If anyone follows me on social media or subscribes to my blog they might be forgiven for thinking that I didn’t need to work, or that I was retired. They might think that I was constantly on holiday, always in Orkney or Italy or anywhere in-between. They might imagine a perfect life of being immersed in nature with a perfect connection with the flora and fauna surrounding me.
The truth is that I work long hours, often far away from home, staying in anonymous hotels on industrial estates in run-down towns. I dream of a few moments spent outside with the possibility of some natural interest. I currently have a five minute walk to work from a hotel past a McDonalds, three car dealerships and a weapons manufacturer to the office, accompanied by the rumble of trucks and the smell of traffic.
I’m alive to every scent of a fox, every hint of a mushroom emerging from the earth at the side of the pavement, and every noise of the birds in the trees and bushes on my walk. There’s a Greenfinch territory on my walk and I’m delighted to see it singing with heartfelt passion up above.
Here’s a male Greenfinch I photographed recently at Crime Lake in Failsworth in Manchester:
The males are so spectacular I still find them a little too exotic to be British. I had only ever seen House Sparrows in our garden as a child, so seeing bright green and yellow birds so close meant I was transported to a place I had only experienced in books. A Greenfinch meant I was suddenly Gerald Durrell in Corfu, not David in a terrace in Oldham. Here’s my pencil crayon drawing from over forty years ago:
I still feel transported:
If only it wasn’t so high up I could get a decent view of it.
Having said that, it could be worse: