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Hello, my name’s Colin, and I’m a birdwatcher. Can I have the next slide, please? This is the bird that I watch. He’s a European Robin – as you can tell from the distinctive red breast. In this photograph, he’s perched on Mr. Jones of number 37, who has fallen asleep while sunbathing – as you can tell from the distinctive red breast. Next slide, please.
This photo depicts Mr. Jones on my doorstep. I don’t know if you can tell, but there are some subtle clues that he is angry. The furrowed brow is one. The downturned mouth is another. The fact that his hands are wrapped around my neck, and he has me pinned to the doorframe by my throat is, perhaps, the definitive one – explaining the downward angle of the photograph, and the blurring. My photographs aren’t normally blurred. Next slide, please.
This is the robin on Mr. Jones’ car. This is the robin on Mr. Jones’ lawn. This is the robin on Mr. Jones’ kitchen window. Interestingly, the woman that you can see is not Mrs. Jones. Next slide, please.
Mr. Jones once asked me, “Could you watch some other birds for a while? I don’t know, go to the park and bother some ducks?” But I can’t. I’m a birdwatcher, not a birds-watcher. Next slide.
This is the robin on Mr. Jones’ patio. This is the robin in Mr. Jones’ apple tree. This is the robin on the pile of freshly dug earth that appeared just after Mrs. Jones sent that message to the street Whatsapp group saying she was going on an indefinite business trip.
Mr. Jones also asked me, “Can’t you watch the bird without taking photos?” And the answer is, of course, no. The whole point of nature is the gear. The waterproof trousers. The Goretex shoes. The telescoping, collapsible, telephoto lens. Next slide, please.
This is the robin at Mr. Jones’ window. Again, that is not Mrs. Jones.
This is Mr. Jones on my doorstep, again. “You can’t call the police,’ I said. “Birdwatching isn’t a crime.” And he took a really long look at me, and relaxed.
“You ain’t too bright, are you?” he said.
“I’m a birdwatcher,” I replied.
Next slide, please.