Sunday 23 May 2010

A ramble in the steps of S.P.B. Mais*

The glory of these glorious Downs is the breeze.

It is air without admixture. 
If it comes from the south the waves refine it;

(not our dog)

if inland, the wheat and flowers and grass distil it.

The great headland and the whole rib of the promontory is windswept 

and washed with air; 

the billows of the atmosphere roll over it. 

The sun searches out every crevice amongst the grass,

nor is there the smallest fragment of surface 
which is not sweetened by air and light.

Underneath, the chalk itself is pure, 
and the turf thus washed by wind and rain,

sun-dried and dew-scented, 
is a couch prepared with thyme to rest on.

Discover some excuse to be up there always, 
to search for stray mushrooms - they will be stray -

and to make a list of flowers and grasses;

to do anything and, if not, go always without pretext.

 Lands of gold have been found, 
and lands of spices and precious merchandise; 

but this is the land of health.

* This description of the breezes on Beachy Head 
is by Richard Jefferies
 and is taken from  Walking at Weekends by S.P.B. Mais
published by the Southern Railway (price sixpence).


  1. Wonderful AND beautiful..possibly Useful also. Thank you, enjoyed!

  2. That was perfectly lovely, and so are your photographs. Thank you.

  3. Beautiful country and I like the wind scarred tree, similar to the Scotch pines of northern Ontario. Wonderful tour. Thanks.

  4. You can almost feel the wind in your photos ...

  5. A fascinating fusion of almost bleak emptiness with vibrant green plant life. And obviously supporting some pretty well-fed livestock. (The cattle, not your men-folk!)