It was less than a year ago , maybe six months ago, I can’t remember, fairly recently though…… ish. I noticed a lot of plant machinery and trucks etc working in a field between the A2990 and Molehill Road, with a place called Purchas Wood in the middle of it, a tiny wood not a wood at all, a copse really. Me and Cosmo did check it out on a two birds with one stone walk over there. We did have a look at the wood, which has no foot paths in it what so ever. It is just brambles and very difficult to navigate across.

We also looked at the construction site through the wire grid fence. Thousands I can’t tell you how many solar panels were being installed, acres of them. You can see them from the tops of nearby hills and views through trees and things, and if you get it just right…you can see them with the Kentish Flats offshore wind farm right in the distance out in the sea as well. Me and Cosmo have been over to the solar farm a few times. The last time we went there, he found the back legs of rabbit (I don’t know where its body and front legs were) probably eaten by a fox. I can’t tell him off as he runs about flapping and chewing these legs which are ‘mingin’. Because he is a dog and that is what dogs are made for hoovering up this kind of stuff. In the end I am able to get my foot on them and he looses interest and we move on. I give them a very wide berth on the return and I even trick Cosmo to put him on the lead as we pass their vicinity.

But in the last 2-3 weeks I have noticed again an even larger area  of these solar panels being installed. This time in several fields  in-between the Brook of Plenty and Knowel Hill. I do sometimes walk through these fields to reach the Woodlands, but with all the work going on it is now  closed off. So me and Cosmo outflank the works in a military style manoeuvre not unlike Julius Caesar to go out and then round behind the site to approach it from the back. We can see it very clearly with the woods as protection. It is being installed by a company called British Solar Renewables and I have just looked on their website to see if I can see any news or information about the project. They do have lots of news about Hampshire, Dorset even Canada, but sadly I can find no information about Owl’s Hatch Road, just past the Share and Coulter on the outskirts of Herne Bay.

So the landscape is changing here, no longer fishing in the sea, instead huge turbines collect the wind. The bright yellow rape seed and fields of cabbages are now being replaced by silver metal looking  fields collecting the sun.

Power generation more profitable than food?


It’s one of those dog walks that are really just a chore. It’s cold quite blustery with rain sort of coming and going from time to time. It’s unpleasant, not bad. This makes no difference to Cosmo in the slightest, he’s totally unperturbed by this and is searching in the way he usually does….me…I’m pulling zips as high as they will go, hat pulled hard down on my head and hands deep inside jacket pockets. My mind I don’t know where that is, I am self absorbed with thoughts and concerns in my own little bubble walking into the wind I don’t even know what I was thinking, a kind of mental coasting ….in neutral…..disengaged.

I had not even noticed another dog or their owner but Cosmo wasn’t taking any of this s&*t  from this mongrel I can tell you. I had been oblivious to the build up, but it does happen every now and again, less so now he’s older. Cosmo is very tolerant of other dogs invading his personal space, sniffing his bits, jumping on him and barking at him etc and if he does get a bit pissed off with it, ..he woofs a short deep bark and points it in the offending dogs face, or across their neck and this is enough to stop the pestering unwanted attention. But I was unaware of any of this going on. What usually happens in these scenarios is the other dogs ears are at the wrong angle, or something about them is giving off a signal (even in the dark) before they meet. Cosmo will have sussed this invisible signal thing 30 yards earlier, and when they meet its crash bang wallop..it’s all kicked off. Neither me or the other owner making any effort prevent or anticipate this….I was mentally in the off shore wind farm…and it’s quite a surprise to me when they set too. Like I say Cosmo is very tolerant unless something is particularly unusual and it happens about half a dozen times a year, probably less now.

