An English seal


I went to the Blythburgh summer fete last month and among the day’s frivolities was a boat ride around the local waterways. And we saw a seal ! It had never occurred to me that I might see a seal in England. The said creature, however, was none too impressed by us, a boat load of humans leaning over the side to take his picture. His look of disdain says it all.

~ Spotted Cow

Weekly Photo Challenge: Edge

Castle wall

Most of the main walls of Lewes Castle are intact. However, in some sections like this one, only an edge of a wall remains.

In the picture you can see that the wall is leaning slightly to the right.  I straightened the doorway, but the resulting image showed the chairs & people leaning awkwardly and I had to un-do the change. The ground must have shifted in the years since the wall was built.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Edge

~ Spotted Cow

Lewes Castle

Lewes Castle

About 20 years ago – when we were young adults who thought we were worldly – Purple Cow and I happened upon Lewes in our travels around the south coast of England. We didn’t stay the night because there was a festival in town and there were no beds. So, we wandered around the lovely streets, thinking what a quaint town it was, before we got on the train to Brighton.

Somehow, we managed to miss Lewes Castle, which is smack bang in the middle of town, on the top of a hill. Those were the days before the internet told us everything. Nevertheless, it seems incredulous that we missed such a prominent landmark. I don’t know if it wasn’t as clearly signposted as it is now or if the tourist office wasn’t open or we just never looked up.

A few weeks ago, on a sunny summer’s weekend, I visited Lewes on a day trip. Imagine my surprise when I read that it has a 1000-year old Norman Castle built by William the Conquerer’s son-in-law, William de Warenne, and that it has incredible views over the Sussex countryside. I felt like a wally. Look at the pictures. It is incredible that we completely missed it. It’s a good thing that I’m not so slack on my travel research.

~ Spotted Cow

The Barbican

View of Lewes town from the castle

View of bowling green from Lewes Castle

The stuff other people throw out

Flea market finds

I’ve had an ongoing de-cluttering project around my house for the last couple of years and it’s been a good exercise. I don’t think that I need to own so many things, but more than that, there’s all the stuff that has been put away neatly in drawers that haven’t been used in years.

When I visited the Lewes flea market, I saw – on sale – the mass of things that people don’t want, throw out and give away. And it is literally a huge collection of stuff that some good soul has categorised and displayed for the passing footfall to view and perhaps purchase for themselves. I like the idea of buying pre-loved goods.

On this occasion I didn’t buy anything but I did go round taking photos. It was a bit of a challenge with the low lighting, the clutter, narrow corridors and people walking in front of the lens (the cheek !) All my photos were taken on ISO 1600. I contemplated going up to ISO 3200 a few times, but in my experience they tend to come out quite grainy.

Any yes, the last picture was my submission to the Photo Challenge this week.

Side note. Lewes is a lovely historic county town about 1½ hours south of London by train.

~ Spotted Cow

Underwear model in the mirror

Mannequin & mirror among a pile of random bits


Weekly Photo Challenge: Mirror

Close up of mannequin, mirror and puppet

I snapped this while wandering around the Lewes flea market, thinking I’d use it in a post called “the stuff other people throw away” … and I might yet do that ! In particular, I liked the trio of the mirror, the Mexican doll puppet and the mannequin with the headset. The picture was originally taken in portrait but I cropped it because my blog template prefers landscape compositions in the main picture.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mirror

~ Spotted Cow

Mannequin & mirror among a pile of random bits

Summer sunset


A British summer sunset at 9.30pm in Brighton. Glorious. I don’t usually have my camera to hand for sunset shots and it was a mighty leap when I saw this scene out of the window.

I have a Snap Chat post about taking sunset images, titled “Why are sunsets notoriously difficult?“, that you might want to check out. It’s reminded me that I haven’t done a Snap Chat post in ages.

~ Spotted Cow


Donkey Wheel

Saddlescombe donkey wheel

The Actress and I spent an afternoon at Devil’s Dyke, and one of the sights on the Histories and Mysteries walk was the Saddlescombe Donkey Wheel. We both thought that it would be a wheel laid flat which you push round to raise water from a well. In fact, what we found looked more like a big wooden hamster wheel, which a donkey trots on to bring water up from its source.

The Saddlescombe donkey wheel dates from the 17th century and is protected by the National Trust. Otherwise, we might’ve thought it a good idea to have a go !

~ Spotted Cow



Wooden bucket on donkey wheel


Happy bus


My lovely friend – The Actress – and I spent Sunday afternoon out at Devil’s Dyke, just outside of Brighton. I’ll put up some post-cards over the coming week, but first I wanted to show you the Number 77 bus that we took to get there. I was expecting the usual red and cream Brighton & Hove bus, and along came a happy aqua and pink bus with prints of the local sights. There are short information and story boards inside the bus, on the walls, ceilings and seats. We sat behind the seat with the Tennyson poem, whose first line also runs along the side of the bus.

You came, and looked and loved the view
Long-known and loved by me,
Green Sussex fading into blue
With one gray glimpse of sea.

I’m keen to explore more of the area just so I can get on the happy bus again. You can see in the picture that we were accompanied that day by the characteristic dark clouds of a British summer’s day … although they did take off in another direction after a fashion.

~ Spotted Cow


B&W graveyard scenes


I’ve taken a leaf out of my fellow blogger Lignum Draco’s book and turned my graveyard pictures into black & white to add more mystery and soulfulness to the images. If you haven’t already, drop by Draco’s site at Etcetera Etcetera Etcetera.

Graveyard scenes at St Peter’s Church, Westleton, Suffolk

~ Spotted Cow

Gravestones in overgrown churchyard

Child gravestone

St Peter's Church Westleton

British sunshine

At the beach

I was in Suffolk on the weekend and it was glorious weather for most of it.  Everyone was enjoying what might be the last of the British summer sunshine. The pebbly beach in Aldeburgh was relatively uncrowded, largely because the hoards flocked to the sandy beaches.  I have to say, the  benefits of a pebbly beach is that you don’t get sand in all your orifices !

When I look back, I smile and think “that was definitely a good day”.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today Was A Good Day

~ Spotted Cow

Christmas, neither at home nor away

Baby Cow closing in on little deer

Ever fancied not having any responsibility on Christmas Day? Let someone else organise the food, the tree, and the entertainment. We did it one year when the idea of all of us in a small London flat with nowhere to go seemed a bit crampy. Plus, we were due to fly out on Boxing Day.

Our choice was Ashdown Park Hotel in East Sussex where we stayed from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day. It was marvellous. The grounds are enormous and on the doorstep of Ashdown Forest.  This is Winnie The Pooh country.  You can borrow mountain bikes and cycle on the bumpy forest paths.  There are plenty of secret corners and hidden gardens to explore, and you’ll encounter the wild deer that roam the estate.  We had a go at croquet – badly. There’s a golf course. And we discovered a llama park nearby.

The youngsters can use the remainder of their energy in the swimming pool while the adults enjoy spa services or one of the reading spots in front of the fire.

It goes without saying that there is an abundance of food. We didn’t go hungry and the children had far too much chocolate and cake, as well as surprise treats under the tree and on their pillows – both from us and courtesy of the hotel.

We don’t know if we’d do it quite like that again. But it suited us on that one occasion and the experience was thoroughly enjoyable.

Spotted Cow


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