From the old lifeboat house the other evening I watched a perfect
day end in a glorious sunset. The Globe of red fire rapidly vanished
among the trees of Winchelsea Hill. Turning to face the east I saw
the full moon rising into a clear sky after a summer like day at the
end of October – what a summer we have had. As I sat there I thought
of all those brave Lifeboat men that left this lonely place on that
stormy November morning, never to see another dawn or sunset. God
rest their souls.
Even now, seventy-five years later, there are still people like me
that remember the gift they gave to save others they did not know.
I fished that night without a torch, the sky was that light. At two
am. the next morning I had to collect my wife and daughter from a
very rare night out at the local Night Club in Rye. Still in a dream
I sat and watched the younger generation leaving the establishment.
Still thinking of those men who selflessly gave their lives, leaving
behind large families, who genes, no doubt, ran in many of those kids
pouring out of the Club. They seemed not to care, all they seem to
want is to go out, get drunk and make a lot of noise. The language
on that night was appalling and their behaviour was deplorable. To
some of them the outside wall of the building was the ideal place
to rid the body of excess drink, even some of the girls had no shame,
they looked on and giggled.
The lads of the Rye Fire Service had been called out in their fire
engines at 10.15, now at 2 am they were returning. The first engine
passed the milling crowd of youngsters and drew the attention to the
following appliance. They blocked the road jeering at it, the driver
had to stop to avoid an accident. The young girls and boys surrounded
the engine taunting the brave lads inside who wished nothing more
than to get home to bed. A glass bottle was thrown, it luckily bounced
off and smashed against the brick wall.
I was utterly ashamed to see the goings on. This was happening in
‘my Rye.’ Not an enforcement officer was in sight, just the presence
of a marked car parked surveying the scene would, I am sure, have
made the kids behave better. Some noticed me sitting waiting in a
peaked cap, these seemed to take note and pass by quietly.
I though of the Lifeboat men and the Firefighters and pondered the
thought that if the Police had not been ‘centralised’ they would have
been just as effective today as those other two services and order
would have been kept on our streets.
The A259 is sure getting more than its share of hold-ups again. This
time it was intentional, improvement they call it, well if you ask
me, the man who okayed the second half of the finished surface should
be ashamed. The stretch from Rye to the Pill Box corner is smooth
and quiet but the half from there to Winchelsea is rough and unfinished.
Is this an experiment in road surfaces?
Driest Summer Since 1921
The winter fish, cod and herring have arrived to mingle with the late
summer fish. The seasons are slowly leaving their way and real winter
will not show itself until December. Any rain now will be too late
for the trees now in their winter sleep, lets pray they survive after
the dry autumn to burst green again next April.
What a golden opportunity the Water Board has missed to dredge the
rivers around Rye. Not since 1921 has the marsh been so dry. Then
the Military Canal dried up in places. You could walk across at Appledore!
That year the rains did not fall until Boxing Day and the area we
live in experienced some of the heaviest rain in 100 years.
Preparations for the Rye Bonfire celebrations are taking shape, torch
making being completed, celebrity booked to fire the monster that
will rise on the Salts. So come on you Ryers, start to budget for
the collection please. Lets make it a year to remember. If you knew
the hard work that goes into the event and the hours spent organising
the night you would expect to get at least one pound an hour but not
so. This year let’s make it a gold collection, not silver, let’s make
it one pound a head, not a lot to ask with beer at £2.50 a pint or
cigarettes at £4 a packet.
From “Rye’s Own” November 2003 issue