Alone at the bow. Sea sprayed cheeks,
Sun squinting eyes. To sail
this groyne to places unknown.
Waves roar on slithering shingle. Gulls wail.
Alien at the helm.

Globe enticed travel to faraway land.
Periscope sight on horizon.
Sea urchin shells and deep green
tales. Serpents coil
around perils long forgotten.

We stake our claim with graffiti
and lovers trysts. Salt
caked crevices. Dimpled,
pocked, bronzed.
We drift.

(Poem inspired by visit to the ‘Brighton Donut’ – a sculpture by Hamish Black)

Fire and Rain

Yesterday, as part of my Communities Module, we visited the punk exhibition at Brighton Museum and I was asked to write a poem incorporating the words from a song that meant something to me in my youth. I chose Fire and Rain by James Taylor:


Legs dangle

from bedroom window.

Vinyl revolves

on portable turntable.

James Taylor: ‘sweet dreams and flying machines

In pieces on the ground.’


The police set me down by the pub.

‘Find someone else luv,

He’s no good.’

Took him away – no goodbye,

No kiss to replay.


Tore the chain from my neck,

‘Forget me’, he said.

‘But I always thought

that I’d see you baby,

One more time again now.’

Crowborough Conservation and ‘The Lost World’

This year Crowborough Conservation is involved in the planning for Crowborough Community Festival which will run throughout May in 2017. Crowborough Conservation Lost World Group will be organising ‘Walks and Talks’ events on behalf of the Festival Steering Group.

Those of us living in Crowborough appreciate its position high on the Weald, and delight in the beauty of the Ashdown Forest as well as the wonderful green spaces around the town. Crowborough’s unique appeal has attracted not only those who enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, but also writers and artists inspired by the surrounding countryside.

dino-trackSir Arthur Conan Doyle moved to Crowborough in 1909 and lived here for over 23 years. Whilst at Windlesham Manor, he wrote his most famous adventure story ‘The Lost World’, an exciting tale of exploration, danger, dinosaurs and survival. It is said that a fossilised footprint of an Iguanodon, found in a quarry near his home fired Conan Doyle’s imagination and ‘The Lost World’ was the result. True or not, the book became a worldwide success and generations continue to be enthralled by dinosaurs.


For details of all the events planned, including The Lost World Fun Day which will kick off the Festival on Bank Holiday Monday, 1st May, follow the link to Crowborough Community Festival website:

Professor Challenger challenges YOU to undertake one of the guided nature walks:

“You are in a land which offers such an inducement to the ambitious naturalist as none ever has since the world began, and you suggest leaving it before we have acquired more than the most superficial knowledge of it or of its contents. I expected better things of you.”

(Extract from The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle)

Exploring Eridge Rocks with Michael Blencowe

Thursday 4th May     Time: 2.30 – 5.00 pm

This ancient woodland with towering sandstone rocks looks like a scene from the Lost World. Join Michael Blencowe from the Sussex Wildlife Trust on a wildlife walk around Eridge Rocks; a nature reserve rich in wildlife and atmosphere.


“…we were within seven miles from an enormous line of ruddy cliffs, which encircled, beyond all doubt, the plateau of which Professor Challenger spoke. Their height, as we approached them, seemed to me in some places to be greater than he had stated – running up in parts to at least a thousand feet – and they were curiously striated, in a manner which is, I believe, characteristic of basaltic upheavals…. The crags above us were not merely perpendicular, but curved outwards at the top, so that ascent was out of the question… we determined that our best course was to continue to coast around the plateau in the hope of finding some other means of reaching the top.”

(Extract from The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle)

Guided walks through Crowborough Country Park with Martin Allison

This walk is offered on: Wednesday 10th May, Saturday 13th May and Tuesday 16th May                  Start at 7:30 am (approx. 2 hrs)

Crowborough Country Park is a sixteen acre local nature reserve. It’s the perfect place for a peaceful walk or a family picnic. An undulating circular stone track meanders through the site amongst tall trees, ponds and a picnic area. The deep rocky gorge is a main feature of the site.

A diverse mosaic of habitats are present in the park including dry and wet woodland, remnant ancient coppice, wet marshy areas, streams, grassy and heathy glades, ponds, rock outcrops & slippages. The main stream on site runs through a steep rocky gorge before flowing through areas of ancient hazel and ash coppice and there is also a carpet of bluebells in the spring. These habitats form homes for a wide variety of flora and fauna including the nationally rare moss Discelium nudum.

