The South Downs Way is a 100 mile national trail that follows the old routes along the chalk ridges of the South Downs, many of which have been used for 8000 years. Jane’s lucky enough to live in this part of the country, and last Friday we took a nine mile walk that included several sections of the trail. It turned out to be a race against the weather. A race in which we lost. Massively.
All photos Fujifilm X100F
Through the wayward pines, and some early indications of the weather to come
Lambs! Hundreds of ’em…
Some serious rain starting to close in….
The Devil’s Jumps are a group of five large burial mounds on the South Downs Way, just outside the hamlet of Treyford. They’re around three to four thousand years old, and the main line of five barrows is aligned with sunset on Midsummer Day. We had our sandwiches on the top of one, and now I’m wondering if we’ve been a bit disrespectful. I mean, I’ve seen Poltergeist and Pet Semetary. Don’t mess with ancient burial sites.
These guys know something is going down
All along the watchtower
Just a few miles to go, but things ahead are not looking too good…
…but we’re also being chased from behind
That was the last snap before we were hit by just the type of end-of-times rainstorm you’d expect in 2020. Obviously I dealt with it in my usual stoical way1, but it’s always good to know: in the rain, no one can see your tears.
1. The original title of this post, ‘How I Survived a Hurricane’, was rejected by the fact-checkers.↶
In the alternative universe where a certain microbe didn’t leap from a bat, there’s a version of me holidaying in Barcelona right now. (NOTE: I am neither a virologist nor a quantum physicist). And even though my version of me is serval hundred quid lighter and stuck in England, it’s great to be able to do some of the simple things that make life feel normal. For the last couple of weekends, this has meant walking through the South Downs with the dogs, and spending time in the pub with friends. Just like people used to do back in Normal Times.
But it’s hard to know which way things are going, on all levels. Photos are a lot easier than words for me right now. There’s a sense of Autumn in the air, and it feels like there might be a storm coming.
Midhurst & the South Downs / All photos Fujifilm X100F
There’s a polo game going on over there in the fields. No spectators allowed these days due to Covid.
It’s not easy being this handsome
The dogs and the chickens co-exist relatively peacefully
And in the pub with friends. As it should be.
On the tipsy shuffle back home at sundown and past the ruins of Cowdray House, destroyed by fire in September 1793
So. Bertie went home this morning and I’m back to solitary confinement. I’m sad about this. These are the photos from our last couple of days together.
All photos Fujifilm X100F
Prior to this pandemic, thanks to Brexit and the ensuing culture war, Britain has been engulfed in political turmoil for three years. Each day seemed to bring a new political calamity, which was then promptly forgotten when the next one happened 24 hours later. Weeks felt like months, months felt like years. I really regret not keeping a simple note of events as they happened, just so I could look back and try and make some sense of it all.
So during this period I’ve decided to sum up the weekly events that have struck me the most, from the deadly serious to the absurdly ridiculous. If my tone seems flippant at times…well, we all have our own way of getting through this horror.