WHISPERING SMITH: The lovely River Arun, ride her waters with care...

Chris Adam Smith
Chris Adam Smith

Our lovely River Arun can be a gentle lady, an ideal place to spot fishing cormorants, swans with their delightful cygnets, heron, even kingfishers and grey mullet the size of my forearm, but she can easily be misread and those who take her lightly do so at their peril.

She can be vicious and unforgiving, Queen of the rip and dangerous beyond belief.

The professionals – the pilots, the local inshore fishermen and lifeboat men – who know this as the second fastest river in England are wary of her moods and even experienced sailors and the fisherman who follow her daily down to the sea are aware of the risks.

So, it seems extraordinary to me that anyone can take a powerful motor boat laden with children and simply launch and ride with little or no knowledge of her temperament.

Recently such a boatload capsized in the river’s mouth and had it not been for the RNLI lifeboat, the vigilance of the lifeguards and knowledgeable swimmers already in the water there could have been an absolute disaster.

Perhaps it is a lesson to be learned and now is the time to introduce some sort of qualification to anyone wishing to launch in our waters. I’m just asking is all!

Stone cold sober out walking tripped over my own big feet and took a heavy fall on Friday, banged my head shoulder into an iron fence.

I just lay there thinking, looking up at the sky wondering if it was worth getting up, it was only going to hurt and then finding I couldn’t even had I wanted to.

Lovely neighbours and a passing mate got me to my feet and took me indoors.

Paramedic Andy took over and within a short while I was in Worthing Hospital and being treated for a painfully torn rotator cuff and bruised ribs.

Wonderful friends, children and a brilliant service.

Jeremy Hunt, hands off of our NHS...

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