Tag Archives: jay

A Seasonal Jay and a Lost Coin

We saw a Jay on the way to work yesterday. It swooped from trees by the side of the road, flew in front of us and dropped into a park on the other side of the road. They are both colourful and unobtrusive, being quite a shy bird. This is the time of year to see them as they collect acorns and stash them away for future use. It’s not the first time we have seen a Jay at that part of the journey as they live in the park, but they rarely show themselves..

This morning I had an acceptance for the revised haibun, which was good. I’m always slightly wary of edits, as I may have said in  previous posts, but this one seemed to work out alright. I try to do what editors ask, as a second pair of eyes can often see what I don’t, and they are helping me for free. There are several possible pitfalls, but we seem to have avoided them.

The owner has been away for the last two days. It’s always relaxing, but it is also frustrating because we end up having to stop what we are doing to deal with customers. At that point you appreciate what he does in the course of the week. I am trying to get things loaded up on eBay but people keep ringing and visiting and generally stopping us working. I’m used to the phone calls because they are a normal part of my day, but I normally rely on him dealing with customers.  It just goes to show what a finely balanced machine the shop really is.

It hasn’t helped that we’ve found it hard to locate a number of the things we have sold. Once you lose one coin in a coin shop it can be quite a performance finding it again and it can take several hours out of the day. It always annoys me when that happens because time is money, as they say, and if you spend an hour looking for a £6 coin there is no way you are going to make a profit. It’s one of those cases where spending five minutes on filing and labelling would pay for itself. Fortunately we are all as bad as each other when it comes to losing things so it doesn’t seem so bad.

British West Africa 1/10th of a Penny

Writing on Borrowed Time

It’s been a productive morning already. It’s only 9.40am as I write and I have already packed the two orders and done various jobs using the shop computer. I have bought my lottery tickets online, done most of the weekly shopping and checked how Nottingham Outlaws are doing. They could be doing better from the results point of view but the club looks to be doing OK. Unfortunately I am not able to watch them these days as I work Saturdays. It’s strange how something that was once so important can slide away into obscurity.

We saw a Jay this morning on the way to work. It dropped from a tree at the edge of the park as we drove past, and stopped to drink from a puddle. Sadly it was just a fleeting glimpse, as they are pretty birds and always a pleasure to see.I’d be shy too, if my main contact with man was murderous gamekeepers and Victorian milliners looking for ghoulish hat decorations.

In the shop the saga of the missing gold coin still dominates, though I haven’t mentioned it in the blog so far. Someone with low feedback bought a gold coin for £500 on eBay last week then decided to return it. This is always annoying, as it’s often a case of buyer’s remorse rather than an actual fault with the coin. He has actually given three reasons for the return of the coin, all of which are demonstrably false. However, we allow returns to encourage buyer confidence. and as a result we get messed about. Sometimes it’s fair enough, as we aren’t always perfect, but mostly it isn’t.

At best, we will be out of pocket for the postage cost and the bit that always seems to be missing by the time eBay sorts out the refund. It’s something to do with VAT, though I can’t tell you what as tax isn’t one of my specialist subjects.

This, however, is insignificant compared to the loss of the coin. The Royal mail claim it was delivered at 10.20 am on Saturday. It wasn’t. We were in the shop at 10.20am and we had no post. The Post office don’t know where it is, eBay says we must issue the refund now, despite not having the coin. I used to be a great fan of the Royal Mail, but recently they have been offering a very poor service, whilst maintaining high prices and regular increases in the cost of their service. They are far from being the worst postal service in the world, but they are definitely in decline. However, they are not as bad as the various courier services which form the main competition.

Birds, birds, birds…

Today will go down as The Day of Colourful Birds. Unfortunately I can’t use that as a title as I didn’t get any photos of them so it would be false advertising.

My first stop was Budby Flash – a small lake formed by mining subsidence in 2007. In fact it was my only stop. I didn’t have time for a long walk so that really cut out Rufford and Clumber, and I wanted somewhere with a bit more to it than the duck pond at Arnott Hill.

In addition, I thought it would be nice to go somewhere new. I’ve not actually been along the road since 2007 so I’ve never seen the flash.

I’ve looked flash up in the dictionary, but you have to search hard to find it. It took several dictionaries and when I eventually found it, it was 12th in the list of British nouns.

