Bescot Stadium

Bescot Stadium known as the Banks's Stadium for sponsorship purposes, is a football stadium in Walsall and the current home ground of Walsall Football Club. It was built in 1989–90, by GMI Construction, with a reported build cost of £4.5m. The stadium replaced the club's previous ground, Fellows Park, located a quarter of a mile away and was the club's home for 94 years. Following the takeover of Walsall FC by Terry Ramsden in 1986, plans were drawn up for the club to move from its antiquated Fellows Park stadium to a new site in the town. In 1988, a site at Bescot Crescent was identified as the location for a new stadium, work began on the new stadium in 1989 with completion targeted for the start of the 1990-91 season; the stadium was opened on 18 August 1990, by Sir Stanley Matthews, prior to a friendly match with neighbours Aston Villa in front of 9,551 spectators. Aston Villa won the match 4–0; the first competitive game was played a week on 25 August 1990. 5,219 spectators watched Walsall draw 2-2 with Torquay United, with the stadium's first goal being an own goal scored by Walsall defender Matt Bryant after 65 seconds.

The first goal scored for Walsall at the stadium was by Stuart Rimmer. Both ends of the ground were standing areas, the capacity of the ground was 11,104. However, capacity was reduced to around 9,800 in 1992, when the away supporters terrace was filled with seats. Following an extension to the Tile Choice Stand, during the 2002–03 season, it is now an all-seater stadium, with a capacity of 11,300. A sponsorship deal with Banks's Brewery in 2007 saw the name changed from the Bescot Stadium to the Banks's Stadium; this sponsorship deal was extended in 2016 until the summer of 2022. The stadium has been host to England under-21, under-19 and under-17 international matches, Aston Villa reserve team matches and England women's international matches. Outside football, the stadium has hosted two concerts. On 22 June 1991, The Wonder Stuff began their Sharing The Love mini-festival tour at the stadium. Twenty-four years on 13 June 2015, the stadium hosted its second concert when Elton John played in front of 14,000 fans.

The stadium is situated less than a mile from junction 9 of the M6 motorway, has a mainline railway station within easy walking distance and parking spaces for around 1,200 vehicles. Bescot Stadium has two large conferencing suites -- the Stadium Suite; the Bonser Suite adjoins the rear of the Main Stand, while the Stadium Suite is underneath the upper tier of the northern most stand. Both suites host conferences, cabaret evenings and events. In addition to this, there are five further bars within the Stadium – the Swifts and Priory Lounges to the rear of the Main Stand, the Bescot Bar beneath the lower tier of the Tile Choice Stand, a bar beneath the away supporters stand, one beneath the Family Stand. There are food and beverage kiosks in all four corners of the ground, whilst the Bonser Suite doubles as a restaurant on match days. In 2009, the club erected a large advertising hoarding to the south of the southern most stand, facing the M6 motorway, it was reported in the Express and Star Newspaper on 6 June 2008, that Walsall were attempting to sell the stadium to Walsall Council, renting it back to secure the club's financial future.

The Council, stated they did not have the funds to purchase the ground. During Spring 2011, the owner of Bescot Stadium, Jeff Bonser, announced via his proxy, Suffolk Life, that the stadium was for sale on the open market. Steve Jenkins, record producer and lifelong Walsall supporter, tried to drum up support for the council to buy the land. On 11 July 2011, the idea of council ownership of Bescot Stadium was put to bed after the council voted 28–24 against purchasing the stadium. Plans to develop the southern most stand were announced by the club during 2005; the proposed development would mean using the blueprint of the northern most stand, which stands opposite it. Funding for the redevelopment was to come, in part, from a large advertising board on the back of the stand facing the M6 motorway; the board would be the largest illuminated sign adjacent to a motorway in Europe. However, due to the club's failure to regain Championship status, the subsequent drop off in attendances, the redevelopment plans were put on hold

The Prow Beast

The Prow Beast is the fourth and final novel of the Oathsworn series by Scottish writer of historical fiction, Robert Low, released on 5 August 2010 through Harper. The novel was well received; the story revolves around Orm Rurikson, a young man who joined the crew of a Viking band as a child and is now their reluctant leader. This novel centres around the oathsworn band attempting to protect the pregnant Queen Sigrith from the combined forces of their old enemy Sterki and Styrbjorn, nephew to King Eirik, seeking to claim the throne by ridding himself of the current heir, Sigrith's child; the novel was well received. Gareth Wilson, writing for on-line review site Falcata Times, praised Low's ability to "search the tales of the ancient Norse to weave a thread that the Norn’s would be proud to call their own" and stated he was "sad to say that this is going to be the last offering in the Oathsworn series"; the novel was reviewed by fellow historical fiction author Angus Donald, who stated that "I now have a bad case of PTT after reading the fourth and last book in Robert Low’s peerless Oathsworn series", with PTT being described as "post-textual tristesse" – a term Donald is used to refer to the sadness he feels after reading a good novel.

