Saturday, 3 May 2014

Sussex: seaside, coastline, battlefield

Up to the highest height at Seven Sisters

My family holiday began in Sussex in a little village called Cowbeech. From there, we packed up our daysack and explored the local area. In traditional J-A family fashion, we sought out the historical and beautiful countryside to enjoy. The Seven Sisters are some of the chalk cliffs found at the south coast of England. Amazingly dramatic, it's a popular place for film locations (such as Joe Wright's Atonement) and it is not hard to see why. We sat and stared out, wind in our hair, clearing our minds.

Dad has still got his stone skimming down...
A little further along the coastline we headed to Pevensey. This is where William the Conqueror landed in England in 1066. The most memorised date for most British school children. Funny to look across the Channel to where I live now. The world is certainly smaller now, I can't see Monsieur Hollande invading anytime soon (thank you very kindly European Union).

The Battle of Hastings did not, surprising, happen in Hastings but in fact 7 miles away in Battle. The Battle of Battle is clearly not as catchy. We wondered which came first, the word battle or the town Battle. But worry not, I have googled and can confirm that it was the word - William the Conqueror was just really rubbing it in by building an abbey and naming it Battle Abbey. Quel idiot*. Battle is a lovely town and it has a very engaging visitor centre which really brings the battle to life and made the trip quite moving.

Battle Abbey
*I must add that whilst Bill's behaviour regarding his show-off abbey may have been questionable, I must thank him greatly. After the Norman invasion, French became the official language of the elite and English was only used in everyday use. Nowadays, more than a third of all words are derived from French. Fabulous news everyone! Even if you've never studied French, you will know around 15000 French words. This also explains why we call the animal a cow but the food is beef, since the English word was used in the farm but by the time it arrived on the king's plate, it was boeuf. Oh, la vache!

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