Monday, February 12, 2007

The thatched house

On the side of the valley to the north west of the river Line is this delightful thatched cottage, clearly visible from the Whatlington Road as one heads towards Woodmans Green.

There are usually ducks and chickens in the field, and sometimes horses and other livestock making it look like the farms of long ago.

To the left of the picture there is one of those small, grey Ferguson tractors that were such a feature of my childhood and teenage years and are now collectors items. It gives me an excuse to quote a bit from Sir Max Hastings speech at the CPRE's Annual General Meeting in June 2004:

"Country people, more than townsfolk, find it hard to resist a touch of nostalgia. Some of us vividly remember childhoods when corn was reaped by binders. The great canvas belt powering the threshing machine raced far into the night lit by the harvest moon. We think of grey Ferguson tractors and village railway stations, of grey partridges rooting in the stubble, of ferreting for rabbits, of the days when blissfully silent bicycles were the English countryside's principal means of locomotion.

All this was indeed lovely, and it is right to cherish the memories. Yet, to coin a phrase, there is no future in nostalgia. There is no purpose in pretending that today, we can cause the English countryside to return to the past, nor even to stand still. It has changed, is changing and will continue to change, amid the huge range of economic and social pressures which bear upon it."

Change it undoubtedly will, but it is still astonishingly beautiful and full of amazing variety at every turn as, maybe, my continuing delight in one square kilometre of East Sussex shows.

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