Tits and a Wren

As the weather is so wonderful, I went for a walk at Papercourt Meadows, Send. There was a large number of birds around, and I took some pictures of a wren, long-tailed tit and a blue tit.

Wren

Wren

Long-tailed tit

Long-tailed tit

Blue tit

Blue tit

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Embden Geese

These Embden geese were photographed at Bodenham Arboretum yesterday morning.

Embden Goose

Embden Goose

Embden Goose

Embden Goose

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Spring Flowers

When I arrived at a friend’s house yesterday afternoon, the sun was shining directly at this small clump of snowdrops. I lay on the lawn and managed to take this picture before the sun went behind a cloud.

Snowdrops

Snowdrops

The cyclamen were taken Bodenham Arboretum, near Kidderminster, this morning.

Cyclamen

Cyclamen

Cyclamen

Cyclamen

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Bench

We finished the bench a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve finally had a chance to get myself organized. I’ve bought a grinder and a saw, and have hung the tools I expect to use most on the wall behind the bench.

Bench

Bench

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Christmas

This was the first white Christmas I can remember in Britain. The nearest I’ve come previously was spending Christmas Eve in Canada, but the atmosphere was ruined of course on arrival on Christmas morning at a cold damp Heathrow.

I went, as ever, to my great aunt’s cottage, in a small village in Hertfordshire. After lunch, we went for a walk and found a rope swing.

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Stonechat

I went for a walk at Papercourt Meadows this morning. The sun was very intense and low, and gave an amazing glow and long shadows. There did not seem to be many birds about today, but I did photograph this stonechat.

Stonechat

Stonechat

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If and Only If

I was thinking today about the construct if and only if. It occurred to me that while it is often used my mathematicians, philosophers and logicians, it is almost never used by anybody else.

If and only if (abbreviated to iff), means exactly what it says.

  • There are fewer than 30 days in the month iff it’s February.
  • You will become king or queen iff the current monarch dies or abdicates and you are next in the order of succession.

The iff brought more meaning to those sentences than if would have alone. Not only has February got fewer than 30 days, but it is the only month that does. Not only will you become monarch under those circumstances, but those are the only circumstances under which you can become monarch.

Formally, the if denotes sufficiency, and the only if denotes necessity.

In English, we tend to use if when we mean iff, and we differentiate using context.

  • If you drop litter, you could be fined.     (if is intended)
  • You can have pudding if you finish your main course.     (iff is intended)

Much semantic and grammatical pedantry is defended with claims about clarity. One shouldn’t use less in the place of fewer as the meaning is less clear. I think the fact that we can all understand if with little confusion is a good counter-argument.

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Newlands Corner

We went on a brief walk along the North Downs Way today, from Newlands Corner. It has stunning views across the Surrey Hills. It’s a popular place for stargazing, as it’s one of the closest dark sky points to London.

Newlands Corner

Newlands Corner

Cat, Kathy and Ben Walking

Cat, Kathy and Ben

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Papercourt Meadows

We went for a walk this morning in the Papercourt Meadows, next to the River Wey, near Send, Woking, Surrey. It can be found off the Newark Lane, between Ripley and Pyrford (here). It has unimproved grassland, marshland and open water, which attracts a large variety of wildlife. It has been made a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Papercourt Meadows

Papercourt Meadows (as always, you can click to enlarge)

The ground was covered in crisp frost when we arrived. We saw a variety of birds, including wrens, robins, blue tits, cormorants, bunting, ring-necked parakeets, and Egyptian geese (below).

Egyptian Geese

Egyptian Geese

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Garden Birds

While I was in Baldock at the weekend, I spent some time in the garden with the camera. I’m not too happy with the results, mainly due to the lack of light and the reluctance of the birds, but I thought I’d put them here anyway.

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

Chaffinch

Chaffinch

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