Monday, 16 February 2009

Cuckmere Carpenters, Seaford Shags


Now, before you ask...no, I didn't take this picture, but I wish I had! Doesn't it look like something from the lid of a chocolate box, or some Beautiful Britain calendar? It's a view of a series of sea cliffs called 'The Seven Sisters' from Seaford Head, just a short distance from my new home. The houses you can see are former coastguard cottages at Cuckmere Haven, one of which was featured at the end of the film Atonement, and is presently inhabited by a carpenter called Cassian Garbett, who makes extraordinarily expensive pieces of furniture from driftwood collected on the beach.

Seaford, my new home town, is only about 60 miles from London, but it's a world away. It has a proper, old-fashioned high street with a butcher's shop, a greengrocer's, a fish shop (we had some brilliant fresh squid for lunch the other day), and an old hardware store where you can buy anything from a single nail to a bag of nutty slack (erm...coal, I mean!) It also has something that I have always wanted; a number of decent pubs where you can have a sit down meal, or just relax with a pint of beer for as long as you want.

At present, we are so preoccupied with the business of sorting out the house that we haven't had time for a leisurely stroll on the beach. But spring and summer are around the corner, and once the boxes have been cleared away and the last ornament has been carefully dusted and placed upon the shelf, there will be plenty of time for such things! And, best of all, the sun, the sea and the beach are all free.

Apparently, in the 1500s, the good people of Seaford were in the habit of lighting fires to lure ships into Seaford Bay. The ships ran aground, were wrecked, and were then looted by the local populace, who were colloquially known as shags or cormorants. What's the difference between a shag and a cormorant, I hear you ask. I am certainly not going to get involved in any such vulgar discussion! At the time of writing, I haven't seen any desperate fellows wandering through the town, carrying casks of rum or baccy. But it's early days yet.

Anyway, it's way past my bedtime. We countryfolk are normally abed at sunset, but tonight I have special dispensation to stay up and chat. But all good things must come to an end. My cup of cocoa awaits, as do my nightcap and hot water bottle. Night night all!

15 comments:

Vodka Mom said...

fine- I'll meet you in the pub. It sounds perfect.

Comedy Goddess said...

That is one charming post! I am so happy for you. We can we come and visit?

Jeane said...

This sounds like a wonderful place - those sea cliffs are amazing - sounds like a place that you will get to know your neighbors and be part of the community.

chris hale said...

VM - yes! Mine's a teeny dry sherry.

CG - thank you. See you when we've cleared the boxes from the spare bedroom.

Jeane - yes, it has a community. I've alreaddy spoken to more people in three weeks than in the last ten years in London!

Derrick said...

Hi Chris,

I'm thinking of getting a coach trip together!

I have photos of the white cliffs at Dover, which look similar to yours. Will have to sidle along a bit.

Let us know as soon as the last box is empty!

punk in writing said...

Looks like a lovely place. :)

willow said...

I am totally green with envy. You actually live near The Seven Sisters?!

(((sigh))) I can't stand it.

chris hale said...

Derrick - get a narrow coach - some of the roads are tiny!

Punky - yes, it is!

Willow - Indeed I do! Not quite the Grand Canyon, but reasonably photogenic all the same.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I do so love a 'proper, old-fashioned high street', Chris! Your new home town sounds delightful and I look forward to hearing more about it.

Rob Inukshuk said...

It is a wonderful place you have chosen to call home and I look forward to hearing more about your adventures, once the boxes are done of course.

Madame DeFarge said...

As I'm wandering around the village of Westminster, I shall feel no pangs of envy. No forlorn yearnings for fresh air, as I breathe in the arid air of rampant careerism. No pining for the blue skies, when I can gaze upon the glass ceiling instead. Yes. Quite.

Enjoy!

chris hale said...

Raph - You shall indeed hear more in due course!

Rob - I reiterate my previous statement.

MDF - Glass ceiling? Sounds rather sixties to me. And what's this Westminster place we hear about?

Argentum Vulgaris said...

And I thought that paradise was just a pipe dream...

I'm off to google Seaford...

Even a High Street, straight out of a museum.

AV
http://netherregionoftheearthii.blogspot.com/
http://tomusarcanum.blogspot.com/
http://thingsthatfizz.blogspot.com/

chris hale said...

AV - Not paradise necessarily; just a little less frenetic and crime ridden than Londinium. Although I still love London and am endlessly fascinated by it.

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