RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: January 2017

Reflections…Week Four

RSPB Bird watch weekend. Free entertainment for myself and son, for an hour anyway.

Watching the birds visit a feeder or table has always been a pleasurable distraction for the both of us,  the ‘woodland walk’ has added a new place to feed and observe when taking food for the ducks at the local lake, but the table in the yard has been the focus of many an hour. Today was slightly different, we had a couple of sheets of paper, with pictures, of birds to spot visiting.

My idea was to observe in the warmth of the kitchen, cup of tea to hand. My sons idea was to do it outside, in the cold and the wet. Alas no amount of persuading would change his mind, so off to the garage I went, to find my old fishing shelter. Around a half-hour later I emerged triumphant, shelter in hand, along with a waterproof bed for spot, I thought we could share, and a ‘tent chair’. The ‘tent chair’ has no legs and looks like a right angled piece of nylon (padded) held together by webbing. The theory  is that your legs counterbalance your torso leaning back, it works well so long as you have your legs outstretched, deviate from that position and its a tumble backwards. It was several tumbles later that I gave up on the idea as a long term seat. Should be fun to watch someone else sit in it.

As my son got ready to join me outside I started to unpack the shelter, a half dome tent to be honest. The wind was blowing the ground sheet around, so I got him to stand on it, he wanted to help! Then it started to rain, so I threw the tent over him. There he stood, like a green ghost, with an oversized sheet. I glanced toward the kitchen window, there stood my sister, giggling at the site. Sliding the first of the fibreglass poles into the sleeves a slightly panicked voice came from the green ghost, “what are you doing?”. I think at this point it would be fair to mention we had,  moments earlier, been watching a rat within that vicinity. “putting the poles in” I replied oblivious to the fact he could not see me. “Oh, ok.”, with  a sound of relief spoke the green ghost, “Put your arm up, you can hold up the pole whilst I go round and do the other side”. My sister at this point is now laughing and the weather has turned worse, it started to hail.

Now I don’t know how often you have your child standing on a sheet of plastic with his arms in the air holding another sheet up along with a pole, in the rain and hail, but even writing this down, this is not that strange a thing for us to do.

Tent up we, well I, Little fella was already in, got out of the hail/rain. Not good weather for birdwatching, It also did not help that the door had to be closed to keep the rain out! Shower over and the door went up. I went into the shed to get the deck chairs, there was no way I could have sat like that for an hour. Finally we were ready, papers…check, pen…check, comfy chairs…check, shelter…check.

My son, five and a half years old, is not known to be the most patient, and truth be told, I never expected to be outside for the full hour. But we were. He looked through my binoculars at this and that, it had to be this and that as the birds were few and far between. The total for the hour…Seven.

We retired back to the house, for a steaming mug of honey and lemon.

Mission accomplished.

Lyme Valley Park

This park has become part of regular walk for me and Spot now, whether it be the main destination or just an inclusion into a larger walk.

The walk around the park is tarmac, thus making it an all weather walkway. Add to this the fact that it is relatively sheltered from the wind, or at least that is my reflection of our walks, it makes it a great destination for winter.

There is a skateboard park and a, what in my  youth  was called, a BMX track, as well as a play park. Scattered along one section of the walk are pieces of exercise equipment, this was part of the parks regeneration project of 2009 I believe, in an attempt by the council to get more people exercising.

How they work is simple, you supply the power and through levers you supply the weight for the strength equipment, pivot points and bearings are the working components of the cardio. I will try them later in the year, I don’t particularly fancy starting when my butt can freeze on them.

Half of the walk is along the Lyme Brook, a tributary stream of the river Trent, a lot of work has been done to encourage the return in numbers of the Brown Trout, including the creation of areas where the trout can lay eggs. I have yet to spot any fish apart from the ones I have witnessed the resident Kingfisher catch. No photo has of yet been taken of said Kingfisher, as he appears to be very camera shy, each time I take the camera with me he is nowhere to be seen, but is willing to join me on a section of walk when it is absent. I never get tired of looking for the neon blue flash of colour as he darts from branch to branch looking for his next meal.

The rough figure of eight loop was is about 1.5 miles (2.6km) and if the A34 carpark is used there is a hill section to start your heart pumping straight over the little bridge. I believe it leads to Buckmaster ave.

Even though the park is along a busy stretch of road the traffic noise is not that great, usually the bird sounds will pleasantly sing over it. The carpark opposite the Hospital, A34, is usually quite busy but the one off Brook Lane is quieter.

Overall a pleasant little park that has paths relatively flat for the majority of the park, thus is suitable for wheelchairs.

A great little escape from the Hospital for lunch if you are able.

Reflections…Week Three

img_1007Normally one does not look for inspiration to write a blog piece, it just comes on a whim, but when writing on a weekly basis, one has to find it. Not this week, this week has a surplus of ideas to write about.

Hot topic of the week…website building! Hot and bothered.

I had an idea of what I wanted, and just like my blogs often are, the first one , nay two, have been lovingly put together; only to be unceremoniously scrapped. The web site creator that I was using first looked basic but did the job, right up to the point of using my domain name that I have paid for. It was that much of a hassle to get nowhere, I have changed creators and am nearly in a position to launch with my domain name, fingers crossed.

Why a web site?  Well, the plan is to link all my creative ideas into one accessible hub. There will be folders and subfolders and maybe subfolders of the subfolders, but with an easy to use menu and clear layout, anyone should be able to hop skip and a jump to any piece quickly and easily. I personally think that a ‘what is this about’ for each category would be nice.

Do I plan to pay a chunk load of cash for a site that may not get much traffic? No! I will cleverly use links to sites, like this one, for the subject matter with a link to return to the same website menu whence left.

