Tag Archives: sunshine

Unplugged again: Wandering to West Grinstead Church

30 Jan

The weather today was absolutely glorious, it was still quite cold but the sun was shining and there was not a cloud in the sky, the ground was still a bit damp underfoot but the patches of mud were easy to avoid.

In contrast to yesterday I was on my own (most of the time) and knew where I was going without the need a of map. Although I knew where I was heading (West Grinstead Church, Sussex) the route I was taking changed several times, such is the joy of knowing an area so well.

To be honest this is not the best-looking side of West Grinstead Church, but just look at that clear blue sky. I wanted to go to the church to photograph a few gravestones, and everything just came together today, some free time and good weather.

The best part of the walk however was the walk back, a combination of clear skies, bright sunshine and splendid views certainly raised my spirits after some cold, damp and dark days. The photo below is the view looking roughly south-east towards the South Downs.

I have walked these paths for many years and as well as the fine weather there were many good memories of time spent exploring the countryside. From a family history perspective just to the left of the photo at the bottom of the field is where my grandmother lived for a few years, something which I really should have blogged about by now.

All wandering and no genealogy

24 Apr

Today my friend Chris and I continued our walk along the North Downs Way. It was our first proper walk of the year, but hopefully the first of many. We picked up more or less where we left of last year.

We are slowly working eastwards along the North Downs between Farnham in Surrey and Dover in Kent, although we are generally heading eastwards, each section seems to have been walked from east to west for some unknown reason.

Today was no exception, we started from Otford, Kent and made our way westwards to Oxted, Surrey. The total distance was about 14 miles including the final stretch from the hills to the centre of Oxted and the railway station. Despite being on hills, most of the route was pretty level with only one steep climb at the start.

I quite liked Otford. It was the first time I have been there and it is quite a charming place. We counted four pubs within the first mile of our walk, three or four antique shops and a small pond in the centre of the town/village. There is even a heritage centre, which wasn’t open when we went past. I wish I had an excuse to go back again, perhaps one day I will.

The weather was absolutely fantastic, the sun shone and remarkably I was in a short sleeve shirt and shorts. I can’t believe it is only April and I am already wearing shorts. The ground is incredibly dry, we haven’t had any proper rain for three weeks now. This fills me with optimism about the summer weather, but I am trying not to get my hopes up, rather I am making the most of the good weather whilst it lasts.

There were only two negative points from today’s walk, the presence of the M25 motorway, the noise of which was a constant companion throughout the day. The other drawback was that there was still a slight haze, so the views were not as spectacular as they should have been.

View from the Surrey hills

The most interesting feature of day were a couple of groups of young women (probably students), armed with maps and wearing large backpacks. They appeared to be on some sort of orienteering challenge, but were seemingly hopelessly lost. Hopefully I was able to put one group back on the right track, but as I write this I wonder if they are still wandering across the hills?

So genealogy took a back seat today. Although we were walking in an area where my GASSON ancestors probably came from, I can’t really claim any genealogical connection. Weather and aching muscles permitting we will be back in Kent next Saturday to complete the next section, that will be two Saturdays in a row without genealogy, so I will probably start suffering withdrawal symptoms and have to get back into an archive the following weekend.

Sunshine and snow

7 Jan

Sussex is still covered in a blanket of snow, and no buses are running meaning I am still stranded. Fortunately job seeking these days appears to be almost completely done online, at least in the early stages, so it is not as bad as it could have been.

I did get chance to go out for a walk this afternoon with my brother, just a short walk around the fields, with our cameras. As there is still so much snow it was quite tricky going at times, especially as I wasn’t really geared up for walking in the snow.

Sun and Snow

In the shade of my family tree

2 Jul

You may have heard that Sussex and much of the south-east of England have been experiencing a mini-heatwave.

Although for us in England four or five days with maximum temperatures around 30°c is unusual, I guess for many of you it would just be described as a few days of warm weather, but we are just not used to it over here.

For me the impact has been minimal, the heat has made conditions uncomfortable at times. The worst probably being travelling home from work on the bus, something like being stuck in traffic in a greenhouse on wheels with virtually no air movement through the tiny windows, although the air outside wasn’t really any cooler.

I have given up the idea of doing any serious walking for a while, but as the hottest weather was during the working week I wouldn’t normally be doing much proper walking anyway.

