We left Nightingale-less, Bolam offered a sanctuary from bolshy bovines and a singing Garden Warbler was our sloppy seconds. To add insult to injury as we headed back to the car park a party of three birders were trying to tease directions from one of the local elderly walkers. I did my bit, led them back, warned them about the dangers and even handed over my handwritten, post-it-noted directions and wished them well. We never looked back.
Thursday, 25 June 2009
Nightingale - A Load of Bull.
When your a Dad sometimes you just have to do the right thing for your kids. Today I just knew that despite the cooler, cloudier conditions reducing the chances I just had to give my kids the opportunity to hear a Nightingale singing in their home county. Few and far between who knows when they might get a chance to add another to their county list. I would hate the thought that at some point later in life perhaps when I'm gone that they were reminiscing and chatting about their childhood, and it went something like this:
Kid 1: "Dad was great, he took us all over to get an early start on our County Lists."
Kid 2: "Yeah, I suppose but there was that time when we could have had Nightingale, ten minutes drive from the house and he hoovered instead."
Kid 1: " Oh I forgot about that, took fifteen years waiting for the next twitchable one."
Kid 2: " Yup, selfish bastard."
So we threw Kid 3 out at the school gate and after a quick stop to rescue a suicidal juvenile Carrion Crow at the bottom of ADMC's street that was trying to cross the road ten yards from a zebra crossing, we headed out along the winding country lanes toward Bolam.
Directions hastily scribbled on a post note in the early hours of the morning we had a little confusion at Meldon as we did a loop over the old railway line searching for 'THE LANE'. A quick head scratch and reappraisal got us to the right place a few hundred yards further just in time to see the back of two country fatigue clad figures with bins heading down the lane. I suspect that it was AG/ADMC but didn't get particularly clear views.
With twins loaded in the buggy we headed out through the chained gate making sure to close it securely behind us. A short hedge opened out into a field full of Sheep and a bullock close to the path. Of course the appearance of me, gleaming white t-shirt and twins in buggy as wide as a Ford Ka was enough to make said bullock do a double take. I could see as slow thinking large animal processed the sight in front of him, the seconds ticked as I slowly walked on till we were almost level. Now whether all the recent bad publicity, Blunkett and Co has gone down like a ton of Cowshit in the bull bovine world I don't know but a snort and I just knew he was thinking "Hang on I might fail to notice two 'miles of cycling' slim, green clad, elderly chaps, slipping past quietly but your trying to take a bloody tank past with two squirming pink and red clad things wriggling and shrieking, no way Jose."
Lumbering toward us I was faced with the age old question fight or flight? On my own I could have leaped a hedge or run sideways along the nearest slope but with two kids and my own private taxi, there was nothing for it but to retreat. I turned to go and started walking slowly back the way we'd came. This was bullock's cue to realise he had the upper hand and start turning on the 'Spanish Style' and trotting our way. Suddenly it dawned on me that with bullock a mere 20ft behind I had the chain and gate to negotiate I needed to put some distance between us. I bolted for the gate, Bullock realised he was in danger of missing out on this once in a lifetime event and started running after me. I did the only thing left in my armoury, I reached the gate turned and roared my best 'Dad doing a Lion' impression which thankfully was enough to stop him in his tracks for long enough to get the gate open and my oblivious children (finger pointing "Moooo") through to safety.
I hung around for a while hoping he'd go but i figured he had the better chance of out waiting me and we were possibly far more interesting to him than he was to us. It was a stand off.