It's 10 degrees in my greenhouse without any heating. It's 19 degrees indoors with minimal central heating. Nothing is happening, indoors or out. When I go out locally I see the same birds. The Great Crested Grebe that has been sitting on the Shoulder of Mutton Pond in Wanstead Park since early autumn is still sitting on Shoulder of Mutton Pond. Bobbing gently, unconcernedly, perhaps even happily. Birds like mild weather, it is easier to find food, easier to survive. I should not begrudge them it.
Other than the invariably boring birding that results I actually like mild weather better too. I don't get cold feet or hands for instance. More importantly Mrs L does not get cold hands! The pretence of a loving greeting which is actually a cover move for a dastardly attempt to place small ice-blocks next to my warm skin happens less. I also save lots of money on utility bills and my carbon footprint improves by some small amount. Like the birds my plants that by all rights should not be growing here also find it easier to survive, although I have to be a lot more careful judging watering. When it is truly cold I just stop, but temperatures like we have at the moment mean I have to continue yet crucially not overdo it. I have not even lifted my cannas yet, there has been no need. I may just leave them and if a cold snap does threaten simply fleece them up for a few nights.
Since the nice little Goosey episode last week (the bird is still present as I type) I have no need of the type of cold snap that would precipitate the arrival of Lapwings and so on. I've made it over the line without their suffering and that is good news. It is less good news for interesting birding locally, but there is a lot more happening out on the coast. I really enjoyed my day out in Suffolk last weekend and would be keen for a repeat. There is one problem though. You guessed it - the damn weather. It is looking distinctly wet and at times windy. If there is a combo that I detest birding in it is that one, new coat or no new coat. Let's see what transpires. If I don't get out there is plenty to be getting on with indoors - I have spotted a kitchen cupboard that needs a clear out and the knowledge of the disorder is already bugging me. And there is the small matter of a Christmas Tree. Rather than brave the inevitable crowds for a scraggly stick that makes a massive mess I have instead volunteered one of my rather shapely and beautiful Araucaria pines from New Calendonia for the task. The only trouble is that Mrs icyhands has the deciding vote. Well, the only vote....
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