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Friday, June 30, 2006

Happy Birthday Boo

A happy birthday to Boo

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday
Dear Boofy
Happy Birthday to you

Party in chat tonight bring your chain saw.


I got thinking after yesterday's post that two of my most memorable comedy moments are inspired by WWI.

The first, naturally, is the brilliant closing scene from Blackadder Goes Forth where Edmund and the boys go over the top and the scene morphs into a Flanders poppy field. Incredibly poignant.

The other is from Dad's Army. Private Godfrey has been exposed as a concientious objecter during the first war and he is ostracized by the other men. Capt Mainwaring won't spare Godfrey from anything and insists he goes through a smoke filled chamber as part of a training exercise. Godfrey is second last out and seeing that his Captain is not out he goes back to rescue him.

The platoon visit him in his house where he is in bed recovering from mild smoke inhalation. There is a picture of the young Godfrey in military uniform wearing the Military Medal and the platoon discover that though he refused to fight he enlisted in the Medical Corps as a stretcher bearer, and was responsible for a tremendous act of heroism in rescuing several wounded soldiers from No Man's Land under heavy fire.

Funny? No but very moving TV showing the comedy can sometimes get issues across much better than supposedly more serious pieces.

I got thinking further on this after reading Ally on Ducking for Apples link to an article in the Independent. The supposed "War on Terror" has led to the government introducing legislation to curb our rights. All on the pretext that we don't want 9/11 happening here. But that is totally missing the point. The young Men & Women who fought two World War's didn't go over the top just to protect us they did it to preserve away of life. It means innocent until guilty (and not until some tabloid hack says so), it means trial by jury "12 good men strong and true". It means freedom of speech.

Yes politicians have a duty to protect the country BUT if by defending the country they change irrevocably what it means to be British then frankly I wish they wouldn't bother.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lest we forget

Um I am lacking inspiration here. Why is it that some people can be totally uninspired say they are uninspired and don't have anything to say and I'm still impressed by how they sat it?

Turns to the Radio Times.

It is 90 years since the Battle of the Somme, the battle started on July 1st 1916. Lets be honest we all "know" more about WWII because there is lots of archive footage for Telly programs and there have been loads of films about it.

WWI isn't on film and no one makes Films about it. So hence we know less of it. OK OK there are the occasional classics but you know what I mean.

I'm aware that there were battles in WWI but they are names Somme, Paschendale etc the scale of the slaughter is really unimaginable. How many soldiers have died in Iraq? 1000? 2000? How many people died in 9/11 3000? Yes a wretched waste of life but.... now think about this.

20,000 Tommies died in 24 Hours. Think about that 20,000!! that's 14 people a second!!

in 4 months the total casualties (dead and wounded) were over 1.1 million. And what did that achieve? We advanced 7.5 miles. FFS what a waste.

The first world war was not glamorous. A whole generatiom of young men was wiped out. I suppose as a Brit WWI had less impact because the war took place on a foreign field. WWII involved the whole country, the blitz and all that. I think that's why Americans don't understand the French or the Russian's both had there countries ripped apart by Foreign invaders. The dread of war is ingrained in the pysche - see the film "The Best Years of Our Lives" 1946 - so for many Americans the wars means much less than it does to the British and French.

Anyway I digress, go into any Churchyard and the memorial cross you will find lists of whole families of young men gone the dates eerily similar. Friends who signed on for King and Country erased. It brings home to you the pointlessness of the whole thing.

Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I think this blog needs lightening up........

so here is a Lost Dr Seuss Poem called "I love my job". Some of you will have seen it before...

I love my job, I love the pay!
I love it more and more each day.
I love my boss, he is the best!
I love his boss and all the rest.

I love my office and its location, I hate to have to go on vacation.
I love my furniture, drab and grey, and piles of paper that grow each day!
I think my job is really swell, there's nothing else I love so well.
I love to work among my peers, I love their leers, and jeers, and sneers.
I love my computer and its software;
I hug it often though it won't care. I love each program and every file.
I'd love them more if they worked a while

I'm happy to be here. I am. I am.
I'm the happiest slave of the Firm. I am.
I love this work, I love these chores.
I love the meetings with deadly bores.
I love my job - I'll say it again - I even love those friendly men.
Those friendly men who have come today,
In clean white coats to take me away!!!!!

