"I call these my 'Vincent' pears, because their 'beauty' is on the inside. They are from a solitary tree growing in the scrub land now. It was once part of the orchard; but the scab disease took all the others. This tree adapted to the prevailing conditions & survived in its gnarled-skinned form. Its fruit are really sweet & tasty on the inside to eat.
Folks around these here parts would be mortified to think that I put maggots in my fridge, Worse than that, chopped up worms in my freezer. So maybe it’s just as well that I don’t partake in those sorts of practises. Not like some I could name hereabouts that do. But that’s their business I say and leave the whys and where’s to them. I just don’t do it. No need, I suppose. As I have said before the compost bins provide plenty of fresh material for bait. So I certainly don’t need to be storing it!
‘Ignorance is Bliss!
'Fixin' Fences & Paintin' Pickets'
There's only one thing really wrong with this place in my opinion. The layout of the land.
It's all very well having a south-facing postage stamp sized front yard. Picturesquely encompassed by a white picket fence. But that makes the prairie outback a north facing wilderness that requires a multitude of feather-board panels six feet high by eight feet wide to prevent range wars with my neighbours. And after nigh on nine years now, they need painting.
They say that there is something therapeutic about hand-painting fence panelling with a four inch brush. Long stroke up, long stroke down. Never side to side. Time spent alone with your thoughts. Having the opportunity to be able to meditate and commune with Nature. Well, after nearly three days of trying I for one haven't found what it is yet!
Having spent most of the day sorting out the two compost bins, causing friends and family to hastily stand upwind of me whilst in conversation, I finally started my self-appointed task late Saturday afternoon. At the time the warmth of the Spring sun made the job a pleasant one, and even aided the drying process!
But Sunday ... well, that was a whole different ball game!
As I have said, the back area is North-facing. At this time of the year the sun doesn't get to most of it till much later in the day. so while to all intent and purposes Sunday's weather was beautiful, I spent most of my time shivering in the shade. And as for yesterday, Monday to you mere mortals, it was that cold all day that the brass monkey that had kindly offered to give me a hand had to have two emergency welding repair jobs!
Come about three o'clock when I finally finished painting the interior of the fencing, all I was fit for was getting to a HOT shower in order to stave off hypothermia which I am sure had started to set in previously! When I was telling a friend about how bitter the weather here had become, she aptly described me as a 'human icicle'.
All I've got to do now is start on doing the outside of the fence!
Oh, Happy days!
Yesterday, while painting the south-facing picket fence in the searing heat of the afternoon sun, my back was burnt to blisters. My hair took on the texture of dry matted straw and was bleached a further two shades of blonde through the holes in my faithful ol' hat.
Today, I'm waiting for the water in the kettle to come to the boil in order to make myself a cup of skinny latte and the heat from the two bars of the toaster doing the bread seems to be warming the whole scullery. The rain, driven by a whistling wind, continues to batter itself against the panes that yesterday shone with the reflections of rippling sunlight.
We are indeed living in strange times!
The authorities decision last Fall, to only empty the organic waste bins every two weeks from then on, worked in the Winter when nothing was growing and the temperature was zero or below most of the time.
But the warmer weather has arrived, and now the bins contents such as mown grass cuttings, rotting weeds, chicken carcasses, egg shells, fish heads, tails 'n' scales , animal's entrails and the like, stinks to high heaven.
The bin is teeming with ants and their eggs, absolutely mingin' with maggots, and the air is filled with flies most of the time.
But they say there's a silver lining in every cloud, if only you bother to look for it, don't they?
The bait for my fishing don't cost me anything no more.
In fact I'm even making profit by selling some of the ant eggs, casters and maggots to my neighbours for THEIR fishing needs!
'Potter’s Otters – Painting the Pond & Other Bits ’n’ Pieces!...'
You can learn a lot in hindsight, don’t you think?
Maybe dousing my arms and hands in white spirit wasn’t the best idea I’ve had today. They are tingling like mad now; probably having an adverse reaction to the numerous pills and potions that I am now poppin’ daily in order to stay on this mortal coil a little longer. The other week the pump on our ornamental water feature finally gave up the ghost. It’s done well really; considering the fact that it must be ten years old now. It is only a little plastic number and what with the leaves and the algae that builds up when we don’t turn it on regular, both of which turn into a gooey soup-like sludge, I think it has done well to have lasted as long as it has. We’d been considering doing away with the feature for a while now and with the failure of the pump, it seemed as good as reason as any.
