Sunday, 9 August 2020

Forty Years

Birding has been a bit neglected these past few days. Towards the end of the week our elder son Rob made a flying visit from Switzerland, and we somehow wangled a night's fishing together. Well, if you can call a bankside chilli, generous helping of red wine and much natter, actual fishing... We did have some rods out, and even caught a couple, but really...

This morning I made the effort though. Waking a little late, I was conscious that today was a momentous day, and I ought not fritter too much of it on mere birding. So a quick jaunt to Burton Bradstock, where I inspected the clifftop fields and glanced briefly at the adjacent bushes. Offshore there was clearly some decent gull movement going on, with lots of Black-headed and several (mostly juv) Meds heading west. A proper count was no doubt in order. Not from me though. The best I could muster otherwise was a loose gang of 5 Wheatears in the top fields...

Three out of five


But I needed to get back fairly pronto, because today was important for reasons other than birding. Quite often on Twitter you will see tweets which begin with 'OTD...' followed by perhaps a grainy photo of some rarity of yore, and an announcement that [insert big number, but usually 25] years ago the tweeter and this bird happened to cross paths somehow. Usually it's a bit of twitch nostalgia. Well, this post is in a vaguely similar vein.

On This Date 40 years ago, this happened...



This photo was taken outside the register office at Harrow Civic Centre on 9th August 1980. The young couple pictured here then climbed into the car, which drove them to the reception venue, a pub called The Green Man, off Wembley Hill Road. The Green Man was (and still is) within easy walking distance of Wembley Stadium. If you were to do a little research you would quickly discover that 9th August 1980 was the date on which Liverpool FC lifted their fifth FA Charity Shield, beating West Ham 1-0 at Wembley stadium, in front of 90,000. Back in those days, a big game at Wembley meant all-day closure for most, if not all, of the local pubs. This included The Green Man. However, visiting fans might still park at such pubs and walk to the stadium, and maybe use the outdoor facilities for a little pre-match refreshment...

And so it was that a Rolls Royce, bedecked in the traditional white ribbons of a nuptial carriage, slid quietly into The Green Man's car park and came to a halt. Next to the car park lay a sizeable pub garden, and sprawled upon its lawn was a very large crowd of beer-drinking football fans. Every single one of them turned and stared, momentarily silent. Then, as one, they raised a can towards the red-faced couple and let rip with a loud and hearty cheer.

Forty years ago, this afternoon.

A nice Wheatear, oblivious to the significance of the date.

14 comments:

  1. Congrats Gavin. Shared your wedding day with rhe last British record of Rufous Bush Chat ( Prawle Pt.)

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    1. Ah yes, that too! Thanks Perry. 😊 πŸ‘

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  2. I had no idea you stood 8ft 4 inches tall. Good gracious man, you don't need a nocmig kit, just stick your head in the sky!

    Happy for ya bud, it's very lovely to see a marriage that actually means a marriage. Fair play to you both xx

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    1. Thanks Seth. 😊 πŸ‘
      Yes, something weird going on in that photo. Actually, probably I'm standing on the kerb.

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  3. Congratulations, what a milestone for someone so young!

    PS Seth - I think it's perspective, like how they did the Hobbit. Or Gav's standing on a couple of breeze blocks which is why the photo starts at the knees.

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    1. Thanks Jono. Yes, looking at the children in that photo, it's hard to imagine them as old people. Which is why we have mirrors. And the phrase 'harsh reality'. πŸ˜„

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  4. I've always seen long marriages as showing a lack of ambition - 43 and counting ;o)

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  5. Lovely photo, Gavin. Congratulations to you and your wife. When that photo was taken, you were at the start of a special journey and had no idea what was in store for you ... Twitter, digital photography and your own blog.

    Malcolm

    PS. I deleted my original comment as, after posting it, I realised it contained a crass spelling mistake, and I couldn't find a way to edit it.

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    1. Thanks Malcolm. πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘
      You're so right, we had no idea at all. Thank goodness hindsight isn't available in advance! πŸ˜„

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  6. Congratulations Gav!
    All the best. Matt

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  7. Congratulations to you and Sandra on what I believe is sometimes called your 'Ruby' wedding anniversary.

    I'll never forget that particular day myself. I went fishing after Carp in the GUC by Stockers, and blanked.

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    1. Thanks Ric. You weren't alone - thousands of West Ham fans endured a blank that day too! πŸ˜„

      I know it's a clichΓ©, but I really cannot believe it was 40 years ago... At least there have been some terrific fish netted since! πŸ˜„ πŸ‘

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