12 September 2010

A Spitfire, Some Grapes and a Folly

Today I decided to take my camera and walk a route I frequently run. It took me at least ten times longer to walk one stretch of path than it normally takes me to run it, owing to periods of 'stopping and staring' as well as stopping to take photos.

As I was strolling along contentedly, I suddenly heard an engine. An aircraft engine. Not just any old engine though - this was a Merlin engine. A Merlin has a completely distinctive sound. A Merlin means that something special is in the vicinity. So I rushed out from the hedges to where I could get a clear view and saw - a spitfire! It streaked across the sky in the distance while I struggled to get near it with the medium zoom on my camera, all the while thinking 'please come this way!' (as if you can somehow send a telepathic message to an aeroplane).

Telepathy or no, it shot across the valley right in front of me, made a wide turn and came roaring back, before doing a roll which caught the sun on it's wings, and then disappearing out of sight. The sound of that fabulous engine faded away and I was left peering at the screen on the back on my camera, trying to see if I'd managed to get a single reasonable shot. The pictures I got certainly aren't great technically, but they will remind me of the moment when an ordinary Sunday walk turned into something exciting.

I would've been just as thrilled to see a spitfire even if I'd left my camera at home. If I had been running as I usually would have been at that time on a Sunday, I would have stopped to watch it. Some things are just worth taking time to enjoy - even without a camera!

Feeling very cheerful, ok to be truthful feeling rather 'hyped up' and restraining the urge to jump about and yell in a rather childish manner, I continued on my walk. After taking several of the sorts of pictures I'd set out to take (such as the one shown left of the local Folly) I walked back along a road I must have run along hundreds of times. At the edge of this unexciting country lane came the second surprise of my walk.

I've often noticed the shrubs growing up and over the stone wall which runs alongside the lane. Today I noticed the fruit. Grapes? Really? Yes, grapes! It really is the case that less than half a mile from my house is a vine, with ripening grapes growing just above the pavement.

I would have said that photography has made me look at things more closely, but perhaps that isn't always the case... Note to self: 'Could do better'! It just goes to show that you may come back with some photos you didn't expect the next time you set off for a walk with your camera!

I nearly didn't do this morning's walk at all. Just one decision made differently, and I would have missed so much more than a few photographs.

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