John had to drive the combine as if he were Lewis Hamilton, just to get the meagre crop through the thrashing drum. I have rarely seen him navigate through the fields at such speed!
We also had our one and only wedding. The couple were due to get married in Italy in May. They were one of the first couples in East Sussex to take their vows and celebrate their marriage since lockdown.
The day ended up as their Plan C. Italy was never going to happen, and marrying on the same date in May, but in the UK was Plan B. Eventually in the nick of time the rules changed and they able to get married at Ote Hall.
To cut a long story short, this delightful and very patient couple were married on Friday supported by their families. Included their parents, one set of grandparents, three siblings, the bride and groom, their party totalled eleven.
None of them had met since the start of lockdown. So, not only was the day heavy with emotion due to the very unusual but intimate marriage ceremony, it was also a special time reuniting with family.
The Registrars from Lewes Registry office, could not have been kinder or more helpful and accommodating. Despite having to stick rigidly to Corvid 19 rules, the ceremony went off without a hitch.
There is an increasing influx of bikes ridden by Lycra clad guys using our footpaths as speed tracks. Despite politely informing them that they should not ride on footpaths, it is proving difficult to dissuade them. One concerned walker was told that unless he was ‘stopped by the police’, he would continue to use the ‘short cut’ as when he pleased.
There is deep concern and an escalating standoff between the locals and Mid Sussex District Council’s plans to turn the well-used bridleway, off Theobalds Road, a Private Drive, into a super highway for cyclists.
MSDC plan to urbanise this much loved public amenity by installing a ‘hard surface, lighting, barriers, signage, art installations and furniture’. They intend to cut down mature trees and ancient hedge rows, some of which have remained untouched for a thousand years.
The wildlife, flora and fauna will cease to exist and this much loved bridleway used by locals for dog walking, horse riding and re-charging their mental batteries, will be destroyed for ever.
This Eastern route between Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill is 6.5km long, with no cycling infrastructure for two-thirds of the entire route. It is topped and tailed at either end by two very busy vehicle highways. Factor in winter weather, the cost of civil engineering this Eastern route, and ongoing annual maintenance costs, versus the shorter, direct, flat, less circuitous Central route along the railway line, which is already in MSDC’s ownership, and is more direct, less costly or contentious at 4.5km.
MSDC’s own figures and those of the Departments of Transport and Sport show the number of people in Burgess Hill or Haywards Heath who are prepared to commute by bike over 2km but under 5km a day, amounts currently to 8 people.
Even so, the number of Lycra clad ‘hobby cyclists’ will no doubt increase and as happens elsewhere, they will terrorise walkers and horses as they hurtle past at up to 20 - 30MPH. The damage this crazy, disruptive and expensive project will inflict upon this private road, the residents, the walkers and horse riders will be irreversible. Surely before it is too late the officers and councillors must pause and reflect.