I don’t like to put Cosmo on the lead first, as all that does is stop him from being able to combat some physco dog who is still trying to hurt him while I pull him away on the lead while he is getting bit and clawed..not fair in my book.  So instead I try to grab the collar of the other dog and wait for their owner to put the lead on it. Cosmo disengages when I do this because he knows the unwritten code here. The physco dog is not interested in me in the slightest and I am just a nuisance while it is still putting 110% of its energy into trying to get Cosmo, who is walking away along the path now as if nothing had happened. The next part of these little dramas is always the same and it goes like this:

putting his lead on…..’I’m so sorry, he’s never done that before’…

I say, ‘is your dog alright’?

(what I’m thinking to myself is..is it bleeding as I know it’s not alright, it’s a nutter)

‘ he’s fine…I am sorry’

Then they walk away with the dog on the lead and I can hear her scolding the dog …you know that’s not the way to behave…you naughty dog…..behave….

This is all a show for my benefit as the dog is a physco, and does it to every dog it ever meets, which is why it is taken out late, away from main areas and in rubbish weather because it lowers the risk of meeting another dog. I catch up with Cosmo who might be bleeding (but isn’t) and we carry on… and again I drift over the sea to lands I can’t remember. Some time passes by and were on the return leg of our walk now along a promenade with sea view houses all along this stretch of the walk.

I slowly become aware that a woman in the front window of her living room is waving at me….she is a dark silhouette against the bright light of the room behind her…why is she waving at me, I have no idea who she is, or who lives there? I look behind me as if someone she might know is behind me and it’s not me she’s waving at!.

No there’s no one there.

In fact there is no one anywhere it’s a horrible night. I am watching her waving at me and I begin to realise these waves are those kinds of waves that are aimed at people a long way off. Nearby waves are little hand waves. This is one arm with large sweeping movements involving a little body movement as well, not a wave to someone on the other side of the road. More like the wave of a mother to a son going off to war, watching the train leave the platform and disappear into the distance. The kind of wave that the waver is not sure if the wave is even seen! I walk past her house and the direction of her waves remain unchanged and still aimed to the far distance. I actually stop and watch her waving for a few minutes, I can see no one or anything. She is an elderly woman with a particular slow rolling wrist action, rather than quickly oscillating hand movement, there was definatley an elegance to her waving. I watched her close the curtains and had only walked on a couple of yards when I saw the driver’s window of a small white van go all the way down. This van was parked by the side of the road and a bloke in a dark boiler suit leant over and said’

‘I’ve been trying to work it out?’


‘That woman waving,……….. I thought she needed help or something’

I said, ‘I thought she was waving at me at first’!

‘I can’t work it out, she’s been waving and waving…but seems OK, she doesn’t need help!’……….(he was eating a kebab from a polystyrene box sitting at the wheel of his van)

I said, I just watched her close the curtains and she seems to have settled down’.



I have decided to walk in the woods and see if the three boys I met the last time we came here constructed anything? At about dusk we reached the pond that they mentioned and I noticed a sturdy wooden fence surrounding it on three sides. I thought that would prevent any swinging travel across it and I could see no sign of any ropes or swings. Cosmo walked into the pond to take a drink and stumbled and took a bit of a dipping as he lost his footing (unusual for Cosmo). I had my wellies on and I retraced his steps to see what happened to him. I gingerly stepped into the pond and moved forward slowly to find the ground underfoot fall away from me very sharply into deeper water, but I managed reverse with a bit of a splash and obverted a major flood over the top of my welly.

We walked on to the tree where I saw the three boys, by which time it was almost dark and I was a little surprised to find nothing, no swing, no rope, nothing like it had never happened.  We walked on and for some reason I decided to walk into a thick part of the woods. Dark now,  and I am listening to music wearing by head phones. Music in the middle of a dark wood at night, that is a powerful experience and I said to myself that one picture would never be able to convey how powerful an experience it is, it would need to be a whole body of work to convey this. Then I brush into a twig which drags across my eye and is uncomfortable for a bit. The Green Fields of France (written by Eric Bogle) comes on, it is one of the saddest songs I have ever heard, so powerful in the woods with the line ‘and did pipes play the flowers of the forest’…. I am filling up on the verge of tears it’s so moving. Next thing I know  my foot is sliding from under me, with my hands deep in my pockets and I’m unable to keep my centre of gravity and I’m sort of running when I hit the floor. My head phones fell out and it’s very dark. Cosmo’s ahead I can hear him walking. All is well and no damage done.

