Many English people would agree with Belloc's sentiments, in that the 'marvellous sea' keeps the French (and the rest of the world) at bay. Many French people, in return, love it because it keeps the English away.
Perhaps M Belloc (a keen sailor, of mixed English and French parentage) liked it as he could sail across it to replenish his supply of wine, like many of us since.
Despite Nicolas Sarcozy's wish for us to become closer, the gradual erosion of the cliffs on both sides regrettably shows that we are in fact getting further apart.Some Wallflowers are flowering on one of the largest walls in England (the White Cliffs). They seem to flourish only in the most precarious of positions.The flower buds of the Wayfarers' Tree appear before the leaves, which are starting to appear from their buds.
An early walk along the cliffs produced little apart from a Peregrine, but reaching the shelter of the valley there were a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps singing, and I was able to glimpse a Garden Warbler at the base of a hedge, singing it warbling song for minutes at a time without catching its breath.
Also sheltered from the wind and enjoying the warm sunshine were a good number of insects - hoverflies, honey bees, ladybirds and these Bee Flies. I like the Latin name for this strange insect - Bombylius major - try saying it out loud. there is apparently a Bombylius minor, a rare heathland version mainly found in Dorset.
This horribly over-exposed picture at least shows the comma on the Comma.
And finally....another nice name - Woodrush, in Thorenden Wood.