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Monday, December 31, 2007

An Outsider Looking in

I feel I should be sadder than this. I want it to be big waterworks etc (as I write that I have tears in my eyes). But somehow it won't come.

Partly its because I want to be there for Dad. Partly its because I've known this was coming, the logical part of my brain has told the emotional side that I would be crying for me, because there is no way I wanted Mum to have no life and no quality of life. Which lets face it she has had for 8 months and I know from when Nan was ill that Mum didn't want that.

I feel like an observer on my life at the mo.

I'm at work as I type this (I'll start at 7:30). I'll ring the funeral place at 9:30 and the Hospital to see when the death certificate is available. When I know that I'll arrange for an appointment with the registrar. I hope I can get that done today.

I'll be with Dad tonight. I don't think we'll be staying up to see the New Year in. I'll be tucked up with Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Forbidden Tower".

I'm PC less tomorrow. So to all my readers Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A wander

I got up nice and early this morning and went over the Forest.

I got a good start with a Little Owl. Green Woodies were very vocal and I saw a number of these and Great Spots. Once again there were good numbers of Bullfinches and I also came across a Marsh Tit.

The lake had the usual suspects. Lots of Mallards, Black Headed Gulls, Tufties, Gadwall, Coots, Mooorhens and a few Teal and Pochard. Also 2 Great Crested Grebe.

On my way back I popped into St Mary the Virgin Hatfield Broad Oak, I've visited many times. What you see today is the nave of the old Priory Church which explains the truncated look.


















I'm not a religious person but at one point I stopped and gave a simple prayer for Mum.

Then went to Dad's for dinner.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I'm in a "funny" mindset right now

My thanks for all your good wishes it means a lot.

I had a call from Dad at 6:30 this morning to tell me Mum had died. I'm not sure how I felt. I wasn't surprised, last night the senior nurse said she thought she would. I decided I ought to get up and go see the old boy.

Whilst shaving i suddenly got tearful. Isn't it funny what you do? I popped into Tesco to get the lottery tickets for the works syndicate, glanced at a camera mag (WILL YOU PLEASE STOP TELLING ME THE NIKON D300 IS WONDERFUL - THANK YOU) and then went to Dads for breakfast.

The body was taken straight to the undertaker which is good and we picked up the things from the hospital.

May I publicly thank the nurses and staff on Plane Ward at St Margarets Hospital Epping. They were wonderful, if my Dad says they were wonderful you can believe they were, OK is high praise from him. Less said about the tosser who misdiagnosed the cancer 3 years ago the better.

So its 9 o'clock and there is nothing else we can do. So we went to Saffron Walden for a wander, nice Coffee/Tea and scone in Eaden & Lillies. Went for a browse around Waitrose - HOW MUCH!!! I'll stick with the riff raff in Tesco. Then went for a ride.

Weird the things you think about, I turned to Dad at one point and said "oh on Monday you had better see the Council Tax people and get yourself registered for single person discount". Dad - oh yeah forgot about that.

Family and friends have been contacted. No Flowers (except from us), no collection (donate to the charity of your choice), no wake. Dad will take her brothers out for lunch later. I'll take Dad away for a holiday later in the year.

Someone they've both known for years will take the service at the crematorium which is good. Guess the funeral will be at least a week away.

Monday I'll shoot into work to clear a few things up then come back to go with Dad to sort out certificates etc.

Its not really sad, she has had no quality of life for at least 7 months and she wasn't going to recover.

It doesn't quite feel real yet.

I guess I'll remember funny things. Her meeting me from primary school when I was about 7 and going for a kick about. us laughing at my Dad looking pathetic as we sheltered from the rain in the gardens at Killerton House. You know silly things.

Tomorrow I'll see Dad for lunch but I think my bins and I will wander over the Forest in the morning.

Just to let you know....

... that Mum died in the early hours of this morning.

Not feeling all that eloquent this morning (well no change there then!). Excuse me whilst I go have a cry.

Normal blog service to be resumed when I feel like it.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Beavers to Return to Scotland?

The Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland have submitted a licence application to the Scottish Government is for a trial reintroduction of European beavers in the Knapdale Forest in Mid-Argyll. Beavers have not been wild in Scotland in 500 years.

If successful Beavers will be released in April 2009. 15-20 Beavers from Norway will be introduced to the trial site following a quarantine period.

The long term aim of the trial would be to monitor the success and impact of the beaver reintroduction before release elsewhere in Scotland.

