Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue


Long-tailed titBirds on Jackie’s feeder are becoming braver.  Today we were able to watch, through the kitchen window, a blackbird, a robin, and a long-tailed tit.  It would probably be a good idea to clean the guano off the window before I take another photograph.

I had less luck with  a woodpecker I heard at its work whilst I was walking the Shave Wood loop.  When I backtracked to seek out this avian chippy its pecking ceased and I was unable to discern its whereabouts.  I suspect it is of the lesser spotted variety.

Pony and trapIn London Minstead a disinterested pony hitched to a trap found the opportunity to sample the hedgerow more fascinating than me.  Its owner was content to watch the birdie and smile.  She said many  other similar photographs had been taken.

Derrick late 1970sI believe photograph number 9 in the ‘through the ages’ series was taken in the late 1970s by Jessica in Gerard Street, Soho, probably during the Chinese New Year celebrations.  We always attended these colourful occasions which took place a stone’s throw from our flat.  I seem to have been having some problem with my camera.  Whatever it was, it cannot have been as disastrous as the freezing of the shutter on my Olympus.  That fault developed some ten or a dozen years later when I was the ‘official’ photographer at Jessica’s cousin Anthony and Geraldine’s wedding.  When asked to perform this role for friends and family I am always afraid something will go wrong and they will have no record of their great day.  The only time I ever did totally fail, on account of not loading the film properly, I was saved by my father-in-law Don Rivett who had shadowed me.  I am grateful to Helen for recently being  kind enough to remind me of this effort at her own wedding to Bill forty-odd years ago.

For Anthony and Geraldine’s wedding I had done my utmost to bring along a properly loaded piece of equipment in full working order.  This involved numerous visits to a Newark camera shop whose owner was meant to be repairing my old Olympus; a final explosion of my own blue touch paper; a borrowed Pentax; and a brand new Canon belonging to the groom.  The shutter had stuck rigidly about three or four months earlier.  Every time I called in for the camera I was treated to a waffle.  And I don’t even like them.  The shop owner knew exactly when, why, and where I needed to be fully operational.  It is not often, after all, I imagine, even a professional has a commission in Rugby school.  One would have thought that should have carried some clout.

I was finally promised faithfully that I would have the camera on the morning of the wedding.  Off I trotted, in my topper and morning suit, round the corner to the repair shop. No repair.  That was when the sparks flew.  ‘Well, you will just have to lend me one’, said I with my best calm, firm, yet menacing tone.  A Pentax was promptly produced.  I had a practice run with it in the garden, and all seemed well.

You have perhaps realised by now that this was in fact a poorly Pentax.  I discovered that when having a further testing session in the hall at the school.  It didn’t even have the decency to suffer from a different complaint.  Yes, the shutter jammed.

Fortunately Anthony was on hand with his untried model.  As he thrust it into my grasp I had a moment of panic.  It looked digital.  Anyway when I half-pressed the shutter with my own trembling digit, the Canon did things, but only took a picture when the button was fully depressed.

With Geraldine and her father emerging from a wedding limousine, there was no time to practice.  I just had to click into action.  The result was a first photo of the bride and her Dad out of focus and wonky; one walking down the aisle towards the eagerly waiting groom, out of focus but reasonably upright;  and thereafter a set of probably the best wedding photos I have ever taken.  I do hope Mr. Schnapps forgave me for the first two shots of his momentous occasion.

This evening we dined on chicken jalfrezi with peas pilou rice and Cobra beer.


8 responses to “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue”

  1. Your description of a camera failing made me feel sympathetically sick. I will not photograph weddings for that very reason. I have done and been lucky but it is truly the only shoot you can’t do again. Avoid! Avoid!

  2. […] passed me, whether the driver of the trap pulled by a familiar white pony clopping up the road was my friendly acquaintance from Seamans Lane. It was. She slowed the horse to a walk, and we exchanged smiles and […]

  3. I know that horror. I’ve photographed a few weddings officially and many more as a friend. I had battery trouble at one and sent Geoff off to find one. A close friend of ours got married and his father is a vocal amateur photographer and was taking photos standing up from the front row the whole time and so I backed off. He was talking to Geoff all about the technical aspects of his camera and I felt quite intimidated. Anyway, it turned out that he didn’t wind the film on and so he botched up. He wasn’t their official photographer but there was still a sense of loss. It also gave me a good lesson not to trust the talk. Recently my cousin got married and they did this spectacular dance and I was taking photos when I notice3d that no one was filming so I switched modes and filmed them. A few months later a received a really furtive email wondering if I’d filmed it….boy was I popular! Great fun! xx Rowena

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