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

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

All Change – Hastings To Rye

Clifftop grass and bracken
Clifftop grass and bracken

I’M not known for taking my time over a drink but even by my standards that pint of cider barely touched the sides.

As with many things, John Steinbeck’s Doc had it best in Cannery Row – the first for thirst, the second for taste. He was talking about beer but I wouldn’t bet against him developing a taste for cider if it had been readily available in hot Monterey. Continue reading “All Change – Hastings To Rye”

All Change – Hastings To Rye

Parkland Walk With Steinbeck

Platforms at the old Crouch Hill station
Platforms at the old Crouch Hill station

Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck is an account of a road trip the author undertakes across the US with his pet poodle, whose name informs the title.

It begins with a description of the restless spirit – the want for wandering we feel from youth and suffer into middle age and maturity. The need to be a bum sometimes.

Having decided to hit the road, Steinbeck says the bum must settle on three things. A reason for going; the route to be taken; and the means by which it will be covered.

I like this description: the bum within us wants to leave; our higher aspect seeks the reason.

Continue reading “Parkland Walk With Steinbeck”

Parkland Walk With Steinbeck