29.05.2010 - 29.05.2010 11 °C
I want to start this entry by saying that last weekend was phenomenally beautiful and warm. The sun was hot and the sky was clear. It was so nice that I actually went into the water, up to my neck and floated about. Don't get me wrong, this was ambitious. It was the gasping kind of cold. But still. I watched a magic show at the Marina and capped off the Brighton festival with a circus and fireworks. However, this week has seen a dramatic return to frigidity and grayness, which is very unfortunate given the reported weather in Toronto.
This Saturday I went to the Seven Sisters Country Park which is about an hour away by bus. The Seven Sisters form part of the South Downs in East Sussex, between the towns of Seaford and Eastbourne. These are really just an extension of the cliffs from my last entry, farther east and more dramatic.
When I left the house it was gray and threatening, a kind of heaviness that hovers over England. But since it is almost always like that, I took no notice. I assumed, and this was faulty, that it would either stay the same or get nicer. You see, stereotypes about English weather abound. Like the British I use common adjectives like damp, dreary, bleak, gloomy, and so on to describe the days. And the truth is it is colder, rainier and far more unpredictable than North American weather. So when I left it seemed reasonable that it would remain overcast or perhaps give way to drizzle. That is not what happened. Instead, I was caught in a blustering storm, accompanied by horizontal rain and light fog. If only pictures could capture the whistling sound of wind and thick sheets of rain.
Already drenched I was staring up at the cliffs:
Since it had taken me over an hour to get there I decided to climb the cliffs anyway. From the top you could see an aerial view of Cuckmere Haven, the flood plains where the river Cuckmere meets the English Channel. According to Wikipedia the beach at Cuckmere Haven was used for the opening scene in Kevin Costner's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves while the Seven Sisters cliff face was briefly featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:
And the valley floor:
When I reached the top I looked over truly amazing undulating cliffs. Sadly, by this point my pants were soaked through, my shoes were puddling and the wind stole the moisture from my eyes. The weather was so bad I didn't dare take my camera out. It reminded me of the ill-fated trip A. and I took to Cape Spear in Newfoundland when there was a blizzard in May. At least we had each other. I abandoned this adventure in a state of utter soggyness. As I was waiting for the bus to take me home I had some sheep (and lamb) tv:
I can unequivocally say that was the least fun I've had since I've been here. But I'm dedicated to making it over all seven of the sisters. Next time.