may day and a man

May 1, 2013

1

Today, May 1st, a walk beckoned to loosen up stiff limbs from days sitting in cars, sitting at desks, sitting doing drawings on screen, sitting . . . although a session of  stretching in a yoga class was helpful last night.  A walk to the The Long Man at Wilmington was an attractive idea that quickly evolved into a necessity.  This man is a landmark clearly visible from the road and the train that connects Eastbourne to Brighton. He’s also called the Giant and the Green Man and, is thought to be from the Iron Age or neolithic period, but is most likely 16th or 17th C.  On the journey from the village  to the point where the visitor can climb up gradually to his feet, he plays the game of hiding and then being revealed.

path

first view

second view

Eric Ravilious painted this view in water colours at the start of the 2nd war. Interesting to read his fascination with chalk figures.

Wilmington giant

At  70m in length, so the height of 40 men, but with no visible baggage. Is he a eunuch? I’m afraid I got a little bored with him especially on discovering that he isn’t made from chalk at all but from concrete blocks  . . .  .   and turned to look about to the surrounding views but thought how lucky he is to see these views all of the time.

4 view to south

Stunning wind swept hawthorns litter the Downs here and reminded me of a painting by Harold Mockford,  ‘Asleep on the Downs’, which is the last thing I see at night and the first thing I see in the morning.

IMG_2929

5 crataegus

Primroses and wild violets carpet the tufty grassy surface we walk on and skylarks swoop in pairs above our heads . . .

6 to newhaven

. . . .  towards Newhaven, where Harold  lives, a rather interesting pincer movement of landscape features swirl around the rising land and,  just turning to Birling Gap, the White Horse becomes visible.

7 white horse

8 tumulus

Tumuli and chalk pits provide the ups and the downs of this landscape occupied by the ‘locals’ .

9 sheep

12 view to north

Before the crops fully vegetate, the strong echoing lines of the machine rolling over the landscape are still visible . . . .

13 view to north

14 chalk

. .  chalk and flint, the indigenous materials of  The Sussex Downs.

15 walls

When I walk up on the downs

I think of things you nearly said.

Skylarks broke through the cloudless skies,

bristly oxtongue snared my boots.

I’m sorry that I went away.

 In the grass which we had flattened

purple clover kissed wild thyme.

I looked at you. You had not spoken

chalk and wind and sea blown words.

Untroubled plantain gazed at us,

salad burnet, hurt, eyebright.

We could make it work this time.

 Only mouse-ears heard the things,

high on the downs, you early said. Pam Hughes. Whispers

10 Responses to “may day and a man”

  1. daseger Says:

    So beautiful! Wish I was there. Happy May Day to you, Julia.

  2. Sinclair 3168 Says:

    Wonderful post. I remember you have the Green Man this weekend too, pagan mayhem then. Look forward to photos.

  3. julia fogg Says:

    Hope that we have No RAIN as this has been a pattern recently. Folks make so much effort that they need a recompense. S + L down to enjoy it all.

  4. Paul Steer Says:

    Thank you for posting up painting by Ravilious, Beautiful landscape.

  5. ewix Says:

    You really must meet Serena Penman , my chum who paints landscapes and lives in Lewes.


  6. Lovely post – if you’re interested in Ravilious, do have a look at my blog… Lots there!

  7. julia fogg Says:

    thanks for visiting James and yes, quite often dip into your blog. Could I add you to this blogroll?


  8. […] This post has connections with Ravilious too. And invaluable reading: ‘Eric Ravilious Memoir of an Artist’ – Helen Binyon and ‘Eric Ravilious Imagined Realities’ – Alan Powers. […]


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