Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Kissing is out

Yesterday being a fine, sunny summer's day I decided on a walk across 39 Acres and around the Roman Camp, which - as I'm pretty sure I have mentioned before - has nothing whatsoever to do with the Romans.  It's official name is Hollingbury Hill Fort and it dates from the Iron Age, thus predating the Romans in the British Isles by about 600 years.  Nevertheless, the locals, for some reason I have never discovered, call it the Roman Camp.  The defensive ditch and the ramparts remain, although the ditch is probably not as deep and the ramparts not as high as when the fort was constructed some 2500 years ago.  At a rough guess, the camp/fort covers about 30 acres with perhaps a quarter covered in gorse.  Each year, the council cuts a section of the gorse down to the ground but it very soon grows again and the oldest plants are well over six feet tall.  But what surprised me yesterday was the lack of blooms.  Not a single yellow flower was there to be seen!

Now my old granny was full of wise and not-so-wise, pithy and not-so-pithy sayings, but never once did I hear her say, "Kissing's in season when gorse is in bloom".  But with no gorse in bloom, presumably kissing is out of season.

Not that it makes much difference to me at my age.

Situated within the ramparts are a number of disc barrows, a relatively rare kind of Bronze Age burial mound which predate the Iron Age defensive measures by anything up to about 1500 years.  They would have been the burial sites of important people, possibly chieftains.  The largest in the Roman Camp provides quite a view across Brighton and out to sea.  Several times I have seen people picnicking on this spot, probably quite unaware of what they are sitting on.  The evil in me has always prodded me to enlighten them but I have managed to resist the temptation.  So far.

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