She had said that I told her challenges were impossible. She had said I then completed the challenges anyway.
I had now completed the easiest challenge of my day. It was time for challenge two. Find a pink flamingo. Take a photograph. I knew that without a stroke of luck - or going into big shops and searching for a flamingo bag or an Alice in Wonderland themed croquet set - this would be an impossible challenge. But I was determined to try.
Walking on from my butterfly related success story I saw this creature peeking out from a doorway. They were smiling broadly at me and I decided that this was a good omen. They could just have been smiling having concluded that I am daft. That's equally likely.
I asked around. I walked round the museum and asked the receptionist where I could find a flamingo. She didn't know of one in Sunderland. Nobody I asked knew of one, not even the set of fundamentalist preachers I was to talk with later that day. Preachers with some pretty amazing ideas. Ideas that would baffle anyone who possessed some kind of reasoning faculty rather than concerted adherence to the exclusive rightness of one way. Preachers who knew their Bibles and knew me to be an antichrist and an abomination. But not preachers who knew something more useful, such as the whereabouts of a flamingo. And what is the point of gaining harsh dogmas if you lose your own flamingo? I quite enjoyed them. They were so extreme! They might get written about so you too can marvel at them. I am sad for them. And sad for me and others who used to follow dogmatic paths, albeit not quite so silly paths as the one walked by these preachers.
Many would say that these photographic challenges form quite a silly path. Silly can be a very good thing.
I visited the city library and gallery of modern art. The latter had closed down. I am glad it's not forever and that it's moving elsewhere. When art dies it weakens the meaning of humanity. The library contained a few animals and a comfy looking sofa.
Onward. I resolved to leave behind the central shopping area of Sunderland and I headed down a street I had never walked down before. In the distance I saw something that looked pretty. I knew full well that it wasn't going to be a flamingo. And it wasn't pink. But at that point I settled for pretty.
I walked round the corner and found myself in a very pretty area. It was quiet too. Sunderland was surprising me and then surprising me some more with treats.
Very pretty. But no flamingo. I wouldn't really have expected to see a flamingo in such a square. There was a dog. There were penguins. But there was no flamingo. In a way that's a shame. But in another way it's a good thing. If there had been a flamingo I would have taken my photo and walked away. And then I would have missed out on the good things to come.
I walked through the square, enjoying the peace. As I came to the end I turned down a back street and saw it. A picture. Not of a flamingo. But a picture on a wall. And I knew I had to go and take a photograph of it.
And then I saw three more paintings on the wall.
After that the images just kept on coming. And coming. And coming. Who knew that Sunderland contained so much gorgeous street art?
That's not the end of it either. There was so much art to see in Sunderland that this blog site would complain about me fitting it into one post.
So I'm going to have to stop now and leave you in suspense about whether or not I ever found a pink flamingo in Sunderland. It is doubtful that this will cause you enough anxiety to raise your blood pressure or lead to any major health problems so I feel safe to leave you in this position of suspense.
Tonight I am very glad to have accepted another daft challenge. Or three daft challenges. If I hadn't gone off on some weird quest I would never have been blessed with finding all these pictures.