If its raining when you want to walk the dog, do as I did this morning and head for the driest part of England - Wallasea Island. Dark, forbidding clouds bore down on Southend to the south, Chelmsford to the north- west and the remote Dengie Peninsula across the river Crouch, but our seawall path was as dry as a bone. This is something to be extremely grateful for if, like me , you have an all-weather dog!As Autumn draws in, many people will be inspired by the colours of woodland foliage and traditional seasonal imagery. Did you ever think of our local marshland in that way? Walking along the path this morning I couldn't help but notice the wonderful hues of the saltmarsh plants, stretching out like a medieval tapestry in a pallette of ochre, mulberry and moss. Beyond the herbage, the mudflats looked silky as the tide slipped away,leaving a mosaic of developing creeks. Mother Nature at work is a marvel to behold, as she decides where SHE, not our engineers and hydrologists, wants the islands to develop and the tide to trickle in and out.All of this literary musing, has of course been prompted by the launch of our winter creative writing contest, now in its second year. Wild Writers, from schools, colleges or the armchair by the fireside are now invited to draw inspiration from our historic landscape on Wallasea, and submit their poems or prose to us. Last year's winners came from far and wide, and were rewarded with a lovely sunny prizegiving, entertained by our Volunteer team, with the guests treated to an insider view of the project. So now it's time for all writers who love nature to take wallasea as their muse and win themselves a prize. Prizes will be awarded to individual entries in 3 categories: Adult, primary school and secondary school ,for a short story ( up to 3,000 words) or a poem which captures the heritage and atmosphere of the ancient marshes of Wallasea Island that the RSPB is working to restore. We already have our first entries, so sharpen your pencil, take a wander along the seawall and get your entries in soon. Entries must be received by Monday December 5, 2011 - more details on our events page or from the office.