Some days are good. Some days are bad. And some days are just plain… well… not.
Yesterday was such a day. Continued from Monday with the panic over that driving license nonsense (see last post) and me having to start sorting the pic of meself. Didn’t put me in a good mood at all, I can tell you.
All my own fault of course. Were I not such a laggardly slob I’d open letters when they first arrive; keep on top of things so to speak. But oh no, not me. That’s far too simple and straightforward for me. Too sensible. Guess I must be hooked on the adrenaline rush that comes with the panic when I discover I’m almost too late to do what should have been done ages previously.
But at least it gets me moving occasionally. So there is a sort of logic to it.
However, the unfolding of the day had not been entirely hitchless even before it started.
Y’see, coupla mates (those rapidly becoming known to regular visitors here as him#1 and him#2) and I had tentatively arranged to have a bit of a photo sesh. Somewhere slightly different maybe.
All well and good, ’cept him#2 ran into a couple of unanticipated snags so we have to do a quick rethink. As close as our little minds can ever get to thinking that is.
Ok. Take it in our stride and “rearrange” things slightly. Not that we’d arranged anything properly in the first place.
More like a case of “Hey, I’m possibly free next Tuesday. How’d you fancy a bit of a trip out somewhere. Maybe take some photos?” With a response most likely in the form of “Yeah, I’m up for that. Providing I don’t have anything else to do. Not sure yet. Let’s keep in touch about it”. And promptly say nothing else about it whatsoever until the day before the… er… “planned” outing.
Next step is trying to sort out where we’re all gonna meet. So a flurry of emails ensues (if you were in the least familiar with how long it takes just me and him#1 to come to any definite decision about anything whatsoever you’d appreciate what the phrase “flurry of emails” actually means… and this time there’s three involved!) and finally it seems that somehow I’ve volunteered to head into town stupidly early in the morning. Well, stupidly early for me at least.
Knowing what the bus service in my little village is like I’m suddenly afflicted with a most unusual attack of common sense and decide to give myself a bit of leeway. Catch an earlier bus than I actually need to sorta thing.
Just as well really. Cos there am I, waiting at the bus stop and still fretting over the driving license business when it begins to dawn on me that the bus is… er… remarkably absent. Late, you might say.
Nevertheless, thanks to my incredible foresight I still manage to get into town in time. Er… lots in time. Like about 40 minutes in fact. Yep. That sounds like my sort of “planning”. Screwed up.
Coffee then. It has to be.
So adjourn to a handy coffee shop. Handy cos it’s really near the bus station… and I can’t be expected to walk too far, can I? Handy also for its one of the very few places where I almost enjoy that stuff some folk think of as “proper” coffee.
Known as the Caffé Portioli, on Allhallows in the town centre, right at the very edge of Church Square (that locals call “Pigeon Square”).
Now it just so happens that Pigeon Square is the place we’d all agreed to meet up. Nowhere specific in Pigeon Square you understand. Just “Pigeon Square”. That’s about as specific as we ever get. After all, the Square’s not all that big. Virtually impossible to miss anyone. Hmm.
So there am I, quietly supping me coffee whilst awaiting the arrival of t’other two.
Well, I would have been quietly supping me coffee had I not suddenly and miraculously transformed into him#1.
For that’s what it felt like. Performing one of his favourite tricks.
What with it beginning to be a nice day weather-wise I’d decided to sit outside with me brew. Chance to have a fag as well. Great idea. Or would have been, had I not kicked the table just after I’d put the coffee cup down.
Thence follows the humiliating experience of wandering back inside to confess my carelessness and humbly beg for a cloth to clean up the mess.
Did I say how friendly and helpful the Portioli staff are? Well, they are.
This lad rushes out (um… I call him “lad” but that’s prob’ly a bit patronising; thing is though, at my age anyone under 40 is still a lad… ahem, any male under 40 I shoulda said; lasses is still lasses whatever age they are!), mops up the mess for me, checks my coffee’s ok in a nice clean cup and saucer, repositions the table, and makes sure I’m seated comfortably (i.e., safely; i.e., somewhere I can’t do any more mischief… to myself or others).
All without extra charge, and all with a smile.
Of course, it could have been the sort of kindly and parental-like smile one bestows on those who are a bit… er… “gaga” shall we say. Yes. Well.
There I sit then, until time for the meet-up arrives. Whereupon, almost punctually, him#1 and him#2 come strolling across the Square.
Odd thing though, for I then find out that him#2 had been waiting for the best part of a half-hour on the other side of the Square… all of a couple of hundred yards away from where I’d been sitting. And in plain view. Amazing really that we hadn’t seen each other. But then, that’s what we’re like.
Or maybe he’d seen me and decided he didn’t want to be seen openly associating with such an idiot. Not until long after the coffee incident had passed and hopefully all witnesses would have departed. Or forgotten about it.