I suppose I have spent a bit less time in front of the computer and more time in the garden in the shade. It has still been up around 25°c in our spare bedroom (my genealogy room) around 10pm, which is no doubt in part due to the heat generated by my PC.

On the genealogy side of things it has reminded me of my great grandfather Henry Herbert HEMSLEY of Framfield and Buxted, Sussex. The story has it that he died of sunstroke in 1921 at the age of 38. I think now might be a good time to order his death certificate and find out if the story is true or not.

What a way to spend Sussex Day!

16 Jun

Phew! Even by my standards that was quite a walk. Sitting on the bus on the way home my pedometer had registered 38,731 steps, that’s just short of 19 miles. Just to round things up I got off the bus a stop early and made it up to 20 miles with an extra little walk.

Sitting on the bus my legs were beginning to ache, not a lot of leg room. I just hoped they would still move when it was time to get off! Still nothing that a nice long soak in the bath won’t sort out.

My digital camera must have very nearly reached it’s capacity, although I did have a spare memory card with me, and spare batteries which I needed. So expect to see plenty of photos on this blog in the next few days and weeks. They are mostly of the Sussex scenery, but there are several churches and several ancestral connections.

I will try and plot my route on a Google Map, but for those interested the key places were: Henfield (starting point), Blackstone, Sayers Common, Hurst Wickham, Hurstpierpoint, Wolstonbury Hill, Clayton and Hassocks (finishing point). I will give a full description when I have recovered (an early night tonight I think) pointing out the genealogical highlights along the way!

I am really pleased I went walking, it was a beautiful day, perhaps a little warm at times (and a bit of a rush to get back home). I visited several areas I had never been to before and reacquainted myself with some I haven’t visited for a long time. Most of all however I enjoyed being out in Sussex, in what I would consider typical Sussex countryside, on Sussex Day.

Here is one photo to be going on with, Sussex stretched out beneath me, as I surveyed the countyside from the vantage point of Wolstonbury Hill.

Sussex as far as the eye can see (although there may be some Surrey tucked away right at the back)

Sussex as far as the eye can see (although there may be some Surrey tucked away right at the back)

Sunshine and Sussex Day, a perfect combination

15 Jun

The weather forecast for Sussex Day is looking good, and I am shocked that for once the weather appears to be in my favour. So all being well tomorrow I will spend the day walking in Sussex. Of course I am a bit disappointed not to be spending time in the archive, but that can be saved for another day, and at the moment I would much rather be out enjoying the sunshine.

I haven’t decided exactly where I shall be walking yet, but the current favourite at the moment seems to be to head for Mid-Sussex, around Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint, and then head south from there, possibly following the Mid Sussex Link for a while, following the border between East and West Sussex, maybe all the way down to the coast.

So long as the weather stays fine, like the forecasters promise, I don’t really mind where I go. I barely have to step outside my front door to find ancestral connections, so it would be nice to include my ancestors in the walk as well. Now, I just need to pull out a couple of maps, and find out where I put the bus timetable (I think it ended up in the “crate of shame”) because I don’t want to miss the last bus home from wherever I end up!

A large helping of sunshine and with a pinch of genealogy

30 May

It has been another beautiful day here in Sussex, I don’t think I saw a single cloud in the sky. I am quite glad I was not out walking in the sun today! I had to go down to Brighton to get some shopping in the morning (before it got too busy).

I couldn’t resist a visit to the Brighton History Centre whilst I was down there. I spent a while scrolling through newspapers on microfilm trying to find some mention of the death of Abraham KINGHORN.

Abraham was the son of my 3x great grandparents Thomas and Isabella KINGHORN, and he died in the Brighton Registration District in Q1 1886 aged only 30. I felt sure the fact that he was only 30 years old when he died might have made the newspapers, but so far I have been unable to find a mention. It looks like I need to order a death certificate, to find out the story behind his early death.

Today I also ordered a couple of certificates, Harriet WRAIGHT’s (or WRIGHT) birth and William GEERING and Emily GREEN’s marriage). Hopefully they should enable me to finally complete the list of my 3x great grandparents.

I also made a start on one of the books in my to be read pile, London: A Social History by Roy Porter. This is of course background reading for my Thomas KINGHORN research, but also an attempt to learn more about our capital city, about which I know shamefully little.

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