The hidden power of a to-do list is an amazing thing. For months I have avoided writing up my Mexico notes. Months. I could have made the time, but no. And no real desire to. Then a few weeks ago I took the plunge and wrote "Mexico" on my to-do list. There it sat, nagging me, making me feel bad. Irritating the hell out of me. This is ridiculous. I know for a fact that the appeal of "I went here and saw this" posts is on the low end of an already declining medium, especially those that involve foreign travel. Too bad, it was on the list and so I had to do it. And so do I did, blitzed it in fact, seven posts in ten days. For context that was about the same number of posts I wrote in April and May. Lists seem to hold an uncanny sway over me. With the exception of the trip list page it didn't take too long either. With eBird open on one screen and a map window and a photo application on the other it was pretty easy to get through, and what's more going back over it was very enjoyable. A well-planned and well-executed trip - I am sure I have mentioned before that the planning of a trip is one of the best bits.
Anyway, the posts are doing about as well as posts of this kind ever do, but no matter, they are there now and I can cross it off. This was in late February/early March and so represents a bit of a catch but. But it is not as if I have been sitting at home doing nothing. Not really my style, and this means there are a number of other things on my list......Do you want to hear about my romantic trip to Madeira in April with Mrs L that I mostly ruined by having intestinal issues? Of course you do! Not yet though, I'm still building up to it.
June is over. In common with most Junes mostly the month did not involve birds. A trip to the Suffolk coast, a few local forays, most amazingly of all a full fat Wanstead tick, but no foreign travel at all. As happens every summer when the birding tails off I've been having fun in the garden. When I say fun what I actually mean is back-breaking industry. I have not once just sat in my garden, content in my labour, and chilled out. The one time I did I immediately had to jump up, chilled beverage unsipped, and run to Wanstead Flats to tick Corn Bunting (see above). Then, I had been thinning an unruly tree that was casting undue shade on my greenhouse. This involved climing said tree with one of those extending loppers that also has a saw on one end, and gradually taking off various branches before shredding them. I did not injure myself in any way and was about to properly bask in my success before I made the mistake of looking at my phone.
|You can see more results of hard labour than just the tree in this photo.
The same story panned out this weekend, Another tree that is just too big, a conifer that keeps on growing in all directions, and that I have buried my head in the sand on. I've called a tree surgeon out several times to look at it, and each time I do the quote gets bigger and less affordable. As a result I've never had it done, and so I put dealing with it on my to-do list.......[suspenseful music plays]. And so this weekend I did. It's too high to take the whole thing down, well beyond my capabilities, and in any event it has Woodpigeons in and they have babies. This is a Leylandii, and the growth habit is all the way to the ground. I figured I could gain the garden space I wanted simply by trimming the horizontal branches to a height of about six or seven feet. It took ages. Ages to cut all the branches off, and then forever to shred the whole lot and dispose of it (made harder as my neighbours stole all my green waste bags a few weeks ago and the new ones I bought are a lot smaller). I had to take a break on Saturday afternoon as I had nowhere else to put it, but on Sunday morning I went to the tip nice and early and could finish the job. In addition to all the branches, there was a huge mound of conifer leaf-litter mulch that became visible once the trunk was exposed, and so I've had to shovel up most of that as well. I doubt that much will be able to grow under it, but perhaps the grass will come back slightly, and we can put a bench or something under it. The garden feels much larger, the Woodpigeons are undisturbed, and I can sit back and consider a job well done. Oh, wait.....