On Thursday afternoon, I was sitting in the sun outside Chichester College.
waiting for my course to start .
Feeling quite pleased ‘cos I’d just got off the phone to the next Wwoof farm that I plan to work at. This one is at Cuckfield near Haywards Heath, and is an organic fruit farm where I will learn more skills.
On Sunday I leave Peacehaven to go to a donkey farm near Burgess Hilll .
I am there until the 22nd June before moving on to the fruit farm.
Hopefully I shall at last have consistent internet! I really don’t understand why the signal is so poor up here in the Downs. If I walk half a kilometre West I can see a massive telecommunications mast.
Make a phone call beneath one of these structures that are dotted all along the top of the South Downs and you’d get interference from the International Space Station asking for new plumbing! Why then is the T-Mobile signal so rubbish?
Rumour has it that on Saturday night the annual Nettle festival takes place and all the local people will get together for this secretive Pagan celebration.
This involves everyone seeking out a model of ’Nasty Natalie the Nettle Nymph’, I luckily found the above example while having a rummage behind Poly2. There is much music and consumption of Nettle wine, after which we all run naked through the fields to the site of the burning of the nymph, whilst thrashing each other with nettles.
After the setting of the fire more alcohol is drunk until anyone still standing gets to chase a young maiden through the fields.
This old Sussex ritual usually ends with one reveller catching the maiden, who will likely retaliate by punching her captor’s lights out, being in a much more capable state!
It was not always so of course, back in medieval times legend has it that a successful union of captor and quarry was looked upon favourably by the nettle Goddess.
Further East, in Daddy Papersurfer land (in days of yore the area was called ‘Earbee Dragnz‘), the ritual eventually died out when legend has it a mysterious warrior Princess named Saskia Witch arrived from a strange land over the sea far to the West. Some said that she came from a frozen land and her vessel was made of ice.
So enraged was she when she saw the degradation of the young women, that she changed the odds slightly, a special set of wings were constructed (from nettles of course) that the maiden would slip into when nearing the cliffs.
After luring the baying rabble towards the fearsome heights, she would launch herself off at the last moment, soaring out while her would-be captors followed drunkenly over. The wings weren’t very aerodynamic however and she would quickly descend, albeit rather more safely.
This is thought to be the inspiration for the first hang glider, which of course because of its questionable aeronautical inefficiency, became known as ‘A low veerer’.
Of course the warrior Princess was practically deified for saving the maidens , and to this day the local womenfolk are worshipped as Goddesses.