Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Burgeoning birds and mathematical birthdays

Lots of wrens about lately. I saw quite a few on a stroll yesterday along the river Backwater near home. I can't keep away from water, and the Blackwater although un-navigable is very seductive.
Anyway, the wrens seem to like hopping about in waterside bushes. In the old days of course people would be have hunted for them at this time of the year (St Stephen's day actually, Dec 26). The poor little mite would have been killed, dressed up in ribbons, paraded around on top of a pole and then buried with due ceremony as a sacrifice. I believe they still do this today in the Isle of Man. Folkies will know that there are quite a few songs about wren hunting.

Talking of the Feast of Stephen - did you know that it included pizzas? Hence the phrase in the first verse "deep pan crisp and even" :-)

Two days ago, hovering quite low over Bracknell town centre we saw a red kite. We're used to seeing them in the chilterns for some years now, but they do seem to be spreading out. It can only be a matter of time before we get them over our house. We saw some on the Nene in the summer. That's a long way from the chilterns. Then today we saw some Egyptian geese on the grass verge not 300 yards from our house. Until recent years they were relatively uncommon but now we keep seeing them all over the place like this one at Potter Heigham on the Broads this year.
Changing the subject completely, we have a lot of family and friend birthdays at this time. Peter had his just before Christmas. Although I'm his dad I can never remember how old he is. When I asked him whether he was 30 or 31, he just gave an enigmatic smile and said "Let's just say I'm now in my prime", so I instantly deduced it was 31 because Peter is keen on maths. (think about it).

Another Peter (or Pete) is 60 today and were off to a small party later. Pete likes cider so Kath had the bright idea of buying a selection of bottles of cider, all different, and their alcohol percentages adding up to 60. It took 9 bottles, each having a different alcohol percentage between 6 and 7.5 . I think we must have looked a bit crazy standing in Morrisons doing sums in front of the ciders. Then, at our age people might expect us to be a bit dotty.

1 comment:

VallyP said...

Hee hee, Neil, love the ddep oan feat of Stephen. And yes, there are advantages to getting older aren't there? Battiness is next to Godliness...or some such thing. I haven't got to the big Six Oh yet, but my Koos is well past it now and will definitely concur...and as witness and co co-operator, so do I!