Sunday 29 January 2012

Star Trekking across the Ouse-iverse

As it's Big Garden Bird Watch weekend, I was supposed to be at home, concentrating fiercely on the seed feeders and staring at my fat balls. However, a lack of diligence to the calendar meant that Our Lass and I had agreed to journey to Welney with the Admiral, instead.

Out of deference to the RSPB's national survey, I did consider twisting ever more punning mileage into the title of this post, but "Picard in Warp Hitch" was too bizarre even for me.

So, following his demotion from Admiral, the Captain eased us out of space dock at 09.00, left Milton Keynes under impulse power and then went to warp once we hit the Bedford bypass. We knew something was wrong immediately, as a warning display showed a fault with one of the headlights photon torpedo tubes. Thankfully, as we were travelling at light speed, this was never going to be much of a problem. At least in daylight.

Arriving at WWT Welney, the Captain effected repairs and we then entered a watery alien world, deploying to one of the basic life support pods, north east of the visitors' centre. Probably the Friends' Hide, but I was too busy trying to calibrate my communicator to take accurate notes. The 3G signal was intermittent, a bit like England's batting ability.

We spotted a small flock of White-fronted Geese on long range sensors but had to settle for this view as, unfortunately, the tractor beam was offline. Most species of duck in the known universe seemed to be present, in a multi-cultural throng reminiscent of Quack's Quark's Bar. This far from the feeding station, the numbers of Whooper Swans were pleasingly low, which is probably why we had the time to notice an incoming Bird of Prey on the starboard bow. It wasn't Klingon, it wasn't grasping a Tribble in its talons, but it was a sight that gladdened the heart of this Starfleet cadet.

More power to forward shields!
Evasive manoeuvres, hard to port!
Oh?! It's only a Sparrowhawk.
After a pleasant lunch on the Mess Deck at Welney, we maintained a low planetary orbit and ventured over to Welches Dam on impulse power, to visit the RSPB Ouse Washes reserve. I say 'low planetary orbit' without any hint of irony, as the uneven road did offer some turbulence, aft shields totally failing at one point, and we were lucky not to lose a warp nacelle.

Long range sensors again picked up a Bird of Prey, seemingly motionless in space (a common plot device for luring in naive vessels from the United Federation of Planets) which we were able to identify as a Peregrine Falcon (definitely not 'Millennium'... you'll notice).

Er, the one on the post, not the big white one...
In the far distance, we could just make out the shape of a large building on the horizon. In comparison to the surrounding landscape, it was huge and outlandish. When we're not watching re-runs of Star Trek, we have been known to view the occasional episode of Time Team, so I believe that this structure probably has some ritual and religious significance, as the archaeologists would say. Possibly a once-powerful priesthood elite, wielding considerable influence and control over the indigenous population? Tricorder readings showed that this was life, but not as we knew it.

Ely Cathedral seen from Welches Dam
There were thousands upon thousands of birds in the Washes, both a magnificent sight and a wonderful site. Huge flocks of Black-tailed Godwit and Golden Plover, bazillions of ducks, a few Bewick's Swans and more gulls than you could shake a Type 3 phaser rifle at.

By now, I had contracted space flu, and in the absence of Beverly Crusher or Dr Pulaski, I had to self-medicate. As soon as we returned to Star Base Tense Towers, I deferred the offer of Tea... Earl Grey... Hot, and went into stasis in the Quarantine Bay.


holdingmoments said...

Had to read that a couple of times, to take it all in lol
Us heathens with no tv's.
Enjoyable post. Long time since I've been to Welney. I think need to go again, soon.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Heathens always welcome, Keith!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Haha! Very creative, Graeme! Although, I'm sorry you're in the quarantine bay (Do germs pass through the internet? B/c Andy and I were sick over the weekend for the first time since last April). My favorites are Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the new 2009 Star Trek movie. I couldn't help but think your last photo reminded me of Elkhorn Slough, a power plant instead of a castle. Hmm...

Imperfect and Tense said...

Thanks, Katie, I'm on the mend now. I hope you two are recovered too. The various TV franchises of Star Trek and their repeats on BBC2 were the backdrop to our lives in the 1990s. Our girls should have a very enlightened attitude to non-Earth lifeforms :o)

tips said...

India is a vast country with the Himalayan Range forming its northern boundary. Its climate and geography are complex, so when considering your tour you need to plan carefully.

trekking in india

Imperfect and Tense said...

T.I.K. I'll bear that in mind, should a day trip materialise in that neck of the woods. It's not pressing any dragonfly buttons, though :o(

spadger said...

Graeme what medication were you on for your cold? Whatever it was - wow!
Katie - we went to Elkhorn. While I can see what you mean about the comparison I think you'll find Ely Cathederal in Graeme's picture is far nicer:0). However the birding at Elkhorn and the dairy is far better! We also liked the Lighthouse Grill and Whole Enchelada at nearby Moss Landing! Mmm yum:0) they were our joint number one eateries on our trip along with Plumes Coffee shop in Monterey

Imperfect and Tense said...

John, Welcome to the food critic for the Elkhorn Chronicle! On a certain level, a cathedral is a power plant, and the emissions won't be to everyone's liking either. Medication? Just high on Life, John, just high on Life.

spadger said...

Chuckling now:0)

Katie (Nature ID) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.