First of all there is birding. It is late April and migrants are arriving in droves. No matter that I've seen them all before on the patch, and that my patch list therefore looks basically the same every single year. No matter that in nice weather most things sail straight over the top of us. I am out and I am enjoying it. Today for example I got two new ones in the space of about 20 minutes. A pair of House Martin were new back to the local colonty, and a short while later I spied some distant yet familiar shapes. Swifts, my earliest ever on the patch by three days (the joy of stats). People talk about jizz and it is a funny thing to explain, but these, pinpricks with the naked eye, were cast-iron Swifts. When I raised by bins it was only to confirm what I already knew. They have come a long way, and it has been an age since I last saw them here. Happy.
Then of course there are the plants. This time of year I am mostly to be found pottering around in the garden or the greenhouse. It is the time of the annual reorganisation - winter is over and everything that has been taking shelter can once again be brought out to enjoy our fleeting growing season. The Agaves are once again threatening Mrs L's legs on the terrace. The banana is back in the flowerbed. The Norfolk Island Pine, Christmas duties long since over, has been placed in the garden lest it get too hot indoors. Greenhouses have been power-hosed, and the endless task of getting back to some semblance of order after a long and desperate winter is underway.
Enter stage left Nocmigging. Like 95% of other birders I have been curious to give this a go. Happily for me Mrs L purchased a sound recorder during her brief singing career. Hunting around I found it behind the piano covered in cobwebs. If she was not using it, could I perhaps try it out? Yes, that was OK. Dusting it off I was pleased to see it still worked, and so on Friday night I recorded a 7 hour symphony of the A12, sirens, airplanes, helicopters and various gunshots, fireworks, motorbikes and so on. A masterpiece. Not straightforward at all, bloody London. I have persevered though and managed to isolate Coot, Mallard and Tawny Owl. Exciting stuff. What I am really hoping for is waders of course, but then I face a dilemma - more on which in another post, remind me if I forget please.
But this is not enough. Juicing. Uh-huh. Chateau L's bread-maker has been joined by a fairly snazzy blender and so my body is rapidly becoming a temple to fruit and vitamins. First try was two bananas, and apple and a mango. Mmmmm-mmmmmm. A bit thick, I need to work on consistency, but utterly delicious. Second attempt today was just apples and oranges as nobody else likes bananas. Not as good, and a bit gloopy, but I am sure that trial and error will get me there. I have no idea whether I will slim down or whether I will just get fatter from eating lots more fruit on top of everything else, but it's more vitamin C then I have had in a long time so there must be some benefit.
I have also started reading again, and am currently very much enjoying Beyond a Boundary by C L R James. It's about cricket, but about so much more than that, and I am enjoying it hugely. My firm plan today was to sit and read it in the garden, but instead I repotted plants, edged the lawn, sky-watched, and sprayed the kids with a hose. Not to worry, there is always the commute tomorrow.
So..... Get up, stop sound recorder, shower, dress, make juice. Go out birding. Go to work reading a book. Work. Return home reading a book. Check greenhouses and perform various green-fingered tasks. Domestic things. Eat. Download 7 hours of noise and sift out 10 seconds of birds. Add birds to vast spreadsheet, write blog, plan next holiday and add more things to to-do list. Put out sound recorder. Sleep.