8 May 2021

Watched Mortal Engines for a family film night. My son is a big fan of the books - I must read them myself. I know it got a bit of a panning, but I thought it was pretty good. Yes, at times it was derivative. Yes, at times the dialogue was clunky. But it had some good visuals and the story was enjoyable - we had a good time.

3 May 2021

Two weeks ago I checked our various nest boxes and the one usually occupied by great tits was completely empty.

I assumed that they weren’t going to use it this year but in the last week we have noticed the male singing away nearby and one or the other of the pair leaving the box a few times.

A quick check with my inspection camera on Sunday revealed a completed nest and at least one egg.

They’ve not hung around then! Glad to have them back again.

2 May 2021

Finished reading Donald J Robertson’s Stoicism and the Art of Happiness. A pretty easy read and good introduction to modern Stoicism. If I had to give it one criticism I’d say it is a tad repetitive, I would imagine partly because it’s part of a Teach Yourself series. I will probably read it through again in a bit more detail in due course.

Delving into Stoicism, I’d not realised at all that it has experienced a resurgence in the last few years. Which I’m glad about because given I have a pretty contrary nature, I will often shy away from something if it’s currently a ‘thing’. The impression I get is, like anything that gets into the public imagination, it has attracted the genuinely inquisitive, but also bandwagoners. It also has its critics and I’m very happy to read well-reasoned arguments pointing out its flaws as I wouldn’t want to accept an idea without looking at it from all angles. And I’d rather read something of that nature than articles of the cringe-inducing ‘mind hack’ variety.

Stoicism has a lot going for it but also many questions. Which is fine.

29 April 2021

I have ordered a handheld recorder.

I often use my phone to record birdsong or ambient sounds but obviously the quality is not great. Field recording appeals and I’d like to ‘collect’ sounds more. The kit that is coming means I can dip my toe into it a bit more and make some better quality recordings, all without spending vast amounts upfront.

26 April 2021

My wife and I had the day off so we walked around Westhay Nature Reserve. So many warblers and so much sound! Numerous sightings, the most notable of which were the first hobby, common whitethroat and swifts of the year, plus house martins and a redpoll. Heard about 3 cuckoos. And good to see several pairs of great crested grebes and their nests.

With all the busyness of late, it was good to have a chance to catch up and talk over a few things.


Stephen James

Minding the gaps


© Stephen James 2021

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