Monday, 14 June 2010

Britain is a country with a county called Kent and a 'Riverside Park' where old men can walk and talk and meet other old men

The Riverside Country Park on the banks of the River Medway is about 10 minutes drive from where I live. If you blot out the industrial landscape on the horizon, it is a place of astonishing beauty.
I went for a walk along the river bank with my friend D.B. last the week. Our first 'port of call' was to look at the board advertising the birds which could be seen in the Park and on the River.

We weren't long into the walk when D.B. drew my attention to a " common tern or sandwich tern diving for fish". D.B. fancies himself as a bit of a bird twitcher, but I don't have too much time for his so called 'expertise'. Anyway, here is the 'tern' on the left and a black headed gull on the right and D.B.'s 2 pudgy fingers indicating the shape of the forked tail of the tern.

The labrador swimming in the water to retrieve an object thrown in by its owner was the next bit of wildlife. The dog turned out to be a 'bitch' and the Old Boy in shorts and wearing walking boots who was its owner didn't want to talk.
I was taking photos of swallows gliding across the water near the river bank when the next Old Boy, who D.B. recognised as 'M', a retired piano tuner, came along the path and he did want to talk. Here he is on the right in conversation with D.B. He proferred 2 bits of information : there was an oyster catcher along the beach and 'The Tree Mariners' pub along the coast at Oare did very good, reasonably priced food.
D.B. and I walked on and paused by the information board at 'Horrid Hill'. In the distance was 'Kingsnorth Power Station'.
D.B. reminded me of the 'Green Peace' protests at the power station in August 2008 directed at Eon's proposals to build the first coal powered power station in the U.K.for 30 years.
He also reminded me of the 2007 protest when protesters had abseiled down from the top of the chimney stack and affixed the letters 'G O R D O N' in vertical formation to the side of the stack. I somehow think that Prime Minister Brown was untroubled by this.

Our last meeting was with a Old Boy, D.B. recognised as his latterday postman, who was walking with his wife. He was a very tall man who told us that the Post Office had paid for a special pedal bike to be made for him on account of his long legs and that when he retired they asked for the bike to be returned. In true British tradition he had refused. His wife lamented that she wished he hadn't given it away to a friend who had it rusting away as a garden ornament.

So : a common tern, swimming dog, retired piano tuner, retired postmen and memories of 'Green Peace' protests and all this, in one walk. I was exhausted.

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