THERE’S a character in Shakespeare’s ‘A Winter’s Tale’ called Autolycus.
He describes himself as ‘a snapper up of unconsidered trifles’. We were once on a continental coach tour and on it this quotation was given a whole new and ‘literal’ interpretation.
Our party was made up of 14 different nationalities and we had the not uncommon Japanese contingent. The patriarch of their group was a small, wispy figure of a man who I have never forgotten, for two reasons. At various venues where we ate our meals this little fellow would invariably consume (in addition to his own helping) anything that was left over by his fellow diners.
Well - that was one thing, but the second reason also had a connection with a gargantuan appetite. The Japanese are well known for their passion for cameras, but our fellow traveller was just something else, and was indeed ‘a snapper up of unconsidered trifles’.
He seemed to be snapping away all the time and perhaps he needed that extra nourishment to give him the energy. For 2,000 miles that incessant clicking went on and on. At one stage I was intrigued when our intrepid cameraman crouched at the front of the coach as we sped along a motorway. I could not restrain my fascination and asked what he was taking a picture of. It turned out to be the motorway sign!
But the lasting image occurred as we took a cruise down the Rhine. We all disembarked after we had toured a brandy distillery only to discover that our cameraman was not with us. In fact he was still on the vessel, on its way to its next port of call. We boarded our coach and the driver set off in pursuit of the stowaway.
We beat the boat to its next stop and waited patiently. At last it hove to at the quayside. Our lost brother was first off the ship, but what came next has never left my mind’s eye. There was our Oriental companion, backing down the gang plank, his camera clicking away as he took pictures of the Captain and some of his officers!