Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Comfortably Numb - Pink Floyd

When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone, I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child has grown, the dream has gone.
For I have become Comfortably Numb!

Double intent today as I set off against a stiff nor' westerly wind, partly cloudy sky with mildish conditions continuing. There was little, or nothing, to report from the cemetery and almost as much at Radipole. There were perhaps a couple of hundred Gull, always worth surveying for that possible 'stranger', but that was not to be today!

The humble Moorhen is always worth a second look, especially when they are clear of the water showing legs, bill and shield sharply contrasting with plumage.

Among the birds on the car park was this 'ringed' 1st winter Mediterranean Gull

while down by the Westham Bridge this strange looking, but not displeasing, Duck continues to feed along with other resident birds including,

("yes, here I am again") the male Hooded Merganser.

But it was now time to set off on my mission, first catching the bus to Foords Corner followed by a mile and a half walk to where I hoped to see the Richard's Pipit that has been around for 3 days now. Walking past the Bridging Camp, the Army were busily dismantling what I suppose they still call a 'Bailey Bridge', a prefabricated structure that can be quickly assembled to allow military vehicles & personnel to cross (usually) rivers. Last seen in the second field west of the camp, I started my search at the highest point allowing best scanning advantage, but could only see a few Meadow Pipits plus

a pair of Stonechat bushwhacking insects from a barbed wire perch. Walking the west side of the field and almost reaching the bottom, 2 other birders arrived but remained some distance away - 6 eyes are certainly better that one and a half, at least that's the theory! Reaching the lower kissing gate 5 Pipits flew up from the field, including one larger bird, alighting in the adjoining field, this was it. Leaning on the gate to get a better look and photograph, they took to the wing again and disappeared as did the birders above me who seemed to have been 'scoping it. After about an hour searching both fields I gave up and headed for part 2 of the day plan.

The Hume's Leaf Warbler confirmed its presence by 'call' as I reached Littlesea, as did the afore mentioned birders, who also 'thought' they had seen the Pipit but my direction now was to get better pictures of the Warbler.

Positioning myself within the bushes, which was fortunately out of the now increasing wind, it was another hour before the 2 shots above were secured followed by another long wait.

As with the last 2 visits it seemed the bird was doing a circuit, which these type of Warblers often do, sometimes wandering off 200 yards or so to the east.

However, the wait was punctuated by the arrival of a pair of Bullfinch the female of which allowed a distant shot.

45 minutes later there were more 'calls' with the bird showing, always amid the tangle of Bramble, Ivy and Sallow, but at least there were a few more slightly better images to be had.

All of this time, having had so many 'fleeting glimpses', the Floyd lyric was swirling around in my head, except I had made my own amendment to the title!
UN'comfortably Numb

On my way home through the Holiday Camp this Carrion Crow, glistening in the sunshine, looked worthy of a shot but it was now back to the mundane as I had 'back healed' the proposed shopping of yesterday to today.

and finally, an E-mail, complete with photographs, from long lost friend Richard Ashe on the subject of the Studland visit.

Hi Bagsy,
Long time no see and no speak; this is an old time compatriot from the dockyard days of yore ie Richard Ashe - great to be in touch with you again. Firstly, I must say that it’s always a great pleasure to read your blogs, something I do and look forward to every evening. And today I was fascinated to see that you had visited the church at Studland and, as you are an ex-military man, I must tell you about a most fascinating grave in the Studland church yard. A photo is attached and as you can see it's the grave of a William Lawrence. Lawrence was born in Briantspuddle in 1790 and was apprenticed for a peppercorn wage to a bastard of an employer. He soon made his escape and went to Dorchester where, as a young teenager who lied about his age, he joined the 40th Regiment of Foot. From there he served in numerous battles all over the world and remarkably, he survived them. The long list on his gravestone is a testament to the numerous battles he fought in. As you can see in the Peninsular Wars alone he won a silver medal and no less than 10 clasps, he was then severely wounded in subsequent battles after which he went on to fight at Waterloo. He married in Paris and after Waterloo retired to Studland where he ran the local pub until he died and was buried in the local church alongside his wife whose inscription is on the reverse of his headstone.

In his later years he dictated his autobiography which today is in book-form with the title ‘A Dorset Soldier’ by Sgt William Lawrence. A damn good read if you can get hold of it. Hope you find this interesting and that it can add a bit more zest to your visit to Studland’s church.
Best wishes
My 'salute' to Sgt William Lawrence

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