Posted 2 July 2013 by Andrew Gardner
Pondering this year's holiday plans? Just come across our blog on your daily commute and looking for something to brighten your day? In that case, welcome - and try a quick internet search for images of Sussex. From Sussex villages to Sussex views, the towns or the South Downs, the colours, the sea and the big skies, there's something about seeing a whole bank of photos together that makes you want to be here. It's a dose of colour therapy, too: the green grass, blue sea and skies, whitewashed country cottages. See it, then come and feel it, breathe it for yourself.
Many of the iconic images of Sussex are of the sea, the imposing regency buildings and the rolling South Downs. Farming has always played a huge part in shaping the landscape and this spring just gone has been a torrid one for farmers - as illustrated by the strange tale of 50 sheep found wandering in Chiddingly a few weeks ago. It's possible that a farmer who was busy with lambing simply hadn't noticed they'd gone, but equally that someone couldn't afford to buy hay for them when the spring grass failed to appear. A kind villager took them in, but when no one claimed them he found he might become the legal owner, which he hadn't quite bargained for.
Still, if you come to stay in one of our gorgeous holiday cottages you should see plenty of lambs gambolling in the spring sunshine - if you're out walking, do please keep your dogs under control - and the bright yellow rape fields will be making their mark. Some people love this crop, some hate it, but rape seed oil has become quite a big industry in this area and if you haven't tried using it in the kitchen yet do look for it in our many farmers' and local produce markets; even if walking past a field of the yellow stuff makes you sneeze, it's lovely to cook with and apparently very healthy. Using local produce on a self-catering holiday is a great way to support the area you're staying in and bring home a taste of your trip.
Just how agriculture, industry and the Sussex landscape have changed over the centuries is well reflected by displays at the Weald and Downland museum at Singleton where a friend of mine takes part in the quilting workshops there every month, beavering away in one of the reconstructed historic cottages whatever the weather!.