We are well into a new year and it’s taken me a while to compile the video for our 2020, but here it is! It may not have been a year where we had rich experiences but we came out unscathed, valuing the small things in life. The joy of family and friends, of hearing the birds singing or feeling the prickle of sunlight on your skin. 2020 was definitely a year to make you think and be thankful for all that you have.
Like everyone else, here’s wishing 2021 is a more fulfilling year.
Thanks for following my blog and for your continued support!
Taking inspiration from Sharon’s blog post Januarying, I thought I would write my own version. After all the lights and nervous excitement of December and Christmas, January can be a depressing month. The nights are long and dark, the pavements treacherous, coated with ice and the parks are waterlogged. Though spring is around the corner it seems far away in a bleak January. Then add lock-down three and there seems very little to be cheerful about.
This January, the weather in Liverpool has been a mix of frosty mornings, with a sprinkling of ice and snow and then a deluge of rain and mud. I’ve tried to make the most of my limited time out and about and walks with Riley are a treat most days. However his walks have been curtailed somewhat with his diagnosis of arthritis and having to take medication for the rest of his life.
In December I returned to work for only two days of the week at the office. Once lock-down three was announced my hours were cut to one day a week. During the days I am not in work I am busy binging on The Crown. They have been mostly good episodes with the odd boring one.
Looking back at the films we have watched this January, there seems to be an evident theme; that of superheroes.
Avengers: Infinity War
Avengers: End Game
The internet during the lock-downs has been a lifeline for most people, keeping families connected. For my family is hasn’t been any different. Via a downloadable programme on the computer, we have been able to join other family members remotely in game nights and quizzes. It has been most entertaining!
Watching the visiting garden birds this winter has been very therapeutic. The last weekend of January is traditionally reserved for the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. For the past eight years I have looked forward to spending an hour watching the birds visit my yarden. I find it a most peaceful and enjoyable experience. 2021 won’t be any different and I am hoping the usual suspects will visit, like Steven the ‘sea’ gull and the charms of goldfinches. I even spotted the annual visitation of the chiffchaff on Saturday, I wonder if he will make an appearance in this years count?
How have you spent January? Kept warm in doors or ventured out in the snow?
What an unprecedented year 2020 has been! From a stormy beginning to the new year to a global pandemic the likes no one had seen in a hundred years. We were told to work from home or be furloughed. The roads were quieter and the air felt fresher for it. Then we were allowed out but it wasn’t for long as we were soon all told to stay at home, again! People lost their jobs, their homes and small businesses suffered. It has been a year of struggle and stresses untold. Every day blended into one and mental health issues took its toll. Now Christmas is upon us but there’s not much cheer to be had. This year in photos has been the hardest blog to write. How has your 2020 fared?
Our 2020 started off slowly with lots of walks with Riley. If I knew what lay ahead I would have gone on more adventures.
Our aviary welcomed a new friend in the form of Nova, a Star finch.
If I’d have known that this was the last time I’d see a live concert at the Philharmonic Hall, I would have made an effort to enjoy it more. However I was less than satisfied with this performance of Mahler’s 2nd Symphony.
With all the uncertainty around lock-down it was nice to escape for a while. A favourite RPG of mine which I last played in 1997, had been remade and was released in time to save lock-down.
Social distancing meant that we didn’t see family as much as we would have liked. So we had many family quiz nights to catch up and have a much needed laugh.
Sadly we had to say goodbye to Evie, the family cat who passed away aged 18.
Once Covid-19 lock-down restrictions had been relaxed, we took a day trip to The Lake District. Wild swimming at Beacon Tarn was a reset button to all the anxiety of the year.
A visit to a local sunflower maze with family was enjoyable, even though the sunflowers themselves had passed their best!
One of the best days of 2020 was when we took a visit to Buttermere in The Lake District. The weather was perfect, just like a summers day!
Like many who had plans this year, I had to cancel my birthday holiday to Scotland. I settled for a walk at Formby Beach with David and Riley instead.
During the summer, on a walk with Riley, I spotted the Google Maps car. Fast forward to the end of the year and during a search I spotted Riley, Mum and I on Google Maps!
With the country in differing Covid-19 tiers, there seems to be less hope and cheer this Christmas. Whoever you celebrate the season with, I wish you all the best.
I’m keeping everything crossed that 2021 will be a kinder year to us all!
I wish you all good health and happiness for the new year ahead!
Taking inspiration from Cathy’s post, introducing First Line Fridays. A weekly feature hosted by Wandering Words, on judging a book by its opening lines rather than its cover or author. I decided to give it a go myself.
The below is from the book I am currently reading.
2013. The bed sheet was twisted as tight as I could physically wrench it and tied off tightly on to one of the beams above. In the absence of rope, or rationality, it would have to do.
A bit of a gloomy start to a book, but it does pick up and as you may have guessed, the content is how bird watching and taking in nature overall, has a positive effect on mental health.
You all know how much I love updating you all in a Sunday Sevens! I’ve managed to collate enough info this week for a post. Thanks to Natalie at Threads and Bobbins for devising the successful series.
