Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pompous git? My arse!

Now I was going to call this post something deep and eloquent along the lines of ‘after the rain has passed’ or ‘the woodland thirsts no more’ you know the sort of thing, something that draws the reader towards my carefully crafted words desperate to know more and quench their thirst for knowledge and to be able to dwell upon deep, sweeping and evocative paragraphs of joyous reading coupled with wildlife pictures beyond compare. And then I took the bog monster out for a walk, bugger!

It started off o so well, Clare woke me up as she was readying herself for work with a steaming mug of tea as I lay in that blissful state between dreams and wakefulness. I really had no need or urgency to stir, but the crisp, cool scents that wafted through open bedroom windows told me that the last couple of weeks of baking sun had been alleviated by rainfall during the night. I meandered from the bedroom to be greeted by a very excited Lucy, you’d have thought that time had rolled back and I had a mere pup to take to the forest such was the way her whole body twisted from side to side with every sweep of her frantically wagging tail. I took time to prepare myself a complex and nutritious breakfast (cornflakes, sugar and hot milk) and perused some blogs whilst I downed my second mug of tea, as you know by know this is necessary for me to function upon all cylinders. Then we were off, the windows of the fun cruiser fully open allowing the rush of rain freshened air to lift our spirits and soak our senses, I just love rain and the air following after a long, hot and dry spell.

We arrived at the trail head nice and early with the dawn chorus just petering out, and I strode out full of expectation for the wildlife that I would see and photograph for this evenings posting, hell I’d even thought of the blog title. Oh it was going to be so good; instead of just the flora of the woods I was going to bring you pictures of the vast and interesting fauna which had eluded my shaky camera work so far, it was indeed going to be a posting beyond compare. Er did I happen to mention that Lucy was along for the ride? I did? Bugger.

We’d looped around the trig point and were heading back down towards the dark canopy of old pines trees, Lucy had rushed on ahead obviously hoping that one of her favourite pits had been replenished by the evening’s rain, when movement from left to right across the trial’s floor caught my eye. I slowed my paced and edged closer to the small mammal carefully sniffing its way across, a common shrew! Not that bleedin common as this was the first live one that I’d seen in many years. I crept on further  lowering myself down as I neared the beast (oh come on some poetic licence can be allowed), he paused as he neared the beginning of his tunnel like run into the undergrowth, I raised the camera and slowly depressed the shutter button. Now depressed is the key word here, for as I activated the camera at the precise same point in space and time the bog monster pushes past me intent on finding out why her master (yeah right o) was teetering on the edge of the undergrowth. Now if you look very carefully at the resultant picture’s lower half you can see the backside of mister shrew as he bolts hell for leather down his tunnel, bugger.

Mmmm never mind, so we strolled on awhile edging the forest hoping for a shot of one of the buzzards that I know use this tree line to spy out the more open ground.

 As I glanced down the trail a noticed a butterfly alight in one of the morning’s rare patches of sunlight, managed to take a rather shaky shot of what turns out to be a Red Admiral.

As I was just starting to feel better about the day the hound of the mire steamed passed me covering me and camera with splattering of what I can only hope was just mud. The damn thing is, as I shut down the little photographic device to gently clean away the alien substance a buzzard, not three yards down the trail swept upward and away off the trial floor, its wings making a powerful wumpimg noise (it’s the best word I could think of) as it fought to gain altitude. A truly impressive sight, equally impressive was the speed with which Lucy turned tail and headed for perceived safety behind my legs! Did I mention that I was cleaning Lucy’s detritus off my camera at this point? I did? Bugger.

So with a slightly cheated feeling I turned into the canopy of pines trees with the feeling that this was perhaps not going to be a national geographic prize winning piece of literature after all! We wound our way through the woods besieged upon all sides by the fresh smells that only long awaited rainfall can bring, also everything looked fresher, more vibrant and my grumblings at the bog monster were soon wafted away.

