Over the last year of lockdown due to Covid19, the Exbury Egg has suffered significant weathering which needed to be urgently addressed in order to accommodate a series of new events in Thamesmead between now and the end of August. I spent the whole of last week sealing leaks in the upper half of the shell, particularly around the windows and doors, as well as treating the timber against some evident decay. I had a huge amount of assistance from Dani Tagen, one of the four artists I am working with in Thamesmead and who is due to have her own installation called ‘From Water’ in the Egg in June – July.

Dani Tagen on top of Stephen Turner’s Exbury Egg
Close Inspection shows the general wear and tear
Decay to the outer western red cedar shell of the Egg
Dani Tagen – Mission Accomplished

Episode 6 of Thamemead’s Best Beaks – Thamesmead Tales & Feathers

Listen Easter Sunday 4 April, 12noon – 1pm on www.rtm.fm

JD Swann is broadcasting tomorrow at noon, with ‘Thamesmead’s Best Beaks’ on RTM FM (Radio Thamesmead). This is Episode 6 of a series that began with an interview of the Eggman, Stephen Turner and has included JD Swann’s own occupation of the Exbury Egg.

For the last of the series J D hears and reads tales of nature from residents of Thamesmead and walks on encountering its many wildlife surprises. Featuring bird music, bird poetry, several Guess That Bird challenges, and an Egyptian Goose waiting for the bus.

Episode 1 ‘The Egg’; Episode 2 ‘Nature Walking’; Episode 3 ‘Havens & Reserves’;
Episode 4 ‘Wild Identification’, Episode 5 ‘Swans, Swans, Swans’ available at

J D Swann, maverick ornithological investigator addresses the natural world in Thamesmead and further afield in a bi-monthly show that mixes beak-to-beak interviews, nature news, field recordings, observations, and cultural (Blue) titbits.

J D Swann appears courtesy of Calum F Kerr.

Thamesmead’s Best Beaks on RTM is supported by a bursary from a-n The Artists Information Company and Arts Council England.

Image: J D Swann with binoculars by Alessia Gammarota. Birds by J D.

The following link is to the Eggman’s story about the Swans of Burnley Wood in Lancashire in 2016, commissioned by SuperSlow Way (https://superslowway.org.uk) as part of their series ‘People, Place, Time & Space’. A version of this will feature in ‘Everything from the Egg’ – a new book due to be published later this year by The Artist’s Agency (https://www.theartistsagency.co.uk); a meditation on the life and times of the Exbury Egg and its Eggman 2012 – 2020.

Swan Song

‘Swan and Cygnets,Finsley Gate, Burnley’ ©Stephen Johnson 2016

Yesterday marked the anniversary of the Exbury Egg being floated on Southmere Lake in Thamesmead. She was on the water for a month and then relocated for community use as a guest of the Lakeside Centre managed by Bow Arts Trust.

A lot was planned to happen between March and now, but Covid19 just brought everything to a full stop. The Egg was due to leave this week for waters new, but remains so that we can eventually complete the project with installations by two Thamesmead based artists – Dani Tagen and Bhajan Hunjan and hopefully a farewell exhibition. Before this I need to do at least a week of essential repairs  as soon as the lockdown eases sufficiently for me to visit and work on site. Hopefully not at all long now, the way things are going.

Many thanks to Thamesmead photographers Paul Elliot and Dave Cooper for remembering the anniversary yesterday and posting on facebook. Paul’s is the very 1970s effect black and white image and Dave was in command of the airborne division! Kind regards to all my friends in Thamesmead.

The lockdown because of COVID19 has been a stressful time for the great many of us.  I can recommend a relaxing cup of Linden (lime) flower tea and now is the time to pick them. I’d intended to collect those overhanging the Egg at the Lakeside Centre in Thamesmead and provide tea in the Egg for the enjoyment of local people. It was not to be.

However, I am fortunate to have a lime overhanging my house in Yorkshire in full, if discreet, bloom and I was able to pick sufficient for a few good brews. I separated flowers from the green leaf bracts they are attached to (and which later act as whirly wings to carry the fertilised seed away) and rinsed and dried them all. I found quite a few insects had made a home there, including many tiny exotic looking ladybirds in their larval stage.

I hope any readers in Thamesmead will be encouraged to go out and visit the local Linden trees, pick a handful of flowers, make a brew and unwind too. Best wishes from Yorkshire.

Happy Longest Day! Please tune into maverick ornithological investigator  J D Swann’s new radio show tomorrow on RTM (Radio Thamesmead) – Sunday 21 June at 12noon – Thamesmead’s Best Beaks with J D Swann! The first episode is all about The Exbury Egg which is currently still locked down in Thamesmead. The show includes an interview with the Eggman,  Stephen Turner, Guess That Bird, and Goose Music! https://rtm.fm/shows/thamesmeads-best-beaks/

I am very sorry to let everyone know that the planned ‘Spring Clean’ walk to collect waste plastic with the Ridgeway Users Group in Thamesmead on March 28th has been cancelled, following Government Advice on Coronavirus. We did not want to put volunteers at risk at an event we can reschedule for later in the year.