Sunday, June 20, 2021

Big Baby


Yesterday this starling and her large, demanding baby were hanging around our bird feeders. The baby could already fly and, although it was a bit clumsy, it seemed to be doing pretty well for itself. It's probably not going to be getting food from Mom (or it could be Dad, I suppose) much longer.


Olga and I took a little neighborhood walk, but it was relatively damp out and she wasn't too interested in venturing farther. See that building in the background, above? It's a former Council office building that's being torn down. Until recently it had people living in it, as guardians, but they've all moved out and now a plywood wall (known here as a "hoarding") has gone up around it and the windows have been removed. The building site and adjacent land to the right of that brick wall is being redeveloped for housing.

I sorted out all my Covid testing for my upcoming flights. One of my co-workers referred me to a site that supplies basically all the tests needed to get in and out of the UK; I double-checked to make sure they meet government and airline requirements and it appears they do. So I ordered and scheduled my departure test, which I have to take within 72 hours of my outbound flight, as well as my return-to-the-UK test, which I'll take in Florida right before I leave, and my two PCRs that I have to take upon my return to this country. What a rigmarole!

The tests add £300 to the cost of my trip. But now that I'm not renting a car (thanks to my stepsister's loaner) and because I got a good deal on my initial airfare, I don't feel too bad about it. It is what it is.

No slugs on my wildflower seedlings this morning! Yay! I'll be happy if I get just a few to bloom. I'm pretty sure the cornflowers have all been eaten, but there are others that don't seem as palatable -- I don't even know what they are yet. Time will tell!

45 comments:

  1. I have just been out onto the patio, and counted 5 slugs and one huge snail moving around. The snail went for a flight over to next door.....their garden is a 3 ft high wilderness, so I am not wrecking their beautiful plot!!

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    1. With all that vegetation, the snail is probably happier than ever!

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  2. Oh the shot of the starlings is wonderful (I need more adjectives). Friends of ours in Colchester were hoping to visit us, but the out-of-pocket tests for two were going to costs them four times the cost of their tickets. They could afford it but won’t on principle. Oh well. I checked on car rental for my trip to the States. A lot more than the entire trip will cost. Never mind.

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    1. Yeah, the car rental was by far the worst aspect of this whole trip. I am SO happy to avoid that.

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  3. Agree - a total rigmarole. I'm off to France in ten days - total faff with all the tests but I'm determined to go.

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  4. "PLEASE BE KIND TO EACH OTHER" is good advice in these trying times. You never know how other citizens may have been touched by the pandemic. Have a nice day Steve!

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    1. It's good advice at all times, but sometimes difficult to remember in the hustle & bustle of daily life.

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  5. Out of curiosity: Are these tests supervised? How do "they" know the results are yours?

    I am not being funny here. I have known people to use others' urine and stuff to circumvent certain "complications". We all know the joke about the MALE patient whose doctor comes back with the result congratulating him on being pregnant.

    That "big baby" photo is as heartwarming and poignant as your second one is bleak.

    When are you off? What will Olga do during your absence? Other than wondering where you are hiding.

    U

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    1. A good question about the testing...

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    2. Yes! They are supervised online. They mail you a kit, you get online with someone who watches you take the test and get the results, and then they send you a letter which I believe you have to somehow validate with photo ID. I'll know more about how it all works when I do it!

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  6. What a wonderful photo of the starlings! Travelling is going to be a lot less fun and cost much more from now on I think. I do hope you enjoy your trip. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

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    1. I hope it becomes a bit more normal eventually (and I think it will).

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  7. Why do I think international air travel will not change from such a restrictive state for a long time. Anyway, you've got it sorted.

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    1. Yeah, it's good to have it all planned out.

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  8. That top photo could be award-winning. It's great! And sort of sums up parenting (or at least some stages of it) perfectly.
    And the bottom photo- well, it looks like a prison.
    So when are you leaving?

