August 5th, 2004

Adrift

The server went down last night and I was left contemplating the horror and emptiness of a world without email or the Internet. I slept badly. This morning the server is up again- the waters of the flood have receded and there's a rainbow in the sky.

Just a Typical Bloke, Really

The new microwave arrived this morning. Now all we need is a new fridge-freezer, a new back door, new carpets everywhere and the decorator in.

But I have to admit I wouldn't notice any of these things if Ailz didn't point them out to me.

Bird News

Local: We've taken to throwing stale bread on the roof of the shed under the window where I have my computer. It's good to have the birds swooping and squawking. In the old days when we had cats the birds kept away. Heresy, I know, but I like things better this way. I like birds better than cats.

There's a principle here. I like beasts better when I don't own them.

Mainly we get sparrows. But I'm sure I glimpsed a long-tailed tit a few days back.

National: Some chap has reintroduced the Great Bustard to Salisbury Plain. He's brought in chicks from Siberia. The Great Bustard is the largest bird that can fly. They used to be British natives but the Victorians had a mania for putting them in pies and museums and so wiped them out.

The chicks are being trained to avoid local predators this way: a tame fox is walked among them on a lead and if they don't hasten to get out of its way they get squirted with a water pistol.

World-historical: Scientists have finally settled the question as to whether Archaeopterix- the ur-bird- used its feathers to fly. Answer: Yes, it did. It's all down to the amount of brain space that was given over to functions like sight and balance. They did a scan on an archaeopterix  skull and found the brain was just like a modern bird's. This makes me happy. I like to think of those funny, little, scaly, toothy things actually  flitting about.