As I have mentioned before; we have a postage stamp sized area out front encompassed by a picket fence. The fence used to be a story-tale white one that needed painting every year to keep it looking pristine. But time passes and it was about twelve years old last year; and the wood had rotted from the inside out. So I took the original down and replaced it with another one I built.
The Maverick had a habit of clearing the old one in his bid to chase the local cats; so I made the new one out of stakes that were nine inches higher. He can’t physically clear it so easy now and coupled with him being about eight years old; he’s not so inclined nowadays to attempt to jump over it anyway. But what I’m really trying to say in a roundabout way is that it still needs painting for the first time, but seeing as my better half says “he hasn’t got around to doing it ... Yet!”, it’s still ‘au naturelle’.
As I said, it encloses a postage stamp size piece of ground, which being south-facing get too hot most of the year to grow anything without it shrivelling up through lack of water; so we’ve paved it. Out back we have a prairie sized area of land; with the house standing in between it makes it North facing, so it doesn’t get much sun on it till quite later in the day.
So me and ‘Er indoors’, have decided to kill two birds with one stone and use the pool structure as an ornament on the paved area out front. It depicts a group of otters in various poses. The male standing erect on its hind legs watching for problems, the female has just caught a fish and has it held in her claws; and the young one eagerly waiting with anticipation of a chance of a morsel or two of the fish meal.
Remembering of course the structure, like the failed pump is close on ten years old, was in desperate need of a coat of paint. So we’ve decided to redo it in shiny black with bronze highlights. This is where we came in at the beginning of this saga!
I’ve been painting the otters this morning. That’s led on to me painting the Chinese pagoda, the family of stone ducks, the other group of otters, and if I get time before the weather changes; the elves’ mushroom cottage!
So I’ve stopped now for lunch and to get the bed linen in that I’ve washed this morning to take advantage of the good windy and sun soaked drying conditions, but I have now noticed that I am covered in spots of black paint caused by the prevailing wind and maybe me needing to dab the brush deep into some of the crevasses on these items; hence the need to clear off the paint, and the copious use of the white spirit in attempt to remove it!
As I just brought the washing in, I remembered that I had forgotten to add the Dog in the Old Boot, the Gnome with his wheelbarrow and the Laughing Buddha, hiding in the shed to the list of things that need painting!
But before I start on them, I’ll put on a pair of rubber surgical gloves this time!
'From an Opened Vein'
Someone asked me the other day, what do I listen to when I’m writing?
I answered the sound of the surf lapping on the shoreline, the wind rustling through the leaves of the willow trees by the brook, the tip-tapping of the raindrops on the roof.
I said mostly I listen to the songs singing in my soul and I let their music take me where they want to go.
The person looked at me through vacant eyes and I felt saddened by the fact that for many people nowadays the lights are on, but there’s nobody home, is there?
Hell, I’m a poet, for Christ’s sake, what did you expect me to say?
And when I mentioned Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, Huddie Ledbetter, Yusuf Islam, Sonny Terry & Brownie Mcghee, to name but a few the response wasn’t much better!
Think I had my first encounter with ‘The Ghost’ yesterday. He was close on thirty pounds when the fishing club introduced him to our local sailing lake two seasons ago now; and no-one has succeeded in banking him since, despite the efforts of many serious ‘carp men (and women) of notable repute. I say him, but part of the mystique of the legend is there is some question about whether the fish they introduced was male or female back then. The person responsible for the registration details has since died and it is said there is no way of checking save a live inspection of said fish. And as I say, that hasn’t happened with the last couple of years.
I was just doing a bit of ‘recreational’ fishing late in the afternoon until dusk. Actually I was making the best use of the bait I had bought last week for a planned trip to attack a stretch of the River Lea that I had been reliably informed was fishing well at the moment. But as John Lennon said, Life is what happens when you are making other plans. So the reports that my cousin’s life is now being measured in days rather than weeks had me scurrying back to Spilsby in Lincolnshire this weekend with no thought to the fate of the bait. And with this Bank Holiday being one of the warmest on recent record; the bait having been left casually on a shelf in my locked shed, I have ended up with cooked hemp going furry, the sweet corn turning very sticky and most of several pints of red maggots turning into bronze or even black coloured casters.
