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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bits and Bobs

So what is happening?

Mum says her appetite is coming back and Dad's sugar levels now he is on insulin injections seem well under control (apparently he did well to be off insulin so long).

The flipping warning light has come on again. As they say it is not essential to get it checked it'll wait for the service which I think will be next Month.

I checked my phone messages last night to find that the BT supervisor RANG ME!! I predict massing fainting in blog land. She is waiting for a call back on my broadband being given preferential treatment. I doubt this will happen and its hardly preferential since today is Wednesday and its due back Friday but be fair she actually rang and kept me informed.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Walking The Lakes

Oh before starting I was rather pleased to spy two Foxes running in a field on my way home.

Anyway I turned on BBC 4 last night to find a program underway about Arthur Wainwright. If you stroll into any bookshop and they have a decent travel section they'll have a Wainwright.

Arthur Wainwright was a fell walker who wrote a series of illustrated guides to the Lakesland fells. He started 50 years ago and they are still being published in large numbers.

There maybe better guides for getting you around the fells BUT Wainwright guides are slightly different. They are not just guides, they are almost philosophical meditations with the lakes. The Guides show various routes over the fells, there are no photos just intricate hand drawn sketches by Wainwright. Part of the charm is the dialogue Wainwright has with the reader. Another part is the retro look of the books. I believe some of the books have been updated but the look and feel has been kept the same.

Looking at the books makes me want to walk one of these routes BUT (and there was a but in the title!) I am a lazy unfit so and so and I know that I will never do it and that I really don't want to THAT much. The fact that a nine year old girl has done all 214 "Wainwrights" is embarassing I know. Before someone says I could (and should) get fit it wouldn't matter, I'd still stop every 5 minutes looking for birds.

Anyway half an hour after the program finished a new programme called Wainwright Walks was shown. In it presenter Julia Bradbury walks a different Wainwright (last night it was Hatstacks). The scenery is breathtaking and Bradbury an engaging host. The program is repeated at 7:30 next Monday with the next episode at 8:30.

For those of you like me this may be the nearest you get. We may misshe exhilaration but at least you can lay back with a nice glass of wine enjoy the secenery AND your feet don't hurt!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Cats in Reality TV Show

You thought that they had tried everything for reality TV?

Well ten cats are competing to find their perfect owner in a reality show in the states.

The cats, who all come from shelters or rescue groups, are being filmed in a shop window until June 23rd.

As on Big Brother, the cats will have to complete tasks, and will be graded on purring and catching toy mice.

One cat will get the boot each day until a winner is chosen, but all 10 will be given a permanent home.

The American Humane Association is monitoring the wellbeing of the cat contestants during the competition.


For more see the BBC Website

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A quiet Sunday

Well another weekend over. Where is my life going? Its March next week.

That said March is an interesting month. We get the migrants starting to arrive and the National Trust starts coming to life. I may have to slip in a visit to Osterley in March. I say interesting as its year-end. Normally I work two weekends but this year it will only be one. I'll take time in lieu instead of cash. I normally head off to Norfolk but this time I may go somewhere else.

There was talk of a meet in Rutland in April so maybe I'll tack a day on that if it happens. I love the Spring. To me heaven is a sunny april day, blue skies birds singing. A morning's birding in a wood seeing falls of migrants and then an afternoon around a big house and sitting in the garden with a good book. Bliss!

Been a very quiet day. I can't regale you with exciting stories or interesting days out.

Next weekend is already planned I'm meeting with some people at Barnes. Third visit of the year! Its a nice place but more so a convenient place to meet up. The weekend after? I think I'm going to try and go birding up Norfolk with Dave.

Had a voice text from BT to say that my broadband would be reactivated by 8pm Friday.
I wonder if the supervisor will improve this ? Fat chance I know. If BT don't deliver
I will be looking for a new supplier, any suggestions? I suppose some of my patience" is I can use the net at work. I usually get in about 7 and so can browse during lunchtime and before I start.

Dial-up has not been too bad but some blogs are SSSSOOOO slow if they have pics. So if I haven't popped by I'll do so tomorrow.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Amwell

I stayed local today.

I popped down to Amwell Gravel Pits. The Little Bunting was seen at 7:15 I was in bed at the time and it wasn't seen whilst I was there. It's a nice feeling when you can say "oh already seen it" :D Didn't seem to be as many Reed Buntings this week.

There were 3 Water Rails showing incredibly well. Goldenye and usual ducks and Geese. The Lapwings were joined by a Redshank and a Ringed Plover. 2 Buzzards overhead

Wandered down to the hide. Lovely close up views of Blue and Great Tit. But it was particularly nice to see Lesser Redpoll. Off to the other lake which had a number of female Goldeneye and a drake but no Smew.

Wandered back through the woods for a nice mixed flock of Siskin, Redpoll and Goldfinch and also a Treecreeper.

I briefly popped into Rye Meads but it was awfully quiet.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Excuse Me I'm going to swear

So would my broadband be back? I phoned BT and after getting passed about twice I got a chap telling me I'm ever so sorry but the new order was cancelled. "You are f*cking joking". I assured him it wasn't his fault but this was ridiculous. They left a marker on apparently and I have to wait til next Friday.

