Lit by the clement weather the birds are bursting into precocious song. A dunnock sang his innocuous ditty from a hedge this afternoon, and I spent several minutes peering into a tree from which a song thrush was hollering. Bless them, I love dunnocks and song thrushes dearly, but they're both decidedly could do better where school reports for singing are concerned. The dunnock's song, though sweet, sadly recalls an ageing choral society attacking Handel: a touch too much vibrato and only the scantest of acquaintances with a tune. Meanwhile the song thrush, happy and uplifting though he is, is as a five-year-old auditioning for his part in the nativity play: loud, shrill and confident but altogether lacking creativity. He shouts the same thing five times with enthusiasm before moving on to shout something else. Five times. With enthusiasm.
I love them both, really I do, but the truth will out. And it must be true: the delightful Patrick Barkham said so in the Guardian.
PB has said many sage things, including, in his charming book The Butterfly Isles:
But binoculars belonged to birdwatchers. They were the ultimate symbol of geekiness. No matter how chic your clothes or how hip your haircut, the moment you slung a pair of binoculars over your neck you showed the world you were a prize nerd.
Can't say fairer than that.