Patch 1 was dire; a speedy, head-down, trudge round the patch before the rain set in was all we could muster – no enthusiasm for the note book at all – just get round and get back to Base Camp for hot tea and toast in as little time as possible before we got drenched. Only the Blackbirds were singing, everything else had more sense and was still tucked up in bed. We could see plenty of Woodpigeons still fast asleep on their twigs – it was apparent that they sleep on the slenderest branches that will support their weight.
Last night we went out to the NW 4x4 Response meeting and ended up getting thrown out of the pub…oh dear we shouldn’t have brought Frank in during food serving hours. They wouldn’t have known he was there but a small child kept staring at him and he let out two horrendously loud woofs…and attracted the attention of the landlady. Fortunately the meeting was drawing to its conclusion and the poor lad didn’t have to spend too long in the back of the car. That said we couldn’t afford to stay drinking much longer – not at £2.75 a pint - HOW MUCH! Nice pint and we much prefer a proper pint in a proper glass in a pub by the fire with our mates than drink at home watching dross on the telly, but you can get the same beers in the supermarket for not far off half the price – no wonder people are drinking at home and the pubs are suffering. AND you can’t take your mutt in most pubs nowadays – what happened to Pub Dog? Every pub used to have a dog of their own, this particular pub used to have two! It’s a flippin’ country pub too fer gawd’s sake!!! It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were moaning about beer going up to 20p a pint. Flippin eck we’ll be asking for the reintroduction of Pounds, Shillings and Pence in a minute – bring on the Euro and have done with it!!! According to our ‘inflationary’ calculations pub beer should be about £1.50 - £1.75 a pint, sort of where the supermarkets are selling it. I know pubs have big overheads and supermarkets have scale on their side but much of the inflated price hike is tax! Good beer from quality local and regional producers should be given a decent tax break and just hit the big chemical beer giants – oh they’re the ones that lobby parliament and put huge sums in to the coffers of the political parties – my mistake. Can’t believe that Darling of a man put tax up on cider last week just because some loopdy-loo alcky-junkys drink White Lightening at 8 am on a Sunday morning – we see em all the time at the start of our weekend safaris. White Lightening isn’t cider – its not far off apple(ish) flavoured meths and has less to do with cider than the safari has to do with nuclear warheads! Proper cider makers like Weston’s, Thatcher’s, Sheppey’s et al are being punished for no good reason. Rant, rant, rant and rant some more. AND another thing – it was far too wild, wet and windy for any chance of a Barn Owl on the way home too…bally weather…rant, rant, rant. Not a BAD pub all the same, 16thC, log fires, slate floor, beams, AND it’s along long time since I heard the riffs of UFO coming from a pub’s PA system (other 70s hard rock bands too) – excellent stuff
Didn’t even attempt Patch 2 this morning, due to ferocious wind and horizontal, torrential sleet. Driving in to work we could see that the visibility was less than a mile so it would have been a pointless exercise in getting cold and wet. The wind had also changed from the forecast SW to NW and with the temperature as it was we had a wind-chill equivalent of -12ºC with driving rain at lunchtime so we wimped out of going to the ultra exposed marshes for the local lifer – seriously hope the wind has dropped tomorrow. This particular species is a regular winter visitor and until now we have not really thought about making a serious attempt to go and see it even though its less than 10 miles from Base Camp. This time of year is probably the best time to look for it as it is moulting in to its summer finery and this should make it a lot easier to pick out from its very similar congeners – so what is it???. There have been nine other species seen in our local area this week that aren’t on the safari’s year list. About half are easy and will be picked up in due course – we hope! - The other half might prove to be somewhere between tricky and one-offs impossible to claw back.
No photos today - if you think we were going out in that to take pics for your delectation you got another thing comin!!!