Mum Update

Well Mum completed the first Herceptin yesterday.

She was shattered. They told her a side affect would be flu like symptoms and she felt headachey and cold and went to bed at 6pm.

I spoke to her this morning and she stills feels a little cold but seems her normal perkly self.

She more irritated by her back than anything else.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


On July 9th 2014 it will be my 50th birthday.

No I'm not giving you advance notice to buy me a present. But if you are so inclined......

No I am formally announcing my intention of retiring at this date. The idea of getting up and coming to work until I'm 66 (I'm caught by Mr G Brown upping the retirement age, gee thanks) does not fill me with a great sense of aniticipation. I reckon 50 years of doing what other people tell me is fair enough. Mr Brown is not making things easy for me already I can't claim by previous employers pension at 50 but at 55. BUT that meams I won't lost as much of it (reduced by only 20% not 40%).

Of course I need to be working for another 8 years but if I can somehow manage that I reckon that there's a good chance I'll be off!!

The plan means I won't be staying in Essex but will move slightly further North to where property prices are cheaper. And I'll be downsizing as well. I ought to mention that North means, Cambridgeshire, South Lincolnshire and Norfolk.

So there you go I've said it I want out of the rat race and I want out by 50. I want to be the Youngest Pensioner (sorry Kaz). Wish me luck


Well Mum starts Herceptin today. Apparently for the first treatment she has to be there 6 hours! And then its once every three weeks for either 6 months or a year, don't think she is there for 6 hours every time.

Not much happening personally I'm sort of drifting waiting for weekends and holidays. Where is my life going? It will soon be July and its now closer to next Christmas than last. Although given the nightmare that was last Christmas that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The garden is a live with birds. I ran out of sunflower hearts and Tesco (pah spit) didn't have any so lets hope the birds aren't as fussy as they were last time this happened.

At the moment the birdlife is good. Loads of juve starlings and sparrows and greenfinches. Chaffinches about. 2 adult Goldfinches seen and 3 juves. Oh and I think a young Dunnock. No further sign of the young Blackie and I see very few Tits.

I read an interesting article last night in British Wildlife magazine about Wimpole Hall Park in Cambridgeshire last night. I've visited the Hall a few times and done the garden but never ventured out far into the park. It has two lakes for instance!! It's meant to be particularly important for insects and flowers but also has flourishing bird life. I'll have to have a look one weekend.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The changing face of the high street

No superstore means prosperity

It may be age catching up with me but when I was young I remember there was a much greater variety of shops on our high street. We had greengrocers, butchers, bakers and a number of general food stores. We had Tesco and Sainsbury's (Definitely number one then) but we had the Co-Op, Lipton's, International and Woolworth was a big presence with a big food section. There were also a number of general stores. Over the years they've all gone, that much loved butcher who served your granny has gone to the wall unable to compete.

Going on holiday was an adventure since you would find other shops. You would find things that you never saw at home. For instance sea side towns had different comics. They had American imports with names like Ashonishing Tales, Uncanny and the likes. You rarely saw these at home. You would find some big department store that had been there seen the 1850's.

Nowadays, wherever in the country you go, you are pretty sure of what you are going to find. The same banks and building societies. A branch of Boots and WH Smith's and of course "pound" shops selling the usual tat. Oh and a big out of town superstore or two.

Amusingly Tesco and M&S are reopening small "convenience" stores in the high street putting further pressure on what small stores that still remain. Nowadays the one challenge to the big boys is the Euro discounters like Lidl, Netto and Aldi.

The thing is that when I am in those places that do still have a family butcher I find myself thinking "Pork Chops are how much? I can get them for x in .....". Or in the bakers "I can get 10 of those in ......... for that". I presume that people who don't have transport are forced to shop there.