Apparently BT Wholesale treat them as if they were an external company. He eventually realised I was serious peed off and put me through to his supervisor. I told her I work in local government and EVEN WE have manual work arounds. I think being told you were worse than local government embarassed her. Let me add that if you ring us up you will get MUCH better service than you will from BT. She assures me she will TRY and expedite matters and took my mobile number. I expect nothing will happen.

But let me say that BT has NO idea of customer service. If you screw up twice SURELY you should sort it out and if that means paying the supplier you pay 'em.

Warning lights and more on the duck

I took the car in yesterday afternoon. Apparently there have been a whole spate of MIL lights coming on this week. The lady in service says they contacted head office and its nationwide for Hyundai and Kia and it appears to be mainly people who used Tesco. So any guesses where I fill up? They've reset it and they are testing the petrol to see what is causing the light to come on. If there is a problem they'll be in touch.

Stumpy the four legged duck made it on Richard and Judy yesterday. One of the legs looks a bit withered apparently but other than that he is doing fine. He'll be left to wander around the farmyard.

Its a bit quiet at the moment. I've got dial up working so I'm not totally net less at home.

Not sure what I'm up to tomorrow. Watch this space!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Duck born with 4 legs

A rare mutation has led to a duck being born with 4 legs. The duck was born at Warrawee Duck Farm in the New Forest.

Mrs Janaway said the animal would not survive in the wild.

"He's eating and surviving so far and he is running about with those extra legs acting like stabilisers," she said.

Not much happening

Not having broadband has its advantages. I sat down last night and sorted through all my financial statements and filed them. Note to self: when you get something file it!! It's a lot easier. Still I was going through the papers when I found an account I didn't know I had!! There's a result.

I have got dial up working. Its a bit painful on some sites and yahoo chat drops it from time to time but handy for emergencies.

The car is in this afternoon to have the Malfunction Indicator Light checked.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A year? You must be joking!

It was a year ago today that thequacksoflife was launched on to an unsuspecting and, I suspect, disinterested public. And this is post no 497.

Until that time the phenomenon known as blogging had passed me by. Then my mate Dave started a blog and I "had a look". Dave subsequently deleted the blog ("you mean I could have just deleted the post?") started another one and then deleted it.

I of course have trudged on regardless. I am still unsure as to why I started. I didn't think anyone would be interested. It therefore came as a bit of shock when I discovered that people who knew nothing about me were reading it. I think Cherrypie was the first to comment and she was followed by Nathalie, Kate, Diddums and Kaz in some sort of order.

I would have put good money on this blog not making its first birthday, but, spurred on by the fact that people were regularly dropping by I've perservered.

I've even met someone, Cherrypie, whose existence I was totally unaware of pre-blog.

I regularly read blogs from Sweden (Nathalie), US (Lee, Little Red Omnibus, Leazwell), Canada (OC, Ocean Walks, Leehane) and even, oh the shame, Yorkshire.

And of course I mustn't forget the chatsters (Nic, Boofy, Jan et al).

The first post was entitled "Well why am I doing this?"

and went

I haven't got a clue.

Its lunch time and I'm bored.

Don't expect pretty pictures or any such. I intend to ramble on about birds and books and whatever else I feel like.


I've pretty much rambled on as predicted. I have bought a camera though (and doesn't Diane know it) and I admit it was totally to put stuff on the blog.

Ambitions for the next 12 months? Pretty much more of the same really. I'd like to meet some more of you. Plans already made to meet Boofy. I really want to meet Jan (well really that cute dog Emma!! but don't tell Jan that ;) ).

Fingers crossed for Mum obviously. I hope to read that Ally has become a mum. After all the trials and tribultations of trying to adopt it will be great to read that she is a Mum.

I do read everyone whose blog is on the list and if anyone wants to point me at some others.....

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Scottish National Heritage Suspends Cull

As some of you aware for the past few years Scottish National Heritage have been culling Hedgehogs on the Island of Uist. There were reasons for this in that Hogs were eating the eggs of threatened waders and were not native to Uist (they were introduced in the 70's - more of man poking his nose in).

A rival group have maintained that the Hogs should be relocated. For the past few years SNH have been culling Hogs whilst another group have been relocating Hogs. SNH has said that Hogs could not be relocated successfully. Well since new research has shown that Hogs can be suceesfully relocated SNH have suspended the cull.

Adhoc Ramblings

I was nearly home last when a warning light came on in the car. It was some odd shape with the word CHECK underneath and it was in orange. OH FUDGE DUCK!! I carried on regardless (only half a mile) and then checked the manual. Malfunction Indicator Light. Well duh! Found the blurb didn't sound dangerous. Luckily they were still at the garage and the woman on the service desk said it wasn't a problem to drive. It goes in Thursday. Oh its all to do with emission level.

Jan has asked why I don't use dial up in my broadbandless state. "Don't be a tight ass". Well you know I don't have dial up installed!! Could I use chat on dial up? There was a wanadoo dial up disk in my welcome back but could I go back to something THAT slow? I am getting through my books a bit quicker!

