Signs of Spring …

?????????

 Local snowdrops 

The time of my birthday mid -February, is also the time where chinks of light start to appear in the dreary Winter curtain that has been enveloping everything. Such a relief! I always think, as the damp, dull days and short duration of light (made worse by the British insistence with putting the clocks back) are not my favourite season. All of a sudden (it seems) there are tiny crocuses popping up on the lawn and banks of snowdrops in the lanes. The days are getting slightly longer and driving home in the dark is no longer a given. 

 The quality of light is greater and sunshine stronger and  more prevalent, and that’s always a good thing as sunshine is God’s anti-depressant! (serotonin levels in the brain are naturally boosted). I can start to imagine summer holidays and returning to the sea which I love, exploring beaches with Alice, eating cream teas in cafes with lovely vistas along with my hubby and meeting up with distant friends.

This year, Spring for me hints at new starts. We plan to move house and I always find this exciting. I’d also like to get back to singing again as my appetite was whetted being in a Christmas choir. We are also at the beginning of Lent and the path to the cross, then Resurrection morning, the great victory of our faith. So as these next weeks unfold I am looking out for new opportunities and making plans, as the signs of Spring continue to energize and uplift me.

 

Advertisements

Winchelsea … where’s that?

Brede Valley View Brede Valley view

The above comment was more often than not made to me prior to our break away to this lovely part of the country a couple of weeks ago. People got confused with Winchester, but it’s actually in Rye Bay which we discovered in July, just a mile and a half from Rye Harbour. We actually stayed in Winchelsea Beach to be exact, which is a short distance from Winchelsea itself. We had a lovely week and I thought I’d share some of the pictures we took.

Mermaid Street (2) Mermaid Street, Rye

The above is the most famous street in Rye, it is actually a steep cobbled lane, the creeper covered building on the right is the Mermaid Inn, haunt of smugglers and pirates, rebuilt in the 1420s, so quite ancient!

St. Richard's Church Winchelsea Beach St. Richard’s Church

This little Anglican Church was located just across the road from where we stayed and on a direct route to the beach. It advertised services on an occasional basis on Sunday afternoons. 

Photo-0299 Alice enjoys the beach

 

Photo-0298 Sunset over Winchelsea                                                                                                                  

Photo-0297 Evening on the beach

 

Photo-0303 More cobbles

Another view from Rye. It is a charming little town, heaven for tea room lovers like me! and also full of galleries, antique and gift shops. Hubby bought a pair of slippers in ‘Rye Shoes’!

Photo-0301 Morning …

 

Photo-0294 Duck friends 

There were a big extended family of the above who quacked their way around the holiday site all week, in the hope of kindly food donations.

 

St. Thomas Church Winchelsea St.Thomas Parish                                                                                                                      Church

Located in upper Winchelsea. We took it in turns to look inside as ‘no dogs’ (as another couple were doing). We also spotted Spike Milligan’s grave in the churchyard. 

 And finally …

Photo-0292

Just had to stop the car and take this photograph!! It’s located near another little settlement known as Winchelsea Station.

 

It’s the little things …

Photo-0273

One of several tiny visitors to our house this summer, and although sat on a soap box, he didn’t say much! We both (husband and I) enjoy the quirky, the unexpected and the unusual especially involving the animal kingdom. Even the sea gull family on holiday, eye balling us from the next door caravan roof whenever we looked out, we came to enjoy their antics and faithful attendance, even if they did screech a lot. I think it’s nice to notice the small things that can drop into our day, particularly the unexpected. I see it as like small graces from God that bring a new appreciation of life around us. Gifts from God that don’t cost us anything, don’t involve any stress, they just impact us with a strong sense of well being in my experience.

Photo-0262

Whether it’s meeting with friends or family for cream teas and lunches, the gorgeous flowers at my Retreat centre, a picture drawn for me by my 6 year old nephew, or generous words spoken which lift my heart, I find there are many lovely occasions in the day when I feel I have received a gift. Not long ago at church, a blind gentleman visited with his gorgeous guide dog. She sat beautifully in church and when it became time for communion, accompanied her master to the communion rail and sat patiently beside him. I found this so touching.

So today I’m thanking God as He is the great giver and He knows just what will delight me, make me laugh and uplift me and these are the little things.

 

Wide open spaces …

Photo-0267

The beach at Rye Harbour, East Sussex

Just looking at holiday pictures can transport me back there, which is just as well as nothing booked now for the foreseeable future! We have been away twice this summer, to deepest Somerset in June and last week to Sussex, staying in quaint little Rye Harbour. 

I love the coast, there is something about the landscape, the constant tides which is exciting and it represents renewal and hope, to me. Being away from the norm helps restore perspective too. For the past couple of years we have been staying at holiday parks, somewhere I used to go frequently in my 20’s taking a group of disabled children. We have found them to be ideal for a hassle-free, inexpensive and (very important!) dog friendly holiday, and most are located in beautiful coastal areas.

Doniford Bay in Somerset was a gently pretty location, rolling hills and a fossil beach which kept husband occupied.

Photo-0234 

The holiday park (Haven) was truly 5* and beautifully landscaped and looked after. Our caravan was located among trees with a nice hilly view and was not overlooked. Very cosy inside and everything we needed. Can truly relax in a caravan, whether it’s the fact everything is small scale or simply novelty factor, I find myself very chilled. Nearby Watchet was great for trips out to eat and browse the antique and gift shops. However I did have a need that was unable to be resolved there: knickers … or lack of .. I had only ONE pair (and was wearing those, washed nightly naturally!) Forgot to pack any! Well one morning we noticed a car boot sale on at a nearby farm and decided to walk there the three of us, for a look. First stall I approached they were selling packs of ladies pants 3 pairs for the huge sum of £2. Excellent! it just shows you can get anything anywhere. They are quite pretty too. The little lady stall holder engaged me in an intriguing conversation regarding her landlord, who apparently would not let her sit in the  garden as she ‘lowered the tone’!! We had a great cuppa and piece of cake with the farmer and family afterwards, very broad Somerset accents, very friendly and hospitable.

Rye Harbour was booked last minute and was an internet deal. This time, Park holidays ~ not the standard of Haven but very clean and a wonderful location on the edge of a nature reserve leading to the sea. We met countless people with dogs (as we did at Doniford) and had some lovely chats. Rye is a picturesque little town with lots of small attractive shops. We spotted one which consisted entirely of dog’s clothing,  jeweled collars etc … This only appeared to be for tiny dogs (the rat-on-a-string variety –  apologies to   Chihuahua owners) making my collie Alice ‘outsize’ bless her, but she may have managed a bling collar! however, on second thoughts Alice has taste!

Hastings was very typically ‘English seasidey,’ again lots of small shops, a few New Age, plus some interesting antique places. I preferred Rye though. We enjoyed watching the fishing boats and Yachts coming into the harbour and had a delicious cream tea in a little gallery/tea room where we sat in the conservatory with Alice.

Cream Tea Avocet cafe

Holidays also mean I can catch up on my reading to some extent, without interruptions and I always appreciate this. So that’s a little overview of our hols, the main benefit of which was the natural world and all its lovely features, which truly uplift me and feed my soul.