Time to Stand and Stare

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare – WH Davies

One of the great things about being retired is that you should have at least the possibility of being able to stand and stare, to notice what’s happening around you and appreciate the opportunity to enjoy the little things.

On Tuesday such an opportunity came along. As I was doing the washing up looking out of the window I noticed that the pub landlord and the guy who was doing some painting were pointing up the street and taking photos. About ten minutes later I headed off towards the market and stopped to ask the decorator what they were looking at. He pointed towards the cathedral spire where two tiny figures could be seen right at the top. I went back indoors to alert the family and we all peered out of the sitting room widow, which if you bend over and crane your neck a bit has a good view of the spire.

I then went off to the market (not a task to put off if you want to find a decent selection at the wet fish stall) watching the small figures whenever the spire was in view (in Salisbury this is most of the time). Marvelling at the fact that most people hadn’t noticed the action taking place above their heads.

When I got back home the steeple jacks were still up there so I grabbed my DSLR, put on a long lens and headed off to the Close, postponing the other activities I’d had in mind for the morning.

I am full of admiration for the people who do this job: it’s certainly not for everyone and I am glad I took the opportunity to stand and stare with my camera, followed up with some time playing with light room presets – hence the variation in colour.  If anyone has the answer to the question ‘How many steeplejacks does it take to change a light bulb’ let me know!


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
William Henry Davies

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