Wednesday, 27 December 2017
I used to be a serial joiner of natural history clubs and organisations plus a subscriber to natural history journals. At this time of year most of these memberships would lapse and need renewing - in those days a cheque would be written out and sent off to the membership secretary by post - these weren't quite the days before direct debits and standing orders but was certainly pre-internet.
If memory serves me correct, at its height I would be sorting out my subscriptions to: RSPB, BTO, National Trust, British Birds, Birding World, Surrey Bird Club, Kent Ornithological Society, Sussex Ornithological Society, London Natural History Society, British Wildlife, Fiends of Dungeness Bird Observatory, Botanical Society of the British Isles, Wildflower Society, Atropos, Surrey Wildlife Trust... that's what I can dredge up from the memory banks at the moment. That lot used to add up to a pretty penny in subscriptions, believe me. Over time my membership choices have waned, not through the need of financial management so much as the running out of space to store all of the paraphernalia that such memberships send to you.
I had shelves groaning under the weight of annual bird reports, journals and magazines. I took a long hard look at it all and decided that most of it could go. After all, the British Birds and Birding Worlds were largely ignored after their initial reading; the county bird reports were not complete; many of the newsletters and journals were of their time and had just curiosity value after a certain time. I had a big clear out. Certain publications were kept though - I still have every issue of Atropos, and a full run of London Bird Reports since 1974, plus every Dungeness Bird Report that has been published apart from the 1967 edition (and if you have a spare one of those, please let me know!) And now, almost everything else that comes through the letterbox is read and then disposed of.
I still support some of these clubs and societies, with the RSPB, National Trust, London Natural History Society, British Wildlife, Friends of Dungeness Bird Observatory, Wildflower Society and Atropos still getting my patronage. One or two I may welcome back into the fold.