Sunday, 11 February 2018

Perhaps a Restless Farewell

In his 1960's song "Restless Farewell," Bob Dylan wrote:-

"oh a false clock tries to to tick out my time
to disgrace, distract, and bother me
and the dirt of gossip blows into my face
and the dust of rumors covers me
but if the arrow is straight
and the point is slick
it can pierce through dust no matter how thick
so I'll make my stand
and remain as I am
and bid farewell and not give a damn"

Ever since, I've tried to live by the sentiments in those last three lines, it's alienated some people, confused others, but not give a damn seems appropriate.

My blog feels like it is coming to an end, my best stuff (in my opinion) is in the past and new stuff is difficult to magic up - lack of enthusiasm, lack of subject material and a refusal to write blogs, like many people, that consist of  daily and personal diary facts written out in public. You know, the, I got up this morning, had my breakfast, read the papers, went out for lunch, ate this and that, came home put the fire on, walked the dog, watched the Winter Olympics and here's what happened in case you don't have the intelligence to understand what's going on, the domestic appliance repair man is coming today, and so on and on.
The blog was always about Sheppey's local history, my life in a stolen moment and of course, the Swale NNR. Unfortunately, the reserve, for various reasons, has become fairly boring, with little interesting or new to write about, low or non-existent water levels have rendered it devoid of the large bird numbers that it used to support. A chat with the local wildfowlers can often be the highlight of a winter dawn and usually that merely consists of "where've all the birds gone."

Birdwatching has also changed, these days, trying to get people interested in census's that involve walking around counting ordinary bird numbers, is difficult.  "Birdwatch cruising" as I call it, seems to be the norm along the Harty Road now. People cruise along the Harty Road in what seems like first gear. at a snails pace, in a warm car, looking for birds on the marsh on either side and totally oblivious to the fact that other cars are actually behind them and wanting to pass. Often, if a half decent bird is passing by, they stop their cars in the middle of the road and ignore those behind, or very reluctantly, with evil stares, pull over to the side of the road. I presume that most of them still have legs that work.
I, at nearly 71 and with arthritic limbs, still spend a few hours walking round the reserve most days, in bitter cold winds and mud and water to do my bird counting and census's - perhaps I'm just one of the last of an old school brand of birdwatcher.

So perhaps it's time for a Restless Farewell.


  1. Let me just be one voice that says "Please, don't stop blogging!"
    For one thing, I am very interested in the birds so I am always sad when one of my "birding bloggers" decides to stop writing.
    Up to you, of course, and I wish you well whatever you decide!
    Just noticed, I "follow" you but I do not show up over there on the side, for some reason, so count me as 101! :-)

  2. Thanks Kay, so glad to have you as No.101

  3. I know that you know your own mind Derek but please don't stop. Take a break from it by all means, but it won't be long before the spring is here and the world will look all the better - those 'birding cruisers' will have buggered off and your arthritic joints won't be so achy. I expect a post no later than late March!

  4. Oh dear. Even if there are no birds and no water there. Perhaps there other things going on. For example, has anyone ever seen a ghost or a ufo or had a strange experience in that mysterious locality of yours? Good luck, whatever you decide!

  5. I will echo the sentiments of Steve Gale. You know your own mind and have every right to make whatever decision you choose. What I will say is "Never say never" to the possibility of returning to the blog when temps and enthusiasm return with the onset of Spring!
    Take care mate - Dyl

    1. Thanks Dyl., if things in the Sheppey countryside and my life, become more interesting, then things will probably change.

  6. Derek - whether you continue or not has to be entirely up to you. I have enjoyed your time in blogland and have read your posts with interest. Mine,,I agree, are of the kind that you don;t like most of the time. It all depends upon your reason for blogging. When I began I could walk daily round the farm and report on what I saw - the first marsh marigold, the first yellowhammer, the day we started silaging. Now, with age and widowhood I have moved where there is not so much of interest. But over the years I have built up a circle of friends and I value that friendship. And that includes yours - I remember when you started you worried you were not getting any followers - well now you are and I am sure we would all miss reading about life on the reserve. But it is your choice.

