Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Karma Stones

Karma Stones, originally uploaded by e s c h e r.

Now the title of this isn't really about eastern spirituality or philosophy or an attempt to come up with a cool sounding name but more to do with making a bit of an a*** of yourself.

I have few days of work so I headed to a favourite spot of mine, one where I did some of my first rock balances and where I built this. Now it had collapsed I wanted to use the stones to make something else.

I've spent a few days out rock balancing recently since I did this this but I didn't manage to get anything to stay upright long enough to get any pictures. I don't think my heart was really in it and I couldn't be bothered to rebuild any of them more than a couple of times once they had toppled over. It is fun to do though and it isn't all about getting a picture so it wasn't wasted time.

I felt a bit more focussed today on getting it right. A lot of it is in the preparation and making sure you pick the right stones and arrange them carefully and the rest is in patience and persistence and an added dose of luck. So I began by trying to do an enhanced version of that stack done on Heysham beach.

After a while it started to rain but other than getting my camera wet it didn't matter too much as it is so warm and muggy.

I had the video camera running most of the time and the one time it was switched off I got my welly wedged under a rock and when I attempted to walk I fell straight over. £250 from You've Been Framed would have been handy but karma dictated that it wasn't to be. Karma hadn't finished with me just yet though.

The paddle out to the boulder the balance was on was just about the same height as my wellies, somehow I managed to stop them being breached but the trouble with constructing something on a rock in a few feet of water is if you don't balance a rock properly then "plop!" it is gone in microseconds and you have to wade back to the bank to search for another one. Just how many crossings was I going to get away with? Well Lady Karma allowed me enough to get it done, and she smiled on me enough to get it built first go.

The first sculpture had an insane wobble. The third from bottom layer had a pebbled that rolled every time a new layer was added, several times I had to hold the whole thing upright and put it back into equilibrium. I am interested to see the video footage to see whether it's wobble is clear to see.

The second was more robust but surprisingly so. The lower round pebbles that increased the height of the left hand slab were held on with friction and should they move it would all go. It was quite tall so I worried that I would get flattened if it did fall. Either that or very wet as any evasive action would end up as a swim.

Anyway I got away with it and packed up and headed back to my car.

As I clambered up the hill to the parking area I saw someone else was parked there. Two old ladies were sat in fold-up chairs looking out over the river, each clutching a glass of red wine and smoking a cigarette. They weren't best pleased having their drunken picnic interrupted. But still I smiled and said hello.

This was met with a scowl. Obviously one that they had both spent a lifetime perfecting. I was sorry to interrupt their lunchtime drinkie-poos but you run the risk of being disturbed by a strange bloke in wellies if you insist on having your soiree in a car park.

Anyway, being too long away from food, irritable, tired and grumpy I muttered to myself "manners cost nothing" - grumble - grumble - "parking here and drinking cheap wine and smoking fags" - mutter - mutter - "I didn't want to say hello anyway!"

I packed up my tripods and and put my camera gear into the boot while the elderly grumpy twins laughed uproarously as their cheap plonk kicked in.

I slapped the gear stick into reverse and manoeuvred onto the road and drove away still grumbling under my breath.

I looked at them in the rear view mirror and suddenly there was a black flash in the mirror. "What the hell was that?!"

Doh! I'd left my reflector on the roof. I saw it land in the road so I parked up at the next layby and sprinted up the road. It was nowhere to be seen and each side of the roadwas thick with bracken.


I looked and looked and looked and couldn't see it anywhere. Oh no I don't have to ask those two old dears do I? No anything but that please.

And so, tail between my legs with my best - mum brought me up properly - polite voice I siddled up to them.

"'Scuse me?"


"Did you see a black circular thing come flying off the back of my car?" The ground opening up beneath would be nice timing should it happen.

"No?!?" The quizzical look I got was far worse than that earlier scowl.

I walked back along the road and sure enough there it was under a bush. Seemed Lady Karma wanted me to talk to those ladies, they wouldn't know where I had lost it but it would appear once I had and I am sure that their side of the story would be quite different to mine.

All I can hope for when they recount what happened that someone will ask them "how much did you have to drink?"

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