Tuesday, 20 April 2010

It's An Ill Wind

That doesn't blow somebody some good, and that has been the case for me with the current ban on flying. Unable to get to their holiday home in Spain John and Marion Wood decided on a few days in Weymouth instead. John was my childhood friend, living directly across the road from me in Chilwell, Nottinghamshire since when, 51 years, I had not seen him. To my house for dinner last evening, needless to say there was no shortage of conversation, over dinner. The subject matter covered such things as our visit, as schoolboys, to Trent Bridge to witness the 1957 Test Match between England and the West Indies. John recalls that England declaring at 618 for 6 in the first inning, went on to beat the Windies by a full innings, gone are the days. The England team consisted of such Test giant as Colin Cowdry, Geoff Barrington and Godfrey Evans.

Jazz is a subject close to John's, and his younger brother Robert's, heart and it was hugely interesting to swap anecdotes about our gig experiences over the years. As a long standing patron of Ronnie Scotts in Frith Street, Soho, London, among many others I related the story of not only seeing Flora Purim & husband Airto Moreira perform at the club, but in the days when Ronnie's was more of a 'Speakeasy' than a Club, and things were much more informal, how I had enjoyed a drink and conversation with the Brazilian couple. To say the least, he was impressed saying he rarely came across anyone who had even heard of them let alone had the privilege of talking with them. It's true to say that Airto is the finest percussionist I have ever had the pleasure of seeing, but to be alongside them both was surely a dream come true.

Jazz Giants, vocalist Flora Purim

and Percussionist Airto Moreira

So, on to today where things were extremely quiet at Radipole with just Ladies Smock and a Common Sandpiper to report, while at Lodmoor things were far more active. An 8 Warbler day included Blackcap, Common & Lesser Whitethroat (of which there were c6) Reed, Sedge, Willow and Cetti's Warblers and Chiffchaff. In addition there were a few House Martin, a single Whimbrel, c2 Dunlin plus a number of the ever present.

Lesser Whitethroat

An ugly scene just a matter of yards from the public tip at Lodmoor.

On the way to meet John and Marion at The William Henry for coffee, I bumped into these 2 characters both of whom I had not seen for a while. On the left is Tony (Luke) MacKinder who was my Captain for many years, and who single-handedly taught me to 'ship handle' (drive a ship), and Dave Matthews former crew mate, and accomplice on many a trip to Scotland.

After coffee we caught the bus to Portland where we started at Tout Quarry, where I showed John and Marion not only the Sculpture Park, but also the fabulous Lano's Bridge.

John & Marion as we worked our way along the East Cliff,

stopping to look at the Fulmar breeding site on the way.

Willow Warbler

At the Bird Observatory, there was a good deal of activity as already they had a ringing tally of 180 birds. As luck would have it there was a chance to show them a number of 'birds in the hand' which is always an interesting and new dimention to bird observation.

Blackcap (female)

Pied Flycatcher (female)

This evening we visited The Swan (JD Wetherspoon at the Bridge end of Town) were, as usual, there were a number of local characters to meet. Among these was boxing legend Tony Sibson, who it turned out had just bought a property in the village nest to J & M home near Melton Mobrey. John Bailey (known as The Viking) also put in an appearance, as did Robbie Jauntsy of Moto Sails fame. A great meal, with even better conversation ended our day on a high, and thanks go out to all of those who helped to make it so.

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