Rural villages. Northiam, East Sussex.

Today we did a rural village walk. Our route around the village of Northiam was taken from East Sussex Walks. In and around the rural villages by Sandy Hernu (ISBN 1857700597)

Our three and a half mile walk was quintessentially English on this late summer day.

An unexpected point of interest was Queen Elizabeth’s Oak. The remains of this huge oak tree is where Queen Elizabeth I chose to sit beneath and rest on her journey to the nearby town of Rye on August 11th 1573. She was served a meal under its branches brought from a nearby house. She then changed her shoes , leaving behind the original green damask ones as a momento of her visit. Apparently they still exist.

Afternoon Tea.

Last week (10th- 16th August) was Afternoon Tea Week. I’m a bit late with this post, but couldn’t let the occasion pass completely.

Afternoon Tea is a tea-related ritual, introduced in Britain in the early 1840s. It evolved as a little meal to stem the hunger and anticipation of an evening meal at 8pm.

The tradition of afternoon tea made its way into English literature around a decade after the brew made its way into British drawing rooms in the early seventeenth century. I love this quote from C.S. Lewis:

And of course don’t forget the sandwiches, scones and cake. Especially the cake…

We as a family made a lot of cake over the lockdown period. It was something to do and something to share from a social distance and became quite special to us all.

Here are my two favourite Afternoon Tea pictures from the unprecedented times of 2020.

Crime Dagger Awards.

Crime Writer’s Association (CWA) Dagger Awards

The 2020 shortlists for the Crime Writer’s Association (CWA) Dagger Awards have been revealed. The Daggers celebrate the best in the many different areas of crime fiction.

The winners will be announced on October 22nd.

GOLD DAGGER

Claire Askew: What You Pay For (Hodder & Stoughton) 9781473673113

Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction) 9780008309336

John Fairfax: Forced Confessions (Little, Brown) 9781408711606

Mick Herron: Joe Country (John Murray) 9781473657489

Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker) 9781784708535

Michael Robotham: Good Girl, Bad Girl (Sphere) 9780751573435

IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER

Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction) 9780008309336

Tom Chatfield: This is Gomorrah (Hodder & Stoughton) 9781473681392

AA Dhand: One Way Out (Bantam Press) 9780552176538

Eva Dolan: Between Two Evils (Raven Books) 9781408886410

David Koepp: Cold Storage (HQ) 9780008334543

Alex North: The Whisper Man (Michael Joseph) 9781405935999

JOHN CREASEY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGER

Steph Cha: Your House Will Pay (Faber & Faber) 9780571348213

Samantha Downing: My Lovely Wife (Michael Joseph) 9781405939300

Philippa East: Little White Lies (HQ) 9780008344016

Robin Morgan-Bentley: The Wreckage (Trapeze) 9781409194170

Trevor Wood: The Man on the Street (Quercus Fiction) 9781787478367

SAPERE BOOKS HISTORICAL DAGGER

Alis Hawkins: In Two Minds (The Dome Press) 9781912534180

Philip Kerr: Metropolis (Quercus Fiction) 9781787473225

SG MacLean: The Bear Pit (Quercus Fiction) 9781787473614

Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker) 9781784708535

Alex Reeve: The Anarchists’ Club (Raven Books) 9781526604194

Ovidia Yu: The Paper Bark Tree Mystery (Constable) 9781472125248

CRIME FICTION IN TRANSLATION DAGGER

Marion Brunet: Summer of Reckoning, translated by Katherine Gregor (Bitter Lemon Press) 9781912242269

Hannelore Cayre: The Godmother, translated by Stephanie Smee (Old Street Publishing) 9781910400968

E Ferrari: Like Flies from Afar, translated by Adrian Nathan West (Canongate Books) 9781786896964

Jorge Galán: November, translated by Jason Wilson (Constable) 9781472125354

Sergio Olguín: The Fragility of Bodies, translated by Miranda France (Bitter Lemon Press) 9781912242191

Antti Tuomainen: Little Siberia, translated by David Hackston(Orenda Books) 9781912374519

ALCS GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION

Casey Cep: Furious Hours (William Heinemann) 9781785150739

Peter Everett: Corrupt Bodies (Icon Books) 9781785785955

Caroline Goode: Honour: Achieving Justice for BanazMahmod (Oneworld Publications) 9781786075451

Sean O’Connor: The Fatal Passion of Alma Rattenbury(Simon & Schuster) 9781471132728

Adam Sisman: The Professor and the Parson: A Story of Desire, Deceit and Defrocking (Profile Books) 9781788162128

Susannah Stapleton: The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective (Picador) 9781509867325

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.