When things don’t quite work out.

I am on annual leave these last two weeks of January 2021. Like a lot of other people during this pandemic, I should have been elsewhere in the world. So we had to re-think. Plan B was a road trip to take in a few of these:

Then a third lockdown has meant staying in our home town. So plan C came into force and we took a walk and did these:

Eastbourne Borough, Eastbourne Town and Eastbourne United.

The Standen Winter Tree of Hope.

Tree of hope.

I’ve seen a lot of these crafting trees around this December. I think that creating them over the lockdown periods have given many people something to do and have helped alleviate loneliness and boredom. These ones were at Standen House, the National Trust Arts and Crafts family home with Morris & Co. interiors, set in a hillside garden.

The Crocodile by Roald Dahl.

“No animal is half as vile
As Crocky–Wock, the crocodile.
On Saturdays he likes to crunch
Six juicy children for his lunch
And he especially enjoys
Just three of each, three girls, three boys.
He smears the boys (to make them hot)
With mustard from the mustard pot.
But mustard doesn’t go with girls,
It tastes all wrong with plaits and curls.
With them, what goes extremely well
Is butterscotch and caramel.
It’s such a super marvelous treat
When boys are hot and girls are sweet.
At least that’s Crocky’s point of view
He ought to know. He’s had a few.
That’s all for now. It’s time for bed.
Lie down and rest your sleepy head.
Ssh. Listen. What is that I hear,
Galumphing softly up the stair?

Go lock the door and fetch my gun!
Go on child, hurry! Quickly run!
No stop! Stand back! He’s coming in!
Oh, look, that greasy greenish skin!
The shining teeth, the greedy smile!
It’s Crocky–Wock, the Crocodile!”

Carved crocodile. Standen House Estate.

Hastings, East Sussex.

View from East Hill

Today was a trip down the coast to Hastings. The town lies between two hills- East and West. It was attacked by the French during the Hundred Years War. The architecture is a fascinating mish-mash of styles ranging from Medieval to Victorian times.

The old town high street (George Street) is a diverse mix of antiquity and modern cosmopolitan. There are cute narrow twittens running off the Main Street up into the cliffs.

Enjoy a game of open air chess in the Old Town square.

Hastings has a thriving fishing community. It’s fleet is the largest in Europe that is launched from a beach as opposed to a quay or harbour.

A local character?

Bench on the East Cliffs.

Lastly Hastings was the birthplace of Grey Owl, a pioneer Of Canada conservation- said to have saved the Canadian beaver from extinction.

Newhaven to Dieppe Ferry.

‘Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore’

Andre Gide

Newhaven Harbour, East Sussex.

Even the humble shores of Newhaven in East Sussex. Newhaven ferry port overlooks the English Channel, one of the busiest shipping channels in the world. It is located on the south coast of England in the county of Sussex at the mouth of the river Ouse. It is the closest port to London with Ferry links to France, and is ideally placed between the seaside resorts of Brighton and Eastbourne with quick and easy access to the rest of the UK.

http://www.newhavenferryport.co.uk/

On my way to work I pass this ferry. The pull to hop on and cross the channel is always there!

The Secret Garden.

Bateman’s Robin. Burwash East Sussex.

‘The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off. Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off—and they are nearly always doing it.’

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Chapter 8. “The Robin Who Showed the Way.

An autumn walk around Bateman’s gardens and this engaging robin reminded me of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. A childhood favourite book.

Tree folklore.

Ents are a race of beings in J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world Middle-earth who closely resemble trees. They are similar to the talking trees in folklore around the world. Their name is derived from the Old English word for giant.

en.m.wikipedia.org › wiki › Ent

I like to think that Sheffield Park Gardens in East Sussex has its own Ents.

Autumn walk and trees and toadstools. Magical season.

River Cam, Cambridge England.

River Cam

We took a road trip recently to Cambridge , England. While there we did a chauffeured punt down the River with local company Scudamore’s Punting: https://www.scudamores.com/punting-quayside. As we sailed the river past the university colleges, listening to our very knowledgable chauffeur, I was reminded of the Romantic poet William Wordsworth’s ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge September 3, 1802…’ :

Earth has not any thing to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

River Cam

The poem was about the river Thames, not the River Cam, however Wordsworth did study at St. John’s College Cambridge, so I felt my connection was valid.

Skegness.

Seaside sauce

Description

Skegness (Skeggy) is a seaside town in Lincolnshire, England. On the Lincolnshire coast of the North Sea.

I went to the Butlins Holiday Camp in Skegness as a child. My partner played gigs on Skegness sea front in his early band career. Everyone I know has a Skeggy memory- work day trips, family holidays. Just a mention brings a smile to people’s faces.

Billy Butlin’s slogan was ‘Our True Intent is All For Your Delight’

It was originally a quote from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream. Butlins feels a long way from Shakespeare- but maybe not. They both entertained the masses.

We didn’t go to Butlins on this occasion, but we were delighted in Skegness.

Brighton. Piers and Seafronts.

Brighton is a compact city nestled between the sea and the countryside. It’s just down the coast from where I live in Eastbourne. Today we spent the day on the pier and seafront.

Walking along the seafront towards Hove:

The Every Day Counts Rainbow.
Upside down house.
Bandstand
Constellation by Jonathan Wright, 2018.

Fabulous hotels along the front.

Interesting installation.

Forks.

Brighton Pavillion- built in three stages as a seaside retreat for George Prince I’d Wales, who became Prince Regent in 1811, and King George IV in 1820.

Brighton you are unique, quirky and fabulous.

Bodiam Castle.

We spent Bank Holiday Monday at Bodiam Castle on the Kent/ Sussex border. It was built by Sir Edward Dallingridge c. 1385.

Sir Edward was born into the minor gentry c. 1346. Lady Elizabeth, sir Edwards wife, was a key figure in the castle’s history. She was heiress to the land of Bodiam and considerably wealthy to boot! Upon marriage Sir Edward was entitled to her land and money, which helped him to build the castle. A castle the size of Bodiam was large enough to house up to eighty servants.

On a natural note the castle plays host to bats, particularly the largest Daubenton maternity roost in England as well as well as a maternity roost of Natterer’s bats.

The castle stands alongside the River Rother and there is a beautiful walk following the river. The Tenterden to Bodiam railway also runs alongside the Castle stretch. There is nothing nicer than walking alongside the river with the castle on one side and the steam train passing by on the other. East Sussex is diverse and beautiful.

The Mill-Pond by Edward Thomas

The Mill pond, Batemans, Burwash

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!