A face in the clouds

IT'S THE serious journalist's worst nightmare - being assigned to write a puff-piece based on a weird or wacky photo.

So if it's not bad enough when your boss apologetically dumps one on your desk, it's surely unforgivable when it's from your old boss, former editor of The Northern Star Russell Eldridge - a man once renowned for his love of hard news.

"Yes, I never thought I'd see the day I'd send a novelty photo to The Star," he said with a laugh.

So has a laid-back, literary lifestyle driven The Northern Star's former fearless leader to navel-gazing and cloud-spotting?

"Yes, well something like that," he conceded.

"We live down here on the beach and it was just after that big storm ripped through on Monday.

"I was out checking the rain gauge and there was this other big storm front approaching so I just snapped a shot and (when) it came up I thought, 'Oh wow!'.

"It's just interesting to get a pure random shot of a natural formation that has all the features.

"So there you go, what the hell - after all those years of people sending in bloody carrots shaped like human genitals.

"Maybe this is how people get religion; they have too much Christmas cheer and look up in the sky and they think they're seeing God.

"But no, that's definitely not the case for me, even seen through the bottom of a bottle of single malt, it still doesn't look like God."

The retired editor is enjoying life on the coast, having submitted a novel for publication just before Christmas.

"It's nice being able to relax and not feel like I have to earn a living any more - and when your kids are not on your hands you don't have to fork out all the time, so what little you do earn you can spend travelling and just enjoying life."

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