Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Birthday feedback … part 2 - oxbows, Cuckmere River and Haven...

This is going to be an easy post – photos taken from a ride on bus or taxi … going along the Seven Sisters coastline, Cuckmere River estuary, and views from my lunch venue …

River Cuckmere near its 'estuary'

 … to set the scene for the foodie post about the new vineyard that my family took me to for a birthday lunch …

The meandering river across the
flood plains - that is haven for wildlife ...
oyster catchers to be found in the water meadows;
numerous birds enjoy the different habitats ...
particularly skylarks rest in the long grass on
the rising hills, then ascending ... 
It was a wet week … with dirty bus windows … while my photography is snap and go … so no expectations … but you’ll get an idea of this part of the coast line: Eastbourne in the east to Seaford in the west 

Eastbourne in the east, Seaford on the west,
with the A259 the coast road, which connects and
is the bus route.  The Cuckmere is shown near Seaford, while
Rathfinny's vineyard marked in red is in the top left corner!

… the vineyard, Rathfinny’s, is above Seaford on the edge of Alfriston village …

It really does meander
- the road bypasses
this river twist

The meandering river is the feature here … with ox-bows forming and formed – long walks along the cliffs, fantastic views on clear days!

The Seven Sisters looking west - the Cuckmere estuary
appears at the end of the first series of chalk cliffs
Artists congregate to enjoy the light and the views at various points along our white cliffs …  

Looking south eastwards from the vineyard -
with the flood plain and haven in the distance
Personally: ox-bows have always been remembered from my school geography lessons – so now they’ve come to light and I love the journey along the coast ...

This is when we got the taxi up ... so we could all
have a drink ... but Aflriston church, with the village
mostly to the left (west) of the river and flooded area
… especially on the double decker bus – regardless of the weather – the views are exceptional.

Looking across the river from the vineyard

Titling some of the photos I hope will have filled in a bit of extra information …

Planting by GPS

The next post – will be foooood … exceptional food and the tale of the new vineyard …

Eurasian Skylark

Thanks for visiting … and as these things do ... this poem and the music by Ralph Vaughn Williams came to rest in the little grey cells ... 

He rises and begins to round,
He drops the silver chain of sound
Of many links without a break,
In chirrup, whistle, slur and shake, …

… the second verse begins:
For singing till his heaven fills, …

The Lark Ascending poem c/o

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Birthday feedback … part 1

Just to tempt you … with three (could be four!) quick and easy posts … before I get back to the serious stuff …

Bistrot Pierre is that flat building just above the green grass - desperately
'cold' looking photo - it was dry then ... but bucketed when we left
Lunch by the sea on a gloomy Monday was a great chatty event … the bistro is obviously going to be packed out – because of the setting … we do love to be beside the sea

Taken on my way down - high tide and heavy swell

The weather the next day was very ‘full on’ … lots of rain, buffeting winds … but I’m fairly sheltered in my flat – so got lazy and stayed put.

Let’s stick by the Eastbourne seaside – and tomorrow - a sunny day it will be, I do believe – I need to get along the seafront and see the façade of the hotel that burnt down just before Christmas …I'd like to use conflagrated ... but that might be a word too far ... 

July 2014 - the pier going up ... 
… reminding many of the Eastbourne Pier fire over five years ago … which is still not restored … two major seafront fires, and the economic situation is ‘a bit much’!  But life goes on …

This is looking eastwards ... it'll be gorgeous and definitely
won't want for customers

Bistrot Pierre … is not how I remember bistros in the early days of my gadding about life … when they were small restaurants, defined by their French homely food …

I gather it tasted ok ...
… I always remember French onion soup, boeuf bourguignon and cassoulet … but here it’s quite a large restaurant … one of us had the bourguignon – with a bit of a measly portion of mashed potato …

We enjoyed ourselves … but it brought back memories of bistro days!

