Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Executing Plan B

This winter just gone was the wettest I can remember, certainly since Mrs NQS and I have been living in this part of the country. To say I was looking forward to some fine spring weather is an understatement. I was gagging for it. Spring was the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. I had plans for spring. Lots and lots of plans.

And then coronavirus happened...

I would imagine that every NQS reader has likewise had their lovingly-laid plans derailed by this horrible pandemic. Whether birder, angler or all-round naturalist, our freedom to explore and enjoy even our local countryside has been heavily constrained. I hate it, and I expect you do too. So, what to do? Well, when plan A is no longer viable, the obvious alternative is...er...plan B...

I didn't have a plan B. Did you?

If I'm honest I guess my plan B is still in the process of being formulated, but seems basically to revolve around these two fundamentals: keeping sane, and keeping stimulated.

Regarding the first one, to be fair I do not actually fear for my sanity. But from comments I see on social media it is clear that some of my fellow birders/anglers/naturalists have genuine struggles here. Our countryside, its wild things, and our liberty to enjoy them are recognised antidotes to the stresses and strains of life, so the limitations imposed upon us by lockdown are going to take a toll. Personally, I have to find a way of focusing not on the limitations, but on the alternative possibilities. Distractions help - and I hope to explore that aspect in another post - and, for me, challenges also.

A challenge keeps me from boredom, keeps me stimulated. But obviously not any old challenge - it has to interest me. As you can tell from recent NQS output, nocmig is nicely filling this role right now. So is the #BWKM0 challenge, and adding to my garden list has been an entertaining, if slow, enterprise. I have other, more prosaic challenges involving things like making a few improvements to our little garden, stuff like that, and I'd quite like to write about it at some stage too. You get the picture...

So, is plan B working?

I would say that mostly, it is. Mostly. As I type, the wind is getting up, and the Met Office is forecasting some potentially good seawatching weather. I am not at liberty to drive to my favourite seawatching spots and give free reign to skua lust. Especially not Pomarine Skua lust. Which means I must find a way to focus, as I said, not on the limitations, but on the alternative possibilities. Not easy, but I'm trying!

Yes, plan B is a 'work in progress'...

No, no, NO! Think about something else!

11 comments:

  1. Can't say as it's made any difference to my daily routines. I still visit the nature reserve every morning, seeing no one. In the afternoon when the weather's OK, I go out on my bike for a ride. I don't think things are as restrictive or health threatening as some people are making them out to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Derek, you might be lucky and not be finding the lockdown an issue, but please spare a thought for anyone struggling. Please don't dismiss them!

      Spare a thought for anyone with long term health conditions whose regular check ups might've been paused or who are finding it harder to manage as a result, or anyone whose operation or treatment has been postponed, or anyone with mental health conditions or learning disabilities or young children who might be struggling to understand, or even those without gardens etc etc. Spare a thought as well for anyone who isn't safe in their home. I'm lucky and know my family won't harm me, not everyone is that lucky. There will be indirect impacts of this lockdown - not everyone will survive it for reasons other than the virus.

      The guidelines are restrictive. Only being allowed out for food / medicine or exercise once a day. The idea is we spend as little time outside as possible... That is tough for many people! And we're told that it has to be exercise, not other things, no resting or relaxing. As Gavin says, no seawatching. No "proper" birding or fishing or sailing or sport or music or physical socialising. No seeing friends and family, no hugging people etc. Not easy.

      Personally I can't "escape" anymore and my routine has been turned upside down. My one walk each day is both a blessing and a curse. Go out at a time to avoid most people, and it's rather different from my usual birding. Not much of a chance to destress or escape. No chance to stop and take in my surroundings. Can't get away from the (still) roar of the main road, or noisy gardening. There are things I can do at home, but not as good or effective as being outside away from modern life so to speak. Sticking to the guidelines is making life harder for me, but still trying.

      Delete
    2. However much (or little) we are currently affected by the coronavirus situation, I cannot help thinking that the longer-term impact and ramifications of this business are going to be huge. I suspect we have barely seen the tip of the iceberg.

      Delete
  2. Dare I suggest Gav that the chances of meeting anyone at first light (05:15) at Bridport are fairly low?

    Hardly sun bathing conditions are they? Anyway, with your scope and tri-pod, all you'll need is a hi-viz jacket and someone will assume you are a site surveyor from the council.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha! Unfortunately Ric, proper seawatching was part of plan A.

      Delete
  3. Another interesting blog Gavin - glad your "plan b" is working. Rather glad I'm still working, albeit with a much shorter commute of err 1m to the desk! That sorts out most of 5 days and maintains purpose. Midsomer Murders isn't as good as evening birding but it'll do (halfway through series 9) temporarily.

    If only it was possible to do more than simply exercise. The beach is walking distance for me. I find seawatching and general "proper" birding can be a great way to just forget about life and watch the world go by. Not interested in year lists. It's calming. Something I'm sure most could really do with right now, and probably could be done safely while social distancing. One things for sure - won't ever take something as simple as sitting outside for granted every again!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amy, I sympathise. Plan B is not plan A, but it will have to do! And likewise, there are many things I hope never again to take for granted...

      Delete
  4. My plan A was to avoid gardening, plan B- Netflix - finished that, next the Internet - nearly done.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry your plan A didn't work out. That must be right up there in the top 5 of thwarted plan A's... 😄

      Delete
  5. My Plan A involved birding more in the UK. It also involved Japan with Mrs L, rapidly replaced with Argentina. It involved Bulgaria with a friend and Venice with a child. It involved a trip to Ohio with my Mum and my sister to visit my 94 year old Grandmother, and it involved a family reunion in Northumberland to celebrate my parents' golden wedding anniversary. It also involved spending lots of time in Canary Wharf in a suit, and an hour a day on the London Underground, so there are also positives.

    Plan B? I am lucky, I have lots of other hobbies and a nice home situation in which to pursue them. And I have a family and thus company, and we are all doing OK and in many respects it has been extremely nice to all be at home together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's good to hear some of the positive outcomes from all this. My younger son, his wife and their baby daughter have been largely confined to a 2-bed flat in Crouch End, and have really enjoyed the family time that would have been impossible otherwise...

      Delete