And that is the problem. I find myself walking into farm shops or markets and thinking "well mate how the hell can it be cheaper to buy from a supermarket? how do people afford to live here?" The supermarkets are very very good at squeezing the margins and we have all become incredibly price conscious. I'm told that quality suffers? Does it? I don't know but until we value service and quality over price I see no change happening soon.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Well up nice and early and off to Norfolk to meet Dave. Seeing Kestel and Hobby on the way.

I arrived at Titchwell at 7:30 to find a happy Dave after finding a Willow Tit on the feeders.

Nice to see Ruddy Duck still about but the highlight was loads and loads of Bearded Tits that were very showy.

Other highlights of the walk to the beach were numerous Little Gulls, Little Tern and Little Egrets and a distant Spoonbill.

Not much off of the coast but it was much nicer than last time we were there! Any way there were Sarnie Terns, Common Scoter and one lone Eider. Oh and Sanderling scuttling along the beach. All to the accompanyment of a Skylark.

So back we head inland. There was a Greenshank amongst the Black Tailed Godwits. From Parrinder hide there are some Ruff's with some have a fair amount of the Ruff remaining! Nine Spotted Redshank and lots of avocets. Also Knot and Black Tailed Godwit. A Little Ringed Plover and a Ringed Plover had a spat!

Yet more Beardies and a burst of Cetti Warbler. Oh and a family of Ruddy Duck.

Saw the "Willow" Tit on the feeder. Um bigger bib but not very bull necked although Dave said it had looked more so from the path.

As I had had no breakfast I endulged in a bacon bap. Very nice. A bit of shopping, I picked up two of those Field Study Centre thingies British Land Mammals and British Butterflies.

Joined Dave who was "field testing" bins. Anyway after admiring the new RSPB range (looked good value) we headed off for the secret M*nt*g*'s Harrier site. This is is so secret that I can't tell you where it is. Its so secret it has a sign saying car park! Or as someone described it the worst kept secret in birding.

On my way I realised that I had left my FSC stuff at Titchwell. Bugger!

Anyway we saw a Marsh Harrier on the way before arriving at the site. Yes a sign saying car park. The female did display and then perched up. Thank you. Oh a Common Buzzard.

On to the Honey Buzzard watchpoint at Great Ryburgh. I think I'm allowed to tell you that!! As we walked to the watchpoint we noticed everyone raise their bins ahead of us so turned around to see a raptor. Um Buzzard? soaring on flat wings? looks like our boy. A few minutes later two buzzards were up and in the scope at the same time and the different flight profiles of Honey and Common could be seen.

We went to the Boar Inn at Great Ryburgh for lunch.

We looked at the board to be told it's only Roast Beef today.
Have you booked?
uh no - he heads off to check if they have enough portions.
s'ok! so we head to the garden.

Apparently this place must be popular since 4 people got turned away as they had 3 spares and we had 2 of them. Then again we saw few other people turn up. Anyway very nice it was.

We decided to head back to Titch so I could pick my leaflets up!! Went for a walk around the meadow trail. Looked at some more bins at Titch and at the in-focus store. Some very good stuff available for £300.

So home to catch the end of the footy.

Oh and we never saw a Dunlin!!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Clare Country Park

My Mum has gone through Chemo, Radiotherapy and an op at Christmas with no problem. She managed to fall over and do "something" so that walking has been very painful and for the past three weeks she has not been out. She's getting better and today we took her out for a ride.

I chose Clare Country as we could park up and she and Dad would have a nice view and yours truly could explore the park. Anyway she enjoyed it and even went for a brief hobble!

Anyway before picking them up I spotted this chap in the back garden.

On the way to pick the folks up I saw a Green Woody and on the way out of town we saw a juve Green Woody.

Clare Country Park is in the small Suffolk town of Clare. It was the home of the Clare family who built a Church (still standing and considered very fine - it's big) a Castle and an Abbey. The Abbey church never survived the reformation but one of its buildings was restored and is the Church of the reformed Abbey.

