It has been a busy few weeks, and in some ways, not the best in my personal history. It had begun with a very sick car just days before we were to go north. The last-minute repair really did go right to the last minute… and then I drowned my camera on the first day of the workshop.
Then a lousy dental infection got out of hand. It started a few days after getting home from the Scottish trip, just before I was turning around to go back up north again with my son. By the time we got home, it wasn’t good. I looked like a hamster, much to the amusement of the aforementioned son, and it cost me one molar with another still under threat. And I’ll soon be off north again on my travels…
On the other hand, it has not been all bad. In fact, quite the opposite.
The car did behave, in spite of having to drag her ageing carcass and cargo up and down mountains. I managed to replace my camera with a shinier, newer one, that has not been bashed, battered and had its lens damaged. And I have frequently been reminded of Howard Carter’s words on opening Tutankhamen’s tomb, for we, too, have seen ‘wonderful things’ and the tale of our adventures is far from over.
Plus, we saw the Foxes dance.
My son has heard all about Mister Fox over the past few years. He has seen the photographs and the three books we have produced for them so far, but he had never seen them dance in person. Having expressed a desire to do so, we arranged a sofa, loaded him and the wheelchair into the car and headed north for the Hunter’s Moon celebration.
I spent the evening selling and signing books for the Foxes until the dance began… then joined Nick to enjoy the fabulous spectacle, with the camera lined up to click every second or two. A few hundred photos later, when the fire and magic had once again disappeared into the night, we gathered to look through the pictures, reliving again the flames and the dance. I’d got some good ones.
Home again, I loaded them up onto the computer, checked them all through and cleared the memory on the camera. By this time, I was quite ill and desperate to see a dentist. I managed that next morning and they removed a tooth in the hope it would clear the infection. It didn’t. Return visits, more treatment and pills were required. By midweek, my brain had ceased to function as I lurched between doses of painkillers, hot water bottles and ice packs. Both I and my brain were pretty much useless by the time I got home from work, which is why it has been quiet around here.
…and why I managed to lose all the new Fox photos… the entire Hunter’s Moon folder… I must have deleted them by accident along with my daily clearing of the desktop. I’d already deleted them from the camera and I empty the ‘recycle bin’ every night. The recovery programmes I tried didn’t manage to find them… and so I must offer my apologies to Charles James Fox and the dancers of Mister Fox for the lack of new photos.
But, we did, as always when the Foxes dance, have an incredible night. My son loved the dance, the music and the atmosphere…it is impossible not to do so. Photos cannot capture the sound of pipe and drum, nor do videos capture the smell of the smoke in the night or the excitement of the hundreds of children who watch in wonder… for we all all children as we watch, I think, delighting in the magic and mystery as the Foxes dance in the darkness.