Who am I?

My photo
An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition, that was until Covid-19 intervened!. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Changing seasons

 Two, consecutive, seventy hour weeks of graft plus the nonsense of my melt-down moment, combined to ensure that I won't be starting work until 14.00 hrs, each day up until Friday, when my shift starts and hour earlier. With the mornings now free, time spent out in the garden is just the ticket, given my current state of mind. I've lost nearly half a stone and not slept properly since the fall-out of last Thursday. Bloody insanity, given that all I do is make/pack ink for a living and genuinely didn't think I was that affected by the situation. Obviously mistaken; this mental health aspect has taken me, very much, by surprise. 

I wrote that intro on Monday and things, at work, have calmed down enough for me to start to spot opportunities for a positive outcome from the stupidity of the original situation. I've instigated a formal grievance meeting with HR and that has been scheduled for next Monday when, hopefully, I'll be able to draw a line under the whole sordid affair. So, with that out of the way, what's been going on out in the garden? Well I could easily sum it up with Greenfinches!!!! but wouldn't be painting the bigger picture. There are now two pairs of these wonderful birds visiting the feeders and to put the cherry on the cake, I witnessed a flock of thirteen (BLOODY HELL) flying south along Vine Close on Monday morning. 

The second, un-ringed, male. I captured this image using my
primitive, and very dated, digi-scoping kit.

Black-headed and Common Gulls have been moving through Newlands Farm airspace in dribs and drabs. No numbers, as yet, but the precursor to a much more obvious passage as March gets underway. My BWKm0 listing has been rather static since the Woodcock caper but, having spotted a pair of Lesser Black-backs back on territory at Pyson's Rd Industrial Est. last Tuesday, I knew it was just a matter of time before I recorded one from the garden. Yesterday I did just that.

BWKm0 - No. 47 - Lesser Black-backed Gull

Spring is in the offing, that's for sure, and it's been nice just to spend time outside, early morning being serenaded by Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Blackbird, Song & Mistle Thrushes. Local magpies are already engaged in nest building and Skylarks are chasing around high above the Newlands stubble areas. This morning I watched the first two, migrant, Common Buzzards of the year spiralling over the farm. The first Chiffchaff and Wheatear won't be long in appearing then the flood gates will open. Although I don't want to wish my life away, I'm rather excited by the prospect of more lockdown garden bird watching.

Saturday, 20 February 2021

The NHS - a national treasure

 I had my first "jab" this morning at the Grange Medical facility and what a superb experience it was. I had been given the very precise time of 08.24 hrs, but turned up with fifteen minutes to spare just in case of queues and the like. Are you kidding? After parking the van, I could see a line of, mask wearing, folk just inside the perimeter fence. I walked through the gate to join the end of the queue only to have a young lady call across "are you here to register or vaccinate?"

"I'm here to get my jab" says I

"Over here then please, Sir" - " Okay to use hand sanitizer?"

"No worries, but my appointment isn't until 08.24 hrs!"

"Don't worry about that. How I love this job, I can be so bossy - go over to the desk where Debbie will take your details"

I walked to the booth where Debbie quickly established that I was who I said I was. I had just finished quoting my date of birth when a nurse appeared "Next!"

That was it, I was in and being read the script about the Oxford - Astra Zeneca vaccine and possible side effects. "Roll up your sleeve and relax your arm" 

"Sorry, I'm not very good when needles are involved - I can't look"


I didn't feel a bloody thing and was sent on my way within minutes of my arrival. What an unbelievable display by the NHS staff. If only that rabble at the "track & trace" had been so efficient/professional? But what can you expect when an Olympic Showjumper and a security company are handed those lucrative contracts instead of the qualified professionals. Political corruption? Surely not.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

My worst day at work - ever?

