where the writers are
The dawn chorus times two

Goodness me, but getting up at 2am is a whole new world. Astonishingly I can actually be ready to leave the flat in an hour, if I really put my mind to it (rather than the customary two hours), so as we were primed to leave at 3.30am, I had half an hour to spare, hurrah. Which I used for doing the final final run through of my upcoming short story, Painting from Life for Eternal Press. So all set for the publication date of 7 May then, double hurrah. Never say I'm not committed to my attempt at a writing life, eh.

The rest of the morning (and what a long, long morning it's been ...) has been spent enjoying the Dawn Chorus walk at Pulborough Brooks. There were loads of equally crazed people there too - so many that the group had to be divided in two and take different routes round the reserve. It was marvellous. The nightingales were incredible and to hear the rest of the birds (and with the guide telling you which was which if you didn't know) join in gradually was utterly and amazingly magical. If you ever get the chance to do something like that, I can wholeheartedly recommend it. But wrap up warmer than we did - the promised warm spring day didn't start until we left at about 11.30, dammit. Anyway, afterwards they gave us a much-needed cooked breakfast and we wandered round the whole reserve again, mostly on our own as it didn't open till later. So that was great. New birds spotted for this year included a little ringed plover, a nightingale, a willow warbler, swallows (though we also saw the first of them on a brief walk last week but I think I forgot to mention them), a whitethroat, a treecreeper, a pair of blackcaps and we heard a cuckoo plus a tawny owl. We also heard for some time the rather strange warbler they have at the reserve which is a cross between a chiffchaff and a willow warbler - it starts out singing like the first and then the song changes to that of the second. Weird, but that's birds for you. So that's a total of 112 new birds this year. Well, gosh. Not only that, but we saw huge amounts of primroses - once the light came up - and the first of the bluebells. Spring is definitely here then ...

This afternoon, I've concentrated on submissions, sending off one short story which was rejected (shame ...) yesterday, my comedy fantasy story that I was too ill to read at last week's event, and a set of five poems. Here's hoping some of them find a home.

Tonight, I'm gearing myself up for major dinosaur trauma in Primeval and then I think there's something on about the young Queen Victoria, so that might be worth watching. I'll probably be ready for sleep by then though. Seriously ready ...

Today's nice things:

1. Signing off the final version of Painting from Life
2. The dawn chorus
3. Real spring flowers
4. Sending out another round of submissions
5. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website - is that the nightingale or the lark?...