And did those feet…

I read with interest this week that Wales lags only slightly behind the USA in terms of the levels of obesity in the population, and at first assumed that the rest of the UK must therefore be in a similar predicament, but discovered that in England at least the NHS is prepared to intervene sooner when someone’s health is at risk.

Nevertheless those of us in the West grow ever fatter, despite fears that the growing world population may soon be unable to feed itself.  It will be interesting to see what happens as the trend for those in Chinese and India, with the economic whip hand, to eat more of a western diet.  As demand grows and prices increase we may be unable to afford to eat as we do now.

Perhaps that won’t be such a bad thing, given the growing levels of heart disease and diabetes.  In The Time Machine, H.G. Wells predicted a future were mankind developed into two populations, the slender and beautiful Eloi and the brutal subterranean Morlocks, who preyed on the Eloi for food.  I don’t think he got it quite right.

When I first arrived on the beach this morning there were few people at the north end of the bay, so I contented myself with the seascape to begin with, though the further south I walked the more people I encountered.  All were exercising in some way.

Out to sea a lone canoeist paddled rhythmically through the twinkling waters, whilst on land there were lots of walkers, runners and cross-trainers.  Our population seems to be diversifying into the fat and the fit, and that being the case, I don’t see the latter falling prey to the former.  They’ll struggle to catch them!

Among the dog walkers was Neil, who was out with his large boxer.  Neil was lean and wiry, but his dog seemed glad of the rest as we took Neil’s photograph.  Only the promise of an ice cream at the end of the walk got him moving again.  The dichotomy encapsulated!

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Shy bairns…*

Whilst out on Friday, I had a bit of role reversal; I was setting up my tripod to shoot some slow shutter shots of the sea lapping at the foot of the promenade steps, when a softly spoken Irishman approached me to request one or two of my pictures.

Wesley had no way of knowing what I was shooting, or whether I was in any way competent, but I think he probably made some assumptions from the equipment I was lugging about.

He explained that he was conducting a service at a residential home this weekend, and that whilst staying at Sunderland’s Marriott Hotel he had been lucky enough to see both a beautiful sunrise and the recent stormy seas.  He wanted to use these as a metaphor in the message he was to share about life and how beyond every storm the light will dawn.

Well on the day it was easy to provide him with some pictures of waves crashing against rocks and the sea wall, but I needed to dig through my archives to find some calmer waters.  Having recently corrupted my image database this proved harder than I would have wished, but nevertheless I found a couple of suitable options which I emailed to him.

Had I waited another 24 hours…

This morning the wind had dropped to the point where the shoreline flags were untroubled.  The tide was out, and whilst there were still rainclouds in the sky, the sun was breaking through above the mirrorlike surface of the Whitburn lagoon.  Although I shot some 70 or so images, there was only one picture that I had in mind and I got it here.

The trouble was that most of the people sharing the view with me were former subjects, so I was struggling for a portrait.  The lazy flap of a heron’s wings drew my attention away from the bay and back to my car where I met Neil who agreed to be photographed today.

He was strolling along the cliff tops with his Sunday paper, scanning the water but with probably less pleasure than me.  The calm that gave me my reflection was not so ideal for him.  He is a surfer.

*…get nowt!  (If you don’t ask, you don’t get)