3 May

   The last week has been a blur things have happened very quickly and now I am left with just over 36 hours until I land in New Zealand after the most amazing year of my life. I'll try to cover what I have been up to but I will probably forget a thing or two.

   On Sunday Lorraine and I went to Ditchling Beacon for a walk. It was a little hazy out there but generally nice to be outside. On Monday I walked from Lewes to Ringmer over the top of the Downs and past the golf course. Again very nice to be out in the country side. Bluebells were appearing in small patches along my way, so to lengthen it out I took the long way back down to the village. I tried packing that afternoon. In total I am trying to bring back 40kgs. According to Singapore Airlines I can bring back 25kg free (plus hand luggage) but after that it is 32 per kilo! So I sent some things back via sea mail, things I won't need for 2-8 weeks I hope, and am planning to wear all my heavy clothes onto the plane.

   James has very kindly lent me his car for a few days so to get me used to its little oddities Marko and I went cruising on Wednesday night. It is a really big car for me, and I am still nervous about parking it. Thursday saw the arrival of Bex and just to prove a point, the sky opened and tipped it down for most of the day. The two of us met Lorraine at Glyndebourne and she gave us a little walking tour of the grounds. The opera building was completely new since I was there but the grounds remained the same. The only thing I wasn't sure about was the punga ferns. Perhaps I just didn't know what to look for.

   On Friday Bex and I saw a bit of Brighton, but due to the bad weather it wasn't a particularly great show. We missed The Royal Pavilion which in hindsight was a mistake. I had forgotten how interesting it was inside until I checked out the website. In the afternoon we went passed my old primary school in Laughton. It had just finished for the day so we poked around inside. I couldn't see the head master who is possibly the only staff member remaining from my time so we left and cruised back to Marko's place.

   Saturday looked like it was going to be another misty dull day as the three Kiwis set off for Ashdown Forest, a.k.a. Hundred Acre Wood. It was six months exactly since Bronwyn, Lorraine and I tried the same ting, in the same weather no-less. We stopped at Gill's Lap and walked much further than I have done here before, but then again I was much smaller when Mum and Dad would bring the family here to play Pooh Sticks and pick blackberries. We saw The Enchanted Place, Roo's Sandy Pit, Gill's Lap, the ex-bracken field, the tree that Peter climbed (and unofficial landmark) and all the way down to Pooh Bridge.

   For lunch we ate at The Six Bells. While we were inside the sky underwent an amazing transformation and we emerged into proper sunlight for the first time in days.

Bluebell Wood
Bluebell Wood
After unsuccessfully trying to find the land owners we decided to go to bluebell wood anyway. I couldn't have wished for better. The bluebells were out in force, just like I remembered them. A soft purple carpet stretching on for miles. Neither of the other two had seen anything quite like it, and I honestly doubted it could have been as good as that. There are a few commercial bluebell walks around Sussex, but they are bound to be overrun with crazy kids and prams and old people. Here in this wood it was silent, save for us three. Small paths snaked in and out of the trees and we were free to wander around. Totally idyllic. Eventually we had to leave so we went to The Long Man Of Wilmington and then back to Lewes via a quick stop at The Mill Post. Near there was a field of Oil Seed Rape. We are not toally sure what it gets used for, but it does turn Sussex bright yellow for a while and we took the chance to get up close to it for a bit of exploring in plants that came past our waists.

   That night we went out to Brighton and had a good time at Creation again. Lots of fun, though I thought a bit less of the place when Bex said it reminded her of Leftfield in Auckland. I had totally forgotten about that place. As we sat on the beach waiting for the last bus home I ducked into a new club to use the facilities (luckily the bouncer was looking the other way because he wasn't supposed to let people in after 1am). I really liked what I saw inside, and really loved what I heard, a bit of Franz Ferdinand. What a pity I only discovered that place in the last minutes of my last time out in Brighton.

   Yesteday was a frantic rush around to get my photos devleoped from the night before, see Devil's Dyke and drop Bex at the airport. I did all that and came over to Jo's place for dinner. Which brings me to where I am now, sitting here filling in possibly my last entry in England (I expect to get online in Sigapore). The last year has been too good to put into words.

   To everyone I have met along the way, thank you all, thank you so much.

best wishes from
Wish you were here?     (4 replies so far)

What? It's been a year already? When does your flight get in - I'll try to get out to see you in. Looking forward to seeing you back here again at last!

Posted by: Mike at May 3, 2004 10:26 AM

Actually a month short of a year, but yeah... already.

Since Craig might not have a chance to reply before he arrives, he lands at 10:20am on Wednesday 5th of May (i.e. tomorrow) on flight SQ 285.

See you soon buddy.

Posted by: Peter at May 4, 2004 07:22 AM

Yup that's my flight. It's a code share with Air NZ and they call it NZ4385 so watch for either one of those in the morning news :-)

Posted by: Craig at May 4, 2004 12:55 PM

SQ285 is scheduled for 10:20 am but currently expected at 9:45 am. Of course then the sniffer dogs will find all those sweets (Mmmm chocolate...) hidden in the Duty Free bag so it could be later.

Posted by: Denis Stanton at May 4, 2004 09:26 PM

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