For Miss 12 and I the highlight was sighting a small flock of Cirl Buntings. They are the rarest of the introduced finches in our region but a group is known to be based in the quarry so I was hopeful we might spot them. We'll definitely go back later in spring when the males should be sporting their breeding plumage. On the way home we made a quick stop in to see the swans. We laughed at one of the cygnets whose moult has left him with an amusing cap of fuzzy down feathers - a bit like a medieval monk's tonsure in reverse!
The following night we went on a great Owl hunt. Owls are not common in and around the city but there is a park not too far from home that is supposed to be the most reliable place to spot Little Owls. So after picking Miss 12 up from training we headed to the park. We hadn't even turned the engine off and we could hear them. We hoped that by playing their calls we could lure them into good viewing range but sadly we didn't manage that. But we could certainly hear them and they were vocally responding to our recorded owl calls. Miss 12 is also pretty sure she caught a glimpse of one in flight. It was a weird feeling walking around in the dark in the undergrowth with our necks craned upwards (while trying not to walk into tree trunks or catch our feet on fallen branches or holes in the ground) - it often felt like something was watching us! The following day we returned in the late afternoon because this species can apparently sometimes be seen in the open then but we had no luck. We'll keep persevering though - Miss 12 is determined! She has a trip planned one night this week around sunset.
By mid-week the weather and various other aspects of our life began to pack up. First, and least importantly, were the science experiments. I couldn't get the chemicals for one of the experiments we were meant to do and the other experiment did not work. No idea why unless our chemicals were just too old. Undeterred I found a YouTube video and we sat through a very boring 5 minutes with the teacher "droning on" (Miss 12's words but I had to agree) before she finally got the experiment set up...and then announced that we'd have to do it ourselves if we wanted to see what happened. Aargh!!! The upside was that as we talked about what should have happened and why, Miss 12 was able to predict what would happen and could explain all the reasons. So I won't stress it and we'll just move on.
Then we got bad news about our house. We'd finally arranged to buy it and had managed to get a reasonable interest rate. Unfortunately the solicitor didn't get the paperwork sorted in time which means we lose the interest rate we had and face financial penalties with the bank. Then came potentially worse news regarding dh's job. A meeting has been announced regarding a "change proposal" for his department. We've got to wait until late next week to find out how many redundancies the "change" will involve. It's been on the cards for a while but a definite date for an announcement makes it that much more real. One the positive side it will be nice to have something concrete to deal with as opposed to the contradictory rumours and potential proposals which have been swirling for months and months.
Returning to the good stuff. This week saw plenty of reading (Miss 12 has started Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals which she is enjoying ), plenty of game playing (Yahtzee seems to have replaced Monopoly as the game of choice) and plenty of cooking (warm gingerbread certainly helps to brighten a cold damp day).
More than a year ago I started a simple daily calendar journal - like this but not nearly as pretty . Sadly I didn't keep it up but redicovered it the other day and loved reading what I was doing and what was important to me exactly one year ago. So I'm resolved to get back on the journalling bandwagon - an imperfect one will be better than not having one at all. And (thanks to this blog) I will be able to go back and fill in some of the gaps.