Sunday, March 04, 2007

Bark at the Mow-own

Did you see the lunar eclipse last night? I was watching it out of the back of a freezing cold bus between Arbroath and Stonehaven

....of which more later. The last lunar eclipse, six years ago, I remember we were stood looking out of the front door at home in sunny Winchburgh, watching the moon go a shade of blood red. Diane was heavily pregnant with Lizzie nearly two weeks overdue(!) and I *knew* it was a bad omen. I was joking that our baby would be born evil. Next day Diane went into hospital and our baby was born evil. It just shows that you should be careful what you wish for.
Anyway, Saturday I went down to Edinburgh to gatecrash the BBRC AGM on the foreshore at Cramond, at a Globetrotter Inn efficiently staffed by 20-year old Australians. A very educational afternoon, and put a few names to a few faces. Still not much wiser about borealis Common Eiders, although I could buy the theory that they are irruptive and occasionally they or their DNA makes it into our resident populations. Every bird-related event I go to seems to coincide with major engineering works on the railways (grrrrr..), and this was no exception, with no trains between Dundee and Aberdeen. So on the way back got onto this unpromising-looking coach in the dark at Dundee. The driver was outside having a faaaagggg with the door open, so I understood the bus might be a bit chilly when we got on. But when we set off it got colder - no heating but a healthy blast of cold air coming in all the vents. I was freezing my swonnicles off and in a foul mood all the way back as we trundled up the coast road. Really needed a pee as well, which didn't improve my mood either, but the moon cheered me up. Even though I was the only passenger by then, the driver wouldn't stop at Newtonhill, but no sweat I thought I'd hop on a bus at Stonehaven. Argh! Where have the bus stops gone? I went to where they used to be, and they weren't there, and by that time on Saturday evening there was no one to ask except a crowd of refreshed young men throwing their shoes at passing cars. So got a taxi and £13 later was home in a worse mood.
AND our computer had died during the day. One minute working, next completely deid apparently, not a light on, nothing. Amazing. Only Friday (yes the DAY BEFORE) I'd backed up everything onto the laptop for the first time in months, for no real reason. Nae problemo then, I just spent the morning getting the laptop back into online operation - £25 to renew the antivirus crap (grrrr....), and a lengthy and entertaining cabaret of a phone call to a centre in India when my renewal didn't process properly. Then the fun of waiting for 45 Windows updates to install, and to work through all the warnings about various things that were trying to contact the internet for the first time. It took me til 2 pm before we had a functional computer. And the kids were driving me nuts, until it was 'right, get your coat on, we're off out!' and I made them run around the swing park in sub-zero temperature with 25 mph windchill for an hour until the fight had left them. Diane came round in the car to see if they were cold and wanted to go home, but I judged they hadn't yet suffered enough.
So I guess I'm saying I didn't do any birding. But there was a good reason! Also Peter peed on my jeans in an artistic way that made it look like I was the one who'd peed. Like his Dad, he's an artiste.

So....... my paper about Ivory-billed Woodpeckers was accepted by BMC Biology, and I expect it to be published online in the next few days (Open Access online - I'll post the website as and when). Those of you who know me will know roughly the message what's in it. It's kinda daunting with all the media interest surrounding the issue, that I'm starting to regret already sticking my head above the parapet in such a public and permanent way. Still, the truth will out - hold your nose and here goes.


Agathe said...

Hey, I'm Agathe.
I'm French, and translating a book from Spike Milligan. He refers to swonnicles once in his book, but it doesn't seem to mean the same "thing" in his book.
"affiliated to the Swonnicles"
Can it have a second meaning?

Martin said...

Swonnicles, testicles. Testicles, swonnicles.
He talks about revolving swonnicles during his relationship with Toni.