This is my response to my earlier Flashback Track Friday question. Fancied some flash today.

A contact had tipped him off. He saw a marvellous image on the web site they both shared. “Where were you?”, he had asked, and the friend had revealed, just passing on the GPS tag. Within a few yards. Gold dust. A rare species, the people who knew did not normally disclose specifics.

He plotted. They were most active at sunrise, plus he had to travel for an hour first. An early summer’s morning, but it could be done.

One hot, July, Saturday evening, everything was prepared. Clothes folded into a neat pile, equipment, spares, fully charged. His own GPS, ready to record the ride. He double-checked that his alarm was set to trigger at 4 AM the next morning, and took an early night.

He need not have worried, for the alarm correctly woke him. Rising silently so as to avoid waking the family, a very brief shower, enough just to rinse his slumber. Dressed, he packed the car. Quietly closing the front door behind him, he started the engine.

A still Sunday morning, he saw no traffic at this early hour. He drove quickly and reached his destination ahead of schedule. He’d already studied this. The supermarket car park was free, unmonitored, and was the closest to his eventual destination. He stepped out of the car and took his bearings. Towards the bypass. The irony was not lost on him – that these creatures enjoyed their existence so close to busy humans, scurrying past in their oblivion.

Excited, he was tempted to start trotting, but for the expensive equipment he carried. Two hundred yards out, he crossed the bridge, and found the stile just past, as expected. Manoeuvring himself carefully over, he dropped into the water meadow. The still-light traffic from the bypass was audible now, just a quarter mile away.

And this was it, he had arrived. They might be anywhere around here, so he was already alert. He walked toward a small copse. Extracting a lightweight, aluminium stool from his baggage, he settled to wait. Over his shoulder, the sun was gradually hoisting itself into the sky. Fifteen minutes, thirty minutes. He could not resist – nibbling on the sandwiches he’d packed for his lunch. On sentry duty again, he waited.

An hour, and then he saw it. That unmistakeable flash of electric blue, and then his first glimpse, as it settled on a branch, no more than five yards away. A lifetime of birdwatching spent waiting for this moment. He held his breath. He dared move only enough to press the viewfinder to his eye. He could not believe his good fortune.

I would like to pretend that this is just flash, but:

Rare in the UK, the Kingfisher usually announces its presence with a flash of blue as the observer realises that they just missed a flypast. Making their homes on river banks, they are very elusive, and adept fishermen. But this chap happily perched for several seconds, just ten or fifteen feet from me.

And, as a bonus:

Otters live wild in very few aquatic habitats in the UK, although fortunately, those habitats are growing in number as humans begin to understand the otter’s preference for an unspoilt, unpolluted environment.

To photograph either a kingfisher or an otter, in the UK, is a rare, memorable experience. To capture both, during the same excursion, is unforgettable.

A visit to Blandford Forum in Dorset, UK in 2011.


inspired by Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC) of 2 April 2021, wordsmith.

A wordsmith who lived on ice cream,
Observed it inspired him to dream,
His most favoured tipple,
Was raspberry ripple,
Though he found Mint Choc Chip was a little extreme!

Flashback Track Friday #10

A couple of weeks ago I guest-posted on KK’sFlashback Track Friday prompt, and even though she now knows exactly what she is letting herself in for, we have agreed to share the hosting of this prompt. Thanks, KK. Our plan is to post alternate weeks, so this week is my turn to present a track again.

The idea is that the host (she or I) chooses a tune that has been influential to us somehow. For me, that will mean a song that evokes some emotions. From there we create a prompt question, which, if you’d like to take part, can be answered any which way you like. A poem, a short, some music, an image, anything.

Last time out, I went right back to childhood and I have another from that time today:

If there is just one thing I could go back and say to my younger self, it is that it was okay. That as we grow, so too we find our own places in the world. Relax, it would come.

But at the time, I sure felt like the proverbial square peg.

One of the ways this manifested itself was in the music I listened to. This was the early Eighties, the rest of the world was listening to Madonna or Michael Jackson. I was back in the Sixties, becoming intimate with Simon and Garfunkel. One of my first loves.

And, years later, I will focus on one of their tracks today. The thing which got me about this song was the “fun” aspect – we can hear giggling in the performance itself, but also, the lyrics. When you consider all the ways in which we might describe a giraffe – tall, long-necked, say – yet Simon chooses “insincere”. Or, reactionary zebras. or elephants, kindly but dumb.

The whole song just oozes playfulness.

Written by Paul Simon about a trip to Central Park Zoo, and intended for a zoo scene in The Graduate, it was cut from the movie. Like several other spurned songs, it was then released on S&G’s Bookends album. Later ads, including for the Bronx Zoo and the San Francisco Zoo, only added to its reputation.

What else could my track be except for At the Zoo?

Okay, after that, a straightforward prompt:

Write about a day out.

That’s it. Anyplace, anytime. Real, imagined. It can be at a zoo if you like, or maybe involving animals, but anything goes. I’m assuming that it will be an enjoyable day, but maybe you will surprise me?

FBTF normal rules apply. Please either write a comment under here or write a post of your own. If you write your own, either pingback to this post or leave a link below. And, please tag your post FBTF or #FBTF, so everybody can find it. Anytime over the next week will be good.

And a reminder – content can be anything that floats your boat. Music, image, flash, poetry, it’s up to you.

We are both looking forward to reading your responses.