Now these minor accidents that keep happening to me reminds of something told to me by two old women dressed up as witches/soothsayers in a living museum in Stockholm. Buildings from all over Sweden were reconstructed on this site and actors dressed up providing historical info about the people who may have worked or lived in these buildings. I walked into this peasant log house of 600 years ago to find these two witches inside. They told me that they had a whole array of herbal medicines and tinctures and then asked me if I was feeling unwell or had any health issues. Rather too game for this I said I had a persistent cough of many months now. They reached up picked a bottle down from a high shelf, took the cork out and said, that would cure it and that I should have a swig! I sniffed it, ah..mm and then looked for a label or a clue…Vodka…they told me. I spied a coiled snake in the bottom of the bottle and pointed to it…. a Viper …don’t worry dead….. they replied. I was a little put out and said that my cough was not that bad actually and handed back the bottle with a sheepish grin. A powerful tonic apparently…good for a lot of ailments!

Now this is the part that freaked me out a bit and made the hairs on my neck stand up. They asked me if I had ever been in the woods at dusk, getting dark, and tripped over..or cut my thumb on an axe because it was too dark to see properly….. you know little accidents!

Yeh, exactly that was happening to me this evening, I fell in the pond, poked my eye out, slipped over already. Now the reason for this apparently, the witches told me is because the woodland spirits come to life at night, and humans must return home at dusk for their own safety. Not welcome into their night time world, yours by day ours by night and we share that way. Only trouble if you outstay your welcome in the woods at night. The spirit world was respected back then, so much so they told me, that after your evening meal is washed up, don’t whatever you do open the door and just chuck a dirty bowl of skanky water out. It might go all over a spirit….then there would be trouble, they would make life hell. Open the door and announce that in two or three minutes you will chuck the water out, so move away and I mean no harm to you . Then again please a second warning a minute later I mean no harm or insult. Then finally a third time you can throw the water out without upsetting them.

Even in our world of scientific explanations, it’s still a very powerful experience walking in the woods at night. How has the fear not eroded, would my phone work out there, GPS signal even?

No… I knew the way back, even in the dark and I had Cosmo with me. I enjoyed the music in that setting tremendously.

(two drawings  showing the crossing over into the spirit world of the woods).

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Me and Cosmo are walking along a very straight wide track in the woods and I can see a small group of people in the far distance and it takes quite a while before we will get there. But you know – Cosmo he is always busy interested in squirrels and rabbits and is constantly searching, looking, listening and following a trail of some sort. By the time we approach this group I have no idea what I’ve been thinking, just kind of arrived out of a daydream and hear myself saying ‘that’s impressive’.

‘Yeh he’s a nutter’ is the reply.

This is a group of three teenage boys who have cycled into the woods on their bikes, with rucksacks as if they are on an expedition? An old fashioned scenario I thought. One of the boys has climbed up a tree which has its first branch about 20 feet or even more above the ground and above that  is another branch with a snapped rope hanging down, which I remember had a log tied to it.

‘He got up there like one of the black men with the rope tied between his feet’

I doubted that as the tree looked very smooth, and said ‘yeh  Pygmy’s climb trees to get fruit and that’.

‘No, he didn’t really’

I got that feeling that these boys were going to bombard me with confusing contradictory statements, neither were interested in Cosmo and wanted me to move on quickly.

I quite liked this situation and did not want to leave quite  so quickly, I thought I might try a little harder to engage with them and  I said, ‘No……… I know how he got there, he’s climbed down from the sky! Do you even know who he is’?

They saw how bizarre that statement was and smiled and said, ‘no we know him’.

