A large black Seal, now named Davina, has taken up residence in a forebay (large open seawater chamber) at the 'B' station power plant. These forebays are used to contain sea water for cooling of the nuclear plant.
Davina seems too be very contented with the warm water that surrounds her and is eating well from the large stock of fish that also get sucked into the forebay. Such is her contentedness - this always loveable of creatures (looking like a friendly Labrador dog – but without ears) doesn't want to leave. This is not strictly true as, without help she cannot leave and much time and effort is being spent on coming up with ideas on how to safely to remove her from her new found luxury home. Just as well this isn't Japan – a stout club would soon sort things out!
Dungeness has not only acquired a new lifeboat but the first of a new breed of craft. Not propeller driven the new 'Shannon' Class boat ('The Morrell') is powered by water jets. Not only does this increase the speed by 50% but, having no props to damage, means it can operate in shallower waters and can be driven straight onto the beach.
The new craft arrived last Friday to a lot of media attention and this week is being subjected to sea trials and crew training.
I still cant upload pictures but a full report and some video clips can be viewed on the Dungeness (RNLI) website.(see link)
A reminder for non UK visitors to this site – the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) operates solely from public donations. There are lifeboat stations around the UK coast line and crews are predominantly from local fishermen in the local area. No matter what the weather or the risks involved in putting to sea to save lives – they will always respond to a shout – and they DO NOT get paid. A worthy cause and donations always welcomed!. And this particular boat was purchased from funds left in a £6 million legacy gift by a Mrs Barbara Morrell, after whom the craft has been named. Fantastic!
You wait for a bus for ages and then along comes half a dozen. Bit like these posts. Have four drafts waiting for publication then no internet connection (changed suppliers – together with too little connection speed).and also no way of posting photographs.
Followed a prat up the road the day before yesterday who ignored the red flashing lights at the level crossing – missing a train by 30 feet. (Regrettably I did not get his number and he had disappeared before I manage to get across) I then pick up the latest copy of 'The Looker' yesterday and there is a report of a 76 year old male charged with a similar offence at a light controlled crossing further down the track. CCTV camera footage evidently showed the rear of the offending vehicle close to the passing train, the driver of which had to perform an emergency braking action. Not only was the car driver not punished for the offence the judge ruled that his actions were not dangerous and ordered the jury to return a not guilty verdict. I thought we had a system in this country where it was the jury who made the decisions based on the evidence brought to their attention. The judge also agreed to the privately funded defence costs be paid by the taxpayers.
Ah – I see – the defendant was a retired diplomat – the former High Commissioner to New Zealand!. And I don't think the idiot who managed to kill a female train driver a year or so back paid too much of a penalty for their 'chicken run' driving.
On a brighter note went to see Courtney Pine (innovative jazz musician of many years standing) in Ashford Church.last night. I have never been a fan of 'modern' jazz but like to support venues where they put on live music. What a pleasant surprise. For years my brain had classified Courtney as a 'too way out' jazz improviser for my tastes but with a highly professional band and playing a fusion of Caribbean/Jazz music my opinion changed last night. An extra- ordinary performer. Well worth seeing!
Following an argument with a large pot hole which, for our overseas readers, proliferate our country roads, my front near side wheel fractured. A replacement from Jaguar – over £450.00. eBay a little cheaper but lost out on the bidding war. so decided to invest in a complete set of new wheels (and sell off the remaining 3 Jag ones to help cover the cost.
The point of this uninteresting topic is that I received such good service from Wheelbase Alloys (www.wheelbasealloys.com) I thought I would give them a mention. The four wheels were not only cheaper to buy than one Jag wheel – the quality and looks were better than expected. a sting in the tail - 10 days later hit another pothole and ruined one of them. New one being made – and just as well I hadn't sold the original Jag items. so if you are in the UK and looking to change the appearance of your motor or need a set of wheels – g to wheelbase alloys. (and they are not even paying me for this free publicity.
Happy New Year – and we did survive the storms! Those who know Dungeness will be aware it is always a little windy here so the odd 'Force 8' doesn't get recognised as anything out of the ordinary. One caravan did get turned upside down but we aren't sure whether that was down to the wind or the honeymoon couple staying there at the time. Quite interesting to note the new 'high tide' marks getting closer and also some quite spectacular sunsets and sun rises. One below courtesy of resident Dave Gower.
My only New Years resolution – to attempt to keep the web site more up to date. Difficult as not a lot happens although, not strictly Dungeness, the local airport does seem set for some expansion. The anti brigade are still chuntering about it all and oh those poor little slugs that will have to be moved out of their homes to make way for all the horrible hunman beings. As said before, since the sixties, no airline has managed to provide a profitable service and haven't really lasted too long but if someone is prepaired to plough millions of pounds into the local economy then at least they should be given a chance.
