Green and Pleasant
Friday. Was summer hanging on or autumn just holding its breath? Whatever , the sun shone, the sky was crystal clear and the South Downs called. With worries about the hip, I tried the three hour jaunt from Amberley to Worthing. On the outskirts of that endless, dull seaside town I know there is a once an hour bus on the hour. Last year I waved at it as it just left the stop,this year there was to be no resting for lunch.
What a walk it was. To the south the azure sea so clear that one could see the cliffs of the Isle of Wight, in front the iron age hill fort and out at sea the endless windfarms , a few container ships . To the North the calm and reassuring Weald stretched to the North Downs, somewhere a nasty fire burned, a few cyclists and some walkers but mostly just skylarks for companions. A few cows but many sheep. The fields now ploughed and resting, good jobs done.
As a walk it has no weak moments, if you walk countryside you are part of its rhythm and time, there was no end to the green and pleasant views, somewhere I could hear the pop pop of a shooting party getting their money’s worth . Never have I seen so many kestrels, I had brought the bins and no sight is more worthwhile than the “hurl and gliding” of the windhover. My book tells me that some used to call this most elegant of predators, “wind fuckers”.Ouch
I caught the bus with two minutes to spare. It wound its way through estates of interminable bungalows, cemeteries in waiting, until the stony beach. I passed a pipkin of alcoholics in a shelter and was soon sunning myself with a beer on the pier. At the next table a group of Italian language students were also sun worshipping . How is it some are so naturally stylish? With their scarves, anoraks and shades,they were not spotty students killing an hour, they looked like a group of film stars posing in an après ski ad. Bella. Momentarily my Brexit impulse wavered, but not for long.
Soon I was on the train going home. Southern Railway true to form had problems and 45 minutes was added to the 90 minute journey. But the golden apple was barely bruised.