I spent this morning preparing my Sunday sermon. After lunch there was a movie on TV about Mussolini, and I watched it in an effort to improve my sketchy knowledge of Italian politics before and during the second world war. Then I went out for a bike ride along the roads through the orange groves on the west side of the N340 to enjoy the cool of the evening breeze.
As I slowly climbed a gentle incline I heard a dull thud close to me, like the sound made as you ride over a stick or something flat lying loose on the road. I didn't stop to look, as I was expending effort going uphill at that moment. And that is how I lost the Sony HX5 camera which goes everywhere with me. It was in a detachable pouch on my belt, not on the back where I usually mount it, but on the front, where the velcro fastening slowly, silently worked loose until it slipped to the ground. The sound ignored was that of the camera bouncing on to the edge of the road in its case.
I cycled another three kilometers before noticing, then turned back and rode furiously, checking the one place I'd stopped, where the bike chain had jammed, and I'd failed to notice that the camera was no longer where I'd put it. I searched the stretch of road where I recalled the strange sound occurring, but to no avail. It's a road much used by cyclists and horticulturalists white vans, with a low speed limit, so the camera case would have been fairly visible, so I'm pretty certain someone will have picked it up.
There's nothing on the case to identify its owner. The several hundred pictures on the memory card tell the story of a visitor to the region interested in churches, villages and landscapes. I doubt anyone would be bothered to do the detective work to narrow it down any further than that. Despite the GPS data held by the photos, none of that would lead back to the Vicarage as I haven't taken any photos close to home for a couple of months. I did read of someone in Canada losing a digital camera overboard on holiday and getting it back over a year later because the person who found it rescued photos from the memory card of the ruined camera and published them with a query 'Do you recognise this family' using the Google + social networking facility, eventually producing a response.
Thankfully I haven't lost any photos. After a normal day's camera use, I habitually copy them to my hard drive and upload the best to my Picasa web store, linked to this blog. Now the only camera I have with me is on my phone. It's OK for an emergency, but has no zoom, limited sensitivity and it's so fiddly to use, I don't know how anyone can believe camera-phones will supplant a versatile compact digital. So tonight I'm mourning my loss. It's travelled with me everywhere in the past 18 months. I've taken over three and a half thousand pictures with it, and it still looks as good as new. I hope whoever found it will enjoy it as much as I did.