Thursday, 31 March 2016

Auto Mode

I kind of like this picture, but could understand why others might not. It's a truly automatic shot. My very first digital camera, a Canon Powershot, took this all by itself when it was in the process of dying, a disappointingly short time after purchase.

I was suckered by the tag on a Facebook advertisement: Auto Mode is Killing Your Photography. The link led to a place where I could buy a little ebook (reduced from $97 to just $10 if I bought it now) which appears to give reasonable advice to beginner photographers, which boils down to understanding what your camera is doing and thinking about the pictures you are taking. The tagline got me because it's a sentence I have been repeating to myself for a long time now.

I got serious about photography when I was 18. Over the road from my parent's house was a hippy commune called Chippenham. Walter Logeman lived there, and he had gathered a small group of young guys to whom he was teaching photography. We bought black and white film in large drums and loaded it into old 35mm canisters. Every week we would decide on a subject, 'trees', say, or 'angles' and all go off and shoot a bucket load of frames, develop the film in Walter's dark room,  print off the one or two almost decent shots from the week's effort and gather around the Chippenham fireplace to compare and discuss. Walter hated camera automation with a passion so we all used hand held meters, and studied Ansel Adams' Zone System of photographic exposure. My first camera was a cheap and cheerful East German Praktika, to which could be fitted the lenses and flash guns (Walter didn't have much time for those either) which I could get from the bargain bins of second hand shops.

With simple gear I made a lot of mistakes, and had to think through every shot.  There are only three important settings on a camera: aperture, shutter speed and focus, but for any given amount of light there are several combinations of these which can be used to make a well exposed shot, and before these are made  there are the choices of type of film and the lens to be fitted to the camera body. There are also  the niceties of framing, composing, point of view, and all the things you can do in the darkroom afterwards to get the photo the way you want it. Photography required me to think and be aware of what my eye was seeing, what the camera would do to what I was seeing, and what I actually wanted when I rinsed off the fixer and hung my newly exposed and developed sheet of photographic paper on the line to dry.

The old Praktika was a bit of a dunger really, and didn't last long. It had a series of successors, mostly Canons, each one of which added a little more automation than the last one. Firstly there was a through the lens light meter, then there was the automation of either the choice of aperture, or shutter speed or both. Then there was the automation of focus.  Then came zoom lenses which meant that a change of focal length was easy.  With digital cameras many of the things I used to do in the darkroom happened inside the camera and were automated with ever increasing levels of sophistication.

The cameras grew ever more complex. My first decent camera, a Canon FTb, for example, had 7 controls. and that was it. Looking through the viewfinder looked like this:
My current main camera is a Nikon D7100 and looking through the viewfinder I see this:
As well, the camera has an LCD screen on the back which gives me this information:
and one on the top which looks like this:
The camera has 34 controls. It has 6 connection ports through which I could attach even more controls.  It has a menu system with 6 menus and 82 (yes. Eighty Two!) sub menus. And it allows me to make up three menus of my own if I can't find what I need amongst those. My number 2 camera is actually even more complex. Faced with all that choice, I find myself, increasingly, choosing one of the camera's 11 different automatic modes and letting Mr. Nikon do the thinking for me. The camera does it very well. It usually makes the choices I would have made myself. Technically, the quality of the pictures hasn't dropped much if at all. But I find that I am not thinking about the shots in the way I used to. I raise the camera to my eye and press the shutter button, and I find myself making sloppy errors more and more: things are badly framed and horizons slope. Because I am no longer paying for film, I find myself banging off a dozen shots, (my camera can take 8 in a second) hoping that one of them will get it all right.

This is the malaise of our technological age.The technology allows me to take some nice pictures without much effort. But that's the trouble. They cost me no effort. And  I am not seeing, not engaging with my subject the way I used to; and seeing was pretty much the reason I picked up a camera in the first place.

