Showing posts from May, 2015

Winchelsea Heronry and other busy birds

Last year we went for a sunny walk and a picnic around Winchelsea and along the Royal Military Canal. During our walk we spotted a heronry in the trees. As it was mid-June, it was hard to make out the chicks from the adults. This week, we went back.
    Being us, we had to get our priorities straight, and started off with a suitably civilised coffee sitting out in the garden at the Ship, at Winchelsea Beach.

      Next, we parked near the canal below Winchelsea, and walked along to find the herons. It was a glorious sunny day, and everything looked absolutely beautiful. Fresh greens, reflections in the water, yellow flag irises, drifts of white cow-parsley and hawthorn blossom, water lilies - fabulous. We could hear loud bird song from the reeds, which we later identified as reed warblers. I wouldn't know one if I saw one - they are one of so many anonymous little brown things.

      The heronry is on the far side of the canal, in high trees in the wooded escarpment below …

Sandgate, Hythe, car-boots and skateboarding dog.

Last weekend our old friend +Shaun Mckenna came down to stay. He is one of the script-writers on the BBC Radio Four WWI series, 'Home Front', which is being broadcast every day for four years - the duration of the war, to mark the 100 year anniversary. 
    Many of the episodes are set in Folkestone, and apparently, in the next series, the action moves to Sandgate. Shaun had never been there, so an expedition was swiftly organised.
    Philosopher and I have visited Sandgate before, when we first arrived in Hastings, and back then, we weren't that impressed. Although it has an attractive High Street, only one antique shop had looked our sort of thing, and we had grave trouble finding a decent cup of coffee. We ended up in a very uninspiring place with sticky red carpet, smelling of Jeyes Fluid. (Can you still get Jeyes Fluid? Yes, you can, I've just Googled it. Today it is marketed as an 'outdoor' disinfectant, but is presumably the same stuff which was poured …

Beautiful Hastings - garlic in Alexandra Park, and bluebells

It is unusual to be able to admire beautiful bluebells and flowering wild garlic, both at their best at the same time. This year has been a little odd.
   We have a little ritual every year, visiting the wild garlic at the very top of the upper part of Alexandra Park, in the thicket above Shornden Reservoir. (Here's an odd thing. Why do so many locals refer to it as Alexander Park? It was named after Princess, later Queen Alexandra when she opened the park with her husband, later King Edward VII in 1882).
    It was a beautiful sunny Sunday. As usual, we walked to the park from home. First thing, we saw a group of people by the War Memorial, commemorating VE Day.
    Plenty of vivid green spring trees to see, but cherry blossom torn off by the recent high winds. We stopped for a coffee in the excellent eat@The Park cafe. They have greatly expanded the volume of outside seating available, which is good.
    Walked along our favourite path 'The Ride' in the Upper Park. My at…

Jack-in-the-Green WI style, and then Bad Things happen

It started so well. A sunny May-day Monday saw the usual massive celebrations in Hastings, the Jack-in-the Green festival that fills the Old Town and the West Hill, and a huge motorbike rally that takes over the sea-front.
     Our WI puts on a charity event 'We're Alright Jack', upstairs in the Jenny Lind pub, slap bang in the middle of the procession route in the High Street.  We do a properly set up vintage tea-room, serving coffee, tea, cakes, quiches, pizza, sausage rolls etc. from the time the parade starts at 10.30 through to 3pm.  It is hard work but good fun. As the pavements are too crowded to move, people come to watch the parade from our room upstairs, and green covered participants call in to get food and drink.
      The Hastings festival is a revival of a much older event. Keith Leech, who masterminds the event and was largely behind the recreation of our Jack-in-the-Green, came to the WI a few months ago to talk about it.  Many characters in the parade, suc…

Charleston Farm House and Berwick Church - another Literary Ladies outing

WI book group outing this week to Charleston and Berwick Church.
     All ten of us met up at the excellent Middle Farm for essential refreshment stoking-up before embarking on serious stuff. Battleaxe and Philosopher used to go there when grand daughter Eve was very small. She used to love the chickens and other farm stuff. Or perhaps, looking at this old photograph, maybe she didn't love them quite as much as fond Granny remembers!
    Today's Middle Farm has a greatly expanded farm shop, an amazing cider shop and a great selection of plants as well as the farm, and the cafe is good too. We devoured their entire stock of cheese scones.
     Next, to Berwick Church. Have never been there before.It is a pretty little church, heavily restored after bomb damage in 1940s (Bomb? Out there? How?).
     It is best known for the murals, painted in the 1940s, 50s and 60s by the Bloomsbury set, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Quentin Bell.
     This is the second church decorated by pr…

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