We need more positivity.


Lapwings in Kent: A good news story.

It is hard to be positive about nature when everything seems so bleak.

Here in the South East of England I find that some days the only way to stay happy is to get through the day with blinkers on. Drive through a pretty Kentish village, ignore the mini red brick city springing up on its fringes and instead focus on the golden light of autumn leaves. Ignore that you have been stuck in yet another traffic jam for an hour and marvel at the spindled beauty of winter twigs against a marbled sky. Look at the good news story not the bad.

Some people are the opposite. Some people just want to focus on the negatives, declare the world black and that we shouldn’t even try to change things. This kind of defeatist attitude just swallows up hope and effort and good will.

Here in North Kent we are being overwhelmed with ugly housing estates and traffic but we also have some fabulous farmers who are working their socks off to improve their land for waders. Yes, because they are paid by the government to do so but also, I truly believe, because they want to see lapwings plummeting over their fields almost as much as I do. Because lapwing flight brings joy and, together we are helping to spread that joy to more and more land in Kent. This is good news.

I stand by rivers and see the trout run down gravel streams and sometimes I find it hard that I am not able to do more to reconnect those streams with their flood plains but I also have to remember that this stream is on the edge of a city that once supported a tannery industry that polluted the rivers to the point that no fish ventured there.

I have to remember that once the sheep grazing the fields would have been dipped in chemicals so powerful that they would linger in the food chain and kill off otters. I have to remember that I have heard a rumour that otters are hunting the shallow just downstream again.

I have to remember that we are in a battle to protect the wildlife of our country and in battle there is no room for defeatism.



A Merry Perambulation – Part Two


At Cockham Wood Fort near Hoo St Werburgh

Part two of A Memory Perambulation, an account of a walk  in the footsteps of William Hogarth across North Kent, is now available to read at the online magazine Longshore Drift


A Merry Perambulation

merry perambulatorsIn 2012 I set out across the North Kent Marshes with a group of friends to following in the footsteps of the artist William Hogarth who had gone on a grand tour from Gravesend to Sheppey in 1732.

The result was, ‘A Merry Perambulation,’ a  light-hearted account of a walk through a changing landscape.

Originally commissioned for Kent’s Coastal Week, the book is now being serialised in four instalments in the new online magazine Longshore Drift.

To read my account of the journey follow the link to the magazine.

A merry perambulation