Sunday, June 19, 2011
The Runt-In-Tun and Ashdown Forest
Sunday, May 15
Hugh preached the Sunday service at a very small church near Heathfield, accompanied by jackdaws chirping in the attic. The sanctuary provides most of the space in the church, with only a tiny room behind the alter and pulpit. There is no "fellowship hall", so after the service everyone simply stayed more or less in place while a few scurried to the tiny other room to prepare trays of tea and cookies, which they call bisquits.
After a pleasant half hour spent sipping and nibbling and chatting the twenty or so people who make up the entire congregation drifted away by twos and threes, and Hugh and Barbara and Jane and I drove a short distance to the "Runt-In-Tun" pub for our main meal of the day. The place was crowded with extended families and friends, infants, toddlers, young adults, middle aged men and women, and a few 90 year olds, everyone happily chatting, eating, and drinking.
After a big meal a walk seemed like just the thing. A short drive took us to the public paths of Ashdown Forest. Actually there is very little forest. Ther is gently rolling countryside with vistas off into the distance. At first I thought that the hills were covered with green grass, but as we walked along the wide path I realized that I was looking at fields of low growing ferns. In some places there were low patches of heather and and the prickly gorse that always seems to grow in the same places. There were a few sprinkles of light intermittent rain - the first we'd had. In the distance we could see several people riding the trails on horseback. Here and there were wandering clusters of sheep, and several cattle raised their heads to watch as we strolled by.