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The point of it all

If you cast your mind back to the start of the year, you will note that I made a bit of a to-do about why I set myself a bunch of arbitrary goals and targets. I mounted a relatively spirited defence of what could seem to the less charitable observer to be either a box ticking exercise or an act of monstrous self-aggrandisement, well, as spirited as my jaded and haggard middle-aged sensibilities can manage. And so I thought it high time to swing by these parts and offer further explanation as to the point of these various tasks.

The eagle eyed amongst you will note that, after a flying start, the reading of books seems to have ground to a halt. Not actually the case, but unfortunately for getting the numbers up, one of my Christmas presents was Paul Auster's 4321, which clocks in at a thousand pages, nearly done, (and a review will be up shortly), so it's probably a bit too early to draw any conclusions about that.

The birds though, goodness me. There's a lot to say about the birds. The genesis of this blog post was, in fact, the sighting of a Yellowhammer at our local park last week. Now, I've been accompanying various progeny to this park for the last ten years, and I've known Yellowhammers were there (having been informed years ago) without ever actually seeing one. Accompanying the latest iteration of Fallaize boyhood last week, however, I was delighted to spot one, singing its heart out on top of some brambles.

Now, presumably, them having always been there, and me having spent an inordinate amount of time in that park, I've seen them before. But I suspect I haven't been looking properly. Or looking at all. All of a sudden, this year, I'm seeing birds everywhere, species that I haven't seen since I was an overly enthusuastic eight year old with his first Collins gem guides, they've been right under my nose the whole time. I suspect that in giving myself this random target, what I've actually done is give myself a reason to be more fully in the world, in a sense. Certainly the boys have taken to the task with gusto (Ezra's delight on being the first one of us to spot a Wigeon is possibly the highlight of the year so far for me) and when we're all out and about we're looking, and seeing, and, I would argue, being more fully in the present than we might otherwise have been.

The less said about the running, the better.


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