Another day another phone call. This was quite fortuitous, in as much as, I think a lot of the person who rang me and we’ve been friends for quite a few years. Secondly, I gained quite an amazing piece of garden furniture.
Once home, the cargo was carefully off loaded from the landrover to the lawn where I started to assemble it. This way and that, trying to get it in just the right spot where it would do the garden justice. This was a magnificent looking chair. It was to be, I thought, a chair for wildlife garden photography. It would have helped if I had been 12 feet tall as it took a bit of climbing up into, but the more height the better the vantage point. As I was tightening up the last couple of bolts, Jackie and the kids pulled up into the front drive. She had just picked them up from their summer jobs. They instantly espied the chair which wasn’t that difficult as the steel works were quite a vivacious blue. “What a cool chair,” they all shouted. Sam ran over and helped put the last few bits together, they were all chomping at the bit to try it out which they all duly did in turn. “Difficult to get onto,” said Sophie,
“Good heavens,” said Jackie, “I can’t do it.” The whole procedure was quite comical because the chair resembled a half birdcage shape and swung and rotated as one tried to get into it. After what seemed to be about five minutes, Jackie was panting and had built up quite a sweat, “You’ve either got to lower it or get me some steps,” she said and Sam who is by far the tallest of all of us said
“A great chair dad, a real cool chair, but we’ve got to overcome the business of getting in and out of it.” Off they all went then to start on tea leaving me scratching my head as to how I could keep the height but at the same time being able to get into the thing. I got a small pair of steps from the garden shed, then went into the kitchen to get my camera. I put the camera around my neck and returned to the chair. Sitting in it was perfect. I could sit now in the light breeze, gently swaying in the chair, listening to the bleating lambs with their mums in the valley and wait for that exceptional snap. I had taken a picture of a most annoying Great Spotted Woodpecker some weeks ago whose main aim seemed to us to be doing his level best to try and demolish our wooden windows so he hasn’t been very popular until one morning about three weeks ago. I had been making the early morning brew and the annoying critter was halfway up a tree, halfway up the garden and I was able to take quite an amazing photograph, which incidentally, The Guardian Newspaper wanted my permission to publish it sometime in August, which obviously, I am thrilled at.
Back in the chair, I heard the woodpecker call, but this call was the woody woodpecker of the cartoons, similar, and whenever you hear that type of call, it is the Green Woodpecker you need to look out for. I sat there. I have always known there is Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers in the area, however, to get both types in your garden that is a rare combination. I sat there half hidden in the chair. I knew he was down on the lawn behind me. I just sensed he was there, but I was having difficulty in getting a 360 degree turn in the chair. Eventually, this ridiculous situation resolved itself in as much as the woodpecker came round to the front of my camera, rather than my camera going round to meet with him. As he drilled his beak into the lawn looking for Leather Jackets which are the larvae of the Flying Daddy longlegs, I thought, “This Green Woodpecker is doing as much good aerating our lawn as that Great Spotted was doing damage to our windows. As the saying goes, ‘nature giveth and nature taketh away.’”
The Green Woodpecker was good enough to let me take a few photographs of him while he was having his supper. As much as I love this chair, from here on in known as the woodpecker chair, I don’t think I’ll be letting David Attenborough know about it any time soon as it is still a bit raw and clumsy for most good photographers to want in their tool kit.