Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Official Richard Madeley Appreciation Society Bird-Box Cam

As any good looking man with the world at his fingertips will tell you: life rarely runs as smoothly as your trouser press.

Take as your shining example my life of the past seven days. No sooner had I returned to my blogging career than life leapt in the way of me and my keyboard, whipped open its coat, and shook its money-maker at me with an indecent glee.

So, to begin, I want to apologise for my silence. It was as unacceptable as it was necessary. You see, Spring has just sprung and, as you know, last week Judy and I (or as I like to put it, me and Judy) decided to sponsor a hedgehog. It was going to be the big hit of the season, the talk of celebrity salons across London, and I was going to give it a run out in aid of Sports Relief by putting it on a leash and dragging it down the Mall for the length of a tarmac mile. Only, when the moment came to wake it, it turned out the hedgehog sleeping in the potting shed wasn’t actually a hedgehog. It was my old auditioning quiff from my days as an amateur thespian. The upshot was that there’s no hedgehog to sponsor.

‘You’ll have to do something,’ said Judy as she watched me try on my quiff for old time’s sake. ‘You’ve promised people an exciting sponsorship deal.’

I could tell she had something in mind. ‘You have something in mind,’ I said. ‘I can tell…’

'As it happens, Richard, I do.’

I gazed at myself in the mirror and tears came to my eyes at the thought of a life I could have led. ‘They said I had everything to become the new Richard Burton,’ I sighed.

‘You mean multiple marriages and handiness around a stiff drink?’

I scowled at her with a scowl made all the more stinging because of my stiffening quiff. It didn’t seem to have much effect.

‘Instead of sponsoring a hedgehog, I want you to sponsor a bird box in the garden,’ she said, ‘and I want it fitted with the very best surveillance camera that money can buy.’

Suddenly, the reason for Judy's late night phone calls and the sound of hooting into the early hours became clear.

‘You’ve been talking to Bill Oddie again!’ I said. She didn’t deny it but adopted that look that women tend to adopt when thinking about the nation’s favourite bearded twitcher.

So there it was: the challenge laid out. And I’m pleased to say that after a week of effort, I’ve finally managed to construct, wire, and install the official Richard Madeley Appreciation Bird Box With 24 Hour Surveillance.

The box is now three meters in the air and fully powered and providing a feed live to this blog. However, here are the things I’ve discovered over seven days spent building this remarkable feat of civil engineering.

Firstly, it’s impossible to buy wood these days. At one time, you could go to the shop on the corner of your street and buy a length of timber. It took me two days before I realised that it’s nearly impossible to source decent wood locally. I even trailed to B&Q and still couldn’t find anything shorter than 8 foot, which was far too long to carry on my pushbike. I ended up buying a flat-packed set of drawers and building the box out of those. The only problem is that I now have half a dozen knobs I’ve no use for.

The second thing I discovered is that it’s very easy to drill through your knee when not following correct health and safety advice. Thankfully, it wasn’t my knee and Judy’s making an excellent recovery.

The third realisation I arrived at is that Judy is a natural up a ladder.

And finally, after a week of hard work, grotesque expenditure, arguments, ladder abuse, mild electrical shocks and severe electrical shocks, I now realise that birds don’t immediately leap at every new vacancy in the property market.

So, watch this space or more specifically, watch the space to the side of this blog. Even if I don’t update, there will always be a picture of an empty bird box to look at and admire.

No comments: