It was misty with low cloud and a fresh east wind on December 2. Around 9 am. I noticed that the sky was full of weaving lines of birds bearing south at about 100 ft. I confidently identified them as Golden Plover, a bird that, in the sixties, used to arrive around late January just as the shooting season ended. The Plover is one of our fastest flying game birds and presents a real challenge to the guns.
One shot sends the whole flock into an instant swoop for cover offering a difficult target. Similar to a shoal of fish, birds have the knack of turning as one from the first day they can fly or swim – unlike clever man of this planet you never see them practising for hours on a parade ground, birds and fish have the technique born in them. The soldier just gets shouted at if he gets out of step – the bird or fish that goes the wrong way ends up as someone’s dinner.
The reason I have mentioned the ‘Goldie’ is because he comes here from the Arctic and only arrives before bad weather. Perhaps, in the face of ‘climate change’ he has made a mistake, no doubt we shall soon know.
I hope the planners who have put a blight on building the new surgery on the old Ferry Road School site have got it wrong. If they haven’t I pity the people living in Holland – over one third of that country is below sea level and the inhabitants take pride in adding to their land mass by draining even more areas and winning extra ground back from the sea every year. Not so in My England. Here we obey the rules of Brussels and are forced to live with the fear of floods or, as in the instance of the Environmental Agency, encourage the sea to reclaim land our forefathers worked so hard to drain and turn into good rich soil. Sea and flood defences seem not to matter, they still raise river bank walls, cutting off the flood plains then take the credit for filling them up with water by pump instead of letting God doing it by gravity letting the water soak into the earth. The river at the back of my home this year has had little in the way of rise, but a lot of fall. Every time rain is forecast the environment Agency lets all the water out to run into the sea – whether it rains or not – just in case! Why they don’t preserve it in large or small reservoirs beats me. Next year they will be screaming about a water shortage! The more they pump out, the quicker the water runs from the land and silts up the river. It can be seen in huge banks where the Brede meets the Tillingham. If it is not dredged it just stores up trouble for future generations.
The experts came up with the idea to remove the beach from the mouth of the river at Rye Harbour. Had they used the money, spent transporting the beach, for putting in new groins to contain the stones and protect the West wall of the Harbour Mouth that same wall would not have been knocked over by the first gale of this winter. Now the Agency is spending vast sums of cash importing large stones from France to shore the structure up! Meanwhile, despite the Agencies efforts to move beach along to Pett, the mighty ocean shifts the beach back to where it wants it.
Bother the experts! The mighty man upstairs now seems to be the only one who cares not for red tape. He created this earth and will do his utmost to let us know how best to use it.
Our forefathers learned to use nature to their advantage. They had the sense to stand back and gauge her beat. They did not rush ahead with a new idea but first asked the question, why is like it is. They made improvements, not alterations.
Rye’s Own January 2004
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