5 April 2022

First swallow of the year. Spotted briefly while I was out and about. Not one of ours but hope they are not far behind.

Our robins have three eggs, probably more to follow. I was able to take a quick peek while both adults were away from the nest. The blue tits have been busy carrying moss into their box.

Still a few winter migrants around; fieldfares and redwings. And spotted a peregrine soaring high above our village.

2 April 2022

Our swallows have often arrived by now, but not this year. I would think the wintery weather is giving them cause to stay put, wherever they currently are. This is born out by reports I’ve read from Portland Bird Observatory.

Meanwhile, our current residents are still busy. The blue tits are still around although it’s too early for them to lay yet. I think the blackbirds have abandoned the nest they built in the garden, and their activity seems to centre on some bushes just beyond the end of the garden.

The robins are now sitting on the nest, or at least, the female is. I inadvertently disturbed her this morning while getting something out of our shed. Fortunately she returned shortly afterwards so she should be ok.

No sign of any great tits yet, other than a male singing nearby. I’ll be interested to see if they use the new box this year, although they are often very stealthy about building, and it is not until eggs are on the nest that we really notice any activity.

24 March 2022

On completing my 30 day meditation exercise, I mentioned noticing small changes.

Initially I would frequently experience anger and frustration bubbling to the surface. Apparently, this is a common thing with meditation. By the end these were greatly diminished.

I stopped thinking ‘Are my 10 minutes nearly up?’.

I began to notice how much I lack self-compassion. I started to be kinder to myself.

I’m not sure I have seen much improvement yet in my ability to ‘gently bring my attention back to my breath’, as the instructions will often say. This aspect still feels like doing recall exercises with a terrier puppy….

23 March 2022

Seeing headlines about current heating oil prices being 3 times the normal level, I thought I would check. Sure enough, got a quite from Boilerjuice and it came in at £1.55 a litre! I think at the last fill we paid about 45p.

At least we are getting to the time of year when we can turn the heating off.

21 March 2022

Normally, when I buy fuel, I always completely fill the tank. No point in doing less as it means more frequent stops. Inefficient.

But with fuel prices what they are I made an exception last week, and just partly filled up as I was running low. I paid £183.90 for diesel, which seems unbelievable.

I’ve loaded an app onto my phone that shows fuel prices at filling stations on a map. So I’m hoping that next time I can find somewhere a little cheaper.

Interesting times.

20 March 2022

Heard an interview with Sharon Salzberg a few weeks ago, in which she mentioned, if I recall correctly, that research has shown that doing ten minutes of mindfulness meditation a day, for thirty days, has a noticeable impact.

At the time, I was struggling to maintain any kind of meditation practice, but despite not generally being into setting this kind of goal, I decided to give it a try. Thirty days is not so long, is it?

This week, I completed my goal. Have I noticed any change or impact?

I would say yes, if incremental, but sufficient to make me want to continue.

Stephen James

Minding the gaps

© Stephen James 2022

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