If you’ve ever travelled around France you’ll know that it’s chockablock with lovely towns and villages, the kind you leave with a desire to stay longer, to linger under the shade of a tree with a bottle of red, a hunk of bread and chunk of cheese. And if you fancy a dash of mustard then Charroux, in the Allier department of Auvergne, is just the place to go. For the past 900 years the world-famous “moutarde de Charroux” has been produced in the village, with a small family (mother, son and step-daughter) continuing the tradition to this day.
I shot this on a recent walk from Seaford to Cuckmere. The chalk cliffs are the Seven Sisters, which you can’t walk to directly from the point where I was standing when I took this photograph. Once you get down to Cuckmere you have to turn left and walk inland along the Cuckmere River for about half an hour until you reach a point where you can cross it and head back towards to coast on the other side.
I decided to process the image as black and white since the light was low and the sky rather flat and nondescript.
Another grey, grey day in Lewes, so here’s a photograph taken on a sunnier day to brighten the spirits. Although even here a large part of the hillside is in shadow, so the clouds must have been looming that day too.
One of the many views from Lewes Castle — this one facing south-west towards Kingston village, with St. Michael’s Church spire in the foreground, along with a few High Street rooftops.
Sunday began with a heavy mist that dispersed to reveal a less-than-inspiring overcast, greyness. Although Sean and I had intended to get up early and go for a walk, we woke rather late (due to a later-than-planned night) and launched into full-scale brunch preparations before heading out around midday, which, as it turns out, was a good thing. The sun had just started to break through as we left, and by the time we reached the river the clouds had scattered, the sky was clear blue and the air unseasonally warm.
We walked our usual walk, going north-east along the River Ouse towards Hamsey, a tiny hamlet just outside of Lewes that’s split between the ‘mainland’ and the small island nestled in the bow of the river. Along the way we saw a variety of bird and animal folk: a grey heron, ducks, mute swans, a couple of juvenile seagulls and a flock of black-headed gulls that have recently taken up residence on a small section of the riverbank that is also the end of a large garden (yard). The people who own the house and garden also have five lamas (or alpacas, not sure which) and two goats, one black and a smaller, rather cute white one, who were hanging out on the jetty as we passed. Further downstream we met up with our five horse friends: a stallion (all parts intact), two mares and their respective offspring.
Instead of turning off over the bridge to the island, we continued on through mainland Hamsey before taking a right turn through a couple more fields, the last of which is home to this solitary tree. I hadn’t taken a camera, but I did have my iPhone* so was able to capture the tree in the warm glow of the late afternoon sun. I took a few shots at varying distances before kneeling down to take this from near ground level. Shortly afterwards the clouds reformed to cover the sun once more and we headed home in the same flat grey light that had begun the day.
* iPhone 4 with a 5MP camera, not, sadly, the iPhone 4S with its bright, shiny 8MP camera!
These three trees on Southerham Nature Reserve give a sense of the direction of the prevailing wind which blows up the Ouse Valley from Newhaven on the coast. I took this on a rather hazy summer day with a compact Canon, so no control over depth of field, but not bad for an autofocus, auto-everything shot.
Geographical orientation: If you’re facing the trees then Lewes is off to the right and the small village of Glynde is over to the left, as is Glyndebourne Opera House (which is a mile or so outside the village of Glynde).
Surprisingly there are no sheep in the frame — often they are hanging around the trees, as well as grazing in the valley and on the hillside. The small dots on the top of the hill to the right of trees are possibly cows.
On our recent trip to Lewes Castle, which has incredible 360º views across Lewes and over the South Downs in all directions, I took this shot of The Avenue — the long street that stretches diagonally left from the right of the frame. If you walk up this street and continue on through the Neville neighbourhood you come out at the large field on the horizon called Landport Bottom. Then … if you’re feeling adventurous and keep walking north-west, you come first to Lewes Beacon and then, about an hour or more later, to Ditchling Beacon. It’s a lovely walk with fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. And that there’s usually an ice cream van parked in the Ditchling Beacon car park makes arriving at the halfway point — before turning back toward home — all the more enjoyable! Last time we were there Sean and I sat under a tree that offered us some much-needed shade whilst we ate a couple of delicious soft serve ice creams. Just one each though!