Disaster struck this week… I had a bit of a mishap whilst yomping through some heavy undergrowth in search of a better angle to photograph a Linnet. Not only did I get savaged by brambles, but it seems that I also lost an integral part of my binoculars.
One of the eyepieces fell off, essentially turning the binoculars into monoculars – Not a problem if I was Poirot, but I’m not, so it was. The binoculars were now rendered pretty much unusable – I pull odd-enough faces when using both eyes, so God only knows what sort of horrific one-eyed squinting visage I’d be capable of.
It is amazing just how much you take a piece of kit like that for granted. You see something moving in a hedge in the distance, grab your binoculars and instantly see that it is a Sparrow… It usually is a Sparrow, but one day it might be a really rare species that has never been seen in the UK before; something here by accident – thousands of miles from home; something that’s discovery would bring me recognition in the bird-spotting world. I would be lauded as the discoverer of the first ever Spangled Drongo (the World’s best-named bird) in the British Isles. I would dedicate the feat to my trusty binoculars, my inquisitive nature and Bill Oddie. It would be a great time.
However, this dream would remain on hold. When your binoculars are missing integral parts, you can’t see that far into the distance and nature watching becomes an incredible frustration. What’s that in the hedge? I don’t know how many Spangled Drongos I might have missed out on.
The opticals shop (not to be confused with the opticians) wanted £60 to fix it. £60 for a small bit of plastic and a rubber eyepiece – In fact almost as much as replacing the binoculars themselves. It is at this point that I really want to make a cutting comment about the wasteful, throwaway culture in which we live, where it almost costs as much to repair something as it does to throw the original away and buy a brand new replacement, but I’m just not good at stuff like that. So, I’ll leave it unsaid.
I was not going to pay that much to repair the binoculars, so I would have to do something myself.
Firstly, I spent each of the next three lunch-times retracing my steps to relocate the errant bits – reacquainting myself with the unfriendly brambles – and managed to find the rubber eyepiece. No sign of the plastic connector though.
After work, I went home and mentally positioned myself on the ‘Creativity Continuum’ (that I had just made up) between the A-Team’s B.A. Baracus and Blue Peter’s Valerie Singleton – They were both good at making things, so I figured it was a good place to start.
And here, children (or crazy fools), is what I did…
Remarkably, it worked and I can now use my binoculars to hunt out Drongos again.
Obviously, I didn’t see any. However, I did see my first Blackcap and Common Whitethroat of the year… Both sound like they’d make excellent pirates.
Only one new addition for Fauna Corner this time… and I’m not sure if it really counts. I saw what appeared to be a bear just outside Reigate. Should I be informing the authorities or be making an appointment at Specsavers?