Thursday, 11 June 2020

Pesky Beach Flies, essentially Eastbourne updates …



Well a few things to update you on … we had a Python, a Hippopotamus – not real in the 21st century, bookshop and hotel fires, shingle history, and those pesky flies …


Looking down four road levels to the reef and sea
The python – yes: one was released into the foliage near where I quite often drop down to reach the lower promenade … 



Sub-Saharan Ball Python


... snakes I admire, but have never been my favourite …




Waiting at an ice-cream or cafe stop over ...
Hippo with dog watering bowl
Quickly moving on to a much larger animal – the hippo – around 600,000 years ago exotic animals roamed our rivers and valleys, when we and Europe were one landmass … this hippo though prefers walkers with dogs …


In the midst of the repairs
Fires – Camilla’s bookshop was getting new facades, floor and ceilings, book shelves, signage when I went past at the end of May – and met Camilla … asking after the state of the shop and Archie, the shop’s parrot, he is safe … while it happened to be his birthday – all of 25 years on May 28th … so I think she was pleased someone asked after him. 




They lost lots of books … as the water damage went down into the basement … and now there’s the smoke damage to look into – still at least it will re-open when the time is right …


Spring bedding from the carpet gardens has been removed,
making way for the summer plantings.
Scaffolding in and around the Claremont, while
the Burlington Hotel is the building run you can see

The Claremont Hotel is being propped up, and has ongoing work being done to its utilities … but the Burlington Hotel, next to it, has lost its main customer base – a coach tour operator which has gone bust.  


How these two hotels and at least one other in Eastbourne can cope – we will wait and see … times are a challenge.


'Rainbowing' in action

Those shingle workers are at it again … I gather this spraying technique is known as ‘rainbowing’ … 




Looking west towards Beachy Head -
during early lock-down
... the shingle is unloaded about a mile from Beachy Head, as Holywell is found at a Site of Special Scientific Interest … dumper trucks take it along the beach on that last mile.




Working area ... during lock-down - when no tempting
ice-cream parlours would be open.

The system is that the dredger, Sospan Dau, with its full load arrives at high tide … discharges its load ...



... leaves for the Owers bank to the east of the Isle of Wight … to suck up another load of shingle sediment … and repeat the process.


The Owers - to the east of the Isle of Wight,
off the West Sussex coast - shingle banks
Sospan Dau is a Welsh name … originating from a famous folk song, Sosban Fach and Llanelli’s tin plating industry … Sospan being the Welsh for Saucepan and Dau being Welsh for Two … a successor dredger to Sosban Fach (little saucepan).  Please see Wiki!



Weenbrug - a Dutch name from a map of
1583 ... with the shingle banks marked

The Owers Bank has some history too … before the 1500s an early trading port, Rumbrug, could be found … as shown in this Dutch map … 



... but still appears on The Owers shingle banks map of today to the east of the Isle of Wight …


Low tide, the reefs, a groyne, the strandline
on a hot May early evening day

… and now we’ve been lingering far too long on the sticky Eastbourne shore in this time of Covid 19 and our hot sticky May month …




… those pesky beach flies will be doing their good deeds … and no doubt irritatingly dropping in on our sweaty, sun-stoked bodies … the fat squidgy larvae will work their wonders … eating through the flotsam and jetsam curled up onto the shingle after high tide …


Seaweed fly


… reminding us of the ancient ecosystem, that since time began, has been recycling all before it … plump larvae, beetles, flies, insect and spider predators … ready to feed the birds and their chicks.



Dorset's coast (further west) with its
impressive strandline
The strandline is an ancient phenomenon having a unique biodiversity and ecology … which we are only just beginning to understand … let it do its work – we just need to take the dreaded plastic and other particular nasties away with us.


That’s all folks … until I find one more thing I’d like to write up re Eastbourne … but the Sospan Dau ended up linking a Welsh thread to Eastbourne’s seafront …



A bank of vegetation just above the first promenade

The sunny weather has disappeared … down here we have a little much needed rain … take care each and everyone of you …

Extra note on pesky flies: - they're not an irrelevant nuisance on the beach.  The play a key role in cleaning up the debris, without them beachcombers would be knee deep in smelly slime.  There are many species - each one specialising ... rotting seaweed, or bodies of animals ... and all other, except that dreaded plastic ...

Wiki - Sospan Dau ... info on the dreder ... 



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

32 comments:

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Well, lots going on in Eastbourne! Lots to keep you interested - and us! YAM xx

Elephant's Child said...