  7. Pat, sorry if my blog sounded like I was knocking your blog, you know the respect and admiration that I have for you and clearly your kind of blog and the friends that it has attracted gives you great solace, and why not. But put simply, daily events from around your farm I found more interesting.

  8. Some people can write about their daily lives with great insight and I have found you (and Pat, as well) to be one of those people. I do enjoy reading what you write, but unless you have to do it for a paycheck, blogging should be for your pleasure most of all. I find myself taking a long break from writing posts for a number of reasons, but I hope to get back to it soon. But I spent far too many years feeling guilty for not getting enough done and I refuse to let my blog boss me around now that I have retired - I'll get back to it when I am ready. Hope life brings you good reasons to continue blogging, but only if you get some satisfaction from it. Cheers, Wilma

  9. Exactly Wilma, you have to enjoy it and I've found myself saying I must write something, but what - so a break until inspiration possible returns.

  10. I will of course be mentioning again about the domestic appliance engineer coming because he is due back this week. My life is fairly mundane and my blog is about the same interspersed with my interest in art. All blogs are different, some like diaries and some more specific. If I was writing on a specific subject like you do I am sure there would be times when there would be long gaps and not so much to say. I think this is one of those quiet points but you will be back when the Spring comes and changes occur on the Sheppey.

  11. Gawd blimey, as they say, how surprised was I to get a comment from you - but how pleased!
    It'd be worth writing a blog just so you and I could exchange points of view but in the meantime, thanks for coming aboard, you are very welcome.

  12. As a certain Mr Dylan once said, "It's hard to speculate what tomorrow may bring.."

  13. He also said "tomorrow is a long time"

  14. I'm 78, long since retired, sitting here in the U.S. reading blogs by people like you. It's refreshing to read your posts, and all the others. It isn't boring at all to me to read about what someone ate or did, or whatever - it gives me insight into the lives of others. We all have such different perspectives - it's what makes the world go 'round! I hope springtime will make you feel inspired to tell us about your world once more. God bless!!

  15. Thanks Ruth, it's comments out of the blue from people such as yourself that do indeed make me feel that the blog might be worth continuing - thank you.

  16. Well I for one sincerely hope that this is not your last post Derek. I find your independent, curmudgeonly attitude both appealing and refreshing. Please carry on.

  17. An appealing cumudgeon, that's different YP, but I like it.

  18. Derek, I will be saddened if you give up. I rarely post but yours is one of the fist blogs I have peek at to see what's occuring in your world. Your balanced views of the countryside and those that participate in the wide range of countryside activities, are refreshing. I put you in the same bracket as Robin Page. Good luck whatever you decide to do.

    Regards, Colin

  19. Gawd, where have all you people been, I had no idea that I was being read and appreciated by so many people, it's very refreshing. Robin Page, there's a name to be compared with. I miss his weekly articles in the Saturday Telegraph, he always wrote such common sense about the countryside, although a lot of people disliked him.

  20. Derek, I enjoy your blog and would be sorry if you stopped writing. Brian

  21. I have read your blog for ages, but never commented and for that I apologise. I live in inner city Manchester and have so very much aporeciated the glimpses of nature you have given me. Whatever you decide to do blog wise I send you my very best wishes, and thanks.

  22. Thank you so much Julel, comments such as yours have made me realise that now is not the time to stop.

  23. Derek
    As someone who was born and bred on the Isle of Sheppey and left when I was 18 years old it was wonderful to find your blog many years later.
    Your writing about the island is refreshing and unique and has made me re-think my views about my place of birth which so many people are only too keen to ridicule.
    I have been returning more regularly and enjoying the island once again thanks to you!
    I hope to see more of your writing whether on this blog or The Sheppey History page on Facebook but to be honest this blog is mty preference!
    Thank you
    (Sorry about The Editor name but it is used for other Google blogs and I can't seem to remove it ....)

  24. Wow, to have inspired someone such as the Editor to return to and enjoy his birthplace is truly inspirational, thank you Mr. Editor. I shall return.