Today the sun rose! No more torrential rain. On day five back in Yamba I was going to be able to do one of my favourite things! Coffee, toasted sandwich and photographs down on the wonderful Main Beach, just yards from my door.
André's Kiosk is open Thurs-Mon between 6.30am and midday, so I did the mail and the household chores, and at 10.30, picked up my walking stick and waddled forth. Brunch on the sands! Delightful. And a grand new breakfast bar has been installed which is going to become one of my 'special' spots. It looks out over the beach and the sea ... an hour a day of this and I'll be rejuvenated by years!
So I settled down with my coffee and sandwich and watched the young folk gambolling in the water. No surfers, although there was a bit a wave-up. Folk walking their dog, four teenagers (2m, 2f) playing demi-semi-football, a couple of babies trying to run around in the sand .. it's amazing, at my age, how much pleasure can be got from watching others enjoying the innocent pleasures one can no longer manage one's self. I had a second cup of coffee. Snapped some views of the beach which I've snapped a dozen time before ... but these are 2021 photos. And, in spite of everything, I'm still here, and the damaged right hand can still click a shutter.
These ar'n't the best (or sunniest) photos of my beach that I'll take this year, but they are the first. After 18 months Covid exile, I'm back! And so happy so to be ..
So I decided I could manage a wee paddle. Inseparable purse slung over shoulder, sticko in right hand, down the boat ramp successfully, unaided, across the sands and, just as I was about the paddle, I was accosted, not too impolitely, by a girl with a topknot. I recognised her by the topknot as the least adept of the footballers. "Have you been photographing us ... without our permission" she interrogated. I was so shocked I just burbled "yes" and then established "I was photographing the beach ... you were on it". She, and what I presume was her family, had in fact occupied the entire centre of the beach the whole time I was there. "Please delete those photographs" she continued. I think she said "please". She even asked to see my camera! I said I would delete any in which she was recognisable as soon as I got home. And I did. It was one of her trying to stand on her head. I think the most recognisable image of her remaining is in the second picture. See the skinny topknotted lady half-way down the beach? That is she.
I waddled through the waves, wondering: what is this latest PC jargon-filled business about "ask permission" to take photos, which include incidental folk, in beauty (or even not so beauty) spots. I mean if I go and stand in front of the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal, does that mean that anyone who wants to take a snap has to ask permission from me?
But why this aggressiveness, this camera shyness? Are they doing something illegal, immoral or fattening? And then it dawned on me. The naked babies! Of course! We're all potential sex maniacs, and child pornographers now. I, sitting by the beach with my cane and my coffee ... I am a predator. Von Aschenbach bei Yamba. Oh, modern attitudes. Oh the TV generation. I pity them.
I have a beautiful photo circa 1912 of my father, as a baby, running naked through a Viennese field. Taken by his well-known photographer aunt. Its adorable. I will add it when I find it.
What a sad commentary on the 21st century. Well Miss or Mrs Topknot, while I applaud your decision to let the baby run naked (all our family did, and as a result see nothing 'rude' in nudity), please, if you don't want him/her to be photographed that way, dont put her/him in front of the Taj Mahal or Yamba Main Beach thus. Because the freedom of man is made for everyone ...
Follow-up story. Remember my blog about my 'encounter' with the topknotted mother on the beach? Well, today at the market she (untopknotted), and her husband (less neurotic, prettier and politer than she), affronted me again. Had I deleted those photos? I told them, yes, I had. But she qualified me as a liar, 'disgusting' ... husband was I think a bit embarrassed. And baby, well, it had heavy doses of snot running down its chin .. too much naked beaching? I have no idea who these people are. Do I sense a scam? 'How much money have you got and how can I get some off you'? Maybe a Yambanite will know. If that female comes near me again, I shall take out a stalking order!