Monday, November 07, 2011

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

‘Mud, mud, glorious mud; there’s nothing quite like it for cooling* the blood’; these are the opening words of a hilarious nonsense song composed and sung by Flanders and Swann. The actual title of the ditty is, ‘The Hippopotamus Song’. Now we know that hippopotamuses are semiaquatic African mammals with massive jaws. They love wallowing in mud and they are really at home in the slimy stuff.

I like mud, but I do not like getting it on me, particularly the black slippery substance that adheres to an anchor that has been retrieved from the River Roach. This variety has been in the making for thousands of years; it is tenacious foul-smelling sediment composed of minute particles that were suspended in murky tidal waters when they swished to and fro over the riverbed.

This is the same sort of gooey mess that forms in creeks of East Coast Rivers, such as the rivers Crouch, Deben and the Orwell, not necessarily black, but of many shades and hues. Some are deep quagmires, others firmer, even supporting the growth of weeds, grasses and reeds. Many tiny creatures live in the stuff, the very food that sustains countless numbers of wading birds. At the edge of receding waters they probe the surface with their long beaks, searching for juicy morsels, ragworms and the like.


I love looking at mud. It’s gorgeous, especially when sunlight reflects off the surface. There’s very little that can surpass its beauty when it reflects the setting sun in all its glory. Textures and patterns, shapes and forms, colours and hues, shades, light and dark all combine to make a tapestry of intricate loveliness.

*See link below for Maldon Mud Race.


**This photo is reproduced from ‘Musings from a Muddy Island’, an excellent blog by Juliet Doyle. Here is the address: .

Text for the Day

Isaiah 53:2 ‘For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.’


Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

The Hippopotamus Song (Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud)



Flanders and Swann

*Maldon Mud Race

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