In my haste to bash out yet another ill-conceived and boring blog post yesterday, I forgot a critical, nay crucial piece of information. It was about that Brambling. It was a year tick! A patch year-tick I mean, I don't go in for all this national year-listing nonsense. Never have, never will. So yes, a patch year-tick, coming in at a rather splendid 110. This a whole two more than last year - a year I thought would never be broken, which, now I come to think of it, is probably exactly what I said the year before that. No matter. I am pleased, which, when it comes to patch-working, is the entire point. You'd have to be pretty stupid to wander round an inland patch year after year whilst hating every minute of it.
Yes it would be nice to have a coastal patch, yes it would be nice to have a patch capable of producing a right stonker, but then things like Dunlin would lose their appeal, and we can't be having that. There's an argument that suggests that at a coastal patch the bar is simply higher, and that's true of course, but ultimately there would be far fewer birds with that "wow" factor that is so important in patch-birding and keeps us all going. "Oystercatcher, whatever" is not something you'll hear uttered in Wanstead anytime soon.
So what's new? Nothing. All work and no tidying makes Jonathan a dull boy. With the absence of the Magic Fairy, who true to her word departed for pastures new about a month ago, Chateau L is gradually falling apart. Mount Garment grows ever higher, and items now largely lie where they fall. Weekends, so useful for staying more-or-less afloat, are dedicated to having fun rather than domestic trivialities, and so slowly but surely we're descending to a new level of slovenliness. I may or may not engage a cleaner, we'll see how bad it gets before I crack. However if you're local, and bored (really bored), do pop round. The hoover is in the cupboard under the stairs, the dusters are under the sink. Marigolds are provided.
On the plus side, and coinciding nicely with my return to banking hell, my writing career is really taking off. Forget Birdwatch, I have now penned a piece in the nationally-distributed and globally-read Wanstead Village Directory. Any misconceptions you may have about this publication being merely a vehicle for local businesses to advertise their services should be totally banished. Any thoughts that over 95% of the pages relate to hairdressing, kitchen design and local restaurants should be similarly cast aside. It's only 90%, and so this month there is room for an article on Ducks. Yes, Ducks. I am fed up of seeing people point at Tufted Ducks and Pochards and call them Ducks. Or worse, Mallards. So when polled by this august institution for a future article on wildlife in a winter issue, I thought "Right, let's sort it out once and for all, and get people involved in Ducks", or words to that effect. The lavishly-illustrated result is now in quality newsagents everywhere, or you can pick one up in the Co-Op on the high street. Or, as Muffin did today, at the community centre where Ballet takes place, where he then proceeded to wave it in the faces of a few of my fellow Mums [sic] so now they all know what a sad bird-nerd loser I am, which obviously I had been trying to conceal. Excellent. Anyway, now that the secret is out, if you're too late in the mad scramble for printed copies, you can see it online here. Note the huge amount of reaction and comment....