Things relaxed and these boys explained that after this they were going to make a swing to cross over the deep pond along the track a bit. I said I knew exactly where that pond was, I didn’t know how deep it was, but I saw a dog run into it and the dog didn’t sink! What’s happening here are you mending the rope swing. They were, and the guy in the tree was edging closer to the rope and he cut it off with a pen knife. I said I wanted to take a photo of them, as  I was writing a blog about walking in these woods and asked them to stand at the foot of the tree and pose. They seemed very happy and almost interested in the blog. Asking what was it called, how long had I been writing it. I said it was called Another walk with Cosmo. They pointed at Cosmo who was waiting patiently for me to move along, asking if it would come up if you google it. They said he’ll stand up on the branch for your photo. We agreed not to go that far and me and Cosmo left them to it. We will follow up another day and see what they made.

I keep thinking of Jack and the Beanstalk now, climbing down from the sky with bags of gold he stole off the giant. When I got home googled the boy who fell from the sky. Turns out he did and landed in Coventry. He spoke Urdu, had no idea where he came from or what community he had belonged to and did not know his own name or how old he was? Apparently a victim of people trafficking.


I won’t walk with Cosmo on the evening of Nov.5 we will go out during the day time tomorrow, so tonight’s walk is the day before fireworks night.

We did see a few fireworks, but I think Cosmo has mellowed over the years and no longer barks at the occasional rocket while we are out. But I know tomorrow with prolonged outbursts of fireworks and loud whooshes and bangs  will be more than he can cope with,  and there is a fitful evening  ahead of us.

This evening it has stopped raining and I see the guy with the muzzled Lab, only it’s not muzzled and I remark on this.

He replies, ‘she’s going through a good spell……………… it won’t last’.

What he means is that the dog eats absolutely anything it can find, horse manure and worse. So a muzzle on what is actually a nice dog. We talk about Arsenal’s match against Anderlecht and exchange views on tactics in the final third Walcott’s return,  and radio commentary rather than TV!

We say goodnight and I realise I have an old man, rather taller than me asking me about my dog? It’s the usual Doodle conversation, and he goes on to say his dog is 13 years old. Brought home from the Dogs Trust by his wife saying the dog was 4 years old then. On the brink of death from neglect, not interested in anything, week and listless, glazed over hardly able to stand and not interested even by dog food. He told me he dribbled chicken fat on its nose and eventually the dog  began to lick it off. This was the start of a seven week hand feeding programme. The dog is now thirteen and they are very attached, and he was worried that their time together was not long now. How would he feel on the other side of the dogs death?

He said, ‘I bet your dog is as loyal and trusting as mine, and would follow you to into the underworld of hells fire’.

I said, ‘Indeed he would, and if never came out he’d still be waiting for me outside’.

‘Strange  how powerful the link’, he said, ‘Mankind does terrible terrible things and the betrayal and misuse of that  trust is one of the worst. Training dogs as bodyguards and living weapons is a shocker and the owners should be put down not the dogs’.

I had to agree with him and said goodnight.

Cosmo by now had found a family on the sea front lighting Chinese Lanterns. A grandmother in a wheel chair covered by a blanket, a mother with three children. I could see that they were agitated that they were not going to float away. I did say to them (as I explained that Cosmo was mine) that it took a long time for the small flame to heat the air inside the paper bag, but eventually it would lift away. The mother said that it was too cold to work, but I said no, I think they will float away in time. She explained that a family member had departed. I replied a nice tribute and I’ll watch them pass across when they go. I suspected the death of either the father or grandfather but felt unable to ask.  I walked away with Cosmo looking back to see if they had worked.

It was quite a distance away when they did float into view. Sadly there was practically no wind, but what there was had not sent them over the sea, but in the opposite direction inland. They moved towards the moon and I saw the first one go down still burning onto the roof of a bungalow on the other side of the green. The other 2 went out while high in the sky. On the way back the family had gone, but I found an unlaunched lantern about 100 yards from where I met them. It was broken, but I felt strongly enough to bring it home with me?  To find a shocking Arsenal score line after being 3 goals ahead. Equalizer in the last minute…ooh…………… probably still qualify though.

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