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3rd January 2016 (Tuesday) .... 10.00   It’s a frosty Sussex sunset over Uckfield
“Sunny Sussex” this morning, with loads of rime, and a ‘wall to wall’ ‘bloo’ sky.... a bonnie morning.    The pavements will be slippery so I’ll leave any walking that I might do until after lunch.    Janice and Michael are going to Eastbourne;  where Janice has an hospital appointment.   

22.30     Although this has been a ‘bonnie’ day I never made it ‘out for a walk;   a migraine clicked in about 09.00 and, between worrying about Janice, and the migraine I just didn’t have the urge to go out: 
sunset time clouds
my ‘get up and go’ went.  However, after lunch I had a short ‘nap’ and, feeling better I managed to keep my eye on the setting sun.... the sky had the look’ of a braw sunset.     Debra appeared with na flower arrangement that she had made up for Janice.... it's beautiful.    I'll take a picture tomorrow - in natural light.

Janice and Michael arrived back about 18.00, with good news;   Janice’s scans were all clear.    Janice does however have to have an operation in a couple of weeks (16 th), which we knew about.... well we knew about the ‘op’ .... not the date.    Now we know the date.  It will be a stressful time until we have ‘our Janice’ back to full health again’.
The sunset did turn out to be colourful.... and there are some queer clouds around in the Sussex sky.     I have yet to find out what caused the clouds I photographed on the 28th December, and the ones today were also ‘different’, though I have seen similar clouds at home.     I
Sussex sunset
think it has to be the Sussex topography that gave us the clouds of the 28th;   Michael has seen them before so they must be a variety of ‘Sussex Clowds”.     I’ve been online but cannot find anything resembling them.    Ann has a ‘cloud’ book and might be able to come up with something;   Ann and Derek are Sussex born and bred.
I have much to organise tomorrow... with a few e-mails to write etc.   The Sussex weather forecast, is for it to be less ‘sunny’ than it was today.    (I could get to like “wall to wall’ sunshine” which is what we had all day today.)    We might even have some rain ‘ra morra’..... followed by a ‘wall to wall’ “Sunny Sussex” on Thursday!    I’ll make an effort to go ‘down town’ in the morning before I start the e-mailing etc.
Photographs : all three taken at sunset time today.

2nd January 2017 (Monday) .... 11.00    “Sunny Sussex” it is today..... wall to wall sunshine, and warm with it:  the Waxing crescent moon
‘Festive Season’ is over, ‘Spring’ is in the air, and I’m feeling frolicsome.  

 Janice and Michael are taking down the decorations;   I’d help but would most likely ‘get in the road’, so I’ll make the tea.    My plan is to ‘do’ the Snatt’s Road walk later.... Uckfield disnae have a beach, but the town is surrounded by woods;   unfortunately the woodland paths are inigh on mpassable after the recent wet spell.

23.00     Everything is back to normal after the ‘festive season’ ....with
Uckfield Nature reserve
everyone returning to work tomorrow.... this means the coffee shops ‘down town’ will be open tomorrow.     We have had ‘wall to wall’ sunshine for all the daylight hours today, and I did the “Snatt’s Road” walk;   and managed to get lost in the middle of a housing estate.    However The “Holy Cross” Church spire was visible from where I was so I walked streets and paths in the general direction of the spire until I reached Church Street.    By this time I was in need of a cuppa:  it was now that I found out that the Coffee Shops were either still on holiday, or, the few that were ‘open’,  packed to the ‘gunnels’.    However, after meandering around The “Snatt’s Road” area of Uckfield, for a distance of 4.63 kilometres (2.9 miles) I was within striking distance of “No 1” where the kettle is always ‘on’.    When I did ‘upload’ the walk onto FB it came up as “Monica Walk”....that’s predictive text for you.
“JB” ‘dropped in’ on his way to work .... he’s on night shift .... and updated us  with the latest ‘plan’ of action when he is ‘off’ on Thursday and Friday this week.
Janice and Michael are going down to Eastbourne tomorrow
Diane Hutt gallery
afternoon;   this means that I shall be i/c dawg!    The weather forecast for “Sunny Sussex” ‘ra morra’ is for it to be “Not so Sunny Sussex” after a cold, and possibly frost dawn.     There is an ‘ice warning’ for pavements (they don’t do much re icy pavements down here) so I’ll stay ‘in’ until later in the morning.
Photographs : Top – waxing crescent moon with Venus bottom right of picture, Middle – part of the Nature Reserve off Snatt’s Road, alongside Snatt’s Road, and, Bottom – A well known Kirkcaldy name ... the Diane Hutt Gallery!

