Today has seen the first stormy day of this year's Autumn, gale force gusts of SW wind and varying degrees of rain, a stay indoors day for the most of us - a reflection day.
The rain beats on the conservatory windows, the view from the study window is of the Thames Estuary shrouded in mist and rain, with nearby trees bent over in the wind, and somewhere indoors I can hear Nana snoring, probably behind the sofa in the lounge, her favourite place. Another afternoon and another CD, this time Van Morrison's "Inarticulate Speech of the Heart", haunting stuff and with it a dram or two of the best rum in the world - Appleton Jamaican rum. I've been to Jamaica several times and love the place and that rum is best drunk on a stool at a hot beach bar alongside the Carribean - today grey, wet and windy Sheppey will have to do.
One of my favourite memories of Jamaica is walking along a hot and deserted beach at 6.00 in the morning, paddling in the warm Carribean as I went, and following along the length of the beach, a flock of Turnstones as they ran up and down the sand at the water's edge in front of me. It seemed surreal, a few days previously I had seen Turnstones on Shellness beach and now there they were again in Jamaica, although obviously not the same birds, but it seemed like a bit of Sheppey had come with me, what great and well travelled birds they are.
Back to reality and the other morning, just after dawn, I was really pleased to see a small bat circling my garden. It seems ages since I last saw one, when I was a child they were as common as House Sparrows, now, well both are becoming more and more uncommon - what is happening to this world. Fortunately, I may only have the one bat but I still have a large and resident flock of House Sparrows in the garden and most of the year they average out at around 30+ a day on the bird tables.
I also came across this old photo of me in the 1970's. Double click on it and enlarge it and you will see I'm wearing one of my favourite stripey tank-top jumpers - so 1970's. I was checking one of several fyke nets for what is obviously a poor catch of eels and the fleet is now part of The Flood in front of the Wellmarsh Hide on Elmley RSPB reserve. Such perfect days, eel trapping all summer, rabbit catching all winter and birds and wildlife around you all the time.
Much experience, many memories, and much to reflect on during a stormy September day.