Tuesday 15 November 2011


Kind of describes the period between now and Christmas, in birding terms at least. This is different to compromise, which might imply more willingness on my part. Take this weekend just gone: Mum and Dad were visiting, invariably the cue for an influx of rarities. I see them rarely these days (Mum and Dad, that is), so going to Northumberland, or even Margate, would have been considered bad form. Mum has a bad foot so dragging them around Swineham Gravel Pits was also out of the question. This weekend, the wife's best friend is arriving, and bringing her boyfriend 'so I'll have someone to hang out with'. The fact that I would be quite happy hanging out with the Brent Geese in Poole Harbour makes me, by common consent in this house at least, an ungrateful, anti-social cuss.

A bird: will I ever see one again?
The weekend after that and we're off to friends in Ealing for what has somehow become 'the annual family Christmas shopping trip to London', second only to Eurodisney on my 'I'd rather gouge my own eyes out with the sharp bit of the holster on my pager' list. Only the slim chance of swinging a trip to the Wetland Centre at Barnes en route is keeping me going.

After that, the remaining weekends will be occupied taking the children to the birthday parties of other children all the way to 2012: Tizer-fuelled migraine-factories, deliberately designed by begrudging parents who will apparently stop at nothing to prevent me enjoying myself by going birdwatching. With the lighter weekday mornings taken up by repeatedly shouting 'get your uniform on', and the dark nights having drawn in, even the chance of nipping out before or after work has vanished. I could pretend all this social activity makes me a well-balanced individual with a healthy interest in things other than birds, and a sense of responsibility towards my family and friends. But, as the cursor hovers over the words 'Publish Post', I realise it's a bit late for that...

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