October 3, 2012 by Whispering Smith
Published in the Littlehampton Gazette September 20th. 2012
The high and the mighty
I was up on Highdown a couple of weeks back with a friend, I was sky watching while he flew his radio controlled glider high over the new Asda when I spotted a couple of kestrels beating up on a buzzard. I was quite surprised as the buzzard is a big bird and always seemed rather regal and eagle-like to me. Appearances however can be very misleading because, apparently, he is not the king of the hill, the head honcho hunter of the bird world but prefers carrion for dinner with earthworms being his favourite starter. He is a lazy raptor. A while back there were very few buzzards above us as they themselves were predated upon by gamekeepers and near wiped out by chemicals such as DDT. Now, with the help of caring farmers and organisations like the RSPB, they are once again plentiful, so much so that some folk would like to see them culled because the big birds, it is claimed, take young game birds which, ironically, are reared for the sole purpose of being shot dead by expensive double-barrelled guns anyway. It makes no sense at all and, happily, conservationists have prevailed and the buzzard it seems will remain protected and its delightful aerial antics enjoyed by anyone who cares to walk the lovely green high downs above LA.
My mother done told me…
My mother told me never argue over religion or politics you won’t make new friends that way and you may lose some of your old ones! Were she still around today she would have to add a new category…Cricket! I met a couple of old ‘long time no see’ friends in LA last week they both know a bit about cricket and, over coffee, when I mentioned that I believed Kevin Pieterson should be forgiven for any wrongdoing and welcomed back into the squad I was in for a bit of a shock – neither appeared to agree with me. He was definite, for cricketing reasons, and she was ambivalent, liking KP for all of the wrong reasons that had very little to do with his batting prowess. We debated and parted as friends but I can’t help that niggling little feeling that I should never have mentioned the great game.
At Waitrose, when you make a purchase large or small, you are given along with your receipt a green token. On your way out of the store you are offered the opportunity to deposit said token in a charity box which when counted will specify how much dosh is given to that charity. But what if the charities offered are not ones which you support? Easy, put the tokens in your pocket, transfer them to an empty coffee can when you get home and then, at a later date when there is a charity you support, put the whole lot in. Waitrose may not approve but it’s what I do and it makes sense to me.
I am informed that the old man who often sat at the gates to the allotments has passed away. His name was Joe, he was Polish and one time worked an allotment on that very site. So long, Joe, and thanks, it was good to meet you.