2005 – The Road to Morocco – Part 2
Well, things have settled down into a routine now and the Obs is up and running. The only thing that isn’t “running” is Michael. The poor guy just didn’t expect the terrain to be so tough. After the first day of only operating the easiest of the nets, he was stiff as a plank and physically exhausted. He looks absolutely terrible when he returns from a net round. The thought of walking to town and back now terrifies him. It’s an eye opener as he is only a couple of years older than me! I hope he lasts the course.
On the up side, he is great company and a trombonist to boot. Guess he will be “jamming” with the regulars soon at the jazz nights, providing he gets a lift there and back.
The weather is still far from ideal, but improving. Cold and windy at times, although the sun does make an appearance most afternoons. The temperature can rise to 15’C which feels really warm here and is enough to burn you. I guess the t-shirts and shorts will be making an appearance soon.
I had my first meeting today regards the ringing in Morocco. I must say that while everyone says what a great place it is and that they really enjoyed the experience, it sounded as if it was a bit hit and miss regards security with people attempting to run off with the nets and taking birds to eat. I guess that I will have to play it by ear when I get there. One real break was that I did manage to find the name of a nearby hotel that sells beer. This could be a real life saver. I will also be accompanied by an English speaking Moroccan which will be a real bonus and takes the pressure off a bit. More of this later as I still have four weeks to go before my first trip “over there”. I am really looking forward to it, but there is always an element of trepidation in situations like this.
Today saw the arrival of some more company in the form of a visiting ringer named John. He has been here 2 days now and can still walk after a days ringing although his gait is a little on the stiff side. He says that he is coming to jazz tonight, which means walking down to town and back again, something he has not experienced yet. Michael will not be joining us. He is still suffering rather badly. Poor guy is still finding it very tough going, but I think there is a smile there sometimes instead of the usual grimace as he walks up the hill to the Obs.
The ringing and birding is very slow at the moment although the cold weather did push many birds SOUTH. We have already ringed more Robins and Black Redstarts in the first week than we did in the whole of the spring last year. The Chiffchaffs are conspicuous by their absence. The weather has improved considerably this week so they should start making an appearance soon.
Update on my pass to Windmill Hill. I eventually managed to present myself at the pass office at the third attempt in Rook after it was closed for one day’s refurbishment that actually lasted ten. I explained my situation and was presented with another form to complete, after which I was informed that my pass would be ready the following day. Why don’t I believe them? We shall just have to wait and see.
Just getting to the office is quite a trek. It involves getting myself all the way by foot down to town and then all the way back up to the Obs. Needless to say I do not do this every day. Having signed my form, I waited three days before setting off again, and guess what? The office was closed. A “power surge” in the building upset the computers which was enough for everyone to go home. I suppose it was a Friday. What else could I expect in Gib?