Lots and lots going on.
I am thrilled that the bookstore will reopen and that the parrot mascot is safe.
Loved the hippo too.
I am glad that we are finally realising the importance of biodiversity. Steps have been made, strides are needed.
I agree with you about snakes. I can (and do) appreciate them - from a distance.

Chatty Crone said...

Love the hippo - not so much the snake. lol

Liz A. said...

Lots of repairs. And lots of wildlife, well, sort of.

John Holton said...

If you like snakes, that's a particularly nice-looking one.

Covid-19 really did a number on the tourist trade, didn't it?

Botanist said...

So they use dump trucks and dredgers to shift the shingle from one part of the beach to another? Where, presumably, the tides eventually take it back again? It takes a lot of work to defy nature :)

Susan Scott said...

That was an interesting trip down Eastbourne way Hilary! Though it started off far too edgily for me with that ruddy python! From a freezing S.A. to your sunny shores, thank you for this- Susan

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Yam - I have to admit I'm never sure what I'm going to find when I'm out and about - and often miss things ...

@ EC - yes even though we're locked down ... there's a lot of utility work going on. I agree - it's really good the book shop will be re-opening. Little hippo ... I'd only spotted that recently - but then we forget that 600,00 years ago they were wandering around here.

We live in such an interdependent world ... from microbes, worms through to us ... but there's a lot of research going on. Interestingly we're finding out more - because there's time for the media to let us know about new developments -which are going on ... but are usually hidden from the front pages or being classified as newsworthy.

Snakes - never been my favourite ...

@ Sandie - the hippo is a delightful addition to the seafront ... I too am just glad it's not full of snakes.

@ Liz - yes they are doing lots of repairs or putting things on hold for now. We are a nation of garden lovers ...

@ John - I'm sure it's a delightful ball python - but I'm happy not to find them. Yes - the tourist industry is in dire straits ... as too all restaurants, bars and especially museums, galleries, music venues etc ...

@ Ian - yes ... because the area under Beachy Head is a site of special scientific interest and there are reefs there as you can see in some of the photos.

While the use of the groynes does hinder the shingle moving eastwards - and the sea walls, put in place in the mid 1800s have kept the sea at bay for the moment. I agree engineering eventually will not be enough - but this town, gets a little extra protection from Beachy Head.

Pevensey levels (between Eastbourne and Hastings) was navigable sea back in William the Conqueror's day (1066) ... while Rye has completely changed, and Dungeness is growing apace.

The shingle holds off the worst of the storm damage - there's some quite detailed reports about the effects on the shore line here, and presumably where the weather can easily adversely affect other seaside towns or villages - some of which are not being protected or saved. As you imply we cannot defy nature ... as the maps above also show.

@ Susan - oh gosh are you freezing in SA - I remember those days - cold to the bone ... at least we may not be that warm now, but it's very tolerable: I do remember the cold.

Sorry about the python ... but people are unfair that they release these things into the wild and then they need to be captured, collected and re-homed ... costly too ...

Thanks so much - times are changing ... lots of road and rail works going on - easier to do when no-one's around ... take care all of you - Hilary

Marja said...

Oh what a wealth of information. Had one encounter with a snake once. Hate the little devils with a passion.
Lots of work going on around there and I love that Dorset coastline Just beautiful. I think the sun will soon be back. Take care

Annalisa Crawford said...

Ugh, snake! DEFINITELY not my favourite thing!

I think my parents have been on coach tours to your part of the world, so they may well have stayed at that hotel - such a shame to see so many businesses folding.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It is very encouraging to hear that the local bookstore will be reopening. Bookstores, especially those privately owned, are all too rare these days, and a loss of even one of them is a tragedy. I hope their insurance was generous in covering their losses and renovation expenditures. I love this biological term "fat, squidgy larvae"! What a wonderful description! Did you have the pleasure of experiencing our black flies or mosquitoes during you stay in Canada, Hilary? I am sure they would have been quite enamoured with your alabaster flesh, tender and waiting to be drained of its blood! Enjoy the weekend coming up.

Hels said...

I hope the hotels are fully renovated and ready for guests, as soon as the coronavirus laws are modified. Not only are visitors desperate for a holiday, but I imagine the summer holidays are here already/starting soon.

Joanne said...

