Hidden danger


They are here at last. I first heard them overhead and then I saw them high in the sky. The sand martins are back from Africa and by the excited twittering at every turn they seem pleased to be here and now hopefully our dreary wet weather is over. Twisting and turning they dive into the cliffs showing their sparkling white undersides.

The holiday makers walked the sands with their dogs, perhaps unaware that above their heads in the soft clay cliffs a whole different and important world of nature was taking place as it always does. But not everyone who knows they are there welcomes them. There is another side to the story.

The birds’ little tunnels in the soft clay make the already eroding cliffs more vulnerable to falling away into the sea. And now I have seen pictures of some cliffs with fine netting over them to stop the birds nesting. Where will the birds go now?

And where did they go in our recent storm? It was hard to find any shelter. The waves were whipped up so high that they landed over my car, carelessly dropped rubbish was lifted high in the sky swirling to join the sand martins in incessant circles. Some young people got excited in the wind.

I saw police apprehend a young man and it was shocking to watch although I did not pick up all that happened, I saw the man held to the pavement face down with police calling for more reinforcements. The relentless wind and rain tore along the streets while the man had to be restrained and you could feel the disaster for the police, the man, his parents and friends. Some time later I drove past again and they were all there still, but the guy was sitting up and a sensible calm conversation seemed to be going on at last. What perhaps started as fun turned into an horrendous event.

There must have been fun here at home too because a jolly helium balloon landed in our field. It had been caught up by the wind and whipped away from young hands who could not hold tightly enough. ‘Happy Birthday Grandad’ it said with lots of other loving messages and kisses. It landed in our Oak Meadow away from animals, but our neighbour tells another story about helium balloons. Her sheep love them, they seem to like the shining material in their mouths and happily chew on it, but of course this is very dangerous and can cause obstruction in the gut of the animal with sinister repercussions. What set out to be a jolly occasion can end up being a disaster.

(Taken from my Talking Point column in the Shropshire Star)

 An escaped balloon from a party spells danger for sheep n the next field


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