On Friday I met up with a few of the Islay crew and my brother for a few pre-Christmas drinks in and around Birmingham. It's something we do most years and is always a good laugh.
A few years ago, I had noticed several references to birds in some of the various pubs we frequented, so I thought it would be fun to incorporate this into the day's proceedings. You know how it is though - after three or four pints I had other things on my mind, so the best I could manage was the following picture, plus a pretty feeble list of actual birds that I saw on the day.
Spot of the day
After lunch in the Black Eagle, Dad produced the quiz and did a passable impression of Jeremy Paxman, whilst the rest of us split into two teams of three. Rounds included cinema, television, nature and sport, after which the scores were neck and neck. Well, truth be told, my brother, Aiden and I calculated that we had just shaded it by a few points.
Dad seemed keen, however, to deploy his tie-breaker. Not wishing to disappoint him, and suspecting it might be bird-related, we agreed. First up, each team had to give the common name for the following birds - otis tarda, lullula arborea and locustella luscinioides.
Initially thrown by the first one, I suddenly had one of those flashes of inspiration that you only get when you've consumed a few ales, and confidently scribbled down great bustard on the answer sheet.
On the opposing team, Leapy had no trouble with the second, but nor did I. It was woodlark. A bit too easy that one, Dad!
The last one again had me scratching my head, but I could see Leapy wasn't doing any better. I knew it was a warbler, but which one? Luckily, I know how my Dad's mind works and realised it's a bird that we have joked about before. Savi's warbler was penciled in, completing a hat-trick for team Telescope.
Oddly, despite the fact that Leapy, Ivor and Steve had only got one of the three right, Dad worked out it was still a tie, so it was sudden death. Up came the final bird - nyctea scandiaca. I initially wrote down snow bunting, but quickly realized it was snowy owl and corrected myself. At that point we decided we'd had enough quizzing for one day, and Dad had seemingly run out of questions, so that was that.
Amongst other highlights was a short recital from Roger's Profanisaurus IV: The Magna Farta. Most references were unfit for inclusion in the blog, but we did enjoy Nana Kournikova - a female that looks hot from behind, but is actually old and wretched.
Dad and Leapy enjoy the Magna Farta
Steve told us one of his legendary jokes, which went down well, there was an interesting discussion as to whether Eric Clapton is actually a good guitarist or not, the World Cup draw kept us entertained for a few minutes, and Leapy, Ivor, Steve and I spent the last hour or so talking birds - a typical boys' day out really.
For his final trick, Dad managed to lose his wallet on the train back to Solihull. To cut a long story short, he was reunited with it an hour or so later. Many thanks to Mrs Reg who dropped him back at the station to collect it from the chap pictured in the background of the next shot.