Friday, June 1, 2018

From Chichester to Alfriston and in Between

Warm evenings, golden hues and blossom scented breath embraced the fleeting dance of May flies in a perfect moment as I walked beside the river just over a week ago now.
Hedgerows and banks were draped in the finest veils of lace, as if in preparation for a bride to take her vows. And fields covered in offerings of purest gold.
This wasn't a wedding that would be shared on television though. Just the quiet union of nature's perfection, happening regardless of anyone watching. Like moments when a sunbeam catches a petal, or a water diamond on a single spider thread sparkles after rain.  Each flower, seed and creature played their role and merged into the wondrous beauty of May.

While many folk were watching another prominent wedding on the box in the corner of their room, my feet were treading the earth in East Sussex. For a few years I've been meaning to say a 'hello' to the guardian of the Shires, the Long Man of Wilmington and that day seemed a perfect opportunity.
The south downs is the UK's most recently made national park. It's a beautiful area that stretches from Hampshire to Sussex.
There are so many walks to do. Being only there for a couple of days we managed to fit in one long one, where I came across this gorgeous being.
The young fox watched us for a minute, wary for a moment or two. Were we the kind of humans that only wanted to capture it on film? Yes, so sniffed the air and walked on it's way leaving our day with a trail of magic at it's heels.
The walk we had chosen to follow passed the little church of Berwick, famous for it's murals painted by the Bloomsbury artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell. Inside it was a lovely space filled with flowers and filtered light .
It was no accident that we passed this church as part of the trip to Sussex was to see the work of the Bloomsbury group so of course we visited Charleston too.
Charleston was the country home of artist Vanessa Bell, and is famous for it's designed and hand painted interiors by herself, Duncan Grant and other Bloomsbury artists. Sadly I didn't get to take any interior photographs as we had an hour long guided tour and we weren't allowed to take pictures. But, I really loved this house and how they had decorated it. Do have a look at the website for interior pictures here if you haven't seen before. You can view them room by room. It's made me want to bring more colour into my home and paint the doors. The garden was pretty too.
We were staying the night in the village of Alfriston, so also got the chance to visit the very first house that the National Trust bought back in 1896 for the price of £10. The Clergyman's house  is an idyllic medieval thatched wealdon hall house with another lovely little garden.
How adorable is this bedroom! 
Alfriston village is a charming place with a variety of little shops and tea rooms.
The South Downs Way route passes through, so it's very popular with walkers, and the majestic chalk cliffed coast is just five miles away. We did pay this a visit too, but as this blog post could go on and on I won't share any sea scape pictures. Instead I will share the quirky book shop that we browsed in 'Much ado Books'
I found this poem in a frame on a wall in one of the shops and liked it. It seemed very fitting, as our little trip had also taken us from Chichester to Alfriston. We had stayed the night before in Chichester visiting my Son.  You can really feel her love for the Sussex countryside and old way of life shining through.
From Chichester To Alfriston by Eleanor Farjeon.
When I returned home I researched a little about the author and found out that she was a writer of children's literature, plays and biographies. Although winning  notable children's literary awards  it seems she is little known to readers today which I found a little sad. She is mostly known for being the author of  'Morning has Broken' a popular hymn that I used to sing and love at school. More about her here and here

Now it's time now for me to head back into my little retreat beneath the trees.
This little space is a blessing to be in at this time of year. Although can get a little dark now the tree canopy is in full leaf.  I shall be back soon to share what I've been working on and I have some hares that are getting impatient to be painted. I am a little behind with sharing things I've finished and especially late in doing a shop update which has been on my list since April and I still haven't been organised. But I will correct that soon. ;) 
I hope you enjoyed the month of May as much as I did?
I raise you a glass of mead to sweet elderflower and rose filled June days.


  1. Ahhhh, that was a very nice tour you took us along !!!
    The paintings in that church are wonderful, love the statue in the bushes and that bookshop is awesome !
    Thanks and on to summer (though it's raining a lot here ...)

    1. Glad you enjoyed Els. Have a lovely summer, hope the sun comes out soon :)

  2. This is all so wonderful. And I love your little retreat beneath the tree!!

    1. Thanks Sarah. I do love my little retreat am so grateful to have it x

  3. Wonder-full tour, all of it. Thank you so very much. And lovely music - perfect.

  4. so much beauty! and imagine, a medieval thatched hall for £10...even in the 1890s...

    1. I know, amazing isn't it. Was a lovely building definitely and worth a visit if you are in the area :)

  5. hello Karen, I often visit, i so enjoy your artwork and beautiful nature posts. I loved this post on your trip and such beautiful area to walk the land. The church art was so beautiful. I loved the sweet fox caught in his tracks. When I was a child my father ran a small rescue for wild animals. we lived with a barn owl and 'bazil' our fox... sometimes i see them on the lane where i live and think its his great grand children passing to say 'hello'...x

  6. Well the last sentence was very apt! I am actually drinking a glass of that very same juice right this moment! Its my new summer favourite.
    I love the photos of the inside of the church and the sweet little bedroom of the Clergyman's House!xx


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