This was a temporary acquaintance who came to see me when I was sitting in Herbert Park. I was fiddling around with a new camera - the tiny Pentax Q with the interchangeable lens - and trying to get the settings right. The robin helped me discover how good that camera is at this range. Naturally, birds just keep moving around and they're never easy to capture, despite the many photos of birds we see. The robin hopped on the park bench beside me and hung around so much that passers-by were commenting. It just wouldn't go away, so eventually it was left to me to bid goodbye. The robin has the reputation of being rather friendly, especially with gardeners with whom it shares a common interest - the eradication of small pests. The Christmas association for robins is thought to derive from red-coated postmen in Victorian Britain, nicknamed "Robins". But the tale of the plain bird who comforted Jesus on the cross and acquired some of his blood on its breast remains part of British folklore. With its rosy chest, the robin is very much a solar symbol in many cultures - because its breast suggests the sun rise. So if you dream of a robin it might just be the words of the popular song calling you. Wake up, wake up you sleepy head/Get up, get out o' bed/Cheer up, cheer up the sun is red/Live, love, laugh and be happy.
[When the red red robin goes bob bob bobbin’ along. Harry MacGregor Woods, 1926 as recorded by Al Jolson, June 1st 1926]