So thanks, Expert Photography. Your ebook has already been very helpful, even though, I must confess, I probably won't buy it. You're dead right. Auto mode IS killing my photography.  I've set my two DSLR cameras to manual mode, and that's where they're going to stay


Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Airshow

 A beautifully restored Catalina flying boat approaches Lake Wanaka for a landing

 It took one and a half hours to drive the 10 km from Wanaka to the airport.
 Russian Yak aircraft were numerous. They are comparatively cheap and easy to maintain
 One of the RNZAF's new NH-90 helicopters

 A Hercules lays a flare to distract heat seeking missiles.
 The star of the show. A Messerschmidt ME 109, one of the mainstays of the Luftwaffe fighter force in WW2

  A voice from my past. The distinctive drone of Harvard trainers, common in the skies over Christchurch when I was a boy

 A couple of Japanese fighters.
 Harvard pilot
 This plane obligingly raced a Holden V8 car (it won) and an MV Augusta motorbike (it lost)

 Coming home the hard way
 A Dominie airliner, one of NAC (the forerunner of Air New Zealand)'s first passenger aircraft.
The Warhorses organisation gave a ground based demo of old kit.
RNZAF Beechcraft T6c Trainers

Easter in Wanaka

On the way home. Lake Pukaki
The Parish of Upper Clutha has churches in Cromwell, Tarras and Wanaka and I was scheduled to be there for the whole of the Easter weekend. This is a part of the world where people go to ski, mess about in boats, hike, run or just gawp open mouthed at the scenery. Upper Clutha has had a new lease of life in recent years and is one of our Diocese's most vital parishes.

It was 1 degree in the Manuka Gorge at 7.30 am on Good Friday Morning and we were towing the caravan, so what with the weight and the risk of ice and everything we took it fairly slow. We arrived in Cromwell  just in time to help a fairly sizeable crowd carry a large wooden cross from the Junction Lookout by Lake Dunstan to the Presbyterian Church, maybe 3 km away. After the customary country style morning tea, we drove on to Wanaka for an early afternoon Good Friday Liturgy, and then parked the caravan beside the church, on the site of what I hope is soon going to be the new community house.

On Saturday we were guests of Sir Tim and Lady Prue Wallace at the Warbirds Over Wanaka airshow. I'll publish some photos soon, but much to Clemency's surprise, though not to mine, we both enjoyed it immensely. There was an hour and a half's drive to cover the 10 km or so from Wanaka to the air field, but even that seemed like a gift. We doodled along at about walking pace, chatted and listened to music. Then we sat comnfortably in the VIP tent, sipped our wine and watched the lovely old aircraft doing their thing. Then, on Saturday evening, we were part of  a vigil service back at Cromwell in a clear, still, bright, early evening.

On Sunday we had two services in St. Columba's. The little church was packed to bursting on both occasions, with extra seats placed at the back and in the little hall to the side. There were a lot of visitors but many were locals, and all spoke warmly of the Vicar, Damon Plimmer and the transformative effect he has had on the parish in the 3 years since he arrived.

Then, before lunch we hitched up the caravan and headed for the Lindis Pass.

We drove up through Otematata and past the 3 lakes to Geraldine, before going on to the birthday party of an old friend at Mayfield;  and then up to Christchurch to catch up with Bridget and her little family. And, finally, home today. It seems like a lot longer than 5 days since we left Dunedin. That happens when a lot happens.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Father, into your hands


Forty or so years ago I committed myself to Jesus Christ. A glittery eyed young man led me through the sinner's prayer, in which I acknowledged that pretty much everything I had tried, up to that point, by way of making myself what I hoped I might be had been a bit of a flop, so I acknowledged that and asked God to take over. Since that moment, in the back room of the Assembly of God church in Lower Hutt, a lot has happened. I have been Vicar of 5 parishes, accumulated a few degrees and a roomful of books and become a father and grandfather. I've travelled the world and I've accumulated all manner of nicely framed certificates attesting to other people's confidence that I know some stuff. But really, in all that accomplishment, the one thing I have been trying to do, in everything I've done since that Sunday evening, has been attempting to live up to that commitment.  It is so simple and so hard because I am human. The experiences which have formed me, the ideas and prejudices and predispositions and assumptions run so deep in me, as they do in everyone, that I am dragged away time and again from the way of the cross, on an hour by hour, or even minute by minute basis, with, usually, hardly any awareness that it is happening.

Jesus too, being human, was formed within a culture and a religious system. On the cross he came to the limits of his own understanding, but, deeper than his understanding, was the silent presence which never left him; the presence he called AbbaDaddy.  In the end, when all else had failed him and his resources were completely gone, all he could do was surrender and commit himself to the God who was closer than breathing.

To surrender to the constant presence of God and consent to God's action in me is what is required of me also. This IS the way of the cross.

