Birding By Train: Conyer, The Swale

The Swale ahead: meadow pipit here and skylark
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”

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Birding By Train: Conyer, The Swale

Owls Over Rainham

Cloudless over Rainham Marshes
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”

Owls Over Rainham

Amalfi: Higher Than The Sun

Towards Capri
Towards Capri

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”

Amalfi: Higher Than The Sun

Rainham Marshes – Things Remembered And Never Known

Rainham Marshes
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”

Rainham Marshes – Things Remembered And Never Known

Interview with Steve Jones about being a Sex Pistol and his autobiography Lonely Boy

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”

Interview with Steve Jones about being a Sex Pistol and his autobiography Lonely Boy

Closing Time, Thames Barrier

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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 here

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”

Closing Time, Thames Barrier