Although I have an office in BCNI (Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute), I prefer working (writing) in my flat overlooking Downing College. I keep the window open to let the incredibly clean fresh air, and the songs of the truly amazing birds that sweep from tree to tree in the yard, waft through. Black birds with bright orange beaks, grouse (just like on the bottle of scotch in my kitchen), a mallard duck with an emerald neck. A few days ago I watched a right of spring. A big dark grey bird with a bullseye on his tail had fluffed the feathers on his head, was flicking and flapping his wings in the direction of the object of his affection, and singing a sweet song (in bird ease, probably something along the lines of, "baby I need you're loving, got to have all your loving"). She seemed to take notice, but was playing hard to get. I turned back at my screen for a moment, and when I looked at the trees again they were gone.
Speaking of songs, I keep 105 FM, aka 209 Radio, going. This local Cambridge community station has diverse programs throughout the day, and you never know what you’re going to get. Usually I like the eclectic musical offerings--Miles Davis one minute, Tom Petty the next, and a little Motzart as well. Even some of the talk shows, like the one on the history of Cambridge, are interesting. 209 is the opposite of what Elvis Costello had in mind in “Radio, Radio” when he sang: “the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools, tryin' to anaesthetise the way that you feel.” 209, by contrast, seems to be run by intelligent folks who aim to keep the programming stimulating and unique.
209 actually reminds me a bit of WJFF, whose motto is “the best radio station by a dam site.” They say this because it’s supposedly the world’s only hyro-powered radio station, getting most if not all of its energy from the little spillover damm from Lake Jefferson that bleeds into the Callicoon Creek. WJJF is in Jeffersonville, NY, which is a few miles from our house upstate in the Catskills, and also just a few miles from Yasgur's Farm, the site of the Woodstock Festival in 1969, and Bethel Woods, the beautiful outdoor concert venue bulit next to the Festival site, complete with the official Woodstock Museum (not to be confused: the actual town of Woodstock is hours away over the mountians).
We are most of the way through recovering from water damage in our old farmhouse caused by the popping of a solenoid valve in the dishwasher, allowing hot, steamy water to flow into our kitchen and living room for a week or two while we were away in early March. When Nancy, Milo and I went up to enjoy an early spring weekend, we discovered a couple of inches of water, and mold (fortunately, due to an unintentional tilt in the kitchen floor, the water and mold stayed out of the older part of the house with 19th century maple floors). We called John the Handyman, who has worked for us, and he helped us organize things. The insurance company paid up quickly, and through a heroic effort in my absence Nancy single handedly pretty much put the house back together. Thank you my dear.
There’s jet black crow dancing around in the yard. I’m not kidding, he's keeping time as James Brown syncopates “Come on. Um. Get it. Get on the good foot. Um” on 209 Radio. Now the Specials are singing “stop your messin around.” I better take that as a sign I better get back to work.