Yesterday morning, Finlay and I walked down the village to feed the ducks. We have, in our village, the lovely Riverside Gardens where you can go and relax by the river, wonderful place. It was a beautiful, hot and sunny day and I think the ducks were sheltering from the full onslaught of the sun as they were nowhere to be seen when we got there. We waited and watched the cows on the other side of the river but no ducks, swans or geese came swimming our way. Finlay decided he wanted to throw the bread in anyway, and the ducks could eat it later. We took turns and watched the bread float swiftly away from us, downstream. “How will the ducks know where it is?” was Finlay’s question; and that started me thinking about the Coastguard. We watched the bread float quite swiftly down the river on a hot and calm day. In a sea full of storm waves, what chance would anyone have of working out where it was going? None whatsoever, except for an experienced coastguard with the local knowledge of the currents and tides. And if the Transport Minister gets her way, we will be losing half of them! Such a ridiculous idea; I will not give it the dignity of calling it a plan as there were not even risk assessments carried out for each coastguard station that is going to be closed down. And the ones that are being closed are amongst the busiest of all of them. The Shipping Minister, Mike Penning, gave a wonderful and very successful argument as to why the fire service could not possibly operate safely if they had regional offices – and now he wants to give the Coastguard Service a national centre – arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Take a minute to work that one out please, the Fire Service could not possibly operate safely with regional call centres, plus post codes, road names, buildings and all the usual landmarks; whereas the Coastguard Service will be able to operate with a national call centre, plus ………… diddly squat really, except for currents and tides! Local knowledge is absolutely critical when there is an incident on or near the sea. I could tell Finlay the bread would be going past the houses and would probably get stuck at The Ford, but only because I know the village, I grew up here. But I would never be able to pinpoint broken ships or bodies in the seas that surround our scepter’d isle – not in a thousand years! I give thanks and much respect to the Coastguard Service and all associated with them.