Every so often, everyone should take the time to reassess one’s place in life and consider where one would like to go next, (other than the chocolate stash on the top shelf). I have a longharboured ambition to be a Russian ice star, dancing in sequins and skates with gymnastic flair, but have been held back by both the geography of my birth and, if I am honest, a lack of physical athleticism on sharpened metal.
But just recently this idea has been smashed like the china at a Greek celebration. Who says a leopard never changes his spots? A chameleon might beg to differ, and I am embracing an alternative vision for the future. When I grow up I would like to be Gaudi, mosaicking colourful wonders in Mediterranean sunshine.
Earlier this year whilst in Malta, I stumbled camera-less across a leopard-challenging Mediterranean chameleon, which was live and if not exactly kicking, happily fading into his surroundings as he ambled across a field. The Significant Other and I had a wonderful view of his zygodactyl feet as he headed away. Zygodactyl may sound like a ground-bound version of a flying dinosaur but refers to two groups of opposing toes per foot, allowing chameleons to climb and walk with equal ease. You learn something every day (and yes, I did have to look it up). He was almost enough for me to put Gaudi to one side and become Gerald Durrell instead.
Just days later, as The Significant Other and I strolled through the local village we saw a similar creature (I sincerely hope he wasn’t the same one) lying on the road as if perfectly flower-pressed for posterity by a passing wheel. Camera in hand, I snapped a shot. It wasn’t really the memory I’d hoped to take home but taking up taxidermy was a step too far. I came up with a more artistic alternative, immortalising him in coloured tiles of glass and porcelain, a mosaic which beat a postcard hands down although, admittedly, it’d be more costly to post.
Always attracted by anything sparkly, I have now evolved into a specimen that both Gaudi and Gerald Durrell would surely recognise: an obsessive magpie (in safety goggles). I’m gathering colours, shapes and textures, searching for old crockery and blingy beads with a vengeance, and spending heavenly hours amongst flying shards, cementing triangles and sparkle onto anything that moves. Woe betide any ice-skater that gets close.