For my recreational fishing, most of the time I use a Silstar 5 metre whip that I have converted to take some serious breaking strained heavy 'carp' elastic through the top two sections. With a 3BB waggler- floated rig that is 10lb main line and 3.5lb hook length. I have found that there isn't that many fish that can give that set-up too many problems. But to my astonishment my float was suddenly snatched deep under the water and the elastic was extended to a four foot length until the hook length was snapped off as if it was a piece of sewing cotton.
I certainly shall not be forgetting that experience in a hurry I can assure you.
Seems like 'The Ghost' has added another 'trophy' to his collection! Long may he reign!
'The Silver 'Skimmer'
My grandson had been fishing for several hours and up to that point in time he'd caught about fifteen to twenty small (weighing between three and seven ounces) perch on his pole set-up. On my suggestion, he changed to a rod & reel with a swim feeder rig I gave him, then he caught himself a 'proper' fish! ..... lol!
'Clearin' Levees & Cleanin' out Culverts'
They moved in a monster of a machine the other day. It was mounted on a very large low-loader, pulled by one real fancy rig. With a bucket jaw, mechanical mandibles, and telescopic legs powered by hydraulics, it looked just like a giant locust. In leaving the landscape raped and ravaged by its passing, it might just as well have been. What with the wet winter and the really cold spring, Mother Nature got off to a bit of a slow start with her growing plans this year. But it must be said we’ve had some exceptional sun these last couple of months and she’s caught up magnificently. Folks around these parts were looking forward to an abundant harvest of wild fruits. Blackberries, elderberries, apples, even a few pears from the only tree hereabouts. Even the oaken bushes were full of acorns at this time; the pigs would have a real feasting this Fall. But it is all history now. The man from the Ministry decides last winter’s floods were too much and now the levee needs widening down by the bridge and several of the culverts could do with some serious cleaning. So they sent in that mammoth on Monday. To get the trailer and its wide load down to the bridge, the rig took the most direct route it could, tearing up the surrounding vegetation as it lumbered along in its task. Gone are the banks of brambles full of blackberries where they cut out the culverts, so too are the briars with their precious bounty of rosehips. The birds will sorely miss them this winter if it turns as cold as they say. There was a fine crop of elderberries on those several trees down by the bridge. I was looking forward to maybe celebrating some special event with the produce formed from the fruits. Looks like I can only dream now of what might have been. They were uprooted easily by that mechanical monstrosity in its relentless quest to widen the levee. As me and the Maverick went walking this morning, I couldn’t but help notice how desolate it all looks at the moment. The grassland all torn up, rotting down with the effects of the last few days’ dry weather, now soaked by last night’s storm. Rivulets of water running down ink-black soil banks, exposed by the monster’s jaw work. The rutting of the pathways caused by the sheer weight of trailer and the rig’s tyre tracks also being filled by the fallen rain. A real shame I reckon. But Nature being what she is, she’ll survive the ravages and in time return the status quo, just differently.
The first serious snow of the season has finally fallen here, causing utter chaos to the car commuting community this morning.
Maybe it's my age but it seems nowadays most people are 'car drivers' rather than 'car maintainers’.
When I was a younger man, everybody had some idea of basic car maintenance. People used to check on their car’s oil levels, as to whether there was enough water in the radiator and that the individual cells in their batteries were topped up due the problems caused by evaporation levels damaging the electrolyte plates. And people checked that their alternators were always working properly and giving out a good charging rate all year around. But it seems the development of the computer-controlled maintenance has put paid to all that.
"The stream that runs through here, is normally six to fifteen inches in depth at its best. The top of the railing with the sign on it is some eight to ten feet above the stream bottom usually. Just goes to show the amount of rain we had last Wednesday/Thursday in order for it to create this much flooding."
*This photo was taken just before 9.00 am. on Thursday morning*
On the Art of Ground- Baiting
"When it finally comes to it, you may only be able to serve hamburgers from your main menu; but the trick is to get the punters to dine in your restaurant anyway!"
"They say 'To the Victor, the spoils', don't they?"
