Blacktop Rain

…and other secret joys


The art of wasting time


National Tulip Day in Dam Square, Amsterdam

This weekend, as with every weekend, I had a mental list (sometimes it’s even a written list) of things I wanted to get done. For instance, this weekend I wanted to clean the bathroom, hoover, do laundry, revise for a Dutch test, work on an essay I’ve been writing, write a blog post and make a start on reading a report for work. There’s also the food shopping that needs doing, that dreaded chore that we usually end up leaving until late on a Sunday. That’s a lot of stuff to get done in one weekend, especially considering writing can easily swallow up an entire day.

So, its Sunday evening and how did I do?
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My imaginary pet bird

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This Christmas I got an early present from my boyfriend, a little bird to go on our tree. He bought it for me because I’d previously mentioned a similar tree decoration that I’d had as a kid. It was a similar sized little bird with wire on its feet to attach it to the tree, but the decoration I remember from my childhood was a robin (as far as I can tell this new bird is an as yet undiscovered species – my bird book doesn’t have any promising leads either). Continue reading

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Visitation from a sparrowhawk

Image by Meneer Zjeroen

Image by Meneer Zjeroen

There is a tree right outside my office at work and someone in the office above me has bird feeders on their window ledge that drop feed down on to my window ledge. This means I usually have a lot of birds right outside my window (and inside it too if I leave it open too wide!). With all the birds around there’s usually a lot of twittering and cooing going on, which is why I looked up from my desk today, wondering why it was so quiet outside. Immediately I saw the reason for the silence – a sparrowhawk.

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Birding at the Edges


I recently read The Urban Birder by David Lindo so I’ve had birds on the brain. Not that they’re ever far from it.

Back home I loved watching the birds in our garden, and despite not having a garden now I try as much as possible to pay attention to birds. These days my birding mainly takes the form of half snatched bird songs and the odd glimpse. Continue reading


Explorations: University Park Campus

View if the Trent Building and the lake

View if the Trent Building and the lake

I recently moved to Nottingham with my boyfriend and although I love our little second floor flat I’ve definitely been missing my garden back home and my weekly jogs round Alexandra Park. It just goes to show what a difference even a little patch of green can make. Also having shops right on our doorstep means I’ve been getting considerably less exercise, so yesterday I was determined to find a nice green space and go for a long walk. We settled on the University of Nottingham’s University Park Campus, which has a large boating lake and grounds that are open to the public. Continue reading

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Bowing Pigeons

Wood Pigeon

Wood Pigeon

Today as I was watching the garden through my binoculars I noticed two wood pigeons on a branch. I don’t usually pay much attention to the wood pigeons. There are so many of them in our garden and they seem too close to their abundant inner city neighbours to be of interest. However, today I didn’t simply skim over them and I was rewarded with an interesting display. Continue reading