The Swale ahead. Meadow pipit here and skylark
Train journey: Catford to Teynham, via Bromley South
Journey time: Leave 9.03am, arrive 10.17am
To The Swale, that once-was river and now slip of sea between mainland Kent and the Isle of Sheppey. My first time.
It was James Massey that had me heading to these flatlands. Tweeting as
@ConyerBirdman he’d posted photos of shore lark and snow bunting, which I’d never seen, and yellowhammer, which I’d liked to have seen more of. Continue reading “Birding By Train: Conyer, The Swale”
Cloudless over Rainham Marshes
They came at dusk, their wings made rosy by the last of the sun, and coasted in a widening ellipse from above us out across the marshes and over the reeds.
Effortless they looked, almost lazy, but absolute masters of the moment. Untroubled and apart. Astonishing.
And to think I was going to go home early.
Continue reading “Owls Over Rainham”
It is the evening of October 4, the feast day of St Francis, and Bomerano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast is celebrating.
Fireworks send thunderclaps echoing around the valley and down to the sea, silencing the barking dogs and an unknown caged bird just below us whose call sounds like a turkey doing a bad impression of itself.
Continue reading “Amalfi: Higher Than The Sun”
Rainham Marshes, a place worth finding yourself
RSPB Rainham is a body of marshland at London’s Essex border.
The Dartford Crossing towers beyond its crown. Under the pylons at its flank among a clank of industrial units at the railway edge is a depot or perhaps factory for red double-decker buses.
Continue reading “Rainham Marshes – Things Remembered And Never Known”
Sex Pistol co-founder and guitarist Steve Jones has brought out his candid and entertaining autobiography called Lonely Boy and I interviewed him for work about it.
He spoke to me for about half an hour on the phone from his home in LA and there wasn’t space to include everything he said so here’s the full transcript.
It covers writing the book, the good times, the bad times, Donald Trump, Prince Harry and the so-called Brex Pistols.
Continue reading “Interview with Steve Jones about being a Sex Pistol and his autobiography Lonely Boy”
I was wearing tracksuit bottoms and compression socks when I did this but there was no one around. You may have company so, you know, be safe.
Think of us, honey lips, and maybe run a bath, drink some wine. Alice is a bit louder. She may not be the only one. Sorry for that…
Oh, and Ryley rocks
The gates of the Thames Barrier are called Alpha to Foxtrot. This is Alpha, on the south side, which closes first with Echo and Foxtrot on the north side. The bigger ones in the middle then close one at a time
UPDATED with new new pictures, taken by Deon. It’s easy to tell which are his. There’s more of his stuff
Because they only carry out a routine closure of the Thames Barrier six times a year, it is treated, in a small-scale, very English kind of way, as something of an event.
There are already a handful of spectators when we arrive at just after half eight on a Sunday morning – middle-aged couples in the main and some young families, cameras ready.
Continue reading “Closing Time, Thames Barrier”
The Dashwood Mausoleum, West Wycombe Hill
Let’s call him Bill Franklin. We meet him on West Wycombe Hill, by the huge, walled mausoleum to Sir Francis Dashwood (1708-1781), who founded the Hellfire Club and hosted its meetings in chalk caves he had excavated some 100m below our feet.
Continue reading “The Prophet Of West Wycombe Hill – the most cheerful man alive”
Between Dunwich and Walberswick
Starting the day eating bacon cooked on a gas burner is one of life’s simple joys. As is brewing fresh coffee on the same.
Continue reading “Southwold Milestones And Memory (part two)”
Beach before first swim
I know the first time I remember coming to Southwold because there’s a photograph of me and Macey buried up to our necks in the sand.
Continue reading “Southwold Milestones And Memory (part one)”