The sounds of the River
“From the front door of our cottage, which was next to the Mission Hall, you could have thrown a stone into the River Roding, so as you can appreciate that the first smells and sounds I can remember came in from the river. The sight of the big green crested waves (the water was green then) and the gulls screaming overhead when it was blowing a gale, then in November and December when the fogs came down and the bells of the craft tolled, warning others to take care. The sirens on the big ships anchored out in the fairway, sounded like all the Banshees out of hell……it was music to my ears! I love that river, I swam in it, fished it, played on it and worked on it for 65 years….even where I live now I can still hear the mournful sound of the fog horns in the winter and relive it all over again”!
“Of all the ships that sailed the river, my pride was sailing barges. I can remember saying ‘I wouldn’t want to see the river if there wasn’t a sailing barge on it’, and now that time has arrived. Around 1900 there were 3000 sailing barges in the tide-way, now you can count them on your hands and they are only kept for the annual race on the Medway”.
ARCHIBALD CLARKE (born 1899)