Friday, 19 February 2010

Half Term Blues

It is almost over, and it can't come a minute too soon. There are upsides, namely not needing to get up in the morning for the school run, but other than that, Jesus I need a rest. With three of them there is always something to do, always something to fetch, always a dispute to referee. One of them is always thirsty, another, hungry. There is always something needed that is out of reach, and likely to be on a different floor. Above all, there is the incessant chatter, the continuous questions. There is nowhere to hide, nowhere.

The summer holiday last year is but a distant memory, but I got through that, so I'm surprised half term has been so tough. Perhaps it's like real holidays, where one week just isn't enough? You spend that week forgetting about work, getting into a new groove, and then all of a sudden it's over and it's back to the grindstone before you even had time to relax. Like a real holiday, you need two weeks for it to be worthwhile, two weeks before you can start to enjoy it.

Today was typically manic. First up was a game of football cunningly organised at Mansfield Park. Mansfield Park coincidentally overlooks William Girling Reservoir, which currently has a Red-necked Grebe, a Great Northern Diver, 25 Black-necked Grebes and at least one Goosander on it. I know, because I was looking at them whilst leaking goals at a rate of knots. I'm not good at football, and especially not whilst looking through a scope. Then, with suitably muddy children, it was off to Barking to get the courtesy car cleaned before exchanging it for the one that was hit by a post at Rainham several weeks ago. This was exceedingly complex in the middle of a busy car park, but I got there in the end by putting them all in the front passenger seat for five minutes while I transferred the seats across. Next up shopping for the weekend before finally getting home for a late lunch. Men are supposed to be bad at multi-tasking, but if you could have seen me between about one and quarter-past! I tell you, it was something else. I was a blur, a zephyr. I simultaeneously cooked lunch, unstacked the dishwasher, washed a football, unpacked the shopping, got the kids drinks, did the washing up, tidied the front room and somehow also changed a nappy. I probably did a pile more things as well, but I can't remember them and you're almost certainly bored already. Suffice it to say I was amazing and the day was back on track. Women reading this will probably be thinking "Yeah, and?".... Men will be thinking "Wow, amazing! But wash a football?"....

Tomorrow I have some time off, and do you know what, I might go birding. What with one thing or another, mainly rain and too many children, I have neglected the patch this week. I've still been checking the Basin (zip) but I can barely remember where the Flats are. It hasn't been a bad week of course, a lifer in Dusky Warbler, and a few year ticks, all of them in London - Pink-footed Goose, Scaup, and now Red-necked Grebe. But I'm missing the patch, and I'm due a goodie I reckon. London has been fantastic this year, but bar the five Brent Geese that Stuart saw flying over (and that may well have gone over my house, except I wasn't in it to see them), Wanstead hasn't really cashed in. Tomorrow though, all that will change. Oh yes.

Here, have a rather good photo of a Scaup. After various people commented that my phone-scoped shots were on the poor side of abysmal, I've switched to using my little Samsung NV3. The results I think speak for themselves.

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