Tag Archives: courses


Last weekend I was on a course in Yorkshire for the weekend, learning how to identify grasses, being geeky about botany and generally enjoying the outdoors. It was fun, which was no surprise. I always enjoy these courses, the people are friendly, and I love the challenge of learning new things. Spending time with a group of like-minded people, even if I don’t know them to start with, is refreshing, inspiring and strengthening. It reminds me there are other people struggling with the same things I am, working towards the same aims. And also that those that have made it aren’t super-human geniuses but ordinary people like me. I always return feeling like I can get there, and that all these things are possible.

However, when it comes to actually going, to packing my things and leaving home for a few days, I always wish I wasn’t going. It suddenly feels like the worst thing in the world, which this time was a bit harder because instead of just leaving my own flat I was leaving *our* flat, and Chris, for the weekend. Its something that I wish I didn’t have to do, and I’d rather be doing anything else.

But then, if I know its going to be really good when I get there, why is this? I guess its the fear of the unknown. Even if its not a big fear, and its not a big unknown, its still something I can’t anticipate and there’s a part of me which wants to stay with what I know.

Human nature. Its a funny beast.

Learning curves

So this week I had a course from work. It was kinda full on, including the weekend and evenings, and one all nighter with the bats (that I thought I’d got away from), but I learnt lots of new stuff, I got to go up into the hills and explore the heather moorland (this is fun in the books of a geeky botanist),

This week reminded me of the reasons I want to do this, and the fact that this is still what I want to spend my time doing, what I want to aim for. To play an active role in the way we look after the habitats and species around us, to be involved in the decisions which are made about how these declining habitats are managed, to know each day that I believe in what I’m doing. And at the same time, to be able to spend my days mucking about on hillsides recording plants. Yes, I already mentioned the geek thing.

The other thing about this week was that I met new people. It sounds a bit exaggerated to say I made friends with them, since it was only a week and I may very well never see most of them again, but for that week, they were friends. There are friends you’ve known for years, and you know each other inside out, and know you can ring them any time or just show up and they’ll put the kettle on. But then when you’re used to that, when everyone you know fits that category, you start to wonder if its possible to start that again with complete strangers. Which is part of the scariness of moving away.

This week, I spent time with a group of fun, interesting, good humoured (and satisfyingly sarcastic!) people, and had a really good time learning about them and telling them about me. We went to the pub one night, one I picked since I know the area, and over a couple of beers we chatted. I can’t remember the last time I went to a pub with a group of people I barely know. It was kinda scary. But it was good. Really good. And in a way its sad, cos these were people who, if they lived nearby, I could see myself spending lots of time with, and yet they’re scattered over the whole country. But in another way, they showed me that it is possible to find new friends, to meet people you click with, people who can someday become those you know so well. Which was kinda important.