England Travelogue – Days 4&5, Seven Sisters & More!

After the revels of John’s birthday party on the Saturday, it was a pretty sure bet that the Sunday would be a slower day. The only set event was a family barbecue to be hosted by my brother Les and his wife Chrissy on the site where their camper van was currently located not far out of town. The one thing worthy of note here other than the subdued tenor of the proceedings was the fact that their campsite could have been one of many almost anywhere in the world, except perhaps Texas! Missing were the behemoth land yachts that only people with more money than sense would have the gall to call a recreational vehicle rather than a mansion on wheels. Fortunately, my brother and his wife have settled for something a little less ostentatious. 😉 One other thing that was indicative of our trip that appears in this picture is the English flag. As the World Cup was approaching, England had very definitely caught the fever. This was all the more noticeable for me because in my youth, one rarely even saw the English flag. The Union Jack was seen by most as the national emblem. Now, with regionalism rearing its ugly head in so many parts of the world, so even the staid stick-in-the-mud English have taken up the cause (albeit hopeless as it subsequently turned out). Luckily, the English disappointment in their team would be dwarved by the international embarrasment which was the French soccer team! Anyway, as you can see from the picture at the top of the page, a beautiful sunset augured well for a promising day on Monday!

Our day began with a trip to Middle Farm located near Firle on the A27 between Eastbourne and Lewes. For myself, it is a pilgrimage that I have made several times in the last few years but the variety of products available mean that one never bores of perusing the shelves. Just the selection of beer alone is amazing even though their apparent specialty is ciders which are stored in vats. You are permitted to sample any you might like before making a purchase. I must admit to having sampled a good few myself that particular day! Our very international group (Aussies, Canadians, French and Brits) came away loaded down with goodies, much of them destined for transport to faraway lands!

After wandering through Middle Farm and seeing all the exotic wares to eat and drink, mot of us had worked up an appreciable hunger and/or thirst. So, we all headed back to John and Daphnes’  for a spot of Lunch before heading out on our South Downs hike. Front and centre is a medley of the the freshly made sausages that we picked up that very morning. And to wash it all down some local brewed beer but French wine! At home too, there have been many changes since I left in 1972! Recently, I wrote on our sister blog that growing up, good old English Cheddar cheese was about the only one to be found in our larder. Here, however, you may note that no less than 5 varieties are on display! We had to be careful not to lose sight of the fact that overeating lunch would not be a good start for our hike!

The South Downs Way is a collection of trails stretching from Eastbourne to Winchester which initially follows the coastline West past Worthing where it turns slightly inland. Within the last year or so, these trails were officially joined together and formed into The South Downs National Park. We chose to follow an 8 kilometer stretch which starts and ends in the Cuckmere Valley not too far from Middle Farm but on the A259 coast road. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will let the pictures tell the story of our hike!

Even though we had eaten a hearty lunch, we had no problem walking most of it off. Therefore we were more than ready for the Eastern (Indian) culinary delights of K2 the family’s favourite get-together eating place in the Eastbourne area. Happily, I seem to end up there almost every time I visit and it has yet to disappoint. Although it is located somewhat off the beaten track outside Polegate on the Hailsham Road, the drive is well worth the trouble!

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