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Friday, October 27, 2006

Rats

For those eating avoid!!

Well I left the office at 12:30. Anyway I've got a cold and I am driving along. Well you know how it is when you keep wanting to cough up something well I coughed and was sick!! So instead of going straight to pick my scope up straight away I went to clean up. I am actually ok but it was darned embarassing.

I eventually got to pick the scope up and popped into Rye Meads. The ducks are now in breeding plumage, and a nice find was a Great Crested Grebe (not common at Rye Meads) also saw a Little Grebe, Green Sandpiper and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

The New Telly

Well my parents new telly arrived yesterday and popped into help set it up.

Ok Aerial there, power lead there. Well this is the easy bit turn on and uh nothing. Press buttton, waggle plug. Uhm oh. Pick up instructions, what is this power switch at the back and under a flap? Press? Power!!

Tuning it was a breeze since it did it all itself. Annoyingly as they get Anglia and London it put Channel 4 on Programme 5 and Channel 5 on Programme 6.

Flipping thing is pick though 37". Me to Dad (after turning to teletext) you can read that I take it! Nice picture though.

The most onerous task was to get the old telly upstairs "out of the way". Was the old one HEAVY!!

I'm off for a few days up to Norfolk. Hopefully I can shoot off early and pick my little travel scope up. If I leave for early I'll still be 9.5 hours up and I have 9 days holiday left (I'll carry 5 over).

My mission tomorrow is to get a nice picture of Cherrypie. Although I'll be satisfied with just finding the Surf Scoter!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A bit of a funk

I've been in a bit of a funk the last few days. I know why and I am annoyed with myself!!

I won't go into details.

Anyway I thought I was better but nope still in a funk. At lunchtime I decided I was not getting into Book 5 of the Dark Tower so decided to buy some "trashy" sub Da Vinci code thrillers on the way home.

I was surfing the net when I came across this story about the Government asking Local Authorities to volunteer to bury nuclear waste within the authority. I had visions of us burying waste in the foundations of the Civic extension and I just started giggling and giggling.

Ever since I've been fine. Weird.

Pelican swallows Pigeon

An Eastern White Pelican was seen swallowing a whole Feral Pigeon in St James Park yesterday. Apparently it took the Pelican 20 minutes to swallow the pigeon.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Questioned by Kate

I am at a loss what to blog today. I am most definitely not posting my daft email so there Nic.

Luckily Kate has asked some questions!!

1) What were you doing when you heard that Margaret Thatcher had resigned and did you do a happy dance?
Uhm curiously I was more happy when Archer resigned. I was at Antony House in Cornwall. I walked to my car turned the radio on and went YES!! I never voted for Thatcher but I guess she was a necessary evil.

2) Do you pay for things using the exact money or plastic, or do you end up with a ton of small change?
Mostly plastic but rarely exact money. Lose change usually goes in a Church box or the like.

3) Were you a part of an 80s teen sub-culture, or were you far too individual for such nonsense?
I was far too old.

4) If Captain Scarlett was indescructable can you explain why he finished every episode in a hospital bed?
Needed to regenerate I guess.

5) Had you ever heard of Barry Scott before he began to advertise that 'bang and the dirt is gone' stuff?
who is Barry Scott.

Monday, October 23, 2006

what makes me happy.

I have been told I don't give of myself enough on this blog and that I "hold back". Someone who knows more about me than most (and knows what commandments I've broke ;) ) reckons they've learned things.

Anyway what makes me happy?

I'll skip the obvious, Mum being given a clean bill of health....

1. I was out of work for 7 months 4 years ago. One day I was walking out of the Kingfisher hide and was feeling rather down, then this Robin flew down in front of me and just sang his little heart out.

2. I like Sunny Spring days. Some years a ago I was having a short break in Derbyshire. I had driven in torrential rain, the M1 was a river but by the time I arrived it started to clear. I spent a lovely afternoon at Sudbury Hall looking around a nice building and sitting by the lakes.

3. I like sitting in peace and quiet with a book. Good instances of this were at Barrington Court, Somerset. Trerice , Cornwall.

4. Birding. Not the hurly burly twitching type but stroll around on my own or with a mate seeing whats about.

5. I like solitude. I like tranquility. Keep me away from crowds.

6. I like my space. I like being with people but I want to be able to be on my own. I begin to fill trapped if I'm constantly with people. I suppose this leads on to...

7. Doing what I want when I want. If I want to do something I don't have to ask. Terribly selfish I know but I do like it.