 I will have to be very careful with my choice of words, even more so with my details. FSIS have a social media policy which is all about protecting the reputation of Fujifilm, as a Global entity, and is encompassed in my contractual agreement with my employer. Having no axe to grind with Fujifilm, our parent company, I will state, here and now, that since the takeover of Sericol Ltd, the business has developed beyond anything we could have envisaged. Being part of that journey has been an honour and a privilege. As I said in a comment to Ric F, just the other day, I've never worked for a bad company but I have crossed paths with some piss poor management in my time. 

This morning, at the pre-shift briefing, I endured the most excruciating tirade of bull-shit from a manager which proved to be "the straw that broke the camel's back". I had to say my piece and did but, in doing so, lost my rag to the point where I was shaking with rage! I'm fortunate that "Minge" was on hand and defused the situation, somewhat, but I went back to my packing bay wondering why I was putting up with this shite? Fate had obviously played a role in this sequence of events as, just yesterday, I had my annual "one to one" with Steve (the departmental manufacturing supervisor) instead of "Minge" and had concluded the session with a question about frustrations and the need to talk about issues rather than holding them back. My lineman, Andy C, could see that I wasn't right and asked if he could help, top man that he is. I suppose I'm very fortunate to have a carp angler as the packing bay supervisor and asked if we could have a private chat - NOW! If he'd had said no? I might well be retired now, no way am I putting up with that level of nonsense at my age. We had our chat, I got it off my chest and calmed down but don't feel confident that it is finished?

I completed my shift, plus three hours O/T, and am now at home. This is where my choice of words might leave me open to scrutiny by the FSIS hierarchy? The inept clown that masquerades as "leader" has built a career based upon bullshit, bullying and downright lies. With an IQ equivalent to that of an empty bucket, he has the conversational intellect of house brick, thinking that volume dominates logical reason whenever pushed into a corner. Before leaving work I'd written a comment upon the "issues board" which might cause a few ripples in the morning? Going to work because I "want to", as opposed to "have to" is a very good place be. If I do walk away I'll genuinely be sorry that my time at Broadstairs will be tainted by this saga. I've had such a brilliant time, shared with a quality group of workmates, only for it to be spoiled by this sequence of events caused by the actions of one, egotistical, dumb c*nt!

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Just the way it is

 I've not seen a hedgehog at the garden feeding station, or anywhere else, since 12th January. This doesn't equate to there not being any hedgehog activity after that date, just that I haven't witnessed it. Quite obviously this recent spate of snow and ice, courtesy of Storm Darcy, will explain why every sensible hedgehog is, at present, laid up in some comfortable hibernation chamber. But things are a changing, the forecast predicting temperatures of 14C, here on Thanet, over this coming weekend! Question is "will it be enough to encourage a hedgehog, or two, to emerge from their hidey-holes and come visit the feeding station once again?" There's only one way to find out and, as such, the bowl of Tesco Kitten biscuits is back in situ tonight. It would be quite nice to have a garden record of these wonderful animals during every month of 2021 - let's see what happens? (See the end P.S. !)

I received notification, purely because of Bev's intervention, that I'll be getting my first "jab" on Saturday morning at 08.24 hrs!!! Bloody hell, how good is that? I'll readily admit to bemoaning the ineptitude of Bozo and his cabinet but, in this instance, have to acknowledge the incredible success of the vaccine roll-out. Credit, where credit's due, this is a world class demonstration of how to do it. I'm supposed to be working, on Saturday, so might (?) have to forfeit a couple of hundred quid but, if it means I can cuddle the grand-kids again, I'll willingly take the hit. 

There is a chink of light on a very distant horizon. Boris is expected to announce a "road map" out of Covid-19 restrictions on Monday 22nd February. What I need is a green light for a, "legal" return to the RMC and the chance to cast a bait in the direction of another "big" pike. If it's not forthcoming then I do have a fall back carp option, but sincerely hope it's not required. Important - Are you joking? 

Something else which isn't important, yet dominates factory life is a situation which beggars belief! Nothing to do with with Covid-19 or any such pressing issues. I put ink in bottles for a job. I screw up - no one dies, just a customer complaint, at the very worse. Those nurses fighting on the front line are faced with situations that are "life & death" - a bit of ink on a label! Get real!!! Because I'm still employed there are contractual restraints which prevent me telling the whole story - 2022, rest assured, it's gonna be out there, warts and all.