The Castle or what's left of it.

The town once had a railway, here is a loading crane.

The station and railway have long gone and the castle, grounds and railway line is now a country park.

There is a nature trail and signs indicating what you might see or not!

Alongside is the "new cut".

The bridge over the cut is very reliable for Grey Wagtail and today one was sitting on a wire singing.

There are also a couple of ponds with loads of Mallards, some of very dubious parentage but these look adorable.

Lots of flowers and insects. There were loads of Banded Demoiselle's.

Also loads of butterflies. I'm pretty sure one was a Wall but these look like Meadow Brown's to me although some confirmation would be nice!

In front of the car a demented Crow chased damselflies and Mallards! Until he came to Mum and her chick when he was given what for.

Oh and this fella!

Ok I won't pretend this place is Minsmere but it is a lovely patch for the general naturalist.

Friday, June 23, 2006


In the "good" old days you went into a shop and an assistant went and collected your order for you. Things moved on and the supermarket came along where you went into a shop picked your own items and then took them to a counter to be priced.

Well as many of you know we have gone a step further and now I am expected to scan the items myself. I mention this as my local Tesco has introduced this practice and yesterday morning at 6:15 the only checkouts open were the self service.

The supermarkets love 'em because it means less staff and hence higher profits and they say we should love 'em becuase it keeps prices down. Now this is all very well but what do the checkout staff do? I'm sure the big supermarkets won't redeploy them.

Now you might argue why do I care? Well I do have a social conscience and anyway a bit like call centres moving overseas I wonder what everyone is going to do. Yes the big companies will make more money but Joe Public won't have a job. Apparently we should be concentrating on high skill jobs but lets me honest many of us do have a limit to what we can do.

The government want us do work longer. Doing what?

I will keep saving so that I can get out of the rat race as soon as possible.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

You can take the boy out of Essex.....

..... but you can't take the Essex out of the boy.

Oh well sorry to the yahoo nicks for my departure last night. I just had to vent my spleen big time at someone. Hope you are all in tonight.

Anyway on the garden front I seem to have a pair of Chaffinches visiting the garden - the male was about this morning and yesterday evening I had two adult Goldfinches and two juvenile birds!

Another excellent piece of news is that the Common Terns at Hatfield Forest have three chicks on the tern raft!! This is super news and I believe is the first instance at the Forest. I am well chuffed about that.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The way we ate

Britain has a reputation for terrible food. Of course this is no longer true, many of the worlds top restaurants and chefs are either British or based here. This is not just the preserve of your top chefs, you can nowadays go into many pubs and small hotels and get a very acceptable meal and a decent wine list. As some of my fellow blogers and I discovered at the Northstar Hotel in Flamborough and The Rising Sun at Bamford.

However the myth still survives. Anyone well acquainted with 21st Britain and the pure volume of TV programmes on cooking will wonder where this reputation comes from.

I suppose having parents who lived through the war and the austerity of the fifties helps my perspective. My father will happily regale me with stories of the rubbish he ate whilst in London. Apparently in the countryside it wasn't so bad and my Mum had better access to fresh vegetables. But stories of dried eggs and soups made from bone were common place stories from aunts and uncles at family Christmases.

I mention this because there was an entertaining telly programme on last night - The Bad Food Guide (inevitably it was on BBC 2). It showed the food people ate during and post war and the menus and standards of food people accepted. Food was poor, service worse and of course us uncomplaining Brits we accepted it. We even had something called the British Restaurant which was affectively school dinners for adults. These started during the war and were "popular" becuase you didn't use those precious ration tokens. They continued after the war as people knew no better. Indeed so bad were things that we had to eat Whale and Snoek and tails of some Aussie animal (hope I've got that right)

In to the fray stepped Raymond Postgate (yes his son was Oliver who did such classics as the Clangers and Noggin the Nog) who wrote articles criticising the caterers and set up the Good Food Club where anybody could write in with suggestions of decent places to eat. In 1951 he published the first Good Food Guide with over 500 recommendations marking a new era for British catering.

