Dawn breaks on a misty March day, frost fills the air and colours the pathway through the fields with a grey-white film. Early March shadows loom and recede along the hedgerows, cast by shrubs and trees. There’s not a sound to shatter the icy silence of the mist-shrouded morning. Then, a deep throated warble sounds from a nearby bush, a fusion of birdsong begins to break the silence, melodiously rising and falling to colour the bleakness of the scene. A Blackbird song signals a new day dawning. The rich quality of the tuneful sound loudly resounds and can be heard for miles around. A natural sound, designed as a territorial warning. He whistles and warbles sweet sound, smooth trilling notes with melodious perfection.
Slowly more birds add sound to the dawn chorus; a cacophony of melodic, richly outspoken, deep throated choristers soon penetrates through the March mist.
Then without warning the smooth flow of notes is broken. A cry of alarm sounds and many wings flap as birds take to the air to escape from the danger of feathers or fur. Their natural defense against man, predatory feline or hawk. When all danger is past the beautiful dawn chorus resumes in a mass of sound. Tuneful and melodic, with perfect clarity. The morning March mist lifts, as a watery sun breaks through the clouds, spreading warmth.
The show was billed as a top-notch experience, not just a comedy, an amusing experience; one that would cheer everyone up. It struck Gino’s nerves to the core when the lights finally went down. He knew then that this embarrassment would never make him laugh. There he was with his trousers in his hand being chased out of a farmer’s field by a fierce bull with long sharp horns. His face was hidden, but his bottom was clearly on display as he desperately tried to outrun the fierce bull. He knew very well whose rear that was; he had a clear recollection of the course of events leading to this unfortunate incident.
Gino and Alex were out filming and photographing wild birds with the local photography club.
“Look Alex! That’s a rare Egret on the banks of the brook running through that field: Let’s climb over the gate and try to get some photographs.”
“Should we?” Alex cautiously asked. “Surely it’s private property. I’ll come with you to the gate but that’s as far as I’ll go.”
The rest of the group also declined to enter the field and waited with Alex watching and filming the Egret from a distance. Gino quietly crept up on the unsuspecting bird and secreted himself in some bushes on the bank and began filming. Suddenly Nature of a different variety intervened and he thought, ‘It’s a good job I’m under cover. That curry I had last night is having a devastating effect. I will squat here behind these bushes.’
There was heard a bellowing roar and the sound of galloping hooves as a huge 2000 lb bull arrived and charged towards him.Gino grabbed his trousers and ran hard for the gate where his friends from the group were waiting and filming his escape, curled up with hysterical laughter.
Now one week later the group were sharing their birdwatching experiences! ☮
The most memorable time that I felt unsafe and insecure was a time when we were in the middle of the ocean, aboard a relatively small ship. We had experienced some quite strong winds, and there was a rough swell, that was rocking the ship a little. We were quite used to this traversing the Bay of Biscay.
On that memorable day we were eating a leisurely meal in the ship’s dining-room, I was sitting opposite my wife Margaret, with a view of the open sea through the windows on the side of the ship. The dining-room was quite high up, on the fourth level of eight, or nine if you include the open Verandah deck.
As I looked up, the windows in front of my viewpoint were underwater, literally underwater! Then within a millisecond or less, there was an huge shocking bang, as an enormous freak wave hit the side of the ship. The shock reverberated through the dining room, tables were thrown over and large metal serving stations were upended. There was the sound of crockery smashing everywhere and food and broken glass was scattered. Several passengers were injured as the tables trapped people beneath them and the room was an area of total devastation.
All of the public rooms were affected and the damage to the fixtures and fittings was substantial. The passengers were ordered to return to their cabins as the clear-up began, we returned to find our television set had been ripped from the brackets that secured it to the wall. The maintenance department were obviously attending to the urgent areas of dangerously damaged fixtures and fittings.
We were confined to our cabins until further notice, and informed that our meals would be delivered to our cabins by the room-service staff. The Captain kept everyone well informed, of the ongoing situation over the internal tannoy system. The weather was still pretty rough and the seas were high but nothing to compare with the original freak wave that had caused such devastation. That was totally unexpected by the officers on the bridge and came literally out of nowhere.
We were confined to our cabins for almost two days, and for us that was the safest place to be. I certainly felt unsafe during those two days of high seas, and I was quite relieved when things were back to normal and our ship was sailing on calm waters into the sunshine.