And that Dickensian feel leads me nicely into today's weather and how it's been. My normal weekend ritual of being on the reserve to see in the dawn was curtailed immediately I got up and looked out of the window - thick mist and the eerie wail of fog horns, somewhere out to sea. Eventually, with the Sunday papers read, porridge ate and frustration setting in, I left for the reserve at 9.00. Joni Mitchell's "Hejira" CD was in the car's player and listening to that was enough to make any day seem great. On arriving at the reserve the mist was even thicker, you can just make out the reserve's barn in the photo below.
In his "Great Expectations" Dickens captured the cold and misty nature of these North Kent marshes really well and as the bubbling call of some unseen Curlew rang through the eeriness of the mist this morning it was hard not to experience what he was writing about.
Here a lone crow sits atop an old willow, it's "cawing" calls like the forerunner to something evil about to happen, or was my imagination starting to run away with me.
Sometimes on morning like this, the sun appears, disappears, and then eventually re-appears for good. It's like the curtains on a stage suddenly being pulled back to reveal the scenery in all it's glory. This morning that never happened and indeed, it remained, in varying degrees of thickness, very misty all day. What always amazes me on such days, is how much sounds travel and make who, or whatever made them, sound so much closer. At one stage I could hear voices and on straining to hear what was being said, it became clear that it was some fishermen on an unseen boat out in The Swale, a risky business if they can't see the shore.
This morning the grass across the marsh was heavily covered in silvery droplets of water from the overnight dew and mist and it always serves as a handy way of identifying who or what has been about, such as me, below. I was sober, honest!
One of the benefits of the recent weeks of damp and warm weather has been the continuous growth of mushrooms, hundreds of them. Last week my girlfriend and I picked a large bag of them and she converted them into delicious mushroom soup, yet so few people seem to pick them these days.
So there we are, I heard a few birds but saw bugger all, not the sort of day to excite many of the plethora of modern day young birdwatchers, who need many, or rare birds, to make a day worthwhile. But for me it was different, it had atmosphere, I re-lived childhood days and books I'd read. Getting back to the car and switching on the engine, there was Joni again, singing "Song to Sharon" - today'll do for me!