Sunday, February 20

Satan's Bird

During this last week I have once again carried out some expirimentation in catching and banding the Good Lord's feathered friends in the churchyard. However, one visitor was most unwelcome, and I was pleased that Mr Tinker, formerly of the Much Ticking Zoological Menagerie, was on hand to help me exorcise this demon.

Tinker, who had earlier called to discuss the new-fangled 'evolution' with me, had been strolling among the headstones when he hollered to alert me to a Sparrowhawk in my banding net. He informing me he had watched it stealthily crawl along the yew hedge disemboweling five and twenty house sparrows en route, before bumbling into my mesh. Now Tinker has studied these villains long and hard, and knew that they need to feast on at least thirty sparrows a day, and that if I were to release this beast back into the wild there would be no songbirds in the whole of the Parish before the month was out. So I gladly to sacrifice my new banding net to rid Much Ticking of this menace. Again, Tinker in his positon as the most knowledgable authority in Christendom was able to advise me that the local hunt has much experience in these matters and could provide a most painless end for this monster by having it ripped into quarters (along with the net), by their pack. I was just able to capture this one portrait on the camera obscura before blood covered the lens.

Thank the Lord for Tinker!

Sunday, February 6

A Sermon in support of the Parish Council of Much Ticking, on the ownership of Parish Lands

My dear parishioners,

I am very much disturbed by a most animated debate these last weeks. That which is on the matter of our village's governing council moving to make our parish lands available for purchase to private individuals. After much vexed personal musing I have to come out and say this is not a matter for us, the people of the village, to decide as it is not 'our' land. It was that of our forebears, many generations ago, (or at least some of them)but the various Enclosures Acts in England took land away from the peasant in perpetuity to administer for the good of nation; if our governing bodies have land, it is not there for safekeeping, it is theirs to do with as they see fit.

If we should wish to enjoy land, then we must pay for it. Too many people use the countryside freely and are not prepared to pay regularly more than a ha'penny towards upkeep of that land, yet will pay happily more than a guinea to own this year's camera obscura.

We are most fortunate to both live in England's 'Green and Pleasant Land' and at the same time enjoy the monetary stability our national and local government has brought us. If, for a little while, our Masters have to ask us to pay more for the things we covet, and our monies thus taken then keep a poor-house open, where is the sin? After all, does not our Good Lord even charge you for the plot of soil next to the church we lay you down in?

In a show of support for our Parish Council you should note that from today the graveyard can only be accessed by payment of one farthing to the representative of the owner, namely me. I shall of course use these monies wisely on the upkeep of the vicarage. If the dead have to pay to use the ground, then it is only right the living should do so as well.

In his writing 'Visions of the Night' did not the Revd. Gordon Sumner ask "They say the meek shall inherit the earth, how long will you keep it?" Not long, I am afraid.

Let us now sing 'Jerusalem'.

Saturday, February 5

A missive to Miss Emily Williamson of The Plumage League

My dear Miss Williamson,
A report on a watch the birds of the vicarage garden this last January 30th.
As requested I am pleased to provide a list of observations taken on my lawn this Sunday last, during the one hour following my sermon. The species I encountered were as follows:
Osprey; at least two or three birds.
Great Crested Grebe; one, or part, thereof.
Roseate Spoonbill; one.
These three species featured in the hats of the four young daughters of Major Godfrey Evans of the Queen’s Brigade. I was most taken by the Spoonbill, which I know to be a rare species and should only be encountered in the west end of the capital. I should disclose I was made aware previously of an example being noted as on display in the window of Bristow’s taxidermy and millinery shop in our local high street, which may explain its appearance in these parts- I am certainly in doubt of the identification, these were not blood-stained Egret plumes.
I trust these records may be of use to you. I know these may not be as of as much import to you, but of live examples I can offer just a sighting my pair of resident Hoopoe, a species I know you are aware is common to all vicarages in these parts.
Your humble servant,
Bandwell

Friday, February 4

On the subject of Yellow Buntings

My dear Weasel, I must say how taken I am to hold in my hand the Yellow Bunting. This is a bird so common here on farmland in rural Listershire to be something very much taken for granted by the local residents; indeed, when gathered with the other stout-billed finches of the field they often take on plague proportions around our rick-yards and I, and many others, think of them as being no more than a seed-stealing pest. However, to see one so very close, yet still alive and breathing (rather than the more usual cold dead having been collected by a local shepherd to send Bristow for mounting) truly allows you an amazing opportunity to admire God's intricate handiwork. I will have to try my best to describe this pleasure to my parishoners this coming Sunday, to help them appreciate this rustic commoner more than they do- I am sure if this creature of God were in trouble then people would find it more beautiful than they do. Finally, dear Weasel, I hope you are pleased by this image I captured with the camera obscura you acquired for me. I myself find the image quite pleasant, though I can improve; I will have to learn to ask Clara to scrub away all evidence of her charlady duties off of her delicate fingers before she poses a subject for me again; unfortunately the scars, bites and cuts gained preparing my lunch of Jackdaw and Turnip pie are there for all to see. (My other choice would be to invest in a new maid; this camera hobby may yet prove to be a costly pastime, I think!)