P.S. I'm just about ready for kip and this turns up at the feeding bowl - result !

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Madness - woodcock style

 I'd completed my latest shift and was home by 14.50 hrs. It was bloody freezing outside, with the thermometer still sub-zero, and a stiff breeze doing little to assist the situation. However; the sun was attempting to break through the high cloud and I'd promised Bev that we'd get out for a walk. So we did just that. I drove across to Government Acre, over at Westcliffe, and we took a brisk stroll down onto the beachside pathway before ascending back up to the cliff-top via "The Chine". It was bloody freezing and there was little to commend our efforts, even less likely, incite others to join in with this, healthy lifestyle, gig. 

However, when we got back up to the cliff-top, behind Westcliffe Terrace, a Woodcock flew over before dropping down into the care home grounds just behind the play area. We hadn't walked another 100m when I spotted a Lapwing hunched up on some bare ground beside the terrace wall. Windchill was a real issue and we were glad to get back to the van. We'd been out for less than twenty-five minutes but, that was long enough, under the conditions, so headed back homeward. As I turned into Vine Close, from West Dumpton Lane, another Woodcock was spotted flying over the bungalows headed towards Ramsgate Cemetery? What's going on?? We got settled back indoors, coffee and San Miguel, you work it out?  I retired to the study and my laptop. The football was rather amusing, good old Liverpool? However, at 17.10 hrs I spotted a Woodcock flying north, low over the Newlands Farm fields, then another and another! In less than five minutes I'd seen seven!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can't be sure that there were seven individuals involved but, whatever, it is a bloody amazing record for a Dumpton garden.

BWKm0 - No. 45 - Pied Wagtail - one flying west, as I filled the garden feeders ,prior to our walk

BWKm0 - No. 46 - Woodcock - get in!

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Odds & sods

 With the pandemic and weather combining to prevent any serious angling effort I am rather glad that work has gone ballistic. Unlimited overtime opportunities for those who want it? I'll have a bowlful of that; thank-you very much!! After nearly wiping out a petrol pump at The Hereson Rd Garage, on Monday night, I've not used the van since. The sideroads are little better than skating rinks so I've chosen, instead, to walk to, and from, work across a snowy Newlands Farm. Tuesday produced a Woodcock, flushed from a field margin by a passing dog walker and I discovered a small group of Fieldfares in The Old Rose Garden as I neared Pyson's Road. Both species would have been additions to the latest BWKm0 list. Wednesday produced a couple of Redwings and a tantalising glimpse of two "possible" Tree Sparrows. Oh how I wish I'd been carrying my binos.

Today got off to decent start, as I was filling the garden feeders, a Fieldfare (BWKm0 - No. 44) was spotted perched in a neighbour's Cherry(?) tree. Six Skylarks were flushed as I trudged across to work, hardly of interest to others but, the best I could manage under the circumstances. Absolutely no point in moaning about the lack of birds, fish, holidays or pubs - everybody else is in exactly the same predicament? (Mockingbird twitchers excepted - obviously!)

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Icy blast

 As have so many other locations along the East coast, Thanet experienced some significant snowfall on Sunday. My walk up to the local shop, on that morning was accompanied by the joyous shrieks and screams of youngsters getting outside to have some fun. Snowballs, sledges and snowmen were at the centre of all this noise and I was delighted to hear kids letting off steam during these crazy times.

Bev and I had to make a snowman of our own after Jackie (and farmer John) posted a picture of one that they'd made. The powdery snow didn't lend itself to the task, thus a rather modest example was constructed but, bottom line, we do have a snowman!

BWKm0 No. 43 - Lapwing. Three birds flew north just after 08.40 hrs on Monday.

The only other observation, of any note, was the reappearance of the ringed male Greenfinch accompanying a group of Goldfinches at the feeders on Sunday afternoon.