Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Life, death, flying, the World Cup and never being able to stop

The Geometrician - Banstead? Dungeness?? No, Greece I'm afraid...

Sorry for the lack of recent posts, but I've been otherwise occupied...

Halkidiki, Greece
A family holiday was taken on this eastern mainland peninsula and as an experiment I left my binoculars behind -after all, it wasn't a birding trip. But I couldn't keep my eyes totally off of the bird life. The hotel grounds provided Sardinian Warblers, Cirl Buntings, Red-backed Shrikes, Pallid Swifts, Red-rumped Swallows, Bee-eaters and Crested Larks. From my sun bed on the beach I watched a flock of c30 Greater Flamingos heading north. Butterflies were thin on the ground although a few Geranium Bronzes proved that this species is continuing to expand. Even though the nights were muggy and there were plenty of flood-lit white walls the only moth excitement was provided by a Geometrician (see above). Botanising was spent in a parallel universe in which species were at once familiar but also slightly different - I might bore you with a selection of images soon.

Flying
Even though I've flown over 50 times I find the whole experience truly unsettling - from packing the suitcase, to getting to the airport, the checking in and particularly the actual flying. The last time I flew was SIX years ago as I have avoided doing so at all costs. In fact, the last time I was due to fly I refused to go. This time however, armed with an iPod, ear phones and that 'soother of the masses' Diazepam I made it there and back. I cannot say I enjoyed any of it still, but rather than concentrating on my death by catastrophic hydraulic failure I was more concerned with whether or not the volume of music on my iPod was too loud for the person sat next to me.

World Cup
I was pleased to watch those charlatans, the Brazilian football team, finally be exposed as the mediocre team that they truly are. The media fawning over 'Samba Football' is lazy and inaccurate. Same goes for FIFA naming Lionel Messi as player of the tournament. That should have been given to James Rodrigues of Colombia. More pandering to the sponsors.

Life and death
It has been my misfortune to attend two funerals, both people in their fifties and both of them honest, decent and loving individuals. My atheism is never more vindicated than when I have to say goodbye to such folk. Don't give me that claptrap that they have been 'called by God' or that 'He moves in mysterious ways'. They both went too early and both left behind them many hundreds of people whose lives will be lessened by their departure. It also makes the bleating of birders about missing stuff seem all the more pathetic and trivial.

A telling off
I received this admonishment from a lifelong friend in an email last week - "Still reading your verbose blogs with interest & sometimes extreme irritation! Why can't you let go on this introspection and just relax and enjoy the wonders you so clearly love? Maybe he has a point...

9 comments:

  1. Birding is indeed fairly trivial Steve, and my firm belief is that you can do too much of it. Variety is the key. And doing whatever makes you happy for as long as you can.

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    1. Wise words there Jono, wise words indeed. I now need to act on them and those from other, wiser folk than me...

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  2. I agree! Haven't been birding now for three weeks (though may go out tomorrow early on) having spent most of the time trying to do the best for my poor old dad, who has been in and out of hospital and care homes, suffering from continual bladder infections and delirium. He's just back after an op which means he doesn't have to have a wretched catheter poked in him and hopefully things will improve. A lot of work but family does come first, and we must never forget that. I saw a very interesting little piece of footage on Facebook from a friend of mine, I will send you the attachment. Let me know what you think – certainly made sense to me. As for the World Cup - couldn't agree more with your views on Rodriguez. I think most people apart from the Fifa hierarchy would agree. The Adidas-sponsored World Cup best player award goes to Adidas' highest profile footballer.

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  3. www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoxup9cy07M is the link. Best to mute the sound as the music is a bit cheesy. It's called The Empty Pickle Jar

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  4. I have watched the link now Neil, and had to laugh as I know quite a few people who would think that the golf balls represent 'birding'!!

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  5. You`ve cheered me up no end, as thought I was the only one who hated the whole flying thing, much better to go by ship if possible. As for the World Cup, at least the best TEAM won it, even if they didn't get the FIFA credit. On the subject of god and all that, its way too early in the morning to hit the rant button, so, I`m off to `church` with the Barney before it gets too hot, Lade pits...

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    1. Sounds like we need a good old chat over a pint or three Paul!

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  6. I also hate the flying experience, not because I'm afraid of it but because of all the hassle and waiting around and worry about losing this or that or .....

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