Tuesday, 30 August 2016

It's all about yew....

Kingley Vale just north of Chichester is an ancient woodland threading up through a chalk valley with golden fields and hawthorn hedges on either side. There's a pleasant walk from a quiet carpark, through a kissing gate, and then gently up towards the hills.

You see lovely ash trees, oak, field maple, hazel, birch, alder, all that..... and then you get to a smallish patch with the most remarkable dark and contorted yew trees, huge and ruddy red and purple, their bark almost worn away by countless hands, their black coverings overhead making silhouettes against the dappled light under their deciduous neighbours.

Somehow they survived the depredations of the medieval demand for bows and arrows... so they stand or lurch or twist or bend, and some are hollow, and some are bulbous, and they are pretty awe-inspiring.  Some of these are more than 2000 years old.

We drove across the south of England - green all the way, sunny, quiet, tiny lanes, little villages.  It's a striking contrast to the impression you'd get from 'the media' that we're overrun with immigrants.
Anyway, tomorrow we catch a ferry at Portsmouth and sail across the Bay of the Basques to Bilbao. Our daughter who is in Tarragon at the moment says it's grey and cloudy there - poor her.
We passed this morning from the heat and sun of the North Downs down into a marvellous misty pink fog over the Weald, but that burned away in due course and we've had a glorious day today all day.
I apologise for the weird layout of this post but the B&B has very intermittent wifi.   Almost as frustrating as the place we stopped for lunch today - called the Rainbow. Our modest order of sandwiches took nearly 45 minutes to arrive - but at least we did get something in the end. The people arriving after us - one car load after another - parked, arranged themselves, sauntered in, and then stumbled back out again. There was no food.  Their deliveries had not arrived following a busy Bank Holiday weekend and they had made no provision - had no provisions.
The ad for this accommodation says it has wifi but to type this I have to go into the garden, on the terrace behind the main house, and sit in the slightly chilly shade.  So they 'do' have internet, but it's really set up for garden gnomes, not guests.  And being in a valley, there's no ordinary signal.  Such a first-world problem.  Sigh.

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