W.G.Grace and Sheffield Park.

W.G. Grace, English amateur cricketer who established and popularised the game of cricket . Born: 18 July 1848,Died: 23 October 1915. Test debut (cap 24): 6 September 1880 v Australia.

He was important in the development of the sport and widely believed to be one of its greatest players.

He was good friends with Lord Sheffield of Sheffield Park, now a National Trust property. He played for the Lord Sheffield XI many times home and away.

If you visit the property today you can see the cricket pitch and the foundations of the original players pavilion and the ladies pavilion. Also the original rollers that rolled the pitch and the oak tree that Grace hit ‘full toss’ when hitting a ‘six’ in July 1883.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sheffield-park-and-garden in

The Cuckoo Trail, East Sussex.

The Cuckoo Trail is a 14-mile footpath and cycleway which runs from Hampden Park to Heathfield in East Sussex. It passes through the towns of Polegate and Hailsham, as well as the villages of Hellingly and Horam. The14 mile path through the Sussex countryside forms part of the National Cycle Network – route 21.It follows the old ‘Cuckoo Line’ railway.

Fifty years ago, the Beeching Report was published, spelling the end for thousands of stations and hundreds of branch. Dr Beeching was recruited by the government to make the railways profitable again. By the early 1960s the industry was bleeding millions of pounds a year. His solution was simple – close down the bits that lost the

The Beeching report recommended taking an axe to about a third of the network – 5,000 miles of track, including hundreds of branch lines, 2,363 stations and tens of thousands of jobs. Instead, it would concentrate on the things trains did well. Fast journeys between the cities.Improved bus services could replace branch lines.

Along the trail there are good views of the surrounding countryside and plenty of rest points, as well as benches, picnic tables and sculptures in wood and steel and other artwork to look out for. Don’t miss the Victorian’s engineering skills in the brick arch bridges, between Hellingly and Horam.

We cycled a 40 mile return journey along beautiful countryside. Another cycle trail ticked off the list.

The Pantiles, Royal Tunbridge Wells.

In Georgian times a day’s stage-coach ride could get you from London to Tunbridge Wells, thus The Pantiles in Royal Tunbridge Wells was a major holiday destination for the gentry and royalty.

The discovery in 1606 of a Spring with distinctive reddish tinted mineral deposits led to the development of the Pantiles and Royal Tunbridge Wells. The practice of drinking from natural springs for health dates back to Roman times and the practice of taking these natural waters for health purposes became more popular among the nobility during the reign of Elizabeth I. Parties would leave the Court and travel to the established Spa towns of Bath and Buxton. Tunbridge Wells quickly became the most fashionable drinking spa as it was closer to London.

Away from Court they took advantage of the opportunities provided to establish relationships with individuals from different social backgrounds and the concept of a holiday as we know it today was born.

As there was no accommodation available at that time, the Royal entourage camped on the Common. It was not until the latter part of the 17th century that the first permanent lodging houses were erected in the area.

Today the Pantiles has a variety of specialist shops, art galleries, cafés, restaurants and bars. In summertime jazz bands play outside on the bandstand. It is a fabulous place to hang out with a chilled glass of white on a warm summer afternoon.

The Greenwich Meridian Line, Peacehaven.

Today we walked a section of the Meridian Trail at Peacehaven. The trail runs through Cambridgeshire, East Yorkshire, East Sussex, Essex, Hertfordshire, Gtr London, Lincolnshire, Surrey, and West Sussex.

Inaugurated in 2009, the route follows the line of the Prime Meridian as closely as practical, using public rights of way, but the route does not rigidly stick to The Meridian line.

The Meridian Monument at Peacehaven is 3.5 meters high. It was unveiled on 10 August 1936.

The Royal Observatory at Greenwich was agreed as Zero Degrees Longitude for the whole world at a conference in America in 1884. Before that time, charts and maps used many different meridians as zero. At the same time, the delegates agreed on the ‘universal day’ which is the same the world over. Each day begins at midnight at Greenwich, thus giving us Greenwich Mean Time. Maritime Greenwich is recognised as a World Heritage Site.

The very blustery Westerly wind made it a breezy July cliff walk but certainly worth doing.

The Mill-Pond by Edward Thomas

The First World War was already in its second year when Edward Thomas wrote this little piece of Englishness;

THE MILL-POND

Edward Thomas, ‘The Mill-Pond’

The sun blazed while the thunder yet
Added a boom:
A wagtail flickered bright over
The mill-pond’s gloom:

Less than the cooing in the alder
Isles of the pool
Sounded the thunder through that plunge
Of waters cool.

Scared starlings on the aspen tip
Past the black mill
Outchattered the stream and the next roar
Far on the hill.

As my feet dangling teased the foam
That slid below
A girl came out. ‘Take care!’ she said—
Ages ago.

She startled me, standing quite close
Dressed all in white:
Ages ago I was angry till
She passed from sight.

Then the storm burst, and as I crouched
To shelter, how
Beautiful and kind, too, she seemed,
As she does now!

(1917)

Mill Pond. Batemans Burwash.
Mill Pond. Batemans Burwash.

~

English Country Garden.

Chartwell Kent

How many kinds of sweet flowers grow
In an English country garden?
We’ll tell you now of some that we know
Those we miss you’ll surely pardon
Daffodils, heart’s ease and flox
Meadowsweet and lady smocks
Gentain, lupine and tall hollihocks
Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, blue forget-me-nots
In an English country garden…

English Country Garden Song by Jimmie Rodgers

Battle of Bosworth.

‘Early in the morning men prepare their souls and their equipment for the forthcoming battle. Sounds of stone on blades and murmured Latin prayers are soon drowned out by the din of the drums calling the men to muster.’

On the 22nd August 1485 Henry Tudor brought a small rebel army to face the much larger Royal army of King Richard III.

The Battle of Bosworth heralded the dawn of the Tudor Age. England would never be the same again. The Church of England was founded and the British Empire was born.

‘Why, our battalion trebles that account:
Besides, the king’s name is a tower of strength,
Which they upon the adverse party want.
Up with my tent there! Valiant gentlemen,
Let us survey the vantage of the field
Call for some men of sound direction
Let’s want no discipline, make no delay,
For, lords, to-morrow is a busy day.

William Shakespeare. Richard III Act V, Scene 3 Bosworth Field.

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Brushed up on my Battle of Bosworth today at: https://www.bosworthbattlefield.org.uk/

Clementine and Winston Churchill

Winston and Clementine Churchill. Bronze statue in the gardens of their home Chartwell, Kent.

By Winston Churchill’s own admission, his wife Clementine was a driving force in his becoming British Prime Minister and helping him steer the country through the second world war.

The above statue of The Churchills can be found in the gardens of Chartwell, their home for over forty years from September 1922 until shortly before his death in 1965.

I love this statue and like to imagine them both taking a quiet moment beside the lakes in the grounds of Chartwell, perhaps discussing the way forward for the country. ‘Behind every great man…’

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chartwell

H

I could be You by Sheila Bugler

A couple of months ago I wrote a review of author Sheila Bugler’s ‘I Could be You’:

East Sussex Libraries have been talking to Sheila and the conversation is on their website (above)- take a look.