Sunday 21st July 2019 was RSPB Burton Mere‘s 40th anniversary pin badge launch. David and I made our way to the reserve on this special occasion to purchase the much anticipated badge. The badge ID was unknown until we arrived. It was a cattle egret! A species that has nested and reared young in previous years. I paid the £2 donation and we enjoyed a few hours walking about the reserve.
Cattle Egret Pin – 40th Anniversary
David has been curing pigeons again! This time a female pigeon with a sore eye, who was unable to close her beak. After a few attempts at capture, David managed to catch her and quickly discovered that she had canker, a bacterium that if left untreated can kill pigeons. David has bought tablets to treat this disease so after an overnight stay at Rescue No.49, Doris was released and has been seen frequenting the yarden every day this week. Thanks David for saving another life!
Doris the pigeon
David and Dalmatian Puppy
After all the uncertainty recently about David’s job, re: redundancies and reshuffling, an event at David’s work called Puppy Day helped him release the stresses and strains of daily life by spending time with dalmatian puppies.
During recent research I’ve discovered that there is no such thing as a seagull. They are just gulls seen at the seaside! However since their food and habitat is being encroached by humans these gulls are becoming more prevalent inland. The nesting gulls around our home I have learned are two different types. The gull nest to the back of our house is a herring gull and the nest to the front, I have identified as alesser black-backed gull. On Friday the chick to the back had fallen from the nest (chimney stack) and now cries for food whilst on the roof. The adult tends to this chick so I am not too concerned.
Watching birds while it rained:
This weekend was a rather damp squib, in more ways than one!! It rained constantly all day Saturday, so I decided to spend a good hour watching the birds visiting the yarden feeders. I saw four species of bird, 7 goldfinches, 5 sparrows, (who are so adventurous and like to explore every corner of the yarden). 13 Starlings and 4 pigeons. I even spotted a poor bedraggled honeybee trying to dodge the raindrops!
View from the window
I’ve forgotten to calculate my miles recently. So when I did add up this week’s mileage, I found that I had walked 35 miles, bringing my annual total to 1,177!
Book I am reading?
Having finished The Heightsby Juliet Bell I am left wondering what to read next. Any ideas??
I’ve noticed that since Riley has hit the prime age of 10, he has slowed down a lot. He no longer plays for as long as he used too and he stop and starts when going for a long walk. I worry for him. Do you have any tips on looking after an older dog?
Since it’s back to normality after blogging everyday in June for The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild, I thought I would write a Sunday Sevens.
Last weekend my friend from America visited us again. She is a big fan of Riley so David and I decided to take them both on a morning walk to Formby Beach.
Selfie on the beach
David and Sebastian
Then in the afternoon we visited Liverpool’s Cat Cafe.
The Aviary (part 1):
Set and Leaf
In a previous Sunday Sevens from 2017 (found here), you may recall that I wrote about having to separate an aggressive blue-faced parrot finch from the aviary as he attacked another finch.
In April this year, we decided that two years in the prison cage was enough time for the two blue-faced parrot finches, and so we paroled them to be reintegrated into the aviary.
However, this Tuesday David and I came home from work to murder in the aviary! The victim, poor Lady Gouldian, Set.
We found him with all his feathers plucked from his head and close to death. We put him in the hospital cage in the hope that he would pull through but he succumbed from his ordeal not long after. There was no need for an Agatha Christie detective, we already knew who the culprit was: blue-face parrot finch, Leaf who was seen the previous day chasing Set! It looked like he was back to his aggressive ways! Saddened and angry in equal measure we separated both blue-faced parrots from the aviary and now they reside in the prison cage for life! We buried Set under the Californian lilac, he was only two years old.
Book I am reading:
For the past few weeks I have been reading Kate Morton’s The Clockmaker’s Daughter. I am enjoying the narrative and the colourful cast of characters. Have you read this book? If so what did you think?
The Clockmaker’s Daughter
I hit my #walk1000miles target on 25th June 2019. Since then I have been continuing to clock up my miles in the hope of getting to 2000 miles come the end of the year! My weekly total has been 39, bringing my annual total to 1,073 miles. If you are participating in the challenge, how are you doing?
For the first time since I can recall we have not one, but two herring gull nests around our house. They have made nests on nearby chimney stacks. One nest had three chicks, whereas the other only two. On Friday we noticed that the nest with three chicks only had two. On further inspection David found a grim discovery. One of the chicks had fallen (or been thrown) from the nest. He was stranded on a roof and come Saturday morning his body was no longer there. Sad times.
This weekend, David made some more cupcakes. He made peanut butter ones and some Victoria sponges for me. Yummy!
The Aviary (part 2:)
On a happier note to end with, on Saturday David and I visited a pet shop in Warrington. We were looking for a mate for Star our star finch but they only sold pairs. So we opted for a male black head/purple chest Lady Gouldian. I named him Nero. He is a beauty! He has been trying to catch the eye of our resident female. I hope he is successful.