1st January 2017 (Sunday) ....I’ll start by wishing everyone a “Happy, and Prosperous New Year” ... “lang may yer lumAnn Michael Janice and Derek
reek wi’ ither folks coal”!
10.00   Contrary to expectations I am feeling frisky this morning;   in spite of no’ gaun tae my bed until late er .... early in the morning.    I really enjoyed myself, bringing the New Year, .... something I never thought I’d bother doing again after Maggie died.     It was happy  evening/ morning.... though I didn’t mean to stay ‘up’ so long.    We had ‘Jools Holland’ on the television and discovered that one of the singers on the show, “Rag n’ Bone Man” comes from Uckfield.     When the ‘Jools Holland Show finished Michael brought up some old Hogmanay ‘turns’ such as Scotch and Wry, Andy Stewart etc.    Yes a really enjoyable evening;   and I gained a “Sussex Girlfriend” .... Ann!   
We have rain this morning ... ‘rain’ was forecast, but it has come ‘in’ earlier than it was supposed to, so might clear away by mid
London New Year celebrations
afternoon.    This is perfect weather for sorting out the photographs taken during the Hogmanay Festivities!

23.00      Hmmmm .... the rain didn’t clear away so we have had a ‘dreich weather’ day.     Janice and Michael went out to the “Ringles”  in the afternoon;   I had a much needed ‘50’.     I didn’t sleep long.... only for an hour and a half, but I felt really refreshed when I ‘surfaced’.    The ‘Troops’ arrived back about 17.30, and their friends shortly followed, including the kids, so we had a nice family party.    Then Colin turned up, so, after the Seb, Seb’s wife, and the kids poodled off home, we had an extended “New Year’s” party.     More tea and cake this time..... and considerably earlier going to bed.

2017 has been ‘welcomed’ in  .... all I wish for is for peace and love
Janice with one tired dog

to engulf Mother Earth.     I know that, as long as there are arms manufacturers this won’t happen ..... but wouldn’t the world be a better place for everyone if we could only find ‘peace and love’.    I’ve always been a dreamer.

Everywhere will be ‘back to normal’ tomorrow, and we should be able to get on with making 2017 a good year;   “Love is all Mother Earth needs!”

Photographs : Top – Ann, Michael, Janice and Derek,  Middle – London fireworks, and Bottom – Janice and Bonnie at the end of the evening.

31st December 2016 (Saturday) ..... 09.30      We have another foggy morning,.... and it, the fog, looks denser than yesterdays was;   not a morning for going out for a daunder.    The weather forecast is ‘encouraging’;    the fog should gradually lift, leaving us with clouds and occasional drizzle/rain.    That isnae “iggzactly” much of an improvement, but, at least we’ll have better visibility.

010117 ...04.00    year 2017 has started as i mean it to continue.... loaded with happiness!    Owing to the fact it is sort of late/actually early I shall finish this update by well .... gibber gibber gibber ... yes I’m gibbering.    I’ve had the most enjoyable ‘Hogmanay’ that I’ve had in a long time.    Thankfully Derek is happy to allow Ann to be my “Sussex Girlfriend” .. Ann is a bundle of fun.;   and we all need a ‘bundle of fun’ in our lives!    Derek and Ann are a lovely couple, and lucky in having each other in their lives!
A few more gibber gibber gibbers and we shall call “New Year” over and done with!    Thanks Janice and Michael for having me, and John and ‘Em’ for the happy stuff ... Glenmorangie!
Photographs :  oops  .... zero in the photo section I’m afred!

30th December 2016 (Friday) ....10.00    Oh dear.... we have frost, and thick fog this morning, definitely not a morning forMorris
poodling about outside:   the pavements will be slippery.     The fog  should disappear by midday, but it is thick, and there’s nae wind so it might linger in the valleys and low bits all day.    “JB” is coming over sometime in the afternoon ... we’ll make a ‘plan’ then.

22.30     The fog persisted all day;   in fact it had turned into ‘Scotch Mist’ ... oops ‘Sussex Mist’ by 14.00. and has been so ever since.    “JB” wasn’t able to come over, so we walked to the “Pig and Butcher, the ‘pub in the nearby village of in Five Ash Down... a distance of 2.46 kilometres (1.528 miles)to have lunch.      The original intention was to walk back home, but, while we were in the ‘pub having our lunch, the ‘Sussex Mist’ drifted in.    When we left the ‘pub’ we were  lucky to find that there was a Bus Stop outside the ‘pub’ and a bus was due in the next few minutes. 

