Beloved British TV star Bill Oddie is battling crippling hearing loss. The 72-year-old comedian and nature show expert realised he was going deaf when he discovered he was no longer able to hear birdsong, and he was later diagnosed with a serious impairment in both ears.
Oddie has since been fitted with special hearing aids, and he has praised doctors for their efforts.
He tells the Manchester Evening News, "They (the hearing aids) have drastically improved my quality of life. Not only have they brought back many birdsongs I thought I'd never hear again, but they have also really helped in social situations. I'm re-discovering so many sounds. To be honest I never liked the idea of wearing aids, I thought of them as old fashioned. However, they have given me back my passion in life and returned something that I thought I'd lost."
The duchess is reportedly practising her shooting skills ahead of the royal family's traditional Boxing Day (26Dec11) pheasant shoot at Queen Elizabeth II's Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England.
Pictures showing her holding a shotgun have been published in the British press, and bird expert Bill Oddie has now expressed his "disappointment and despair" at seeing such a high-profile royal apparently taking up a bloodsport.
In a post on his blog, Oddie writes, "Disappointment and despair were amongst my emotions at seeing photos in the papers of Kate Middleton toting a rifle. We were informed that she is practising madly so that she can join the royal shooting parties this Christmas at Sandringham.
"She is reported to be getting quite lethal, but she won't match her husband (Prince William) who is reputed to be a real crack shot."