As I have said on here before the 'Vincent' pear tree is all that is left in what was once an orchard area. Over the school summer vacations the local children have 'scrumped' most of the fruits from the tree. But it is 'protected on two sides by six foot nettles and several formidable brambles have entwined themselves within its limbs and branches. These five fruits were all that were left the other day due to the difficulty of access to them. It has left me severely stung by the nettles and scratched by the bramble's thorns in order to secure these beauties. Hopefully the eating of them will be well worth the effort!"
'The Eternal Conflict'
"The struggle for Life's existence continues ....
The Urban Fly v The Country Hornet ...
Both equally matched,
In their own ways ....
Which one will best the other? ...
Only Time will tell ..."
'Walking with the Wolf'
This is the stuff of which legends are made.
A man and a dog working the wilderness. Together.
The man could not be considered as mere mortal by any stretch of imagination.
And as for the dog........
The dawn chorus has long since silenced. The sun has been up for quite awhile,and it is now high in the morning sky. The only dew to be found is in the shadow of the Tall Standing.
The bracken and brushwood is tinderbox dry, and we're forever on the look-out for tell-tale signs or smells of smoke.The forest fire last Fall spread over more than four thousand acres of good pasture and woodland. The outcome of which has caused some serious financial upset to the community in these parts.
'Piscator non solum Piscatur'
* There's so much more to fishing, than just catching fish ! *
'The Learning Curve...'
I went to the municipal lakes the other day. They were originally 'created' back in the late fifties, when the then Development Corporation deemed that the increasing populace of the then 'New Town' would require recreational facilities. Hence the birth of the small boating lake complete with island for the local marine bird life to have somewhere to roost of a night-time as well as eventually build nests and raise their young offspring.The powers that be then had the man-made crater that was later to designated as 'the sailing lake' dug out.
As an afterthought, they caused it to stocked with several varieties of fish, as back then angling was deemed a popular pastime. Given that situation, the need for a small scale breeding lake would be a necessity in order to maintain fish stock; hence the trilogy came to be finally created.
Fast forward fifty years or so, and we come to view the situation where financial support to local authorities from central government was severely restricted, hence the council found themselves doing some serious cost cutting exercises.
"This is one of this year's crop of the 'Vincent' pear, picked but an hour ago. Some people reliably say that it's probably a Bosc, an old original heritage variety"
(I still say it's delicious!)
'Thoughts while out walking'
It's all very well the local folks around these parts saying that this last April was the driest in living memory. But it looks like we’re going to pay for it in May. Here we are not even half way through the month, and they are saying that we are well on the way to seeing the wettest May since records began.
We have just returned from our evening jaunt. The wind is bitterly cold, and the recent bouts of torrential rain have made most of the pathways into mud baths. I have in fact fallen several times recently; the last occasion resulted in my being crocked for close on a week. And it was that painful due to the medications seriously slowing down my internal healing mechanisms.
As I said, the Maverick and I have been out walking. There something to be said for being four-footed I suppose. Maybe of course his youthfulness might also be a contributing factor to his speed and skill in manoeuvring around the uneven terrain as quick as he does.
I don't know whether it is 'the call of the wild' or just too many male hormones kicking in, but these last few days he has been desperate to get out from indoors, even to the extent of crying and whining, which not his usual style whatever!
(Need to write about the very large and old fallen willow tree blocking the towpath, and the baby bird, all alone, along with the sloe berries and the making of gin.)
'Workin' the Wilderness'
What was it the poet said? ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom friend of the awe-inspiring sun....’
The sun doesn’t seem all that ‘inspiring’ this morning. A better description today would be rather more like ‘insipid’ in fact. Its weak rays are attempting to break through the grey-lined cloud cover, and there is certainly no heat in it. It was quite cold last night and the gossamer webs spun by the inhabitants down at Spinners Wharf, are glistening silver with the remnants of the overnight frost. The same has left the trails of the nocturnal wanderings of the slugs’n’snails visible for all of their predators to easily follow. Looks like Old Brock and his families will be having a field day of a feast on those hapless molluscs.
They say it’s going to be a hard winter. They could well be right. All the signs are there. I can’t remember when was the last time the trees and bushes were so loaded with their winter bounties. The oaks down in the woods are full of acorns. The pigs will feed well on them this year. The remnants of the wild roses are loaded with hips and the hawthorn bushes are resplendent in their red-berried finery, so the birds won’t go too hungry initially, unless of course the snow hits real hard. And as for the elderberry bushes, their boughs are weighed down with the black jewels of ripened berries. Looks like my friends and neighbours will be toasting the incoming year with copious glasses of the deep red wine those berries will be fermented down into.
