Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Stone Walls in the Mist

Camille tagged me. And I am glad Camille tagged me. It gave me something to do yesterday. I wasn't called into work (again.) I am going to have to do something about all this no-work. No work, no dosh. No dosh, no extra treats. I may be an unpaid writer, but I do like my extra treats. I admit it. I have no inclination to be the starving, dedicated writer with a black, unravelling jersey, just a tub of yoghurt past its 'Use By' date in my fridge and the only form of heating a one-bar heater beside my desk. (Not that I don't admire those who live this way - don't get me wrong!) But the question begs - does this wont of mine to to live in comfort mean I'm not a real writer?

And so with the original tag from John in mind: Things which one has read and has been influenced by which are not confined to those paper-bound vessels of the printed word we refer to as books. Let's call these Non-Books. Or maybe Impossible Books. Or Limen Books? It's up to you. List five. I headed for the outskirts. (Well, where else would you expect a country-reared chick like myself to head?) Off to the hills - misty, drizzly hills, as it turned out.

Mark that down as un-book number one. A dose of mist. Maybe it's got something to do with the extinction of borders and the loom of landforms painted out with grey. All that reality suddenly gone, leaving the imagination free to use the proffered foggy page.

I was the only human around for miles. As I trudged along a muddy track, I came across a paddock that a flock of birds were feasting upon. They all noisily scattered as I approached. Even with binoculars I couldn't really identify them. They had this jerky way of flying, as if they couldn't really be bothered and in between times, kept forgetting to flap. I thought that maybe they were some kind of plover.* I couldn't get a photo of them. I am going to have to get some serious lessons on how to photograph birds. They're such quick creatures. Fidgety. Ah, but I do love them. Birds are definitely another of my non-book inspirations. To me birds signify all that is great about freedom and design. I could hear skylarks too, that despite the fog, were still singing their hearts out. Skylarks are probably my favourite bird. So yes, let's make birds my un-book number two.
* I looked them up once back at home to find they were indeed a plover - spur-winged plover. The birds originally came over here from Australia . I was amused to read that they're known over here as 'Noisy Australians.'

As I walked farther, I came across these sheep standing photogenically against an old, stone wall and staring at me as only sheep can stare. In a kind of vacant manner. Stone walls are another non-book I like to read.

In fact, stones and rocks in whatever arrangement are worthy contenders for my un-book number three.

Barbed-wire fences, fence-posts, wires and strainers speak to me too.

They bring back memories of my childhood on a farm. So many fences I have crawled under and over.

So many cuts and jabs from their barbs and, in some cases, electrical charges. Fences were there to be climbed and scaled in order to get to what lay just over the brow of the hill. I like how they weather, show the boundaries and mark time. Of course if you didn't want to risk getting scratched and torn, there were always the gates - hurricane-wire gates, chicken-wire gates, wooden two-bar gates, tanalised gates, and my favourite kind - old, greying, un-tanalised gates whiskery with lichen.

So. Farm-gates and barbed-wire fences for my un-book number four.

And my last and fifth un-book, would have to be the sea. Yesterday I could hear it rumbling away over the brow of the hill ahead. I kept slipping and sliding along the track roughened by four-wheel drives using it to legitimise their existence in a city, but I wasn't going to turn back until I got closer to the ocean. When I finally reached the edge of the cliff and could look down on to the sea surging far below, it appeared animalistic, breathing green and deep, with white breakers smothering rocks and the continual drum of it like far off hoof-beats.

I arrived back home soaking wet, yet elated. I'd enjoyed my browse through this particular un-library. It brought back memories of my childhood home and the Rossetti-like penchant I had as a child to wander far and wide.

I tag Jan, Shameless and Big Red Omnibus


rel said...

You have a marvelous un-library! You'll never be without eading material.
ps. You look real fine as a 50's mom! ;-)

rel said...


McDinzie said...

Great walk through a non book...loved it.....misty grey days have their attraction too it seems :)

apprentice said...

This is a lovely photo essay -you should try submitting it to the local paper. I like your misty trees. CB you can also try taking shots portrait sytle, rather than landscape. You may be doing this and cropping shots, if not give it a whirl, you get a different perspective on things.

On birds, really great shots need a big lens, using 500mm, but at least 300mm. But if you can get close and your using a point and click try switching to the camera's sports setting, and that will freeze action, like flight etc.

Carmen said...

Great post (with real posts, ha ha)! Thanks for sharing! It never fails to surprise me how much your landscape reminds me of mine.

Avus said...

I liked this "un-library" too - a great tag.
Yes - you really need a long lens for nature shots (and a great deal of patience) and that also needs a large tripod to steady it. By the time you have loaded all that kit on yourself the idea of a walk in the wet will have disappeared! I have all the "gear" but never use it these days it is too bulky and unspontaneous. Just a digital with a reasonable zoom and a pocket tripod to set on a rock or clamp to a tree gets me by. I leave the heavy loads to the professionals.

Di Mackey said...

So very fine. Thanks for the photographs, I was there with you and knew all that you wrote of :)

Kay Cooke said...

rel - The 1950s get-up was for K's hen night - do women over there have hen night's before a wedding? If it is not an American custom, you won't know what the heck I'm talking about ... but there you go.

mcd - Yes it was fun. Cold, wet and very orepuki-ish! ;)

apprentice - Thanks SO much for the tips - just what I needed. I'm going to try them out first opportunity.

Kay Cooke said...

camille - Thanks for the prompt - i really enjoyed it!

avus - I think I'd be like you and prefer to take leave the tripods and things at home. Binoculars and camera are more than enough.

ww - Thanks - glad I can help you not feel so homesick.

Tammy Brierly said...

Wonderful CB! That Plover looked related to the golf bag ;) HUGS

S. Kearney said...

Oh dear, CB, I missed this tag at the end here! Now what? OK, I'm putting my head on and gluing my eyes back onto my shiny face. Now, oh, um, ok, I'll have to have a wee lie-down before I think in unison! :)

Colleen Franklin said...

I have always wondered about the landscape in NZ, Camille is right, it looks alot like Northern CA. Great work-I love how a walk in the country when seen through the 'lens' of non-books makes the familiar significant. (Wow, what poor grammar! Sorry!) I also love your animalistic description on the sea, like hoofbeats! Exactly!Anyway, glad to finally 'meet' you!

Rethabile said...

I like your un-library, too. Fantastic countryside, and a stone wall that reminds me of Frost's "Mending Wall."

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for stopping by my blog.
This blog has a delightful charm to it. Quite literary. a breath of fresh air.

Kay Cooke said...

tammy - A good point - ha!

shameless- Already it's sounding good!

rosa- Ditto -- fantastic to meet you too!
This shows only one part of NZ tho - like the US of A, NZ is made up of many facets - altho ours are smaller on the whole I guess! It was great to read abut your place.

retahbile - Thanks - Must look the poem up.

robin - Thanks so much.

Jan said...

Hello CB
Just been away in Umbria ( nearish to Rome) for a few days so have only just discovered this posting
I am very honoured to be tagged.
I shall get back to you ASAP.
For starters, I COULD certainly say that the beauty of Umbria is a very lovely nonbook treat...

Kay Cooke said...

jan - Looking forward to that very much indeed.
Umbria - from all accounts, a beautiful part of this planet.

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