Archive for the ‘country, sussex, downs’ Category


I have always been the patriotic sort, I love my home, my Englishness. I have worn and adorned my motorcycle with the cross of St George, the flag of England. My daughter challenged me, ‘Why have you got a racist flag on your bike?’

I explained patiently that the cross is more than an emblem of English thugishness, that it was the proud declaration of English heritage, Henry V and all that. Empire and two world wars, well maybe these are examples of English Thugishness in themselves. Scientific achievements, Art and great engineering. The flag was something to be proud of. 

I have now succumbed. After the Euro 2016 debacle, the Brexit vote which took all Englishness away from the emblem. Let me explain why.

In about 8000 BC Mesolithic hunter gatherers walked from Europe across the land bridge of Doggerland. The ice continued to melt eventually stranding the continental tribes people in what has become Britain. It seems, so far as has thus been proved via archaeology, that there was no settled population at the time of the severing of physical links with the continent. So, forgetting the evidence that every single one of us come from Africa, more recently we were all sausage eaters, garlic crunchers or whatever other disrespectful epithet comes to mind.


I am also aware of the arrival of the ‘Beaker People’ in these Islands. One, the Amesbury Archer, at least was so well thought of by ‘locals’ that they buried him close to Stonehenge. Another foreigner accepted by these Islands, and respected.
‘The latest tests on the Amesbury Archer, whose grave astonished archaeologists last year with the richness of its contents, show he was originally from the Alps region, probably Switzerland, Austria or Germany. The tests also show that the gold hair tresses found in the grave are the earliest gold objects found in Britain.’ (Wessex Archaeology Online)

In the years around 75 BC it seems that my home county was taken over by the Atrebates, a tribe of Celtic and German stock arriving from the continent.

55BC the first Roman Invasion, which would have undertaken by peoples from across the Roman Empire as soldiers, tradesmen, slaves, families and visitors. At this time the DNA of Britain must have contained traces of every other country in the then known world. 

Just after the end of the first Roman incursion a Celtic tribe, the Regnenses arrived on these shores under the leadership of Commius. His grandson Cogidubnus is probably the person who had the Palace at Fishbourne built and was an ally of Rome and welcomed them for the second ‘Invasion’.


Fishbourne Palace

Following the departure of Rome for the second time, the Picts became a problem, the Angles and Saxons were invited to settle and assist the country. There appears to have been no violent takeover by the Angles and Saxons, more a peaceful co-existence and development of a merging culture.


Then Vikings, Danes and ultimately French Normans (who were Vikings really). 


By 1066 therefore this country could not claim to be made up of one peoples. Truly the British were mongrels. A mix of stock from across Europe, the Mediterranean and beyond.

Further waves of French, Dutch then arrived with others from Europe. The Romani originiating in South Asia arrived in the 16th Century.

Peoples of the Indian sub continent began arriving as a result of the exploitation of the East India Company (founded in 1600). Many of those arriving from India way settled and took local wives. The first London Indian Restaurant was founded in 1810 by Sake Dean Mahomed a captain of the East India Company. His restaurant was called the Hindoostane Coffee House and he is also credited as the person introducing shampoo and therapeutic massage to Britain.


Sake Dean Mohamed

The 18th Century saw the continued migration of peoples to and from the UK. Africans, Indians and others. Following the war of independence 1100 black loyalist soldiers came to Britain, they were badly treated by those they had fought to protect / assist.


‘Thomas Peters: slave, millwright, soldier…and politician. His voyage from slavery to freedom began when he was kidnapped from Africa and sold into slavery; at the onset of the American revolution, he seized the opportunity to reclaim his freedom fighting with British forces. A talented craftsman, he became a leader of men on the fields of battle. The war’s conclusion found him traveling once again, hoping to redeem the British promise of freedom in Nova Scotia. In the 1780s and 1790s, the former sergeant found himself fighting in unfamiliar territory: the world of British politics. From New Brunswick to London, he tirelessly pursued freedom and justice for his community. He would help found the country Sierra Leone.’

The 19th century saw a substantial population of Germans arrive on these shores, then Russian Jews.

I find it strange that a land of mongrels, who in the past have welcomed ‘jonny foreigner’ and provided comfort and succour in times of need, has turned it’s back on the nations of their forefathers. 

