Jimper’s Jottings April 2001

The Weather has Taken it’s Toll of Trees

This wet and windy Winter has taken its toll on the woods around Southern England. The floors of every copse are carpeted in dead wood. Soon this old wood will become infested with fungi, insects and lichen. Over time they will turn all the dead wood into humus for future plants and trees. The decaying wood becomes home for all the insects and upon them the birds will feast the whole year round. The wood being snapped off from the trees has the same effect as the gardener pruning his roses it gives the trees more vigour to grow and in the place of the old bough that fell it is not surprising to find two or more sprouting out.

Another thing that seems to have been blown away this winter is the black cat that sat along Barry’s Mill along side the Tillingham. I think it looks better now without the cat. The floods have done some good out in the countryside the silt they left behind is about the most fertile soil you can get.

The hawthorn is well on its way out now and it seems we shall not get such a good show this year as the leaf could be fully developed before the snow like flowers bloom. In our part of England there are two kinds of Hawthorn, if you look very carefully at the leaves you can tell the type by the shape. They are the southern and northern strain the northern type will be in leaf at least a fortnight before the native southern one. Look at a Hawthorn hedge and see if you can tell the difference.

A dry ten days at the end of February saw a burst of ploughing activity in the hills off the marsh. The flat lands alas were still too waterlogged at the beginning of March but give them a few days of easterly winds and the fields will soon be dry enough for tractors to patch the corn drowned in the winter.

Canadian Field Hospital

“Ryes Own” last month carried a feature about the hospitals in Rye during World War Two. One hospital that seems to be little known generally was the Canadian field hospital at Icklesham, I found out about this some years ago when at the age of 92 my father had to go to Hastings hospital for a small operation, when asked if he had been to hospital before as they had no records of him he said that this was the first time he had been inside a hospital. When asked why he had a surgical operation scar the story came out. People who lived through the War seldom talk about it. He described about an incident in the winter of 1942 when he was driving a van along the Military Road to Rye infront of a few Canadian lorries.

A German plane swooped form the sky and fired at them. One bullet passed through my fathers arm and another lodged in the engine block stopping the van. My father was in a bad way, the soldiers took him to their field hospital at Icklesham where the wound was repaired and father was treated. Notes were not passed to the NHS so there was no record of the incident. I should be grateful for any information about this Canadian field hospital, perhaps even a photo.

“Rye’s Own” April 2001

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