So Lent ends. Not so much a time of penance as a time of reminding ourselves of the limits of most of what we trust and most of what we assume. Lent has been a call to consent: to recognise that we are not as self sufficient or as self determined as we fondly wish to imagine; to stop looking for answers in all that stuff, and instead, give permission to the Holy Spirit to lead us where God decides and to do with us what God wills.

Father. Into your hands I commend my spirit. 

Friday, 25 March 2016

It is finished.

Song: My Love Came Through The City
My love came through the city
And they did not know him
With his beard and his eyes and his gentle hands
For he was a working man

My love stood on the lakeshore
And spoke to the people there
And the fish in the water forgot to swim
And the birds were quiet in the air.

‘Truth’ - he said, and - ‘Love’ - he said,
But his purest word was - ‘Mercy’ -
And the fishermen left their boats and came
To share his poverty.

My love was taken before the judge
And they nailed him on a tree
With his strong face and his long brown hair
And the whiteness of his body.

‘Truth’ - he said, and - ‘Love’ - he said,
But his purest word was - ‘Mercy’ -
And the blood ran down and the sun grew dark
For the lack of his company.

My love was only a working man
And now he is God on high;
I have left my books and my bed and my house,
To follow him till I die.

‘Truth’ - he said, and - ‘Love’ - he said,
But his purest word was - ‘Mercy’ -
Flowers and candles I bring to him
And no man is kinder than he.

- James K Baxter
From Collected Poems
Oxford University press, 1979
p. 477

Thursday, 24 March 2016

I Thirst

They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar.
Psalm 69:21

Our words come back to haunt us. Even for Jesus. One day, walking through Samaria he met a woman, an outcast, sitting by the well outside of the village to which she both belonged and did not belong. He told her that whoever drank the water that he had to give would never be thirsty. And now, a few years later, an outcast himself, nailed to a cross outside the city to which he both belonged and did not belong he cries "I am thirsty. "

For me this is the bleakest moment in a bleak event. This is the time when Jesus doubts everything he has taught and everything he has done. This is, after all that has been heaped on him, his moment of utter desolation and weakness. Here is the ending of all plans and all ambitions.

And here's another irony: at the last supper Jesus says, or so Luke tells us, that he will never drink of the fruit of the vine again until the Kingdom of God comes. And now, beside the cross there is a jar full of sour wine, not fit even for the pigs, but fit enough for men on crosses. Using hyssop, the shrub used ceremonially in the temple, some is raised to Jesus' mouth and he drinks it.

The Kingdom of God has come. Here: in the ending of all plans and all ambitions. Here in the final putting aside of all that stands between us and Love, which is never absent, and whose immeasurable power is, in this surrender, revealed.  

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Why have you forsaken me?

All religions, the old wisdom has it, are fingers pointing to the moon. They are not the moon itself. Which must always be so, if you take God seriously. Think of this universe, huge beyond comprehension and ingenious and elegant in its construction, and then try to comprehend the will which brought it into being and holds it there. An oyster sits in the mud on Doctor's Point. 20,000 feet above it, an Air New Zealand Airbus A320 flies overhead with five crew and 150 passengers on board. The oyster has as much chance of understanding the workings of that plane and the intentions, desires, dreams and memories of all on board as we have of understanding God.

Our scriptures recognise this. When Moses has his epiphany at the burning bush, God is revealed as "I Am what I AM". The first four commandments are about loving God only, not trying to make images of God and not trying to name God. The Hebrew tradition was that the name of God was unutterable, that is,  it is impossible to say and blasphemous to try and say. But we are human. To think of God at all we have to use the feeble machinery of our brains, and that requires using language, images and metaphors, which is what our theologies and traditions and religious practices are. They are reductions. They are cutting the unknowable one down to human size in order that we might at least try to know. They are fingers pointing at the moon. Of course some fingers will point more accurately at the moon than some others, but all are still just fingers and none are actually the moon.

Our theologies and intuitions and religious feelings, no matter how sophisticated they are not God, but God is real and for reasons which are, like everything else about God, well out of our ability to comprehend, God draws us Godward. Which means that for anyone on the path towards God (and I suspect that is all of us) there comes a time when we move past the tip of the finger. We come to a time when all our religious certainties and all our highly polished theology will take us no further, and like Reepicheep disembarking from the Dawn Treader to make his way towards the Utter East, we must leave it behind. Which is not to say we abandon it, or repudiate it. There is a high drop out rate in most churches of people about 40. They have been Christians for 20 or so years but at the onset of early middle age all that once sustained them and gave them such joy and meaning turns to dust in their mouths. They think they are losing faith. In actual fact they are reaching an inevitable and necessary stage in their spiritual development, a stage which our church has, by and large, forgotten about and therefore is incapable of offering assistance through.

