Thursday 21 August 2008

fly by night

I finished off my butterfly pictures this morning, breathed a sigh of relief as I hit the upload button, and went for a ride on my bicycle.

They're for the Bristol Downs wildlife book. I've very nearly finished all the pics now. I can then devote myself more single-mindedly to What The Heck To Do Next.

In the meeja.... I got some money from Neon, a German magazine, today, for use of my photos in a feature they did which was more or less the same as the one in the Guardian. Except in German. So hurrah, and I think I may have to buy a new pair of shoes. You know how it is.

I found this copy of the article on monanotlisa's LJ. Thanks for putting it up, Mona! It was nice to see some more of Neil Drabble's photos, too.

So I mail Richard, and he mails me and tells me that he likes the butterfly pictures and that the cricket balls that I posted to him last week have still not arrived. (They are hard to get hold of in Strasbourg, apparently. Maybe the French are still a bit prickly after that business with Henry V and the Dauphin.)

And Richard also mentions the Olympics.

I was going to try and get through this whole Olympics business without ever mentioning it. Damn.

No, that was me saying that. What Richard said was this:

I notice in the Olympics the swimming stroke 'the butterfly' no longer exists. Has been shortened for idiot sports-people, so we now have the 50 Metre Fly etc.

...and that in turn reminded me of a horrible incident from the 1970s. I was at RAF St Athan, for an Air Cadet swimming competition. God knows why I was there, as I only ever do a very slow breast stroke, although I could do the doggy paddle or even floating on my back at a pinch. OK, I know why I was there. Coercion. You know how it is with insanely sporty adults in charge of things.

So I get entered into something called Freestyle. Somehow I get the idea that this means that I have to swim using the butterfly stroke, something which I have never before attempted.

Gosh, you can swallow quite a lot of water doing that.

And take a long time to get to the other end.

Much longer than anyone else.

Oh well, it was probably character building.


I fulfilled a long-held ambition today, and managed to download the wailing call of the Great Northern Diver onto my mobile phone.

Next week I'll sort out world peace.


  1. Your butterflies are really beautiful. I’ve been looking out for butterflies all summer and now I’ve seen some – on a blog! I did see two blue ones together which hopefully means there will be more next year. I looked at the German article, it’s been a long time and I don’t understand a word. One thing I can say from the photo is that Richard has got nice legs!

    I think I might have found someone I could beat at swimming at last – as long as I can put my foot on the bottom.

    Have fun trying on the shoes.

  2. Hi Dru,
    I remember the swimming pool at RAF St Athan very well. In one session I placed my young fingers on the edge of the pool only to have the sporty adult b****** stamp on them with his boots. Happy days. I wonder why I never watched any of the Olympics?

  3. Thank you, Anji. The article is a fairly straightforward translation of the Guardian feature back in May, which isn't much help because that's no longer available... I wonder if swimming races evolved because people couldn't think of what else to do in swimming pools other than swim from one end to the other? Some of my favourite dreams used to involve floating down rivers through countryside very like the Welsh borders, like canoeing but without the canoe.

    Were you an Air Cadet too, then, Neil? - some of those adult types were a bit rummy, weren't they? -I remember one enthusing about the National Front. On the other hand, I have very fond memories of the Gliding School at St Athan, a really nice bunch of folk. Here's a pic:

  4. Rob's school were into the army training corps. They dumped them in the middle of nowhere once with a map and compass. He and his group found a telephone box and phoned his brother who took them back to school. There was a hell of a row, but it had to be agreed they had completed the exercise!

    I'm going to try your dream out Dru - a much pleasanter way of 'being' in the water.