Looking Natural

Tom’s school friend, Mick, and his family have come for a visit. It’s a glorious day and west Wales is at its breathtaking best. Mick’s thirteen-year-old daughter lights up at the mention of dolphins and harbour porpoises in the bay. ‘Can we see dolphins?’ she asks. Now, the best time to see dolphins is probably not on a hot holiday afternoon when Mwnt is swarming with staycationers, but it’s our local beach so we brave the gridlock of folks trying not to scrape their expensive city cars in the narrow, twisting lane and find ourselves a quiet spot on the cliffs. With sun on their faces and spectacular views, our visitors are perfectly happy, but only Mick’s daughter really believes that dolphins will appear. And suddenly, exactly in the spot where we’ve told them to look, the miracle happens. One black fin appears and then another as two harbour porpoises break the surface. It doesn’t always work like that, but it’s a great feeling when it does.

The weekend brings my lovely Lily and her partner, Russ and – amazingly – more sunshine (it always seems to rain when Lily stays). We take the path along the banks of the Teifi, through the marshes looking for kingfishers. A short detour takes us to a secluded glade with a shallow pool where Tom and I have watched pondskaters and waterboatmen and jewel-bright dragonflies spangling the sunny air. Today presents a very different scene. A submerged ring of empty beer bottles encircles the pool, a cardboard crate is torn up and abandoned in the grass and, on the picnic table, the graphic remains of someone’s sexfest. Pretty it ain’t. We withdraw and I feel faintly murderous towards the selfish idiots who’ve desecrated this lovely spot.

By Monday I have a new concern; the Western Mail is sending up a photographer to take some pictures for a short piece I have written. Some coaching from cyber-friends and professional photographers Westerwitch and Dave Hunt has given me an idea of what to expect, but I’m still a bag of nerves. James, who has been up since the crack of doom photographing the Ospreys, is a very gentle and patient man who must feel as if he’s wandered into Wallace and Gromit territory with me since so much of his time is spent putting me in position. After posing on my sofa, in my porch and in my front garden (‘Just like a Timotei advert’ James tells me, not too convincingly) we’re done. I don’t know which of us is most tired, but I feel that James has certainly earned his money!

Cardiff Half Marathon Training
Runner’s World SmartCoach Programme Week 7 = 21 miles. A fairly smooth and uneventful week except for a near-disastrous attack of Runner’s Trots on my long run, (believe me, that’s all you need to know!).

Painting is 'High Preseli - Mist' by Tom Tomos


Pondside said…
Your weeks are always jammed with so many different activities/guest/adventures. Awful that your special spot was trashed by idiots - so disappointing, but let the memory of the dolphins wash over it.
Fennie said…
You paint a wonderful picture of Pembrokeshire, but I have visions of you saying "I can summon dolphins from the vasty deep - And when I call them, then do they come!" Glendower must be greening in his grave with envy. Am still looking forward to seeing the picture.
elizabethm said…
Rather you than me with the photo. Can you not use the very fetching one on the side of your blog - that's fab.
And how marvellous about the porpoises. Faith, you see!
Debs said…
I was just picturing that beautiful place, when you went on to say how some selfish sods have ruined it. So annoying and upsetting.

So thrilled they saw the dolphins. I remember one summer a couple of years ago Rob took the children for breakfast at St Ouens, and Sas & I couldn't bother to go. They phoned and said there were dolphins and we were there in minutes.
gaelikaa said…
Nice about the dolphins, shame about the .....desecration of a nice place. Really, some people have no consideration at all...
Brown Dog said…
Loved your description of the harbour porpoises - sounds magical - and such a shame about your lovely pond.

Looking forward to seeing your Western Mail pic and the piece. They must think highly of you if they're sending a photographer over specially.
Yeah - agree with LBD = the only time they SEND a photographer round here is for a murderer or a rapist - you didn't catch up with the courting couple and give them a well deserved slapping did you??
Flowerpot said…
What a shame that your lovely spot was desecrated - I'd be livid too. Sorry ot hear about Runner's Trots.....!
ChrisH said…
Pondside. Yes, I think we both try to cram in as much as possible - you never know when it's all going to grind to a halt.

Fennie, I think we've just learned to spot the dolphin signs - would be nice to claim a touch of magic then I would conjure up my Big Fat Publishing Deal! I don't know when the photo/article is going to appear - I think they just put a few in the bank.

Elizabeth, thanks for your comment about the photo. Tom took it but it was a rather fraught session - and don't forget that black and white is more forgiving to the subject!

Debs, yes, I still feel the same about the dolphins; it's never a sight I take for granted. As for the idiots, well, it says a lot about them, doesn't it?

gaelikka, it's horrid seeing that kind of vandalism, but worse for the wildlife - and the poor so and so who has to clear up the mess.

Brown Dog, they were probably afraid to let me into the office in case I tried to collar someone about my writing! They must have thought it was easier to keep me at a distance!

SBS, only mentally!

Fp, livid and depressed at the time, but there, someone always wants to spoil the party. Runners Trots... not nice, not nice at all!
Annieye said…
The glade sounds lovely. Why do the brain-dead minority have to spoil the countryside for everyone else?
Cottage Garden said…
Great that your visitors got to see the dolphins - I hope the rest of their visit was just as perfect.

Don't get me started on litter - its awful that a few selfish people have spoilt your memories of a very special place.

Congratulations on the Western Mail doing a piece on your work! I'm sure the photos will be fab.

Have a great week.
Calico Kate said…
I love your description of your two visits. And in such sunshine - send some up here if you've any spare?
Hope you b;og your peice and pic or at least point us in the right direction when the time comes.
ChrisH said…
Thanks Annie, good luck with that second read.
ChrisH said…
You too, Jeanne, good to see you.

Kate, sunshine very thin on the ground this week, but plenty of rain (again!)

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