Friday, February 01, 2008

Greenhouse emergency!

click photo to enlarge
I've been involved in a few unusual emergencies in my time. Many years ago, when I was working in a school, I received a message from the teacher in charge of its nursery that catered for children aged 2-4 years - "Please come across immediately - we have a serious problem and we need your help." I found someone to look after the children I was with, and dashed over with some trepidation about what I was going to find. My worries were unfounded - no broken limbs or crushed fingers. It turned out that a large, black, bulbous-eyed goldfish in the children's fish tank had been sucking up stones to eat the moss off them and had got one stuck in its mouth! It was swimming around looking very silly, but quite unconcerned, with its jaws forced open by its unintended mouthful. The children were following its every circuit of the tank, and several were close to tears, very worried that it would die - either quickly by drowning (!), or slowly, for lack of food. I knew I had to act decisively, and give a semblance of looking like I knew what I was doing! So taking out my trusty Swiss Army penknife, I unfolded the gimlet spike, reached into the water, chased and eventually grabbed the unfortunate fish, then, placing the spike between the back of its mouth and the stone - flicked. The stone plopped out, the fish was returned to the water, and I left with the cheers of the children ringing in my ears, the hero of the day! On another occasion I was called to extricate a six year old school pupil who had contrived to get a chair stuck around her waist. But that tale can wait for another occasion.

Yesterday the most recent unusual emergency arose. I'd spent the previous couple of days helping my friends to erect a greenhouse (glasshouse), and we'd left it standing on its concrete base at the end of the day. However, extremely strong winds arose during the night and continued through the morning, to the point where the heavy glass and aluminium structure was pushed horizontally, and started to move off its base. Then one corner started to come unbolted, and I made a mercy dash to help them prevent our work coming catastrophically apart. With the help of a passing animal transporter, then a tractor, strategically positioned to break the force of the wind, the situation was redeemed without a single pane of glass being broken. Much of the rest of the day was then spent fixing the structure to its concrete base.

Today's photograph shows a relieved owner (with reflected husband and yours truly) surveying the re-positioned and secured greenhouse at the end of work after night had fallen. I took a photograph of the scene inside because the bright work light gave some strikingly unusual reflections. The shot was hand held, utilising every contrivance to secure a sharp image, and, all things considered, it came out pretty well I think.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 11mm (22mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/5
ISO: 1600
Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On