Time for an Autumn break down by Sussex on the Sea! based at East Dean in the South Downs National Park where acres and acres of unspoilt, rolling countryside meets a series of spectacular chalk cliffs. Beachy Head and the Seven Sister gleamed in the sharp Autumn sunshine staying at a cosy cottage set in a newly-landscaped kitchen garden just behind the Tiger pub on the unspoilt village green – log fires and warming food too!
Close by Alfriston had to be visited where we had honeymooned at the Star Inn some fifty years ago! By chance we ran into Dougie of the Hardy and Trafalgar Tavern fame. He and Dillon Wood had welcomed the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier Illustrious as she steamed into Greenwich, firing a prearranged canon salute and exchange of traditional greetings as once practised out on the steps of the Royal Naval College – what memories! No chance of the R.N’s massive carriers squeezing through the Thames Barrier!
A visit down to Burling Gap and its fast-disappearing coast cottages where the Bratbys once painted – we still have a gem painted by Jean Cooke. Cliff erosion is most evident – a quartet of red poppies recently placed on the brink of the precipice of Beachy Head reminded us of the sanctity of life.
Memories of elevating a diminutive Jean Cooke to a lofty easel at life drawing at the Blackheath Conservatoire reminded us what a gallant soul she was, buzzing around the heath in her sporty open-top Morgan!!
Determined to enjoy ourselves, we jumped onto a super double decker bus to view the amazing cliff top scenery and the rolling Downs, only to be shocked by the developments on either side of this National Park area.
Alighting at the Old Stein in central Brighton, we navigated our way through the once-familiar Lanes and found ourselves following a fisherman on his way to deliver a tray of freshly-caught little beauties, delivering to 64° – a tiny bistro where we savoured a light dish with gusto – what a delight, the sound of a travelling jazz band caught our mood to a treat as we clambered up to the top deck for our scenic ride back to East Dean. What fun!!