Thursday 25 September 2008

An Old Talent Rekindled

This morning I was just getting in the car to take the dog somewhere other than Axe Cliff when I looked up there to see literally thousands of House Martins swarming around the cliff edge like a cloud of midges. I wondered what it would be like to go up there and stand amongst them. I don’t need much of an excuse so off I went too Axe Cliff again. It was pretty much bird free except for the Martins and Swallows, which were gathering right in the far south-western point of the cliffs behind the golf course. I stepped through the fence and onto the cliff edge and began to walk along it with a fair amount of trepidation; parts of the trackway are very narrow indeed!! Rex had no such fear, but then again he can’t really see what he’s doing these days! Here’s a photo of the view towards my destination, which is just beyond the last fence post visible. You can see some of the hirundines too. Also one of Rex a bit too near the edge.

Edge of Axe Cliffs

Careful Rex!!

When I got to the flocks of hirundines it was indeed a delight to stand amongst them with them flying inches away from my face at times. Fantastic!

I’m getting rather embarrassed at my new found ability to detect partially hidden golf balls with today’s haul being a massive seven! This is where the rekindled talent comes in; you see I am in fact an archaeologist albeit resting at the moment, probably even retired! I am sure this is why I seem to have kept the talent for unearthing various bits of old tat from the ground! Golf balls being brilliant white are quite frankly a cinch!! ; -)

Here’s a snapshot of me at work. This was in South Yorkshire in 2002, I specialised in Wetland Archaeology and these are pretty typical working conditions. Great fun!

You can't call it work!

The guy in this photo forbade me from putting his photo on the internet at the time but I reckon that if anyone can recognise him from this angle then they would have to know him very well! So I’m going to ‘publish and be damned’!

Anyway I digress, Oh hang on a minute while I just digress a little more. In my post on Monday I promised to write an ‘about me’ post. Well I think instead of that I’ll just add bits and bobs about me as and when I can wangle them in, such as I’ve just done OK?

“What about those balls” I hear (at least one of ) you cry. Well six of the seven are new ticks, but I wont bore you with a whole list of them, I’ll just bore you with a couple of them instead. One, the Top Flite XL deserves a mention because it has, would you believe a Titanium Infused Cover and an Afterburner Core. Wow!! Here it is , it looks about twenty years old!

Old has been

A second is the Bridgestone Tour B330. I loved this bit of blurb about it:

"The Tour B330 is like no other ball the industry has seen," said Dan Murphy, Director of Marketing, Bridgestone Golf, Inc.

What really? It’s not white, spherical and dimply then? Looks like it is to me!

Cor! I've never seen anything like it!

The Osprey’s still around, its presence preventing me from getting into the Farm Gate viewpoint at all today as it was always full of Osprey watchers. I stopped along the estuary mid- afternoon to get a snap of a Great Black-backed Gull for this post, while doing this I spotted an Oystercatcher sporting a lovely shiny leg ring, I wonder if this was the same individual I had in my clutches a week last Monday? I’d like to think so, here it is:

An old acquaintance?

Remember in my first post I promised to share some of J. Wentworth Day’s book Wild Wings and Some Footsteps with you, well here’s a snippet about the Great Black - backed Gull or Saddleback:

The great black- backed gull, the saddleback of the marshmen, is common, cruel, cunning and bullet-proof. They will kill or eat anything from a sick sheep to a wounded duck, or a live rat, which they will swallow at a gulp. They are the ruthless enemies of young game birds and,indeed, the young of any birds.

Five feet from wing tip to wing tip and two and a half feet long, they look magnificent and impressive on the wing.

That great wedge of them coming in over the sand-hills on slow, powerful wing-beats has something of the majesty of a flight of eagles. Tremendous purpose, immense power, is epitomized in each wing stroke. The keeper may fire his gun at them, the longshore wildfowler may discharge his fowling-piece loaded with swan shot, but you seldom see a saddleback brought down. They appear to posses an uncanny immunity from shot. I have fired at them with an 8-bore which will bring wild geese out of the clouds, have heard the shot strike---and the only result has been a sideways slip on the part of the bird, a slightly quickened wing-beat.

See them sitting out on the sandbanks or on the edge of the mud, grim, alert, defiant, and you see one of the most individual birds in all Britain. They appear to have a paradoxical contempt of man, paradoxical because although they are shy and wary to a degree, although they seem to know the range of a gun to a yard, they nevertheless take off from the mud when the gunner approaches, in a lazy, defiant, contemptuous manner which seems to say: “I’ve seen you. I don’t like the look of you. You may have the shore to yourself.” There is neither panic nor even caution in the manner of that take-off. It is a gesture of supreme and crushing contempt.

Such an evocative description.

Saddleback- Grim, alert, defiant!

And finally, in emulation of Steve’s lovely, arms length shot of himself and his beloved, here’s a similar style shot of me with my beloved sidekick Rex ( Yes I collect golf balls and my best friend's a dog -I need help!). We met in April 2001 at the Blue Cross Animal Shelter in Bickleigh near Tiverton and have been inseparable ever since :-)

The Two of Us

1 comment:

Gavin Haig said...


Top Flite XL - now there's a blast from the past. It's very likely that one or two of that species are lying undiscovered on various West London/Herts golf courses - hacked into the deep rough 20 years ago by me!

Great post Karen!