Things have been a little quiet here at Polyolbion recently, but it's the calm before the storm, because I've got a whole load of half-written pieces ready to finish and post up.
For starters, there's reviews of Rob A Mackenzie's The Opposite Of Cabbage and Andrew Philip's The Ambulance Box, both from Salt, and both very fine books indeed. I've read and re-read them several times, and keep going back to revise my original thoughts, but I'll get something completed over the bank holiday weekend.
Speaking of my fellow HappenStancers, I'll be reading with Rob, Andrew and James Wood at the Word Power bookshop in Edinburgh, at noon on June 20th, so come along if you can. Edinburgh's always a pleasure, but it'll be great to catch up with the others and talk poetry.
I've also been reading The Salt Companion To Lee Harwood, edited by Robert Sheppard, and Not The Full Story: Six Interviews With Lee Harwood, by Kelvin Corcoran. Harwood's a poet I enjoy a lot, and it's been fun looking deeper into his work with the help of these two books.
And finally, I spent last week on a working trip to the Algarve. The sun shone, and the birding was excellent. Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Spectacled Warbler, Rock Bunting, Crested Tit, masses of Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Kentish Plovers and Whimbrels (the latter not a bird I see often over here), loads of Little Terns, and a big fall of migrants at Cape St Vincent, including Golden Oriole, some very smart Pied Flycatchers, and absolutely masses of Spotted Flycatchers.
Oh, and there was a close-range Otter, and a very showy displaying Little Bustard, which I managed to digi-bin. I haven't downloaded and tidied up the pics yet, but I'll post them later. In the meantime, enjoy that gratuitous shot of two Bee-eaters (not mine), just because we saw loads and they're a glorious bird.
I almost forgot. I got home to find that some great rarities had turned up on my local birding patch, so I dashed around yesterday seeing a Pectoral Sandpiper at Cossington Meadows, and two Whiskered Terns at Willington Gravel Pits (there had been eight earlier in the day, but a Peregrine spooked them).