We started the week with Cake Day. It was for Red Nose Day, a fundraising event organised by Comic Relief. Check out these amazing cakes, all baked by the very talented chefs and bakers from the Library. We organised it a few days late so that the staff could spent their weekend trying out new recipes. My colleagues and I kept on going to the staff-room and coming out with a piece of yummy goodness. The things we do for charity huh :-). We raised £200. Woop…woop. In this time of austerity, a record £75 million was raised. Now in its 25th year, Red Nose Day was the home of amazing events, epic fundraising, funny sketches and touching stories.
This week Data Services were very busy running overview sessions for the library staff to introduce them to the changes in the catalogue record. Record Description and Access (RDA) will be fully implemented in April and we wanted them to be aware of the changes especially for staff working in a customer-facing role. We ran 2 sessions and was pleased that it was fully-booked. It was well-received and we were able to answer all the queries that was forwarded to us. It was still very new to us too and we were still learning.
World Sparrow Day on 20th March was everyone’s chance to rise to the challenge of saving them. Known colloquially as the Cockney sparrow, the house sparrow was once the UK most common bird, but it had seen a dramatic drop in numbers with more than two thirds of the species vanishing. This annual observance reminded us of the impact our changing world has on even the most common species as well as how much we miss the birds we take for granted when they are gone. Have you ever really stopped and really watched a group of House Sparrows?
We’d a family sharing our garden. The last time I counted there were 7 of this adorable little brown, grey and black birds. The silence of the early mornings were broken by their chirpings, peepings and twitterings as the hedges bristles with the fluttering of tiny wings. Now and then, a head popped out as if to check what the weather was going to be.
I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been any epaulet I could have sworn.
~Henry David Thoreau~
I signed up for a three-part Introduction to Digital Preservation: Managing Content Over Time series of webinars. It was free and organised by the Library of Michigan. Unfortunately, due to the time differences, I wasn’t able to attend the live presentations and only sat through the archived recordings. Digital Preservation is the buzz word at the moment . It was understood as a series of managed activities to ensure continued access to digital materials for as long as necessary, involving the planning, resource allocation, and application of preservation methods and technologies to ensure that digital information of continuing value remained accessible and usable. The main aim was the accurate rendering of authenticated content over time. At the moment, the term had been talked about a lot but no one seemed to know what it meant. I knew about this webinar from a tweet and decided to check it out and do it on my own time. I’m still reading through the piles of paperwork. Why oh why did I torture myself??? I must be mad :-).
The library system went AWOL on one of the days. Someone must have pulled a plug because it only involved my office and the Acquisition team. The best thing was that the engineer will only be in his office at 9.30am !!! I took the opportunity to spring clean my working space. My poor table was groaning with piles of books at various stages of processing, some with queries from colleagues and subject librarians. Chaotic to others but it was organised chaos. After clearing the bits of papers, I joined the others with the Easter decorations. Yellow, fluffy chicks were popping everywhere and I meant everywhere. The system was up as soon as we finished with the decorations. Perfect timing.
A lot of people took water for granted. We turned our taps and hey presto, we get water for drinking, washing, cleaning and watering our gardens. We moaned furiously at hosepipe bans, pipe bursts, flooding and inadequate drainage. These were issues that require attention due to poor infrastructure but we still have clean water flowing from a pipe. It was very hard to imagine that some parts of the world still do not have access to water. We can put men on the moon but we can not even provide this basic need. Access to safe clean water transforms people’s live. So on World Water Day, I hoped and prayed that it would increase people’s awareness and helped solved the water crisis. Please sign this pledge.
CC and I decided to blow the freezing cobwebs with a trip to the Noodle Bar. CC had been there earlier and said that the food had gone downhill and wanted me to check it out as I always ordered the same thing. As if I needed my arms twisted. We went there after office and was surprised to see the restaurant wasn’t full. Not a good sign but perhaps, the students had gone home for the Easter break. I ordered my usual fried udon with seafood special and Chinese vegetables all washed down with cups of Chinese cha. It tasted ok to me.
