Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 14/10/2011

The Chattering Classes

Chroicocephalus ridibundus, that’s a bit of mouthful isn’t it… for a common (and boy are they common) gull. These noisy, argumentative birds gather in great numbers and should you have witnessed them in their great numbers I think you’ll agree that a lot of ‘chattering’ occurs. Black-headed Gulls, for that is what these birds are, should be reported to the Trading Standards office – for most of the year, they have a generally white plumaged on their noggin, and when it does change colour it’s not black, it should be called a muddy-headed gull, though I’d call them a few other choice names.

The term Chattering Classes was a phrase first used by Auberon Waugh as a derogative term for the Middle Classes and the label seems to have stuck, in fact it’s one of my favourite line’s from a Half Man Half Biscuit song (you must have heard of them!) where the protagonist of the song is complaining about the ingress of second home owners pricing out locals from many picturesque places.

These and tomorrow’s photos are the last from my trip to the Wetlands Trust in Arundel but all is not lost, the next few weeks are going to be full of photographic opportunities and to say I’m excited about it, well, that’s a bit of an under exaggeration – whilst I don’t have anything as grandiose as my trip to Kenya, I will be photographing lots and lots of animals, birds, reptiles and anything else whether it’s moving or not.

Tomorrow’s trip is to Whipsnade Zoo, an annual pilgrimage, and I have high hopes for some photos of my favourite big cat if the weather is anything like today, which has been rather unseasonal for October in the UK. Last time I was there, the matriarch and her cubs stalked me as I photographed them – I often wonder if these creatures with their superior eyesight can see up the lens to my eye with the way they look deep into my eyes as if peering into my soul. Oh dear, this is getting rather deep – especially for a friday night, time for a change of subject.

Talk about a perfect end to the week, I received a print I’ve been waiting for (purchased through GroupOn) a 70cm x 50cm print of THAT cheetah photo and even if I do say so myself, ( it looks awesome. It’ll be on the wall at home fairly soon and i’ll even take a photo to show you when it is. Today Dartmoor Zoo, my exhibition and a home print… tomorrow the world (but I’ll settle for National Geographic and the BBC).



  1. Hey! Break a leg tomorrow my friend and have a good expo in Dartmoor.


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