From the corner of my eye I spotted a large, and I mean large, moth alight upon the trunk of a nearby pine. As soon as it had landed it vanished, its camouflaged wings so perfect that unless I’d seen it land there would not have been a snowball’s chance in hell of me spotting it. Keeping my eyes firmly fixed on the landing spot I edged towards the tree and when I got to a couple of yards away the outline of the moth could be seen, I raised the camera and decided to move to within a couple of feet knowing that the moth would not budge, confident in its own invisibility. Being this close I think that the moth is one called a Red Poplar Underwing (though it might have been Eric) as a tiny slither of red from its secondary wings could just be made out. I raised the camera but then had to reset it to macro mode as I was now within touching distance of the moth, I raised the camera once more…. Thwack or similar loud noises when your beloved pet runs behind you, large stick in mouth smashing it precisely into the bend behind your knees, I hit the ground like a sack of spuds, dropping the camera and uttering oaths and expletives that I’d not use in the work place let alone here on my blog for you sensitive readers to be aghast at, bugger. I dragged myself from the bracken, checked the camera was ok and then glanced about with retribution in my mind for the one from the bog. I didn’t have to look far (‘bout 2 feet) to be greeted by Lucy looking up at me in such a way I could only laugh, laugh at my own pompousness and laugh because that’s what friends do together.

I pounced upon her, rubbing her flanks, pulling her tail and just generally messing her up, in return she happily slobbered all over me and licked my ears. If anyone had seen us that have probably called for the men in white coats, me and Lucy? well we just carried on playing and laughing. We tramped on through the rest of the walked pausing frequently to chase each other or play fight with Lucy launching herself at me with ever increasing run ups.

We took some time out so that I could take some arty type pictures, trying to catch how fresh the day felt, but I’m not arty nor am I a great writer but nor am I a fool nor pompous and  one thing I am not when out there with loopy Lucy, I’m not alone.

Thanks if you read my ramblings to the end.

Your friend,


Le Loup said...

A great post my friend, and a good title choice! It is a joy to watch any animal really enjoying itself, including the human.
Regards, Keith.

Mel said...

Read, and, thoroughly enjoyed the tail of another trip in the countryside with you and Lucy.

As always, your camera work makes me feel as if I am right along side the two of you. Thanks for taking me along.

Bill said...

The more I read about Lucy the more she sounds like my own dog. Always causing mischief but in a way that you can't help but laugh about in the end. I'm glad you both had a good time out there and the pictures were just fine. Very nice post!

Murphyfish said...

Glad that you approve, it sometimes does the soul good not to worry about what others think (mind you Clare did have a few choice words over the state of my walking gear once we finally arrived home!).

Thank you for the kind words, with comments like these at least I know that I'm on the right tracks.

Mischief is not the half of it, but you got to love em.

Shoreman said...

Hi John. I noticed your post just before going to bed last night and put it off until this morning. I enjoy reading about your adventures with Lucy, in the morning, when the world is silent. There's a certain calming quality about the way you describe the mud(or other detritus) Lucy puts upon you. The way she slobbers all over your face. That happy look in her eyes when she is out with you, that begins my day with a smile on my face. Thanks for sharing your adventures.


Murphyfish said...

Hi Mark,
Glad that my musing brightens your day. Just one look at the bog monster is enough to bring a smile to my face.

Wolfy said...

TERRIFIC post, John. It made me laugh out loud, and I've been in a miserable mood of late, so that's quite an accomplishment.

btw - that is absolutely the BEST photo I've ever seen of a shrew arse!

Thanks for making my day better.


Murphyfish said...

Hey Wolfy,
Happy to be able to lift your spirits my friend, if that's all I accomplish then the writing certainly has been more than worthwhile.

wanderingowloutside said...

Sorry for the lateness John. I did leave a comment yesterday, but I guess it didn't take. It's true!

The pics you are sharing with us are outstanding. You know I love the one with the trail amongst the pines. Awesome.

Yep. That bog monster likes to get out!

Murphyfish said...

Hi Casey,
In the middle of the 'grind' over here at the moment, shan't have time to play catch up myself till after the weekend.
Thanks for the complements, always appreciated from you my friend.

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

Really, really good, John. After losing my Gordon Setter this week, it felt good to read about you and Lucy and your great adventures. Made me laugh for a little while.

Murphyfish said...

Hi Karen,
If I can make you smile for a moment through this time then all that I have written has been one hundred per cent worthwhile, take care.

Damn The Broccoli said...

Hey John, a quick tip for your photography that the lady uses when she wants to photograph wildlife.

Don't try and get the perfect shot straight away, digital cameras mean you can generally take hundreds of shots so you can waste a few.

Start further away and take a snap, any noise the camera makes won't disturb the prey if you are not too close. When have done it, inch a little closer and take another one. Repeat this process moving in by a half dozen inches at a time and you will be amazed how close you can get to a lot of things as they quickly adjust to your being there.

Plus if you start further away and some bog dwelling hell hound should lollop your way, they are less likely to wonder what is so interesting you are on the floor looking at it so they will look too!

That said, you manage some absolute belters anyway when Lucy gives you chance.