An ice-cold day out on the fens erecting new Barn Owl boxes and modifying old ones.
It's an interesting mix of art, craft and science.
The science is knowing from systematic observation what the bird's requirements are, for instance, the need for a clear approach to the box, the need for some kind of initial layer (we use wood shavings) to cover up the bare-boarded floor.
The craft consists of the skill in constructing the box so that it is easy to make, easy to assemble, easy to erect and easy to monitor and maintain; and thereafter, in knowing the tricks for erecting boxes in many varying situations: on brickwork, on beams, on trees, and so on.
The art consists in knowing where to put the box to make it maximally attractive to the birds. And it is this last that is the most fun, because, being an art and therefore imprecise, it is the most likely to cause differences of opinion between my colleague Peter and me. Not that we argue, you understand; it's just that sometimes he has difficulty seeing that I am right.
Just kidding, Peter. It's always a joy to be out on the fens, frozen goolies notwithstanding, not only because what we are doing is in itself worthwhile, but also because we get to see some wonderful parts of the fens and meet some wonderful people too.
The lunchtime BLT sandwiches from Budgen aren't bad either.