We had some much needed serious rain last week, and within a matter of days the crops were transformed from looking parched and stressed, to having grown several inches, and developed a healthy glow. We now have every hue of green from dusky emerald green grass, dark blue green wheat, to the softer green of the winter barley, restored across the farms. All of which are now swaying gently in the breeze and warm sunshine.
The Lupins are certainly looking better, but I shall reserve judgement as to whether they have fully recovered from their difficult start. Until they are harvested and safely in the barn at the end of the summer, we will not know what damage the drought has done to them.
The countryside is now peppered with roadside boards of various colours as the General Election draws closer - just two more weeks to go. In this part of Sussex, they are mostly blue, which is I am told the most noticeable and attractive colour.
I wonder if this could be due to the fact that most have the image of the lovely Maria Caulfield smiling out from them. It is perhaps not a complete coincidence that it is mostly gentlemen who tell me they admire this particular shade of blue!
Ann Hill and her boys John and Ed, together with a few close friends and family, last Friday celebrated her husband Charlie’s 51st birthday. The one important person who did not join this celebration, was Charlie himself. The previous day they along with several hundred of his friends, colleagues and admirers had gathered together in church to celebrate his full but all too short life, spent almost entirely in Wivelsfield. He was buried in the beautiful grave yard, in the pouring rain to the distant sound of ‘Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree’.
Charlie had been diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer on the 1st February. Just 88 days later on the 29th April he died two hours after walking into St Peters and St James Hospice, despite the best efforts of his medical team. Earlier that morning he had put on his overalls and was found fixing the brakes on Anne’s car, in his workshop!
In a final tribute to Charlie who had spent his entire life working on engines, tinkering with old farm machinery and brilliantly restoring old tractors and cars, he was taken on his final journey to church by tractor and trailer. A Nuffield 10/60 which he had lovingly rebuilt, which was driven by his 21 year old son John.
Charlie had been a long standing member of the South Eastern Vintage Agricultural Club, or tractor club as it is known. He had been chairman, and for the past few years, with Ann’s help he produced the monthly newsletter. He was brilliant, and very persuasive at encouraging members to contribute articles, including his sons.
Charlie leaves a void which cannot be filled. His immediate family will miss him terribly - he should have been with them for many years to come. He was always the heart and soul of any gathering, and his kindness, cheerfulness and unfailing support for his family and friends were legendary.
He leaves behind him a fine legacy; John and Ed are chips off the ‘not so old’ block. They and their mother will cherish his memory, and will together with his friends from far and wide, including his special community, never forget him.