We didn’t linger after the meal because we wanted to check out a Pecha Kucha event. Pecha Kucha 20x20 was a presentation methodology in which 20 slides were shown for 20 seconds each (six minutes and 40 seconds in total). The images advanced automatically and you talk along to the images. It drew its name from the Japanese term for the sound of "chit chat. It was a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace. Initially, the presenters were design professionals showing their creative work, but recently, topics were about travels, jobs, research projects, student projects, hobbies, collections, or other interests.
We attended the 12th session and it was a themed night on 10 things they would do to make Coventry a better place. CC drove to the venue at Taylor John's House which was sited in the old coal vaults in the Canal Basin. It was a beautiful place with narrow-boats mooring for the night. We went in and paid £5.50 each at the door. Clutching a drink each, we made our way into the dark, cold room. Around 50 people were lingering about. It started quite late. Only 5 presentations and we thoroughly enjoyed the first three. We left during the intervals because both of us were very tired. It had been a long day for us. We might check the event again, depending on the topic. Many thanks to the organisers and speakers for a really excellent evening and a great atmosphere.
Although it was still flipping gold, I made my way to the reed-beds to see if there was any activity going on. I was kicking myself when I saw frog-spawn at the bottom of the lake. I’d missed the mating sessions again. I’d not been out and about for few days because of the bitter chill and there was none then. I guess they managed to find a window of opportunity during the rare hours when there were a few bright, genial days that were like a fore-taste of summer. I just hoped they survived this cold weather.
We ended the week with a trip to our favourite playground. One of Babe’s Flickr friends mentioned that hundreds of Redwings and Fieldfares were seen feeding on the fields. But first, we made a pit stop at a field to check out these adorable guys. I guess a lot of people had stopped here because they came running and waited longingly to be fed. Unfortunately, we came empty-handed. We were given the evil eye before they turned and trotted off. Sorry guys.
We parked the car in the frozen car-park. A cacophony of Redwings and Fieldfares were passing overhead and flying around the reserve. We walked straight to Baldwin Hide and spotted the pair of Great Crested Grebes straight away. Check out their striking head and neck feathers that formed a ruff in the breeding season. The male was underwater for quite a while and came out with this huge fish. My oh my…it was incredible to see the way he swallowed the fish.
“Upon this promise did he raise his chin
Like a dive-dapper, peering through a wave
Who being looked on, ducks as quick in”
~Shakespeare, ‘Venus and Adonis’~
We didn’t stay long because the flaps was like a wind tunnel with the bitterly cold easterlies sweeping in. We followed a flock of Fieldfares and Redwings through the mouse maze. Apart from berries, they were also ground feeders and were busy pulling out the worms. The Redwings were much more visible with their whitish stripe over eye, red brown flanks and streaked breast. In flight, we spotted the red-brown under wing coverts. It was lovely to see them before they fly back to Northern Europe.
March was definitely going out like a Lion. Bitter, cold winds cut through me like a knife. What happened to Spring? It was officially springtime but I’m not sure that Mother Nature realised this. Spring had been hovering in the wings for weeks, with tantalising snippets of bright sunshine, cherry blossoms and catkins on trees and primroses and crocus peeping on the ground. The red-breasted Robins were singing their hearts out high in the trees and frogspawns hidden among the reed-beds. Yet, we continued shivering in the bitter cold, as winter hadn’t yet relinquished her crown. What a very looog, loong winter this had been and there seemed to be no let up. But, I’m adamant to let the howling, Siberian winds, non-stop snow showers and sleet dampened my enthusiasm because I know Spring might just be around the next blizzard. Finger and toes double-crossed.
It snowed today
And once more
A harsh winter
That's what they say
Colder than it's ever been
Snow like we've never seen
Spring... it will be late
But I will wait, for like fate
Spring always follows
Spring always comes
Spring has never failed me
Sonya Florentino , “Ode to Spring”