It seems in Britain it wasn't the professionals who led the cultural revolution but the talented amateur (ever it was thus!) like George Perry-Smith at the Hole in the Wall Bath.

The original Good Food Guide itself was terribly sexist I suspect a number of the bright sassy women who read this blog will be horrified by some of his suggestions. But that doesn't mean Postgate wasn't well intentioned and standards/attitudes today will seem equally outmodish in 50 years time.

Of course everything didn't become alright over night and of course you can still go out and eat rubbish food, but you can do that anywhere. What is important is that I know I can get a good meal virtually anywhere. Today a pub like the Miner's Arms in Eyam can have a bread pudding to die for.

The programme itself was a fascinating piece of social history.

One of the things we don't appreciate was how devastated Britain was after the War. Yes the Marshall Plan helped but I don't think people realise the impact the war left on Britain and long the effects were felt.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Well it's England v Sweden today in some football match.

Its ok CP I'm not going to waffle on about footy. What I found curious was a story in one of the UK "newspapers" headlined "is Sweden the most boring country in the World". I think ever since Sven Goran Eriksson became England Football manager we've had this view that all Swedes are boring - oh well it may be due to the high suicide rate as well. Our other stereotype of the Swedes is that all are blonde and gorgeous.

The truth is we know very little of the Swedes. Ok sits and thinks Prime Minister? Nope there was the one who got assassinated but nope don't know the current one. I know they are Consitutional Monarchy but who the Monarch is ..... uh nope. Famous Swedes? Sven, a whole bunch of tennis players, Ulrika Jonsson and Henrik Larsen oh and Abba and the Cardigans. Oh alright Ingemar Stenmark and Carolina Kluft. To be fair I could add a few crime writers to the list.....

I suspect that that ignorance isn't unique but we have this view of Sweden ingrained in our mind.

The same is true of other countries. France rude, Germany? efficient, nick the pool side chairs with towels. Americans? loud and arrogant. And I daresay us English are a bunch of lager lout football hooligans.

Of course I happen to know the French President (Chirac), the German PM (Angela Merkel) and the president of the USA (Dubya) although in the later case I wish I hadn't.

I don't know about you but I find it strangley sad that I know all about the antics of OJ Simpson but don't know the name of Swedish Prime Minister. Why was the OJ trial news in the UK for goodness sake?

Of course all of this is probably untrue but the stereotypes will keep going on fueled by the tabloid press and I guess the same is true in other countries.

You would have thought travel would have broadened our minds but apparently not. It's sort of heart warming to hear footy fans say our nice and friendly the Germans have been. Although I wonder if it that'll remain if we go out on penalties AGAIN!! And I wonder if it'll remembered in six months anyway.

Nathalie it may depress you to know that the stereotype of your average Swede is someone who is dull, beautiful and always having sex. It could be worse, if you are English you are a pot bellied, beer drinking Football thug.

oh for info (and yes the only Swedish PM I could remember was the one that got shot Olof Palme).

Swedish PM - Goran Persson
King of Sweden - His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf

Monday, June 19, 2006


I note with sadness that the International Whaling commision have backed a motion to overturn a moritorum on Whaling. Of course this doesn't mean an immediate return to Whaling but it does set a precedent and shows a worry trend.

Now it might seem a bit hypocritical for a meat-eater to oppose this, for instance I'll eat a cow, a pig, a lamb (ah sweet - can I have mint suace with that) or poultry. And of course I will eat duck (but not mallard - go figure). However in this instance I think that the killing is wrong. Firsly there is the issue of sustainability, we breed cows, sheep etc we don't whales and secondly we don't know how intelligent Whales are. They appear to have a very complex language as do Dolphins.

You would have hoped by now we might have evolved enough to stop killing everything because we can and would be mature enough to want to try and understand and perhaps communicate with these creatures if that is at all possible.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Baby Birds and an Emperor

Well I didn't get up early. I was really tired last time and slept from 10 to 6:20. I could have got up and gone over the Forest but just turned over.