So where am I left with my Englishness? I had thought, King Alfred and Wessex, that’s an answer. I will display Alfreds wyvern. I looked on line, the red Dragon is Celtic apparently. There is a discussion in some places as to whether Alfred used a gold or white wyvern. The white wyvern has been taken to the heart of WASPish organisations.


 I am left, I think looking for an emblem used by Commius (was he a red under the bed?) or the flag of Sussex. Of course the golden martletts on a blue field is a relatively new invention having been first used in 1622 by John Speed in his atlas, Theatrum Imperii Maganae Britanniae. 

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I am less angry today than I have been for sometime. I had a glorious couple of days with ‘the one’. Findon Sheep Fair was duly attended a blissful day among the livestock.

However, Dave and his chums do seem to have the knack of keeping me where I apparently belong. The doldrums.

Two brief posts for today, rolled into one. Travelling to work today Classic FM announced that the government was to impose stiffer penalties for benefit cheats. This could, we are reliably informed by auntie BEEB, lead to 10 year jail terms for those who claim without merit. Ummmm, if there is so much cell space in Her Majesty’s hotels, why are burglars, murderers and rapists not locked away for a decent amount of time? Me thinks that this may need to be reviewed in the fullness of time. Or, will they just amend the legislation allowing a maximum term of 10 years then issue sentencing guidelines which will tie the hands of the judiciary and force short sentences, with an automatic third off if they behave, oh and the third is calculated off the half at they are expected to serve. ??????

Yes, sentence to five years serve 2.5 and get a third off that if you are good.

The other thing I have noticed, trawling the BEEB’s website, the chancellor who is in charge of the countries money was happy to pay 73.6p for Lloyds shares. The government are thinking about selling 6% of there shares. The current share price is 77.36p. The chancellor is pleased that this is beyond his break even figure of 61p.

I am no mathematical genius. I do know though that if I pay 73.6p for something and I sell it for 61p I have not broken even. I have received no value from the stock in the way of dividend, the government saw to that, I have received no payment or utility of any kind from owning the shares, so I must be out of pocket 12.6p per share.

Indeed at the time the government paid 73.6p per share, the shares were selling for 61p. So we, the people, paid 12.6p over the odds for shares that the chancellor was happy to lose another 12.6p on when he sold! No wonder the country has gone to the dogs.

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The silence weeps oozing into the days
Stretching out into weeks and months
The frackers come, smug, oily hands rub
The expectation of profit flows from there very pores
The nature recoils, trees sigh with sadness
The earth made to heave itself skywards
In shafts of despair

A yellow flowering on the trees and fences
A splash of joy and hope unleashed
Strange people garbed in hues both bright and somber
A gathering of ordinary minds joined as one
One purpose many minds power exponentially multiplied
The pawns of the state used to suppress freedom
A bad law misapplied a legacy of Thatcher

A week or two pass our masters gaze distracted
The people remain with their black clad chaperone
Cameron is diverted he smells oil in the air
Petty politics rises with votes to beat him
His cabinet wail at lost trips oe’er the pond
They have no clue of plebeian muses
Mutterings in corners not seen by the great

The drones are restless things fall apart
Money is worthless life beyond our means
The devil strides the world disguised corporate
Gekko the model, greed is the king
You fanfare destruction our green earth is dying
Small steps derided economy ignored
The way forward is spend buy and store.


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A view of the sheep fair at Findon in Sussex as it used to be.

It is that time of year again when the annual fair comes round. I have not been for some years, the last time I went there were only 6 sheep. A far cry from the thousands of previous years.

This year things had improved, we were stuck in traffic for about an hour in a queue to get in to the fair.

Once we got in I initially thought it was going to be another of ye olde country fayre type events. A funfair and variety of stalls selling ‘antique’ country items and other good stuff. The first sheep we saw were in a van used for demonstrating shearing and to tell the history of sheep on the Downs.

However, there was a bio control gate, passing beyond there were pens, no longer hazel or chestnut hurdles, but metal hurdles containing …. Sheep. Several tens of sheep. Different species, different uses, being judged and sold, it was almost as it had once been.

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I know there will be some with issues relating to sheep being kept in pens but this is the country raw in tooth and claw. The downs would be a much poorer place without the sheep who have effectively created this landscape.

Of course it was not all sheep.

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I think I am getting the hang of this iPad slowly, couldn’t work out how to add pictures originally, sorry rough seas!!!!