8. Eating a good meal. I'm not talking really expensive stuff but just a nice meal.

9. Snuggling under a warm duvet on a freezing cold morning

10. A Hug.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday

I spent the morning shopping - sigh. At least I have bought my parents their Christmas present! They saw something they wanted so......

I was going birding locally but it was chucking down so on my way back from Sunday lunch (Smoked Bacon, cauliflower cheese and Roast Pots, Apple Pie and cream - lovely) I stopped into Tesco and bought the Da Vinci code.

Having read the book must help but I found it enjoyable enough. Ok it won't be on anyones list of the great movies but it was watchable. Its fiction, just accept it for what it is.

The fantasy football is heating up. I have a narrow lead over Dave and Corinna.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Three-legged Tortoise gets a "spare"

Winky the three-legged Tortoise has been fitted with a wheel and a suspension system to help her get around Longleat safari park.

Winky was given to Longleat four years ago after losing her leg to an unknown predator. She was suffering from depression due to her lack of mobility, originally she was fitted with a plastic wheel.

Increasingly warmer autumns mean Winky hibernates later in the year, leaving her battling to cope with muddy grass and slopes and dead leaves.

The basic wheel system has now been replaced with an air-filled tyre and a spring suspension system with shock absorber (4x4-style).

Another bit of twitching

I had a frustrating day yesterday. I texted Dave to ask where he was going his response was "where do you want to go?", me - "Thorpeness ;)"

So at 6:50 he arrived and off we went for THE target bird. We parked walked up and on cue the Red Flanked Bluetail perched up and gave lovely views. At one point he flew and we left the crowd and had more good views. This birding is easy!! Oh Blackcap as well and a Sparrowhawk.

On to Sizewell, nice Stonechats and at least 2 Black Redstarts but no males.

Then breakfast at Minsmere. We missed Ring Ouzel but had nice views of Water Pipit sat next to Meadow Pipit. The supporting cast was Marsh Harrier, Swallow!!, House Martin!!, Dunlin, Little Stint, Snipe, Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Green Woodpecker, Redwing, ducks (including Pintail), gulls, loads of finches, Dave had Treecreeper whilst I was getting the whats about sheet, tits, Beardies (heard) and Cettis (heard).

We stopped at the Eel and Boot for a pint before heading back to Sizewell to eat sarnies and look for male Black Redstart. We decided to do some seawatching and lucky we did with Black Tern, Little Gull and Arctic Tern!! No male Black Redstart but we finished with a showy Stonechat.

Another stunning day!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Collecting People

I was tagged for this by Beki, the idea is that bloggers list five things about them which aren't generally known in the hope that 'writerly' people can pick up ideas, or find help with research or character development. So, here are five things about me, that you may not know . . .

1) I suffer from gout

2) I used to push trolleys around Sainsbury's for a Saturday job.

3) I was 30 minute Chess Champion of Harlow

4) I played balloon tennis one new years eve. we got called in and we were waiting for jobs to run. The new office layout gave a good court!!

5) on a geography field trip our dorm couldn't get to the loos. a few of us peed into bag and through out of window. discovered tents there next day. whoops

I'm not tagging anyone but feel free to take part

PLEASE LEAVE THE FOLLOWING IN ALL ‘PEOPLE COLLECTION’ POSTS

Remember that it isn’t always the sensational stuff that writers are looking for, it can just as easily be something that you take for granted like having raised twins or knowing how to grow beetroot. Mind you, if you know how to fly a helicopter or have worked as a film extra, do feel free to let the rest of us know about it :-)

Its Friday

61. How do you do?
well actually. just watched the changes go through. yes I AM that sad.

62. What's your favourite TV program?
a. currently - embarassingly I like Strictly come Dancing. Girls dancers are so hot.
b. recently - Most wildlife progs, Have I got news for you.
c. distantly - as a kid I liked stuff like the Tomorrow People and cartoons like Hong King Phooey and wacky racers
d. the program they should repeat/repeat more often - Birding with Oddie. He does this SO well. Classic sitcoms - I love 'em. Life of Birds. Classic series.

63. Which conspiracy theory seems most feasible to you? why is that?
uhm never believe in them, life is complex enough. Come on in 1997 did you believe Blair and Bush would be buddies?

