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The new year is always a time for reviewing the past and trying to learn from previous experiences as we move forward. I often look back on the following pictures to remind me of how things can change overnight.
They say behind every good picture is a good story. Let me tell you the story behind this one. I took the photo on 31st December 2009 as the sun was setting over Sandy Bay beach. My model, as I am sure you will have noticed, was one of the local birds, Wendy. In order to take the picture of Wendy peering into the sunset I had to lie down on the beach behind her on the sand and click at the appropriate moment. Needless to say I got some interesting looks from locals but I think in the main they were amused that I should be paying so much attention to a local bird (“Well he is from England you know”).
Observant visitors to my African photo gallery may have noticed that the copyright markings jump after 2009 to 2012: a couple of years of photos are missing. On the day following my photo shoot with Wendy, 1st January 2010, I returned to the same beach and tried to take some more pretty sunset photos. The wind blew my camera into the sand and so I tried to clean the sand out of it before the lens retracted (it was a nifty model which allowed me to change the zoom with one finger allowing me to do other stuff with my other hand). This cleaning operation was not very successful and delayed my departure from the rather remote beach: In fact I was the last to leave.
As I walked off the beach a local gentleman jumped out of the bushes with a knife in his hand and offered to adopt my camera. At first I wasn’t in full agreement with him but three knife wounds later I felt he probably had a point. I was sure one of the knife wounds had hit a major artery in my arm and was concerned that I may only have minutes before losing consciousness. Fortunately I knew a dog walker had just previously left the beach by another route and I managed to catch up with him. This good Samaritan immediately saw what had happened (I was covered head to toe in blood) and took me to the local hospital to get stitched up. They did a great job (Thanks Constantiaberg Hospital!).
I was really impressed by all the help I received in the week following the stabbing. I also find it difficult to have unpleasant thoughts about the gentleman who attacked me – I’m sure he was as much a victim as I was. He was probably able to live of the proceeds from my stolen camera for three months! The great thing is that the wounds healed and I continue to be healthy and take more photos. However it took a couple of years to really get back to full activity (and confidence) and today I am much more careful about where, when and how I take pictures. The lesson for me is to not allow complacency to overcome common sense. Even when you are very familiar with a place it doesn’t necessarily make it any safer (I had been to that beach hundreds of times before the incident).
So at the beginning of 2013 I decided to spend a day just shooting photographs from my balcony – to remind myself that freedom is something to be cherished: Freedom to travel and freedom from economic hardship. I hope the circumstances of my assailant have improved so he does not have to earn his living by such means any more.
So let’s see what exciting things were around my balcony. First of all there was Sidney my pet spider. While I had flu he kept me company in the bedroom and helped to guard me from any undesirable insects. We grew very close during those 10 days. So he has earned a big thank you (and continues to share my bedroom with me).
During my self imposed imprisonment on the balcony I noticed later in the day a strange balloon appearing over the 12 Apostles Mountains. Gradually the balloon set itself free from the mountains and drifted towards the ocean.
Our balcony is not overlooked. This means that RISKKO and I do not have to worry too much about bathing topless in the sun (unlike some members of the British Royal Family). Well at least this is what we thought. On this day of solitude we suddenly noticed somebody flying over our sun beds. Once again the paparazzi were prepared to stop at nothing to invade RISKKO’s privacy.
Interestingly it was not just the paparazzi who tried to fly over us – take a look at the picture below. Even the local birds have taken to using hang gliding to save them over-straining their tired wings.
Now for the highlight of the days entertainment on our balcony. Just to set the scene take a look at the picture below. You might just be able to see a couple of flies appearing to have a cuddle on the balcony wall….
Well of course they were not just having a cuddle. Closer inspection allowed me to identify that these flies were in the process of trying out multiple positions from the Karmasutra – on our balcony!
Take a look at the expression of sheer ecstasy on the face of the fly in front!
Gosh these guys can even do it hanging from the ceiling. So much for Lionel Richie.
Well, swiftly moving on (I have had to enroll a therapist to help RISKKO get over what he saw). I had assumed spending the day taking pictures on the balcony would be relatively stress-free. I could not have imagined the psychological trauma these primitive animal sexual activities would have on a relatively innocent dog like RISKKO. Goodness knows what will happen when he gets back to Bavaria and tells Pink Lips what he saw.
In the last couple of days I have also translated some interesting news from the Alpine Press. The first one is about the unusual amount of extraterrestrial activity that has occurred over Bavaria:
2nd January 2013: Invasion from space – Why is Bavaria so favoured by extraterrestrial bodies?
and the second article is a sad reflection on human behaviour. It features freeway drivers and Tortoises. Do I need to say more? Only read it if you are of a stable mental disposition (and think twice about viewing the video if you are a highly sensitive person):
2nd January 2013: Horror Story: Scientists demonstrate that drivers aim to kill innocent creatures trying to cross the road! (Tortoise-o-cide)
Well that is enough excitement for this week. Let me leave you with a calming picture of our New Zealand Christmas Tree after the removal of the Christmas decorations. It survived and continues to merrily bloom.
Enjoy the week and look out for stabbers, tortoises and hyperactive flies,