Ghosts and other friends
October means half term, Hallowe'en and the run-up to Bonfire Night festivities. I'm thinking cosy cottages with a woodburning stove to snuggle round, country pubs with a log fire and lovely local food and beer, stunning red, gold and russet colours in the woodland and that beautiful, clear light you get at this time of year. Not surprisingly, however, all the kids I know are thinking costumes, ghosts, witches and fireworks.
One of the regional Sussex highlights for Hallowe'en is Tulley's Farm Shocktober Fest, at Turners Hill West Sussex, which has a host of attractions for kids of all ages. There's a Creepy Cottage, a Boo Barn and a Circus Maze among others, but the one that intrigues me most is the Horrid Hayride, because it's billed on at least one website as having 'live actors'. Given the occasion, I'm quite glad they made the distinction. Another highlight is Drusilla's Park, at Alfriston in East Sussex, which this year boasts a Shriek Week full of surprises for half term.
Ghosts, of course, are an important part of Sussex folklore, often associated with Roman roads and smuggling legends. Roman roads seem to attract headless horsemen, while smugglers used 'ghosts' to frighten people away from their nefarious activities and the 'ghostly ride' seems to crop up all over the county, from Battle to Beeding and beyond. I know someone who claims to have seen it and been terrified; she's of gypsy descent so while I reckon she can spin a yarn, I also believe she's someone who would be able to see ghosts. She also told me that several tough-talking men have been scared off from camping overnight at a certain fishing lake because of a very peculiar atmosphere and sounds; but I thought the disappearing friar in the lane was a step too far.
Still, I digress. If you're staying in one of our delightful holiday properties this half term or thereabouts, do check the internet and local press for horrible happenings as well as some considerably nicer ones.