This month, the month of May, is perhaps my favourite of the year. Although I wonder if this is partially because it was when I was born, it is certainly due to the promise of warmer days, the unfurling of leaves, the return of the migrants, the feathering of nests and the lengthening of the days (up here rather extreme lengthening). May is a marvellous month.

The view from the cottage window.
The view from the cottage window.

I went out gold-panning at the weekend with the family, just over in the next county of Sutherland. This turned into something more of an adventure than perhaps we thought it would. Orlando, the sprocker spaniel, discovered rat poison in the airing cupboard of the cottage we were renting — cue a return journey home for some of us to get him to the vet (3+ hour round trip). He was injected to induce vomiting and put on tablets to ensure his blood would clot, in case he had eaten any. Fortunately it appears he hadn’t, which was wonderful news, but the experience was rather frightening — and created a series of “what ifs”. Imagine if that had been a child? Shiny blue things…

Goldrush Country!
Goldrush Country! (The specks on the ridge are red deer.)

We did get some panning done, finding many garnets and lots of black sand — but no obvious gold. I say obvious, because I brought back a jar or two of paydirt, in order to sluice it at home (you aren’t allowed to use sluices where we went). Will there be gold? Does it matter? (I’m actually just as excited by the garnets, as I have ideas to use these in certain projects…)

Deer from the cottage window
Deer from the cottage window, evening sunlight.

In wildlife news, there were many, many deer in the valley. Too many, but it was lovely to see them close up, although one always wonders which will be shot for “sport” later in the year… I also saw several cuckoos, including, most wondrously, a pair together — the male actually drawing off meadow pipits whilst the female dropped to their nest to lay her little be-egged parasitic child-changeling-to-be. This was something I have never seen before. Quite special and really a true marvel of nature.

I have so much work to do this month — 30k to 40k words of it, to be a little more precise. Not to mention all the many other things I really need to do (make presents, garden work, sort through the lofts etc). Still, I get to look forward to a trip to Edinburgh at the end of May, where I’ll be doing some research for a secret project, as well as staying with awesome people (one of my sisters and her/my friend).

I managed to get some work done yesterday morning, before being rudely interrupted by a migraine — only my third this year, which is pretty good going. At one time I was getting them every week and sometimes many within the week. I cannot work under the sickly fluorescent lights of most office spaces — this much is clear. And, although I still feel stress (my other major trigger), it is all of my own making — I have chosen a path and, despite the uneven surface, I am glad to be on this journey. This stress doesn’t seem as stressful as being stuck doing something I don’t want to do.

Now I must carry on with making a birthday present for another of my sisters, whose birthday it is tomorrow. Then perhaps some more words. Always more words. (Note — I have been trying to get this written and published for ten and a half hours now…)

May. It’s Busy.

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