Readers who have followed this blog since its inception can not help but have noticed that the regularity of posting has tailed off significantly of recent months. But that the content of the Flickr link in the sidebar now changes quite regularly.
It's the acupuncture, you know. I am very considerably more mobile now than I have been for at least the last four years. And, with increased mobility, comes the responsibility to consolidate that improvement by undertaking judicious levels of exercise.
(NB, as I have alluded to previously, whilst I can now walk what, for me, are very considerable distances, my pain levels have not altered significantly. I don't feel that I am at imminent risk of what the medics call "an acute episode", but walking is by no means pain-free, and bending of any kind still hurts like a bar steward, and carries great risk. I would rather people didn't
leap to the conclusion to which my father leapt with frightening alacrity, i.e. that I am "better". I am not
. Nor do I believe I ever will
be. But I can
get out and about a lot more.)
Not only must I walk for my own physical benefit, but I am now able to look around me
while walking. This is both a great novelty and a great pleasure. For years, walking has taken every available spoon - and then some - and has required titanic levels of concentration. Now, as long as the pavements are nice and level, and not crowded, I can almost break into a casual stroll...
However, I have long harboured a completely-irrational belief that passers-by know
when one is walking just for the sake of walking. And that they mock one for so doing. Absent the excellent excuse for random walking provided by a dog, walking with intent to photograph one's surroundings seems to me to be an excellent cover for the less-interesting walking-to-increase-one's-capacity-to-walk. Of course, it's entirely possible that passers-by who would not otherwise have paid me the slightest heed now regard me with amused curiosity for taking photographs of things they consider to have no visual merit. But I am too engrossed in what I am doing to care.
To my astonishment, I am now taking an interest in weather forecasts. For longer than I can remember, I only left the house when I had no option but to leave the house. On those occasions, I could tell what the weather was like by the simple expedient of looking out of the window. Now, I want to plan my perambulations according to the quality of the light, and I hate to miss the opportunity of pottering about, camera in hand, on a clear, bright day.
Yesterday being forecast - correctly, as it turned out - to be just such a day, I planned to pay my second visit to Another Place
on Crosby beach. The first time I went, I went when the tide was coming in
. Quite apart from the fact that it is really quite depressing watching the figures being drowned, the incoming tide makes photography tricky and, indeed, quite dangerous for someone who could not, even in her wildest dreams, leap to safety should she get cut off.
But the tides were such yesterday that I was able to watch the figures gradually emerge from the frothing waves: a much more cheering prospect. Although it was cold - even I was reduced to putting a fleecy hat on eventually - it was also quite incredibly beautiful, with clear views across to New Brighton, and the Welsh mountains beyond.
Having gained in stamina since my last visit, I was able to stay longer, and to mind less that, on a beach, there is nothing against which one can lean casually when one's back and legs are complaining. I even went so far as to buy a portion of chips, and eat them on the prom. The local starlings are evidently accustomed to the presence of chips, and hopped at my feet, cheeping piteously. In fact, one or two took turns hovering in mid-air on a level with the tray of chips and would almost certainly have stolen one had I not waved them away with my tiny, two-pronged wooden fork. I would dearly have liked to have caught this on camera but, of course, if I had put my chips down even for a moment, I would never have seen them again. And I regretted having left the last few to the starlings once I had had to chase the polystyrene tray along the prom a couple of times...
The best of the photographs I took are on Flickr. I should say, though, that not even the most professional photographs - amongst which I do not count my own - can even begin to convey what the installation is really like. Maybe because it's too big. Maybe because the movement of the sea is such an important part of it. I don't know. I do know that you shouldn't miss the opportunity of seeing it for yourself if you are ever in the area. Just wrap up warm if you are in any way nesh.