Saturday 6 October 2012

Bedraggled, and far from home

Despite being a former resident of Westminster, Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham and Hillingdon, I've said before how I feel a bit out of place in the capital these days. Returning to a rainy London yesterday, it once again felt like a giant metaphor for how the whole species seems determined to accelerate its progress towards becoming a stain in the geological record.

This morning, for example, I noticed on the Jubilee Line that those cardboard adverts which used to climb the walls alongside the escalators have been replaced by banks of LCD screens. A waste of energy as well as being pointless - I went the whole length of one without being able to work out what I was being sold. And before someone points out that 'full life-cycle analysis suggests that the LCD adverts have a lower carbon footprint than the old ones', I'm having none of it. As the great Stewart Lee says 'You can prove anything with facts'.

The 100-yard, horizontal moving walkways in the bowels of Waterloo station represented a further waste of energy in a City with more than its fair share of the morbidly obese. Any species which requires a moving walkway, and, more to the point, a sign to tell it that 'The moving walkway is ending' at the end of the moving walkway, is surely over-due being re-lumped with its simian ancestors.

So what's this got to do with birds? Very little, to be honest. Apart from that the event I was attending was at Defra. When not culling it, they are in charge of the wildlife. The reception area was adorned with beautiful images from a wildlife photography exhibition. A civil servant met us to take us to the meeting room, and as we paused by the photos he said, wryly, 'you won't find any badgers on there...'

Despite this bit of dark humour, by the time I got home, I still felt about like this Buff-breasted Sandpiper looked when I twitched it on Tuesday after a work commitment in Yeovil put me within striking distance of a wet and windy Curry Moor: bedraggled, a bit dis-orientated but alive at least. As long-winded and tenuous links to unremarkable bird photos go, I think that was pretty impressive. So come on October, cheer me up with something proper rare...

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