August 16th – 26th – The Birdfair, the beach and various music events.   Leave a comment


Most years we go to the British Birdfair which is held the weekend before the August Bank Holiday at Rutland Water. This event has been described as the birders Glastonbury and certainly represents every aspect of the birding scene. Conservation bodies, bird tour companies, regional bird clubs, tourist agencies from countries all over the world, natural history book sellers, outdoor clothing, camera and optic manufacturers and wildlife artists all vie for your attention. The Birdfair, now in its 25th year, attracts tens of thousands and has raised over £2,000,000 for Birdlife International’s conservation programs.

I have said repeatedly that there is too much to do on a single day and we really ought to go for two. This year at least we drove up on the Friday night and stayed at nearby Market Harborough and so were there for the start at 0900. One of the most entertaining sessions was the Birdfair’s answer to the BBC’s Mastermind. The BBC’s version fits comfortably into a half an hour slot, but chairman Bill Oddie ad-libbed so much with both the questions and answers, that it took nearly an hour!


Bill Oddie warmly welcomes the guy with the beers. Bill said that he was surprised that this was the 25th anniversary of the Birdfair as he had been coming for at least 30 years and wondered what he did for the first five!


In most years after the Birdfair we continue on to Duffield, to the north of Derby to see my brother and family. This usually coincides with my niece Miriam’s birthday, who is 17 this year. One, of her friends had given her this huge cuddly monkey as a present.


Her sister Jennifer also poses with the giant monkey.


Whilst in the Derby area we always make a point of visiting Dennis and Ida, my sister-in-law Viv’s parents. They have known each other for 78 years as they were next door neighbours as children. They both have a great sense of humour and are great fun to chat to.


On Sunday afternoon we popped down to a newly establish local nature reserve. We didn’t see much of note, but that’s not the point. Small nature reserves like this form a chain of wildlife habitats all across the country  preventing wildlife becoming isolated in ‘islands’ and are to be warmly welcomed.

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On Friday 23rd we went over to Bournemouth to have a drink with John and Anita and found out that Kara was already there.  What better place to have a pint then at BIC  where we could again watch the Friday night fireworks.

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We hardly ever went to Bournemouth before John and Anita moved there, but now we seem to go several times a week. On Sunday 25th we went back to the pier approach along with their friends Ken and Pam.                      L-R at the back: Amber, me, Kara, Anita, Janis, John, Ken and Margaret and Pam at the front.

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The pier approach area often has free bands playing and on this occasion it was the excellent Perfect Alibi, a Pink Floyd tribute band. Earlier on they played some of the longer and less well numbers like ‘Pigs’ from Animals and Margaret, Anita and Kara decided it wasn’t from them and headed back to the flat, but later on they performed perfect renditions of various numbers from ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and ‘The Wall’ and ended up with a fantastic version of ‘Another Brick in the Wall’

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On Bank Holiday Monday we made our annual (or near annual) visit to the beach. It was suitably hot but the sea was still cold and I didn’t go in past my knees. The beach was very crowded at the car park end but a couple of hundred yards further on there was plenty of space.

That evening we returned to Bournemouth once more to see Leonard Cohen perform at the BIC. Cohen’s music is much like Marmite , you either love it or hate it or rather you either get it or you don’t. His gruff vocals set off by the beautiful voices of the backing singers and accompanied by some exceptional musicians are spell binding, but it is the lyrics that make his songs so special. If you can be bothered to carefully listen to the  moving, often introspective, lyrics that encompass religion, mythology, love and sex, yet which sometimes reveal a harder, cynical edge, then you may understand why we love his music.

At the age of almost 79 he can still fill large venues and it was a sell out at the BIC. We ended up with seats at the back and the photos were taken with my pocket camera so are of low quality.

Leonard Cohen in concert. Photo from the internet.

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On this tour the saxophonist has been replaced by a virtuoso violin player which give the songs more of a ‘gypsy’ feel. To the left are the lovely singers, Hattie and Charlie Webb and Sharon Robinson, each of whom took the lead vocal on a number of songs.

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An resounding standing ovation from the delighted crowd. In all the years I have been attending music events I have seldom seen such a rapturous reception.

Posted September 1, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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