TRAVELLING, ARRIVING, BEING at the sale, whizzing back home… my recent trip to the international sale at Zwolle in Holland was a blur, or rather like one of those time-lapse videos where a massive herd of wildebeest crosses the Serengeti and vanishes within 20 seconds.

This is the one that’s like Stafford but at least twice as big. An intense experience, all right, and I’m still sorting out my impressions and photos. I guess the key fascination, which attracts the regulars year after year, is that you literally don’t know what you’ll see next: a Gloster canary or a crowned lapwing, a Steere’s liocichla or a lutino lovebird. It’s like a colossal lucky dip. Not that everything was a pleasure to see, but one huge bonus was the friendly and knowledgeable company of some of the “old hands”: a gathering of avian expertise that you might struggle to equal anywhere else. Thank you to them for showing me the ropes – it was an education.

Sympathy to Tom Lewis (letter, left); I know just how it feels!  It’s the obvious things, like a well-known surname, that your busy brain gets wrong when you’re typing. My worst one was in this very column, referring to an article by Arcadia’s John Courteney-Smith. Somehow, memories of a long-ago Lord’s Test poked their nose in, magically transmuting the author into John Courteney-Walsh. Luckily our ace sub-editor spotted and zapped it, so no-one will ever know about this embarrassing incident. Phew!

East Beast Update: owing to terrible road conditions, the C&AB office was closed for the whole of the working week February 26 to March 2 – unprecedented, and just when spring was due to start. As a result, the team did not receive ANY post during that week, including Club News info, of course. We’re very sorry if any time-sensitive Club News has been unavoidably missed, and will catch up as soon as possible when the ice melts.

Press Release of the Week: I do cherish some of the RSPCA’s email announcements. The one about six inspectors rescuing a goat on a cliff is still my favourite, but this week’s “Appeal after unwell snake stuffed in pillowcase” has gone on to the shortlist. Nothing amusing about a living creature’s distress, of course – it’s just the way they put it. Enjoy your birds this week.

Rob Innes