I had trouble concentrating on all of the goodies in this post - I kept swatting at pesky flies. I'm glad the bookshop is working on its comeback!
Also love the hippo, but NOT snakes. That could end a walk for me forever.
Enjoy your rain. We had a bunch and now they are talking drought soon. Extremes - that's 2020. Take care and have a good weekend meandering off that beaten path.

Jo said...

I am pleased to hear the book store will reopen, but sad to hear of the loss of so many books. Tragic.

Didn't now that about beach flies and seaweed plus other flotsam and jetsam. Never had a great deal to do with beaches.

Jacqui Murray said...

This is a marvelous collection, Hilary. A huge snake released into the wild--where you walk. That stopped me.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marja - rather a lot of intertwining of ideas ... but keeps me amused or bemused. I've never really been to Dorset - our aim was always the Cornish coast ... so we rushed down there ...

I've never been fond of snakes ... my father used to hatch them in the house, once he'd disturbed them in the compost heap - they were grass snakes and he'd let them loose somewhere in the garden afterwards ...

@ Annalisa - I know ... as you'll see from the comment above I wasn't happy having them hatch in the house ... yet I was happy to feed worms from manure heaps to anyone who wanted to come to tea?!

We used to have lots of coaches here ... I can't see it stopping - but while life sorts itself out - there'll be company and business losses ... then I'm sure life will return in a couple of years. It's certainly a good place for people to enjoy a coach tour ... so I suspect your parents would have come ...

@ David - yes I'm glad the book store is opening ... they've a wealth of knowledge. Insurance companies and banks don't seem to be high on the commendable stage! They did do a crowd-sourcing fund raise ... that helped.

I did want to put a photo up of one of those 'fat, squidgy larvae' - but decided against it ... yet I'm glad you enjoyed the term.

Black flies - thankfully I didn't ... anymore than I would have done here or in SA ... having looked at the Canadian encyclopedia 'Black Fly' section which was really interesting! But the mosquito story was a different matter ... I had to get screens put on my windows ... as they were streaming in and I did need to open them ... the swimming pool was just outside. It's Scotland that has an overdose of mozzies in the summer - thankfully down south - they're not so bad.

I do get bitten ... but am slightly protected ... possibly corrupted by food and drink! So don't suffer as badly as I know some people do.

@ Hels - we can't see our way forward at the moment ... we have Brexit too - which will throw up many other challenges - I think we've lost the plot - it's a wait and see game: not a comfortable one for many ...

@ Joanne - sorry there was a lot - but I wanted to finish it up - then of course realised there was something else to write up at some stage.

I've encountered a few snakes over the years ... starting with grass snakes in England - thankfully never in any dangerous situations ...I guess in my wizened old age I'd have coped if I'd spotted the python first ... but I'm pleased to say I didn't!

We haven't had much rain - but it's spitting and it's cold ... just not nice ... but the sun will return. I notice your weather extremes as I rotate around the blogosphere!

@ Jo - the book store will be much loved when it opens up again. I gather they didn't lose too many of their precious books - so that's a bonus.

It's just we forget how useful all these little critters are - they keep the world turning ... and most importantly clear up a lot of debris ... I have no wish to be knee deep in smelly slime -which we'd be without the myriad of species of fly!

@ Jazqui - yes snakes usually stop us in their tracks don't they ... and lots to tidy up and put away - which I've almost now done.

Thanks everyone - delighted to see the eclectic post hasn't put you all off ... stay safe this weekend ... and take care - Hilary

retirementreflections said...

I love the diversity of your posts, Hilary.

Rhodesia said...

The floods really caused a lot of damage this year, thank goodness we live on high ground.
I have a very soft spot for Pythons, I had snakes as pets many years ago, the staff we had in these days refused to clean my room LOL.
That time of the year, the flies are back here but they are nothing like my experience of midges in Scotland. I looked like a had the measles when I cycled up there. Looking forward to seeing some of your local wild flowers some time.
Have a good weekend and stay safe, Diane

Fil said...

What a beautiful beach - great stories as always Hilary. Stay well and safe xx

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Another lovely post

Denise Covey said...

So much going on Hilary. Sad about the bookstore. Be wonderful when all the work is done and the restrictions are lifted and the public can once again enjoy it all~

Anabel Marsh said...

Lot’s of interesting stories and ecology there!

Pradeep Nair said...

Interesting updates. Snakes and hippos are amazing. Wonderful creatures ... I like to watch them move around.

D.G. Kaye said...

