South Downs Smugglers and Coastguards.

I walked a National Trust section of the South Downs this morning, from Went Hill to Brass Point.

Walking, my mind was full of mariners tales, coastguards, forgotten villages and smugglers- all fighting to survive in the rugged and wild conditions.

I will never tire of this landscape and its rich history!

A Smuggler’s Song.

If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet,
Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street;
Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark —
Brandy for the Parson,
Baccy for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady, letters for a spy,
And watch the wall, my darling, 
While the Gentlemen go by!

Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine,
Don’t you shout to come and look, nor use ’em for your play.
Put the brishwood back again — and they’ll be gone next day!

If you see the stable-door setting open wide;
If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore;
If the lining’s wet and warm — don’t you ask no more!

If you meet King George’s men, dressed in blue and red,
You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you “pretty maid,” and chuck you ‘neath the chin,
Don’t you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one’s been!

Knocks and footsteps round the house — whistles after dark —
You’ve no call for running out till the house-dogs bark.
Trusty’s here, and Pincher’s here, and see how dumb they lie —
They don’t fret to follow when the Gentlemen go by!

If you do as you’ve been told, ‘likely there’s a chance,
You’ll be given a dainty doll, all the way from France,
With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood —
A present from the Gentlemen, along o’ being good!

Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark —
Brandy for the Parson,
‘Baccy for the Clerk;
Them that asks no questions isn’t told a lie —
Watch the wall, my darling,
While the Gentlemen go by!

By Rudyard Kipling.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.

City of Girls

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A coming of age novel set in the 1940s this glittering epic had me hooked from page one. Nice American girl Vivian is sent to stay with her aunt in New York and let loose, has an absolute ball. Her aunt has a small down at heel theatre company in downtown Manhattan, where Vivian makes costumes for the cast. When she isn’t sewing clothes Vivian is discovering the what New York life is really about with the theatre show girls. She hits NYC and she hits it hard!
Vivian! I hot damn loved you babe. You enthralled me. I listened to this on audio and the narrative was enhanced by the spot on reading of actress Blair Brown.

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Together in the UK. Valentine’s Day.

As followers of my blog will know my partner is a musician on a cruise ship with his band Funky Blue. We say ‘goodbye’ a lot ‘Standing on the Docks in Southampton’ (Lennon and McCartney) and ‘Hello’ in lots of different countries as I travel the world to be with him. This year has seen a huge change in our lives. We flew back from Cuba in March and have been together 24/7 ever since. I’ve missed the travelling, but loved having him around.

Wherever we are in the world, together or apart, this is our song- the iconic Mr Louis Armstrong with All the Time in the World.

The Year of the Ox.

Today, 12 February 2021 is Chinese New Year. Observers worldwide celebrate by feasting, letting go of grudges and wishing their loved ones good fortune.

This year it is The Year of the Ox. The Ox is the second of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar.

Image result for year of the ox

I was looking online for a suitable proverb and this has to be my favourite:

“A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study.” – Chinese Proverb

It’s National Umbrella Day.

Gene Kelly. Singing in the Rain.

I’m singin’ in the rain
Just singin’ in the rain
What a glorious feeling
I’m happy again
I’m laughin’ at clouds
So dark up above
The sun’s in my heart
And I’m ready for love
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
I’ve a smile on my face

Any opportunity to do a Gene Kelly post, including this beautiful iconic picture ☔️

Punxsutawney Phil.

Punxsutawney Phil

Groundhog Predicts 6 More Weeks of Winter Following Winter Storm Orlena

Freezing Temps Coming Later This Week

Looking at the freezing temperatures coming up, Punxsutawney Phil had the right idea heading back inside, where it’s nice and warm.

The National Weather Service said an active weather pattern would turn significantly colder this weekend into early next week.

Chilly temperatures will sweep across the United States, but locations like Chicago will experience the coldest air the winter has yet to offer. 

Here’s where temperatures may drop below 0℉:

  • Wisconsin
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Indiana

Information from ClimaCell App.

Not a lot better in the UK this coming week either!

BBC Radio 4 Short Works. The Cleaner by Mary Paulson.

I’m loving this Short Works series by BBC Radio 4.

In The Cleaner a woman returns to her home village in Scotland to clear her mother’s house. But things do not turn out as she expects.

What ties us to our past? Makes us return and stay, even though we might have moved on?

Concise and clever story writing. I will be looking out for more Mary Paulson.

Find here on the BBC Sounds App:

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The cruelties of families- the differences that parents make between siblings, the way siblings treat each other. ‘Our Little Cruelties’ shows with clarity how these acts of unkindness don’t disappear when childhood is left behind, but are carried through to adulthood with devastating consequences. Even more devastating is the way they spill over into the next generation and continue to ruin lives. Liz Nugent’s narrative is both fascinating and horrifying- difficult not to feel disgusted by the whole damn family. Loved it.

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The Jackdaw.

Went for a winter walk up here:

Sussex Downs

And saw several of these little chaps:


These cheeky little birds love humans and anything shiny. They pair for life and stalk around with a dignified bearing. They love human structures and a church steeple is an ideal spot to set up home:

‘A great frequenter of the church, Where bishop like, he finds a perch And dormitory too’

William Cowper (18th century poet).

They have their place in folklore too. A jackdaw on the roof meant a new arrival, or could mean an early death . Encounter one on the way to wedding and this was meant to bring good luck.

Sitting against a stone wall, with a flask of tea and a slice of homemade cake they entertained me on a sunny January morning.