Wednesday 3 July 2019

This land is New Land

Because I was a high-function cockroach Blattella vaga in a previous life, I was born in Dover, this time round. I left almost as soon as my mother could walk after the ordeal of delivering twins. Back then the preferred method for inducing a reluctant labour was to load Her Vastness into the midwife's Morris Minor and bucket about along off-road tracks on top of the white cliffs. Not nearly as effective as intravenous oxytocin and prostaglandin but mildly more exciting. Since we left in 1954, there have been many changes in the town and country of SE Kent. Perhaps the greatest economic changer has been the creation of the Channel Tunnel which by-passes tthe Ports of Dover and Folkstone and loads all the road traffic for France onto trains.  It's more expensive than going by P&O ferry [£200 vs £160 Dover-Calais 17/07/19 Calais-Dover 24/07/19] and the view is much less expansive.

Q. What do you do with 5 million cu.m. of spoil from a massive tunnelling project?
A. Dump it as close as you can to place where it is being generated.
The tunnel digging consortium got planning permission to create a hoe (a jutty out to sea parcel of land) where some of the servicing plant (banks of fans mainly) for the ongoing maintenance of the chunnel could be sited. But that only occupied a fraction of the available area and the rest was called Amenity and given over the Samphire Hoe Country Park. Access is through a tunnel under Shakespeare Cliff and you can park your car, have a pee and a cup of tea [probably in reverse order] and go for a limited yomp across a 30 ha. area which is gradually undergoing ecological succession to chalk heathland. I think I approve of that transition. Although I guess the wrasse (Labrus bergylta), conger (Conger conger) and pouting (Trisopterus luscus) who were minding their own business among the rocks at the base of the cliff, were less happy.
Lydden Spout is the beach at the West / Folkstone end of the Hoe and both are a cracking place to fish for rock species not least because most anglers prefer to shoal together on Admiralty Pier in Dover; because it's nearer to the pub. Apart from tea, sea-air, emptying your dog and fishing, you can look for fossils.

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