Saturday, 14 November 2015

Aged pioneer

Dear me, I seem to have been rather inert. On this blog, at any rate, but truth to tell, the nights are getting colder and the mornings darker and the moths fewer. All that I can offer from the last week of fitful light-trapping is the tattered but handsome Dark Chestnut above and the Lesser Yellow Underwing (I think) below.

Fast asleep

Newly woken and a bit cross

I am excited, however, for entirely different reasons, although they are linked to the blog. One of my retirement hobbies, which are legion, is helping out occasionally with scrub-clearing and hazel-coppicing in our local Fuel Allotment. This is as an unusual survival of the mediaeval practice of allocating a small part of a parish's land - usually the worst bit where crops would not thrive - as a source of kindling and firewood, specially for the poor. In most parts of the UK, the term 'fuel allotment' survives as a small general charity, giving a few thousand pounds a year, if that, to needy people locally. That happens here too, but chance has kept the actual fuel allotment itself in charitable ownership - six acres of woodland called Weaveley Furze which form a countryside and wildlife haven.

What has this got to do with Martin's Moths?  Well, because of the blog, I was asked to help with some sort of online presence for the Furze and I couldn't think of anything better than Blogger. Having pottered along in the same groove here for years, I was imagining something rather similar - a basic layout and a succession of posts. But luckily, I had time to look at the system's Layout options more closely.

The result is here - nothing to do with moths, so if you are here as a mothwoman or man, it's probably not of interest. But if you do have time to give it a look, you'll see that there are separate Pages as well as blog Posts, an email facility and other delights.

These are just the tip of the iceberg on Blogger, and the whole experience reminds me of my attitude to new technology during my years in journalism. These coincided with vast and continuous change from my early days of tyoing out stories with up to seven carbon copies, to my swansong when I made films, podcasts and God knows what else, revelling in the power of Apple products, freely supplied by my employers at The Guardian and the BBC.

Two Gadgets I decided not to use
My approach, especially as I aged, was to show boundless enthusiasm for each new gadget and widget, to such an extent that I was occasionally held up as an example to younger colleagues who seemed less eager to embrace change. This wasn't entirely flattering. The line taken was: "Well, if Martin Wainwright can do it..." But it was true. New tricks.

So, to come to the point of this ramble: since the trapping season is petering to its close (albeit with occasional surprises, such as only the second-ever Slender Burnished Brass found in Oxfordshire which came to a local light trap this week), I am contemplating exciting technical changes here.

Stand by...

Oh, and I should just add this humble November/Autumnal/Pale Autumnal Moth which was sleeping on the wall of the house, close to the trap, two nights ago.

No comments: