Dear ones, I have been distracted by the looming mass unemployment of the House of Glass, which will be tempered by the possible migration of the House of Glass onto a type of ludicrous-yet-adorable vessel called an English narrowboat. So since March 12, the last post here, I have:
- had a bank-holiday canal boat trip to see if we turned out to be allergic to boats, and faced the remarkable store of characters and landscapes that England keeps in its back pockets for these occasions. There were gongoozlers and attack swans and madmen and magical locks and bridges that swung open and stopped traffic with a secret key, and early mists and dappled sun and cold mornings with hot tea and ducklings, landscapes like Narnia, like the Shire, like Wind in the Willows and Watership Down and Harry Potter. I covered myself in grease and glory and spent most of the time half-terrified wishing we had packed alcohol. I am sure that I almost lost Dr Glass and the 50-foot steel narrowboat to a vicious attack lock which tried to hold them underwater, and I certainly almost killed myself pulling them off the cill, which proves that I am either wildly exaggerating the danger or actually capable of superhuman feats of strength under duress.
- gone to Crick Boat Show to see if we proved to be allergic to boats upon closer inspection.
- performed stand-up comedy in the name of Science, doing a Science Showoff double act with the clever and interesting Emily.
- stopped biting/peeling my nails, breaking the habit of a lifetime, becoming an instant devotee of fine manicures and nail polish.
- gone on job interviews, as our funding sources are drying up. got shot down. picked selves back up, dusted selves off, and started looking at slightly smaller boats.
- had my first first-author paper come out.
- had a different bank holiday in the South of France, clambered over Carcassonne, hiked the giddy crumbling heights of Peyrepeteuse, and saw the vines, the golden fields, the Mountain at the End of the World. Dr Glass does not do French, and I remain obtusely American. At one point, while purchasing groceries, I realized that everybody else had brought their own bags. Madam, I addressed the clerk, forgetting the word for “bag,” Have you a box – but a box that is not a box? She answered, as graciously as possible: A bag, you mean? I said, Yes, Madam, thank you, a bag, we will have two. And then I immediately forgot the word for “bag,” and can only remember a-box-that-is-not-a-box. Hopefully it will not come up again.
And we just came back from a weekend spent viewing some narrowboats with an eye to purchase, which will underline how star-stoppingly unreal our lives have gotten.
So now that we have piled up the Excuses Not to Blog, here is a guest post on Captain Awkward for you to read, and the Ballad of Birdy Bum.
The Ballad of Birdy Bum
Walking to work this morning, I saw this on the sidewalk. This is a baby birdy bum sticking out into the street. He has stuffed his tiny head into this tiny hole in the stone wall.
I was immediately overcome with sympathy and empathy. This baby birdy bum has a big problem. He has fallen from the nest onto a busy Bristol street. He is about the size of a large date, he is the most vulnerable thing in the world, his situation is far beyond his skills or abilities to cope with, and he has no friends or family to help him. His solution to this problem is to scope out the gigantic stone wall separating himself from safety, and to stuff his head into a tiny hole in it. THERE, FIXED NOW. WE CAN’T SEE HIM. SITUATION IS UNDER CONTROL
I know those feels, baby birdy bum. You are like a symbolic representation of the Millenial Generation. I am so sorry about all this.
We’ve all been here, haven’t we? We laugh at him, sure, but we can’t really judge.
It’s a common misconception that if you touch a baby bird, the parents will not take it back because THEY SMELL THE TAINT OF HUMAN HANDS ON ITS FEATHERS. If you think about this for more than five seconds, you’ll realize how stupid this is – the actual reason that you shouldn’t handle a baby bird is because you will injure it, possibly fatally. Do NOT pick up, grab, squeeze, grip, pinch or drag a baby bird. I would not do this, and am confident enough in my small-animal-handling skills that I can give a baby mouse a manicure, pedicure and attractive ear piercing before it realizes I’ve picked it up. Think of the damage you can do to a tasty barbecue chicken wing, then look at birdy bum’s little body and how crushable it is! So: you can rescue a baby bird, just don’t close your fingers over it.
You CAN give it a little nudge with your finger to get its attention (AWW LOOK AT THE LITTLE FACE) and encourage it to hop aboard a leaf elevator. You can lie to the little bird and tell it that this is a magic elevator, if it is still very young.
This bird was young enough to believe that the leaf elevator was indeed magical.
The correct thing to do with a healthy, nearly-grown nestling like this is to place it in a high place, where the parents will find it. You can also pretend you are sending them to Hogwarts.
Baby birdy bum rescued! ResCUTE? He promptly hid his face behind a leaf, which works better than the hole idea, since the leaves are actually big enough to hide him. Anyway, he should be fine here – and if he isn’t, it’s all part of the Great Circle of Life.
It is tempting to think that it would be cute to collect and raise the birdy bum if his parents don’t find him, but he would probably die more quickly in our care.
The moral of the story is to give things the help they need, not always the help you want to give.
Here ends the ballad of birdy bum.