Did go down to Rye Meads after lunch.

Well lifer!! Emperor Dragonfly!! Thing was huge had the diagnostic black stripe down the back.

Off to Draper Hide, my those Coots and Pochard have grown. Also Baby Herons!! And a male Ruddy Duck

There didn't seem many Tits about but lots of Reed and Sedge Warblers and Common Whitethroats singing.

From the hide.

The Terns seem to be doing very well. There are young birds on the rafts.

Just infront of the Tern hide were two Mallard families.

All very nice. I managed to miss the Kingfisher's today (they were in the hole apparently) but have fledged one brood and are looking for a second.

Saw these two....

Common Blue I think looking at the tail.

Blue Tailed Damselfly.

Amazing how close you can get to these Damsel's. The bins won't focus that close. Ooh pentax papilo's focus to 50cm - uuuuuummmmmm.

I had seen quite a few Black Tailed Skippers (well that's what I think they are). These two had other things on their mind.

As I got back to the centre I was serenaded by a Song Thrush.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

There be Dragons.

Dave - Do you want to go and see a Scops Owl.

Me - Uh No.

Dave - think about it

Me - Uh No.

Dave - you aren't keen are you!!

I woke this morning to find my left eye lid swollen. Looked like I had been in a boxing match! Took an antihistemine and the swelling went down. Bloody insects!! So off to Wicken Fen to boost my dragonfly list. Ok known species 2! Banded Damselfly and Blue Tailed Damselfly.

It was a lovely morning.

Whoosh whoosh, ah this Dragonfly lark is going to be fun. So I've seen Common Whitethroat, lots of Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers, Reed Buntings, loads of Hirundines when what's that....

Uhm ok its a Dragonfly!! Its one of those fat ones.... uhm Darter or Chaser female Black-tailed Skimmer (later I found they were about!!).

Ooh and what's this? Ok the camera is pushing it here. The abdominal segments are Blue and the thorax bit is a mix of Green and Black so Hairy Dragonfly?

So ever onwards and I came back towards the visitors centre and Dragonfly heaven.

Ther were lots of those "identical" little Blue Damselflies... and lots of these Four Spotted Chaser's.

Anyway those "identical" blue damselflies

Here we go Azure Damselfly

but hang on this one is different. I think we have here a Variable Damselfy.

I also "reacquainted" myself with Blue Tailed Damselfly and Red-eyed Damselfly.

oh and more of our old friend

Wonderful flyers and they were having a ding dong aerial with a Hairy Dragonfly. Whilst just standing watching I was aware that there were Chiffchaff about and just how many Reed and Sedge I was seeing.

So where to now? Headed to RSPB headquarters.

The Lodge, Victorian Tudor.

The hide over looks a feeding station with a couple of ponds (our friend 4 spot again). This used to be brilliant for Marsh Tit but I miss them these days.

Not a bird!

I shouldn't be here.

oh go on, if you insist!

There were lots of Juveniles about including Goldcrest. Oh and Spotted Flycatcher's were in evidence which I was pleased to see.

The pond infront of the lodge threw up a pair of Azure Damselflies.

Now I know its not great but there are two species here and I'm thinking Common Blue.

Super day. I think I extended my "list" from 2 to 9!!

No doubt Diane will tell me I've got it all wrong.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy 18th Nathalie

I've just read that today is Nathalie's 18th birthday. I feel SO old!!

Hope you have a super day Nathalie

Driving to work

Driving to work is never my favourite activity, one bit though is good for a few birds and this has thrown up Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Yellowhammer and Kestrel. Today though it excelled itself.

I was driving along when something flew across the road and perched on a branch. I slowed down looked up and there was a Little Owl - lovely. Ok still not happy to be here but it helps!

We won last night but were totally unimpressive. I expect the pundits will say they've seen no one special, and I'd agree, but I doubt any other country looked and us and were scared.

Oh well it's Friday. And i'll be out wildlife watching whoo hoo.

