Saturday 6 June 2020

Green and breezy

A stiff breeze this morning did not feel very June-like and I wished for more clothes. So did the kids. Remarkably I managed to get them all out of bed at 4.30am, roughly seven hours earlier than normal, and together we hit Wanstead Flats. Disaster struck early, with a critical piece of kite lost on the way, so that was mostly a flop, so to speak. Eldest engaged in a spot of photography whilst kite flying was attempted, but they soon realised what I think they knew already - that their father is a nutcase - and went home where I found them all fast asleep again a couple of hours later.

Look how teenager-y they are!

I stuck it out in the hope of a repeat of the other day. It was too cold and windy for Owls, but the Green Woodpecker put on a brief show - I was nearly ready, oh to have been three feet to my left. Marginal gains. As it is the cropping required is too severe, but it is better than nothing, and given that in fifteen years of trying I have never managed to get anything decent on this species I think I am OK with it. It is an excellent spot though, and I think it will come good in time. For now though here is one taken with the 800mm and a 1.4x converter - the lens hood acted rather like a sail this morning but the key to using to the monopod is to have soft hands and not to fight it.

The Skylark spent a bit of time on the nearby post and so I tried out the extreme focal length on that too. It selfishly had a feather out of place this morning and due to a [hated] Windows 10 incident I don't have Photoshop at the moment and so cannot easily sort it out. Or cheat, as it is known. 

In other news I have spent the last three days shredding and filing. This is what lockdown does to you. I tidied my desk and a bedroom cupboard, during which I found every bank statement and utility bill I'd received since April 2014. After sorting them out I started to file them only to discover that files were stuffed full of things going back in some cases to 1999. There are limits to how retentive (ha ha) I am prepared to be, so barring some key documents I got rid of the lot and replaced it with the more recent stuff I had just found. This left me with a pile of paper roughly a foot and half high, and you cannot be too careful these days. I managed to find the shredder in the cupboard under the stairs and despite not having seen the light of day for at least six years it still worked. Barely. It simply refused to do anything more than two sheets at a time, frequently clogged up, and repeatedly overheated and stopped about every fifteen minutes, at which point it required a lengthy break.  As did I. This is the last filing I am going to do. I mostly went paperless in about 2018 from what I can gather (alternatively there is another stash of post still hiding somewhere...), and so I have one further bout of shredding to do in about five years and then that will be that and I can chuck everything to do with paper away and never have to think about it ever again.


  1. Unfortunate that the Skylark had juuust one feather askew - but lovely photographs, as always!

  2. Jono, never throw away hard copies of anything. A paper copy is vital as back up. The reason is simple, you can't stick everything on a hard disc or memory stick and guarantee it will remain where you want it.

    There's a guy who did a paper clear out. He had a successful business. He put absolutely everything on his computer and had back up files too. He had no copies or records on paper anywhere. One day he returned home - to find someone had stolen his PC and everything else of value. He had no way of contacting any of his clients, and was ruined as a result.

    Then there's the Bit-Coin Memory Stick malfunction. What was the price of the stick? £10. Value of the contents? ooh a few hundred thousand £.

    Actually the best way to deal with masses of paper without having to shred the stuff is to fill a bath and throw it all in there for a while. A few minutes later nothing will be decipherable. It's just a clogging mass of pulp.

    1. The thing that gets me is that everything I shredded (c1999 to 2013) I have never once looked at, and as I dutifully filed away 2014-2018 I could not help feeling I would never look at it again until I shredded it in a few years. It's amazing how much crap people send you. I've kept stuff which may be important, but I can't see me ever needing credit card statements from c2007. It makes me want to connect a shredder to the letter box, or direct the postman to put everything straight into the recycling box.

  3. There are Green Woodpeckers nesting in East Copse at the moment. Have seen parents feeding young in the nest the last two weekends both morning and PM. Nest hole quite obvious and a relatively short wait has been richly rewarded with sightings.

    1. Yep, I know the nest hole. Very noisy! Won't be long now.