Thursday, November 30, 2006


Three weeks to the winter solstice; dark outside, gale force winds, lashing rain and a thick overcast cover the closest thousand miles of ocean. Months since I've been afloat, and I'm missing the sea - time for a wander down memory lane.

Two autumns ago, I was standing on the fore-deck of a nicely fitted-out 40ft Beneteau, the great white masses of an unreefed main sail and genoa carrying us steadily west along the coast. To starboard, I caught a glimpse of a fin slicing through the water towards us; then, within seconds, they closed the gap, and we had an escort of dolphin outriders. Just a few feet separated me and the dolphins playing in our bow wave. They have no fear of us, or the great bulk of the yacht; and, in their playfulness, we see something that reminds us of ourselves.

Eventually, the dolphins appeared to decide that a fast yacht under full canvas was a little too slow for their taste, and upped their pace a little; within a few minutes, they were lost to sight, and we, once more, were alone on the ocean.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Pounce

Last night, our cat was suspiciously happy to be spending time outdoors, for reasons which soon became apparent: he had found a new "playmate", and was having the time of his, that is to say, his victim's life.

The poor mouse had a rough time, I'm afraid: batted into the air, pounced on, bitten, and then released for a few seconds for the fun of re-capturing it. Occasionally, it landed close to cover and tried to run - but cats are fast.

We are living with a little furry psychopath.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Well-met by Moonlight

Returning to the city close to the witching hour on a misty, moonlit night, we crossed the Blackwater at Lismore Castle and stopped to take this picture. Just across the bridge, we just missed getting a really special shot: a fox was waiting by the roadside.

On seeing us, he drew back, then stopped. Parked 15 metres away, we rolled the window down and started shooting; alas, without effect. Our external flash and our longest lense were both in the boot, buried beneath weekend bags and walking gear. We sat in silence for several minutes: we watched the fox, and he watched us. Eventually, he slipped into the shadow of the forest beside the road, and we moved on.