On Air

Wind sock pulled rigid

What chance the hovercraft now

On its air cushion?


n.b. The hovercraft, one of the noisiest modes of transport, draws in air, blows it forcefully downward into a skirted area beneath so that the body of the vehicle is pushed upwards in flight. Large propellors are used to manoeuvre the craft as it floats a few inches above the surface. The vehicle can move quickly over water and land as there is no physical contact with the surface below.

The hovercraft can move at considerable speed (the world record is around 133 kph / 83 mph) over relatively stable, level surfaces.

There is only one commercial public transport service using hovercraft at present in the world. This operates between Ryde on the Isle of Wight and Southsea beach, by Clarence Pier. It is the quickest way to get from shore-to-shore across the Solent as a paying customer.

In strong winds the hovercraft has to cease operation as there is a danger of it being flipped, as tragically happened in 1972. The decision that day to attempt a crossing in winds gusting at Gale Force 8 cost four lives as the vessel sank, (twenty two people were rescued).

Yesterday the hovercraft was not running when I walked past. Employees from the ticket office were shovelling shingle off the concrete landing pan to prepare for better crossing conditions. The choppy sea, unsettled by the recent storm, was doing its best to dump more shingle ashore just as quickly.


CLP 11/02/2020


BD670B52-616F-4C84-A7BD-FF40097E86AA.jpegAs bubbles, these white

small bulbous bells gather at the neck,

extravagant clustered jewels,

a puffed up ruff tucked in against

minty jagged leaves that tint the pallid petals.


Huge bees bowl in, drink,

bumble off, air born drunks

drawn by early summer scents,

to sensuous sirens beckoning

on a warmer morning,

stumbling unsteadily

from lush flower to lush flower

insatiably seeking

another nectar draught.


CLP  04/05/2018


A Swift Arrives

7BFB2D18-5B54-4E91-9B23-C18F99DB2983.jpegSurprisingly it

came from the North

perhaps as a tired traveller

a wrong turn taken

then corrected.

A glimpse of an erratic speck

too small for a gull, wrong colour

against the thinning mist as temperature fell

black fleck on a cooling breeze

working hard to clear the harbour wall

it battled the strengthening southerly blow

desperate to reach shore

an atmospheric swimmer out of its depth

head down

head up

gasping for breath

blustering flight with rapid wing beats

tiring, so tired

seeking warm rising pockets

where it will float on hot air

dip, swoop and scream

this most hopeful hummingbird cousin

attendant through showers in April

and late frosts of May

optimist of the air.


If swifts are here

no need to wait for one swallow

who will tamely follow.


CLP  22/04/2018