Once again, I look back on a glorious sunny day from dark, dull one. On Wednesday it was sparklingly bright. We went up to the Country Park and had coffee and cake at the Coastguards Tearoom.
The Coastguards is a welcome stopping place on Country Park walks – we once saw a green woodpecker in their garden.
After coffee, walk. The night before, we had watched a repeat of one of Michael Portillo’s railway journeys on TV – he went from Hythe to Hastings. He came up to Fairlight with his Bradshaw, and after looking at the Dripping Well and talking about the Victorian passion for ferns, started talking about the view from the Coastguard’s lookout. It so happens that the Philosopher found a facsimile Bradshaw in a charity shop not long ago, so I’ll quote what the book said:
‘Let the pedestrian make his way, however, to the signal house belonging to the coast-guard station at that point, and he will have a panoramic view around him which it would be worth his while walking from Cornhill to Cairo only to behold and then walk back again. The whole forms a complete circle, the sweep of inland scenery extending to the hills in the neighbourhood of London, and the sea view reaching from Beachy Head to Dover Cliffs, and stretching out to the heights of Boulogne. Among many minor objects visible may be enumerated ten towns, sixty-six churches, seventy martello towers, five ancient castles, three bays and forty windmills.’
Well, we went to the Coastguard Station to have a look, and you can’t possibly see all that. The picture below shows what you see looking down towards Rye, and you have to walk over the other side of the hill to get the view to Beachy Head. Did Bradshaw actually mean the view from North’s Seat – before the trees grew up, obviously. All very odd.
Anyway, poor Philosopher had a bad knee, so I decided to walk home on my own, because it was such a lovely day. I always feel a bit strange as a woman walking on my own – you don’t see many solitary walkers of either gender striding through the countryside, but fewer women. I need a dog to keep me company if I am going to do much more of it. It was very muddy underfoot, so cut back to Fairlight Road via Tilekiln Lane. It only took me 50 minutes to get all the way back.