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    1. July 1, returning on the 16th. Olga doesn't know yet.

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  9. I'm glad you were apply to sort out all the testing for your trip and that you'll be able to visit your mom.

    Baby birds, the same size as their parents, demanding to be fed, remind me so much of humans.

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    1. It's true! You'd think they could manage on their own, but NO, they're still playing video games and living in the basement!

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  10. Flying has always been a hassle and now it's worse.
    Watch out for the crazy loons on the planes. There are a lot of them.

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    1. I'll keep my head down. I'm usually a pretty inconspicuous traveler.

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  11. It being Father's Day and all, I'm calling it a Papa Bird, but whichever, when the hatchling is bigger than the parent, it's time to get its own worm. (Although I wouldn't have used that logic on my son, who was 6 ft at 15.)
    Can't believe all the hoops you're having to jump through.

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    1. Surely it must be just days away from having to fend for itself!

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  12. That startling photo is truly great. What a perfect moment.
    It surprises me that you have to pay for all the Covid tests. I thought all things related to Covid would be covered by insurance, since it's mandated that you get the tests to help prevent the spread.

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    1. We get free test kits at work from the NHS, so in some ways the government (which is our insurance) does pay for routine testing. But airlines, for some reason, won't accept the NHS tests -- I assume it's because the tests need to be supervised and the NHS ones aren't.

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  13. "Rigmarole" is a good word to describe things . But then, do I want some guy bringing covid back home to me?

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    1. Good point -- the rigmarole DOES serve a purpose.

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  14. With the Delta variant coming to the forefront, it's better to be safe then sorry and maybe super sick!

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    1. Yeah, it's true. Always better to be careful, for everyone involved!

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  15. I see that too, the grown youngster still demanding food from the parent. eventually the parents do just ignore them.

    I'm glad you have your travel plans and all the attending BS straightened out. a friend of mine's husband got a year's job in London and she just posted that she is finally cleared to leave their apartment.

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    1. Yeah, there is a mandatory ten-day quarantine upon entering the UK from the US. Not looking forward to that!

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  16. Glad you will be safe coming and going to Florida. Less than 2 weeks until your trip! Your summer will zoom!

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  17. Expense and hassle, patience and that is even before boarding the damned plane! Bless your heart, Your Mother may not know what you have to do to be there for her but in her heart she knows. You are the best!

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    1. She won't know, but that's OK. This is all more for me than her, I suspect.

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  18. That is a lot of testing that you have to through for your flight not to mention the cost of it. I didn't ask Julie if she had to pay for her tests when she went and returned from Iceland.
    Your bird photo is priceless!

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    1. I'm sure she did. It's just another aspect of flying these days, and it makes a huge difference in cost if you're used to flying on discount airlines. I paid more for tests than I would for some plane tickets!

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  19. Oh wow Steve, it is a rigmarole of all that you have to do just to board a plane. It is really uncomfortable wearing a mask just for the 5 hour flight from Texas to Nevada so I cannot imagine the trip from the UK to Florida. OMGosh I wish you lots of patience and I am glad that your sister is loaning you her car so that does take off some of the cost. I am just glad that you are going to be able to go visit your family and friends.

    I am trying to get over to blog on my blog but I am so tired that I can't see straight. I have lots of kids here, and I have actually lost my last marble... Hugs, have a great day/evening... xxx

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    1. I wear a mask all through my workday, every day, so I don't imagine this will be much different. We'll see!

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  20. That youngster has a big beak. Mom and Dad will be fed up with him quite soon.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Definitely designed to be an easy target for mom!

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  21. I love how baby birds are often bigger than their parents - it's so funny to see!

    You know, I've never had to take a COVID test, but I just might get my chance next month (I'm supposed to have one before my colonoscopy, but they might change the requirement by then).

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    1. They're not fun, but they're not terrible, either. Just some minor discomfort. (Compared to a colonoscopy, anyway!)

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