Waiting for a ‘waning gibbous’ moon.

Waning Gibbous moon (Emily Dudley)

Between full and last quarter moon – late at night or in the early morning – you might catch the moon in its waning gibbous phase. A waning gibbous moon rises later at night than a full moon, somewhere between local sundown and midnight.

In Eastbourne the other night it was very close to midnight by the time she appeared, but worth the wait.

Cuckmere Valley to Birling Gap.

Last Sunday saw us walking another stretch of the South Downs from the Cuckmere Valley to Birling Gap.

Cuckmere Valley is a civil parish in the Wealden District of East Sussex, England. As its name suggests, the parish consists of a number of small settlements in the lower reaches of the River Cuckmere.

Birling Gap is an idyllic coastal hamlet nestled between the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. It is famous for its Coastguard Cottages and Cliff Falls.

It was a tough but exhilarating walk across four of the Seven Sisters, helped along with a flask of sweet tea and a Mars Bar in a sheltered spot.

Pevensey Roman Fort and Castle

A Sunday morning walk around Pevensey Castle this morning. Pevensey in East Sussex played a role in some of the most important events in history from the Norman invasion and ‘the Anarchy’ to the Peasants Revolt and the Second World War.

A Roman fort it was built in the 290s, sacked by raiders in 471 and left abandoned for a century, then re-inhabited in the 6th century. The Normans built a castle in the Roman fort and over the next few centuries it was held by Royal favourites. It then again fell into ruin, but was used by soldiers in World War 2, when Sussex prepared for invasion.

Currently the Castle is closed due to the pandemic, but opens again late spring. Check out the English Heritage website for more information:

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/pevensey-castle/

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.

The Jackdaw.

Went for a winter walk up here:

Sussex Downs

And saw several of these little chaps:

Jackdaw

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.

Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team

Chaplaincy Headquarters

A shout out to these amazing guys.

‘…a valued search and rescue charity that seeks to save lives at Beachy Head, East Sussex.

We patrol on foot and by car and respond to emergency calls locating anyone at risk.

Using our skills in crisis intervention we offer supportive listening, to start a dialogue and to encourage more hopeful solutions than suicide.

We work alongside local services helping people to access support. All our chaplains are Christians and are members of local churches.’

https://bhct.org.uk/

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.

Look to the Rainbow 🌈

Every colour of the rainbow visible.

Rainbow over Eastbourne Pier 23 December 2020

‘Look, look
Look to the rainbow.
Follow it over the hill
And the stream.
Look, look
Look to the rainbow.
Follow the fellow
Who follows a dream.’

Look to the Rainbow. Finian’s Rainbow (Musical fantasy , 1968)

Somewhere over there might be a better 2021 for us all.