We sat in the car in Meadfoot beach car park for over an hour, drinking coffee, watching, filming; a couple of crows came jumping about in the rain puddles, then the pied wagtail – possibly the one Haze filmed a couple of weeks ago – flitted in.
A lovely sky going on there over the bay. Goldenous clouds being beamed beautiful by the falling winter sun in scintillating gleams and glimmers.
The gloomy turbulence of 2017 given an end of year shine.
Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet
I’d like to meet this slimy gentleman next year
Or this raisin eyed cutey flopped out on a rock
If we’re near an estuary we’ll probably see
Or this could be hiding on Dawlish Warren
I’m hoping we’ll see more speeding across Lyme Bay. And one day this magnificent chap will come soaring and swooping over the cliffs on the Downs again.
If we’re anywhere near Maidencombe these vulnerable little are awaiting to delight and disarm the senses.
There are bound to be many jelly swelling the shores come summer.
A flypast by a squadron of would be most thrilling.
If this were ever to happen up above us we’d be hopping about like Chris Packbum on ecstasy.
If we got near enough to see a wild one of these I could die elated.
Staying in the wood we might see this
Rigging up a lightbox in the back garden could reveal this beauty. The one marvel I’d like to witness more than anything is more of these light-filled
metamorphosing before our very eyes – to take our breath away.
‘I heard the blackbird sing. I have lived’.
So wrote Henning Mankell. He was keeping a cancer diary of what would be his last year on earth. Read this final farewell published on The Guardian in January this year. He’d already died (October 2015)
It got me thinking what I might write to say I’d lived.
So I’ve come up with these few pithy sentences. Meant to be humorously, and not too seriously, saying truthful things about the last couple of years I’ve lived, and shared my life, with Miss Hazel Brown.
I picked those autumn berries. I have lived.
I chucked away my telly. I have lived.
I worked when necessary. I have lived.
I never had a penny. I have lived.
I was made for not making merry. I have lived.
I chugged along rock steady. I have lived.
I wasn’t rude like Geoffrey. I have lived.
I hoola hooped so many. I have lived.
I hogged down pud aplenty. I have lived.
I smelt the unmade coffee. I have lived.
I bloodied every bleddy. I have lived.
I charged up ever ready. I have lived.
I wasn’t wildly hairy. I have lived.
I flew with a golden faerie. I have lived.
I mooned around her belly. I have lived.
I split her swollen cherry. I have lived.
I made her tremor very. I have lived
I flickered with her gently. I have lived.
I exquisited so heavenly. I have lived.
I cherish every memory. I have lived.
To be continued……
Words & Reflections: Ian Nisbet
Lichened by light
Circles and cup marks
Cairns on Cut Hill
Cists at Drizzlecombe
Who were they, these people of stone?
Into a 21st century dawn, tumbled
Bracelets, baskets and beads…!
Her goods for the ever-life
Leaving behind … her fears..tears..?
The stone people live on.
We are they.
Drawing & Poem: Hazel Brown
Finally, what we’d been waiting for arrived – the sun!
So now we can get over to that little pond, for sure enough, here they are, flying about.
Dragonflies. Red Darters. Dozens of them. Flitting around like helicopters.
Males looking for females. And when they find females they are locking the ladies in.
Into a heart. Grabbing the girls around the neck and joining them fast to their ‘ovipositors’; then aggressively yanking these hapless females around the pond, dipping and dunking them into the water, trying to get them to deposit their eggs (holding fast, so as to prevent other likely lads shunting their sperm in)
I was only hoping to see one or two again, to supplement the fleeting footage I’d got yesterday afternoon with a bit more fleeting footage – of the beating of wings hovered over the lily pads in the pond.
But I got much much more! This was being extraordinary. I was totally transfixed, as locked on to the whole spectacle as the males were locked on to their females. It was intensely absorbing, exhilarating. I shot about 55 minutes of vid clips, of which this film is just the merest 4 minutes.
We were made up me and Haze. We’d just witnessed, and experienced, and shared, yet another Gold Medal Moment together!
Words & Vid : Ian Nisbet
Exactly a week ago tonight we were camping out on the Teign Estuary.
We’ve got the tent up, climbed in.
And then the something magical happens.
The sound of a bird’s baleful burbling across the silent water. Which then turns into a high pitched melancholy flutey wail.
Then sounds of other night birds waking up. Owls hooting. Wading birds wading about.
I have to get the camera recording all this magical moon music. It’s wonderful.
It’s a curlew that’s what that is. Calling for a mate possibly. And possibly its mate is curlew calling back from somewhere over there.
These curlews flute and flootle across the echoey estuary far and wide.
They’ve taken over, captured this estuary.
Their pervasive presence dominates the soundscape.
Dominates the inside of our tent, the inside of our heads.
All night long I have to keep picking up the camera to record their plaintive callings.
And an odd owl or two hoots off from away in the trees on the left side bank.
This is what we wanted, what we hoped for; but could never have expected.
Something to surprise the wonder out of us.
A solo curlew concerto, with supporting birdy wind ensemble.
On Sunday afternoon we’ve climbed up to an enclosed ring of trees above Berry Pomeroy.
The inspiration for Hazels Giant on the Hill painting (from many moons ago).
We’re trying to find out what this ring of trees is called, and what it might have been. An ancient settlement or hill fort perhaps.
That ewe was packed with wool; could hardly walk, needs a haircut – sharpish!
Haze heard this poem of Margaret Attwoods read a couple of Sundays ago on radio 4 (a programme called ‘Something Understood’) She was so taken with it she wrote it out for me. I asked her to illustrate the right hand side of it. Which she’s done with some bindy Celtic scrolls.
Beautiful! Both the poem, and Haze’s illustrative version of it.
Poem: Margaret Attwood; Calligraphy and Illustration: Hazel Brown
An adaptation of the obscure indications Eric Satie gave to pianists playing his pieces “The Gnossiennes (writes Ian). Its all about trying to misdirect your perception to look “elsewhere”.
“Provide yourself with confusion”
Unnoun Knowns. Thrash Facts. Shred Thens. Begin with Ends.
“The unturned corner”
You didn’t dare turn. But now you do.
“Be back to front”
As a right to left.
Wipe away wrong. Rub off right.
Pick up what is over the top.
Be prepared to drop.
Palm as landing,
Finger is launching
Click click click click
“Bumbly as a Bee”
Bumbly. Bum. bly. Being. A Bee.
Wait. As long as.
As far as.
“To the Honey”
“Dance an inner jiggle”
Without moving a muscle. Feel unsweatily, hormonally, moved.
Sat on the toilet is you.
Farty pants. Remember?
“Like a cat with a dream”
Daft face. Oblivious. Stuck stuffed out tongue. Lapel it.
At the duck.
– Written by Ian Nisbet
We were walking above the bay at Babbacombe tonight (writes Ian)
Just as it was getting ‘dimpsy’ several pipistrelle bats came out to play, darting and diving around our heads.
I tried filming them flying across the moon. But the sky was too dark in that direction.
‘It’s magical!’ exclaims Haze. And she was right. It was.
(Video: Ian Nisbet)