Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Meanders, Pi and Oxbows ...

Dear Mr Postman .. what have you for us today .. how interesting ... what on earth does mathematics have to do with the Cuckmere River's sinuous journey to the English Channel? Oh ok .. & if we should want to read a fuller article then we can go to Steve Jones' "View from the Lab" in the Science section of The Telegraph

Steve Jones in his article above is talking about oxbows and since I was a kid and loved Geography - oxbows always fascinated me ... Geography was about the only subject I was any good at at school .. other than some sport.

So when I returned from South Africa and settled in Eastbourne, I was delighted to see that the Cuckmere River has the most wonderful flood plain full of oxbows, and that this was one of the two routes I could take to reach the village of Alfriston, where my brother lives.

Steve Jones mentions two things that amused and interested us .. "one of my (his) observations is that the length of a meandering river as it flows across a flat landscape is always the distance (in a straight line) from the spot where it reaches the plain to its estuary multiplied by 3.14, the famous constant Pi"; this applies to all meanders .. the mighty Amazon, the Thames or to the tiny tributary The Fleet that runs below Fleet street - that hot spot of journalists! - into the Thames.

The Cuckmere is a fantastic area to visit and travel around .. I love using the slower coastal route, as the colours can be the vivid spectrum of sky and sea .. blues of all hues, turquoises and from here I know why sea green is a colour: artists love it. It's just inspiring to get to the top of the Seven Sisters - the chalk cliffs between Eastbourne and the Cuckmere - and come across this magnificent view - either by driving, or using the Seven Sisters park and walking the Downs.

There's so much history here Mr Postman .. do you think you could bring us some more information? - we love hearing about smuggling, Saxon cathedrals and the modern day films using the area as a backdrop .. - it is so kind of you to bring us our positive letter .. we do so appreciate you .. til tomorrow .....


Peter Baca said...


Your a constant source of amazement! Who knew that a the actual length of a river is Pi times a straight line from beginning to end!

I always learn something everyday with your blog

Best Regards

Pete Baca
The Car Enthusiast Online

Marketing Unscrambled, Home edition said...

Hilary, the photos look beautiful. What a wonderful place to live. It is so green. We live in a desert area. We water to make things look green and stay green. Thank you for telling us about this area.
Dan and Deanna "Marketing Unscrambled"

Marketing Unscrambled, Home edition said...

Hilary, NICE changes to the blog it looks wonderful. Keep up the good work.
Dan and Deanna "Marketing Unscrambled"

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pete .. thanks for that .. it interested me too .. however .. on re-reading the article .. it does refer to the flat part of the river I think .. anyway it's a snippet!!

Just glad you're enjoying reading the blog, thanks for visiting ..

Hilary: Positive Letters

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Dan & Deanna .. England is so beautiful and I'm so pleased you enjoyed the photos .. and yes it is usually very green!

Just - so glad you appreciate the changes .. I'm still learning ..

Look forward to seeing you back here and thanks for these comments.

Hilary: Positive Letters

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary

I learn something everyday I came here. Thank you so much to sharing everyday, your blog is like a little show for me :-)
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Gio .. I'm just glad everyone likes it and enjoys the snippets of info .. and it should lighten everyone's day a little ..

I've got so many stories .. it's fun ..

Thanks for visiting .. Hilary: Positive Letters