Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 15 June 2014
Sado-Masochism and the Catholic Church
I've just spent about an hour and a half by the river, chatting to the people who maintain the camera trained on the Peregrine Falcons at the big Catholic church here in Bath. I went there yesterday too, and whilst I was under the church, looking at one adult flying about then settling back on the spire, I saw what looked like a big hawk about half a mile away, behaving very strangely.
With the help of a X30 zoom and this photo, I saw what it really was - a kite, but not the bird variety. The gulls - which it is supposed to deter - ignore it.
My X30 zoom recedes into utter insignificance when compared to the three-foot lens on Hamish's (the main man) tripod-mounted camera. He pointed it at a Peregrine high up on the building, took a snap and then showed me. The bird - in crystal-clear detail - appeared to be staring straight into the lens from a distance of about six feet. I'm glad I didn't bring my own camera.
There is something about groups of enthusiasts which is vaguely the same, no matter what their passion or interest is. A couple of years ago, I spent many such Sundays as this with a group of 60+ year-old men whose main passion in life was - and still is - shooting birds with shotguns. Today I spent time with a very similar group of people, but their shooting is of the non-invasive kind, and much kinder on the ears.
We chatted about this and that as the mother and father of the hidden chick sat digesting their last meal ("It's going to be a quiet day," said Hamish, "look how stuffed their crops are.") and I learnt a few things about birds. One thing was that both Moorhens and Corncrakes only fly at night. This is why I have never seen a Moorhen in flight. In fact, I never thought of them as flying at all until today.
I have never even seen a Corncrake, let alone in flight - they are so rare - but the bones of both these birds have been found near the Peregrine's nest recently. Peregrines will hunt at night, and anything that flies over them which isn't an owl is fair-game - though even the smaller owls are fair game, it seems.
I told them of a friend of mine who is a stained-glass artist, and how he was called into the huge, Catholic church over the river, to repair a damaged window.
Part of this job involved climbing up a ladder on the inside to get to the glasswork, and when he was above the wooden confessional box, he noticed something on its dusty roof and leaned over to pick it up.
It was an S & M magazine, and was packed full of photos of men and women dressed in tight black leather, whipping or being whipped by dominatrixes in similar attire.
I asked him what he did with it, and he said he left it where he had found it.
It's probably still there, but I'm not going up to look for it in case it is blamed on me. I wonder who did put it up there, and I wonder if they confessed to it when inside the box?
It makes for a catchy title for this post, though.
The chick is high and safe, sporting a punk hair-do. As the photo says, it is copyrighted to Hamish - he with the massive appendage to his field gear. I know where it is, but I'm not telling you. They didn't even tell me, the lousy bastards, and I had already predicted the site.
We can now all breathe a huge sigh of relief - if we ever held our breaths in the first place.