Having spent an hour this morning ‘getting my head round my new camera’, in the process being surrounded by various connecting leads; a CD Rom; a lead with a plug on it; a ‘getting started’ booklet; a charger; oh, and a camera, and not really having got very far except for a couple of out of focus pictures of a sofa and cushions, it was fairly obvious where my feet were going to have to take me. This was a round trip to Jessops in Wimbledon. Actually the two pictures featured today were taken en route to Jessops, so it wasn’t all bad.
I fell at the very first hurdle. The camera is so small that you are enjoined to fix its strap so that you can wrap it around your wrist in order not to drop it. This initial instruction I was unable to perform. Anyone who read yesterday’s post will know that my camera was a display model. This meant that it probably contained an already charged battery. I felt fairly confident in skipping the battery charging section. There were other setting up procedures which to my uneducated eye staring at the various icons, numbers, and letters on the screen may or may not have been carried out. One of these, said to be essential, was the setting of time and date. I didn’t want these printed on my pictures, so why were they essential? Pass. Panic. Perambulate.
Off I trotted to the experts. An elderly couple in Mostyn Road were amused to see me photographing all sorts of stuff, like (out of focus) convulvulus. I explained it was my new toy, and the woman said that after five years she hadn’t really got her head round hers. ‘I’ve got lots of pictures of my feet, fridge door, mantelpiece…..you name it, because I keep pressing the wrong bits’. ‘I’ve just done that,’ said I. We had a laugh and I moved on just in time to see that I was being approached by swarms of boys from Rutlish school presumably freed by the bell.
I had hoped by now to have completed the cyclists theme begun on 19th. June. However, despite the danger of seeming to have a bee in my bonnet about them, I have to report that two of the boys in the leading phalanx were coming straight at me on the pavement doing slow motion wheelies abreast of each other. The boys alongside them had to make way for me. By the time the next lad on a bike approached me I had had enough of stepping out into the road and held my ground. He bruised my knuckle as he swerved across my path. At least he was trying to avoid me, and did apologise. I decided to walk into the school and have a word. I was seen by a gentleman in authority who may or may not have been the headmaster. He was neither owning up to being the boss nor offering his name. If I could identify the boys by picking them out after having waited at the school entrance the next afternoon something may possibly be done; otherwise it was all rather difficult because if the boys were told to cycle in the road the school would be in trouble if one of them ‘got whopped’. I politely stated that of course I couldn’t identify the boys and wasn’t looking for retribution, rather some sort of ruling or guidance from the school. Perhaps I would like to come back later and speak to the police officers attached to the school. No, I wouldn’t. I was thanked for bringing the matter to his attention. C’est la vie moderne. I was reminded of a walk along the Ridgway in Wimbledon village just over a year ago. A 200 bus was being marshalled by two police officers ensuring that the melee of schoolboys from Wimbledon College were keeping some semblance of order. Some lads were being turfed off the bus. I told the representatives of law and order that had I behaved as the boys were doing when I was at the school 50 years ago I would have been before the headmaster in the morning. I was in fact no angel, but when I did anything out of order outside school, like getting my rugby boots stuck in an apple tree which I was trying to scrump, and consequently being unable to play a match, or wittily (I don’t think now) changing a street name with whatever was the then equivalent of a marker pen, I was inevitably shopped and for the high jump. Am I showing my age? Am I being an old git? I don’t care. Maybe I was a bit out of sorts because I was struggling with my camera. I don’t think so.
As always when I use the Graham Road route I experienced a glow of pride when I walked past number 130A. This extremely tasteful new-build was created by my sons Michael and Matthew and Michael’s small and friendly workforce. Michael’s firm, Able Assignments, had done some structural work for the woman who owned the house next door. She had wanted for some time to sell part of her garden for development but wanted craftsmen she could trust. Having been pleased with his work, his manner, and his reliability, she invited my son to buy the plot and build a house. No. 130A is the result. I believe this property is an exciting hybrid of old and new ideas. Many of the features, such as high ceilings; ceiling roses; deep skirting boards; and solid wooden panelled doors, were inspired by the Victorian architecture of Lindum House in Newark. These are combined with top quality modern kitchen, bathrooms and entry system, with more than adequate storage space. I wouldn’t mind living in it if I could afford it.
The man at Jessop’s put me right on various issues, sorted the settings, and explained that the out of focus pictures were so because the flash was turned off and therefore not operating when there was insufficient light, resulting in camera shake. He immediately reassured me by telling me that most people couldn’t attach the strap, and showing me why. I hadn’t gone ten yards out of the shop when I had forgotten how to zoom in on a picture I had taken. Back in I went for a repeat lesson.
Whilst cooking this evening’s Methi Gosht I managed to slice the skin off a broken knuckle with the lid of a ghee tin. The knuckle is one of two I broke playing Rugby many years ago, so it sticks out a bit more than it should. I am not going to seek sympathy from my friend Judith Munns, because she’d probably think it served me right (the break, not the cut).
My Methi Gosht was accompanied by Cobra beer, Jackie’s with Hoegarten.