Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 09/11/2011

To use the Yorkshire vernacular “Eee Ben Gunn”!*

I know how a (fictional) ship wrecked sailor might feel when he (or she) sees the sails of a ship for the first time in years, so giddy am I to see blue skies out of the window. Okay, it’s only been a few days in the doldrums of grey, wet winter weather but it feels like longer. Unfortunately by the time I can get out with my camera, darkness will have descended and no manner of high ISO will allow me to photograph little brown birds in the dark! Perhaps I should use some of that university education and experience to genetically modify birds(or animals) so that they glow in the dark** – that would also make it easier to spot them in the first place… mind you, it would be rather spooky to see birds roosting in places so dark all you can see are the creatures themselves. On reflection it’s a rather silly idea!

I like the type of music that mimics the sensations you get when on a really exhilarating roller coaster – the type where you feel you’re running out of control. I also like the type that has some intelligence behind it, intelligence and humour are two of the things I like in music… intelligence, humour, and a good tune ***

I’m currently listening to Half Man Half Biscuit’s excellent new album “90 Bisodol”; they’re one of the few bands that manage to combine all three (and more) of the qualities listed above – so good is the album I’ve been listening to it on repeat for about 3 or 4 weeks now. There’s so many cultural reference points in their songs, it’s like a good painting or movie, there’s always something new to spot.

Today’s image, taken on another rather overcast day, is from my recent trip to London Zoo and is of a Blue-Bellied Roller. The more observant of you out there may well recall I posted an image earlier in the year of a Lilac-Fronted Roller from my trip to Kenya (and more specifically Lake Nakuru) where the conditions (ie lighting) couldn’t be more different – still, it’s quite a passable photo despite the adverse conditions.

*It’s actually “Eee By Gum” – I’m reading Treasure Island, as mentioned before, in which Ben Gunn has been marooned on Treasure Island for a number of years…. “cheese anyone”
**My dissertation was titled “A Rapid Bio-luminescent Assay for Mercuric Chloride“ in other words “heavy metal**** sensitive bacterial that glowed in the dark
*** well, it’s been a while since I tried to paraphrase “The Spanish Inquisition” and as it’s difficult to know how long my audience has stuck with me, I thought I’d chance my arm again!
**** not an aversion to AC/DC, Iron Maiden or Guns N Roses (though I’d be there with them if it were) but mercury, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, thallium and lead (I’m sure that sounds like a Half Man Half Biscuit Lyric)



  1. I saw this bird at my local zoo!

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