Monday, September 25, 2006


If you fancy seeing a Kentish Plover - I wouldn’t advise going to Kent.

You are unlikely to come across a Dartford Warbler (see pic) in Dartford.

However, these lovely birds are quite common in the part of Spain where we stay.

If the birds were to be found exclusively in the habitat suggested by their name, I would never have seen them. It’s too expensive to travel South if you are talking about the South of England.

Last June I visited London to see the Matisse exhibition. I stayed overnight. I tried to book the rail journey (Pick any company you like as long as it’s Virgin) on the net, but it was just too confusing. After forming a close relationship with a Virgin employee during a lengthy telephone conversation I managed to book tickets. The return journey cost about £50 and there was the cost of a night in a hotel. See what I mean?

Last time I flew to Spain it cost me £1.11 - No that’s not a mistake - ONE POUND ELEVEN PENCE! There were taxes on top of that but anyone can see that this is obscene. The average cost with Monarch (Manchester to Barcelona) is around £25 and taxes are about the same.

All of this is ethically, logically, environmentally and economically wrong. The statistics on noise, ground level airport pollution and CO2 emissions are terrifying.

The sky is full.



Blogger Pete said...

lovely birds aren't they. in the uk Dorset/New Forest, Dunwich Heath (nr Minsmere Suffolk) and parts of Devon are strongholds

2:57 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Pete: Yes - but not anywhere north of Peterborough.

6:41 pm  
Blogger Gareth said...

That's so true. If I go by train to my parent I like to treat myself and go 1st class, Cost £150. travelling time about 6 hours. A flight to New York can be bought for just over twice that, and travelling time 8 hours.

The latter is also far more reliable.

8:47 pm  
Blogger Anxious said...

You have to be so organised to get the cheap fares on the train, and sometimes, even if you book way in advance, there aren't any available.

It's all wrong.

9:09 am  
Blogger stitchwort said...

Best way to get train tickets is to go to the station and ask the booking clerk if they can find the cheapest - they enjoy showing off their expertise. Assuming you have a large station handy, that is.

9:34 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

gareth: 6 hours to Wales?

anxious: I was amazed that it was nearly impossible to sort it out via internet.
Must be the last thing that we can't do on line.

stitchwort: I have a large station, but not a large amount of patience to wait in the queue.
Why is it so complicated?
It's driving us to the air in spite of the guilt.

9:43 am  
Blogger Anxious said...

The most annoying thing is when you resign yourself to buying a not-very-cheap ticket on line, and then coincidentally, you get an email from Virgin telling you about all the wonderful cheap fares. They're doing it on purpose, I'm sure...

1:10 pm  
Blogger Gareth said...

6 hours yes from mt front door in London, to my parents home on the west coast.

9:31 pm  
Anonymous NiC said...

We have many birds in our garden just ten miles or so from Dartford but I've certainly never seen a Dartford Warbler round here :(

12:29 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Anx: That Richard Branson is a sharp operator.

Gareth: But they're worth it!

Nic: Living proof to a provincial Northener that Dartford really exists.

Those warblers are seriously cute!

7:16 pm  
Anonymous NiC said...

Ooo I don't know Kaz, I've never actually been there....but I have seen the road signs (and been across the bridge and through the tunnel).

11:46 am  
Blogger The Murphmeister said...

The Kentish Plover and Dartford Warbler probably took the cheap flights to Spain ... ecology gone mad! There will be snakes on planes next!

I spotted a Dartford Warbler once. He was belting out "Satisfaction" in front of popular beat combo the Rolling Stones.

3:53 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

nic: That's good enough for me! But see Murph's comment - perhaps you could visit the 'Mick Jagger Centre'

Yes Murph - not that I doubted this fantastic bit of information -but I did google it and found there's a centre there dedicated to old hot lips himself. Should be the Sir Mick Jagger centre by now.
As I've said before - do I want my rock stars to be peers of the realm?

6:04 pm  
Anonymous NiC said...

Ahah! Talk of the Mick Jagger Centre reminds me I have been to Dartford after all..... though not to Sir Mick's place. I went to the Orchard Theatre to see a pantomime (I'm sorry, but it was when the kids were younger.. I didn't know what I was doing.. etc.. etc)

6:07 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

I suppose it starred ex stars of East Enders and two performing dogs.
OK we are all allowed one mistake - You are forgiven.

6:27 pm  
Anonymous NiC said...

Brian Blessed was the highlight but yes I think there were some 'stenders "stars" aswell.

8:38 am  
Blogger The Murphmeister said...

Mr P's old gym teacher/sadist at Gravesend used to teach at Dartford and had a sawn out piece of desk with Mick's initials carved in.

I suppose he was waiting for ebay to be invented.

"If we had some eggs we could have some eggs and bacon, if we had some bacon" - that was his catchphrase.

9:16 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

nic: Brian Blessed - very posh - up 'ere we get Fred Elliot.

murph: It's sign of the times. Initials on desks used to be 'creative'. Now it's called vandalism.
I must try that catchphrase out on my pals.

10:37 am  
Anonymous Blue Witch said...

if you *had* been to Dartford, you'd know why the birds are sensible enough to avoid it :)

1:21 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

BW: Thanks for the tip! Perhaps I'll just stay up in t'north where I belong.

5:24 pm  

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