Regret – A Photo

The most frequent thoughts of regret in relation to photography I have are that I don’t have my camera with me when I see something noteworthy or photogenic.

So what’s to regret about this shot?  I’m about to go snorkeling off the coast of Australia at the Great Barrier Reef, the sun is shining, the sky is blue.  What’s not to like?

Well, look at that red hair and those white legs.  Yep.  I got unbelievably, painfully, horribly sun burnt.  A very straight, sharp line above my knee showed where the wet suit stopped for at least three months afterwards.  That’s regret.

I’m used to sun burn; it’s been happening to me all my life.  I’m pale. I go outside in the sunshine, and if I’m not totally slathered in sun cream, I burn.  It happens in the UK; it happened exponentially more in Australia.  I had applied cream, but then I started to get seasick (another commonplace occurrence, which if given into would have deprived me of lots of experiences I’ve managed to enjoy notwithstanding), so seasick, that even when I was out of the boat bobbing along snorkeling and admiring the brilliant colours of the coral and the darting dashing little fish, it still affected me.

It’s hard to worry about sun cream while you’re worrying about nausea; I’m sure that order of priorities is there somewhere in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; if it’s not it should be.  That, and the need to get back on the boat without getting covered in the anti-foul paint with which the hull is covered.  (As an aside, I can confirm that anti-foul paint is ineffective as sun block.)

At the end of my day afloat, I returned to the hotel in Cairns, wishing only for a cool gentle shower and something soothing to watch on the television.  But no, it was the day of Diana’s funeral, and there was no avoiding the coverage of it.  I watched, utterly bemused, at a mad vision of my home country that I didn’t recognise.

The only possible explanation was that there were crowds of people who had been taken over by hysterical alien body snatchers.  Either that, or the sun had both burnt my skin and addled my brain.

I have never felt more disassociated from the world than I did that evening; I was in a foreign country far away from home feeling poorly, and my home had disappeared, overrun by a torrent of  insanity, and there would be nowhere to which to return.

So yes, regrets, I’ve had a few……

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