A funny thing happened on the way back from Mrs Reg's mother's house having seen the New Year in. There we were, driving down Broad Lane when I spotted two police cars approaching in the rear view mirror, with sirens wailing and lights flashing.
I should explain at this point that it is a bit of a tradition of ours to pull crackers on New Year's Eve, and another one to wear our paper hats as we make our way home. In my mind I put two and two together and wondered if the coppers had spotted me in my natty headgear, decided that they had found a nailed-on cert drunk driver and set off in pursuit of yours truly.
Slowing down and pulling over, I was relieved to see them overtake me and speed off into the distance. As it happens, the only thing that had passed my lips all night was Vimto. I don't think it's a criminal offence to operate a motor vehicle having schlurpled the purple, though having had a glance at all the E numbers, additives and preservatives that are injected into the aforementioned beverage, perhaps it should be?
A Rude Awakening
I think it may have been the Vimto that caused me to have a nightmare about birding. I have loads of these. Usually, I've travelled the length of the country to indulge in a solid week's birding, then realise I've forgotten my optics. Last night's dream was different, however.
I was at Draycote Water with my Dad and a few of his friends. We were sitting in the cafe, and I was explaining to one of the guys how to connect a printer to his PC. Suddenly, I spotted a barn owl out of the window. I tried to get my Dad onto it, in recognition of the fact that he failed to see this bird in 2008, but he didn't seem bothered. Instead of peering through the glass to get an easy tick, he continued to nonchalantly pour tea for those that were present.
Then the penny dropped - it was the first day of the first month and I had forgotten to start my new year list! I dashed outside and started trying to identify everything I could see. An eider was quickly sorted out, although it was about twice the size of any other eider I've ever seen.
Then a few more ducks passed by. One looked a bit like a wigeon, but it wasn't. The others were white, with little black streaks down their backs. My Dad thought they were smew, but they weren't. Then I spotted a real smew a bit further along the shoreline, near a bench. Archie from Eastenders was sat on the bench. Great! Why couldn't it have been Duffy? After all, it was only a few short hours since I'd been watching her and her huge, beautiful, bee-stung lips performing on Jools Holland's Hootenanny.
Talking of which, I recently learned that the Hootenanny is recorded a week or so before Christmas! So the next time you catch this show and are watching Rowland Rivron being irreverent and generally unfunny, just remember that the whole thing is one big charade. In terms of gigantic fibs, this one is right up there with Father Christmas. What? You didn't know? Oops!
Anyway, back to Duffy. I think she was singing in Welsh last night. At least I think she was - I couldn't understand a damned word she was saying! Sorry to rain on your parade, Duffy, but I have a couple of words for you - diction and enunciation. Mercy!
Birds On The Telly
Which leads me on to the subject of birds on the telly. No, silly, not Christine Bleakley or Jasmine off Emmerdale - I'm talking about aves. What are you like?
As is customary, I spent a large part of the festive period slumped in front of the box. Amongst the programmes that I had carefully highlighted in the TV guide like some small, excited child was the festive edition of The Good Life.
Being a child of the seventies, I have fond memories of this show, but I guess this must have been the first time I have seen it since taking an interest in our feathered friends. I say that, because I have never noticed the splendid portrait of a red-backed shrike that adorns Margo's living room wall before.
Drawing A Blank
As I write this nonsense, it is 7:52am. My year list currently stands at an impressive zero birds. I did hear a carrion crow outside a short while ago, but I don't count heards. Shame really, or I could have added grasshopper warbler and golden pheasant to my 2008 list.
Whilst I have been tapping away at my keyboard, I've managed to come up with another goal for 2009 - to use a song title for each blog entry. Could be tricky, but I'll see how it goes.
Right, better go and make a start on that year list ...