Sunday, 15 January 2017

Damp and Depressing

As I sit here writing this it's early afternoon, it's Sunday, it's been raining all morning and still is, it's cold and it's bloody depressing. I've had to keep the central heating on and I'm sitting in the conservatory looking out at a garden about as far removed from it's mid-summer glory as it could be. The borders are bare and muddy and the bushes and trees are bare of leaves and looking like skeletons after their plump, mid-summery greenery. There are a couple of dozen Sparrows on the bird feeding tubes and a Blackbird wanders up and down the lawn snatching at worms that it seems to be mostly missing.
The rain began lightly at 6.45 this morning and anxious that it might get heavier, which it later did, I left for the reserve in total darkness in order that Ellie and I could get a walk of some sort in. By the time that I got on top of the sea wall the damp, near dark gloom, had become a gloom bright enough for me to just make out a hardy wildfowler out on the saltings with his dog. I walked about a quarter of a mile along the sea wall but by then the rain was setting in heavier and I wasn't enjoying it, I turned back and made for my car and home, I don't do cold and wet very well, in fact I don't do the winter, period. I came home, made a cup of tea, ate my porridge and read the papers, the crappy Sunday Mail and the excellent Sunday Telegraph. After that, well it was down to staring boredly out at the rain, listening to Michael Ball on Radio 2 and longing for the Spring.
Readers of my increasingly fewer blogs this winter will have become used to my regular mentions of how dry the reserve, which remains the case despite several hours of rain recently. Well on local TV this week the Environment Agency finally made public that it has been the driest December on record and indeed it has been dry for the last few months, hooray, we got there, it's an official drought. Reservoirs in the area are only 45% full and water restrictions look increasingly likely for the coming summer, ain't I been saying that!

I read several blogs on a daily basis and most of them are very good but some others have become, presumably because the owner prefers it that way, quite clicky and in doing so rarely allow in new people 's comments, especially those with comments that disagree with the general flow of that particular blog. In other words the blog has become nice and comfortable and the dozen or so daily followers always avidly congratulate the blogger, despite the fact that they have never met that person and are accepting everything about them at face value. One that I read on an almost daily basis and don't ask me why, because I loathe it's falseness and pretence, is written by a woman here in England who maintains her high degree of avid followers by immediately deleting comments from anyone outside the daily clique who might contradict her postings, before her followers can see that such other opinions exist. She has become very adept at creating this weird mystique about herself that seems guaranteed to daily gain extraordinary praise from her followers, almost to a disciple level, and yet I'm left thinking, they've never met her, how do they know she's really as she says she is?
Probably too late now for me to re-model myself as an expert birdwatcher who never has a bad word to say about anybody. Perhaps I'll open a bottle of red wine and settle down later to watch Liverpool play Man Utd.


  1. I feel your winter blues today Derek. Those days of butterflies, wild flower meadows and warming sun cannot come quick enough, but in the meantime will try and wring out all of the positivity that I can! Chin up...

  2. Yep, it's that time of year Steve, when winter starts to drag.

  3. Good Morning Derek - well it is a damp and dreary morning here in Belize as I am writing this comment. It is raining steadily this morning and visibility is only about 200 meters across the sea. I have my cup of warm coffee, warm slippers on my feet, and a fleece jacket on. We are warm compared to you, but cold for us at 19C.

    I distrust bloggers who delete comments other than commercial spam and outright trolling. I stop following those that do that. And the sycophantic clamor that some posts generate is a display of herd mentality at its worst. I worry that people have lost the ability to think for themselves or have an original thought at all!

    I haven't written a blog post in ages because I am so disheartened at the state of world affairs; very depressing.

    BUT - we went for a Belize Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count and had an amazing day. About 18 people participated and our little subgroup of 4 was led by H Lee Jones, who literally wrote the book on Belize birds. We learned and saw so much. I am not a keeper of a life list, but we saw and heard a fantastic assortment of birds. My favorites were the red-capped manakin and white collared manakin.

    Wishing you a January wet enough to fill the reservoir and warm days in the near future.


  4. Similar weather to us then Wilma, although our 2 degrees is a tad cooler than your 19 degrees. Great to see you getting involved in birds in that way. I should of been on the sea wall doing a count right now but it is still pouring hard and I will do it tomorrow. I agree re. some bloggers methods at getting an audience of back slappers. I regularly look for your blog.

  5. It was just as miserable a day here too Derek and certainly not a day for venturing out unless one has a dog. The farmer took Tess for all three of her walks and I am ashamed to say that I sat by the stove all day. Foggy and equally horrible today.

  6. Derek, I don't do cold rainy days very well either. Outdoors, that it! When it's a real winter soaker here, I sometimes welcome the opportunity to stay indoors. There are so many books waiting for my eyes, as well as knitting, drawing painting, chatting with friends on the phone...even making soup seems to go well with dreary days.

    Around this time of the year, after we have a span of overcast or even rainy days, and the weather finally clears as a fresh front blows into the city, there's a great reminded that sunlight hours have stretched, even though it happened from behind those heavy clouds.

    For me, February is the tough month.

    I am enjoying getting more of an idea of what Sheppey is like. I began reading Wilma's posts just about the same time as I started following yours, so I now know much more about Belize than would have otherwise been possible. I agree with what Wilma commented above about being a bit disheartened by global news and am endeavoring to keep my own sunny side up...without hiding from the news.

    It is this sort of experience that I like best about blogging. On Saturday, I was able to have a catch up get together with a fellow knitter who was visiting NYC from California. We'd met previously several years ago when she was visiting some of her children who then lived in New York, and have managed to stay in touch since then.

    This comments has gotten rather long, but once I started typing, one word lead to the next. Best wishes.

  7. Frances, nothing wrong about the length of your comments, all interesting stuff and I enjoyed reading them. I've been writing quite a bit of local history stuff recently for another site and my blog has suffered a bit.

  8. Derek, I agree wholeheartedly with what you say about some bloggers and comments, the same goes for some photo groups on flickr, run by petty dictators. I stay clear. One the other hand, I have a professional website and had to close comments as I was getting 150 spammers a day. I added a message box instead and spamming dropped to dozens. I moved it and the spammers disappeared, suggesting they were automated. Winter's been mild so far here in S Sweden, we still hear geese passing overhead in the mornings so they haven't all migrated yet.

    Best wishes for 2017. Sidney.

  9. Nice comments Sidney and I imagine that some blogs do have problems with nasty people, not that I have. The blog that I was referring to is written by a person that simply does not accept opposite opinions, despite being provocative herself at times and will often call people F's and C's. If you are not part of her regular gang and comment against her, however minor, she will delete you before others see it.

  10. This is how blogland works, too. I read your comments at the site you've mentioned and now I found your blog. I have never been north of Yorkshire - and that was a very long time ago - but I enjoy nature notes and observations. So, I am in.

    I have been at the receiving end of said blogger myself and must admit that I am quite fascinated in a weird way by the amount of well, what shall I call it, self righteousness (or maybe not). I have no idea. I have been blogging since 2009 and my contacts in the blog world have been extremely civil and downright good - apart from that one. So I watch it like you watch a strange beast you know nothing about.