Sunday, 16 January 2011

"Can You Tell Me Where My Country Lies?"

said the unifaun to his true love's eyes. "It lies with me!" cried the Queen of Maybe - for her merchandise, he traded in his prize.

Yet another country, again on my short list of places to visit in the near future, joined our readership yesterday by way of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg bringing the total of participating countries/regions to 120. This leaves just Andorra, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco and Gibraltar absent from the European section of the readership list matching, with the exception of the latter, the countries I still have to visit on the continent. Welcome, and we hope you enjoy the read!

Grey and blustery just about summed up the weather picture this morning, but with more than a likelihood of rain it was a case of getting down to business sooner rather than later. Leaving the half dozen or so Redwing to feed in what has become a favoured tree in the cemetery, it was onward to Radipole with this photograph of

Canada Geese sufficient to tell the whole story, very little to report. However, plans were afoot to concentrate more on Portland Harbour, in the hope of the less common Grebes and maybe just the chance of a Diver. Alighting the early bus at Ferrybridge , I felt the full force of the 25+ knot wind, entered the thickening gloom and felt the first spots of rain, but up ahead there were at least some waterfowl on the sea. Mostly Red-breasted Merganser, there were also c5 Little Grebe and a few Cormorant feeding in the shallows but the RBM's were much closer to the bridge than usual. A chance to get a few shots of this timid species started as this

fine male flew in to

settle among his mates

(including these 2 females) and one of a number of Black-headed Gulls. Ever attendant when these Ducks are feeding, the hope is they can be hassled

out of their catch even if only seaweed.

On this occasion the Gull went hungry,

but there were plenty more targets to pursue. Crossing the Beach Road there was little to see along the western edge of Portland Harbour, so moved on the Rodwell Trail where I met up with Bob Ford. He had some encouraging news as he had seen both Black-necked and Slavonian Grebe between the Castle Cove Sailing Club and Sandsfoot Castle, which is where I met John Slee a.k.a. 'The Dorset Dipper'. Having not met for many a day there was time to catch up with the news, but he had kept abreast of mine via this Blog. Good to see you John!

Still some distance from the Sailing Club, there was already a sighting of a couple of small Grebes not too far off-shore, and reaching the redundant railway bridge felt pleased to have brought a telescope. I toyed with the idea of entering the club to seek permission to walk their pier as the most interesting of the birds was close to its outer end, but seen to be padlocked scrubbed round the idea. 'Scoping from the bridge it was possible to confirm both single Slav and a couple of Black-necked Grebes, but seeking closer views it was time to descend the steps onto the beach. c4 more small Grebes were seen, all thought to be Black-necked,

along with c26 Great Crested Grebes, a few of which are shown here.

Oystercatcher also were being obliging, but leaving the harbour side there was a small drama unfolding just down the road. Weymouth is at present undergoing a 2 year traffic improvement scheme, including resurfacing most of the roads, so what the town needs least of all are unplanned traffic hold ups! Already the mechanical gearing on the Town Bridge has jammed twice in the open position and there have been a number of minor prangs that have brought most of the borough to a standstill. Today was the turn of one of the contractor lorries, perched at the top of the steep incline of Boot Hill waiting to tip its load of asphalt.

All of this combined with a

shift in the center of gravity, caused by the moving load, caused the lorry to

tip too far back lifting all 8 wheels

well clear of the road

plonking it firmly on its back-side. All 3 of the emergency services were called to attend, but the good news is no one was injured in the incident.

By coincidence, I had 2 short discussions last week about the wonderful 'boxed set'

Genesis Archive1967 -75

which inspired me to play the whole thing in total. A must for the journeyman Prog Rocker this masterpiece of the bands earlier work would serve as an excellent sampler for those wishing to discover the genre. A 4 disc offering, complete with some of the most comprehensive sleeve note ever to accompany an album, the first 2 are dedicated to a complete 'Live' recording of what I consider the bands finest hour, 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway'. A complex concept album revolves around the central character, Rael, (and his brother/alter ego John) a New York street Punk who's hobbies include graffiti spraying, borstal and setting tramps on fire. This suite is not only the very best 'rock concert' I ever attended but also the best expression of Rock Theatre and included, on that day, meeting Peter Gabriel (vocals & flute). Dressed in a white suit, as Brother John wears in the story, and with the "silent tear of blood" painted below my eye, Mr Gabriel said "I love the get-up", I simply replied "compliment indeed considering who wrote the lyric" (him).

Disc 3 contains among others, the full 'Live' working of Supper's Ready, Firth of Fifth (Hackett's finest hour for me) and the highlight of the whole gig, Twilight Alehouse! The finale is a book ends of BBC Tapes and Live covers from various venues of much of their first album 'Genesis to Revelation' (also title 'In The Beginning'). I've started, but you'll be pleased to know won't continue as I could talk about this forever - spend £15 and make up your own mind.

and finally, before the day is out there is an extremely good chance that I could be blessed with another GRANDSON - my third. All my thoughts are with Lisa and of course Bernard & Frederick III - Lots of Love.

PS - The ink isn't even dry yet and it's happened. Alexander James York was welcomed into the world at 02-45 Australian Time on 17/01/2011 (17-45 GMT 16/01/2011) by Cesarean section. Mum, Dad and both Grandsons doing fine.
'Long Live Alexander the Great'