Even the Hebrews with their clear instructions to the contrary could not help but name God. The Old Testament is full of names for him: El Shaddai, El Elyon, El Olam and a dozen others. The squabbles of Jesus' time which so ripped apart the nation of Israel were largely about what was the most correct tradition, that is, the most correct collection of guesses and assumptions about God. And Jesus, being human like the rest of us, must have been subject to the same limitations as the rest of us. Despite his constant knowing of God, he was formed in one or other of those traditions, probably the Pharisees, and carried his own set of metaphors and beliefs about God.

And here, alone on the cross, with all stripped from him Jesus has this stripped from him too. All he understood about God and all that gave him comfort is wrenched from him. Eloi Eloi.... Lama Sabachthani? My God My God... why have you forsaken me?

Because, El is a construct. It is a finger pointing at the moon; accurately to be sure, but still just pointing. Because on the path to resurrection, even this must go.  

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Woman, behold your son...

This video clip is from the wonderful and beautiful movie, Human. This short (3 1/2 minute) interview is a moving testimony to the transforming power of forgiveness and love. It is a living example of resurrection.

Murder, such as this young man committed and such as Jesus suffered, has effects which extend far beyond the taking of a human life. Murder destroys the relationships of those who are left. It heaps up an seemingly unresolvable pile of guilt, anger, frustration and bewilderment on those who are left: the relatives and friends of the murdered and the murderer. Of all griefs, the death of your own child is the hardest to bear. Of all griefs over children, that for a murdered child is perhaps hardest of all. Which makes the actions of Agnes, whatever they were, all the more remarkable and all the more profound.

And on the cross, Jesus works, even as his life is dripping away, to lessen that grief for those he loved most dearly, his mother and his friend. He gives them to each other, forging a new relationship which will carry them both through this bleakest of losses. And in so doing he is already beginning the work of resurrection, destroying the power of death by countering it with the boundless power of love which will show itself in new relationships and in the ending of the power of evil to define us.

Today you will be with me...

Copyright unknown. Not mine anyway
Clemency has a particularly womanly  metaphor for what happens after death. She compares it to a baby in the womb. Inside the womb the baby lives in a tiny all sufficient world. It is dark, warm and comfortable and all needs are met. Occasionally some hints of another, larger world drift in: there is perhaps music or the sound of voices or unusual movement, but the baby has no idea of what awaits after birth. While it is ignorant of all the things - people, air, sun, moon, tastes, colours, smells - which make up this new world, it is ignorant also of the basic principles and concepts -light, dark, up, down, hot, cold, painful, pleasurable - which it will need to make sense of  what lies outside. The baby is born into a new world which is beyond any comprehension and which is unimaginably bigger and more real than the tiny confined space of the womb. And the little world of the womb is seen to be not opposed to this bigger world, but actually a part of it.

So at death we will be born into a new world whose constructs are beyond our ability to guess, and the principles and concepts by which we will make sense of those constructs, are similarly beyond our ability to imagine. From time to time hints of this new world reach us, far off echoes of incomprehensible events and things. From time to time, in our deepest religious experiences we grasp the merest glimpse of the life which waits us, but it is all beyond knowing.

"Today you will be with me in paradise," said Jesus to one of the thieves being executed with him. Jesus speaks very little of afterlife and there isn't much in the Bible generally about what follows life on earth -or for that matter what precedes it - but that hasn't stopped countless generations of Christians taking those few little scraps of text and concocting out of them the most elaborate and ingenious schemas which are all, without exception, balderdash. We are not told because we are not capable of knowing, any more than my child in Clemency's womb could comprehend that "Daddy isn't home for dinner tonight because he is at an archdeaconry meeting in Christchurch."

One day, soon enough, we will all know. Until then Jesus' words hint that we are encapsulated in a far bigger context, one in which even the crucifixion for theft of some first century miscreant will have it's place and some sort of meaning. Until then we are required to trust (that is, have faith) and get on with the business that lies about us at every hand.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Father forgive...

This video clip is of a young man, a father and husband, whose wife was murdered by extremists in the Bataclan attack in Paris. It is searing, courageous, profoundly moving. And it captures exactly what forgiveness is.

