A sceptic's take on being human – or should that be virtuous?
We do things a bit differently in Bath!
Once again this morning we heard a commotion outside as hundreds of gulls circled in a noisy flock. There’s only one cause of that sound and here it is – a lovely Harris Hawk being flown to deter the gulls from nesting on the gullies and chimneys around us. To us they look like Georgian, terraces but to a gull they’re just another cliff with easy access to an endless supply of food, courtesy of the refuse sacks. The council have tried gels, wire spikes and even gathering the eggs from high platform lifts, but this looks like a new strategy to make them feel uncomfortable. I hope very much that it works – the egg collecting seemed to promote a great deal of distress among the birds and the other methods didn’t seem to make much difference. The hawk is very well trained and doesn’t attack the gulls at all – its mere presence is enough to upset them and, perhaps, compel them to look for a safer nesting site. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this magnificent bird and his/her handler.
Sad news this morning as we heard that our brother in law had died with coronavirus during the night. Like so many victims he was suffering from multiple life threatening conditions already, but he was a great family man and we’ll all miss him. Funerals, of course, are becoming a big problem and I wonder what form public funerals will begin to take now – I guess tribute pages are bound to feature, it’s the kind of situation where new cultural forms begin to take root.
So not much to write today – it’s a thoughtful time.
I've spent my life doing a lot of things, all of them interesting and many of them great fun.
When most people see my CV they probably think I'm making things up because it includes being a rather bad welder and engineering dogsbody, a potter, a groundsman and bus driver. I taught in a prison and in one of those ghastly old mental institutions as an art therapist and I spent ten years as a community artist. I was one of the founding members of Spike Island, which began life as Artspace Bristol. ! wrote a column for Bristol Evening Post (I got sacked three times, in which I take some pride) and I worked in local and network radio and then finally became an Anglican parish priest for 25 years, retiring at 68 when I realised that the institutional church and me were on different paths.
What interests me? It would be easier to list what doesn't, but I love cooking and baking with our home grown ingredients. I'm fascinated by botany and wildlife in general, and botanical illustration. We have a camper van that takes us to the wild places, we love walking, especially in the hills, and we take too many photographs.
But what really animates me is the question "what does it mean to be human?". I've spent my life exploring it in every possible way and the answer is ..... well, today it's sitting in the van in the rain and looking across Ramsey Sound towards Ramsey Island. But it might as easily be digging potatoes or making pickle, singing or finding an orchid or just sitting. But it sure as hell doesn't mean getting a promotion, beasting your co-workers or being obsequious to power, which ensured that my rise to greatness in the Church of England flatlined 30 years ago after about 2 days. But I'm still here and still searching for that elusive sweet spot, and I don't have to please anyone any more.
Over the last 50 or so years we've had a succession of gardens, some more like wildernesses when we were both working full-time, but now we're back in the game with our two allotments in Bath.
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One thought on “We do things a bit differently in Bath!”
Sorry for your loss. Our hospital plays a recording of a falcon’s cry intermittently. It keeps pigeons from becoming a nuisance in the parking lots and outdoor seating areas.