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Lend me your ears

We’ve all had that problem of people in the office, at home, down the pub mouthing words at you and they just don’t register. Haven’t we?

Today that was definitely a thing. The clog and clutter in my ears, which I’d been attempting to shift with olive oil and other stuff, shifted. Unfortunately inwards rather than out and the world went largely muffled. My normal hearing is moderate to rubbish but it was getting noticeably worse last weekend when, on a short walk, the birds were clearly justing miming at me rather than singing.

Anyhow, tomorrow – the nurse, the syringe and hopefully birdsong beckon.

Just in time to listen to the great debate – where Ed Miliband will be centre stage and Cameron will once again show why he did everything possible to avoid a head to head with the Labour Leader. After last week’s shuttle diplomacy that passed for a debate-lite, there was a significant, potentially game changing, shift in people’s perception of Ed Miliband as the next PM. When on the same stage – albeit separated by the supporting cast – it will become even more apparent who has the ability and vision to lead the country and who, well, has run out of steam.

 

It’s time to choose

Normally this blog – when I can rouse myself to post something – is about birding, natural history, football. The theatre. Photography. Stuff.

Stuff happens.

But it doesn’t happen by accident. It happens because people like you make it happen. And because a government that we elect can help make it happen. Whatever stuff you care about, make sure you:

  1. Register to vote. You have until 20 April – visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
  2. Vote.
  3. Vote Labour.

Room for one more…..

You know that feeling when your eyes are a bit bigger than your stomach? Often encountered this time of year.

Well……

20141226-142829-Burnham Overy Staithe-10126

20141226-142843-Burnham Overy Staithe-10133

Context is everything

In 1995 we went to Ireland on a birding holiday. Just before going we bought new binoculars.

That was 19 years ago. It’s important you understand that. The context is, as I say, everytng.

So here we are on holiday in Norfolk. Mostly birding, but some good food and drink and a bit of culture and shopping. Today we thought we must visit the Birdscapes Art Gallery. Last time we were in Norfolk, 10 years ago according to our notebooks, it was still a project on the drawing board. Now it’s been open for nine years and we intend to give it the benefit of our collective cheque-books. After all, there are still, um, two shopping days to Christmas.

We find the place easily enough – it’s just up the road from us and our satnav gets us there without any difficulty.

But it’s closed. Or, at least, not open yet. But there’s plenty of other stuff to see in their little industrial estate. Including Cley Spey. The optics specialists. You can see where this is heading

We’ve parked in their carpark so it’s only polite to call in.

Cley Spey – “Can we help?”

Me – “No, just browsing until Birdscapes opens.”

Clay Spey – “Doubt if he’s up yet.”

Me – “OK, let’s have a look at those Leica Trinovids then.”

And it was all downhill from there really, ending with, “Why not have look these Ultravid HD?”

They did trade in our 19 year old Leicas, much to our amazement, and gave us a good deal on 8×42 HD Ultravids – now replaced by the new HD plus. We did decide the addition of a mathematical symbol to the name wasn’t worth an extra £400 a pop. But, even so, our bank accounts were substantially lighter than 30 minutes ago.

And now Birdscapes Art Gallery is open – but who cares. We’ve spent our money on bins. So it doesn’t matter how reasonably priced your David Koster’s are. Or that you’ve got cute little ceramic bats to hang on the wall. Or drypoint by Emerson Mayes that Jan had fallen in love with at this year’s SWLA annual exhibition. Or stuff. Don’t think you can get round us just by wrapping it up nicely.

Bugger. How can we ever be rich like this?

And there’s still one shopping day left.

PS – Birdscapes Art Gallery is one of the best wildlife galleries we have seen. It has a range to suit all tastes and most pockets. As we have said it is right next door to Cley Spey and there is a fantastic art cafe selling coffee processed in a neighbouring unit. It’s web-site, however, is shite. But don’t let that put you off. Go. Just not too early in the morning.

Do Satnavs Dream of of Electric Sheep

In the pub last night I overheard the discussion, argument, pointed row that one might hear anywhere.

Satnav or map? Map or satnav?

There were the usual arguments on both sides. Satnavs are safer to use. Maps help you learn about where you are driving. Satnavs get you lost in unpredicatble ways. Maps work best if you are driving north. And so on and so forth. As usual with this argument, there was no clear winner and the conversation turned elsewhere (turn around when possible, as Ms Garmin might say).

I’m a satnav person myself. I like maps, but if I’m driving from A to B I like a little voice telling me how best to achieve that. Obviously, a passenger reading a map can do that. But if you don’t have a passenger, or you don’t have a passenger who can read a map, that’s of little use. And even if your passenger can read a map when you’re driving south, it’s more of a trauma if they send you up a cart track to a dead end than if the same thing happens because Ms Garmin’s maps are out of date.

But one thing that didn’t strike me until today was that satnavs can be dangerously funny. We all know the pronunciation can be a bit weird at times – Bevois is Beevus you stupid machine, not Behvwah – but I didn’t think there was an inbuilt sense of humour. Maybe this is the start of AI – artificial intelligence – and soon the Tom Tom drums will be beating to tell us our reign is over.

So what was it that brought this on? Not all roads have a name or number in the database from which the satnav dispenses its information. “Drive 800 yards along the Road, and then turn left” is not unusual in the countryside. These unnamed routes might be identified as Road or Street or Byway or by some other generic name. Occasionally there may be another piece of information in the database to help identify the road you are on, turning into, turning off or whatever. But today was a masterpiece. This particular road was identified as a street – St. Because there was no name the additional piece of information that was available (a weak bridge) was a appended to the St. Our lovely satnav then spent a few joyous minutes advising us that we were about to join, were driving along, were about to leave Saint Weight Limit.

We almost turned around when possible to hear it all over again.


Birding

Lend me your ears

We’ve all had that problem of people in the office, at home, down the pub mouthing words at you and they just don’t register. Haven’t we? Today that was definitely a thing. The clog and clutter in my ears, which I’d been attempting to shift with olive oil and other stuff, shifted. Unfortunately inwar…

Football

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Natural History

Do Satnavs Dream of of Electric Sheep

In the pub last night I overheard the discussion, argument, pointed row that one might hear anywhere. Satnav or map? Map or satnav? There were the usual arguments on both sides. Satnavs are safer to use. Maps help you learn about where you are driving. Satnavs get you lost in unpredicatble ways. Maps work best […]…

Theatre

1984
Lift your faces

“The people don’t lift their faces from their screens long enough to see what is going on.” 1984 That was certainly true of a row of American students at the Almeida Theatre, eyes glued to their iPhones, texting their friends. Or their teachers. Or their dogs (you must read October Jones). And they were the [&…