Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Archive for November 2011


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“You have notifications pending.”

The message popped into my email inbox. It felt like a reprimand from one of my high school teacher/priests. Recently I logged out of Facebook because I saw no reason to waste my time there. (No offense to all my ‘friends’). Still the notifications and comments come. I thought I was done with all that. Obviously membership in that social network is like membership in a street gang or the mafia…you’re never out completely.

On top of that, I’ve spent the last few days playing catch up with the planned obsolesce thrust upon anyone who owns any device from Apple. In order to stay connected I’ve had to download upgrades for my laptop, desktop, iTouch, iPad and iPhone (yes, I have all the toys) or be left behind. Without the latest operating systems I would be lost to the world, forbidden a fully functional roll in the ether or should I say The Cloud. Because I failed to stay up to date some of my files were rendered unsupportable: believe me the feelings of loss, anger and frustration were palpable. There are too many passwords to remember.

‘Simplify, simplify, simplify,’ said Mr. D, Thoreau. What with so many applications, so many games and so many sites pushing so much information there is too much to keep up with and no time to keep things simple.

Twitter has trivialized the world. In 140 characters the detritus of people’s lives, the superficial urgings of private agendas spills on to your screen. The only ways to stop it is to unfollow or log out.

Yes, we have the choice of being there or not. I am probably one tiny squeaky negative voice in the vast multitude. The irony in this is that I maintain this blog. And I’m writing this post…complaining. 

And this is nothing new. Back in 1807 William Wordworth reacted to the first Industrial Revolution with this sonnet: He was right then and he’s still right. OK. I’ll stop now.


The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:

Little we see in Nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;

The winds that will be howling at all hours,

And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;

For this, for everything, we are out of tune;

It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.


Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

November 20, 2011 at 5:21 PM


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Wind whipped the overhead wire back and forth in a tight oscillating pattern. Gripping tightly with its tiny claws the Shrike wavered slightly but, as birds do, it held on. We stopped quickly. C. and N. were beside themselves with excitement as the window went down and the binoculars came out. On their urging, I grabbed my camera and opened the car door both at the same time. The wind blew it closed on my leg that was half in and half out. I swore, pushed it open and clicked away. A sighting documented cannot be argued with. And getting on the list is what its all about.

It wasn’t the greatest day for shooting; typical November weather, grey, overcast and blustery. The Shrike was a “bird by chance” on our way home down the Allenford Road.

Birders have this unique ability to scan countryside and drive at the same time. It also helps to have good brakes since stopping suddenly and often is part of the routine.  We had been out birding. Or rather the Owen Sound Field Naturalists, heavily stacked with members of the Bruce Birding Club, were. I was just along for ride. My objective was to shoot some pictures.

November has colours all its own. November is all brown, wet, beige, golden, dark and gunmetal grey. You could see it in the grasses as they bent to the wind, their bushy beige heads waving in unison.

But, there is a chill-infused brilliance to November. You can see it when the early sunsets bring a light that is a photographer’s dream. But not today, today was typically bleak.

There was one blast of colour, though. A tiny Oxeye Daisy lay close to ground beside a big rock, the white of its petals and the depth of its yellow centre bordered by its rich green leaves, stood out sharply among the surrounding dark earth and pebbles.

It was well past its time. But for some reason it decided to bloom bold and rich in spite of the lateness of the season. Such contrast can only leave you with a smile.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

November 14, 2011 at 11:29 AM