He states that think the novel to be the best in the series, finding it "poignant, muscular and impossible to put down." Official website


Oology is a branch of ornithology studying bird eggs and breeding behaviour. The word is derived from meaning egg. Oology can refer to the hobby of collecting wild birds' eggs, sometimes called egg collecting, birdnesting or egging, now illegal in many jurisdictions. Oology became popular in Britain and the United States during the 1800s. Observing birds from afar was difficult because high quality binoculars were not available, thus it was more practical to shoot the birds, or collect their eggs. While the collection of the eggs of wild birds by amateurs was considered a respectable scientific pursuit in the 19th Century and early 20th Century, from the mid 20th Century onwards it was regarded as being a hobby rather than a scientific discipline. In the 1960s, the naturalist Derek Ratcliffe compared peregrine falcon eggs from historical collections with more recent egg-shell samples, was able to demonstrate a decline in shell thickness; this was found to cause the link between the use by farmers of pesticides such as DDT and dieldrin, the decline of British populations of birds of prey.

Egg collecting was still popular in the early 20th century as its scientific value became less prominent. Egg collectors traded with one another. Collectors would go to extreme lengths to obtain eggs of rare birds. For example, Charles Bendire was willing to have his teeth broken to remove a rare egg that became stuck in his mouth, he had placed the egg in his mouth while climbing down a tree. In 1922, the British Oological Association was founded by Baron Rothschild, a prominent amateur naturalist, the Reverend Francis Jourdain. Rothschild and Jourdain founded it as a breakaway group after egg collecting by members of the British Ornithologists’ Union, was denounced by Earl Buxton at a meeting of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Legislation, such as the Protection of Birds Act 1954 and Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in the United Kingdom, has made it impossible to collect wild birds' eggs legally. In the United Kingdom, it is only legal to possess a wild-bird's egg if it was taken before 1954, or with a permit for scientific research.

However, the practice of egg collecting, or'egging', continues as an'underground' or illegal activity in the UK and elsewhere. In the 1980s and 1990s, the fines allowed by the law were only a moderate deterrent to some egg collectors. However, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 allowed for six months' imprisonment for the possession of the eggs of wild birds and, since it came into force, a number of individuals have been imprisoned, both for possessing and for attempting to buy egg collections; the Jourdain Society continued to meet although membership dwindled after 1994, when a dinner of the society was raided by police, assisted by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. This resulted in six members being fined. Despite this, some of those who engage in egg collecting show considerable recidivism in their activity. One, Colin Watson, was convicted six times before he fell to his death in 2006, while attempting to climb to a nest high up in a tree. Another individual has been convicted nine times and imprisoned twice and a third has been convicted 51 times, imprisoned four times and banned from entering Scotland during the bird breeding season.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has been active in fighting illegal egg collection and maintains an investigative unit that collects intelligence on egg collectors and assists police in mounting prosecutions on them, in addition to investigating other wildlife crimes. At one point, RSPB staff were being trained by soldiers from the Brigade of Gurkhas in camouflage skills and in surveillance and radio techniques, to better enable them to guard nests of rare birds. In the United Kingdom, to avoid the possibility of prosecution, owners of old egg collections must retain sufficient proof to show, on the balance of probabilities, that the eggs pre-date 1954; however owners of genuinely old collections are unlikely to face prosecution as experienced investigators and prosecutors are able to distinguish them from collected eggs. It is illegal to sell a collection, regardless of the eggs' age, so old collections may only be disposed of by giving the eggs away or by destroying them. Museums are reluctant to accept donations of collections without reliable collection data that gives them scientific value.

In the United States, the collection and possession of wild bird eggs is restricted, in some cases is a criminal act. Depending on the species, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act, or other laws may apply; when collecting eggs the whole clutch of eggs is taken. Because eggs will rot if the contents are left inside, they must be'blown' to remove the contents. Although collectors will take eggs at all stages of incubation, freshly laid eggs are much easier to'blow' through a small, inconspicuous hole drilled with a specialized drill through the side of the eggshell. Egg blowing is done with domestic bird's eggs for the hobby of Egg decorating. Natural History Museum, UK Delaware Museum of Natural History, USA H. L. White Collection, Australia National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC, USA Muséum de Toulouse, Toulouse France San Bernardino County Museum Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, Californ