Sunday, 23 March 2008

Snow joke

Happy Easter! High winds and even snow over the holiday weekend have put big holes in my plans to spend the four days chasing waders and other migrants all over the East Midlands. I haven't even got over to Watermead Park to look for the female Scaup yet (will do this afternoon, I think).

Early on Friday, I drove over to Willington to look for waders and a Rock Pipit at the gravel pits. It was a fruitless search, mainly because the wind was so strong it made using a scope impossible. Even standing up straight using bins was difficult, come to that. I did hear my first singing Chiffchaff of the spring, though, and on the journey there and back, I listened to that free CD of great poets of the 20th century given away with The Guardian last week. I enjoyed TS Eliot and Ted Hughes most of all, I think, but they were all fascinating to hear (Sassoon, Larkin, Plath and Heaney were the others).

Consolations have been plenty of sport (England back on top in the test, thanks to the admirable Ryan Sidebottom; Leeds destroying Bradford in the Superleague; Tigers winning a great EDF semi against Wasps yesterday; we won't mention City), a lot of reading and a lot of writing. I've more or less finished a short sequence of poems about the Midlands Revolt of 1607, and now have to start revising, honing and generally messing about with it.

In between, I enjoyed reading George Szirtes' review of Michael Hofmann's Selected Poems. I've only got one Hofmann volume, Acrimony, but I've read it again and again, and it's time I read more, I think.

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