After what has been an emotionally tough week I have decided to take a day out to gather my thoughts and plan ahead. To aid me I will take to the South Downs with a box of soft ground pastels, a sketch pad, my fishing bag and a few rods. My first stop will be in Brighton to visit Dave at the Tackle Box at the Marina to acquire a pack of ragworm, then to head further along the coast to Seaford and catch the morning tide. The grey shingle beach drops quickly away to the water, with a good cast I can get out to the marks where the flat fish hold up, hopefully I will see the top of the rod knock a couple of times as a dab, flounder or place takes the ragworm.
There is no better relaxation than to be by the sea and lose yourself in the water, listening to the draw of the shingle as the tide takes it away before the next wave brings it crashing in. To watch the gulls, the mist of the surf soften the view towards Newhaven to where once a windmill stood on top of the Meeching Cliffs high above the vista of the harbour wall that can be seen when looking towards Tide Mills. Sometime ago I found a small steel etching that depicts the scene well, for at the time the etching was done a smaller village once stood where trade was being done around the mills powered by the tides.
After fishing the high tide or whilst fishing, sketch the views both East and West and the row of beach huts towards the Martello Tower No 74 which houses the Seaford Museum. The Museum charts the history of Seaford as a Cinque Port and further back to the iron age and Roman occupation. You can sit on the beach and visualise the ships held up in Seaford Bay, the perils of an 18 gun ship that floundered and the bustle of a trading town in imported wine, ship building and exporting wool from the sheep of the South Downs. There is much history relating to this hidden treasure of the East Sussex coast which strangely faces South West so it’s beaches bears the brunt of the winter Atlantic forces.
My relationship with this sea-side town was further enhanced when I took my younger son to fish the wall at the Deep End where we met a group of old salts who traded insults with each other in a jovial way and share their knowledge with us freely. Their instant acceptance of us and from their friendship blossomed. On one visit I managed to lose the top of my rod into ‘Davey’s Locker’ for it to be hauled up a couple of weeks later, they called us to let us know it had been retrieved. Seaford was the first place that my son had manage to reel in a fish from the deep, to see his face and the smile that it bought will live with me forever more. I guess I’m sentimental towards this flint and brick Sussex town.
Hopefully I will be able to report back tomorrow on a succesful day where a fish or two will be a bonus to the time I will have to reflect on all that has passed of late.