Eye-open­ing se­nior gap year ful­fils an am­bi­tion

Bath Chronicle - - NEWS -

A for­mer char­tered sur­veyor who was ter­ri­fied of stag­nat­ing in his re­tire­ment has ful­filled a dream of be­ing a wildlife pho­tog­ra­pher. Now Alan Brook’s work will be ex­hib­ited at the Bath Royal Lit­er­ary and Sci­en­tific In­sti­tute, un­der the ti­tle Foot­loose in the Amer­i­cas. De­ter­mined to look for­wards rather than back­wards, Alan, who owned Brooks Char­tered Sur­vey­ors in Bath for 30 years, and his wife Sue, bought an el­derly Land Rover. It was mod­i­fied for over­land travel through Cen­tral and South Amer­ica. He took more than 30,000 pho­tos over the year-long trip and the ex­hi­bi­tion which runs un­til Novem­ber 17 will show­case a few of his favourites. The cou­ple, from Brat­ton, Wilt­shire, drove 20,000 miles on the trip from April 2015 to April 2016. Alan said: “Any­one can do this they just have to want to enough. My ad­vice to any­one think­ing about this kind of road trip is - be alive to the kind­ness of strangers. So many peo­ple put them­selves out for us. It was a con­tin­ual eye­opener. “One of the best mo­ments for me was watch­ing hun­dreds of fire­flies danc­ing on the grass in Palenque, Mex­ico. “And the worst was when the brakes failed as we de­scended hair­pin moun­tain roads in the Ecuado­rian An­des. “Thank­fully noth­ing else was on the road and I could drive into the side of the moun­tain - that stopped us!” Sue, 65, a re­tired oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist, says: “We went through coun­tries that peo­ple thought we were mad to visit - Mex­ico, Guatemala, El Sal­vador - but we only ever ex­pe­ri­enced a warm wel­come. “One thing which did not change was our tea rou­tine. Come rain or shine, dur­ing storms and hur­ri­canes, we al­ways had a cup of tea first thing in the morn­ing and in the mid­dle of the af­ter­noon.” Alan, 72, says: “I al­ways dreamed of be­ing a wildlife pho­tog­ra­pher. So I am so ex­cited to have my own ex­hi­bi­tion.” He will de­liver a talk about their se­nior gap year to­mor­row (Fri­day) at 7.30pm. Pic­tures will be avail­able to buy. All prof­its will go to the BRLSI.

Alan Book takes a rest on the con­verted Land Rover

Just some of Alan’s stun­ning pho­tog­ra­phy of a hum­ming bird; a young boy in a crowd at the mar­ket; an iguana and a mon­key

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