64. Life swap. Who/What would you exchange with?
someone winning £1 mill on the lottery.

65. Here's £1000 - whatcha gonna buy huh?
DSLR I guess

66. Your favourite book?
a. fiction - Lord of the rings i guess.
b. non fiction - Collins Bird Guide/RSPB Handbook,

67. Which expression makes your blood boil (kinda, so to speak)?
your when they mean you're

68. Food & Drink. What goes together that really shouldn't?
uhm uhm uhm

69. What was the last thing you held in your left hand?
Toothpaste

70. Who is the biggest mong on TV?
Clarkson

71. Tell us of your near death experiences.
Never had one

72. List your top 3 songs.
Girlfriend
Its a Hardlife
The Queen and the Soldier

73. What if the hokey cokey really is what it's all about?
I'd Put my left leg in

74. What was your first full time job?
DP Trainee - photocopying clerk

75. Where are you going this weekend?
birding!!

Things

Its been one of those days. I was called last night and things I thought had been sorted.......... fingers crossed for tonight!!

Don't worry I've decided the PDA thing is a complete waste of money. I'll save the dosh and use it to pay for my long weekend in Norfolk next weekend (last one of the year honest folks).

I'm enjoying the photography. The photos are turning out ok despite not being tweaked much nad being on auto!! Despite what digiscoping-is-to-difficult-birder says in a comment on churches and birds I can't see me going the DSLR route for a while, far too expensive. As it is I can record my memories and the camera doesn't get in the way.

I can see the camera has limitations but I am impressed. I'll have to make sure I get a nice pic of cherry-pie next week!!

Not sure what I am up to tomorrow. Will depend if work goes ok tonight.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Churches and Birds

I have a pile of flex and so I was off today.

I started off over the Forest. Fairly quiet, the Redwings and Fieldfares have yet to arrive but I had two Great Spots and 4 Green Woodpeckers.

Kate had asked if I had any pics of Finchingfield Church and I thought this was a good idea to reaquaint myself. Finchingfield village is picture postcard stuff and on weekends in Summer is PACKED with cars.



Very few ducks on the pond today !


Ah being shy.



The church has a fine Norman tower.









You get a sense you are being watched.....









Another external view.


The Duck Pond and one of the pubs.


Some birds not necessarily wild ;)


The windmill.


From Finchingfield I want to Little Sampford. It's just up the road and is one of my favourites.








And on to Great Bardfield.





It and its near neighbour have two excellent Stone Rood Screens (rarer!!). My camera really can't do it justice.







There were alot more I could have popped into show you, maybe another day, but i went back for lunch and then went on to Amwell. There've been reports of a Goldeneye but I failed to find it! Loads of Great Crested Grebes. Nice tit flock.

Work tomorrow sigh!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

PDA's and IPAQs

I don't like New Technology. Don't get me wrong I like the effects of it but its the complexities bit I don't like. Its when people say well you connect your doodah to your whatsamjit and away you go. I go how do you do that? well you INSERT APPROPRIATE TECHNOBABBLE. And I am left scratching my head. I like nice simple instructions.

I am tempted by getting an electronic field guide and it appears that the guide of choice is the collins eguide. Now they recommend a HP iPAQ hx2190 Pocket PC but I know that dell do PDA's (and I even know they are the same thing). So I wonders to myself if a dell would be better since I've always found dells to be reliable. Now I go on to the dell site and find this

I can work out that all of them will be fine for my needs. Although the most expensive has a 640x480 resolution screen and wildsounds recommend 320x240 which the other two are so both would meet my needs.

But here i get confused there are loads of "add ons" I could buy.

do I need .......
  • an aditional battery
  • I've twigged that the SD cards are those that go in my camera and I have a slot on the lap top.
  • I presume a case would be handy but do I need extra styluses? I suppose I might lose one....
  • what about "additional connectivity" e.g.
  1. USB docking cradle with spare battery charging slot to securely place your Axim on your desk
  2. USB Travel Sync Cable to sync and charge your Axim via USB
  • it says it comes with a "UK/Irish - Power Cord" so WHY do I need a "UK Power Cord & AC adapter?"


I mean all I want to do is open box. Put card in PDA/IPAQ and ID birds......

If anyone wishes to tell me why I do and don't want all this stuff.....

Oh I can use it as an MP3 player which might be nice but I won't be connecting it to my work stuff as that would be "VERBOTEN"

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"The biggest blog in history"

We are being encouraged to take part in the biggest blog in history.

'One Day in History' is a one off opportunity for you to join in a mass blog for the national record. We want as many people as possible to record a 'blog' diary which will be stored by the British Library as a historical record of our national life.

Write your diary here reflecting on how history itself impacted on your day - whether it just commuting through an historic environment, discussing family history or watching repeats on TV.


You can enter your blog anytime up to October 31st.

