I realise this may be an image that may disturb or indeed ever leave you but picture if you will the scene at my house Wednesday evening.
I had run a nice hot bath, poured myself a nice chilled glass of Sav Blanc. And as I sank beneath the bubbles I thanked my lucky stars out there amidst the super blue moon of the night.
You see Wednesday afternoon I stood on the quayside at Sovereign Harbour as a group of suspected migrants and what are described as two “facilitators” were escorted off a lifeboat having been rescued from an inflatable in the middle of the Channel’s busy shipping lane.
The group of travellers had found the vessel – that they had more than likely paid thousands of pounds each to be on in their quest for a new and better life – had drifted and been a poor match for gale force winds and strong tides during the early hours of Wednesday morning.
By the time coastguards and lifeboat crews discovered them, they were cold, tired, suffering from sea sickness and frightened. The fact they survived the night out at sea in atrocious conditions is beyond belief and this tale could so easily have had a much more unhappy ending.
Their stories are astounding and have changed my sometimes blinkered “it’s either black or white; there is no grey” view of illegal migrants. I‘ve always been a member of the “send ‘em back” brigade, bemoaning the state of the nation, extra pressure on the over stretched NHS, limited housing stock, benefits for Johnny Foreigner and all the while banging the “let’s look after our own” drum loudly.
I know their methods of getting into the UK are not right but having seen these poor blighters on Wednesday, I felt terribly emotional. Some illegal immigrants are modern slaves exploited by criminal gangs and their ruthless trades.
Albania may not be a war torn country but none of us have any idea what persecutions these people are trying to get away from. This particular group clearly wanted to flee from their country for whatever reason. Why else would they be on an inflatable boat in the middle of the Channel?
Judging from some of the comments I have heard and seen this week, there are a lot of people who need to turn on their flow of milk of human kindness and dig deep for some compassion. Or put themselves in their shoes even.
Drivers have taken to social media and more specifically Twitter to vent their frustration at the roadworks causing #gridlock in Eastbourne with the lengthy closure of Rodmill Drive. Keeping a watchful eye at all times on road closures and traffic congestion are taxi drivers who frequently point out blackspots.
They say a lot of motorists are using side roads to get from one end of the town to the other and suggest that to cut the chaos, Kings Avenue at least should have been made one way for the duration of the roadworks.
@igcookie hit the nail on the head however when he tweeted this week that unless you have a helicopter you may as well not bother getting through Eastbourne with the other work that @esccroads contractors are doing.