History comes next!  The etymology of the word ‘bistro’ is unclear … 

More what I remember ...
small more intimate ... lots of candles to light the place
... and is presumed to come from a regional word: bistingo, bistraud, bistouille, or bistrouille – as well as the two spellings mentioned: bistro or bistrot.  Who knows …


At the Bistro - by Jean Beraud
(1849 - 1935)
A popular folk etymology claims that it originated among Russian troops occupying Paris following the Napoleonic Wars (early 1800s) – where it was allegedly shouted by Cossacks who wanted to be served ‘quickly’ – from a Russian word.  {c/o Wiki (from быстро, "quickly")} … NB discredited by French linguists

The plaque - 30 March 1814
The first recorded use of the word appears in 1884 … however there’s a plaque about the legend of the origin of the word “Bistro” at 6, Place du Tertre, Paris … and just so you know – Tertre means ‘mound’

My calamari ... sorry couldn't wait!
I didn’t take photos of all the foods … we had mushrooms on toast, chicken liver parfait and I had the calamari with garlic aioli …

Thai Fishcake ... 
Then for mains we had Thai fishcake, boeuf bourguignon, while I had the Moroccan chicken … and we shared some vino … actually of the sparkling variety …

Moroccan Chicken

I can’t say I’m raving about it – but can see its situation will keep the hoards arriving … and for a pleasant meal – it was fine, especially as it’s only down the road … so no travelling!

At last we have slightly longer days … and when the sun shines it is glorious, as today and I hope tomorrow for the shot of the burnt façade wreck … so sad – but no-one was hurt …

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Monday, 13 January 2020

The Magic Steps of Life …

Another year older, a twelfth year of being ‘here’, and onto my 1005th post … seems to be good for all things …

… January gloom was upon us yesterday, today there’s a little blue … better than the unenviable reputation of St Hilary’s Day, January 13th being the coldest day of the year …

Age ... probably 4 or 5 ... playing
with lego

… and that I can confirm happening quite often in the past seven decades, or as my uncle would have said … your eighth my dear!!

Ellis Evans - his real name:
c 1910

While looking around for something slightly erudite to write … rather than Happy Birthday to me, and aren’t I clever: 11 full years and one day with 1005 posts since starting this journey …

… I came across a Welsh poet born on the same day in 1887 … who sadly died in WW1 … but I’ll leave you to read more.

The film released in 1992 -
I must try and find a copy

Hedd Wyn, his bardic name meaning blessed peace’, worked on the family farm – where, as a shepherd, he composed his Welsh language poems, dominated by themes of nature and religion.

An Englyn appearing on a
gravestone, in Christ Church, Bala
At times he wrote in the traditional Welsh and Cornish short poem form Englyn … using quantitative metres, involving the counting of syllables, and rigid patterns of rhyme and half rhyme …

A Canadian novelist, Robertson Davies, wrote this English-language englyn, which is more appropriate than the others shown:

The Old Journalist
He types his laboured column – weary drudge!
Senile, fudge and solemn;
Spare, editor, to condemn
These dry leaves of his autumn.

Bistrot Pierre ... should be good!
- newish restaurant and seems to be the in thing -
I had a society lunch there before Christmas
(150 of us!!)
So this old blogger, is walking to a lunch, with a couple of girlfriends, by the sea looking out over the white cliffs of Beachy Head and English Channel …

Happy Birthday to me and many more ahead for us all … thank you for being such a supportive community – it’s encouraging to be around …

'Hedd Wyn' … to you, your families, friends and the world …

Robertson Davies - one of Canada's most popular wordsmith ... per the information given ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Don’t Walk in the Road …

This was shouted out as I wandered up the old High Street, past the town hall, with the intention of going on home … 

Eastbourne Town Hall -
top of Grove Road (which was the main high street)
… but the junction by the town hall is a miss-mash (or mish-mash!): two one-way streets, one which bifurcates as it reaches the town hall, opposite a two-way street, just round the corner another road that comes in …

My mish-mash junction ... I was walking past The Grove
Experience (not sure what that is!) on the Town Hall side
of the road ... and walking on up past the Church
(see next image for the actual junction)

… so car drivers also don’t always know where to go … but the shout-out … took me a while to realise it was, more than once, addressed to me!

