Sunday 4 February 2024

A quiet weekend

The weekend has been about recovery here in Chateau L. For me it has been for catching my breath after a torrid couple of weeks at work - there is one left and it should then calm down a little bit. I'm exhausted, my industry is a young man's game. I have the knowledge, lots of it, gleaned over many years, but the energy.....not as much as I once had. The hunger, the ambition? Limited to doing a good job and making it to Friday. I was hoping that at this stage in my career things might be getting easier and that the 11pms might be a distant memory. Alas no, each year is harder than the one before. Gruelling is what it is. I am resilient but it stacks up. The people are what make it tolerable - champions all of them, no doubt more than a few of the older ones would echo my thoughts. 

Mrs L is a teacher and last week Ofsted arrived. It's probably as good a time as there has ever been to be inspected by Ofsted but that doesn't make it any easier. They arrive with almost no notice and can delve into anything they want. Which they did. The ramifications of a bad result are enormous, imagine the pressure, the stress that the staff are under. Four days, four categories, five possible words. There wasn't much sleep last week. She is shattered, I've never seen her so tired, but she's through it and its over. 

Unsurprisingly come Saturday morning neither of us were really up to much. The Sociable Plover in Cornwall? Not a chance. I didn't even make it out onto the patch until about 11am, that's how slow I was. When I did get out it was pretty decent though - a vaguely regular Caspian Gull on Alexandra Lake waited long enough after being found for me to pedal down there, and then a little later I found Mistle Thrush and Cetti's Warbler in the Old Sewage Works. These three take me to 69 for the year, a pretty solid start all things considered, certainly higher than the last two years. I do enjoy birding around here, even during the quiet season. There are still ten or so realistic targets before Spring gets underway so I've played it quite well, rather than the whole of February to get through with nothing to see there is still interest out there.

Caspo in 100 pixels.

This short trip nearly sent me back to bed, but I plucked up the courage to instead have an Espresso Martini which brought me back to life. The rest of the afternoon was then spent caressing a glass of Chambolle-Musigny - well, several glasses actually - and then we spent some quality time cooking together. I say cooking, I am very much a sous chef when Mrs L is around. A junior sous chef. A junior trainee sous chef. My role is to fetch things for her and clear up after her. Sometimes I put things away before she has used them which can result in being fired but which is always fun. It would be easier without me apparently. Yes, but then I would be lonely, and anyway, I like thinking I am being helpful. 

Today is more of the same precocious inactivity. I could not be bothered to go birding, but I did make it down to the greenhouse for almost the first time this year. I have about as much fungus as plants it seems, but that will dry up and clean off once the sun starts to appear for longer. For now it was about a brief watering to keep stuff going, wake things up a bit. The proper work will start in March I expect. I always look forward to it whilst partly dreading it. What will I find, what has died? This year I cracked and put the heating on down there during the cold snap, so actually things looks pretty good. I learned that lesson the hard way last year, not this time. It was nice to see plants I've not looked at for weeks, reminding myself of my plans for them this summer, what needs repotting and so on. Roll on Spring, for all sorts of reasons.


  1. Well at least humour and hope are still mildly alive! Congrats to Mrs L having survived several Ofsteds myself. Good wine cures all ills!

  2. Reading between the lines Mr. L, I suspect that you and Mrs. L know that your current working lives are unsustainable for reasons of health if anything? That is a matter of concern. There is a solution of sorts. You like travel? Well, source a 6 berth Motorhome. Put your possessions into storage and rent out the Chateau. Take the kids on a world tour. It's not as if a conventional education will help these days anyway. Good luck, and take care.
    Apologies for any offense I may cause.

  3. Ric may have a point, though personally I'd give it a couple more years and leave the kids behind. I don't know if you've ever read The Jewel Hunter by Chris Gooddie, but I would 100% recommend giving it a go. I don't ordinarily buy into that genre (or recommend books, for that matter), but he does a marvellous job of it. Goes very well with a glass or four of red, in my opinion. Then again, I'm just a hairy tundra barbarian who thought Espresso Martini was a strong coffee in a small cup, what do I know?

    1. The end is kind of in sight now, by the end of this year two will be at Uni. We will be bankrupt but it will only be temporary. Re reading I need to rediscover that. For some reason the various lockdowns killed that for me.