It was that kind of day; dull, dingy and the sort of day that you'd normally want to spend under the duvet with a servant bringing you grub as and when you needed it. But being a bachelor means that you are forced to go out foraging for food, no matter the weather. So after doing a stint behind the computer screen, I braved the rain to get some lunch.
Whilst strolling back down the mews to my abode, I noticed a male Blackbird sitting on a television aerial behind my house. The significance? For the past few afternoons I was certain that I was catching the dying strains of a Mistle Thrush over the ambient sounds of sirens, helicopters, dogs barking, kids shouting (I live next to a school) and nearby office workers benignly talking on their i-phones whilst on their fag breaks.
But yesterday, Mike Dilger was right. It was a Blackbird - albeit, in weird sub-song. My excuse is that the din of urbanity has dulled my song identification skills (not that I had any in the first place!!).
Tonight, I had a London Natural History Society Ornithological Section meeting (what a mouthful!). I'm chairman and as chairman I managed to get to the site of our meeting in the Camley Street Nature Reserve visitor centre (by Kings Cross Station) 15 minutes late. I left my house too late after getting into an article that I was finishing on the Starlings of Brighton and subsequently got bogged down in traffic on the Euston Road. Of course everyone had got there on time and were duly staring at me when I walked into the room. Embarrassed, I desperately tried to gag my way out of it. No dice.
This was the meeting where I needed the majority of the room of 10 people to vote in favour of changing the section's name to The London Bird Club. After a somewhat heated debate, I got the majority vote I needed. But at a cost. The one person that was vehemently against it was the one person that I really liked. He was visibly upset, shaking with anger as people rounded on him accusing of being behind the times. To my mind, his arguments were not as strong as everyone else's and although I could see his point, I felt that his views were a tad nostalgic. I tried to be more conciliatory in my tone but I had to be honest and say that I disagreed with him.
He threatened to leave the Committee if the name change occurred. He would be sorely missed if he carried out his threat because he is totally invaluable. He's one of those fellas who works tirelessly for the cause. At events, he's the first there and the last to leave. And he's always there. You know the type.
At the end of the meeting he wouldn't really converse with me when I offered my apologies.
I walked of into the night with a heavy heart.