I have spoken to my doctor about getting more exercise. The trouble is I am not very interested in doing much physical stuff. Sports bore me. I suggested taking up shooting again and my doctor was all for it and she is quite happy to support my application for a shotgun certificate. But do I actually want to shoot things? I am not so sure I want to get involved in killing stuff and there isn’t that much around that is worth killing to eat. I’ll put that on hold for a bit. But there is another way I could get out in the countryside and scramble about a bit and get more exercise without generating funny looks from people walking about. Photography. I can shoot things without killing them. This will give me the excuse to go tramping around and getting exercise without really trying to.
The things you see when you haven’t got your gun…
Hmm. Even cropped down a bit that isn’t especially impressive. My digital camera is showing its age. The zoom isn’t very good. This fox wasn’t so far away that it wouldn’t have been worth a shot from a 12 bore, I could have had him, but my compact digital zoom camera just wasn’t up to the job. It looked a lot better in real life than in the photograph. Something with a bigger zoom and a proper viewfinder that I could see in bright sunlight would have been much better. And that is now on its way.
I have put off a decision about getting a gun for a bit and I have ordered a better camera. It needed to have a powerful zoom to go from telephoto to wide-angle and macro. I will be taking photographs of scenery and wildlife, telephoto shots of woodpeckers and foxes, macro shots of butterflies, dragonflies and flowers. I need a super-zoom digital camera with a decent viewfinder, what is called a bridge camera.
This baby will give me a much better chance of shooting that fox, and it also has video camera features well in excess of anything else I currently have available, full HD with sound and full use of that massive multi-function lens. Watch out David Attenborough.
Where was that fox? On my private nature reserve. I inherited many great things from my mother, intelligence, wit and low cunning, a respect for the countryside and my heritage. Oh, and quite a fair bit of land, some that was farmed and could be farmed again and some that has never been farmed. Ever. The oldest maps I can find show a hint of some scrubby trees between one parish and the next, so does the oldest map that tried to accurately show land use. This little bit of land has never been anything except the greenwood. It was common land up until the eighteenth or nineteenth century, part of a vast swathe of common land that was never owned by any toffs. My granddad bought it with his farm and never had much use for it. My mother inherited it and saw its value as a piece of wild country and she kept it the way it should be kept, just running a few outdoor-raised rare breed pigs through it for a week or two every now and again.
When I was a boy I think I saw a nest of adders in this wood. So it’s my adder sanctuary. I haven’t seen one for about forty years but you never know. A hundred and twenty years ago adders were a pest on the nearby common. They may yet make a comeback. If they do I’ll be ready.