Monday, October 16, 2006

a bit too close to the truth

1. Your houseplants are alive, and you can't smoke any of them.
2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.
3. You keep more food than beer in the fridge.
4. 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.
5. You hear your favorite song in an elevator.
6. You watch the Weather Channel.
7. Your friends marry and divorce instead of "hook up" and "break up."
8. You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.
9. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up."
10. You're the one calling the police because those %&@# kids next door won't turn down the stereo.
11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.
12. You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.
13. Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.
14. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonald's leftovers.
15. Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.
16. You take naps.
17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.
18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset, rather than settle, your stomach.
19. You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and
pregnancy tests.
20. A £2.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good shit."
21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.
22. "I just can't drink the way I used to" replaces "I'm never going to drink that much again."
23. 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.
24. You drink at home to save money before going to a bar.
25. When you find out your friend is pregnant you congratulate them instead of asking "Oh shit what the hell happened?"

Sunday, October 15, 2006

What I did

Funny old day. My dad has been thinking for months about buying a new Telly. He always likes buying from John Lewis as they give you a free 5 year guarantee. Anyway the three of us turned up and he looked and asked Mum's opinion (which is do you like the look of it! Mum is never that bothered as long as she likes the look of it). I expected him to then go look somewhere else compare prices but of course my Dad being my Dad has a rush of blood and buys it. Its 37 inches LCD HD ready, turns up Thursday week. Will be good for Christmas!!

This afternoon I popped into Rye Meads. Very quiet, ducks looking very dapper. Two Redshanks and Snipe being the highlight.

Then pulled up the plants ready for the tip.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Birding in Norfolk

I was up at some ridiculous hour and set off to Dave's. It promised well with an Urban Fox near home but just as we neared our first stop a Moorhen walked in front of the car :(

We arrived at Holkham at about 7:50 and promptly had a Woodcock fly over our heads. Lots of birds in the woods with some large tit flocks (predominantly Coal and Long Tail) and lots of Goldcrests. There were lots of Grey Squirrels and a few muntjac. Our target birds were Yellow-Browed Warbler and Firecrest, both were heard but......... we also heard Bearded Tits.

We headed back to Titchwell, which was absolutely packed with twitchers for the Whiskered Tern. This had advantages as the cafe was empty and we had prompt service of Bacon Rolls! We then strolled along the path with Water Rails grunting, Beardies pinging and Cettis being mouthy and saw the Whiskered Tern. Ran into two Harlow Birders at Titchwell as well. You drive 110 miles.......

So where next? Twitchers eh! Off to Salthouse which was quiet, Razorbill and a Juve Puffin off coast as well as Gannets and a Red Throated Diver. In the nearest pool was one Dunlin and a Curlew Sandpiper.

Lunch at the Dun Cow Salthouse was rather nice and then we stopped at East Bank Cley. Red Throated Diver off coast and a pair of Eider flying through. The White-Rumped Sandpiper was a right git to find luckily for me it flew with 2 Dunlins giving nice rump views.

Stopped off at Blakeney to twitch the Cattle Egret (honestly don't you hate these tick and run merchants).

Curiously the hardest to find was the Snow Goose. We sort of misjudged it and found a massive Pink Foot flock but no... oh there's another one over there, drove to far. Well found some birders and the promised two barnacle geese were there but uh no Snow Goose. We then did what we should have done in the first place and used the OS map and found the right field and there it was.

A rather pleasant day in the usual good company. I missed some good birds like Marsh Harrier and Little Stint out!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Not very Christian is it........

Simon, who runs the excellent Suffolk and Norfolk church websites, was telling me (ok it was an email!) about a Vicar who has asked him to remove the entries for the two parish churches he serves. The two churches are Hunstanton St Edmund & Ringstead St Andrew.

I hope Simon doesn't mind me quoting but the vicar's objection seemed to be Simon having a website based on his "own prejudiced ideas". Apparently there is an OFFICIAL website and he finds "it very worrying that someone can set up a website without the
permission of those whose task it is to attend to the ministry and
mission of the Church.".

I mean really who do these people think they are. Everytime I find myself drawn to the church, and yes there are times, I find myself put off by something. Whether it be clergyman/wardens to full of their own importance or finding them as big supporters of creationist theories.

Anyway I was trying to find the offical website when I came across Ship of Fools. Ship of Fools is a christian website that describes itself as The Magazine of Christian unrest. I do like those religious types who can laugh at themselves.

Anyway I happened across a Ship of Fools Mystery Worshipper report of St Edmunds Hunstanton.

But that isn't what prompted this blog. There is an article whereby by SofF got fooled! They received a complaint that one of the reviews was too positive and apparently its a cold day in hell when this happens.

It would appear that a Priest/Vicar wrote the reports himself praising his dress sense and singing. It would also that he has done this before under different user ids. The priest has even admitted to misleading his congregation about taking a service at Westminser Abbey. Sounds a trustworthy bloke doesn't he.

