Through the Window

A reminder that this is my diary. I love looking back to see what I was doing, say 10 years ago and realizing what a pompous fool I was! Not much has changed. Anyway, read it if you want.

I now watch birds with my window open. I am amazed how usually skittish birds don’t seem to mind me sitting about 3 meters away. I have added a hummingbird feeder.

Female Anna’s Hummingbird just outside the window! Click twice on these shots to get amazing hi-res versions.
Male Anna’s Hummingbird

I have been given a job! I have to proofread and edit text for a yearbook. I love doing this. I sit on my couch in front of my wonderfully cosy gas fire and tinker away at the text. To my left is the open window through which I can spot and eventually photograph bird action. Such a good way to pass the time. I will also get paid real money as opposed to the money you see on web bank statements. I will spend all this real money on the best food and wines for one unforgettable meal with friends in Okinawa.

Beside me on the couch – ready for action!
Red masked Parakeets feed on juniper berries
Bushtit in the gloaming
Another Parakeet
So cosy!

Topher and I drive down to SLAC to have lunch with Melinda. We worked together about 15 years ago. As soon as we get into the main building, people come up and hug and cry and ask for their money back. We have a wonderful time!

Topher White, old guy, JoAnne Hewett, Melinda Lee

Shucks, so good to meet lots of old friends and realize that, although we may not have met for years, we still love one another.

In Melinda’a office in front of a bling Einstein we made for the cover of symmetry magazine.

Driving home, I ask Topher when his next trip will be.

“I go to Egypt on Sunday.”

“Where in Egypt?”



“I have to give a talk at COP27.”

I, on the other hand, go to Clement St to get some See’s Candy.

They love this stuff in Okinawa, where I will shortly be going.

Clement is very Chinese.

Amazing Grace!
Wonderful homemade Dim Sum


Takeaway Chinese food.
Fish and Pork – $9
I buy fish.
Skate wings or Ailes de Raies. Raie au Beurre Noire is one of the classic fish dishes.

The fish shop is full of middle aged Chinese ladies who are all pushing in and squabbling, all in Chinese of course. They remind me of Pygmy Nuthatches. One lady, who has just pushed in front of me and is shouting at the poor serving guy, turns to me when she sees me buying skate and in a very plummy English accent asks,

“Excuse me, what is that fish? I have never tried it?”

“It is skate.”

“How do you cook it?”

“Well, I sauté it in black butter and capers.”

“Do you think I could steam it?”

“I am sure you could.”

“Thank you so much. I has been very nice speaking to you.”

She then turns back to the poor server and lets him have it with both barrels in strident Chinese.

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8 Responses to Through the Window

  1. virtuallyrachelgmailcom says:

    DEEE-LIGHTFUL!! Thanks for such an engaging update! I gather all is well with you and yours, and so do hope to spend time with you in person, sometime soon (jfyi, we are living in Stanford West). xoxox, Rachel

  2. JoAnne Hewett says:

    So good to run into you!! -JoA

  3. Cathy Franklin says:

    Hi Neil,
    Lovely photos and story! Will you be in SF the week after Thanksgiving? Would love to see you.

  4. Your missives are a delight!
    with every good wish, Rachel

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