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4 January 2012

Chins Above Water, As Usual

I find myself thanking my blessings, despite the gales that are raging through the British Isles, sending trees and electrical wires crashing.

A year ago we were snowbound and although I know that much of Europe has months of frost and snow every year, I find a sort of comfort in knowing that the Gulf Stream continues to warm our shores and give a sense of well-being.

Anybody who has described an average Winter in New York has ensured I have never been tempted to go there. Yesterday's post about staying home was based on experience, not fear of the unknown, btw. It is sizzling hot in Melbourne as I write and I have met many people there in the past who craved a brisk breeze after months of what I experienced as enviable warmth. Having never spent more than four months in a warm climate, I don't know when the desire for cold weather would actually have begun. A trip to Australia was punctuated, in every sense of the word, by a visit to Tasmania's Cradle Mountain, an experience that could not top the fear that Mont Blanc struck into my heart, but which came a close second. I share with every sensible person who lived up to the time of the drug fuelled Romantics, a healthy respect for mountains. Mostly I like them to be placed picturesquely at a very safe distance, but if compelled to visit closely, being at the bottom rather than half way up in the sleet and snow would always be a personal preference. Having given my ski gloves to a friend who wanted to wander around Dove Lake, I spent a strange day muttering to myself as I tried to get warm, bonded with the only living creature out of doors, a very photogenic member of the crow family and sat in the only place offering lunch and felt a strange sense of longing for Europe in the company of a Spanish artist. We hardly spoke, but he interpreted the unmissable belled and whistling plastic gew gaw that heralded the arrival of our food while I surprised him by picking out his accent from a thousand possibilities and getting it right. He drew in a small pad. I examined my photos with over zealous scrutiny, as there wasn't much else to do.

One of the more terrifying images, to my eye, of the great mountain, were Explored on Flickr, which has never happened much since, showing that struggle is part of true art. However, I'm happy to stay home and make dreamy black and white film images with my new Canon EOS RT, a camera that had a short lived success in 1989 and which seems set to become a classic, if those of us who possess the calm its pellicle mirror system sports manage to master it and it finds a wider audience. So here's to mystery, romance and flat terrain for 2012. Beads and Bokeh

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