Well, one exam, to be precise. I had one hour this afternoon in which to write TWO essays, one on the loss of forest cover, keystone grazers and apex predators since the Iron Age and how it had effected forest ecosystems, and the other on the development of the environmental movement globally since the 1950s. So that's 5 minutes to read each question properly and plan the answer, 20 minutes each to write them and 5 minutes each to check them at the end.
My arm ached like mad by the end and my hand felt like it was probably going to fall off (it didn't though. Phew).
I celebrated by taking a group of the first years out to look for butterflies. Despite the wind we found one Small Blue and one Green Hairstreak, which they'd never seen before so they were happy bunnies and Quite Astonished at how tiny both flutters are :o)
By way of Encouragement to my studies and revision when energy was flagging after a fortnight of learning things by heart, Mother Nature sent two beautiful birds to our garden over the weekend. Two birds whom I hear often but rarely see, and certainly never so close as this.
Please may I introduce you to Mr Bullfinch.....
He is happily eating the tops off dandelion flowers (well, the seeds, which we call clocks). I hadn't observed that behaviour in them before and it is evidence, if any were needed, of the value of dandelions to a garden. He's ignored all the other flowers in their favour :o)
They aren't birds that come to garden feeders and they tend to be quite shy and inconspicuous, despite his beautiful colours, so you'll imagine my smiling delight when this morning he returned and brought his wife with him. He'd obviously told her that the dandelions in the garden were just perfect, so she'd come along to try some herself...
|Mr and Mrs BF|
In addition to the Bullfinch Pair, I was also treated to a couple of Nice Moths who came visiting. We are yet to get into Really Spectacular Moth Time (June/ July/ August) and there are some I would have expected to see by now who haven't yet appeared (cool nights probably the culprit there), but even so, any moth is a Welcome Moth in my book, so here are an Alder Moth and a Small Square-Spot...
I have to get up Very Early and bring the moth box in soon after dawn these days, because the Garden Birds are all working so hard feeding their demanding infants, and view the moth box as some kind of free buffet (especially the Robins).
We've Small Feathery Children hidden away in nests all round the garden at the mo. There are Great Tit Children squeaking away in one end of Sparrow Terrace, Sparrow Children squeaking away in their hole in the wall of the house, and Robin children, Blue Tit Children, Nuthatch Children, Blackbird Children, Dunnock Children, Wren Children and Pigeon Children in the trees and hedges round about, while Jackdaw Children are Being Noisy in the chimney and Great Spotted Woodpecker Children are Being Silent in the hole in the old oak tree. And this is without mentioning the five goslings on the lake and the baby moorhens in their nest on the bank, or indeed the Kestrel Children who are Goodness Knows Where because I only see their daddy sitting high up on the telephone wires staring down intently at voles.
Frazzled parents come to the feeders looking thin, bedraggled and exhausted. I know how they feel :o)
Very Clever but also Very Naughty :o(
Watching the birds feed their children has been a necessary affirmation of life to me, because we got some pretty terrible news over the weekend. The daughter of some friends of ours was involved in a bad car accident last week. Of the four of them in the car, one died, two have been seriously injured and she herself had to be rushed to hospital for emergency surgery and has been left paralysed from the waist down.
I wonder if I could trouble all you wonderful people for a prayer/ a sending of thoughts/ healing/ well wishes to her and her parents? I am a firm believer in the power of positive thought, so if you can spare a drop of energy for them I know it would be very much appreciated. I am just praying that the paralysis isn't permanent, but we'll have to wait and see. She's only in her twenties and is a sweet girl.
Sorry to end on a sober note. I think, if anything can be read from this, where life changes so completely in such an instant, it is probably to make sure you are living your life to the full and very best of your ability, telling people who matter to you that they matter and making sure that every day holds a smile and some laughter.
I'll leave you with some flowers from the garden, Geums. which are flowering Like Mad right now....
All the best to everyone,