Forgiveness is not about minimising evil. It isn't pretending that the wrongs done somehow don't matter or that the perpetrators can avoid the inevitable consequences of their actions. Forgiveness is the hard, brave, powerful decision not to let yourself be defined by the wickedness of others.

Jesus lay with his lacerated back on splintered wood and watched as a drunk Roman Legionary with one hand held a nail against his wrist and with the other swung a mallet. In this moment of fear and pain he chose not darkness and anger, but the light which had guided his young life to this point: Light which would in only three days be shown to have triumphed over the darkness which sought so brutally to overcome it.

Holy Week

The face of  the child Jesus from a stained glass window, reflected in the wine in a chalice, in St. John's Church, Roslyn.

I had no commitments yesterday morning, Palm Sunday and in the afternoon presided at a prerecorded  Eucharist to be broadcast on Radio New Zealand on Easter morning. There was a congregation of 50 or 60 and the choir was in glorious voice. We wore white, said the Easter versicles and responses, read John's account of the resurrection and I pronounced an Easter blessing. The dean preached an erudite sermon which, along with all the Easter music and hymns, will be repeated in a few days time.

So I began this week's journey towards the cross with a full hearted proclamation of the Resurrection. It seemed bizarre at the time, but as I participated, oddly appropriate. The ending of any story determines everything that went before it. In a Shakespearean play if there is a wedding at the end the play was a comedy, and if there is a death it was a tragedy. Everything else in the play is seen as a precursor to this final event; it is the path that is walked towards this conclusion and is coloured by and participates in the conclusion. This week, so far,  of sombre reflection on the passion of Jesus is being seen and felt by me to be infused with resurrection in a way it hasn't ever before.

Perhaps my experience of Lent this year has aided that perception. More than ever it has seemed to be not so much a time of penance and repentance as a helpful removal of several things which have stopped me seeing what is always present and always true: the unconditional, unwavering love extended to me by the one who is at the heart of all things.

Part of my Lenten discipline has been to blog every day, and a powerful and instructive discipline it has been too. I will continue this week, but I think I'll suspend some of  my ongoing conversations; so I'll get back to reflections on daily activities, and thinking about Rene Girard, and commenting on what might be happening in the Anglican Church next week and for this week confine myself to a simpler discipline: reflecting on the cross of Christ, knowing that this primal event as much as my own life and all my little reflections on it can only make any sense at all in the blinding light of resurrection.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Flags

By now most people will have voted in the flag referendum; I certainly have. And I voted for the status quo, even though I think it's high time we took the Union Jack off our national ensign. I made my choice because I thought the alternative, the Kyle Lockwood design is such a bad design. I think there  are basically two things wrong with it: the placement of the design elements and the colour. My own approach to design is photographic, so before I say what I think is wrong with the new flag I need to give a bit of background theory. Sorry.

When people look at a photograph they react favourably to some compositions and not so favourably to others even though the subject matter, lighting, focusing and all that stuff may be exactly the same. How things are placed in the frame is one of the most important determiners of peoples' favourable or otherwise reaction to any given shot . One of the most basic compositional concepts is called the Rule of Thirds. Using this schema, the frame is divided into three both horizontally and vertically like so:
This gives a sort of tic tac toe frame which is imposed on the picture. The four places where the lines intersect are, for reasons no one much knows the most powerful parts of the picture. They are the places where our eye seems instinctively to drift. So the most important part of the picture should be placed on one of those four places. When the important element is placed elsewhere the picture will seem - that is it will "feel" - either static or somehow unbalanced.

Apply the RO3 to the old flag and the top left junction hits pretty much the centre of the Union Jack. While the right hand thirds line runs through the centre of the Southern Cross the placement of the Union Jack makes it the strongest, most energetic element of the flag, which I guess is pretty much the reason it was chosen in the first place and pretty much the reason I would like to see it changed.

The intersection points on the new flag fall nowhere, giving a composition which to many of its viewers seems insipid and messy. This is one of the reasons why. But there is another reason.

Lines and angles are very important in a composition We unconsciously scan along lines, following them from their imagined beginnings to their endings. How lines are placed  will lead the viewers' eyes. Lines should lead the eye through the picture or into it.  As an example, think of the Union Jack, which is basically the flags of three kingdoms all stacked one on top of the other. The result is a series of straight vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines which all intersect in the centre. This simple design thus makes a strong statement about the unity of the kingdoms in a design which is powerful and cohesive.  Our new flag design has as its most dominant (because it is so large and because it is white) visual element a fern leaf following a diagonal line from the bottom left corner of the frame to some seemingly arbitrarily chosen point about 60% along the top edge. The most important line in the flag therefor leads the eye across one corner of the flag before disappearing into nothingness.

