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And I think to myself... what a wonderful world.

It’s my favourite time of year and my favourite birds down at the park have come safely through the bird flu epidemic. Punky, the swan with the pierced beak (He got tangled up with a fishing hook when he was a year old and we kept him as calm as you can keep a very cross swan till the marvellous people from the Abbotsbury Swannery could get there to disentangle him and went to feed him every day afterwards cos his beak was sore) and his mate Lucky have had seven gorgeous baby cygnets, one of whom at 2 weeks old can already hiss and arch his neck (or hers. Not sure how you tell!) Just like his daddy. Their babies from last year, Pinky and Perky, are now beautiful young swans who know us and come to be fed, which is such a relief because I love the continuity of watching new life grow and grieve for every lost one, even though rationally I know they have large clutches because mortality rates are a fact of life and we’d be overrun it wasn’t.

There’s a second batch of cygnets on the main lake and there are goslings galore. There are moon jellyfish in the salt water lagoon. There are camera-shy cormorants and we were close enough to see one catching a fish yesterday. And if we go across the road to the Harbourside Park, even with getting distracted, then I only live 25 minutes walk from a cute little beach. Which is a dream come true, and I bless the National Lottery which gave a grant for a massive redevelopment there every day. Some day I may even buy a ticket. We now have two sites of special scientific interest and even a seahorse colony (and yes, I have seen wild seahorses! Aren’t I incredibly lucky?) And there’s a pod of dolphins off another local beach. You can see a video here… And that is so far beyond amazing that I don't have words. People travel so far to see this and I have it a 10 minute drive away.

I indulge myself with a walk most days because I tend to start work at 5-30 after I’ve done my quiet household chores, simply because for a long time that was the only way I could get any writing time, so, as I type this, the washing is almost finished and ready to go out, chicken and chorizo pasta sauce is simmering in the slow cooker, I’ve dealt with all the incoming emails, and it’s light outside. My cat, the glorious Catling (although I suspect I’m actually her human!) is curled up beside me, washing amazingly noisily and losing the competition with her son Willow to see who can lose the most fur. I have my first cup of coffee of the day at hand and life is good even though quite a lot of me hurts. (Rheumatoid arthritis can be so not fun...)

One of my other ongoing projects, which is making our home more like a hotel, is coming on nicely. I’m waiting for a sign and a picture to arrive. The picture is like a window with a sea view and it’ll go in the porch that now has a seaside theme because I live close to the sea and below it will go a sign with an important reminder because it reads “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world…”

Because it is, you know, and I am happier than I’ve ever been even though being immunocompromised means that restaurants, shops, theatres and cinemas and any other crowded place aren’t an option any more, and I have to meet people outdoors. But being outdoors means seeing all those amazing things and walking is making me so much fitter and healthier (Another work in progress, and did I mention I’m now wearing a UK size 12? US Size 8 which sounds far more impressive? I wouldn't gloat with other people, but I know you'll understand.)

The first draft of the Amy Hammond book that’s based round the Coronation is coming on nicely, and Amy is just about to do the wrong thing with the very best of intentions while Peter isn’t there to keep an eye on her… So I hope you all have fun this week,and the weather improves a bit.

And here are three pictures, because you can never have enough baby birds, can you? They're life and hope and... yes, I am soppy. It's in my job description!


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