More info on the plan cab be found at the Scottish Beavers network.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

planning ahead.

I trudged back into the office today. I arrived at 6:45!!

The morning was taken up with moving offices. I think I went about 50 feet in total our PCs, phones and printers ll work. There are no problems with the systems (touch wood) and the users are leaving us alone.

I am being a good boy despite all the positive reviews I haven't bought a d300 and I haven't bought that lens. This will surprise those of you who know me well.

When things resolve I'll take Dad for a holiday (probably May), he can sure do with a change of scenery. I have also booked all of my holiday allowance for 2008/9, its the type of thing I do at this time of year when I'm feeling down. The holiday year doesn't start until April!! I haven't actually booked the holidays but just the time off work. I have a rough idea of where I want to go. It kind of strange that my planning seems to revolve about going to new places so I don't bore you lot!!

I definitely want to go to:
  • Shropshire and Cheshire. some lovely buildings (Speke Hall for instance) and some churches.
  • Cornwall (stopping in Dorset/Devon to go to Abbotsbury for BABY swans!!) for loads of churches that I need to hit my 700 target for the year.
  • Surrey (churches and builidng and Thursley Common for Dragons!!)

there'll be a few others!!

Over Again

well that was Christmas.

I seemed to spend most of it going to and fro to the the hospital. Mum has deteriorated, all a bit emotional as I'm sure you can imagine. She is now semi-conscious and is not eating (the odd mouthful) and the body is starting to pack up. The nurses have been excellent, less said about social workers the better.

Sorry if I'm a bit maudlin but I'm sure you understand. Expect more news soon. I can't say it will be sad since neither Dad or I want to see her "live" like this and I know Mum wouldn't either.

I did hear one thing that made me laugh. One of the nurses spilt some hot coffee one day and apparently on a ward of trained nurses regulation state you have to have a first aider!!!!!! Unbelievable eh.

We did have a Redwing in the garden and the folks. Every Christmas we see them for a few days.

I have so far resisted the urge for retail therapy and buy a new lens, camera or anything else that may cheer me up.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A quick bit of birding.

I've just done a quick flit around Hatfield Forest. Loads of Bullfinches I reckon at least 11 birds. Also Goldcrest, Great Spot and Green Woody, Nuthatch etc.

The lake had a male Mandarin, Shelduck, 3 Common Gulls and Pochard, Tufties, Gadwall, Teal, Mallards, Moorhens and Coots.

LOADS of Squirrels about and a Fox.

Off to Dads now.

Happy Christmas

The traditional (well this is the 2nd) Quacks of Life Christmas concert

A bit of Slade


some Roy Wood


got to have Bing! This is from the much older Holiday Inn.



Christchurch Cathedral Choir (in Prague) I believe.



Gloucester Cathedral Choir



And in just wouldn't be Christmas without the college of King's College Chapel.





I will be PC and internet less for a few days so I do hope you have a Happy Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Japan drops Humpback Hunt

For those of you who read my blog on Japan resuming Humpback whale hunting you will be pleased to know that all though the hunt will continue they at least will not be taking Humpbacks.

They have been under alot of pressure which has intensified since the recent Australian elections.

Today

was a bit tearful last night. Mum seems much worse and seems to have given up. Its a matter of time now I think. One of Mum's brother is going with Dad this afternoon.

Anyway took Dad to Tesco at Cheshunt this morning, we didn't need much but it was a ride out for him. I had read Tesco was open an hour early for browsing so we got there for opening time, we finished and then plonked our things on the counter and waited for ten o'clock. When we left (we were first out!!) they were cueing for the carpark and two people disputed where we had been.

Was going out ths afternoon but the fog hasn't really lifted so I'll stay in.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lens Testing

I met up with Hugh and Tricia. I had been aiming to meet with Hugh to try his 80-400vr lens. I've been a bit disappointed with some of my distance photos and wanted to see if VR would make a difference.

The first photo is just to show a Moorhen with a yellow beak. It isn't one I'd publish normally.



Right little poser!!

















I do like this Moorhen sequence.


















So what do I think? I still found some of this distance shots disappointing BUT I got more keepers than normal and I think that generally this batch is a bit better than normal.

I would appreciate your opinions. I'm not my own best critic I always think everyone elses photos are better than mine.

Thanks to both for a good mornings birding. Highlights? Siskin, Stonechat and Pintail i guess. There were loads of Ducks and Gulls. We had 4 Little Grebes together at one time and there were a lot of Great Crested's as well.