Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Here Comes The Sun

Well - the end of May since I last posted a blog account and to be honest, over the time that has elapsed  I've struggled to find both the enthusiasm, or indeed the need, to write another. I've daily read a few other blogs but to be honest they mainly seem to concentrate on what they eat, bake, dust and wash each day, I haven't been able to do much better and so I've stayed quiet.

April was a bone dry, frosty and cold month, May seemed to just rain everyday, resolving April's dryness, and so my last posting hoped for summer in June. Well, for the first half of June that's exactly what we got, we had a couple of separate mini heatwaves of a week or so long, each. People came alive again after the crap Spring. Shorts and T shirts were donned, beaches and the countryside were remembered, re-visited and enjoyed., life began to be enjoyed again, the dark days of Covid receded. Sadly, some people couldn't enjoy that few weeks out of a long and fifty-two week year - oh no, it was too hot, please let it cool down - well unfortunately they got their bloody wish. Much of July and the beginning of August has, here on Sheppey at least, been constantly wet and windy. That weather, combined with the nights drawing in, has made it feel like Autumn has come early.

But joy of joys, after several days of heavy rain and strong winds, today has been very warm and sunny, the raincoats and umbrellas have been discarded, the shorts and T shirts are back on, the beach is busy again. Even better, several days of this weather are forecast, the clock is now ticking, counting down to the first miserable git who complains about summer happening.

Suppose I ought to mention the reserve, not that much is happening, it's very overgrown, worst I've seen it, the cattle are making little impression on the long grass, trampling it more than eating it. The tractor driven mowers have begun to mow the grazing meadows but they are struggling to get under the flattened grass. Bird life is minimal with just a few autumn waders coming through and wildfowl numbers very low, which will disappoint the wildfowlers when they start their shooting season in a few weeks time on the 1st September.

The arable fields surrounding the reserve have all been harvested, with straw baled and taken away and the stubble manured and tilled to leave it ready for the autumn seed sowing. The next event in a week or so will be the arrival of several thousand game bird poults for the winter shooting season - the circle turns really fast at times.


  1. I think we have had a much warmer, sunnier summer than you Derek - it is only over the last few weeks that we have had wetter weather and then not all that bad. Today has been arrival of Summer again - absolutely beautiful but I understand rain on its way.

  2. I was wondering why your blog has been silent for so long! Welcome back!

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  3. Thanks for commenting Eva, I'll try and do better. Currently the number of people that have read this posting is 189 and it's always a tad disappointing when so many people visit without leaving a comment.

  4. Just came upon your blog and post. Fascinating to learn a bit about life elsewhere. Thank you for taking the time to write.

  5. Hello Derek, our summer wasn't much of a summer, either. Most of July and August was so unsettled you could really not leave the house without carrying a raincoat, and more than once I cut my after-work walks short because it started to rain so heavily that it wasn't much fun. Also, it was a lot cooler than it should have been, with me seriously considering turning the heating on at least in the bathroom first thing in the morning (I didn't). All this really made it feel more like autumn than summer.
    Now that September has begun, it has been nothing but gorgeous - sunshine all day, and warm enough for shorts and t-shirts with the nights cool enough to allow for a good sleep.

    1. Yes, that pretty much describes our summer this year as well and is the reason why I get so uptight when just a few hot and sunny days cause some people to quickly complain that it is too hot.

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  7. I enjoy reading your notes and have a soft spot for Sheppey. I had 5 pairs of Ringed Plover breeding on a short stretch of Littlehampton west beach and the chicks all perished within 3 days of hatching. It was not because of the gulls. Loads of people walking their dogs and letting them chase everything in sight was the problem. It makes you just want to give up and accept that ground nesting birds will soon disappear for ever. Sheppey is lucky in as much as it has a lot of water that prevents humans from entering the breeding areas. When did terns last breed on Sheppey? When I was growing up in Dundee during the sixties almost every field had a nesting pair of pee wees. The tractor drivers used to move the eggs and the birds would still go back and incubate them. The huge tern colonies at Tentsmuir on the other side of the River Tay had all but disappeared by 1973, although I did have a couple of pairs of Little Terns breeding in 1978.