Sunday, 21 September 2008

Time Ball Tower

The rooftops of Deal make an attractive sight - especially from above. A town of few high buildings, one of the few ways to see them is from the top of the Time Ball Tower.
The tower was built in 1820 and until 1927 it provided the official time to ships moored in the Downs off Deal, by raising at lowering the ball at 1pm each day.
The process continues today on the hour, linked to an atomic clock (as indeed are the BBC pips, which were unforgivably slow last week).
Nearby, the Deal Maritime Festival included the Hoodeners dancing around a maypole, keeping the East Kent traditions alive.
The blacked-up faces are a contrast to the usual white-dressed morris men, but the principles of a mixed pagan and Christian symbolism are similar, while the songs and music are shared across the country. The Hoodening tradition is mainly based around Christmas, when the group would tour around the village performing a play about death and resurrection, involving songs, dances and the drinking of much beer.


Mary said...

That rooftop view is a great photo! I like the time ball tower...must be loud if they hear it on the ships. Those Hoodeners look interesting...never heard of them.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Kingsdowner
Can I pick your brain?
While dog walking on the Ringwould side of the Lynch I saw two large birds of prey. They could have been Buzzards but I thought they were a tad smaller. They looked black against the sun but I did catch a glimpse of chestnut red and white on the underside of the wing. They did'nt have that deep slow wing beat that I think buzzards have but a faster more powerful one as well as hover and a glide.
Any ideas?

Kingsdowner said...

This past week has been very good for raptors with large numbers being seen down the east coast especially.

To quote from the Sandwich Bay report for Sunday:
'raptors again stole the show, with an Osprey low over the Estate at 10.35 then, from 11.50, totals of 18 Common Buzzards, a Honey Buzzard, about 7 Sparrowhawks heading N, in addition to Kestrel, Hobby, Merlin, Marsh Harrier and Peregrine; a list that would have seemed impossible not so long ago.'

Common Buzzards are very variable in colour and those that fly over from France are especially light under the wings - they can also seem surprisingly small. A contact of mine saw one over the Lynch yesterday, so I would guess from your description that that was what they were.

There has been an influx of Honey Buzzards this week, and the best way to tell them from the Common sort is that the Honeys' wings form a shallow 'm' shape, while the Commons are held in a 'v'.

I hope this helps!

All the best,

Anonymous said...

Hi, Kingsdowner
Thank for a very informative reply, I must try to be more observant about shape and outline.