It's not all doom and gloom.
For one thing, not working means you have a great deal of freedom to do other stuff! And get paid for it! Small artwork commissions, the odd science workshop, a bit of admin and co-ord for other events...it all adds up. I branched out into cards and postcards for sale (admittedly nothing much has come of this yet, but then I was always lousy at marketing!). Mum and I went back to Loch Awe. There was the long Xmas break - no need to rush back north despite the weather. The only problem is knowing what day of the week it is when you don't have some sort of structure to your life. I drift into a nocturnal kind of schedule if left to my own devices (definitely a night owl rather than a lark!) ...which isn't so bad in the depths of winter when you don't see much sun anyway, but I do have to keep an eye on my tendency to suffer from SAD.
And - to put it bluntly - I was bored!
So when Richard the Reserve Manager asked if I'd be interested in a part-time job as administrator for the local reserves, I nearly bit his hand off.
So it's official. I'm back at Strathbeg in a paid capacity for the third time in my (post-RAF) life, dealing with the bits of paperwork that otherwise would keep the rest of the staff from doing what they should be doing out in the field. Which suits me fine! The view from the office is better, for one thing - my 'birds seen from my window' list stands at 16, (it's a small window at the back of the building) including great spotted woodpecker and sparrowhawk. There is always something going on, and for the first time in ages, I'm not working on my own. At the end of the day, I can wander over to the Visitor Centre, do a bit of bird watching and admire the work the Konik ponies are doing controlling the rough grass (and watch the first of the foals galloping about).
It's pretty good, really.