Archive | January, 2014

Wivelsfield Green and The Cock Inn

22 Jan

The run

No run today: doctor’s or rather physio’s orders! Went to see the lovely people at Studio57 yesterday for a sports massage and general tune up and was advised not to run for 24 hours. Nothing too disastrous – just the IT band dontcha know?

So! What to do instead? Happened that a walk wouldn’t be too catastrophic so plucked a book off the bookshelf that we had had for years (and maybe used once?) and found a 4-mile pub stroll beginning and ending at The Cock Inn, Wivelsfield.

Pub Strolls in East Sussex

Parked up, changed into wellie boots (the book said it can be a muddy one) and set off following the step-by-step instructions. Much easier than following a map or app I found, though sometimes someone’s idea of bear left, or cross obliquely may differ from your own.

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It was indeed VERY muddy – in some cases I was paddling through rivulets of water or struggling not to lose my wellies in the mud!

Wivelsfield Green

Partly wooded and partly crossing through farmer’s fields, plenty of stiles to cross, small bridges and the odd gate to climb. The first thing I noticed was the birdsong, now maybe this is going on while I am running but I can’t say I have ever noticed it before – or is it a portender of spring?

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Almost the first thing I did was to drop the book in the mud which will please the husband no end as he advised me to photocopy the section and take it with me in a slippery fish. Still, I think, like a cookbook covered in cooking splashes, a walking book covered in mud splashes is entirely appropriate.

Eeuuuh

Eeuuuh

Don't know about you, but when I see a sign like this I just want to...aaargh!

Don’t know about you, but when I see a sign like this I just want to…aaargh!

Met a few people en route: a working couple on a farm – very friendly and laughing about my muddy walk, another two ladies out walking, crossing the field with me – I think they were regretting not wearing their wellies, and a woman walking her beautiful golden Labrador – who still looked fairly clean at that stage – the woman says she has to rinse her down every day – that’s a commitment, eh?

jobdone

The lunch

Arrived back at the pub shortly before 12 and embarrassingly made the pub landlord open up for me! He was very nice about it and made me a coffee while he set about getting the pub up and running.

Ah, they’re all coming in with their sticks now; the grey heads of Wivelsfield Green. Made my first contactless payment – no need to put your PIN number in if the amount is less than £20. The old guy at the bar did point out that if I lost the card though, someone could use that 5 times at my expense!

Very friendly little pub, everyone seems to know everyone else and ‘missed you at the WI’ ‘did you enjoy the film last week’ etc. much talk was about the forthcoming Burn’s night which had been fully booked for the last fortnight at least and boasted a ‘haggis-stuffed tomato’ and a ‘highland fish pie’ on the menu.

I chose the smoked duck salad with new potatoes which was very nice (plenty of duck) the only drawback was the salad dressing I was given was very difficult to get out of the bottle!

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Firle to Alfriston

15 Jan

The run

You know when you start something and you think to yourself; “this is really stupid”? That is the feeling I had today setting off from Firle car park with the intention of running to Alfriston as part of my half-marathon training. 10 miles. Across country. By myself. In the pissing rain…

Firle Estate

And so I sent a text to the husband telling him time and place of set off, and began, as usual with a route all planned and downloaded from Walk, Jog, Run, and as usual it quickly became apparent that I didn’t have a clue where I was going. Firle Estate is quite intriguing, it reminds me of one of those villages that is completely owned by the estate and all the houses are similar, it also looked like the ideal setting for a murder drama! As I set out, following a farm track along one of the walls of the estate, it seemed that perhaps I could just follow the wall around the estate if I was going to get totally lost.

Firle Estate

One of the few people I saw on the run was a woman walking her dog through a particularly muddy stretch. As I cheerily shouted “Good morning” she peered at me through the long snout of her parka incredulously as if to say “what on earth are you doing, I am only out here because of the dog, but you are clearly mad.”

Firle Estate

The rain was that fine sort, that doesn’t feel too bad at first, but eventually, gets you totally soaked, and as it was gusting off the hills on fairly open farmland I did get drenched. Very muddy underfoot and it wasn’t long before my trainers were caked in mud and my feet utterly saturated with a couple of fine stones rolling around inside my shoes due to the small holes that have developed in the mesh. I was, however heartened to see, from my app that I was en route to Alfriston by following the farm tracks.

Firle Estate

Pheasants are truly silly birds, aren’t they? If only they sat quietly when you ran past, instead of taking to the air with such a row, they would probably fare a lot better. I heard some shooting in the distance and once again imagined myself in some two-part drama on BBC One confronting a lone gunman or drug cartel.

Firle Estate

Continued on past Bopeep Bostal and onwards to Berwick Church and farm, passing by what looked like someone’s Grand Designs.

Berwick Church

Just beyond here I was surprised to arrive on the road to Alfriston by Drusillas zoo – only 1.5 miles to my midway point. It had taken the best part of an hour though and it was a relief to arrive in Alfriston, avail myself of the facilities and bolster myself up with a few Jelly Babies for the return journey. Sent the husband a quick text to say I had arrived then had a quick look around the village at the tea shops and gift shops in case I wanted to return.

Alfriston

The plan had been to go a different way back but I could see the phone battery was running low and didn’t want to risk getting lost with no app to help so decided to return the way I had come. Part way back the phone battery gave up completely so it was obviously the right thing to do. I arrived back at the car at 12.30pm having had a quick look at the produce on sale outside the Firle post office and at the Ram Inn but decided there wasn’t really enough time for lunch before picking up dear daughter.

The lunch

I stopped off at Offham Farm Shop to grab something I could eat in the car (driving while hungry is supposed to be as bad as drink driving!). I felt quite guilty walking past the pigs with a sausage roll in my hand…

On returning home I was surprised to find the husband in the house just preparing a search party for Firle as I had not replied to his text asking if I had arrived back at the car park yet…oops…