Who am I?

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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!

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Saturday, 27 February 2021

Blanking with aplomb!

This past two day I've thoroughly enjoyed two, totally bite less, sessions out on the flatlands. It's been stated many times before, "there's more to fishing than catching another fish" Under the current circumstances, I was just happy to be away from the nonsense surrounding my outburst at work. I was out there targeting tench, although airing on the side of caution, using kit which would cope with a carp should I be lucky enough to get a bite. Yesterday I'd used the Duncan Kays, today it was the turn of the, split cane, Dick Walker Mk IV's. I've until March 14th to catch a fish, any fish, from the drains before the traditional "close season" kicks in. Two days holiday entitlement, carried over from 2020, has to be taken before the end of March, so I'll keep an eye on the weather and use them accordingly.



Out on the marsh as darkness fell, it was an incredible sight to behold as the moon rose out of the eastern horizon. It was orange!! My camera kit, or more correctly my inability, didn't do the event full justice, but there is enough detail to warrant sharing a couple of images.





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"

"Done!"

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. 

Saturday, 6 February 2021

And relax....................!

 Apologies for the previous outpouring; this latest lockdown is really starting to get to me, just as to everyone else, I guess? The inability to chase dreams is something which has really brought home how precious time is. That bloody clock won't stop ticking just because I can't go to the Royal Military Canal to catch another pike. It won't stop, either, because "the gang of six" are unable to meet up on Kefalonia again, any time soon. No! "Time and tide wait for no man" This phrase resonates more now, than ever before, purely because I'm well passed the two thirds mark in my own adventure. Opportunities lost can't be refunded, they're gone and that's your lot.

It is, therefore, no big surprise that I really enjoyed my session out on the flatlands on Friday. Only one pike, around 7 lbs, but that fish ensured I hadn't blanked and spent the majority of my time looking at the birdlife on display. The weather was almost spring-like and there was a definite movement of Common Buzzards over the marsh, a kettle of eight birds being the peak count but odd birds were on show for the majority of the period between 10.00 - 13.00 hrs. Skylarks were in fine voice, one individual having a superb, piping, Whimbrel impression as part of its' repertoire. Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Mallard were added to my "local" angling list. It was a joy to spend time outdoors, further enhanced by the sun beaming down from a lightly clouded sky.

I spent a while out in the garden, last night, hoping to hear something? Oystercatcher was on my radar and it is possible that I did catch a snippet of a distant call, but to be fair, I didn't really hear anything? A flock of thrushes seen earlier were gone before I could rush out into the garden. Fieldfares would be my guess, but again, I can't be 100% sure. Knowing what the forecast is predicting, I was out in the garden just after 08.00 hrs this morning, feeling sure that there would be some cold weather movement as a precursor to the arrival of Storm Darcy with accompanying snow being predicted for this part of Kent. If I ignore Wood Pigeons, and I easily can, the only sighting (BWKm0 - No. 42) worthy of note was that of two (Russian?) White-fronted Geese headed north, high, away to the west. If they hadn't been calling I'm not confident that I'd have clinched the id, using just my binoculars, and they'd have gone down as "Grey Geese sp."


Cold weather movement? This was the last Waxwing I pointed the long lens at - Feb 2017
I do have several "patch" records but only one previous "garden" sighting of these stunning birds.
Storm Darcy - do your worse!

Around the garden feeders Goldfinches continue to visit, in good numbers, and provide a welcome splash of colour during the grey days. A couple of Chaffinches have dropped in recently but the two Greenfinches haven't been recorded during the past week. Six Blackbirds are now present along the Vine Close gardens, one of the males in fine voice, both dawn and dusk. Over at the farm compound, a Song Thrush is proclaiming breeding rites whilst a Wren blasted out a series of, high volume, announcements of territorial intent. Spring is just around the corner - surely? All I have to do is make it through next week unscathed. Once again Fujifilm SIS find the orderbooks bulging and, as a result, we are being offered ridiculous amounts of overtime in order to meet this demand. It seems silly to turn down the offer when there's nothing much else I could be doing. Every extra penny goes straight into the savings account, pending the time when Kefalonia becomes a realistic holiday option again. With the BBC News reporting that all over-50's will have received their jab by May - I must stay positive and make the most of what's available locally. 


Thursday, 4 February 2021

Tough going?

 So many of my fellow bloggers have used the Covid-19 restrictions as a source of inspiration for some outstanding posts during these troubled times. Me? No such luck. I continue to churn out the regular drivel that masquerades as blogging in these parts. Then, just to highlight my inadequacies, David (Birds of the Heath) posts a comment requesting a reciprocal link, between our two sites, due to our many shared interests. "Houston! We have a problem" What David asked is nothing outrageous or offensive, indeed, it is a nice gesture from a guy whom I've gotten to know via this cyber platform. The problem lies firmly at the point where my technological skills are stretched beyond those of a retarded monkey! Me and computers don't speak the same language? I don't know how to send a text message on my Samsung Galaxy phone - fact!!!! Take a photo with it - "you're having a laugh?" It would seem to me, being a complete dullard, that unless Blogger produces a "proper idiot's guide" on how to do it that little column on the right hand side of the screen will remain absent and my favourite blogs be just that. Steve G, Gavin, Stewart, Jono, Chiddy, Derek, BB and so many others would all appear for visitors to peruse, should they so desire. If only I wasn't so thick?

Then I have to take a step back and recognise what a blessing such inability provides. I don't spend my entire waking hours glued to a phone. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram - I don't give a toss. All that matters in my little world is the reality of life. Understanding the importance of family, real friendships and remaining true to myself, whatever the outside world perceives me to be, is what underpins who I am. Thick? Yes I may well be. Content? You'd better believe it. Unsurprisingly, this isn't how I expected this latest offering to turn out. I'm sat in my study, looking out into the darkness, whilst typing on the laptop. All the kit is prepared in readiness for a session out on the marsh tomorrow morning. Isn't it strange how the current situation has caused many of us to rethink priorities and actually realise how well off we are in comparison to others? All of a sudden we're glad for the grass on our side of the fence instead of jealously gazing at the lawns on the other side. 

I've got several, half-baked, posts in my "pending" file most of which pertain to times gone by. I would think that it is a subconscious attempt to reconnect with happier times. There are fish, birds and. probably more telling, other people who have been pivotal in me getting to where I am today. Sorry if this latest offering is a tad heavy - it's a sad reflection of where we're all at in February 2021? It might not be much help to others, but it's now off my chest! Fishing tomorrow - whoopee!