The “Pig and Butcher” is owned by Harvey’s of Lewes and they have
Pub sign
given it  a makeover since the last time we were in there;   it is now a ‘classy’ place, and a nice place to go for quiet drink, and a meal.   Having left the “No 1” to walk to the ‘pub’, before the ‘troops’ I anticipated having to wait for Janice and Michael to arrive, so, for the first time in a long time, so long that I can’t remember the last time, I bought a ‘pint’ glass of beer;   my usual is half a pint.     As it was the ‘troops’ arrived about five minutes after me;   I enjoyed the pint.... but it took me the whole lunch time to drink it.
The weather, the walking and the pint must have worn me out;   I slept
Me with a pint a rare sight

for two hours after we got back.      The fog is supposed clear away tomorrow, leaving us with ‘variable cloud’;   no mention of rain.    Tomorrow is of course ‘Hogmanay’;   normally I don’t ‘bring in’ the New Year, haven’t done so since Maggie died, but I might ‘stay up’ this year.  
Photographs : Top – found this beauty ‘moored up’ outside Five Ash Down Post Office, Middle – Pub sign, and Bottom – the ‘boy’ hanging onto a pint glass! 

29th December 2016 (Thursday) 09.30    ....and, after a frosty start, we have another “Sunny Sussex” morning;  it Hmmmm ..
really is gorgeous.    The only this missing is a beach:   back home it would be a perfect day for ‘reflection’ photographs;   there’s nae wind.    I’ll go for a walk sometime today.... once the temperature gets up a bit .... right now it’s cuppa time.
22.30    It has been a bonnie day, though it was cold in the shade.    I walked over to Leeann’s, where Michael and Janice were babysitting, so I did manage a short walk.  At Leeann’s I had a cuppa, ate some chips, and had “Darcie” saying “it disnae mak’ sense”;  with a ‘Scottish’ accent!   

Back at “No.  1” I decided  to tidy up the laptop “Pictures” folder;   I ‘Moved’ 28,348 photos into a ‘Travel Stick.    This took five hours, during which time I read a book about Sussex,.... a very interesting book about Sussex;   and brought in a washing.    All this ‘doing things’ eventually wore me out;   I fell asleep.    Only for twenty minutes.    Oh ....the laptop is working faster again;   being 28,348 photos ‘lighter’ has made a difference.
Fog is forecast for tomorrow morning, so we won’t have our bright, sunny and frosty Sunny Sussex first thing tomorrow.    However “JB” is coming over and is sure to brighten things up... fog or no fog.   We
have ‘nae plans’ for tomorrow;   at this time of year we just ‘play it by ear’.    
 I am beginning to adjust to this ‘nae beach’ routine, but it isn’t easy.    Normally I’d be ‘up’ and on ‘my’ beach before breakfast at home;   in Uckfield I’d normally use the Nature Reserves as  a substitute for the beach, but with the Reserve paths being ‘smeery’ I’m staying off them.    Oh well there’s loads of coffee shops full of friendly people.
Photographs : Top – Hmmmm ... the tablet jar being raided, Middle – that is a big flag!... and Bottom – John.

29th er 28th December 2016 (Wednesday) .....   We have another “Sunny Sussex” morning.... another nice day for sunrise
‘walking’.    That said, I’m ‘resting’ today;  my knees are stiff after slipping and slithering down to Buxted yesterday!     I will probably go ‘out’ in the afternoon.    Janice, Emily and Michael are orf to Hailsham, leaving the ‘Bonnie’ in charge of John and I.   This is a stressful situation for one ‘dawg’.

22.30    Em and John are up visiting John’s parents in Cumbria for the second half of their ‘Festive Season’ holiday;   the weather was good for travelling, the only problem might have been congestion on the motorways.

I have had a ‘restful’ day.... which “Puku”, (Bless his lack o’
Strange clouds
wrinkles) has enjoyed!     Tomorrow I intend being active again;   the weather forecast is for it to be frosty early, then bright, sunny and cool.    I don’t intend going into any of the Nature Reserves because of the mud;   I might do a wee circumnavigation of the town.... the ‘Snatt’s Road’ walk.

