Relentless Positivity

This appears to be the message emanating from my workplace. And, although it can be wearing at times, I think the optimists are right. It is all too easy to get dragged down at the moment – so many obstacles in the way of high standards, so hard not to keep looking back to how things used to be… We need to accept that, given the restrictions, we are doing a GOOD JOB. Certainly better than the alternative of sending all the young people home to fend for themselves online. (My particular heroes are the creative arts department, who have to be extremely…creative! Fancy teaching music with no singing? Drama, with 30 Year 7s stuck down in their seats?)

So, looking on the bright side it is!

Walking the South Downs is always therapeutic. (In the distance you can just see the other side of the famous ‘V’ mentioned here: And you can tell West Sussex is very keen on its poppies – I wonder how long they will remain there?) Good for the step count too. Since I scored around 28000 steps that first week I have upped my target to 35000 – which I know is still pathetic compared to many of you but a substantial improvement for me!

My other positive plan is to get to the Artemisia Gentileschi exhibition at the National Gallery. I would be gutted to miss this, but ducking around Covid closures before it ends in January is not going to be straightforward. Anyone managed it?

Moody weekend

Weatherwise, certainly….

Definite dampening of the spirits – but can’t believe how lucky we were to snatch a couple of hours out on the Downs – we didn’t get soaked till we were 10 minutes from home! The charming church is at Streat, near Hassocks. It is listed as 11th century, but what you can see is mostly Victorian. Plenty of traditional Sussex knapped flint around here.

And it’s not quite over yet – cheerful remnants of late summer colour here and there. And also a little swag – some brilliant pink crab apple jelly which I have failed to photograph.

Up/down days 2

Climbing the Sussex Downs in a high (but not dangerous) wind is not an obvious choice. But plans had been made – and the dramatic skies were rather exciting – even the sheep seemed a little edgy! They decided to bolt just after I took this picture!

IMG_6625This time we had a destination in mind. And it suddenly appeared, looking distinctly out of place at the edge of a Sussex field!

IMG_6626The Chattri, with Brighton (and the sea) in the background.

The Chattri is a memorial, erected in 1921 on the spot where 53 Hindu and Sikh soldiers  were cremated. They had died from the injuries they had sustained while fighting for the Empire in WW1. They had been cared for in makeshift military hospitals (some of them in the Royal Pavilion) in Brighton.

Once you get over the surprise of the rather grand and exotic design, you realise that this is actually the perfect spot for a memorial – isolated, peaceful (NO vehicle access!) and with fabulous views of the Downs, the city of Brighton and the sea. And that day we also had exhilarating winds and spectacular cloud formations to add to the atmosphere.

Up/down days 1


Literally. Up/down the Downs, near Ditchling in Sussex. Three times recently. The first outing was on a glorious English summer afternoon. The ‘hedge’ in the top small picture is interesting –  it is the outer flank of the right hand side of a giant V, planted to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 (some sources say the Diamond Jubilee, 1897). Over 3,000 trees were put in – larch, birch, scots pine, sycamore, beech…. Still spectacular, over 130 (or possibly 120!) years later. The picture below was taken (with some difficulty) towards the inside bottom of the V.  The most dramatic photos, of course, are to be taken from the road below – but, except as the crow flies, or the human tumbles, that was  miles away!