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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 270 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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JC’s End of the Year…Adios 2014

2015 The nights have well and truly drawn in but, despite the social demands and alcohol-inducing diversions that the month of December routinely brings, there was room enough to squeeze in a couple of jaunts. The West Midland Bird Club made the most of the first weekend with an early visit to the River Lee Country Park on the Sunday. Needless to say, there were plenty of lakes, scrapes and farmland habitats to get our teeth into. It had rained heavily the past couple of days with flooded areas creating a few marshy no-go areas but most of the paths were clear for us to explore the many lakes and reed beds that spread out across the park. There were some nice cameos from Green Woodpeckers, and an obliging Water Rail from one of the hides, but the usual congregations of ducks and suchlike proved to be the mainstay of our birding experience.

Curlew

Curlew

GreenSandpiper

Green Sandpiper

There was also the UCB staff walking club’s Christmas ramble around Worcestershire (7 miles of it) taking in a little of Abberley and a chunk of Pensax, and a reasonably appointed dining area in the Bell at Pensax, a great little pub that we’ve visited before on one of our previous walking jaunts. The Bell is a brick and mock-Tudor building that was built in 1883, the main inn sign containing a bell cast in 1886 for the bell-tower at Abberley Hall. Loving a bit of local history there… Suffice to say, we weren’t let down by the portions…

…which is more than can be said of this blog – meagre to say the least!

For a Twixmas break, a few of us took ourselves off to Tanworth-in-Arden for a wee break, catching up briefly with Pete and Severine, who had rented a cottage in nearby Henley (also in-Arden). A nice little break ensued with an interesting church – the Church of Mary Magdalene – across the way from the Bell Inn where we were staying. Tanworth was the childhood home of folk musician Nick Drake, and and his sister – the actress Gabreille Drake. His grave lies in the parish churchyard. The song “Life in a Northern Town” by The Dream Academy is a reference to Tanworth, despite its Midlands rather than northern situation (the band was London-based), and was a tribute to Drake. (Thanks Wikipedia). The grave of nine-times world motorcycle champion Mike Hailwood, and his daughter Michelle, who were both killed in a car accident at Portway in 1981, are also to be found here. The boxer “Gentleman” Jack Hood was the licensee of the Bell public house in Tanworth, displaying above the bar the Lonsdale belt that he won on 31 May 1926. (Loving Wikipedia…) The village was also the filming location for the fictional village of Kings Oak from the British television series Crossroads between 1970 and 1988.

churchyard

NickDrake

Here’s to 2015 (again, as I’m posting this in January – you can see I’m really quite rubbish with all this deadline malarky). I’m also hoping to connect with fellow bloggers this year too as I’ve had a few kind and encouraging Emails from fellow-Wordpressers. I’m aiming for a few new projects for next year now that the novel’s well and truly out of the way. I’ve managed to source a few books and articles about making the blog pop so I’ll be experimenting with some new stuff along the way. WordPress has also sent me some data on this site, which I’ve included out of interest!

As if you’re interested…