Caught by the River

The Bird Effect Diaries

Ceri Levy | 18th October 2009

The diary of the making of a film. and an on going fascination with birds and their accompanying cast of human characters. By Ceri Levy. Previous entries can be read by clicking here.

Sunday August 23rd

I remember Deb’s advice from last night that one should always enter raffles and prize draws on the different stalls in the marquees, as you never know what might happen. I actually remember this suggestion whilst on a Peruvian bird trip stand. I have no idea what prizes may be on offer but Jackie and I enter the draw. My theory is if you don’t win the first time you’ll never win. I have only done the lottery once in my life and that was in the first week that it appeared in our lives. I was so shocked that I didn’t win that I have never done it since. I enter the draw expecting to win and then forget about entering any other prize draw. I think my short-term memory is disappearing.

My favourite marquee is the art tent. I try and avoid this one like the plague in case I am tempted to buy something, and especially this year as I am on a tight budget. I have brought a couple of pictures that I bought recently to show to the artist, Robert Gillmor, as he always exhibits at Birdfair, and I want to confirm that they are indeed by him. He is a beautiful artist and I mentioned the pictures to him last night before I left for the evening. I asked him if he liked to see old pictures of his and he replied “Not always!” So with trepidation I bring the pictures to his stand and prepare to unveil them for him. As they are revealed I can see he is quite happy to see them both and he even says that the painting of Ugandan Blacksmith Plovers may persuade him to dig his old books out and make a series of prints of the birds from that time.

Ugandan Black Plovers by Robert Gillmor © Robert Gillmor

He is well known for his book illustrations and his beautifully evocative woodcuts of which I also have two. (See one below). Blakeney Barn Owl I bought from him last year. Happily he signs and authenticates the back of the paintings and we chat about me coming to see him in his studio later in the year to do some filming for TBE. All good.

Blakeney Barn Owl – Woodcut by Robert Gillmor © Robert Gillmor

Then I introduce Jackie to two other favourite artists of mine. Carry Akroyd and Chris Rose who have adjoining stalls in the Marquee. Carry is again a wonderful illustrator, printmaker and fine artist, who has a book coming out in November, entitled, Landscape Change, John Clare and Me.

Chris is also a wonderful painter and his pictures are really hyper-realist and even though several wildlife artists try to paint like this he has an extraordinary ability to paint light and capture it on the canvas. We chat about coming up to Scotland and going out to see some of the seabird colonies not too far from where he lives.

At about three o’clock my phone goes. It is the Peru stand. I have won the only bloody prize draw I entered! I go to collect my prize secretly hoping it may be an all expenses paid trip to Peru to see the birds at Machu Picchu. I find out I have actually won the field guide to the birds of Peru, which is pretty good anyway. At least if we go there we now have the book. I’m pretty chuffed and it proves my theory about draws, raffles and lotteries is correct. Just do it once.

As the fair draws to a close we decide to get back to London before the roads are full of satisfied birders heading back to their respective parts of the country and of the world. Great weekend.