And on our early morning jaunts, the Maverick and I often find that wild mushrooms have sprung up in many cases overnight. Makes for a great breakfast cooked up with rashers of home-cured bacon along with some of the chicken’s eggs. Although you got to be extra careful what you ARE picking, now that the ‘Death Cap’ & ‘Avenging Angel’ fungi are prevalent in the fields and woods.
The brambles, now fully recovered from the effects of the culling formed by that metal monster that they brought in the other year to widen the culverts and clean out the gullies, produced a bumper crop of blackberries last month. It’s fair to say that several days were memorably spent picking (and in fact eating!) the fruits of the bees and other countless insects labours in pollinating all those sweet smelling flowers that adorned the numerous thickets this summer. Got bagfuls frozen down, and I’m just waiting for the apples down in the orchard to ripen off before I add them to my storeroom. Looking like there will be plenty of apple and blackberry pies and jars of jam being made this Fall. If the winter is going be as hard as folks around here tell, I might well be glad of them.
Another sure sign of the oncoming cold spell is that yesterday, with this month not even reaching its middle yet, I got my first sighting of ‘Him, the ‘White Wizard’. Yep, he’s back. It must now be for the fourth year in succession. For him to have arrived here this early to over-winter must mean that conditions really must be bad on the other side of the world. Haven’t seen any signs yet of the female he brought with him last winter, but it’s certainly early days yet. Saw him again this morning rising up from the river, I think that the Maverick with his traipsing through the bank-side undergrowth must have disturbed his attempts to feed or get a drink. Watching him in flight is certainly ‘awe-inspiring’. Now that is a fact!
I see that ‘the men from the Ministry’ have been here again with their mowers, widening the public pathways. The chewed-up grass, mowed while being too wet, has been made dangerous underfoot in the aftermath of the heavy rainfall over the last few days. Coupled with the effect of slowness that the heavily sodden earth has at draining away the rainfall into a nigh full water table, its making most folks slip’n’slide about whilst out walking.
This rain has put paid to my plans to fix some of the fencing, and maybe even to painting the pickets white. It’s been several years since I last painted ‘em, and they sure need doing now. Looking very tatty, but maybe I’ll get around to it tomorrow, if the sun shines long enough for the coating to dry. Brilliant stuff lasts and protects the wood from rotting for years so they say on the tin, but it’s useless if there is any serious moisture about when you are applying it in the first place.
"Some say that he is my 'Shadow' .... They could be right!"
'The Road not Taken'
"Had cause to be in a small village just outside Spilsby, in Lincolnshire, over the weekend past. I met a terrific couple, Ray Thompson (not sure if he spells it with the P) and his wife Vicky. They made me very welcome at short notice. They have a garden full of fruit trees that could constitute an Agricultural museum in the number of different varieties of apple, pear, peach, plum,cherry, grape vines & various berried fruits contained there.And he reliably informed me that he had done most of it in the eighteen years he has been there since retiring from working in the Nottingham collieries. And whilst I like to think I'm not a bad coarse fisherman or 'angler'; I have to take my hat off to his abilities as a 'master of the real art ', as Jack Hardgreaves used to say - Fly fishing.
Whether it be using a wet or dry fly or even performing the ancient art of 'dabbing'; which i am led to understand is not practised too much in present times due to the development of 'modern' style lines. i was also suitably impressed by his VAST collection of bought and home-made lures, as well as his extensive arrays of silks, furs and feathers in order to produce 'flies' of his own design.
He has promised to take me for some 'sport' on my return in the near future. I have to admit I am looking forward to the experience, as it is something I have NEVER done so far.
* Seems to me like he is made of the 'right stuff''of all true born fishermen, in that he confided the fact that yes, he DOES have a copy of J.R.Hartley's famous book on the said subject, but reckons he could write a better one himself!" *
Fall has come early this Spring
There’s a cold nip in the air these fine mornings, and there’s no mistaking that. Some say that the summer is over. And they could be right. The signs are all there. You take the situation with the blackberries. for instance. Here we are in early to mid-August, and their fruiting season should go well into late September, but they are shrivelling and rotting on the branch stems. Yet only a fortnight ago, the bushes were full of ripening fruits. Then the rains came. The after effects of Hurricane Bertha, or so they said. Torrential and sudden in their appearance. Sometimes just coming out of clear blue skies with no warning. And the accompanying winds were no better. They have devastated the localised landscapes. Trees with broken boughs, hedgerows tangled and left with that windswept hair look. As if having being dragged through backwards. The big willow down by the river edge, that to my knowledge, has withstood anything Mother Nature has thrown at it for more than thirty years, is now creaking badly. And for a willow tree that’s not a good sign!
