At first I was slightly puzzled, because I had my camera bag slung across my back and the legs of my tripod were fully extended and resting across my other shoulder. Then it suddenly dawned on me ... the tarn I was walking back from is popular with fishermen, and this walker had probably seen my tripod, assumed it was a fishing rod, and thought I'd been fishing. We chatted briefly, and then as I wandered back down the mountainside I began seeing similarities between the sport of fishing, and the 'sport' of photography. We both end up standing around for hours trying to capture something and our perfect prey can elude us quite easily. And then there's all the equipment we photographers like to have - chat to any fisherman and they'll also explain about the need to have the right rod and tackle.
By the time I reached the car park a whole article had formed in my mind, and I quickly jotted down my thoughts.
Two days later I was wandering up another mountainside, and the weather was changeable. In the space of ten minutes seven people coming back down the mountain passed by, and they all said the same thing: "Did you see that wonderful rainbow behind you?" (Funnily enough, because it was behind me, I didn't.) Hence, the incident became another example in the fisherman/photographer article about the 'one that got away'.
And then after one particularly exhausting day on the mountains, I felt I deserved a cup of tea and a slab (yes, a slab, not a piece - I had walked nine miles) of flapjack, so I stopped off at a cafe near the car park, and sat outside to enjoy my rewards for conquering the view. Within minutes my flapjack was under attack from the local chaffinches. "If those bloody birds were human, they'd have hoodies and ASBOs," said a descending voice from the adjacent picnic table (his plate was empty too). A chaffinch with a hoody and an ASBO ... hmmmm, out came my notebook and pen again.
So in the space of a couple of days people making passing comments have helped me to produce two articles. Never dismiss anything people say to you. You never know where it might lead. At the time, it might not make sense, but as writers, these passing comments can be little idea gems. It can all begin with a passing comment, but as a writer you should never let it end there!