Hopefully the 'Where to Stay' page will be updated and added to although there is now only one bed and breakfast on the beach there are several within striking distance and also a couple more house rebuilds that will be providing accommodation.
This is all that was left of 'Beachy Lees' seen being lowered into its new resting place, following the granting of planning permission to rebuild. The local council do require some remnants of the original building to remain within a new build and in this case the whole of the original railway goods van was uplifted and moved to one side to allow a new concrete base to be established prior to replacing it in its new position. Somewhat more substantial than the half a dozen railway sleepers upon which most of the carriage based shacks sit. Looking forward to the finished result!
The latest property for sale on the beach, with an asking price of £350,000.00 received an offer within 5 days of being marketed by local, Rye, estate agents Phillips & Stubbs. The 'shack' towards the north of the estate is in fact one of the 'purpose built' bungalows and is in very good order. Must make mine worth at least fifteen hundred!.
Also for sale with New Romney agents, Tersons', is 'Sleepers Cottage' which is a 'genuine shack' being based around a railway carriage. This 3 bedroomed property is in excellent order and current asking price is in the region of £260,00.00
Andrew & Co, in Ashford, have a three bed end of terrace – former Coast guard cottage, at £220,00.00. This is a sturdy building and is located just outside the 'camp gates'.
And Finally at the top end of the scale is a complex for which offers over £1.5 Million would be considered (through this web site only).
'Penny Cottage' was sold in December last for £290,00.00 (Zoopla). This was a recently rebuilt cottage of the highest standard but a planning application has been made to reduce this to rubble and rebuilt! Pending consent.
'Peacehaven' further south on the estate has already been raised to the ground with planning permission granted for a rebuild.
The 'Sanctuary', (The William Fagg Lodge) formerly a world War 2 air raid shelter, then local community hall and Church is currently undergoing re-development by award winning 'Ecolibrium Solutions Ltd' – responsible for the rebuilding of the old 'Smokery' property (now 'Shingle House') and the Romney Marsh Visitor Centre. The revived property will be available for holiday lets upon completion.
Although there has been some local opposition to changes in what is perceived to be the character of the estate, one thing is for certain – the money being spent on these projects will at least ensure there will still be buildings standing here (subject to any high tides) in 100 years time.
I should add the word 'shack' associated with properties on the estate is, by no means used as a derogatory term but as an endearing term much used by those wishing it be known that they do, in fact, live in a shack on a beach as opposed to a square box in Acacia Crescent in suburbia!!
Yesterday (Wednesday 3rd July 2013) was a doubly sad day.
In the early evening my neighbour, script writer, playwright (Andrew James) Snoo Wilson died suddenly of what was believed to be a massive heart attack. He was 65.
Only a few hours earlier he had helped me get my beloved Alsatian, 'Pepper', to the vets to end her long and happy life on the beach.
Snoo leaves a wife, Ann and three grown up children to whom I send much heartfelt sympathy.
Much has been written about Snoo and no doubt, with his passing, much more will follow. He was a wordsmith extraordinaire, deeply devoted and dedicated to his craft. The comment below from Simon Callow sums up the extremes of Snoo's persona. On the one hand a creative 'deep' writer but also someone with a sense of humour and zest for life. He was a family man and thoroughly enjoyed his daily walks on the beach with wife Ann and dog 'Freda'
Snoo will be missed by many including my daughter Tilly who only hours before had mourned the loss of Pepper, with whom she had shared eleven of her 13 years. To then learn of Snoo's passing was a double tragedy. She had become a 'favourite' of Snoo's and she was immensely fond of him. She appeared in his film 'Eichmann' and he had written a part for her in a proposed satirical play (on Tony Blair) called 'Kingdom Come'. Alas not to see the light of day.
A sad loss to many. Farewell Snoo
The following is a quote from an article in the Guardian Newspaper a few years ago by the respected actor Simon Callow. Apologies for not getting permission to reprint this but it does seem to succinctly sum up the man that was Snoo Wilson:-
'I met Snoo at rehearsal and was a bit intimidated by him, to be honest. He's a very striking-looking man and at the time his hair was green, or red and green, and he was obviously powerfully intelligent and seemed to be full of inner preoccupations. He would be quoting from Babylonian mythology, and the works of Marx and Jane Austen, and making silly music- hall jokes'.
A dozen or so Swedish short haired bumble bees (Bombus subterraneous) were taken from their quarantine quarters and released on Dungeness today.
The bees, which were declared extinct in the UK in 1988, following a dramatic loss of natural wild flower meadows, had previously been mated and it is hoped a good percentage of these 'queens' will survive and establish colonies on the pre prepared area on Dungeness and surrounding farmland.