Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 18/12/2011

Ka mate, ka mate… Ka ora’ Ka ora’ ^

Great Tit, originally uploaded by

The car was covered with a hoar frost so deep it would be deemed a hippy by any passing skinheads. So what was I doing out so early that my car was white from the sudden drop in temperature? I should really own up first that it wasn’t in fact that early, if and when the car doesn’t make it into the warm and secure garage enclave, it resides next to a large wall that ensures that any early morning sunshine doesn’t make it’s a warming presence felt upon my little sports car as was the case this morning. Today was the Christmas Party for the children who attend the local rugby club where my boy now plays (when it comes to sport my son is what you could call a bit of a polymath… if he’s old enough to take part he will… Football ( of the soccer variety*), rugby, tennis, hockey, badminton, swimming, rounders, to name but a few…. though he’s not that fussed on cricket (don’t blame him, it’s such a slow game the radio commentators find cakes more interesting to talk about).

The kids are making so much noise as they run around in their heightened sense of excitement. I suspect there is some sort of Pavlovian (meringue, double cream, mixed soft fruit and icing sugar.. oh, not that one? Sorry my mistake) conditioning occurring where all that energy and enthusiasm usually reserved for the pitch is now being expelled within the confines of the rugby club clubhouse. As if to confirm this is indeed based upon Pavlov’s theories and experiments… the dog, Digger the London Irish Rugby Club mascot, has turned up..  and the kids love him.

You would think that I would have learnt from experience, but sadly I haven’t. Earlier in the year I lamented that my camera battery upon arrival at the weekly Saturday morning children’s football was completely and utterly flat despite having 72% charge left before I had set off (the ‘Awesome-ator’ can last a couple of days on a fully charged battery, even with the click rate I put it through). Unless there had been some sort of short circuit within the camera or battery, the camera shouldn’t be have chewed through as much juice as it did. I finally worked out that I had left the camera switch on, and in movie mode and as it had been displaying on the back sensor it had used up all the energy within the battery. Guess what!? Yep, as that great sage of our age said, it “oops.. I did it again“*. Consequently, my camera gear is now resigned to the boot of my car as I stand and compose this diatribe, deafened by the sounds only 165 sugar fuelled kids of varying ages can make when in hyper party mode. Sorry, what did you say? Send three and four pence we’re going for a dance! Oh okay…. Slow… slow… Quick, quick… Slow (oh, they were your feet I just stood on)?

Today’s image was actually taken today, for once, using my wonderful new tripod head (actually I used the camera, but the camera and lens were resting on the wonderful new tripod head). I managed to find some time whilst the afternoon sun was illuminating parts of the back garden, to set up my camera gear in the dining room which overlooks the bird feeders. As mentioned, I’ve removed some of the perches and used duct tape*** over those feeder holes, so that only one hole and perch remain in tact for the birds to retrieve the energy rich seeds from. This limitation (from the birds point of view) ensures that the local avian population have to queue up (wait in line) for their turn**** – allowing me to have a clear shot at them… Lock and Load.

* why DO the USA, who are so literal when it comes to naming of their wildlife, name one of their national sports using the one action that doesn’t occur within the game itself!? Wouldn’t it better renamed “throw-it-a-long-way-ball” (throwball for short, oh by the way I’ve got the trademark on that.. so perhaps not!), or the more catchy and onomatopoeic name “crunch” after the sound bones, bodies and body armour makes during the game!
**Britney Spears
*** No Ducts or other aquatic birds were hurt in the preparation of the feeder.
**** No Turns or other sea going birds were hurt in the preparation of the feeder.
^ Today’s title is taken from the famous All Blacks rugby battle chant, the Haka


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