On almost a daily basis people come up to me and say, “I wish I could have your job, I’m so envious.” Mmmm, I wonder if they would feel the same way today as I fought my way across Chislet Marshes in a torrential downpour trying to conduct a survey of a river? Possibly not.
My waterproof jacket was back in the car, having become drenched by a leaky bottle of iodine spray, the zip on my fleece, pock marked with burn holes, had chosen just this moment to break, water dripped down my neck, my waterproof trousers offered no resistance to the stinging driving rain. I was drenched, more drenched that I ever remember being.
I crawled under a hawthorn bush for cover but it was impossible, the rain came from all directions, bouncing up from the earth, sending the tracks into rivers. My notes were too sodden to read, even the kingfishers had taken shelter under the bridges. I gave up and slopped back to the car, peeling off the ‘waterproofs’ to reveal sodden, heavy layers of clothing underneath and drove home.
My dad on a weekly basis tells me I’m mad to do my job. “You should have worked in a bank,” he tells me. “Then you would have been rich.” I thought about it as I drove back down a spray ridden M2. Would I swap my walk across Chislet Marshes in the rain for a cosy dry job behind a desk? Would I hell.