Town Hall on left as you look
at the image - and I was on the
pavement outside the town hall
- not quite visible in the photo ...
but the bifurcated bit of the road
in front of the town hall is -
where this electric was ...

I’d forgotten my bus pass and was wandering home and had decided to walk up on the other side of the road … knowing that ‘this junction’ might make me wait around for a few seconds – but to be ‘accosted (by shouting)’ don’t walk in the road took me by surprise – yes I was in the bifurcated part of Grove Road …

Eastbourne Town Hall
- built 1883

… but hadn’t heard a car coming up behind me, to then realise it was an electric one … as I was happily about the cross over to the middle of the road – so I stepped back onto the pavement.

I tried again … unusually! traffic in all directions – so kept stepping back …

Lewis Carroll's illustration
for the old man standing on his head
… the chap sitting on the town hall steps was now quite anxious – calling out did I need help to cross the road ………… by then I was laughing to myself.

But knew that he was being very thoughtful and was obviously concerned I was a completely incompetent old lady … so I did turn back to him and say … I’m fine thank you.

 I have to say these exchanges occurred a few times – eventually the traffic cleared and off I toddled.

The junction isn’t that easy – but it’s unusual to get held up … yet one needs to be aware of the various directions traffic could come at you from. 

I was on the bifurcated bit … and quite often it’s ignored by drivers: they get to the junction without using the bifurcation – which surprises pedestrians, who don’t expect to be accosted by a motorised vehicle turning right into their path.

Tenniel's illustration for 'turning a
somersault in at the door'

I should think I’ve lost you with my descriptions … blame it on old woman blogger syndrome!

I’m pretty road savvy and spatially aware … so was bemused to be ‘ticked off’ by a chap sitting on the cold town hall steps.  I might say he was there the next day – then I was in the bus … so in no danger of causing him anxiety!

Obviously I need to take heed … to others:

"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose—
What made you so awfully clever?"

I think I need to pay attention to the first verse … where the old man stands on his head … my lack of hair might not show quite so much …

Another of Tenniel's illustrations -
thankfully I am not like that!
… and the third verse … my word for the year (not attributed to me!) is waistline … needs to be found – I am not, as the stanza says, ‘uncommonly fat’ … but a little reduction would help!

Well that’s enough waffle for me … setting the tone for Monday’s post … with the very appropriate poem by Lewis Carroll: “You AreOld, Father William” … or … You Are Getting Older, Blogger Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

2020 – Rhythm of Life …

Happy New Year everyone … a new date, but we carry on … the rhythm of life … as Sammy Davis Jr sang in 1969

1905 chasing out ancient 1904
Cartoon by John T McCutcheon

 To feel the rhythm of life,
To feel the powerful beat,
To feel the tingle in your fingers,
To feel the tingle in your feet.

While these powerful feelings engulf us … remember there are others around …

and as Simon and Garfunkel in 1970 reminded us in ‘TheBoxer’ from 1970 – the words ring so true today … as the first verse tells us:

I am just a poor boy
Though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocket full of mumbles, such are promises
All lies and jests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest …

Diversity of Plants

The rhythm of life goes on – the seasons will come and go, disasters will happen, love will come, one hopes war won’t come and that leaders can be judicious and thoughtful in their proclamations …

Animal diversity

Yet the truism from Orwell should make us think … we are very much part of nature; so what we do to nature we do to ourselves …

George Orwell – ‘The only creature that consumes without producing = the human”

A Libyan, a Nubian, a Syrian and an
Egyptian, drawing by an unknown
artist after a mural on the tomb of Seti 1

Let’s embrace diversity, becoming pilgrims on earth, not tourists … to bring about change, we must be the change we wish to see …

Happy New Year to one and all … take care and enjoy the life we are lucky enough to  live …

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories