Saturday, 7 August 2010
From my birth county we move into what is my adopted home county, East Sussex. The name Sussex comes from Old English (or Saxon or something similar) and means "the land of the south Saxons". To get there from Kent we can take the road across the Weald, the ridge of higher country that runs more or less along the border between the counties for some distance, or we could cross Romney Marsh and Kent Ditch to come in by the sea. If we come across the Weald, we will soon enter Ashdown Forest, an area of heathland (with a few trees) which was home to Winnie the Pooh. The coastal route brings us to Rye, a delightful little town of cobbled streets and half-timbered buildings.
A little further west is the small town of Battle. This grew up around the abbey founded on the site of the Battle of Hastings in which William of Normandy (afterwards known as William the Conqueror) defeated the Saxon king, Harold. This took place in 1066 and was the last successful invasion of England.
My (current) home town - and it has been for nearly half a century - is Brighton. A cosmopolitan town sometimes known as London-by-the-Sea, Brighton has for two centuries had a racy reputation for dirty weekends. Graham Green possibly did the town no favours with his book Brighton Rock.
But for me, East Sussex means the South Downs, the stretch of hills that run from Salisbury Plain in Hampshire, through both West and East Sussex, to explode into the sea in the white cliffs of the Seven Sisters and the country's most famous suicide spot, Beachy Head.
This week's picture is of a view of the South Downs just behind Brighton with Firle Beacon in the background on the far left.
'And along the sky the line of the Downs
So noble and so bare.'