Dave has just phoned and asked if I want to meet up mid afternoon to see Red Footed Falcon and then on to the Scops Owl. Now I'd like to see both but I've said no, I don't like crowds and I suspect there might be a few people there. Hope he gets the owl though.

So where to? either head for the Forest first thing to check up on my Terns and then go to Hanningfield or go to Wicken Fen to see if I can id some Dragonflies and Butterfiles - stop laughing at the back!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


I often complain that my local patch (RSPB Rye Meads) is fairly dull Bird wise. This is true but as I often concede it throws up something interesting. Darn good for Kingfisher at the moment.

Anyway I digress, it also seems to have a few Dragonflies and Damselflies about. So inspired by Nic's fine pics I've dusted down my fieldguides to Dragonflies and Butterflies and am going to spend some time trying to learn and identify some of these beasties. Certainly lots about at Welney on Monday.

Of course I've said this before, sigh, so I may well not do this but I so enjoy watching Dragonflies and Butterflies it would be a shame not to know what I am looking at.

I am hoping that a trip to Hicking Broad in mid July will have me see a Swallowtail. They look magnificent.

Anyway it beats twitching!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

My favourite Activity

Well I booked myself into a pub called the Queen's Head at North Kelsey Moor near Brigg in August.

Wasn't my first choice that was to go to Hay-on-wye and perhaps see Boofy but my perferred hotel was fully booked. Anway North Lincs has loads of churches I want to visit, if I 'm a good boy I should break 600 on my Jenkins list, and a few good birds reserves.

Over the weekend I decided to make a week of it. So last night I phoned around. Full Full Full. Arrrggggghhhhh. Anyway the professional Yorkshireman has not put me off and I'm staying at the Royal Oak, Dacre Banks, North Yorkshire. She kept calling me love on the phone! Now how Northern is that!!

Not sure why I chose Yorkshire since there aren't many churches to tick. Still may be able to track down a dipper and that babe with the infectious grin or birdman Dave may be able to point me at a Red Grouse.

Actually one of the reasons for North Yorkshire are some really lovely houses (a few I've still to visit), some wonderful ruins (Rievaulx, Fountains) and beautiful scenery.

We were discussing where our families were from on Saturday and I've just remembered my family were in Horncastle Lincs in the 18th/19th century.

My Great Great Grandfather John was born in Horncastle. His mother and father David and Mary LAMING were married in Horncastle.

Does this make me a Northerner??

a bit damp

I left work thinking that rain might save me from doing battle with the Hover. Within 10 miles of home I began to wonder if I'd get home..... it hammered down. The road was partially flooded in one place and I noticed this morning that in another bits of the road have lifted.

I got soaked getting from car to front door and so the hover and I were spared round two. I can just tell I'll be cutting it tomorrow during the England game.

I read this story on the BBC site about woman who spend more money on woman who spend more money on Kid's Clothes than their own with a sort of the world has gone mad sigh.

Jeans for a three year old £80?!?!?!?!?! I wouldn't spend £80 on a pair of jeans for me!! But then that's the world we live in parents think that little Tabitha or Richard is wonderful and deserves everything. Oh and God save the school who suggests that they are not perfect.

We are turning out a generation of designer clad celebrity wanabees

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Oh I love the coast! Well I do when its boiling hot, it was so much nicer sleeping at Flamborough where there was a breeze. It was like an oven last night, the morning rain will have dried up so I can cut the grass tonight. Yes once more the hover and I will do battle!

If you read the Awdiddums blog you will notice a link to an article in the Scotsman about an English company stopping a conference in Scotland becuase of the Scots lack of support of the English national team.

Now why should Scotland support England? Ok you get the odd bit of bigotry on both sides but for most people this is good natured banter. And frankly given how over the top English people and media get I wouldn't blame them for supporting anyone but England. I will cheer on most people against Scotland (I have a Scottish colleague who will cheer on anyone but Wales. I do draw the line at the Aussies and the USA, oh and Wales at Rugby but blame Welsh rugby obsessed sports teachers for that one! In the case of the Aussies its good natured banter. And lets give the Aussies a slap on the back over the ashes defeat. Did they whinge? blame the umpires? Nope they said the better team won. And that's the way it should be you play hard, you play to win, you give it everything. And whatever the result you have a beer afterwards.

