Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. 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 15 July 2020

New horizons - outside the box

It was whilst working for Unilever, at their Ashford factory, that I first became familiar with the "thinking outside of the box" philosophy  A structured process, amongst an array of others, which businesses can utilise to developed ideas or seek new market opportunities. I have a great deal to thank Sarah Frost for, the factory manager at this time, as it was she who invited me to join the "factory strategy group", thus allowing me to experience the most educational period of my entire working life. I ended up getting heavily involved with statistical process control and discovering how numbers can be used to help solve the most unlikely of problems. 
So if this stuff, as I'm well aware, can solve problems in a business environment then surely I can use similar processes to assist me through the troubled times ahead? One of the "buzz phrases" back then was "don't see it as a problem, it's an opportunity!" I suppose it all comes down to the individual's perspective; Management bull-shit or not? I have about a month to develop some idea of what I want to do, beyond Fuji SIS, then it will be down to me to draw up a plan and see where it leads. As Ric alluded to, in a recent comment, doing nothing is a waste of life and not an option that I have any interest in pursuing.

The stuff going on, beyond the factory boundaries, is of far more interest to visitors to this blog, I'm sure. Despite the apparent failed breeding attempt, the male Common Buzzard continues to be seen, sporadically, hunting over the farm and, yesterday, was calling and sky dancing over the main farm compound. I really have no idea what's happening? Yellow Wagtail, Skylark and Lesser Whitethroat have all been successful in rearing broods around the "patch" and must be a direct result of the lockdown reducing disturbance around the farmland. Locally House Sparrows and Starlings seem to have had another very good breeding season, with large numbers of juvenile birds present around the garden. The fate of out local Blackbirds remains a mystery; at least two pairs have territories along Vine Close. I've watched the adults collecting food yet only seen one fledged youngster, so far this year.

The recent spell of warm weather has seen a massive emergence of flying ants and the gulls have been making the most of this bonanza. Monday afternoon was to see a flock of some 1,500 birds in a swirling frenzy, high over the farm. My best guess, under the circumstances, were an equal split of Herring and Black-headed, with a few Lesser Black-backed and, at least forty Mediterranean Gulls involved. Quite a spectacle, the sky being full of birds, yet not a sound from the flock as they went about the aerial ballet played out high over Dumpton. Very few hirundines around the farmland and even fewer Swifts, a sign of habitat or climate change or both ?  A male Blackcap, in fine voice, singing in the garden early on Saturday morning was a nice surprise, although it had disappeared well before lunch time, having got fed up with my feeble efforts at obtaining a photo, no doubt.

Butterflies have been reasonably varied, if not numerous, the newly found enthusiasm to keep our potted plants in good nick has obviously been a positive factor. Small Whites dominate the sightings, yet Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Holly Blue and Gatekeeper have been noted on the odd occasion. Four more sightings of Humming-bird Hawk-moth have also been made, all of them feeding on the strip of Red Valerian which grows along the border of our block paved, off road, parking area at the front of the bungalow. A Green Shield Bug turned up on the freshly washed towels, hung on our rotary washing line last Sunday and Bev & I found an Essex Skipper, on the patch, when out on one of our "furlough" walks. Certainly nothing to get excited about, for sure, but it's enough to keep me occupied whilst awaiting the outcome of the redundancy caper.


  1. Like all of us that have faced retirement, in your case earlier than planned, a degree of trepidation is taking place, but I can assure you that there is a complete life out there that doesn't involve going to work. It becomes really quite delightful not having to plan things around work shifts, to be able to take up opportunities at the drop of the hat, and there will come that day that you will suddenly look back and think "how did I find time to go to work!"

    1. Hi Derek,
      I do hope you're right. Now having had time to talk things over with several family members and close friends, it would seem that Bev and I don't have too much to concern ourselves over. After nearly forty-five years in work, the various pension schemes have proven to be very good investments and crunching the numbers has been very reassuring. What's next? Watch this space!
      As always, cheers for the comment. Keep smiling and stay safe - Dylan

  2. Dyl, concern yourself not. You have proper interests.
    95% of the population don't. They might hate their jobs but it's probably the only thing of interest they do and it provides them with funds to spend on killing the boredom when not working.
    It's why retirement scares them. They equate 'not working' with spending. And they suspect they can't afford it. Only suspect mind. The reality is that thanks to credit, they avoid facing how skint they are and always were.

    1. Ric,
      I'm very fortunate, in as much as, I work because I choose to, not because I have to. Having to give up something I enjoy, through no fault of mine (or anyone else I work with) is what really grates. Of course I have plenty of interests outside of the factory, but that basic discipline of my shift pattern ensures I try much harder because my free time is such a limited resource. The unknown is how I will focus my efforts when time is no longer a major factor?
      Cheers for these thoughts, they concur with those of many others who I've spoken with - Dyl