WHISPERING SMITH: Hard to see all the good for the trees

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THE last book I bought from the soon to be closed Oxfam shop was A Pelican in the Wilderness, an interesting history of hermits, solitaries and recluses, those who seek a truth living alone far removed from society.

I found it very appealing. The idea of getting away from the multitude of miseries that haunt us daily through the media, the atrocities in the Middle East, the corruption within our own democracy, the polluted religions, the war and the sufferings of so many people, the abuse of children, the continued abuse of our natural environment, the ill-treatment of animals both domestic and wild.

Oh, to get away from all the evils that seem to surround us, centre yourself, find an inner truth, an inner strength far away from all the unpleasantness that thrusts itself upon us daily.

Then, quite suddenly I learn that a dear friend took a nasty tumble on the Beaumont Estate last week and that within seconds a car pulled up and offered immediate assistance, a resident brought out blankets and another a chair. An ambulance was summoned and there was a happy but very bruised outcome to the mishap.

We seem to be surrounded by good people, if only we could see them through all of the bad.

Another of my mother’s favourite sayings: “Sometimes, Christopher, it is difficult to see the wood for the trees…”

I HEARD a whisper last week that the Three Brothers has been put up for sale, heralding the end of an era.

She is an iconic craft in every sense of the word, and the old west country crabber is probably the most photographed boat on our lovely river.

A handsome old lady, whether leaving harbour under her full red sails, rocking on her moorings or belly-down on the riverside mud, I hope that when sold, she will still find our harbour to be her safe mooring.

IS SPRING just around the corner? I think so,

I have snowdrops blooming and daffodils budding in my garden, black headed gulls are getting their summer plumage and, best of all, the rooks and crows are returning to their scruffy old ragtag nests along the Arundel and Ford Roads, arguing noisily about who should live where…