Last night I observed the annual Earth Hour by WWF. For the past seven years I have joined in this world wide movement by turning off my lights between 8.30pm and 9.30pm. Did you take part in the initiative?
Earth Hour 2019
Winter – Ali Smith
Book I’m reading:
I’ve picked up Winter by Ali Smith. Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?
Inspired by the lovely Sharon from Sunshine and Celandines, who shared pictures of wild flowers she had seen on a recent dog walk. I decided to do the same and take some snaps of the flowers I see on my walk to work.
forget me not
This Sunday’s family walk with Riley was a 2.5 mile walk around a spring resplendent Sefton Park.
Riley and daffodils
Riley and daffodils
My miles this week has been 39. Bringing my annual total to 550 miles.
On Tuesday David surprised me with two more friends for the aviary. Helen a female owl finch and Rize a female Lady Gouldian finch. How beautiful are they?
Helen the Owl Finch
Rize the Lady Gouldian Finch
That was my week, how was yours?
Thanks for reading,
It’s been some time since we’ve been to the cinema. To see the last installment of the How to Train your Dragon trilogy, David and I visited the newly opened Cineworld in Speke. The film was a fitting finale to the trilogy and I’m not ashamed to admit that I shed a tear or too.
Last Sunday we took a four mile walk around Mere Sands Wood nature reserve. Unfortunately the rain put a dampner on any nature sightings but we enjoyed the rain sodden walk anyhow!
At Mere Sands Wood
At Calderstones Park
This Sunday, with the weather no better, we headed towards Liverpool’s Calderstones Park.
Even though David and I have had a few days off work this week, even taking in a two mile walk around The Countess of Chester Country Park. Longer days in work has meant that my miles this week has been down on previous weeks.
David looking for otters
My total for this week is 38, bringing my overall total to 435 miles. If you are participating in the challenge, how are you doing?
On Monday, David and I visited RSPB Leighton Moss, near Morecambe. We spent a leisurely four hours walking the paths and taking lunch with hungry robins, tits and pheasants. Among the highlights of the visit was hand feeding a great tit and robin and seeing a marsh harrier hunting. Have you visited this reserve? What were your impressions?
Feeding a Robin
Feeding a Great Tit
Scarlet Elf Cup
Monday was also our 13th year anniversary!
Book I’m reading: I’ve picked up The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. I’ll let you know what I think of it! Have you read it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz
On Wednesday David and I said goodbye to Pie our Cut-throat finch. He was five years old and hadn’t shown any signs of illness. It was a shock and a sad loss.
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
This Saturday David and I attended an eclectic concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, featuring music from Vaughn-Williams, Tchaikovsky and Villa-Lobos. I enjoyed it very much!
I love sharing my weekly updates with you in the form of a Sunday Sevens. Thanks to Natalie at Threads and bobbins for creating the series. 🙂
Today, David and I are celebrating 12 happy years together. I am so very lucky to have such a wonderful, caring man in my life. He is my constant companion, friend and confidante. I am so excited to be celebrating 12 wonderful years with him!
Photo by Betty Zapata
This Saturday David and I had tickets to see the matinee of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner at the Liverpool Playhouse. After reading the novel last year and hearing about the stage production that was returning to Liverpool in 2018, I just had to book tickets. I was not disappointed. The play heavily relies on the storytelling of Amir (Raj Ghatak) but you are easily drawn into the human story of guilt and redemption. The production is wonderfully staged with live music performed by Hanif Khan. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. If you get the chance to see this play, I’d recommend.
David and Riley’s night walk
Last week, my weekly total was a staggering 43 miles, my best yet! A ten mile walk around Derwentwater helped. However this week I have been struggling. The cold weather has knocked my motivation. The total for this week has been 32 miles, bringing my annual total to 326 miles. I promise to do better next week! 🙂
Book I am reading:
For the past few months, as I have been waiting for the bus to work, I have chatted to a lovely lady called Lily. We were recently discussing novels and she informed me of the many crime writers she enjoys reading. This Wednesday I met her at the bus stop waiting for the bus that was 10 minutes late and she said, ‘I have your book.’ She had promised to give me a book she had recently read. The novel is called A Cold Case in Amsterdam Central by Anja De Jager. Lily told me to ‘pay it forward’, so if anyone is interested in the copy, once I’ve read it, then let me know. 🙂
Snow in the yarden
The news that has dominated the headlines here in the UK, is the weather. The Beast from the East left many places struggling with heavy snowfall. Liverpool however remained unscathed, with only a light dusting on Wednesday. 😦
Neve – Bengalese
Moor – Bengalese
As an anniversary gift to each other, last Sunday David and I visited our favourite pet shop, Clipsley to see what finch species they had in stock. As we have not had Bengalese Finches since the death of Fudge in March last year, we decided to buy a pair. The Bengalese were the founders of our aviary, and Neve and Moor are a welcome addition to our aviary.
This past week has been tough, though the happy times have more than dispelled the sad. 🙂