lots of pair of wellies with white socks turned over washed up at
dungeness. they walk around by themselves when the moon comes up.
you can see the tilley lamps rocking in the breeze.
didn’t come straight home, too many roads to tramp. followed the
line of the old royal military canal, a tree lined, lily padded
noose, the olympic village of the napoleonic wars – redundant by the
time it was dug and finished in 1808. in his ‘new and complete
history of the county of kent’ published in 1828 william henry
ireland noted that the water ‘abounded with large carp, tench, perch,
pike, eels and every other species of freshwater fish’. their
descendents still swimming its length. the ultimate back water, the
end and the beginning of romney marsh, two and a half hours from my
door – i am going back to pike fish it in the winter. talked to a
few old boys watching their floats by the pads, as the wind cut
across the fields. swore i saw wellington crossing the ditch on a
white horse. could have been you landing a double in 1978.
cutting i found from the 1804 kentish gazette on the birdtable:
“last week the wife of one of the men employed in cutting the canal
at shorncliffe was conducted by her husband to the market place at
hythe with a halter around her neck and tied to a post from whence
she was purchased for sixpence”