Tuesday, 30 January 2018

What Am I??

In a comment on the previous post Steve Gale of North Downs & Beyond fame suggested that I am morphing back into a birder again. Looking at very recent NQS output (like the last four posts, say) you'd maybe think so. But am I?

Earlier this evening I went for a 5 mile run. Included in that run were 4x 4-minute efforts at roughly 7 min/mile pace (which feels quite rapid at the moment) with a 3-minute recovery jog between each. This is called interval training. Cool runners might call it 'reps', which is short for 'repetitions'. It is designed to make you faster. And - if you get it wrong - to puke. I've been toying with these structured sessions for a few weeks now. Rather than just 'popping out for a run' I am genuinely trying to make some constructive progress in both speed and endurance.

So I would definitely say that I'm a runner right now. I probably have been for 30-odd years but just didn't know I could still do it.

On Sunday afternoon I went on a fairly leisurely 25-mile bike ride with a mate. Apart from the wet and muddy lanes, and the quarter-mile of thorny hedge trimmings we had to negotiate (don't get me onto farmers' antics, please) it was great, and I cannot wait for spring to herald some sunshine and warmth so I can really enjoy my cycling again.

So, although my poor, neglected winter bike is in dire need of a deep clean I would say that I am very much a cyclist still.

A runner and a cyclist.

The recent proliferation of white-wingers inspired me to take a proper look at the Axe Estuary gulls whenever I was over Seaton way. The upshot of that little endeavour has now taken up four posts...and I still haven't found a Glauc or Iceland Gull! I really like gulls. Probably I always will.

For some reason I've not been quite so inspired by the Hawfinch thing, but even so I would say that I am still a birder...

A runner and a cyclist and a birder.

And how chuffed I was when Rob sent me photos of his first 20lb pike yesterday morning. It genuinely made my day. And then this morning he sent me this...

Rob's message read: "Guess how big!"

Big landing nets always seem to make a fish look smaller than it is, so my reply was initially: "Surely not another 20?" And then "No. Must be 15 though".

Eventually this arrived...

Rob is famous for his sartorial indifference anyway, but I would imagine he cares even less when the real star of the photo weighs 23lb 1oz!

Yes, the jammy so-and-so has just caught two 20lb pike in 24 hours. He also had a smaller one just under 9lb, all of them falling to tactics that are far from mainstream when it comes to piking. Three bites. Three landed fish. I think his persistence in developing a different approach over the last two winters has been both vindicated and well-rewarded!

When I get enough spare time I will once again be after the pike, and if the rivers fine down from their somewhat swollen state before the end of February I shall be after the grayling too. So yes, I am also still an angler.

A runner and a cyclist and a birder and an angler.

So, to pick up Steve's original point, personally I feel I will always be a birder, and hopefully all the other things too. But I find it impossible to pursue all my interests, at the fairly high level of application that I find necessary, all of the time. Each will wax and wane in due season. I am comfortable with this reality. In fact I like things this way. Long may that be true...

Ooh, I almost forgot. Guess what I did when Rob sent me his latest pike photos. Yes, that's right, I made a collage...

Left: 28 Nov 2017 - 23lb 8oz   Right: 30 Jan 2018 - 23lb 1oz
And yes, they are the same fish!
It was a tiny disappointment to discover that Rob's second twenty wasn't a new one for us, but on the other hand it was nice to have shared it, so to speak. Still, it had travelled quite a long way from where I caught it.

So yes, I am a runner, cyclist, birder, angler...and detective. But probably not all at once.


  1. Gav - all you've really got to be is content. Would imagine that Rob is pretty hyped - two twenties on the spin, great stuff. As for justifying your leisure activities to the rest of the blogland dwellers, not required unless you wish otherwise. Been through similar phases myself. Won't ever make everyone happy, so best off pleasing yourself! What you have to remember is that it's not mandatory to read our drivel - Dyl

    1. If the above read as a justification then I got the tone wrong, because I'm pretty comfortable in my shoes thanks Dyl :)

      The blogosphere is to me like a conversation, where an idea/opinion/thought expressed by one participant might spark off a response from others. That's what this post is really. I enjoy this exchange. If a blogger makes me think, that's great. In fact I am delighted when I get blog post ideas from my fellow hacks!

  2. My next running and gull posts are just around the corner!

    But seriously, this strikes a chord, not for the subject matter (bar one), but for the problem if indeed it is a problem, which is the surfeit of interests and days that are a mere 24 hours long! I've wrestled with this before too, and have reached a happy place now that i understand myself better.

    My next blog post is actually about cleaning though, so perhaps I am bucking a trend.

    1. I think lots of interests and not enough time is a nice problem to have. I am absolutely never bored.

      I enjoyed your clearing-the-clutter posts, so will look forward to your thoughts on cleaning also. Perhaps they might inspire me to take it up...

  3. Replies
    1. Ha ha! Yes, that waxes and wanes a bit too, doesn't it.

  4. Whatever you can be defined as Gav, it's a pleasure to have you regularly blogging.

    1. Thank you Steve, much appreciated. You know it won't last though, right? ;)

  5. Great stuff Gav, congrats to Rob on the pair of twenties. Makes it all worth the effort.

    You and me have followed similar paths as regards activities, though there's one difference. My tendency to do everything at once has led to light dabbling, whilst your phasing has led to much higher levels of achievement due to the intensity of the effort.

    I was going to add writing to the list but Jono got in first.

    Toying with a run right now, and then maybe an outing back to a place you and Rob will recognise. I'll send a pic.

    1. Cheers Ric, I'll pass your message on to Rob. I've just received the pic you sent, and it's funny, Rob often mentions that he'd like to have a go at Tring one day. It's the perch potential that interests him.

      You're right, I do tend to be fairly focused at times, and in my younger days unhealthily so on occasion I suspect. Hopefully with age has come a little more wisdom and balance...

  6. As everybody has said Gavin it doesn't matter who or what you are as long as you enjoy it. Although I will add just one point and that is if you are a birder and you are awake, you are always birding, you can't help it. So, when you are angling, cycling or running I am pretty certain that you will be birding too!

    Cheers, Seumus