Sunday, 20 March 2016

Exploded Optimism

It has been difficult to find either the enthusiasm or topics to write another blog since the jubilation expressed in the last one. Since then we have pretty much had wall to wall winter again, with relentless heavy grey skies and non-stop very cold NNE winds.
March is normally a month where we begin to shrug off all the ill effects of winter, when a few warm and sunny days get both us, and wildlife in general, bursting with the need to get out and about and start things happening. A month when we start to look for those first returning summer migrants, but this last week or so has not seen me feel anything like that.

For a long time now I've not been a winter person, they take quite a toll on me both mentally and physically and as I descend headlong now into old age and arthritis, they get harder and more painful to endure. This morning for example, was pretty much the same as it has been for the last week or so, heavy grey skies, a touch of light drizzle and an icy NE wind. After just half an hour or so and after watching a traditional mid-winter sight of 200 White-fronted Geese flying into the reserve against a leaden sky, I gave up and went home, everywhere and everything, seems so cold and bleak. Sheppey's grazing marshes and fields at the moment look as though someone as weed-killed everything, they have a yellow and dead look about them, which seems so much at odds with how lush and green they were in that incredibly mild December/early January. Clearly it's going to be some time yet before the growth of grass will make it possible for the grazier to bring his cattle and new calves out from the winter stock yards, something that only prolonged warm weather will make possible.
Clearly I'm struggling at the moment to find any kind of enthusiasm for being out and about in this grey, cold weather and I guess that I have to be thankful for the fact that if it wasn't for the two dogs and the enjoyment that they get from their daily visits, then I probably wouldn't be going as much.

Having said all that, the BBC this week did briefly redeem themselves in my eyes and raise my spirits, with the excellent television programme "Land of Hope and Glory: British Country Life". They spent a year following the staff of the "Country Life" magazine and this week's programme was true to it's title and really did show proper aspects of British country life, a life that doesn't exist in the minds of the producers that make the awful and fluffy crap that they churn out each week in "Countryfile". This week they featured a proper gamekeeper walking around his grouse moor estate and pointing out the types of traps that he employs and why they and the control of predators are necessary. There was also another feature showing a guy and his terriers getting stuck into and killing large numbers of rats at a chicken farm, great sport and fun and something that happens regularly in the real and non-"Countryfile" version of the countryside.

Perhaps, once we get next weekend's Easter out of the way, the weather will start to improve and I can start to feel some warm sun penetrating my aching bones, we'll see.


  1. I feel your pain and sadness regarding having to endure winter. Before we left Minnesota, I would routinely have nightmares that involved bizarre painful things being done to my hands because they hurt constantly from the cold due to me having Raynaud's Syndrome; I couldn't even escape the pain in my sleep! I recommend a long winter holiday in a warm climate for you next year. It would do you a world of good.

  2. Those of us who suffer from arthritis Derek, all feel the same at this time of the year. The arthritis has got right into our bones and we are desperate for a bit of warm sunshine. I find it hard to rustle up any enthusiasm for a walk because it is all such an effort. But one day we shall wake up to warm sunshine - or so I tell myself.
    That programme sounds interesting but somehow we missed it.
    We are watching the Farming Life from Scotland though and finding that very good too.

  3. I hope this beautiful morning has cheered you up a bit Derek. Stay at home for the next couple of days and hang on in there, good times are just around the corner.

  4. It was indeed a cracker Tim and an hour's sunbathing in the doorway of my conservatory with a beer or two certainly did lift the spirits. Somewhat different this morning (Sat) on the reserve though in a strong wind and chilly grey skies.