Sunday, 24 April 2016


Despite it being late April, today's chilly northern breeze made us put on our warm clothes as we headed for a Sunday morning walk on the Downs (South Downs National Park) to blow away the cobwebs and get some exercise.

The good thing about windy weather is that it keeps the air clear and invigorating and makes for interesting cloud formations in the sky (will that big grey cloud heading rapidly towards us soak us with rain, or will it be nice to us instead?)

There were plenty of sheep and cows with their young enjoying being out in the fields again after the winter and this cow was making the most of a handy tree to have a jolly good scratch.

Up on the ridge the wind became a lot more gusty and a passing paraglider appeared to be having a bit of a problem as he approached an area of trees.  I think it was just that he was trying to turn around in perhaps slightly more challenging conditions, and I'm sure he (or she) knew what they were doing, but for a moment I did wonder if we would have to be involved in a parachute in the tree rescue situation.

As we headed back, we came across a sign outside the local youth hostel on the edge of the Downs which said that it was open for refreshments, so we went in to check it out.

What a nice surprise we had.  They have carried out refurbishments over the winter and now have a lovey sun lounge which is open to passing walkers and cyclists and where you can have tea and cake and admire the view.  There is also seating outside, so in the warmer weather ice-creams and cold drinks will be another option after a strenuous walk or bike ride.  I do love finding a new "refreshment" venue, particularly if the staff are friendly, the produce is good and the views are as good as this.

A pot of Fairtrade Tea For Two at the local Youth Hostel Tea Room

Friday, 15 April 2016

A Preview of Summer With a Walk Along The Pier

I'm writing this at the end of the week and the weather is rainy, grey and cool. A couple of days ago we were basking in sunshine and walking with our sleeves rolled up and wearing sunglasses along the prom at Worthing.  We happened to be entertaining my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for a couple of days who were visiting from Birmingham.  They said when they left home it was raining and by the time they reached the south coast, it was lovely and sunny.  It remained sunny until they left and then it started raining again.  

They are under the illusion that it is always sunny here, the same way that my sister is under the illusion that is always windy (when she visits, most of her photos are of people trying to hold their hair out of their face for a decent shot).

Its true that it is sunnier in the south of the country, but we do get more than our fair share of bad storms, so we don't get off scot free.

It was time well-spent though walking along the pier, looking at the outdoor art gallery and soaking up the scenery in general.  We finished off with a visit to the pier cafe, but more of that in a future post.  In the meantime, these photos, hopefully, speak for themselves ...

Friday, 8 April 2016

Curling Up On The Sofa And Watching A Good Movie

Sweet Pea loves to curl up on the sofa and watch a good chic flic

I mentioned very recently about the pleasures of visiting our local old style cinema, which is very good, but this is for occasional treats when we feel the need to watch something in 3-D or which just needs to be appreciated on a big screen.

Watching at home is better though because apart from being cheaper, public cinemas always run the risk of someone muttering or rustling sweet wrappers in the row behind you or a big person with a big hair-do sitting in the seat in front. At home you can watch in your pyjamas, take comfort breaks whenever you want and don't have to worry about making the trek home again.

In this techie age, viewing habits are constantly changing.  It's now possible to digitally record tv movies and watch them at a time that's convenient to you (and fast forward over the advertisements).  Many people also download/stream movies and tv series.  There's so much choice now and something for everyone.

If you're on a budget, the best thing I've found is finding old dvds (or video tapes, if you still have a player) in charity shops.  At the moment, the general trend is for people to get rid of their old dvds (because they are streaming movies instead) and a lot of them are donated to charity shops who are now actually encouraging people to treat them as libraries - buy one for a £1 and when you've watched it, return it and buy another one.  You get to watch a cheap movie and the charity gets a donation - it's a win win situation.  I've found recently that more and more titles are making their way into the shops.

My 2 latest finds are both films I've seen before but loved them both and looking forward to watching them again.  The great thing about dvd's is you also get extra features on the disc.  

The Fountain merges science fiction, fantasy, time-travel, immortality, history, parallel lives, love story themes and has some very dreamy special effects.  Its the sort of film you either love or hate - I love it!

Memoirs Of A Geisha adapted from the novel and beautiful to watch (this actually won 3 oscars, for costume design, art direction and cinematography). I'm looking forward to the extra features, particulary the "Geisha Bootcamp".

Have you found any good charity shop dvds recently?

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Walking on the Common and a Surprise Windmill

With the spring weather well and truly arrived, we got out and about this week-end and found ourselves exploring Chailey Common in East Sussex, one of the largest areas of open heathland left in Sussex.  Exmoor ponies have been introduced and allowed to roam freely and help "manage" the land.  Soon they will be joined by Longhorn cattle and Hebridean sheep who will also be grazing the land and helping to manage the habitat (which is home to some rare species of insects and birds).

The highlight of our walk came at the end, when we got up close and personal to the Chailey Windmill (its sails had been waving at us on the skyline from afar and calling us towards it for a closer look).

Sussex has some of the best preserved windmills in the UK (a number of which have been restored and are sometimes open to the public).  

Windmills just fascinate me and I think they are beautiful to look at.

The Chailey Windmill