Hello and welcome to the end of the week.
There’s been a distinct feeling of spring in the air this week in Sussex, with fresh mornings and a sense of optimism. Miss Bee and I have been out in the woods already today, and the woodpecker is hard at work, wild garlic is pushing its way up and we crossed paths with a very vociferous gaggle of geese. I hope you get time to get out and explore your own corner of Sussex over the weekend because although it may still feel like mid-winter, the countryside is on the cusp of bursting back into life and after the winter we’ve had, that feels good. If you don’t believe me, we’ve got details of some of the very first signs of spring and things to look forward to in our spring feature.
If you’re struggling to find the motivation and not sure how you’re ever going to get fit after months of winter hibernation, what about giving Nordic walking a go? It’s one of the most effective forms of exercise as well as being suitable for all abilities, highly social and enjoyed in the great outdoors! What’s not to love and we have a number of guided Nordic Walking groups right here in Sussex.
I firmly believe in supporting local and enjoying the finer things in life, so with that in mind, I’ve spent much of the lockdown sampling some of our best local produce. Everything I tried can be ordered online, and this month my focus was on gin! Well, it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it and you can find out what I thought with my Three Sussex Gins recommendations. And don’t worry, I’ll be taste testing my way around the county, so there will be more to come.
The vaccination programme is rolling out here with impressive efficiency at nearby Christ’s Hospital. For those who don’t know, Christ’s Hospital is the UK’s leading charitable school and largest bursary charity. Established in 1552, it provides free or substantially reduced cost places to over 630 of its 900 pupils, giving them an opportunity to thrive and fulfil their potential which they wouldn’t otherwise have. The school is distinguished by its unusual uniform and impressive architecture but it’s recently found a new lease of life as a vaccination centre! Anecdotal reports from others who have had their jab across the county suggest that CH isn’t alone in being inspirationally well organised and smooth running – and whatever your thoughts on the vaccine, this really is Sussex at its best!
All this talk of both gin and Sussex at its best got me thinking about smuggling (my mind works in mysterious ways, what can I say) because you may or may not know that Sussex was a leading light in the smuggling department! Childhood memories of the black and white version of Whisky Galore have got nothing on what they got up to in our green and pleasant past. Contributor Peter Benner tells all in this month’s feature, Watch the Wall.
If you’re still stuck for things to do during lockdown, have you ever thought about joining a Speakers Club? Horsham has one of the best Speakers Clubs in the country (let alone the county) and you can find out a bit more about this quirky pastime (and why it might be more up your street than you ever thought possible), in one of my recent blogs: There’s an Odd Thing I Do in Horsham! And yes, they’re meeting online at the moment.
On a practical note, if you’re thinking of moving home, either to downsize or get more space, then head over to our House and Home section where you may get some great ideas as well as some really important advice about Capital Gains Tax payable on gardens and grounds.
Well, that’s it for now. The roadmap out of lockdown has been published and with luck, we can start looking forward to getting out and about in Sussex a bit more in the not too distant future. Meanwhile, while we bide our time, I’ll share more samples of delight in the coming weeks to keep you going until we’re free to roam once more!
Stay safe and have a great weekend,
Here are the details of this month’s delights:
Savour the moment with the local gins: Three Sussex Gins
Get active and get social with: Nordic Walking
Delve into Sussex’s smuggling past with: Watch the Wall
Want to improve your public speaking during lockdown? Join Horsham Speakers Club
If you’re moving house, don’t pay too much tax: Capital Gains Tax on Gardens and Grounds
Look out for the first signs of spring: First Signs of a Sussex Spring