I have the great good fortune to have been born in God’s own county : Yorkshire, in case anyone was in doubt. So how come I live on the coast of Sussex you might well wonder?
To explain, I have to go back to the 70s. My very first serious boyfriend was called Steve – he was tall, dark and handsome and he went sailing – on Horbury Lagoon ( I kid you not). The second one was also called Steve – he wasn’t quite as tall, but he was handsome. He came from Plymouth – and he went sailing.
The third handsome sailing Steve I married. He came from Sussex.
Now regular readers will know I love the sea. Happy days in Scarborough and Morfa Nefyn as a child, later adventures when diving. So if I couldn’t live in Yorkshire, then the wonderful British coast would be a compensation – which is why we are here. On the Manhood Peninsula – honestly.
I have grown to love my adopted county – and I am very fond of a local expression: ‘God’s Pocket’. It’s used with great pride whenever the weather here is better than somewhere else – which is not uncommon. I remember telling my concerns about the roofers coming one Autumn to an elderly neighbour, Mrs Henderson.
‘Oh, you don’t want to worry about that, my dear,’ she said, ‘we have special weather here.’
And she was right.
It might be why they use West Wittering beach for filming so often. The sand dunes and the wide flat beach don’t do any harm either, I suppose – that and the relative proximity to London.
I am terrifically lucky, I admit it. Four minutes of ambling and I look out over towards the Isle of Wight. there’s always something to see: dogs, horses, kitesurfers, kayakers and sometimes stunt planes.
There are the sounds too. Not just the everchanging song of the sea, but skeins of geese overhead, gulls and terns, and if I am lucky, the wonderful call of a curlew. On the breeze there’s the taste and smell of seaweed and brine. It makes a person hungry!
So it’s just as well there are great cafés open all year round – not to mention a good pub and several restaurants in stumbling distance. Tempting.
It is busy in Summer – but our little road is quiet and tucked away – so much so that some London guests are almost perturbed by the calm. It makes a great place for my ‘garret’ and my writing.
Which brings me to my main point: I love having people here. Some other folk ask how I can bear sharing my house with strangers. Well, there’s a secret behind that. I don’t.
I share my home with friends.
It doesn’t take long over a cup of tea and a slice of cake to make new friends, does it?
I will admit writers and readers and other sorts of creative people are particularly welcome. Both rooms have desks and no TV – but lots and lots of books. For anyone on retreat, I can and do withhold the wifi password and urge them to get on with it!
It does affect my writing – positively. There’s a buzz when there are others about – and I find cooking creative – even my menu is literary-themed. So even if you’re not able to stay ( despite offers for SCBWI members – do ask) I encourage you to visit The Witterings if only for a day trip. There’s a warm welcome and a hot drink guaranteed here at ‘Peacehaven‘.
Lovely description of our beautiful peninsula!