When I was a young lad we had a close family Christmas, my Dad being one of 4. There were over 20 of us in my Nan and Grandads council house on Christmas Day. I always remember my Uncle Don shoving a glass of Sherry in my hand (which I hated) and toasting Health and Happiness!
By now we must all know of the terrible news regarding Russell Slack's premature passing.
I met him in the 90's as I started to regularly watch Wheldrake Ings. 93 was a particularly intensive watch so I saw him quite a bit with Tim Dixon, Craig Ralston and Elaine. We spent many evenings down there in springtime till the light faded.
The great moment came on the 5th of May of that year.
I reached Tower Hide to see 3 Black-winged Stilts scribbled in the log!!! I couldn't see anything so I sprinted down to the refuge just in time to see them flying back towards Tower Hide. As I turned around I saw Russell standing there enjoying the view. We celebrated and quickly ran back to the hide. The birds stayed till 8.10pm (I remember it well) before they departed high to the west. A great evening.
We met many times in the following years and shared sightings on numerous occasions. I always felt he was a private person, very knowledgeable and dedicated to his "Patch".
I'm not going to pontificate about right and wrong or what's just, only to say we all should make the most of what we've got because none of us know how long we'll have it for.
Health and Happiness to you all...