patient with my continued stopping and cocking an ear for a bird sound, or putting my finger to my lips and creeping forward to capture one on the chip. I am always astounded by the beauty of birds, as I was by seashells when I once collected them. I expect flowers do it for some of us too. What a wonderful world is the natural planet, fast diminishing I know and would like it to stop, but somehow humankind thunders on despite good intentions, warnings and attempts to arrest our devastation of the wild and wildlife. Anyway, I don't want to preach, I just want to say how lucky I feel sometimes to be just here, seeing a live thing of beauty - creature or plant - and feeling full of wonder at the astonishing array of natural art we have out there. Above are four of my favourites. The raptor is an Australian Black Kite, the kingfisher I snapped in Bali, the last one is a Red Rumped Swallow taking a sip of a swimming pool in Turkey and the bee-eater, or honey eater, I have no idea what he is but I photographed him outside the town of 1770 in Queensland, Australia. (Yes, that really is what the town is called. apparently Capt Cook ran out of words, so named it after the year.)

Friday 9 August 2013

I've just re-read an old favourite. Jack Finney's collection of short stories 'About Time'. The tales are all set around the time of the late '50s, early '60s in the USA, JF being an American author with cultural concerns. The hero usually works for an ad company and commutes to the big city with briefcase, suit and, oh yes, trilby hat.
However, in all the stories the main protagonists do not like the time they're living in, but yearn for (and usually get, through some sort of time travel) an earlier period, round about the '20s and 30's when life was a lot slower and by inference, cleaner and better. They speak lovingly of open-topped bullnosed automobiles, dollars that buy a lot more and trams that go dinga-ling-ling. Nostalgia.

Funny thing is - well, not so funny, perhaps pathetic? - the time his heroes are desperate to escape from is the time I send my heroes back to when I write similar stories. To me the '50s and early '60s were a lot slower and cleaner, and by inference, much better than now. I guess the golden time is childhood for many of us - not all, I grant, for some had an unhappy time of it - but certainly for me. The summers were hotter, the winters cold but crisp and snowy, the books I read more amazing, running across the fields and fishing in the streams more exciting than bashing away on a keyboard. JFs heroes go back to their childhood years as adults, but me, I'd like to go back and be a kid again in the same era. Yeah, a bit pathetic.

PS The picture has nothing to do with the text. I just like it.