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I finished listening to This Changes Everything yesterday. At nearly 21 hours listening its quite the marathon but had I read it instead I suspect I would have struggled to maintain momentum. Not that its difficult to read/listen to, but there is a lot of it.

I felt quite drained today because its so hard hitting. It’s going to take me a while to process but right now it feels like I can’t bury my head in the sand about what we are doing to the planet. I don’t know what that means in terms of what I personally can do, given it’s pretty overwhelming, but I hope I don’t just let it slide.

I had been planning to write about my impressions and such from listening to Four Thousand Weeks but I’m going to buy the book so that I can go through and make notes. While there was no one thing that stood out as deeply profound1, it was full of thought provoking points that made me want to go away and think about them. Listening to a book like this is fine, but it does make it tricky when you want to stop and note something down.

Additionally, I was in the middle of listening my way through Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything when my reserved copy of Four Thousand Weeks became available, so I’ve immediately picked up where I left off with the former. It’s a pretty dense book, in a good way, so all my attention is on that now, and I want to finish that before I return to Burkeman.

  1. This originally said ‘there was nothing that stood out as deeply profound’. When I read it again later I realised that was not quite what I meant, so I’ve changed it.[]

On Monday we took a trip to the Uffington White Horse area for a walk. Sunny, clear with a cool wind, perfect for walking. Warm enough to have lunch sitting in the sun propped up against a tree. Did a 12K loop taking in Wayland's Smithy, a Neolithic long barrow. Reading about it, I had one of those moments when your perception of historic time suddenly stretches and warps in ways that are unexpected, because by the time the Saxon's gave named it, it was already 4000 years old.

Having lamented the lack of time and good light for doing photography lately, this trip was perfect so I was able to finish another roll so will be developing that soon.

Weeks, possibly months ago, a friend recommended I read Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks. When it came out I made a mental note to read it at some point and then instantly forgot about it. My friend’s reminder, as it turned out, was a timely one. I reserved the audiobook version from the library and have got it just this week.

I do a lot of thinking about how I use my time, how I give it meaning. Having recently accrued my first half century here on this planet, it’s natural for that reflection to have taken on greater significance.

I haven’t yet finished listening to the book but I am enjoying the permission it gives, if that’s how to put it, to look at things differently. An affirmation of how my thinking has changed over the last few years and a path to keep following.

A combination of available daylight, work commitments and a lot to do at weekends means I haven’t had much time or mental space to give to photography since the start of the year. And I’m itching to get out and do some more.

At the beginning of this new project, I bought several rolls of Fomapan 200 with the intention of getting familiar with the characteristics of a particular film stock. What I have found, unsurprisingly, with the overall lower light levels at this time of year, is that ISO 200 is a bit slow. Fine during the middle part of the day but tricky at either end.

So I’m pushing the roll I have in the camera by one stop. I’ve never pushed or pulled film before so I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.

A routine checkup at the vets for our dog this morning, followed by a walk in a local wood.

Although traffic noise from nearby is very noticeable it still feels like a sanctuary. With a mild (relatively!) 11 degrees and calm conditions it felt a little closer to spring. Bluebell foliage poking up through last year’s fallen oak leaves. Lots of bird song.

A pair of ravens landed in the trees above me, while I was walking the dog. Ravens are a frequent sight around here, but this pair have been noticeable for the past few months because they spend a lot of time hanging around in the trees hereabouts.

This morning their chosen perch was right amongst where some jackdaws congregate and the size difference was very apparent. They are big birds. I don’t think the jackdaws liked having the them so close by.

I, on the other hand, love seeing them around and wonder if they are establishing a territory. Will be interesting to see if they nest.

While walking the dog yesterday, I saw and heard an unusual bird. My mind had to make mental leaps and jumps to get there, given the anomalous nature of it. I’m pretty sure it was a ring-necked parakeet. I’ve seen them in the south east where they are well established in large numbers, but to see one here was, well, unexpected.

I told a neighbour who got on the internet and told me they are in Bristol, so they have spread further afield.

From an ecological impact point of view, I’m not sure I want them setting up shop around here. I don’t know what effect they have on our native species. But then when does a naturalised species become native? Little owls are a good example as an introduced species. We have them around here and I like to see and hear them and think of them as native. Although, they are not a flocking species so aren’t as obvious as the parakeets are by a long shot.

As a post script, I’ve just had a look on BirdTrack, and a sighting of a ring-necked parakeet was recorded yesterday ten minutes up the road. So that pretty much accounts for the 5% of uncertainty for my sighting.