YouTube can and has been used for podcasts, some with a slide show to add to the video effect, not quite a powerpoint presentation, but close. Does it work? Yes, but it is not the best platform to use. I have seen blog posts for photographs and links to youtube but they all have the same problem, the long single page to scroll through. Yes, the latest blog is at the top, but if I just found you and you have been active for a couple of years – thats a lot of blogs to go through to find a subject I may not know I wanted to learn about. But the subjects own page on a website and a brief description, I can start reading/viewing at my leisure with the content on sites that are created specifically for a that media being chosen i.e…Blog – blog site, video – youtube, art – something like deviantart and so forth.

That is my aim to start. Who knows what it could grow to? It could lead to me selling my Art, or it could lead to selling of a book  or a combination of both. Or it could lead to selling socks. But if I never start walking down a path, I will never get anywhere.

And who is to say if it will be a success? No one, if I/you never try and If the path of free was chosen, what is there to loose?

Reflections…Week Two

DSCF0934This week has to be topped off by snow.

Not a lot, only about 3 inches, but it is more about the timing of it.

At around 14:00hrs on Thursday the sky went black, the kitchen light went on, and a downpour started. Not the snow showers that were forecast, just, well it seems this way, the usual rain showers that we brits like to complain about. And it rained for a good couple of hours, intermingled with sleet. I was confident that if it did snow the ground was that wet it would not stick, but if it did it would not still be around for Saturday when my son arrives, we have yet to build a snowman or lob snowballs at each other, the timing of his stays has not been right, and winters seem to be wetter and more snow free than what I remember as a child.

22:00hrs and I glance out of the window to see snow falling, dancing as they slowly float to the ground. I look out and there is a slight coating on the tree branches but the pathway is just too wet for it to last as anything other than that pearlescent colour of slush.  The lawn faired a little better with white islands where the snow sat above the still wet ground. I thought nothing of it and only occasionally looked out to watch the ‘snowfall dance’.

24:00hrs and the snow came down heavier, flurries being blown by the now increasing wind, the slow dance of earlier now a frenzy of activity. I looked down at Spot, “I don’t think you’re going to like this last toilet run!”, Spot just looked up from her bed with a look of “Really, I have just gotten comfy, do I have to?”. This is the routine for every last toilet run, she always needs to go and does not have the option of getting to the door, objecting to the weather, turning around and hanging on for a better time, something she does on a regular occurrence when it’s wet, cold, windy or any variant thereof. She went out and left her paw prints, christening the virgin snow, somehow this pleasure is lost on her; she came back desperately trying to wipe off the snow off her nose. The grass was white and the path was melting at a slower rate. If it keeps on like this it might just stick.

All this is nothing new though, as pleasurable as fresh fallen snow makes everywhere look to the viewer, snow is just snow.

01:00hrs, Friday, and I look out of the window and the snow has thinned out, Still falling, and the brightness of the snow filled sky, thanks to the full moon now being high up, matched if not surpassed the light from midday.

I stuck my head out of the window and with the occasional shudder where the wind blew snow down my neck, I watched the snow falling up the street and over the fields. I could see blades of grass sticking up through the snow, the colours of the now bent over children’s windmill. I could see the footprints where a wobbling drunk had ‘walked’ down the road on his way home and the foxes paw prints down the centre of it, its usual path. We could have gone out for a walk in the middle of the night and had better vision than at the start of this story and not required the torches frequently used after 18:00hrs.

Oh how I would like to be camping on a night such as this with a tarp overhead and a fire crackling in front. To be apart of nature at a time I would normally miss, and if I had not been awake at that time and seen the snow at its prime, I would have awoke to a more drab  half melted world.

And did it stay for the visit of my son? No, only small piles remained.


01:00hrs Friday 13th January 2017

Reflections…Week One


A New Year, Blessings to all, and a new chapter.

For this year my goal is to do a weekly blog post, for some that may seem a small challenge, but for myself, it’s a sheer rock face; and have you ever seen a fat man rock climb?

A week has passed with the thoughts of…should I make it about one subject? Question of the week? Ramblings on of a wayward mind? Short? Long? etc,etc.

The end result?…Anything goes so long as the main principle of my blogging remains – Try to bring humour to the writing if possible, Focus on the positives, but above all be true to myself, only that way will I find myself.

My life has been, until my ‘breakdown,’ either about trying to fit in or avoiding social interactions, until beer introduced itself.  Alcohol and the right environmental conditions has a strange effect on wallflowers as I am sure many of you have witnessed at least once. The mouse that suddenly roars, the dance as though in the throes of passion or insanity, maybe they just scan their bum and email it to everyone, including the boss; especially the boss! Only to return to the mouse in the morning. These actions are not ‘out of character’ but more a release of suppressed character, the side we don’t publicly show.

Dutch courage is no longer an option and on reflection it never was, now I get to pick myself up, assess the damage, repair what is required and discard what is not. No longer will I be bullied into submission, nor will I listen to the criticism. Tell me I have done something wrong in the roundabout way,”It’s good but it would have been better if…”, you had better be able to put up, I aint given you the option of shut up. All this change, all on my own, but it has to be done and only I can do it. Others can only guide.

My self belief is like a lump of clay on a potters wheel, and if you have ever tried to shape clay on a potters wheel you know it starts of well, a shape starts to evolve, you go to fast and the clay distorts into a slippery eel, it seems to flop all over the place and for some inexplicable reason you make it go faster the more out of control you get, squeezing until bits of clay fly in all directions. That is the breakdown, now I add clay and start again, taking my time, allowing myself time, time to think, time to enjoy, time to feel. And I swear to god that if another pair of hands suddenly come from behind and join mine on the clay, I will seriously freak the **** out.