Where has the time since my last post gone? I wonder if now I’m that old time moves in odd ways; or, rather, the way I experience time has changed? Whatever it is, this post is an attempt at some sort of reset.
I’ve just found I can change the colour of the text in a block, and the background colour – how ghastly does this look?!
Back to the reset: I don’t think I’ve quite recovered from my birthday. Not entirely because I’m weirded out at becoming 60, but somewhat because of everything it’s brought me. I’m still eating leftover cake; my family – two sisters, one brother, one brother-in-law, and a cousin – were just here to mark it; I have a pass giving me free bus travel all over Scotland which, well, Covid… The binoculars D gave me seem to have instilled in me a mad desire to see as many birds, and other creatures, through them as possible… I don’t seem to have quite stopped celebrating yet, and 3 June was our third wedding anniversary, so that brought more celebrations.
Am I really complaining about celebrating lovely things?
No, I don’t think I am, I’m just offloading so I can think again. I have things to do and seem to be stuck in a groove whereby I’m finding it difficult to do them. Do I want to do them? What are they?
Things I have to do
What I’d really like is to have finished my novel, had it accepted by Picador, and be anticipating its imminent publication. But in reality I need to restructure it so it makes sense. I know how I want to do that, but I can’t seem to bring myself to begin the process.
Get my bird list in order:
I’ve been jotting my sightings down in my daily journal, which is less than ideal because the information gets lost in amongst all the dross that spills from my pen. A couple of days ago I bought a little notebook in which to make a proper list, and I have started to transcribe but not quite fast enough.
Learn to code:
There’s an app I want, but it doesn’t seem to exist anywhere but my head. So, I thought, I’ll make it myself. Thus, I signed up for a free course with Codecademy and have been slowly, and I mean slowly, working my way through it. But all these celebrations have, to steal from Emily Dickinson, put a splinter in my groove. Do I want to get back on track, or am I being idiotic thinking I can do this?
I have a terrible habit of saying yes to things. I’m on the board of two local charities: Moffat Community Woodlands and Space to Grow, Moffat, and am Chair of Moffat Community Nature Reserve. MCW isn’t taking up much time at the moment, we’ve completed our big task, which was to replant Gallow Hill with native broadleaf trees, now it’s just a matter of maintenance and keeping it fresh. Covid has scuppered our regular volunteer days. The other two, however, are more demanding. At STGM we are in the process of trying to turn our main building, an old church, into a useful space for the community. We’ve had all sorts of studies and surveys done and now need to find about four million quid to do the work. My hard drive is full of architect drawings and business plans.
Edit: apparently it’s only two million we need!
The nature reserve, where do I begin? About a year and a half ago I was appointed Chair by Moffat and District Community Council, who, along with Moffat and District Wildlife Club, hold it in trust. I was about to employ a Ranger to run things when, yep, Covid hit, and everything stopped. All I ended up doing there last year was walking round it trying to work out its boundaries and elements. It’s not huge but it does have some very confusing fence configurations thanks to its previous life as farmland mixed with a quarry. This year I was thrown into activity by vandalism and a series of minor infractions by sneaky night time visitors.
As you can see from the above photo some of the vandalism has been pretty major. However, good things often arise from bad, and this gave rise to several good things. The first: a local joiner offered to fix it for free. Second: to pay for the materials we set up a crowd-funder; within a week the community had given us almost four times the amount we asked for, this means (the third) we’ll be able to strengthen all the hides, but more than that (fourth), it showed us how much the reserve means to the people of Moffat, and reminded us what a lovely town we live in. And, if that weren’t enough (fifth), swallows have taken advantage of the easy access and built a nest inside. We’ll have to wait until the end of the nesting season, now, to rebuild, but we are delighted. I honestly feel like hunting down the people who did this to thank them!
With Covid restrictions easing we have been able to employ a ranger, and she will start on Wednesday morning. Once she’s settled in and got to know the place (and me!) she’ll run activities such as pond dipping and bird identification and, I hope, keep the FB page livelier than I seem to be able to manage.
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned innumerable times, I have an allotment which includes a space in a huge, shared polytunnel. We had an appalling spring: freezing, wet, grey – not good for sewing seeds – so I’m way behind with my vegetables. And now it’s hot and dry. We haven’t had rain for weeks, the weather is glorious, which means my seedlings need me to water them every day. One good thing about that is the weeds are being kept down by my constantly picking them out when they’re still tiny. My beds look marvellous! Most of the seeds have produced, I’m just waiting for the edamame beans to come through, I’ll be devastated if none of them germinate, I love edamame beans.
Crikey, writing all this seems to have done the trick: my head feels clearer than it has in months. Actually, in over a year.
Header image: The Scrape at Moffat Community Nature Reserve. I love this place, it takes me back in time to my childhood, scrabbling about on the mashy edges of the river Medway with Mavis the Pikey.