On Saturday I received a letter from Essex Wildlife Trust asking if I had a will and would I consider making a bequest to them. Obviously this is a growth industry since I opened the Radio Times to find a similar advert from the RSPB. I daresay the National Trust will be on to me soon.

Before any solicitors reading this think they may get some business I do have a will.

And on a note to leave the Hogsters amongst you cheering. It is expected Scottish National Heritage will stop the Uist Hedgehog cull today.

Monday, February 19, 2007

BT!!!

Some of you may remember that BT offered to upgrade my broadband for free? and that I accepted the offer but then cancelled it when I saw the one off £30 charge.

I had inklings that BT were going to screw up but every phone call said it was fine.

So I had a feeling of dread when on Saturday morning I had no broadband. Upon returning from London still no broadband.

The technical support took me through various set up procedures and then announced that I didn't have a broadband account.

Me - Yes I do I was on it last night!
Them - no you don't I'll put you through to sales.
But....

anyway got through got cut off got through got cut off

ON THE FOURTH TIME OF TRYING. The bloke said that they had deleted my broadband in error. Hang on a mo he'd sort it out. He returned! Ok done, they deleted the broadband but left the billing account (you DO surprise me). Ok he said I've suspended payment for the 9 days you will be off.

Pardon? It'll take 9 days to reconnect. YOU ARE KIDDING!! No he said I'll arrange for compensation. Of course if I was the director of BT it would be back on the next day.

So BUGGER. I am internetless for 9 days !!

Sunday

I arrived at Deboo towers for a Days birding with Dave & Joy. Our first stop was the Ouse Washes where we joined for the morning by Birdforum member HelenElizabeth2 (hello, very nice to meet you). On the way to the washes we had Grey and Red Legged Partridge as well as Corn Bunting.

Although nothing "rare" about we had some very nice birds. From the "visitors centre" we had Brambling (3), Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow and Stock Dove. The reserve was very flooded so we only went to the Welches Dam hide, I was rather chuffed to spot a brief view of a Barn Owl on route. At the hide there were Meadow Pipit and the Dave found us two Water Pipits!

On to Welney via the indirect route as the road was flooded. We soon nabbed the 6 Bean Geese. HE2 left us for family duties and the 3 of us popped into the reserve for Whooper Swans and a female Pochard. The rather nice nice Tufty/Pochard hybrid is back I see. Not much else about though. After Brunch we went to Needingworth to twitch an American Wigeon which played hard to get. We also tried various bith of Fen Drayton to find a Smew to wind HE2 up with no luck!

I think the group managed 68 birds of which I saw 64 (12 of which were new for the year).

We popped in to a pub in Over which was out of food so had to settle for crisps!! Boo hiss!! But the owner came out and offered to do us sarnies which was rather nice of him. The accompaning chips were rather nice.

A Day out in London

Ok so I woke up Saturday morning to find my broadband wasn't working. No time to worry lets get out.

The trains were still meant to be replaced by buses so I drove to Broxbourne only to find the trains were running to Broxbourne. Growl.

Still off I was and my about 8:30 I was at Hyde Park. Since Apsley House didn't open until 10am I went for a walk around Hyde Park.

The entrance to Hyde Park






Lots of birds about. The Lakes holding lots of Geese, Swans and Tufted Duck.







I won't waffle on just enjoy the view.











One woman got a shock to find she was being accosted!!





The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial fountain.







I managed to find a Yellow-Legged Gull and at one point had 4 Great Spotted Woodpecker s in a tree!



10am duly arrived and Apsley House. It was the London home of the Duke of Wellington. It isn't big but FEEL the qaulity. Some wonderful China and Silver and the Paintings! Tenniers, Carravagio, Valazquez, Rubens, etc!! Supeb collection.



Wellington



One of many war memorials.



Another view of Apsely House.



This used to be the entrance to Buckingham Palace until it moved.





From outside Buckingham Palace looking toward Westminster. You can see Parliament and Westminster Abbey.



Gates at St James' Park



Buckingham Palace









A resident of St James' Park.





One of the Pelicans that was caught eating a Feral Pigeon!









St James' has a collection. Don't suppose I can tick the Emperor Goose.







Horseguards Parade. These are the Blues!













The other end of St James' looking back towards Buckingham Palace.



Westminster Abbey. Started by Edward the Confessor pre Norman conquest. The towers are by Hawksmoor (can't remember the exact early 18th century).



St Margarets Church. The Church of Parliament.



The North Door to the Abbey.



Big Ben.



Democracy in Action. The anti-war campaigner.



The cenotaph.



As near as I could get to 10 Downing Street.





Momument to the Woman of World War II



The Banquetting Hall which is normally open except there was an official function on. Drats!!



The Blues have gone here are the Royals.







The cabinet office.



Monty



Churchill.



The London Eye





The Houses of Parliament. But you know that.



Not very grand St George's RC Cathedral Southwark. Originally designed by Pugin it was badly damaged during World War II. Inside it was surprisingly nice given the dull exterior.



The London Skyline. St Paul's, the Nat West Tower and the Gherkin.





And the otherway.



The story of why these photos are so delayed will have to wait!