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"Why does she always carry a wash bag?" "Aw, She's British!"


We were with a party of Americans on a train journey when I overheard that snatch of conversation behind me. I had wondered how I was going to manage to keep my camcorder steady on the train.
It has a very good image stabiliser but I knew that trains always have vibrations and it is difficult to put up a tripod on a train.
Anyway the high frequency vibrations would be transmitted to the tripod.
Beanbags and the like would not suppress them, indeed would probably enhance them. The solution came to me one day when I was wandering around a Boots store.
I found a superior kind of bath sponge which was neatly done up in a sealed plastic cover designed to keep in the moisture and stop the sponge becoming hard. It was also thicker than usual.
This was worth a try to see it would absorb the vibrations on the train.
I bought a sponge bag with a zip and put the sponge in it. I then attached a piece of elastic through the handle of the zip and made it long enough to hang from my wrist so I could place the bag under my elbow when I was in action.
I was able to rest my elbow on a table or any other surface available to steady my hand when holding the camcorder.
The result was very successful, even if I have started a myth in America that English ladies always carry their toilet thing around with them!

Iris Derriman

Second Take February 2001.

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