We had a bonnie sunrise, and sunset today.... in fact the clouds at sunset were of  a type I have never seen before.   They were well photographed from my bedroom window.   Janice went ‘down town’ in the afternoon and was surprised at how quiet it was;   no queue at the Post Office counter in WH Smith’s for instance.     Instead of ‘walking’ I fell fast asleep for nigh on an hour in the afternoon;   I blame the change of air.... and the exercise I had yesterday.
Michael has got a cold, that is doing the ‘rounds’ down here;  I’m hoping to miss it, but nearly everyone I talk too has had it at some
strange clouds
point in the last month.   Even HM and the Duke have been ‘laid low’ with it.  Oops .... I sneezed a couple of times just now; this is not good!

We’ve had a quiet evening watching the ‘tele’.... and working on the  computer.     Michael managed to speed up his internet connection, after some ‘fiddling around with ‘things’.... so, although we’ve had a ‘quiet’ evening it has been productive in some ways.

Photographs : Top – Sunrise, Middle – the strange clouds, immediately after sunset, and Bottom – the strange, clouds 15 minutes after sunset.

27th December 2016 (Tuesday) .... 10.00    “Happy Birthday  Emily” who will be ... er a year older today!    Somewhere between 27 and 29!
We have an absolutely stunning morning in “Sunny Sussex”, ..... Emily the birthday girl
brilliant sunshine, nae wind, but it is frosty;   one of those perfect days for walking.    I may go over to Buxted Park to see the Hungarian Oak.... I haven’t seen it  without it’s leaves.    It, the Hungarian Oak, is one of the bonniest shaped trees in the whole of England.     The weather forecast is excellent for the remainder of ‘today’, but fog could develop tonight, leading to travel problems tomorrow.     Right now it’s the kind of weather that will have a lot of Hungarian Oak in Buxted Park
people out walking, taking in some much needed ‘fresh air’ after the Christmas Festivities.
23.30    We’ve had a real “Sunny Sussex” day;   the perfect day for a walk;   which is what I did.... walked over to Buxted Park to ‘visit’ the Hungarian Oak, and St Margaret’s kirk.... the total distance ‘walked’ was 2.9 miles.  When Ann and I were talking ‘photographs’ yesterday she mentioned ‘her oak’, and this reminded me that I don’t have a
St Margarets Church

leafless photo;  hence the walk.

First thing after breakfast we had Emily opening her Birthday presents... always an exciting experience, even when twen .... oops ‘silly boy’;   nearly let out the fact that ‘Em’ is 28 today!     Oh Oh .... there goes another bit of Top Secret info!   

I did say it was a ‘perfect’ day for walking;  it was, but underfoot, with the sun melting the frozen ground, it was treacherous.    This part of Sussex has a clay soil, and when it’s wet it is very very slippery;  walking shoes, with crampons, would have been the shoe of choice for today’s walk!    I do have a walking stick that I got from Martyn’s ‘Dad’ a couple of years ago.... and it was extremely handy today.... in fact without it I would have been really struggling in places.
On the way home I went into the ‘The Ringles’ Hotel, where I had a half pint of Harvey’s Ale, and a bowl of soup.    I was well ready for a
St Margaret window
rest, a drink and some food.     Having met a lot of folk out walking, I expected ‘The Ringles’ to be really busy, but it was very quiet, and I had a seat by the open fire .... very ‘home from home’ it was.   ‘The Ringles’ is “iggzactly” one kilometre from Michael’s front door!

Emily is out, celebrating her birthday, with the ‘Troops’, somewhere:   They have undoubtedly had perfect weather for celebrating a birthday .... unless they were going skiing!
I shall sleep like a ‘log’ tonight, having had a long walk , and loads of lovely Janice portions of grub.    “Puku” (bless his 9 pack) is loving Sussex!

Photographs : Top – Birthday girl, Next – Hungarian Oak tree in Buxted Park, Next – St Margaret’s Church, Buxted, and Bottom – Stained Glass window in St Margaret’s Church vestibule.

26th December 2016 (Monday) ..... 08.00     We have a beautiful morning sky, at the moment the clouds, and jet trails, are a bonnie ‘oyster pink’ colour;  it looks like being a braw day .    I’m JB

going down to Eastbourne with Emily and John, where we’re going to meet Jenny and “JB”.... actually I’d better get a move on... we’re leaving in an hour.    Have a lovely ‘Boxing Day’.