Of course there are vicars/churches with a sense of humour. Sadly the excellent Rivenhall Church near me is normally locked but the Vicar was able to give me instructions as to how to get in. In there website is the following secion. Go look you'll enjoy.

The lovely Kate was asking me for info about St John the Baptist Finchingfield and whether I had any photos. I have told her I don't..... yet. I'm off next Thursday YES I KNOW!! But I can't keep accumulating hours and I don't want to take the Friday as we are putting stuff live tonight and I want to be about for the next few Fridays. So I think a walk in the forest at Hatfield and a trip over to Finchingfield and its environs is a good idea. Expect to see some photos!!

Questions more questions

here we go....

47. What do you think Canada is really like?

48. What's in your pockets?

49. What do you consider 'depression' to be?

50. What makes you v.angry?

51. When was the last time you burst out laughing, why?

52. Tell me your fashion disasters.

53. Write your own obituary in less than 10 words.

54. What can you put in a box to make it lighter?

55. You have to change your name, what would you legally change it to?

56. Your favourite 3 course meal?

57. Recall your super-natural experiences.

58. What is your 'trade mark' party trick?

59. Tell us your favourite joke.

60. Which of the above questions were supplied by someone other than Dave?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Flakes

In her blog today Kate mentions 99 or flakes. Now mention of cadbury's flakes makes you think back to those classic adverts of a an attractive girl "eating" a flake. For me the classic was the girl in the bath drool.... sorry mind elsewhere but I can't find that so for your entertainment....

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Waiting Again

Well Mum has had the biopsy results and its cancer. However she and Dad seem to think its not as serious as it might be (guess its all relative), apparently she's going to have a 10 minute chemo (not sure how often) but she won't lose her hair and she'll have to take some Hormonal tablets.

She seemed quite upbeat.... even Dad didn't sound as down as I thought (my Dad can find the negative in anything!).

I'll pop in later to see them and get more info.

Did I jump when the phone went!! Heart goes in mouth etc!!

Coming back from Holiday I discovered my House and contents was up for renewal. I KNOW I am paying through the nose and I've discovered how much I am paying through the nose. Not certain who I'll go with but it'll save enough for 4 nights DB&B in Norfolk. Ever practical.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stuff

Well as I've lots of flexi time I shot off at lunchtime yesterday to take my little travelscope back for repair. Before anyone says anything I was in the office at 7:30 so leaving at 12:30 isn't too bad.

The bloke has sent it back to Nikon. I've heard there service is naff so it'll be a while lucky I'm not dependent on it. I'll slum it with my Leica!!

Well as it was still early I popped into Rye Meads. The reserve was quiet (naturally). Ducks coming into plumage. Teal numbers increasing. Little Grebes showing off, Snipe and Green Sandpiper present. Cormorants very entertaining.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sunday 8th October

Jan wanted to get back to London so I arranged to meet her and Tony near Exeter and pick her up.

Decided that it would be nice to stop at Stourhead. I won't waffle on about how nice it was....









Jan who is not quite as old as the gardens (I'm dead aren't I sweetie) and who will be a blogger when she gets on broadband.



Dropped Jan off and visited the old folks. The reason this blog is finished is that Jan wouldn't let me do anything!! Cooked dinner made cups of tea. Oh I opened a very nice Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc.

Had a super week. 3 weeks until next short break - LOL.

Saturday 7th October

My luck with the weather continues. The sun shone all day!

I strated out going to Dartmoor. Its a gorgeous and atmospheric place, looks lovely when the sun is shining.





I haven't been to any churches this week. I had targets in Cornwall but other things popped up. Anyway today I ticked St Pancras, Widecomebe in the Moor.






and St John the Baptist, Ashton.





After Dartoor I went to Coleton Fishacre (sounds like Boofy swearing in chat!). It was built in 1926 for the D'oyle Carte family. It's a house i could imagine living in and is kitted out in 20's and 30's furniture and, unsurprisingly, Gilbert & Sullivan memorabilia.

The gardens are superb (best visited earlier in the year) and hilly and lead to a lovely bay.







I spent ages watching Peregrines and Kestrels over the bay before hearing the Kronk Kronk of Ravens. A pair circled over for my first of the year.

I strolled back and had a cup of tea and a piece of apple cake - oh am I going to suffer next week.

My hotel for thte two weekends in Devon has been the Sea Trout at Staverton near Totnes. I didn't think the food was quite as good this time, the beer and house whites were excellent. Works out about £85 for B&B evening meal and a couple of drinks. So ***