Young twitcher: What did you do
Steve: (Chortles) Oh we didn't have pagers and mobile phones then you know...
YT: (looks up in the air and tutts) Cut out all of that 'we had it bad' guff and tell me about the birds
S: Yes, well, er, most of them are commoner now you know. When I went to see an Alpine Swift at Fairburn Ings in 1979 it was an unblocker! Even the 'big boys' hadn't seen one. People still ran for Pallas's Warblers!
YT: (looking interested) Tell me about the blockers
S: (Glassy-eyed, staring into the distance with a smile) Ah, the blockers. I'm glad you asked me that. There are some of the old twitches that still have value now, that can get most birders all agitated and needy. Take the Cornwall Varied Thrush for instance...
YT: (visual gasp)
S: Yes, that was in 1982. Unblocked now for THIRTY YEARS
YT: Any others?
S: Oh yes (warming up to the theme). The year before I was on Scilly, when an Orphean Warbler took up residence. Nice bird that was... unblocked now for THIRTY ONE YEARS.
YT: Is there more?
S: Oh yes, the best. The best till last. Have I ever told you about the Wallcreepers?
YT: No! Did you use the plural there?
S: Oh yes (looking smug). After seeing one at Hastings in 1977 I went to a quarry in Cheddar and saw the wintering bird in 1978. Unblocked now for THIRTY FOUR YEARS
Older man standing at the bar: That's nothing. I was wandering down a country lane in Suffolk in 1962 when a Houbara Bustard ambled past. Unblocked now for FIFTY YEARS...
S: (crestfallen) oh...
YT: (ignoring Steve and speaking to old man) Can I buy you a pint?