Listening to the barley bird – one of the pros of cycling to work in a beautiful county

One of the downsides of being a crabby old git on here is I don’t tip my hat often enough to some of the finer sides of life. A year ago I posted about the advantages of cycling to work with the emphasis on it saving money. However, there are other pluses to cycling to work, my route goes next to fields and then across a small patch of heathland, where I was treated to this lovely sound

[audio:|titles=Suffolk nightingale]

It’s the sound of the barley bird. You have to have a heart of stone if you can’t tale a few minutes to listen to a nightingale that has crossed the lonely thousands of miles from Africa. He sits deep in a bush or some scrub and calls out his signal, which he hopes is heard by a lady nightingale who follows his long journey a couple of weeks later. That’s just not the sort of thing that you hear from your car over the traffic over the Today programme. Called the barley bird in old Suffolk because nightingales arrived as the barley was sprouting, according to the wonderful nature writer Richard Mabey

[iframe 120 240]

2011 petrol prices

Bike odometer

As for the financial advantages, well, that still holds – I pass the same petrol station and it looks like things have gone up somewhat – petrol was £1.20 a litre then. So I get to save about two pounds a day. Okay, so it isn’t earth shattering, however it adds up. In the time I’ve had this bike computer I have put about 3000 miles on it. I’m a utility cyclist not a recreational one, so most of these miles I’d have driven otherwise.

And every so often I get to hear a nightingale. What’s not to like 🙂





9 thoughts on “Listening to the barley bird – one of the pros of cycling to work in a beautiful county”

  1. I’ve been walking to work for 15 months now (7 miles a day) and wish I’d started 20 years ago. That’s about £8k down the drain. The walk is not pretty, but it’s okay, and I can always find things to observe like building projects.

    My next challenge is to make sure I get some regular exercise when I retire.


  2. I’m envious! All I get to hear is the cacophony of very very high-decibel vehicular horns everytime I venture out… So, with 3000+ miles under your belt, you’re feeling like a fiddle then guv? 😉

    And, you’ll be pleased to know, I finally finished that trade tirade series…. :-D! Time to write something uplifting….


  3. Gorgeous. I wish I could identify these birdsongs — I’ve got the youth in the country to show for it…

    Incidentally, I’ve been exploring ‘mindfulness’ recently, and it’s amazing the birds you hear out here in West London when you listen for them. 🙂


  4. Thought I should share this with you, since this was also your contention from the beginning:

    FWIW, there was an news article on Sunday papers here tied to my post on trade damages:

    National Bureau of Economic Research, US, shows how there are substantial economic incentives for firms to lobby for coups and covert operations.

    They have analysed the stock price movement of highly exposed companies in countries where the coup took place. To their surprise, they found stock price gains were three times larger at the time of the coup authorisation rather than during or after the coup. Clearly, there were information leaks.

    “We find that private information regarding coup authorisations and planning increased the stock prices of expropriated multinationals that stood to benefit from the regime change. The presence of these abnormal returns suggests that there were leaks of classified information to asset traders,” say the authors.

    In fact, the authors conclude that protecting foreign investments could be a motivation for undertaking regime change.

    Is any multinational corporation benefitting from the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia and the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt?

    I feel somewhat vindicated about my own posts now with this article, and the fact that there are people still focussing on such matters.

    If nothing else, there’s the incentive for all of us, to trade locally and why it is better to buy locally `;-)`

    Again, there’s nothing wrong with trade per se, I have issues with how it has been carried out in the last 3-4 centuries so far.


  5. @SG Exercise isn’t so bad when it actually does something for you. I’ve also been thinking about that and perhaps health more generally post-retirement. More daytime TV somehow doesn’t seem to be a good way to go, nor indeed any increase in screen time. Such a change in lifestyle is a great opportunity to flush out some old habits and try and set some good ones going forward, like your thinking on how to get the activity balance right.

    @Surio, the 3000 miles was accumulated over several years, I’m no ERE Jacob achieving an average of 19mph, if I average 10 it’s a good day 🙂 That sort of exercise doesn’t do anything for my fitness, and only consumes 180 calories or so. The efficiency of a man on a bike is impressive in doing a 13 mile round trip on no more than the energy in a Mars bar, but the main achievement is economy and a sort of buffer/thinking time between work and home. Plus the odd nightingale.

    Oh and there I was trying to be all fluffy and upbeat for a change and there you go bringing us down to earth with the machinations of Uncle Sam 😉

    @Monevator It’s good to start actually with some of the urban ones because they are all quite different. The trick to telling them apart is to focus on the few that you’re likely to come across, which used to be house sparrow, robin, blackbird, dunnock, wren, starling and song thrush when I lived in S.Kensington, Hammersmith, Acton and Ealing. Many people try and listen to a whole load of songs and try and remember them which is the wrong way of going about it IMO. Once you’ve clocked a few your get to know them. All of those areas were reasonably close to extensive green space – the city planners of London served it well in mandating a lot of green space, compared with cities like LA or even New York. FWIW I heard the nightingale, didn’t believe it so I had to listen to a recording and then listen out the next day to confirm it (and get this recording).

    This Grauniad interactive guide is good, in that it is of modest scope but includes most of what you’d hear in the city.


  6. You make a very valid point there about London’s green spaces when compared to other cities …..
    And one realises it when only when one goes elsewhere. 🙂


  7. I’ve just stumbled across your blog via a link on another blog concerning early retirement, and was amazed at how similar some of your ideas about work, investment and retirement are to mine. I also happen to live in Suffolk, by the sea, and like birdwatching. Do you have an email address where I can send you a private message?


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