WFH in the age of Coronavirus

“May you live in interesting times…”

Isn’t that an ancient Chinese curse? The times are surely interesting… and uncertain, and scary.

Essential workers are allowed to move around. And while they do, they are putting themselves at risk. For others, who are unable to work, or who have been told to self isolate/quarantine, even more uncertainty and fear. And the rest? For us, working from home has become the new normal.

I confess that this has made very little difference to how we work here. The pattern of the day is relatively unchanged. A walk to work around the farm to check on the sheep, followed by checking and responding to emails. A Skype/Zoom call or two, then getting stuck into spreadsheets, website changes, the next marketing campaign, or coding a new feature for a customer.

Coffee time is a chance to catch up and maybe review what each of us is doing, although it’s easier to look out at spring emerging on the mountains. We aren’t alone, because there are others who are in isolation and working here too (our daughters). One a technology consultant from London. The other a Business Analyst who is teaching herself to code.

Then we go back to our webinars or conference calls. We’re all working to different schedules, with different priorities, but the community is buzzing…

By contrast, outside the birds don’t seem to have got the hang of social distancing at all. Buzzards and kites, wagtails and wrens, dunnocks and robins, woodpeckers and blackbirds. All hunting for food and early scouting for nest sites before the migrating birds arrive as the weather improves. Nothing changes – but everything is new…

The tail wags

This morning I wasn’t sure whether to be delighted or cross. There’s an open garden shed which has been used to store building materials and which we were about to clear out in readiness for … something. But then I saw two Pied Wagtails flying in and out – one with nesting materials and the other with what looked like a beak full of food.

So now it seems our plans will be be put on hold for several months – wagtails raise at least two clutches of eggs in a season so we can’t do anything until all their broods are fledged.

In previous years they nested in a hole they found in the front wall of the farmhouse while it was being repaired – meaning we had to hold off pointing that section until they’d left. And last year they nested in a woodpile near the front door, so we couldn’t go near or use any of the wood until they’d finished.

The wagtails are regular visitors, and always cheer us up. It seems that they love it here. If only they’d pay attention to what we want to do!
So this year’s nesting location, just like the ones before, will make us slow down. And in the enforced hiatus give us a breathing space.

It’s another reminder to me that we share this place with the wildlife that was here before us, and the diversity we see is what makes the Black Mountains special. Even the smallest of birds…

Photo to follow (when I can sneak one without disturbing the nest)