Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Into the Lions Den

Today I accepted an invitation to attend an Avon Wildlife Trust Staff Forum. These happen every 2 months and as a recently elected Trustee of the Avon Wildlife Trust I was asked to attend, meet the staff and have a spot of lunch. More of this in a moment, but to begin this posting, a quick look back at Sunday.

On Sunday afternoon after a day doing household things, the weather being fine, I decided to go for a walk to the Village and back. Not far, just 2 miles. Leaving the house in glorious sunshine I was about half way when a hailstorm blew in, literally with no shelter near by. There was nothing else for it but to do the old farming manoeuvre; stand back to the wind, collar up and just let it pass over. This was a humdinger of a squall, horizontal hail is quite formidable. At one point I watched a Herring Gull flapping madly but still being pushed backwards. Above was the view as I rode out the storm, quite exhilarating, absolutely freezing, but a good buffeting by weather clarifies one's thoughts. 5 minutes later, sun was out and the birds could all fly in a forward direction again as I walked along the aptly named lane.

Back to the AWT Forum meeting. I have to admit I went to this meeting slightly in the dark. The brief seemed to be, come and meet the staff, and then if you could let us quickly know who you are, what you've done and what you wish to achieve as a Trustee. "Simples", as Alexandre of Compare the Meerkat.com would say.

I arrived to find out I was agenda item 3, Trustee Slot. In front of me were about 35 member of the Trust staff and volunteers. Items 1 and 2 of the agenda seemed to pass by at the speed of a nano-crotchet, my mouth took on the aspect of dry sand paper, and I'm sure I turned a fetching red. All too soon, Item 3 arrived. Foolishly I offered to stand up, so everyone could see me. So with my back to the wall and a semi circle of eyes on me, I began, "thank you for inviting me to the Forum, like in Roman times I feel I am now in the Lion's Den, ha ha ".... phew, a potential tumbleweed moment was replaced with polite laughter.

Golden rule in speaking to an unknown audience, get them to laugh before you say anything stupid. Then everything else which follows can be just laughed at as well. Apparently I waffled on for 20 minutes, which seemed like 30 seconds. This included a Q&A session with some pretty searching questions I can tell you. I think I managed to get away with it without too many gaffs, and managed to enjoy the rest of the meeting. Lunch was most welcome.

As I'd taken a day off from work, in the afternoon to relax after the meeting, I popped down to my local patch Sand Bay. The afternoon sunshine was brilliant, so a nice 3 mile walk would restore my nerves.

As ever when I go to sand Bay at the spur of the moment the tide is out, somewhere near Cardiff, and so any birdlife is limited. Usual suspects here, Shelduck, Curlew, Black Headed Gull and Oystercatcher. Plus the ever present Carrion Crow, rummaging through the debris along the strand line.

And so I'll leave you with a couple of scenic views across the Bristol Channel towards Steep Holme island. Time for a G&T I think, hiccup!


  1. Those last two pictures are just awesome. Glad you got through your talk to the crowd, lol. Would have loved to have been a mouse in the corner.

  2. Thanks Oldcrow and Pete.... Sand Bay may sometimes dissapoint in the bird stakes, but if it's sunny, there's always a fabulous sky.