Friday, 12 July 2013

In which we have a busy week

When I suggested, as I did last week, that the time was approaching when Marcia could give her undivided attention to the book now to be written, I was wrong. I had no idea that two things would happen within an hour or so of uploading the blog: the arrival of the page proofs of Postcards from the Past (which will be published in October in hard back) and a request from Elizabeth Masters of Transworld's publicity department to write a five hundred word piece describing Autumn in Devon. More to point, it is wanted NOW. This is for the magazine 'Landscape' and Marcia's deadline was last Wednesday.

Elizabeth Masters, Senior Press Officer at Transworld who looks after Marcia's publicity.
So, what with one thing and another, brooding about the new book –the formal name is research but we won't go there –has been sitting on the back burner although on Tuesday (the five hundred words had been written and sent off) we sat in the sun drinking coffee outside the Brioche in Totnes and Marcia started to talk about her new characters. The quest has begun.

Did I hear you asking about the page proofs? You don't have to worry for they are my problem, it being one of the things I really can lift from her shoulders. The timing, from my point of view, is not good but is there ever a good time to be reading proofs? Now, however, this job has arrived just as I was beginning to revise my web site.

"Postcards" will be published in October.

I have a new version of the programme on which I design our web sites and this one supports photo galleries which makes it much quicker to put up photographs but there is a problem. You need a good flash player on your computer to be able to see these galleries. Most have them and so do quite a few tablets (and, for all I know, the new type of mobile telephones) but my tablet is an example of one that can’.t If I try to view one of these galleries, I receive an instruction, “Please upgrade your Flash plugin”. When I click on that link I get the curt (and not terribly helpful) message, “This content requires Adobe Flash Player, which is not supported by your device.”

I can't decide what is the best thing to do.

If I go for the galleries, there will be a lot more to see far more quickly but some people won't have access to most of it or I can continue to plod along as I have been doing which means the whole project will take for ever but . . . Here is the link to the new gallery format – if you have a moment do take a look at it and let me know what you think. 

Meanwhile, as I work through I find there are huge gaps in the pictures that I have taken – one such gap being to do with spiders. Now, photos of corrugated iron are really quite simple: although they may flap about in a stiff breeze, they don’t run away and they are not really what you would call small. By contrast, most spiders are very nifty small persons but, since I am always up for a challenge, I am determined to take some good spider pictures and, just for the heck of it, a short video which I shall call “Web Masters”.

I decided the time had come to make a start and so Googled, “how many spiders per acre of land”. It seems that (a) the answer is about 80,000 and (b) you are never more than three feet from a spider – ever. Should be easy then but . . .

Having spent about an hour searching for spiders to photograph, I admit to near defeat. I soon saw three or four but then reality kicked in. They are seriously small and that means extension rings on the camera plus a zoom lens which makes focussing very critical and there must be no camera shake. So grab the tripod, attach the camera with the right gear (including a remote release because hitting the shutter always creates some vibration) and approach the place where the spiders live. They are in the corner of the house and no matter how hard I tried I could not get the camera in the right position. Then I glanced up and there was an incredibly long-legged spider with a small body but in a dark corner. I had to use flash to take the picture.

Then I found a spider doing what spiders do – eating things, in this case a poor (and quite small) fly. Even so, the spider was far, far smaller than its dinner.

Not sure that I shall want to revisit spiders for a while.

This week's blog dog is Colin.