I was in London last week and had my first ever look inside Westminster Abbey. The price of entry almost put me off – £18! And as we all queued to pay, everything paused for a prayer to come over the public address system – it’s good that the Church makes Mammon wait for God now and again.
I was struck by the number of birds on display: ostrich, secretary bird, kestrel, black grouse, chough, some eagles and a strange looking black bird of prey (?).
That black bird of prey belongs to Sir John Chapple who is a proper birder, so that’s no surprise, I guess – I’ll have to ask him about it when I next see him (maybe at the Bird Fair).
The choughs were chosen by Lord Armstrong of Ilminster – it’s a while since there have been choughs seen in Ilminster, but it’s a good reminder of how widespread these birds were when there was more rough grassland around.
The late Lord Moore of Wolvercote (nr Oxford) laid claim to the blackgame – I once lived in Wolvercote and didn’t see any black grouse on my cycle rides.
Sir Patrick Hine has an eagle on his crest.
The late Sir David Fraser used an ostrich on his crest.
Sir Kenneth Stowe has a bit of wit about him – he was a Permanent Secretary and his is the secretary bird!
But I haven’t tracked down the owner of the kestrel on his (or her) banner – any ideas anyone?