Thursday, May 07, 2009

conversations, walking, squirrels

Posted by Picasa Conversations on the South Bank.


I see that there is still a sport called distance walking. There are even walking events in the Olympics. I remember seeing people practicing it years ago, but it seems to have lost popularity. It is not the sort of walking, which I enjoy and if I had a preferred method of moving on foot at speed, it would be running. Walking, as a sport involved, keeping your arms bent and pushing one elbow back, with each step. A fixed and pained expression on the face seemed also to be important. It strikes me as ungainly and rather funny to watch. Today, I am reminded of distance walking, as I pass two women wearing trainers and apparently engaged in it. Their elbows are certainly moving like pistons, but the effect is spoilt because they seem to be enjoying a natter as they go.

In the Grove, some men equipped with a long ladder are fixing what looks like a metal box in the branches of a horse chestnut tree. "Is that to do with birds or squirrels?" I ask the man in charge. " Squirrels", he says. I am surprised. "What are they for? Are they nesting boxes? "Yes," he says, with a cautious note in his voice. "But, "I say, "they build there own dreys, don't they? They don't need help." "Right," he says. "What's inside there?" I say. "Poison ," he says, deciding to come clean.
I like the grey squirrels, which swarm in the Grove but I don't love them, as I might love red squirrels, if they hadn't all died out in these parts, persecuted by their grey cousins. The fact is that grey squirrels are spilling out of the overcrowded park and invading people's lofts and gardens. So I suppose they have to be culled. Later, walking home, as I approach my front gate, I see a squirrel coming towards me on the pavement, and notice that, like a character in a childrens' story about to make a formal visit, he is turning into the gate ahead of me.

4 comments:

Lucas said...

The photograph has a kind of posed look as if it had taken all morning to set up, and then been painstakingly gone over with photoshop. I am pretty sure - as this is another embankment photo -the opposite is true - great picture!

Barrett Bonden said...

Race walking. The only sport I had a natural talent for and I only did it once - five miles at the Outward Bound Mountain School. I'd done about two miles before I realised it was possible to maintain maximum speed indefinitely, although the pain, across the front of my shins, was close to unbearable. With this new knowledge I forged ahead and passed two of the instructors. The ridiculousness of the action discouraged me from ever doing it again.

Plutarch said...

L: Your're right I snapped on the Embankment when we were there together. A fruitful afternoon!

BB:Have you seen those sticks which come in pairs, to assist fast walking in the country? They come from Scandanavia, where else?

Lucy said...

You are a street photographer manqué, Joe!

I wonder if the man had been told to tell people they were nest boxes? A risky strategy, I'd have thought.

'Power' walking with those cane things is fashionable on beaches, through the shallows, I believe. Seems to rather go against the spirit of a walk on the beachand a paddle to me!