I've always been a Tolkien fan (not sure whether that's cool or not nowadays), so I read Brian Appleyard's article in the Sunday Times about the forthcoming release of a new volume, The Children Of Hurin, with interest.
It's good stuff, but it annoyed me in one respect, namely when Appleyard claims that the main influence on the story is Wagnerian. Now I'm no expert on The Silmarillion and that side of Tolkien's invented mythology, but I'm pretty sure that the whole Turin story (which forms the heart of this new edition) took its lead from the Finnish Kalevala. Even more importantly, when he did use Germanic myths, Tolkien certainly took nothing directly from Wagner. Instead, both drew from the same sources, with the difference being that Tolkien generally knew them at first-hand, in their original forms. He had a pretty low opinion of the composer, particularly the way in which he allowed Teutonic myth to be used for rather dubious German nationalist purposes.
Elsewhere, I'm still going at NaPoWriMo2007, with variable success. Yesterday was a bit rushed, but the weekend did produce a couple of pieces that might go somewhere with a little work.
On the birding front, you can catch up with things at the Bird Watching blog. Nothing spectacular, but in addition to what's mentioned there, there are a few Curlews around on my patch at the moment, apparently breeding. I hope so. They're always favourites of mine.