Changed our business email hosting provider over the weekend. A fairly straightforward process other than changing the MX records. Used the live chat support to find out what they need to be changed to. It took nearly an hour for them to do it.

Maybe there was a genuine reason for why it took so long but anyway. Got it sorted eventually. And the new system is a lot easier to manage.

Been getting into using Drafts a lot more of late. Scripting is beyond me at the moment but I am making a lot of basic actions to automate stuff I do.

Like drafting a post for this blog. One action emails the draft to WordPress, saves a copy to Dropbox and opens Safari on my WordPress login so that I can open the post and do any final edits before publishing.

Think this will be one subscription app that really earns its keep.

Thoughts have not come easily for the last few days. A flatness in my mind, probably induced in part by a lack of sleep, which in turn is brought on by the short nights and hayfever.

Having finally developed a sense of stability around The Situation for the moment, a kind of ennui has settled in. Not a frame of mind I particularly go for.

This is neither thoroughly unpleasant nor very enjoyable.

Nonetheless, a relaxing weekend meant I caught up on some reading. Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a book that has long been on the list.

A nice bit where a discussion around photographing the prairie occurs. Or the difficulties thereof.

You need a three-hundred-and-sixty degree lens, or something. You see it, and then you look down in the ground glass and it’s just nothing. As soon as you put a border on it, it’s gone.

Put me in mind of our trip through Canada back in 2002. Driving west through Alberta with the prairie all around. The sight of the Rockies appearing on the horizon stretching as far as you could see in either direction.

Took photos. That never did it justice.

We try to squeeze every sight, sound and experience into a box, a frame, a screen. But some just won’t fit.

I should finish reading Susan Sontag’s On Photography. Started it about a decade ago but never finished it for some complicated reason.

A family walk this morning. Took a trip out to the Somerset Levels, now that we are allowed to travel a bit more.

Lots of birds – but no cuckoos. Swifts, sedge warblers, curlews, reed buntings, skylarks, egrets and swans.

Meadows looking lovely. Lots of flowers including orchids (Southern Marsh?).

 

Drama in the garden when we returned. Birds giving alarm calls – turned out a great spotted woodpecker was having a crack at the box where the great tits are nesting.

It hammered a hole in the underside and get at the young chicks – grisly. Think it got one and killed a second.

Managed to effect a temporary repair using a flattened baked bean tin and wire. Hopefully it will hold out enough to keep the woodpecker off. Later saw one of the adult great tits hauling the remains of a dead chick out. Am hoping the remaining two will survive.

Came across this research paper on social anxiety disorder and one sentence stood out, as it sheds some light on the unresolved question of how can it take so long to realise there is something going on:

Owing to the early onset and chronicity of SAD, many individuals may also believe that these symptoms are part of their personality and therefore cannot be changed.

Makes me feel better.

Tawny owlFor a bird with a reputation for being secretive, jays make an almighty racket when the occasion calls for it.

Yesterday, a walk in the woods. A jay kicks off in the trees above me. Spotted movement amongst the branches. There it was, getting in the face of a tawny owl. It would fly onto the branch next to the owl, squawk in its face and fly off again. Meanwhile, she would give a little ‘tu-whit’ in response.

Full disclosure: there is an owl box nearby that is currently occupied, so I had an idea what the fuss was all about.

Went and got my camera.

The jay had gone. The owl was now higher up in the tree, staring down at me, staring up at her.

Being watched by a creature like that is always a thrill. Enjoyed the moment and left her too it.


Thinking about the last year. Mental health. Anxiety. Depression. It’s taken a long time to come to a point of acceptance. Even now, the anxious mind questions the seriousness of it all. Little doubts here and there.

Are you sure you’re not just imagining all this?

This is not a patch on the problems some people have.

The one question that I still have yet to make peace with is how did it take so long to realise the nature of the problem? To get to this age and the penny not really drop.

Still wrestling with this one. The best answer for the moment is the boiling frog metaphor.

As an anxious child there is no alternative reality that shows yours is atypical. You grow up adapting your life around maladaptation. Avoidance. And that just reinforces the whole process. A negative feedback loop. And before you know it, that water is boiling.

Looking back I can see many wrong turns. It is hard not to feel regret. But equally I am here, right now, in a much better place. With a lot of living to do.

So if that means taking the time to stare up at an owl staring back at me, that’s what I’ll do.