The morning dew on my feet as I stroll through the grass, the endless horse shit along the bridle ways, butterflies chasing one another, the gurgling pond on the grounds of the Manor. Walking along the South Downs buffeted by the wind, exploring the many footpaths through Streat and Ditchling, driving through the Sussex country side exploring old castles, coming upon a field of red poppies, these are some of the fond memories of England I go away with.
I think to myself – I am a city girl. We city dwellers are taught to distrust the country and nature. We expect something to jump out at us from behind every tree and every bush but as I stand in the early morning sun on my last day there is no menace apparent, just the majestic silhouette of the tall trees burnished by the soft glow of dawn against the sky and the rustle of life in the undergrowth.
I have said my poignant goodbyes to Westmeston and to all the friendly natives that I met. The folks down at the local pub that remembered my name and had fun with me exploring the many ales of Sussex, the little old lady that keeps the church at Westmeston, Jacob who tends the local shop for his uncle David the post master on Sundays, Oliver the old chappy upstairs that’s always got a few minutes to pause and chat.
I drink in the sounds as I lay down in the grass staring into the deep blue sky. Planes fly overhead leaving a thick white trail behind them; I espy a couple of Para gliders riding the air currents. The birds sing an orchestra, in the distance the mooing of cows, the baaing of sheep, the rustle of the wind in the trees. I met squirrels, and foxes and even a couple of deer. I am so grateful to this place that welcomed me and cosseted me through my darkest hours.
Memories that will last a life time. I wonder if I will ever come back this way again. I certainly hope so. I am ready now, rejuvenated and strengthened for my return to city life. Moscow here I come!