Showing posts from August, 2011

The Kingfisher Theory - Part 3

It was my turn to get the paper. As I drove I tried to ignore the bird on the telephone wire. I tried to believe that it was a mistake – but it wasn’t. I tried to believe that I had slept in and that it was the afternoon – but I hadn’t. It was a kingfisher, it was the morning and The Theory was in ruins. I could not even take sanctuary in the old adage that “it’s exceptions that prove the rule” – because they don’t. It’s basic science that exceptions disprove rules. Exceptions no more prove rules than internal belief makes things true in the outside world. The kingfisher was not there on the way back, and neither was The Theory. It was back on the drawing board, and a theory that says “kingfishers only sit on the telephone wires in the afternoons (except on Thursdays)” does not really have the feeling of elegant symmetry that good theories often have. I was so distressed that I had an extra piece of toast when I got home. And another cup of tea. We drove past the wires again on th

The Kingfisher Theory - Part 2

In my mind the phrase “coral reef” will be forever linked to a Frenchman, seemingly made from leather, pushing the Zodiacs away from The Calypso. Small knitted woollen hats. An undersea world that was very, very far away, full of lithe divers, which, it now seems to me now, must have had been both exotic and faintly erotic. Even in the dull tones of black and white TV, you could tell that the living reefs were alive with colour. Yet the only coral I knew was cold and grey, turned to lifeless stone at the same times as the world swamps laid down and turn to coal. Sleeping the long sleep of a carbon sink. Waiting. The coral, weathered from cliff faces on the Mendips, found its way into my pockets and was eventually lost during teenage room cleanings – times when you throw away childhood treasure despite adulthood looking distant and difficult. When I read that there was coral reef that you could walk out to at the end of Horseshoe Bay I have to say that my interest levels went up a