12. Yorkshire and Lancashire dialect

pond, esp one produced as a consequence of subsidence
I know what a flash is, as I’ve seen several, but I thought I’d better look it up to be sure about it. When you write it in a blog you really need to check. As so often a Nottingham word is claimed for Yorkshire, as the boundaries for this sort of thing can be quite vague.
That, by the way, is why there is a drowned tree – it must have been growing by the side of the River Meden when the flash formed. A good day for ducks, but not so good for trees.
The first thing I noticed was the feeding station, with fat balls and seeds in mesh bags. There was a reasonable flock of tits feeding (Great Tits, Blue Tits and a few Coal Tits) with a Robin and a Dunnock. The surprise of the morning was the Kingfisher.
I was standing on the bridge looking for ducks when a flash of blue shot out from the side of the bridge and flew away down the valley. There’s only one thing that shines that blue on a grey day, so though it wasn’t a great view it was most definitely a Kingfisher.

Robin – Budby Flash – Nottinghamshire

That was the highlight of the day.
On the way back a Jay flew down by the roadside and picked something up, probably an acorn, before flying off. That was a good view, though, as usual, I couldn’t get a photo.
Finally, feeding on a roundabout on the way home, a small flock of Fieldfares looked bright in the sunlight, despite being shades of grey and brown.

It’s built on seven hills

I do not, of course refer to Rome, because that would be too simple, and too exotic. No, I refer to Sheffield. Unlike Rome, which is famous for culture, romance and Roman ruins, Sheffield is famous for cutlery, silver plate and Henderson’s Relish.

Now, I have to admit that I have never counted the hills in Sheffield and I rely on Number Two son for this information. However, I can say that wherever you go in the city you do seem to be on a hill or next to one, so I find the seven hills story easy to believe.

The reason for this digression from my normal tale of life on the farm is that after work on Monday night I took him back to Sheffield when I should have been blogging. It was a trip I didn’t mind making. Though it was nice to see him for a few days my wallet and the fridge both heaved a sigh of relief when he left.

There are no photographs of Sheffield, though I do have some from the farm.

We had New College down to get some practice with animals, tried out a new unit on egg quality and spotted two male and one female Orange Tip, though (as usual) I couldn’t get a picture, and I finally got to grips with the new booking system. The old booking system had a major flaw, in that it wasn’t a system, so this is a great improvement. I felt quite virtuous for a few minutes.

On the trip to Sheffield we went through Chesterfield, a town famous for its twisted spire. Whilst by-passing the town non the A61, which is a bit of a concrete canyon at the lower end, we were surprised to see a Jay perched on a section of crash barrier by the roadside. It’s not the first bird I think of seeing in an urban environment but there were some trees and patches of waste land within a few hundred yards so I suppose it wasn’t too far away from its natural habitat.

I suppose the moral there is that you don’t always appreciate what is actually in the landscape as you drive down a dual carriageway.

Tuesday (or today, if you prefer) has passed quickly. Julia has painted the outside of the pigsaw and is making the tail. She also had a meeting about the kitchen extension. I passed my time pottering about and, whilst clearing out some old files, found a web-based Health and Safety course that I had forgotten all about. That took up most of the afternoon but if I hadn’t done that I’d only have frittered my time away searching the net for trivia.

Alasdair and I filled the bird feeders last night at 3 pm. At 9.45 am, when we arrived this morning, the fat ball feeder in the hedge was empty (three balls gone in 18 hours!). I knew the jackdaws had found it, but they must have been working hard to eat three in that time. One more secure feeder in the back also came under Jackdaw attack this afternoon. It’s not just the quantity they eat but the way they drive the smaller birds away. I think we may have to stop feeding fat balls.

Good week for the birds

It’s been a good week for birds this week. Apart from the normal visitors we had a Great Spotted Woodpecker on Monday and a Jay on Thursday. The Jay was chasing a magpie, which makes me think the magpie was trying to raid the Jay’s nest. I’ve seen a buzzard and barn owl facing off before, which was quite eerie in the fading light, but never seen a Jay chase a magpie. With them being closely related it seems a bit strange, though with the Magpie being a renowned robber of nests I suppose it isn’t that unusual. What I do know is that I missed a dimension by being in the car, because it wouldn’t have been a quiet pursuit. We regularly have magpies quarrelling in our street and they are quite vocal, with jays also being well known for their calling.


OK, I confess it’s a poor photo…

We’ve had two good sightings of buzzards this week too, both standing on fence posts next to the A46 – one virtually white on the breast and the other almost all brown. I don’t know why they select the posts they do as they are usually a bit below the level of the road. I’m used to seeing them on lamp posts and telegraph poles so the fence post seems a bit unambitious. It’s strange to think that when I was growing up we had to travel to Devon or Wales to see buzzards.

Finally we saw the yellowest yellowhammer I’ve ever seen. It’s the sunlight – everything looks better in the sun.

As a last sighting for the week – driving to Hobbycraft after picking  Julia up from work we saw a Common Tern flying along the canal, and actually diving to feed. It’s not rare, because they breed in the gravel pits along the Trent, but it was nice to see.