Then there are the ‘cob’ nuts. They shouldn’t be able to be harvested until November, just in time for the Christmas holiday season. But they are well-formed now on the trees and could well be ready for collecting by mid October. The acorns are shaping up well and are in abundance. The pigs should be able to feast better this year, after the shortage caused by the men from the Ministry clearing the culverts last Fall. And I might well get a good collection of the deep red elderberries prevalent now, in order to be able to make several dozen bottles of wine, if I’m lucky. Talking of acorns, as we were, I saw something the other day that I haven’t seen since I was a boy. And that has been many moons since. ‘Oak apple galls’, the pods formed by a particularly nasty parasitic insect, the gall wasp, Biorhiza pallid. The female normally lays her eggs in between the joints of the leaves in May/June. Each of these pods contains several larvae that eventually bore their way out in June / July usually. But here we are in mid-August, and there don’t seem much signs of exit on any of them.
Another thing I saw the other day that I again haven’t seen in a long time is the ’Chinese lantern’ plant. I don’t rightly know its real name, but you probably know what I’m talking about. Those plants that have an orange seed pod that looks just like the ‘Chinese-style lanterns ‘of old.
And I see that the old pear tree and several of the crab-apple trees fruits have got ‘scab’.
It could well be a hard Winter!
"How is the latest storm affecting you?"
"What a WILD night! Here's hoping that friends on here haven't suffered too many problems with this weather! Here in the Home Counties where I am situated, it is supposed to be 'sheltered' but when I was out walking with the Maverick earlier this morning, the signs of damage to the trees was evident everywhere. The winds have taken out a couple of sycamores over in the meadow, but the 'Creaking Willow; has weathered the condition last night in its usual style!"
'The White Wizard'
They say ‘Red in the morning, shepherd’s warning ...’ don’t they? Well, they could be right. There’s a cold snap coming. We could well see snow by the end of the week. The old willow down by the landing is creaking well in the wind. The sky can’t make up its mind what to do for the best. One minute the sun is shining brightly, the next it’s as black as coal. And now here comes the rain.
There was a hard lesson learnt yesterday. Carry a camera with you, AT ALL TIMES!
The trouble with these android phones with their apps is that they really eat up the battery power. When I woke up yesterday, mine was flat so I put it on charge while the Maverick and I went out walking.
Now you may be aware that I have mentioned that ‘The White Wizard’, my name for the Snowy Egret that has decided to grace us with his presence for the fourth year in succession. I am also sure that I have mentioned before that he is a long way from his usual habitat by being here, in the ‘wilderness’, as it were. So I keep the actual location of this place VERY secret indeed. It is a well-known fact that one would have more chance of finding wooden rocking horse faeces than expecting to see a Snowy Egret in this location! If any of those ‘twitchers’ were to discover the whereabouts of here, we would be inundated. I don’t call it ‘the wilderness’ for nothing. The Maverick and I rarely see other human occupants at most times. And in the winter months, we almost always have it to ourselves.
The upshot of all this rambling on is to mention the fact that it seems this year; he has also brought a mate. Mature male Egrets are solitary creatures for the most part, but like the swan and heron family of birds to which they belong, when they do eventually mate it is for life. So hopefully we may even have young additions in the near future here.
As I have intimated before, he is a very wary creature, and normally he roosts high in the treetops, giving him a panoramic view of all and sundry. So the best I have been able to get close up to him is at about seven or eight hundred yards before he takes flight to put a safer distance between us. But yesterday I came out of clearing and there they were, not a hundred yards away, and they made no attempt to move when the Maverick and I walked right under the tree in which they were roosted. Maybe he knows that we would not hurt them, or his sixth sense told him I didn’t have a camera with me!
But it was certainly an uplifting sight! I SHALL be prepared next time, if there is one, of course!