Thursday, 28 November 2013

FOR RICHER OR FOR POORER


Kinglsey and Rich - Birds are one of many of Rich's vital interests
What about Rich?” Jude asked me the other day, after she and Kaye had received a CD we sent them of some of his photographs.  Let’s hear more about him". Well, writing about my multi-faceted husband is no easy task. 
I met him when I was seventeen (a very good year) and he was eighteen –temporarily stationed at The Vumba National Park as a game ranger.  We were friends immediately, having so much in common, but it was clear to me that he couldn’t possibly be my intellectual equal.  After all, he had failed his school leaver’s exams no less than three times, whereas I was studying English and French at “A” levels.  “Be nice to Richard when you meet him,’ I admonished a sharp- tongued school friend, “because he’s not very bright.”
I have had some reason to retract that opinion.  In fact, if I were to expand on the multitudinous abilities of this volatile, impassioned, forthright and often quite impossible man, I’d be writing a book and not just a brief blog post.
Most of us can do one thing reasonably well, but not much more.  If you can write, you generally can’t do maths (ask me).  If you’re an artist, chances are you won’t know how fix a tractor or work a lathe.   And a poet wouldn’t have a clue about developing a thriving wildlife sanctuary from an exhausted piece of bush.
But Rich is all those things –  he turned our dream into reality on Stone Hills, and has explored every facet of it as a scientist, an artist, a photographer, a poet and a genius at fixing all things “bent and buggered”, including the many wild animals who come into our care.

He’s actually quite bright too.   To my drop-jawed astonishment, I met him on my first day at the University of Rhodesia in 1974 where, coincidentally, we had both begun our degrees as mature students – mine in law and his in biology (he finished up as top student of his year).

I’m a very lucky girl.

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Here are some of his recent photographs – Rich entered the competition in the final volume of Handbook of Birds of the World – to find the best of the best as it were – and out of almost 12,000 entries, two of his photos were included in the 200 chosen.