22.30    This has been a really pleasurable, “Full English” Boxing Day.     We went down to Eastbourne as ‘planned’.... “JB” even got the car ‘moored up’ not far from the “Eastbourne Bandstand”, which
has ‘put on’ traditional English entertainment on Boxing Day for many years;  this our reason for being in Eastbourne .... not quite our only reason, but near enough.   This was England at its happiest.... I loved it.   There was a ‘refreshments’ bar nearby selling ... you know... teas/ coffees/ mulled wine and cider!    Mulled wine? .... I’d have to try that.   John had mulled cider, with “JB”, Jenny and Emily of tea.   My word, that mulled wine certainly cleared my eyeballs.     Meanwhile the entertainment began .... Morris Dancing at first, followed by a band playing Rock ‘n Roll music.   Between the music, and the ‘mulled wine’ I was ready to go.... but I managed to control my dancing Eastbourne Bandstand
urge.    John, “JB” and I walked along to the ‘Pier’, and wander out to the end..... leaving the ‘girls’ to dance along to the music!    Eastbourne couldn’t have asked for better weather .... it was perfect:  that said, the folks that went in for the  traditional Boxing Day ‘dook’ (dip) didn’t stay in the water long!
The ‘boy’s wandered back towards the bandstand to find the ‘girls’ with glowing faces, and, having burnt off a lot of calories, well ready for the trip across the road to the Cavendish Hotel for a light lunch.
When we got back to Uckfield we went round to Leeann’s to Darcie’s(Leeann’s daughter)  birthday party (3) .... and ate some more nibbles, before heading back to “No 1”, where we ate more food.   
Eastbourne Pier
Ann (Ritchie) dropped in to wish Janice and Mike “Merry Christmas”.... with Ann being known to us all, we had a real friendly ‘blether’.    Ann is a photographer and takes the most glorious photographs, .... landscape, wildlife, including macro’s of insects.... and the Moon!    It was good to see Ann again, and talk photography.
We played a board game, that demands a lot of concentration (which I’m not good at), and stretches the brain.    Janice’s brain was the maist active .... Janice won.
At last I feel that I am in Sussex .... it has taken five days to get acclimatised this time;  I imagine it has taken longer because it is the Festive season, when much has been ‘going on’.
Photographs : Top – “JB” ... ‘stood staunin’ at a funny angle;   this might have been caused by the mulled wine, Next – Eastbourne Bandstand,  Next – The band in the Bandstand, and Bottom – Eastbourne pier.
25th December 2016 (Christmas Day) .... 09.30
“Merry Christmas Everyone”
We have an overcast, and quiet start to Christmas Day.... and mild, but there is fog around.     We are going to go visiting in a few minutes so I’d best ‘get a move on’;   have a very Merry Christmas where ever you are... or, if you are in the Southern Hemisphere... I hope you ‘had’ a very Merry Christmas.   Love you all.

22.30    I don’t think I have ever know Uckfield be so ‘quiet’.... even London Road (Uckfield High Street morphs into London Road at the top of the hill) had very few cars on it.... and folk like their cars doon here.    Everyone must have been inside enjoying Christmas with their families which, after all, is what we had been doing until we walked Janice taking time out

over to see Leeann and Martyn, Janice’s daughter and son in law, with their two ‘troops’, “Darcie” and “Sullivan”.   Sullivan was having his afternoon nap, but “Darcie”, who will be three tomorrow, managed to entertain us nae bother.   The visiting was done after we’d opened our presents, in the morning.

Michael modelling new wellies
Our three course Christmas Lunch, brilliantly prepared by Janice and Michael, was outstanding .... and included a nice New Zealand Sauvignon wine.    The helpings were of Janice proportions but I was prepared, having not ‘nibbled’ all morning, and managed to nigh on clear my plate;   and have a sweet!    Since Lunch I ‘rested’ ... i.e. had ‘50’ in my bedroom:  then bumbled orf downstairs to see what’s Michael Janice and Darcie
happening.    We played a couple of games of the board game “Chase”..... an easy game to ‘get the hang of’ and educational.    I didn’t win, which wasn’t surprising, but I did enjoy it.   The cheese and nibbles then appeared so I fed “Puku”... who likes Christmas.    In between times I did a wee bit of dish washing.... there’s always loads o’ that associated with Christmas Lunch!

This has been my first Christmas spent in England, and it has been enjoyable:  the general festivities are the same all over the UK, the difference is being wished a “Merry Christmas” by folks with English voices.... I like that.

I shall go to bed, remembering that today we were celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus 2000+ years ago:   a fact that we tend to forget in this ‘commercial’ age.    I’m only saying this because it’s a fact ....whether we ‘believe’ or not.

Photographs : Top – Janice, taking ‘time out’ from working in the kitchen, Middle – Michael ‘modelling’ his new ‘Barbour ‘wellies’, and Bottom – Michael, Janice and Darcie.   

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