The signs are there of winter

There was a sense of sailing in the Last Chance Saloon this weekend…speaking in terms of summertime. The River Blackwater, in Essex was an a electric soup of bathers riding jet-skiis which sent surf breaking on the shores of Osea Island.

Smacks tacked lazily through the hazy sunlight, tan-coloured barge sails moved ponderously against the azure blue sky, and hundreds of shoal draught yachts and dinghies and a few classics were out sailing on every stretch of the river.

But the signs of change were there: the Siberian brent geese arrived in the Thames Estuary over a week ago and a fisherman I was talking to at Heybridge Basin said he’d been out trying to catch bass in the Swin, but instead hooked codling.

‘They are running six weeks early, so winter is well overdue,’ he said.

Make the most of it.