Thursday, 5 May 2016

So, what's been going on then?

Hmm, like many bloggers out there I seem to be lapsing, and as others have noted it's real life that gets in the way. In short I have very little news. Let's do this in summary format, it might work better. When I say work better, what I really mean is that it might be quicker for me to bash out, and thus there is at least something rather than nothing. Hopefully a little more spare time headed my way in a couple of weeks.

Real Life
Decluttering continues. I have sold all sorts of crap that never in a million years did I think anyone would be stupid enough to clutter their house up with. Natch. The list is very long and very satisfying. I returned from a three day break recently to find I needed to make up ten packages. This netted me something in the order of 40 earth pounds....Dammit. The time equation should dictate that I simply chuck stuff away. In a spirit of pure altruism I do not want to deny that opportunity to others however, so I'm sticking with it. Phase 2 is I think to cut out the middle man and take it straight to the tip. The difference is actually noticeable, to me at least. For instance my cupboard of fishing gear now contains one rod and one reel. More than enough (by about one rod and one reel....) to keep me in the angling business. Scope eyepieces are reduced to one, which is handy as that matches the number of scopes I have. Idiot. My two 35mm SLRs went to Spain and Manchester respectively, and a lens found its way to Belgium or somewhere. Actually I forget as there have been altogether too many packages. Fishing gear tends to head north, optics south. Does this say anything about the world? Probably, but I have no time to dwell on it at the moment.

There has of course been some travel. Malta (booooooo, hisssssss), and New York. I'll cover both of these in due course. Suffice it to say that despite it's reputation among birders, Malta is actually a very nice place. To boycott or to not boycott? Every birder in the western hemisphere could not go and it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference, but the campaign must go on - there was some positive news just recently in fact. Whether that translates to a difference on the ground is impossible to say. There can be no complaints about NY however, a stunning place. Well, apart from many buildings saying "Trump" on them. And the overwhelming stupidity of large parts of the population, most recently in Indiana. Oh America, what are you doing? Still, despite all this NYC remains one of favourite places, we were there in celebration of a significant milestone for Mrs L, and this we did in style. All I want to do now is go back as soon as possible. It feels like unfinished business.

In between all this and metres of parcel tape and bubble wrap there has been some work and some illness. Work is the normal crap I have to deal with, illness is something new and something I may possibly have to deal with for a long time. Hopefully nothing too serious, but when you feel under the weather blogging seems to drop down the list and is yet another reason why these pages have remained silent for quite some time. There is of course some blogging mileage in being ill itself, but I'm reserving judgement for now.

There has actually been quite a bit of birding, albeit nothing particularly spectacular. I've been keeping my head vaguely above water with visits to the patch, picking up all the usual suspects with some regularity. That's part of the deal with patch working to a certain extent - the repetitive nature of the passing years. The first Willow Warbler, the first Swift. These latter were today when I wasn't even thinking about it. I had just got home from work and glanced up whilst fiddling for my keys. Four birds then spent the better part of an hour cruising around above the garden, a keenly anticipated event round these parts. Reed Warbler fell, as have both Whitethroats and a few other bits. A big miss was Cetti's on the patch, a bird I predicted but then predictably was then away for. There is something about me going to America in the spring which sets a chain of events in motion and culminates in failure.

We also had a rather nice day out in Suffolk. Four seasons in one day, but we picked up number one son from his school in Norfolk and then crossed the border back west to do a circuit of Lakenheath. Cuckoos, Warblers, Swallows and more in what felt like winter at points. Somehow the kids were cajoled into doing the full circuit and it was superb to just be out and enjoying the area. The hail and so on probably put paid to seeing that much, and there wasn't a single Hobby, nor any Stone Curlew in the two sites nearby that we tried, but there was plenty of material to see how much of what I have drummed into the kids over the years has actually stuck. Some, is the answer. Not much, but some, and they're still streets ahead of your average kid in terms of knowing what lives where and what it looks and sounds like. Small victories, for instance the scratchy tune of a Whitethroat was recognised as for what it was, and the number of 12 year olds who can do that must number very few. Way more to do in this space however.

One of my favourite blogs finishes each episode with percentages, this was a recent one:

20% stolen choux outrage (long story)
20% eye strain
20% creeping dread
20% Dutch sentence construction
20% Wishing I'd had my teeth cleaned by softly spoken Jérémie the kind dentist in the last 6 months instead of hiding away until I look like Father Jack.

I am wondering about stealing this idea. If I were to, it would look something like this.

30% non-functioning intestines
20% cardboard and parcel tape
20% jetlag
20% small chocolate eggs even though I stopped eating them two weeks ago
10% Cetti's dipping

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