Listen to bird song and identify birds as you stroll through the park guided by Martin Allison a local naturalist, who for many years worked for the RSPB and was instrumental in the purchase and restoration of the RSPB’s Broadwater Warren reserve.

Wildlife Walk at Old Lodge Ashdown Forest with Michael Blencowe 

Wednesday 10th May             Time: 10.30 am – 12.30 pmMeet in the Old Lodge car park off the B2026 north of Duddleswell (nearest postcode TN22 3JD)

Join Michael Blencowe of Sussex Wildlife Trust on a circular walk as we search for butterflies, birds and other wildlife at the Trust’s heathland reserve on Ashdown Forest.

“An enormous three-toed track was imprinted in the soft mud before us. The creature, whatever it was, had crossed the swamp and had passed on into the forest. We all stopped to examine that monstrous spoor. If it were indeed a bird – and what animal could leave such a mark? – its foot was so much larger than an ostrich’s that its height upon the same scale must be enormous.”

(Extract from The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle)

Attend one of the fascinating talks (you never know what might happen…)

“It was at this point that the sensation of the evening arose – a sensation so dramatic that it can never have been paralleled in the history of scientific gatherings…. All sound had hushed in the audience and everyone was absorbed in the spectacle before them.”

(Extract from The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle)

‘Lost Birds & Lost Worlds’

Thursday 4th May Time: 7.30 – 9 pm    Venue: Millbrook Garden Centre Loft Room

An illustrated talk by Michael Blencowe telling the story of extinct birds, heroic naturalists, whistling Maoris, Hawaiian Kings and feather thieves. Join Michael on his search for the beautiful Huia, the clumsy Spectacled Cormorant and other lost birds we’ll never see again.

“Professor Challenger… stopped suddenly and pointed excitedly to the right. As he did so we saw, at a distance of a mile or so, something which appeared to be a huge gray bird flap slowly up from the ground and skim smoothly off, flying very low and straight, until it was lost among the tree-ferns.

“Did you see it?” cried Challenger, in exultation. “Summerlee, did you see it?”

His colleague was staring at the spot where the creature had disappeared.

“What do you claim that it was?” he asked.

“To the best of my belief, a pterodactyl.” “

(Extract from The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle)

Valentines letter to Jacob and George

Dear Jacob and George

I didn’t get to see you in your school nativity – George, such a serious Innkeeper, and Jacob fidgety in a scratchy shepherd’s costume. I chose Christmas presents for you – I popped them in the Salvation Army collection box.
I can’t believe you are five already. Izzie and Poppy sang Happy Birthday and blew out your candles. You sent me a double rainbow, soaring high above my neighbours rooftops.
Last June, when my buddleia came into bloom, I watched as you played tag around the bush, tumbling and frolicking in the sunshine. Every summer I gather pebbles and shells for your sandcastles, and each autumn I fill my pockets with conkers – burnished brown like grandad’s polished brogues
Jacob, I see you when Cousin Josh kicks a ball, and I glimpse you in Poppy’s cheeky grin. George, I hear you in Izzie’s giggle, and see you in Cousin Eloise’s funny frown. I feel you both as the sun warms my face, but when my other grandkids are chasing around the garden, two of the gang are missing.
Izzie tells me you are stars in the sky, but she wishes you’d come down and play. I wish that too.
Jacob, in one breathe we said hello and goodbye. I watched your little face – eyes tightly closed. A flutter of life as an angel tickled your nose – I wish my gentle breath could have filled your lungs with oxygen… I rocked you gently, and told you how much we all love you – Mummy, Daddy, your brother George – such a big loving family. You left us with an ache in our arms, and a gaping hole in our hearts.
George, as I cradled you, you reminded me of my dad – arms folded and slightly irritated as if someone had disturbed you – long fingers and your mummy’s rosebud lips. Poor little soldier, you’d been through such a battle… You are Jacob’s big little brother – now you must look after each other.
My darling grandsons, I wish you’d had more time with your mummy and daddy, because your mummy and daddy are truly amazing. I won’t ever forget you – I carry you with me always and forever. I’m so grateful I had the chance to hold you and tell you how much you mean to me.

All my love.brothers-1957095_1920

Granny xx.