An abortive attempt at Crossbill within the London Area today at Broxbourne Woods. The thinking had been to go for a double-whammy and see the Purple Emperor butterflies as well. In the event we saw neither, but we did have a rather nice walk in the sunshine. And, periodically, the rain. This did not deter us, we were all rain-coated up, and when it became persistent we left the open rides and forged deeper into the actual forest. Quite by accident we found a path which had sculptures set at certain points along the way, including a really rather clever one of a deer, which was in three separate pieces. So from the side as you approached you saw what looked like three pieces of metal sticking out of the ground, probably 10 feet separating each one. The left-hand one was clearly a stag's head, but the other two were rather lumpy and abstract. However when you got to the the intended viewpoint on a small green bridge, hey presto they were all in a line, correctly in perspective, and you had a whole deer.
The rest of the sculptures were wood carvings of one sort or another. Art is generally not my thing, I prefer birds - go figure - however, as a family walk of discovery I could not have asked for more. The thought of what the next one might be moved the girls along the path quicker than I ever could, and their favourite by far was of a Wild Boar and two piglets, just the right size for sitting on, which all the best bits of art are of course.
So a very enjoyable walk, London listing not withstanding. I've actually become rather bored of it if the truth be told. It was a lot of fun earlier in the year (when it was easier!), but as we have moved into summer it has become too difficult to be fun. I'm currently marooned on 186 species, the last one being Woodlark whilst dipping Nightjar. I'm still missing a few waders, Redstart, Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, and a few rarer Raptors. And Crossbill. I would still hope, at this stage, to hit 200, but any more than that will be a miracle. The odd Kazakhstani Plover helps of course.
But nevermind all that, why is the title of this post called Respect, innit? It is because this country is going to the dogs. Shepherding the kids back to the car after school, I was amazed to see a youth finish a pack of crisps and then just chuck it on the floor. I told him to come back and pick it up, and thus started a small discussion about littering. Apparently I am free to come round where he lives and chuck some stuff on the ground because he does it too and he doesn't care. This kid was probably fifteen, totally without respect for adults. And the pavement obviously. On the plus side he wasn't armed, but he had no intention of picking it up and unfortunately there was no way I could make him. I suppose I could have picked it up for him and then rammed it down his throat in the absence of a litter bin, but in this day and age, and with three stunned kids looking on, it would not have been wise. I said he should be ashamed of himself. That told him, no doubt about it. He is probably now bragging to his mates about how he told a man to get stuffed this afternoon, the little shit. Oh to be Mr T in situations like that.
The same thing happened a few months ago, but with even younger kids. As I turned into Tescos, living the dream, one of a group of three kids threw a stone at the car. It made a rather large noise on the window, but luckily didn't crack it. I stopped the car there and then, to the annoyance of those behind me, and ran across the street to take them to task. They were fairly surprised to see me, but probably only twelve or thirteen, they basically laughed in my face.
My children have a great respect for adults, and they do as they are told. They are only two, four and six, but I would like to think that in ten years time, they will still do as they're told and have respect for adults. And not drop litter or stone passing vehicles. But how can you tell? I don't mean to sound old and crotchety, but there is no doubt that our social fabric is disintegrating. If this is how twelve year olds behave, what hope is there when they're eighteen or twenty-five? Will they pay their taxes and insure their cars?
So, on that positive note, have a final photograph of a butterfly from Broxbourne Woods. It is nice, colourful, a bit furry, and I did not observe it drop any litter the whole time I was there. But then again it's probably only a week old.