Holy smokes, there's a lot going on around you Hilary. I was especially sad about the bookstore but happy to know they are rebuilding and the parrot is alive and well. You take care and stay home for awhile lol, the planets are wonky so anything really can happen. :) xx

Rhonda Albom said...

The changes going on around all seem interesting. The shingle dredging and movement seems like a never-ending process.

Keith's Ramblings said...

Well there's a lot going over your way, certainly more than in little 'ole Bexhill! I may be very brave and visit Eastbourne this week - it went from every few days to never when all this illness kicked off back in March! The sun's back, so let's make the most of it. Look after yourself, Hilary.

Sandra Cox said...

OMG. I'm not sure I'd ever be right again if I came face to face with a python. Someone let one loose on our walking trail, but luckily I never encountered it.
Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Donna – many thanks … I try to add to the mix …

@ Diane – we had floods in other parts of the country here … but being on the coast – it usually washes away.

Did you keep snakes – I went out with a boyfriend from Rhodesia oddly enough … who was a herpetologist as a hobby job – that put me off! I can believe the poor staff would refuse to clean your room … I would have done too.

Flies – yes they’ve started here … as too the greenfly on the tree leaves … but I gather the midges in Scotland are awful … and once bitten … patience til they’ve worn off …

I doubt you’ll get my flower pics … I don’t have your beautiful new camera and lens … and I’m not travelling out and about very much. Still we’ll see …

@ Fil – strange beach … pebbly –is not very comfortable – still people spend time on it – well they did today!

@ Jo-Anne – thanks …

@ Denise – it’s been happening … which with not much else going on outside I’ve kept up with … I think Camilla’s bookshop will open up soon – they’ve done a vast amount …

@ Anabel – yes time introduces us to its history, let alone the ecology and geology …

@ Pradeep – I agree … wildlife is quite extraordinary and very precious … hippos are wonderful in their pools …

@ Debby – the powers that be seem to be doing lots of work, when the population is locked down – was! Not sure what tomorrow is going to bring … but I’m glad Archie is still going strong …

… actually if the planets are wonky … so too is the magnetic field … it’ll be interesting to see what happens …

@ Rhonda – yes the Victorians really set the standard for shoring up the coast … some parts can be saved for a while longer … others are disintegrating regularly, never to be restored.

@ Keith – it’s a busy little town … work hasn’t stopped –what happens tomorrow when we start to unlock – I’m not sure. If you come over – take care … I have to say I wasn’t so enamoured walking along the seafront today!

@ Sandra – well we have fun over in this little town – people are irresponsible re pets – sad, but true … glad you never met a slitherer …

Thanks so much for visiting … great seeing you all here – and all of you stay safe and healthy and more importantly take care – all the best Hilary

Vallypee said...

I love these snippets from Eastbourne, Hilary. I'm beginning to think I should visit the town as and when we are allowed to travel again. I'm not sure I like the sound of those flies, though!

Erica/Erika said...

An interesting and fun post, Hilary. You had me at “Python.” I recall reading about Camilla’s bookshop. Happy to hear it is moving forward with repairs. I appreciate how you share a lot of history and the back story. You are right. We can read more on topics of interest in Wiki. A great reminder on our ancient ecosystem. You also take care.xx

DMS said...

I am glad they are repairing and fixing up the bookshop. It is sad that so many books were ruined- but I hope some of the books were able to be salvaged. A tough time for sure. Hoping that when they reopen they have even more success than before. :)

Stay well!
~Jess

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Val - thanks ... I could write more about E/b - but I definitely only pick things up from other more experienced Eastbournians. It's worth visiting too for Beachy Head, Pevensey Castle and Levels etc. The flies occur on all beaches where there's detritus ... you'll have lots in the Netherlands too!

@ Erica/Erika - another real python - just glad I didn't find 'him'. I'm glad Camilla's is getting itself back together ... vandals cause so much damage - for a quarter moment of fun for them ... stupid people.

Thank you ... I try and add a little to each post's subject - helps bring things to light a little, and adds perhaps another thread of interest. I use Wiki to add the odd thing or remind me about others ... otherwise my posts come from visits or items that amuse or bemuse.

Our eco-system is as old as the earth itself ... we forget - and as you mention is invaluable to life on earth.

@ Jess - I guess they'll be going through the books re the smoke damage - I must go down that way again ... and as it's pretty crowded in there I'm not expecting them to open any time soon. A lot of the books were fine ... so as they've a good following - I think they'll be fine.

Thanks for coming by - good to see you all ... and as the days move forward all the best - Hilary