* News From Nowhere
* 50 Things To Do…
* The Kite Runner
* AGM XLI
Tread softly for you tread on my dreams….
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NEWS FROM NOWHERE
I think it’s about time we caught up with some of those unpredictable and surprising stories that make life bearable. - just about.
* While many people have to endure overcrowded commuter trains as part of their daily grind, there are some stations that serve just a handful of passengers a month. And I’m proud to say that figures just released by the Office of Rail Regulation show that the quietest station in the UK is right here in north-east England.
Step forward to receive your applause - Teesside Airport station.
Last year, only 14 passengers used the station. In the year before that, there were only 18. In a whole year.
As a matter of truckshunter interest, the silver-medallist was Dorking West station in Surrey, with 38 passengers in two years. Bronze goes to Denton in Manchester, with only 30 passengers last year.
Well done, all three. Cue victory anthem.
* A telephone answering company called Moneypenny is sending its callcentre staff in Wrexham halfway round the world - to Auckland in New Zealand - to cover the night shift in Britain.
New Zealand time is 12 hours ahead of the UK and the company’s workers can enjoy the sunshine whilst providing overnight cover 11,000 miles away. They’ve said they want to provide ‘wide-awake staff’ to answer the ever-increasing calls they receive during the night.
So, when Wrexham staff leave the office at 2000, colleagues in Auckland take over until 0800.
Staff were asked to choose between working nights in Wrexham or relocating to the Southern Hemisphere for six months to work an 8-day shift rota - 4 days on and 4 days off. Of the 250 staff, only four opted to stay in Wrexham.
The New Zealand office is in the suburb of Takapuna, which has a 6km-long beach.
* A cuckoo called David is one of five that were fitted with satellite tags last year by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), who wanted to monitor cuckoo migration patterns. Normally, the birds would overwinter in the Congo and return to the south-west UK in the Spring.
And that’s what all five of them did - Idemili, Iolo, Lloyd, Indy and, of course, David.
They were tracked, via their tags, over north-west Spain and across the Bay of Biscay, arriving in Yeovil, Somerset, last Friday. So far, so good.
David, though, is no ordinary cuckoo.
In a moment of eccentric individuality worthy of an award, David decided that Yeovil was far too cold. So he upped sticks and flew back over the Channel to spend a few days outside Paris. This is thought to be the first time in recorded ornithological history that a bird has ‘reverse-migrated’.
What David did could go some way to explain why cuckoo populations in Britain have declined so dramatically in the last few years. Since 2009, they’ve gone down by 9% in Scotland, 27% in Wales and - catastrophically - by 49% in England.
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50 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU’RE 12
In the last blogposting, I mentioned a list, compiled by the National Trust, of 50 things it reckons young people should have done by their twelfth birthday. I’m thoroughly and genuinely ashamed of how few of the ‘Adventurer’-based items I have achieved even now, as I hobble towards my pension.
Here are the second group of ten, headed ‘Discoverer’.
1 Go on a really long bike ride
2 Make a trail with sticks
3 Make a mud pie
4 Dam a stream
5 Play in the snow
6 Make a daisy chain
7 Set up a snail race
8 Create some wild art
9 Play pooh sticks
10 Jump over waves
My score here is lamentable. I’ve never done 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 or 9. The fact that I have done 6 may explain a lot about me, I suppose.
So the list of things I want us all to do is growing by the day.
And for heaven’s sake remember the axiom that Serge quoted the other day…’We have two lives - the second one starts when we realise we have only one…’
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THE KITE RUNNER
Have you read this book?
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The venue, date and time of the next AGM are still awaiting your further reaction. Get in touch!
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