These flaws in the flag design might conceivably be fixed with a bit of tinkering: changing the shape and placement of the fern and the stars. The problem with the colour can't be fixed and is fatal.The blue of the old flag is very dark and this is for good reason. It's a flag, which means its main purpose is to flap at the top of a pole in all kinds of weather. In order to be distinctive in bright sunlight as well as against a dull gray sky in poor light, the blue is several shades darker than most people imagine it to be. The inky navy blue of the flag just looks blue when seen in most conditions. The Kyle Lockwood design has a black and blue background, and in order for there to be enough distinguishing contrast between the two, the shade of blue has had to be considerably lightened. This effect is not so pronounced in versions of the flag printed on paper, but see an actual flag and it is quite marked. If you see the new flag flying in bright sunlight, or on a dull day, the problem with this is immediately apparent: it looks faded and  insipid and washed out. I can't think of a way this could be fixed. The alternative red and blue background version would have worked, but not this one.

The problems with colour and the placement of elements mean this flag gives a feeling of indecision and tentativeness. It simply feels wrong to many people, and I think the reasons given by most for not liking it - political, cost, loyalty to veteran, whatever - are rationalisations for the jarring impact it has as an inherent constituent of its design.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Relay for Life

The cancer society runs a Relay for Life every year but alternates the venue between Dunedin and Invercargill. The idea is that organisations enter teams of people who walk, in relay, for 24 hours and through sponsorship raise money for cancer research. The Diocese usually has a team, and of course I have a bit of a vested interest.   It was Dunedin last year so we set out for Invercargill at about 8:30, stopped for coffee in Mataura, arrived at Rugby Park (proud to be home to the Southland Stags)at about 11.40 and found the Anglican Tent.

The team this year was smaller than last time, and the whole event seemed not as big or as busy as previous years, with fewer teams and smaller. There was continual live music and a range of stalls selling or giving stuff away, and many of the teams dress up, giving the event a sort of carnival atmosphere. I registered and got my purple sash which marks me as a cancer survivor. Then I joined the crowd for the first lap of the track. Only people wearing purple sashes and their supporters, wearing green ones, walk this inaugural circuit. People clapped and cheered us as we made our way around, but really, I feel I haven't done anything extraordinary or praiseworthy. My body began to decompose. Some very clever people chopped and burned out the bad bits. I take some fairly heavy duty medications once every three months and I'm still here, and look like I'm going to stay for the foreseeable future. That's hardly winning the Nobel Prize, now, is it?

I look at how my life has been since I got cancer, and this 8 years seem to have been the most varied and busy and interesting of my entire life. The cancer has taught me my own mortality, a lesson you would have thought I would have learned by age 56, but hadn't. The cancer has been in its own odd way a teacher and a gift. I have no complaints about the life I have been given as a completely free unmerited gift and will accept with gratitude however many more years are going to be gifted to me, however many or few the number of them might be.

I was thinking all this as I walked around the track, looking at the others who were walking with me, as varied a bunch of people as you could ever wish to see. And then I noticed him. A boy of about 12 or so in a wheelchair, unable to move much, his purple sash pulled across his chest. A single tuft of hair grew out of the back of his baseball cap. His father was pushing the chair and his mother and sister walked beside him. The people cheered and clapped as he went past and I noticed his father was in tears. So much disappointment and the long, hard, painful, shared journey with his little boy. It's one thing for me to talk blithely of my disease at the end of a longish life, and quite another for this brave little guy whose little measure of  years has been so compromised and who may not have a whole lot more of them left.

So we walk and people sell apples and badges and collection buckets are passed round. The money raised will go into the support of people like that little family walking beside me round the track. It will go into research that might one day prevent another little boy from having to sit in another chair. The efforts of people in the past have meant that what would have been for me, only a couple of decades back, a certain death sentence, has been commuted into a full and rich and productive life. I am glad I was there to do my tiny part.





Friday, 18 March 2016

Doctor's Point

Photography has its limits. I return to this beach time and again and try to catch the reason why I return. Which is not so much about what Doctors point looks like, as what it feels like. I haven't succeeded yet, but I will keep on trying.