2004 – Rock On – Volume 7
Busy, busy, busy. Sorry to have missed a week but just could not find the time to put fingers to keyboard. A mixture of work and socialising, and it’s likely to continue. It’s a really hectic time with little time to do the simple things in life, like shopping, laundry and getting on a PC.
The Moroccans have gone and it was really enlightening to work with them. I now realise that they are not from Rabat University but from the Scientific Institute. Mohammed, whom I worked with is the Deputy Director. A great guy whose knowledge expands all aspects of the natural world. A real pleasure and a real thrill to have worked with him.
One fall-out from the visit is that one of the experts was a woman. At the farewell dinner ( a social function I could not avoid) she asked “the boy”, Julian, if he would consider being betrothed to her 14 month old daughter, and that if I visited her country, she would find me four wives. The scary thing about this is that it is a genuine offer! I don’t know what Julian will do, but I told her that I would have consider to very seriously visiting a country that only offered to provide me with four wives. Makes you realise that I am only 16 kilometres from a totally different world.
I am still the only occupant of the Obs as the first visiting ringers cancelled. I was not aware of the situation, but there must have been one hell of a “hoo-ha”. It would appear that they wanted to bring their wives and families and objected to me being here as they “wanted to be alone”. As accommodation here is very limited, they were told very politely (not by me) that this is not a destination for cheap family holidays and that I was an integral part of set-up. WOW. I am now considered to be “a local”. I am quite flattered really.
The Leeds Uni students arrived yesterday, so I now have a couple of girls (as well as my boy) watching my every move. It was good to see old friends again, Bill the mad professor and Alison who supervise these field trips. It doesn’t seem like a year since I last saw them here. Alison is accompanied yet again by her “partner” (a female who still looks like “Taz”) and the baby.
Julian is staying at the same place as the students, but is having a real hard time. Between the dogs, the parrots (free flying escapees and the captive flock next door) and the baby, he does not get a great deal of sleep. Only one other thing annoys him more and that is not being able to eat at the designated time. He is a real grumpy little Frenchman at the moment.
Great news today! At last something may go my way for a change. It would seem that the day after I return from a trip to Northern Spain at the end of April, I am to go to Morocco the very next morning for 4 days. I return on the day I am due to come home. I think that it will be another hectic week. I am going with two other guys, meeting up with Mohammed to visit the proposed sites for the ringing station, to suggest the best sites and organise “the locals” so we can start next autumn. It is hoped that we may well get a couple of days ringing in as well. Whatever happens, it is really exciting and very much looking forward to it. I just hope that the female Moroccan expert does not find out that I am coming or I may have to buy some extra return tickets!
Oh yes, the birding. It’s while I am here really. Just FAB. Everything has been held up because of the weather, but gaps have appeared in the last few days. Ringing has been great, but the raptors have been spectacular. We had more Ospreys, Hen, Marsh and Pallid Harriers in one hour than the whole of last spring. Black Kites have been passing at the rate of 3000 an hour. A real sceptical to behold and long may it continue.
I now have company at the Obs. Three ringers arrived on Tuesday who also happen to be researchers for the RSPB. I have already been asked if I would be interested in doing some short term contract work. Ringing and being paid for it, sounds too good to be true. I will not hold my breathe, but you never know!
P.S. Still no MOD pass to Windmill Hill. Only 8 weeks now for a 5 day process.