So this is my blog and you are most welcome. It's not going to be a diary of mundane day by day events (Dear Diary: got up, did bugger all and went to bed): no, the plan is to scribe on these pages my thoughts and experiences of wildlife watching as I move sloth-like through my 59th year of life. And maybe beyond. It won't be exclusively wildlife related; there will hopefully be a richer tapestry here. We'll see. Perhaps a bit of background would be in order.
I quite enjoy writing, I think it is a trait shared by many lovers of wild places and wild things. I first started putting pen to paper (a real pen (remember those) to actual paper as opposed to finger to keyboard) sometime during 1974. In those far off days of my late teens I scribbled a kind of wildlife journal in large foolscap ledger books my father had somehow procured (or more likely purloined) from the Post Office where he worked. My first entry therein was an account of time spent trudging over the marshes between Berney Arms and Reedham one breezy April day. No access to our own car or mobile phones in those days so we cadged a lift to Reedham in the early morning, spent the day getting beaten and buffeted by that April wind that blows unchallenged over the east coast marshes during spring, and arranged to be picked up at 7pm that evening trusting that my father would 1. Remember, and 2. His car would start. At that time the primary goal of my mate John and I was to find and record, for our own ends, as many bird's nests as we could. We jotted down the location and contents of all we stumbled on and kept a kind of league table of what we discovered. Not very scientific, but it kept us amused and without us realising it formed an embryonic love affair with birds, their habitats, habits and diversity.
Anyway I distinctly remember how that day ended with us both sitting on the river wall at Reedham Ferry nursing a well-earned half pint of cider, young, fit and trim yet pleasantly exhausted by our day of scrambling over gates, jumping across drainage ditches and trudging through knee high sedge beds (private property - what's that?). We sat there, my friend and me, listening in the fading light and now still evening air to lapwings 'burbling' their mating cries over the marshes on the far side of the river. Nothing else moved, nothing else mattered. It was one of those evocative moments that stay with you forever and I don't understand how a person can fail to be moved by such an experience. So I wrote it down. And even today when I read the account of that day I'm transported back in time to when a couple of long haired children of the 70s sat together on a river bank as dusk is falling listening to the wild birds call. I wouldn't change those experiences for the world, and I'm so glad I took the trouble to record it all.
In a sense I've never stopped writing about things. I kept those thick wildlife tomes going for many a year and tarted them up with the odd painting or press cutting. During my long and notably undistinguished career with various agencies of the civil service I exercised the power of the biro with gusto, filling many an in tray with meaningless, but well intentioned missives ("think that's a bit too flowery Barry"). After being booted out of Her Majesty's Government for being too old and far too dispensable, I found much, much more interesting employment with Norfolk Wildlife Trust which allowed further expression, this time full of meaning in support of the wonderful work they do. I now write for my parish magazine Sprowston News (what do you mean you've never read it? - subscribe immediately), and I still contribute to the NWT blog when I feel so moved. It's not Shakespeare, but it scratches an itch. So now a blog, inspired by a few friends who have likewise decided to relate their experiences for the world to judge their worth. I hope you will enjoy what follows; I know I'll enjoy writing it. Wonder what lies in store?