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 profound, 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.
Finished listening: Four Thousand Weeks Oliver Burkeman
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.
Looks like our cold snap is ending this weekend. The temperature this morning is above freezing although the ground is still hard. When we set off for our Saturday walk the air still felt rather ‘arctic’, but an hour later it’s noticeably less sharp, as Atlantic air becomes dominant.
It’s been nice to have the ground firmer under foot for walking but I think by the end of the weekend and the latest storm we’ll be back to muddy conditions. Discovered one wellie had a leak a fortnight ago, so have appreciated the new pair.
My morning walk with the dog, before I leave for work, still starts in the dark, or half-light, but now ends in daylight. This is an appreciated change in the length of day and starts to chip away at winter and what can often feel like a slog.
Looking back, it was late February last year that I wrote my second and last post about following the exercises in Live Like a Stoic. That’s because shortly after that the process fell flat.
I can’t recall the details precisely, but I know I couldn’t find the energy to maintain the habit. I say in that post that I was not going to be doing the exercises every day. Clearly I didn’t even manage a more relaxed regimen. I mention this because I want to have another go. And also I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ritual and my relationship to it.
As an aside, knowing that this topic will require multiple posts, it occurs to me that I could insert forward/back links into each related post so that a reader could directly follow the thread. Not thought of this before.