I’ve been in a bit of a funk the last week or so, getting sad about the thought of coming home (no offense) because it means Ben and I won’t see each other for more than three months, and I know when I get back it’ll be the middle of allergy season which means I’m going to feel like crap. The weather here has been so much colder than it was last month, in the low 50s, and raining off and on. Haven’t been sleeping well. You know, all that stuff. So today I decided I was going to go on a really, really long walk. Like, wear yourself out walk. Get some distance between me and this tiny flat and hope I gain a little perspective. Brighton sits on the edge of an area called the South Downs, a ridge of chalky hills that runs through the southeastern part of the country. It basically looks exactly how I imagined the English countryside would look: rolling grassy hills punctuated by hedges and peppered with sheep. Apparently there are lots of popular walking trails crisscrossing the area but because we don’t have a car it’s basically impossible to get out to it. There’s an area just outside town called Stanmer, which is a nature park that runs up the side of the hill. Stanmer used to be a separate village but it was incorporated into Brighton & Hove in the 1920s. There’s a redundant (def: no longer in use, retired, discontinued) church, a manor house which is now licensed as a wedding venue, a plant nursery and a tea house. There are still a few houses clustered along the sole street but you have to walk 1 1/2 km from the main road to get to them. Needless to say, it’s a very quiet community. The park is a popular public outdoor space, with broad fields, woods and trails. Looking on Google Maps satellite I saw that there’s a road running along the north side of the park. It doesn’t show up on the “map” setting which means it’s closed to traffic but since being here I’ve learned that there are lots of paved roads that you can walk on that are closed to cars. So I decided I would make a big loop (about 9 miles) through the park and out the other side, then back into town. It’s nice being out and away. It’s nice being somewhere you’ve never been. I saw horses, chickens, rabbits and tons of birds. Couldn’t get a picture of the bunnies, though-they were too quick.
That last picture I took on my way home. I decided to take what I thought was a shortcut through a golf course (hey it said “public path”) and got a little lost, wandering around on a hill above one of the neighborhoods down the street. I cut through a thicket and made my way down another hill through a field and saw this at the bottom. It’s literally 100 feet from a neighborhood but there’s no road access. Judging from the ground which is still completely scorched, I’d say it burned very recently. Weird, right?
All in all, a good walk, and very tiring. I’m sure to sleep well tonight. Nature always makes me feel better. Well, except when it makes me sneeze. But I think I’m holding out on that until Portland.