At this time of year one of the best free shows in Kent takes place at Dymchurch (no I’m not writing about the Day of Syn again, once is quite enough). What I’m referring to is the annual spectacle, ”Jeeps Ahoy!”.
The 4×4 is the vehicle of choice for many summer visitors to the village. Most are content with driving at lunatic speeds through the High Street in search of Kebabs or perhaps a Saveloy*,but essentially, something deep fried. However, a minority choose to be a bit more adventurous and go “off-road.”
* Saveloy- Bright Red sausage-like “meat” product
Should you be lucky enough to spot a 4×4 on the beach at low tide, you will probably be party to a thankfully rare occurrence. Each summer only one or two visitors are daft enough to venture out with their vehicles onto the sandy expanse that is St Mary’s Bay.
The sands at Dymchurch are beautiful and marvellously clean, due to our daily tide; they are also fairly soft and in a few places, distinctly dodgy to walk on. “Disrespecte ye Sea and ye Sandes at thy Perill” as the ancient saying goes. Some visitors to Dymchurch don’t seem to have much respect for anything much at all – it doesn’t occur to them that there are no vehicles on the beach for a reason. They imagine that the beach is a playground to spin and cavort in their “motors”, to perform “handbrake turns” to make figures of eight, write rude words and to generally show off – they ignore all the warning signs.
Inevitably after a while, the wet, soft sand entraps their chunky tyres, they spin their wheels in a desperate bid to escape, they unload the wife and the kids and the Instant Barbeque, the 48 cans of Fosters, they start to panic. They reach for the iphone and search for an App. that will give them an answer to their problem. And then, despite the urgency of the situation, the whole event needs to be photographed for Facebook.
But soon though the vehicle has sunk so much that only the bodywork is visible…..
However, there is a way out of all this. The Dymchurch Anglers Club owns a trusty old salt encrusted, David Brown tractor, the fishermen know the score, they are watching with interest and will offer a tow-out – for a price. The tractor option is the last resort, I have heard rumours of 3 figure sums being demanded by the entrepreneurial men of the sea. Often this offer by the fishermen is refused, the hapless vehicle owners still believe they can “sort it out” on their own.
The Tractor under normal usage
If they choose the latter option, the gas- guzzling “Chelsea Tractor” will, inevitably, meet its end, to be claimed by the rising tide. As sure as day follows night, its entirety will be flooded with a fatal dose of salty Channel water.
Some people will never learn.