I am sitting in front of the computer listing to Bob Harris Country, one of the greatest shows on earth. TMS and A Prairie Home Companion possibly rank above it, but tonight is a live gig from Eric Clapton, and there is no cricket on. It rocks. I am nearly a bottle of white burgundy to the good, and life is sweet, though it has been a rocky ride. Earlier on this evening I survived filleting a Hake, but I am not ruling out future nightmares. Imagine if they were bigger...
I am debating what to do this weekend. Irene (as in the hurricane) is not proving as potent as previously forecast, nonetheless the weather coming from across the Atlantic is vaguely promising. This very weekend two years ago saw me cash in on a Fea's Petrel, and I would dearly love to repeat the experience. Funny how two and half minutes can justify twelve hours in a car, but such is seawatching. I am addicted, I need my fix. Shame Cornwall is so far away.
Heading in completely the opposite direction, I have decided, after all, to go to Shetland. It was just so good last year. I've left it so late that flights now cost in the region of ten million pounds, so I'm getting a cheapo flight to Aberdeen, followed by a fourteen hour ferry crossing to Lerwick. Many people suggest that this is by far the most spiritual way to arrive in Shetland, and who knows, they may be right, especially when I score an Albatross from the deck roughly two hours in. Now that the ticket is actually booked, I have embarked upon a frenzy of thinking about packing. Mainly this involves wondering about different optical combinations. I am taking only hand luggage, daft as this may sound. Mainly this is because I am an inveterate cheapskate, and forking out twenty quid to Stelios (or his successor) for a poorly paid Albanian immigrant to throw my suitcase into the hold of the plane insults me, but also because I have the best part of a day in Aberdeen before the ferry sails, and I want to go birding without a suitcase. So the choice I have to make basically boils down to clothes or my camera.
I think the camera is going to win. Blog readers will benefit is what I am telling myself. I might whiff a bit up north, but I'll have some tasty bird photos to post. At the moment the thinking is a large lens, my icepick/monopod, a pile of memory cards, and a Tshirt. Anything else I need?