Even shorter and darker

Our wedding anniversary falls on December 21st, the Winter Solstice, which we sometimes celebrate with a walk on the inspirational Downs. Last week, however, the morning was gloomy enough at home but as we drove up towards Friston we entered the cloud-base. Two stoical dog-walkers passing at Crowlink  suggested “mistical” as an optimistic adjective.

As we headed south among fog-beaded sheep, the cliff-edge was hinted by the soft rush of waves and the scent of seashore wrack some time before it materialized from the grey.

The scant bird-list was gleaned more from cliff-face gargling of Fulmars and croak of unseen Ravens than by visible, colourless specimens (Meadow Pipit….er…)

However, with no view to detain us in admiration, we made unusually quick progress, turning our joint imaginations instead to the composition of limericks, inspired by my anniversary present: the new biography of the insufficiently celebrated Edward Lear.

“There was an old man in the fog…” was one attempt, quickly surpassed by “There was an old man in the mist…” which seemed to offer more possibilities, especially since we were aiming for the pub.

This classic, iconic landscape is usually pretty busy, not least with young visitors from SE Asia who, for some reason (there are plenty of good ones), are always present in large numbers, but once past the mistical dog-walkers I think we had made out just one indistinct figure in the gloom.

Once we’d picked our way down the slippery chalk track to the valley, selfie-taking normality was re-established among the Rock Pipits and challenging gull roosts

But, with so little to delay us, we arrived at the Cuckmere Inn with 45 minutes to spare before lunch so took one of the frequent, swaying, wi-fi equipped double-deckers back to Friston whence we aimed for the Giant’s Rest instead.


2 Responses to “Even shorter and darker”

  1. Michael Watson Says:

    Congrats on your anniversary. There’s an odd atmospheric thing in Friston Forest sometimes, best viewed from Up and Over. If the wind is in the right direction and the woods are damp, vapour clouds can be seen rising from the wooded valley travelling inland. Can look quite odd.

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