Jaqui's Daily Blog

Playing the Game Away With the Birds

Those of you who have been reading the Daily Blog for some time - say, at least since this time last year - will know all about my favourite post-Christmas game. You are correct in saying that this must mean I have been repeating myself, for which I apologise but then this year will see the eighth anniversary of the birth of the Daily Blog so a little repetition is probably inevitable. Indeed, as I travel further into my Great Age, it may get a whole lot worse. Just a word of warning...


For those who don’t know about my post-Christmas game, I will do a quick recap. Once you have been told about it, I am pretty sure you will find yourself playing along. It doesn’t require any special equipment, can be played anywhere, at any time - though I have always found that walking along the prom (prom, prom) in my home town of Worthing is ideal.


The game involves gathering examples of brand new Christmas presents having their first outing. New bicycles, dolls prams, skates and skateboards, and scooters are there for the spotting - as are new bobble hats, scarves, gloves, shiny handbags and neat backpacks. It is perfectly possible to play this game all on your own but it is much more fun to play with a companion so that you can turn to each other with a grin and say: “Christmas present!” It really is so much fun but sadly the manufacturers of board games aren’t likely to be particularly interested in the concept as there is no profit in it. 


For some reason I haven’t had many opportunities to play the game this time around - so it was with great delight that I made a Truly Splendid Spot while out with the Birdy Group yesterday morning. It was our first meeting of the year and we were off to a venue I’d never visited before. I was assured that on a previous visit, while the birds had been few and far between, the ramble through the woodland around Burton Pond had been worth it. 


There were only seven of us starting off from the car park - our number swelled by two newbies - but we were full of New Year enthusiasm as we gazed out over the pond in search of something feathered. What we all really, really wanted to see, of course, was a kingfisher, apparently a frequenter of this place. I can’t help wondering what all the other birds think of we birders’ fixation with the kingfisher. Do they ever wish that, just once, we would be heard to chorus in unison: “A sparrow! A sparrow!” 


A short way into our ramble we were joined by a jolly fella - was he “one of us?” someone whispered in my ear. Maybe another newcomer? Or perhaps somebody who joined us late last year whose name we can’t recall? Fortunately before we made fools of ourselves, he bade us a fond farewell and trotted off in search of winged company. I was quite sorry to see him go because he seemed quite knowledgeable. Compared with me, you understand, 


For the first half an hour, we saw very little apart from the gulls dancing above us. Then, as a pale and beautiful sun sent shafts of light across our path, our feathered friends gradually came out to play. “We still haven’t seen the kingfisher!” Cindy mourned - but, as I reasoned, if we saw a kingfisher on every Birdy Group outing, then each sighting wouldn’t be so very special, would it? Cindy thought this was an extremely wise thought on my part which pleased me no end. It’s good to be considered a Wise Woman, every once in a while, rather than a Mad Old Bat...


Our final tally was really quite respectable though, as usual, I cannot lay claim to many sightings of my own. Which was why I was so grateful, not least in terms of my post-Christmas game, when a great tit revelling in its new winter plumage, posed for simply ages on a branch above our heads so that even I could spot him.


 “Christmas present!” I said - though quietly, under my breath, so that nobody else could hear. It would have taken too long to explain....


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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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