Couldn’t blame him really.
So finally we embark on this ’ere photo jaunt. Was that a sigh of relief I heard someone breathe? Or has everyone already departed elsewhere in utter boredom?
First of course there’s the customary discussion about where to head.
I don’t recollect us actually reaching a definite decision about this. In fact, I’m sure we didn’t. It was more a case of just sort of aimlessly ambling.
Periodically one of us might utter something along the lines of “What’s the plan then?”, which would be answered by another of us with something along the lines of “I dunno. I’m just following you”.
I’ve a sneaking suspicion a little village named Willington may have been mentioned at some stage. A little village eastish of Bedford that can be reached by traversing Priory Country Park. And I think I’m probably not too far adrift in my suspicion cos the Park was where we ended up. Never did manage to reach Willington though.
Ice cream was to blame for that.
Ah yes… ice cream.
Ice cream just happens to be a particular weakness of both him#1 and myself. Especially on hot sunny days. And Tuesday was definitely beginning to turn out hot and sunny.
Him#1 gets the urge first, so we start heading in the general direction of where we last spotted (last week in fact) a vendor of said heavenly food.
Foiled though. No ice cream van. Not even a hint of one. Oh pooh!
Now normally on a trek such as this we’ll be repeatedly sidetracked through stopping to take pics here and there, of this and that. But this particular jaunt it didn’t seem to be happening. The odd one or two maybe, but nothing really worth mentioning (notice how sparse they’ve been so far).
It just wasn’t happening for us. Totally uninspired. No ice cream. No pics. No definite plan. Pretty uneventful and boring really.
But I did see an egg! Yeah. Right.
Finally reach Priory Marina and at long last we begin to become enthused by what we’re seeing.
Click click click. Yep, we’re well into the swing now. Plus the usual larking around of course. Well, it wouldn’t be us if there weren’t some larking around… generally with a bit of evil intent thrown in for good measure.
And I manage to inadvertently discover what was likely (knowing my luck) the only ants’ nest for miles around. Inadvertently discover it whilst pursuing my signature stunt of laying down (notice how him#1’s starting to nick that?) to get some low-angle shots… laying down right on top of the damn thing.
Which is brought to my attention by the realisation that I’ve now got hundreds of the little buggers running all over me. Just as well I don’t mind ants too much. Though they do tickle a bit.
Well, it gave him#1 and him#2 something to laugh about anyway. Inconsiderate toerags!
Eventually we move on and find ourselves being drawn to a little pathway leading off the beaten track into a strip of woodland. Nice and shady though not particularly great for pics. Far too “busy” really. That’s experience talking by the way. Ho hum. Seen those sort of places before, and always end up with a load of totally crap pics of scenes that looked really mouth-watering “in the flesh”.
Haven’t travelled along it too far however before we come across a load of litter. Litter of a… er… particular sort.
That causes us to conclude that perhaps we don’t really want to hang around the area too long. Doesn’t really have a nice sort of “feel” to it. Not now. So perhaps its best if we rejoin the main drag.
Which is what we do. For a few riverside pics (though most of mine turned out to be rubbish).
And of course, who has to go and plonk themselves right down in a nettle patch and get their hands stung to blazes? Me, that’s who! Oh well.
Not content with that however, whilst I’m still tingling from the nettles I discover this little flying beastie thing has decided to have me for lunch, starting with my arm. I tell ya, this rambling in the countryside caper is just full of hazards!
Ever onward though and by now we’re alongside the huge lake that’s a main feature of the Park. And what do we spot over the other side of the lake? An ice cream van, that’s what!
At last! Only thing is, if we circle around to that it’ll mean we’ve sort of started the trek townward again… without getting anywhere even near Willington. Or anywhere else for that matter.
Oh well. No contest really.
Time to chill out with our ice creams then, on a nice slopey bit of grass. And by now the sun was really hot. I’m guessing it was the hottest day so far this year. In Bedford at least. Beautiful it was. Simply beautiful. We lapped it up. Along with the ice creams.
So there we sit (or lay to be more accurate), ice creams finished, reluctant to move. Instead having a serious, profound, and meaningful discussion about how truly hard and tiring this whole pic-taking business is. All the effort one has to make to look around for inspiring things to shoot. Weighing up all the creative potentials as it were. Ahem. Dammit its tiring.
Then him#1 decides he’s hungry (how can he be? He’s just eaten a bloody ice cream for heaven’s sake; a double one at that!).
Just so happens that the Priory Marina Beefeater (I think it’s still a Beefeater) is only a stone’s throw away. Me, I’m not really up for anything to eat… but a pint of beer would go down a treat. So that’s where we head.
And that pretty much ended the jaunt for the day. A few pics grabbed on the way back into town, but nothing to stir any real excitement.
As I said, a sort of “not day”. Things not quite working. Scenes not quite inspiring. Me not quite eaten by bugs.