What really winds me up is being told, whenever a home nation isn't in a competition is, that I should support the Irish. Uh why? As far as I'm aware they are a foreign country so why should I support them? Brazil v Ireland? Samba football or hoof it up the field? I'll cheer Brazil thank you. The silky skills of the Czechs or the hoof it up the field? Czechs please. No offence to the Irish, hey they gave us Terry Wogan! I just don't understand why the TV boys think I should cheer on the Irish.

Going up the M11 Saturday I saw some bloke reversing back down the hard shoulder because he had missed the Airport turn off. You have to shake your head.

I didn't mention that I got stuck on the M11 yesterday due to an overturned lorry. Now I don't like Lorries at the best of times. What really gets my goat is when you are flying along and then everything backs up becuase some Lorry is going past another at one inch per mile. After five minutes it gets past and in the next 10 second 407 cars fly past it. AAARRGGGHHHH.

Its interesting what upsets people.

Paul O'Grady (Lizzie Savage) gets upset by woman who spend ages rooting through there purses for change. This irritated Bill Bryson as well.
Develop-your-own-film-birder (Diane) gets upset by people driving 10 miles under the limit.
And Birdman(Dave) really does get steam coming out of his ears at Americanisms like Skedule as we found out Sunday.

Me? I really hate queueing, I don't want pleasant assistants who pass the time of day and no my life story. I want to walk in and walk out PDQ.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday 12th June

Well nice touch by my landlady. As I was on my own she asked if I would like some fried bread and a second egg? Is the pope a catholic?

As I reached Hull it chucked it down but this was a "clearing up shower"

I headed down past Lincoln to Algarkirk but the church was shut. As I drove away I spied a sign for the key on the parish notice board but thought nah.

I did though get into.....

St Mary, Whaplode (586)

All Saints, Holbeach (587)

and St Mary, Gedney (588)

Had a late lunch at Welney. Fairly quiet, the Little Ringed Plover still on its nest and there were baby Avocets!! Ssssooo cute.

Sunday 11th June

We soon discovered that John had had to go home and that another group member wasn't joining us due to ill health.

Here's John being a hero the previous night recusing Emily's cap.

So Me, Diane, Keith, Corinna, Cheryl, Vic (Cherrypie's Dad), Emily (her sister), Alan, Max (senatore), Dave (birdman), Rosie (his daughter) set off. Soon to be joined by Anna and Michael.

Early good bird was a Tree Sparrow.

As you can see Bempton is sea birds city.

The view from the cliffs.

Predominantly Kittiwakes, Gannets, Guillemots and Razorbills. There were some Fulmar and this chap.

There were some serious cameraman in the group.

Max and Alan.

Anna enjoying the spectacle.

We headed back to the visitors centre for some lunch.

This chap was obliging.

Alan and Max stayed at Bempton to take photos, Cheryl (who I have no photos of !!!) and family headed to the beach. So the rest of us went to South Landing for a stroll.

I demonstrated the problems Male Merlins have. If you've watched Springwatch you'll know what i mean. Anna will post a pic somewhere.

We added quite a few lifers for Anna. I think she was most pleased with her first Great Spot, I was most pleased by tracking the Willow Warbler on song. Me !! on song!!! Ok so Willow is easy, its a start!

We went back to the cafe to enjoy an Ice Cream. There were lots of Yellowhammers around the visitors centre and we had another Tree Sparrow on our walk!

some photos of those not snapped above.

Diane objected to my last portrait of her, is this better?






Oh ok Diane is THIS better!!

and then everyone left. Our last tick being a very nice Song Thrush.

So all on my lonesome. I decided to hit the chippy and headed to Thornwick Bay. Found some more Puffins!!

I'm not sure of the total species count. It was a nice day, with good birds, in good company and that's all that matters.

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