Nature Diary

There is just something hauntingly beautiful about the willow tree.

A grey day was today!
A very bleak day on the Ropewalk.
Music Score – Contemplate
The Butts
Willows on the Ropewalk next to Delf Stream Canal
The Ropewalk

You could be forgiven for not seeing it at first – many including me to begin with only saw the seagulls skating on the ice on the frozen Delf Stream Canal.
Be Mindful of distressing images further down.

Suze and l managed to take a walk this morning, our second of the week, although the first was delivering by hand letters for the Gazen Salts committee. A few photos were taken then, but our main walk of the week was today.

We have vowed come the new year to endeavour to resume our daily walking routines that were in place in September before life took off at a different pace with the arrival of the allotment, Suze’s daughter and the grandkids over, various gardening jobs and appalling wet weather.

We only have a couple of tasks to tackle now with the allotment, and the most important one is to increase the depth of all the raised beds sieved with compost and vermicast, of which we have a total of two tons ready for that task.

The other job was to sort out the other water butts, which can wait till January.

The only other job of importance to tackle before the end of December is stage one, clearing out of the Butchery Garden, our paid job. However, we can only do a little there once the grounds start warming up. The end of this week is looking more promising regarding that.

The cold weather snap is supposedly ending in the UK tonight, and tomorrow they are talking of temperatures soaring. This will be a blessing, although the return of the rains isn’t great. But at least we will not suffer from tsunamis again like a few weeks back.

It was a good walk; l would love to say it was a great walk, but l can’t, and that’s because of the start of the walk itself. Suze and l opted to walk along the Ramparts [the circular foot pathway outside the town]. This meant walking by the Butts, where we encountered an unfortunate wake-up call.

The top part of the stream or canal that runs for most of the Butts walk was frozen solid to a depth of around a couple of inches. It was frozen like this also on Tuesday, which is hardly surprising given how cold it has been in Sandwich and truth, seeing this part of the stream frozen isn’t a new experience. It also froze last winter. Not for as long, admittedly, but it did all the same.

Taking a couple of photos from the small footbridge of the seagulls skating on the ice seemed like a nice image, yet because l was looking forwards, l didn’t see the disaster below.

It was only upon walking alongside the frozen Delf stream that Suze and l chanced upon the first two dead fish frozen in the stream.

Regular readers of the Nature Diary series here in Earthly Comforts were regular readers of the Morning Musing series in the Guy blog. They would remember all too well when l have called out the sadness l feel at the appalling conditions of the waterways around the Butts and the Ropewalk part of the Rampart’s circular pathways.

Two years ago, l discussed the lack of oxygen in the waters and how it killed the fish. The local council’s job for 2021 was to desilt the stream and improve the environmental conditions for the wildfowl and the fish resident in the stream. They then pushed the challenge back to the spring of this year.

These actions also came to a grinding halt mid-spring of this year. Nothing was done, so the conditions became more and more unstable and damaging. In addition to the waterways losing vegetation, they are experiencing poor water management and, on top of that, suffering from waste pollution!

I struggle with the apparent apathy of the so-called governing bodies in Sandwich. Considering we are a famous medieval town with increased tourist traffic all year even with the poorer climate. Many visitors love walking around the Ramparts for its idyllic scenery and beauty. Yet, the last twelve months have seen more peoples need to be more satisfied with the state of this popular walk.

It has gone downhill in the two and a half years that l have been living here. So our morning walks, whilst welcomed, could have been better. I read a story about the fish situation and some other smaller articles, and once more, l heard more political bull from politicians who are always good with the blarney.

Aside from that, the walk was pleasant – although l have had better -, cold and bitingly so and grey.

A grey day was today!

A lot of the wildfowl have been feeling this harsh and cold weather snap – from ice walking Moorhens to begging for food Mallard Ducks.

Once you saw them in the frozen stream you couldn’t unsee it and you began to see them everywhere! I saw way more than 4 – 5 fish, l saw all sizes from very large to very small and maybe 40 fish!

Seeing the pair of Mallards and the blip behind them which is a dead fish not because it died of the cold, but a lack of quality oxygen.

News Article

Dover District Council save dying fish from water near The Butts, Sandwich (

This stuck in my head … “There are only a few fish – four or five – that didn’t make it.”

“Mm; l wonder how that quote on the 16th measures up with what Suze and l saw this morning, two days later!

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Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

14 thoughts on “Nature Diary

  1. Write a letter to the editor of whatever outlet published that. It’s really horrible that all the duckweek was removed, and the bulldozers making a mess earlier in the year (bringing new algae🤦🏼‍♀️) and STILL the water isn’t habitable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well in this stream they never had the duckweed removed, the heavy frosts killed it all off which is the bonus – but it it strangely enough didn’t kill it further down.

      Gazen Salts has fared much better – there are so many problems now with this particular stretch of water. But l will be formally making a complaint and writing off to the papers.


      1. … not that it will probably do any good, but you have to try.
        It’s baffling, frustrating and maddening how absolutely STOOOPID, those in power can be.
        And it’s so sad to see the wildlife paying the price of Stoopid humans.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. They are supposed to be. The problem l have is that the Councillor mentioned in the news story is the vice chairman to the Gazen Salts Nature Reserve where l volunteer and more recently have become involved with the committee – l have already seen his lies and political backstabbing, so l know what he is like.

      Liked by 1 person

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