Tuesday 8 January 2013


I am becoming boring, and it is annoying me. I have four things in my life - my family (important to mention that first, no end of trouble if I leave it until last!), birds, photos (of birds), and work. Nobody wants to hear about the latter, but it dominates my life so comprehensively that it leaves far less time for any of the former. Long-term acolytes may recall that when I started this blog in 2009 I got made redundant almost immediately. Surely a coincidence, but it did mean that all of sudden life became a lot more interesting. Rather than the grim darkness of Canary Wharf and the ongoing world finanical implosion, you were treated hem hem to my new struggles with washing, buying food and attempting to cook it, potty training, and other daily examples of domestic martyrdom. In between you got to know a bit about my three precious charges, and very occasionally some birding featured.

My domestic days are behind me - as was always agreed (under duress), as soon as my youngest started school, I had to go back. No life of leisure for me, so now, and indeed for the past year, I have been back in my ancestral home of E14. The consequence of this is that I now have nothing to write about, or so it seems to me. Except birds. Bo-ring birds. But hang on a minute, isn't that what I started this blog to witter about? Wanstead Birder, not Wanstead Domestic God. Indeed. It was always supposed to be about the birds, not the minutae of my life. I mean who cares about that other than me? Perhaps not even me actually. As it happens though, I found it much easier to write about various household disasters and what silly things the kids have done recently than I did to write about what birds could be found in Wanstead. In short, I felt - and feel - that writing about my ineptitude was much more interesting than writing about birds. Birds aren't funny. Birds aren't humourous. They appeal to many people for sure, but there's only so much you can say about patch Skylarks. On the other hand, my domestic foul-ups were essentially infinite, and kids will surprise you every day of the week.

At the moment I get up, I go to work and crush rocks for several hours, and I return home in a bad mood and drink wine to soothe my shattered nerves. I repeat this for five days a week, albeit with some school runs and refereeing of offspring thrown in. Then for two days, if I can, I go out and blitz our poor feathered friends with a camera. In other words, I have very little to say. In the dare I say it 'good old days', you got to hear about trying to find an oven shelf online, boozing dollies, food shopping for cretins, and Grebe porn. Today you get to hear about what ISO speed I used.

So what can be done? Well, pack it in I suppose, but all bloggers that I have known to pack it in inevitably come to regret the rash "delete all" decision of their intemperate former selves, and come slinking back, and no doubt that would happen to me too. So that's out. Blog less frequently? Perhaps - in one of my first ever posts, I counselled myself to do just that, and have steadfastly ignored this advice for almost exactly four years. I have verbal diahorrea, and there is no known cure. I enjoy it; you suffer it - a tried-and-tested formula. I know, what about seek inspiration, write about stuff I've not written about before? Eh, what? No, I couldn't do that. I need to rant about dog walkers, post Daily Mail tribute articles, moan about work, and eulogise about the patch. And Wheatears. Branch out? Madness!

Not long now.....
So I have no answers, except to think more about maintaining variety, indeed perhaps return to the minutae of life, as it is from there that all variety stems. Not necessarily mine either, which could get dull fast. I'm always hearing little snippets on the radio, noticing absurd behaviour, seeing some scene or other than gets me cogitating. I occasionally think "oh, that would make a good piece", and then do precisely nothing about it and continue dreaming about optics past, present, and - mostly - future. I have somewhat of a one-track mind, I just need to make sure I don't have too much of a one-track blog.

By the way, 1600 is my most-used speed at present.


  1. If you want to pep it up a bit, why not have the occasional guest blogger? Themed, obviously. Perhaps, "Readers' Wheatears"?

  2. Just write what comes into your head - whether it's connected to birding or not. Streams, no, cascades of consciousness is what we want. It's tough coming up with new stuff when you've written so much over the past few years but eventually a little gem will appear. An interview with your mates would amuse me - the stuff you wrote about Hawky when you picked him up for a visit to Dungeness (Alco-Seawatchers Anonymous) is still one of my all-time favourite posts. Even my wife, who has no interests in birding whatsoever, thought it was hilarious. Just don't think too hard about it.

  3. If it helps, I very much miss the jogging interlude. Rich entertainment. In fact, any posts involving physical endeavour/damage are always very, very welcome indeed :o)

  4. Yes, looking down at my vast waist, I think I might need to give jogging a try again. I've already lost 2lb this year simply by not stuffing my face all day long. I probably gained more than that over christmas though....

  5. Try adding some other wildlife related incidents that catch your eye on your travels around the flats, not just the birds in addition to the above.

  6. Whatever you do Jono, make sure that we can see your photos somewhere!

    ...and on another note:
    "By the way, 1600 is my most-used speed at present."
    1600? My images start to get grainy above ISO400, and anything above 800 just isn't worth bothering with.
    You've talked me into it - time for an upgrade! ;o)

  7. Hi Roy - the latest generation of cameras are amazing. The one I use most dates from 2010, and is incredibly good at high ISO speeds - used this for the Scoter, Long-tailed Duck and Turaco recently. I bought another one last year, full frame so less suited to birding, and that's even better by at least a stop! Cheers, Jono

  8. We could go for a Tale Of in a couple weeks time - and you could then blog about what a fiery curry your ex-colleague from Scotland always eats?