Are you the main photographer in your family? it gradually dawned on me this year that whilst we have armfuls of lovely pictures capturing the last few years, I am missing from the vast majority of them, hidden behind the lens. In truth, it is entirely my own fault; I love taking photos, and I am far less comfortable at the front end of the lens. When caught on camera, I tend to look like I am struggling with trapped wind, as I simultaneously try to remember my (alleged) best side, toss hair out of my eyes and give helpful instructions to the person unlucky enough to be trying to work my camera, all without breaking from my frozen smile. Hopeless.
Last month I decided to sort this out, temporarily at least, and found a friendly photographer who would come along on a day that Harry & I had together, and just snap away in the background. Sophie was brilliant, charged very little for a couple of hours of shooting, and then sent me all of the shots a couple of days later. No costly post-production, no framing, no retouching – just a myriad of gorgeous, spontaneous shots capturing a typical Harry/Mummy play-day at the age of 3.
Like pirate sword-fights in the kitchen, followed by a teddy-bear picnic on the lawn..
A short camping holiday;
Three-way cuddles with Wilberforce the polar bear…
And plenty of snacks, shared of course..
It was a small extravagance, for sure, but worth it without a doubt for an eternally captured ‘day in the life’; particularly one where the sun was shining throughout.
The sun has since vanished, and we have been assailed by relentless rain and wind. I would usually be unfazed by this (we are in England; such things are usual…), were it not for the fact that tomorrow I am to be abandoned in the heart of a forest for a so-called Wilderness Day, where I will be expected to rely on my survival instincts and a few hurriedly-learnt bushcraft skills until I am allowed back home sometime at the end of the day. OH GOD.
I cheerily suggested the course a couple of months ago to a girlfriend who has a similar taste for bizarre and life-enriching experiences. We’d been discussing doing something completely unlike our day-to-day lives (office workers and mothers), and over a glass of wine this seemed just the ticket. What fun!,we thought, from the comfort of the couch.
Looking at the small print today, I have discovered a kit list as long as my arm, mostly – and worryingly – involving anti-chafing lotions and medical kits, waterproof trousers and flick-knives. Needless to say, I have none of these. The organiser, an ex-military guy called Wilderness Bob, sent me a cheery email explaining that the day will culminate in a ‘surprise survival experience’ to test how much attention we have been paying. Indeed, it may be a surprise if I survive.
And now I must go; we have been informed we will be foraging for and cooking our own lunch – something to do with edible woodland weeds and the grinding of flints – so I must spend the evening sewing illicit chocolate bars & rashers of bacon into the lining of my jacket.
Wish me luck…