Monday, 17 October 2016

Harry's bench and big skies

I've posted about big skies before. I once read somewhere that big skies are hot-wired into our psyche as they allow us to clearly see what's coming - but now that sabre-toothed Tigers and Wooly Mammoths no longer roam Surrey and Kent, it's the weather that 21st century man can keep an eye on. Here at Dungeness, the open and frankly inspiring big skies are never bettered. There is nothing high to the south until you reach the coast of France, nothing east til the Urals (exaggeration) and to the west and north you've got to be talking about 10-15 miles before you meet an incline of any description. You can see rain several miles off and some of the most fantastic cloud formations regularly come along and say hello. These skies make you feel very small and insignificant indeed.

On a slow day like today, I will take myself off to Harry's bench. This wooden seat looks eastward from the outer bank of the moat, and is in memory of Harry Cawkell, who was the honorary secretary of the bird observatory committee for 47 years, a position he held until he passed away in 1999. From here you can, on a clear day, see France and the white cliffs of Dover. I've also seen a Bee-eater amongst other things... Apart from being a good place to bird from, it is a place of contemplation, made all the more restful by being under these ever-changing big skies. Rest awhile here and you can put your worries to rest. It can even soothe the pain of reading about the latest crop of rarities to be dumped on Spurn.

Come on Spurn! Give the rest of us a chance. Buddy, can you spare a Bluetail?

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