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Spring at long last! - Daffodils on West Quay

Trivia from the Webmaster and Others

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Phil Edmonds <phe@mailaps.org>



The Marina Nesting Swans

The pair of swans which have been aggressively defending the marina are now nesting in the furthest south-east corner of the marina, in a small inlet next to the  marina parking lot, very well hidden unless one is inside the marina gate.


Dit/Bob and Dot/Vic

An Unlikely Couple

Dit is a Mallard drake and Dot is a Tufted diving duck with a broken left leg. Penny, who has known them for a long time, calls Bob and Vic. They are a pair, almost always seen together, on the ground Dit walks behind and Dot limps in front, showing every sign of being in constant pain as she walks. We should ask Penny tell their story.

"When we lived at no 27 West Quay, I used to look down joyously at the two ducks who visited my downstairs neighbours. They were bold, beautiful birds. They would peck peremptorily on the glass pane of the back door, demanding food and attention. 

Little did I know that these fickle waterfowls would follow us when we moved to no 17, a downstairs flat. They are a delightful pair; Bob (or Dit as he is also known) is a handsome mallard drake, who takes care of Vic ( AKA Dot). Vic/Dot has an injured leg, the result of an attack by callous coots. Bob/Dit is so solicitous. He waits patiently whilst his partner eats her seed and corn, before tucking in himself. 

The delightful duo like to sleep under the little cherry tree here, though for some reason Bob/Dit has taken a fancy to the coir doormat, which can’t be comfortable. Perhaps he is staking his claim.

This charming couple are very entertaining and have enhanced the already enjoyable experience of living on the Marina. We may not be able to go to the theatre, but we can watch two ducks acting out their daily rituals. I feel both lucky and honoured. 

Oh and our lovely former neighbours don’t mind at all … 

Penny Halliday"

Wisdom with Hatchling

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Snow and Ice - Jane Smallman

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Wisdom the Albatross

The world's oldest known wild bird, has another chick at age 70

The Guardian Fri 5 Mar 2021

The remarkable bird has outlived mating partners, and even the biologist who first placed a band on her in 1956

At 70 years of age, Wisdom the Laysan albatross has hatched another chick.

Regarded as “oldest known wild bird in history”, Wisdom has outlived previous mating partners as well as the biologist Chandler Robbins, who first banded her in 1956.

Wisdom hatched the chick on 1 February in the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge in the North Pacific, where more than a million albatross return to nest each year.

Wisdom’s long-term mate, Akeakamai, who she has been with since 2010 according to the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), fathered the chick. The USFWS also stated that albatross find their mates through “dance parties”.

“We believe Wisdom has had other mates,” US Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Dr Beth Flint said in the organisation’s article on medium. “Though albatross mate for life, they may find new partners if necessary – for example if they outlive their first mate.”


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We have a sunning (my favourite collective name) of cormorants roosting on the empty pontoons of the west side of the marina. Wings spread, drying their feathers. The most I've ever seen is ten, shown above. When I think about their diet, they gulp the entire fish, alive, it vanishes down their gullets, what an extraordinary digestive system, breaks the entire fish, scales, bones, fins, everything, and turns it all into food and a white stream of excrement. I'll stick to meat and potatoes, Louis Armstrong and a glass of Bordeaux.


Introducing this section, I'd love suggestions, 'All that's fit to print'.


EBooks from your Library

I've become really tired of all the depressing news and violence on TV, real and theatrical. I've decided to essentially abandon the news programs, haven't read a newspaper in probably a year, this all makes for a much less depressing life.

A really good source of entertainment and learning, reading, is available from our library, our Oxford (Abingdon) library has an ebook program in place, OxfordLibraryEbookProgram.



On BBC IPlayer the 'Amazing Grace' programme about the recording session of Aretha Franklin's 'Amazing Grace' album is absolutely fascinating, an intimate view of a Black Methodist church service. The recording is spread over two evenings the first evening is by far and away the most fascinating.

We've got Netflix and after the recommendation of my twelve year old granddaughter, Summer, we starting watching the comedy 'The Good Place' and became addicted to this peculiar mix of really serious philosophy, and light-hearted humour. (No one gets hurt!).

The 5 episode French series 'Lupin' (English subtitles) is really worth watching, brilliant performance by Omar Sy


Dancing Noses

And I can not resist including this clip from the Royal Opera House's performance of Shostakovich’s surreal and brilliant first opera, 'The Nose'. The opera tells the story of a man who wakes one morning to find that his nose has gone missing. It's the origin story of Voldemort, Thanks to Sara Skeapskate for background. The link is TheDancingNoses

Keep your mind active and challenged

My daughter in law, Julie, proposed I should take up what she called Killer Sudoku, 
I've been playing normal Sudoku for a long time, Killer Sudoku has the an additional
complication, the puzzle is divided into 'cages' with in the top left hand corner of
the cage the total of all the cells within the cage. Extreme Killer Sudoku doesn't
have any values in any of the cells to start with, I find it easier to play the
simpler version where some of the cells have preassigned values. Details can be found in the Wiki page, including advice on how to solve the puzzle. Try it, I'm totally addictive.
The experts believe that this version of Sudoku is particularly valuable for keeping
your mind alert and delaying age related deterioration. I'm an Android man and the
application I have found best is called KillerSudoku from Beetles Game Studio. The ads are a bit of a pain and easily ignored. Fortunately Julie uses an Apple tablet and so we can't compare performance a serious relief.