The roots that you can see in the top left of the photo are those of willow trees growing alongside, the roots should be in about three or four feet of water. The whole reserve, ditch and fleet-wise, is parched, with few wildfowl and waders but finally, the area's water authority, Southern Water, have gone public on the area's lack of water. On BBC TV local news last night they announced that we have a water shortage and that one of the largest reservoirs here in Kent, Bewl Water, is only a third full. They are now asking the public to cut down their water consumption by a quarter in order to avoid restrictions next Spring. And yet, and these two things must go hand in hand, new houses are being built in ever increasing numbers here in the South East and all those new households will expect to be plumbed into the ever decreasing supply, it's a nightmare that will continue to get worse.
To those in the north and west of the country it must seem unreal that we in the South East are in this situation mid-November but it's true and here on Sheppey seems the driest of all, it's as though we have some sort of anti-rain force field around this island. I've lost track of the number of times that rain, tracking from west to east across the southern counties has miraculously petered out just as it reaches us.
Never mind, at least this early morning was quite stunning as I walked round the reserve with little Ellie. Clear blue skies and the marsh white with frost as I arrived and gradually as the sun, still surprisingly warm, climbed up and slowly round the sky, it got warmer and the frost melted away. In the space of an hour I went from frozen to very warm and it was a joy to be there, if only for the scenery.