Friday, 18 December 2009

Let downs and lifts

TUB on the Cairngorms c1996
Since the last time I put finger to keyboard I've not been to my local patch nor lifted a pair of binoculars. This time I have no excuse because most of my deadlines are out of the way and apart from a few flecks of snow one morning and a couple other more rainy ones, the mornings have at least been dry - if bitterly cold. No, this is my mid-winter doldrum period, an annual occurrence than can sometimes drift into March. I aim to stop the rut this Sunday by dragging myself out of my warm pit to visit The Scrubs and I must continue the newly found purpose to the end of the year. I must, I must, I must. Well, maybe I may have a lay in one morning......

A couple disappointments were had over the past few days. The usual ones from certain execs at particular TV channels but the biggest disappointment emanated from Scotland. Visit Scotland refused to support my one day trip to Glasgow for Bird Watching Magazine because the felt that the magazine's circulation was too small. They are the first unhelpful tourist board I have come across in 12 months of traveling Britain and Europe on my urban birding tour. I didn't understand why they didn't get the idea that the magazine's readers were active and actually do visit places in pursuit of their hobby. I was amazed by their attitude, especially given that as far as I know, no one else in the world is writing about city wildlife to the people most likely to go look for themselves.

Last night I went to a Christmas gathering at the swanky Mayfair Hotel, off Piccadilly. The reception desk told me that I had to go to the 5th floor, so I strolled through the thronging atrium to the lifts. I got to them just as one was closing. A well placed foot prevented the doors from closing on me and I entered. I was dimly aware of a couple of kids and three adults in the tight car as I stared at the panel to punch the 5th floor button. The doors closed and we started to ascend. I casually looked to my left and was flabbergasted to see JERMAINE JACKSON standing there!

Before I could think, I had introduced myself to him and told him how much of a pleasure it was to have met him. He was lovely and called me 'Dave', to which I replied with a jovial smile on my face, 'David, it's David to you!' As I said this, my floor arrived and I bid the occupants of the lift a good night and skipped out.

It's not often you get to meet megastars and I didn't even get the chance to show him some of my moves!


Anonymous said...

I am shamed by the tightness, and short-sightedness of my fellow Scotchpeople. We're not all like that as I'm sure you know.

As for meeting celebrities - birders probably feel the same when they meet you!

holdingmoments said...

Shame on the Scottish Tourist Board!

What a name dropper you are ;)

Caroline @ Wild Scotland said...

Dear David, I'm sorry to hear about your problems with your trip to Scotland. Next time please do get in touch with us at Wild Scotland, the Scottish wildlife tourism association ( We have members across Scotland who are keen to welcome everyone interested in birds and wildlife, both experts and novices. We'd be happy to try and help with your trip. Merry Christmas and keep up the good work!

The Urban Birder said...

Thank you Caroline for your kind offer.

Since my rant against Visit Scotland I have realised that some of my comments were a bit harsh and perhaps uncalled for.

They have been very helpful to me in the past when I visited Edinburgh earlier this year and had caught me on a bad day when they said they couldn't support my Glasgow trip.

I think that there may have been a bit of a misunderstanding. They and I have since spoken and everything is cool now.

Fraser Simpson said...

Hogganfield Loch is the place to go in Glasgow (Whoopers, Goosanders, Smew, white-winged gulls, etc), but it will probably be April by the time it thaws this year!

Have a good trip.