The many riddles of Friston Forest.

Funny how dog walking leads quite unwittingly to things mysterious, sorrowful and touching. During the thirteen months we’ve had Taz (the dog not the postman) it’s usually a passing hello to Smudge, Mouse, Maisie, Willow, Roy, Claude and their owners (whose names one seldom knows) but it’s the little things one observes that are really much more interesting.

Why, for example, did a couple choose to declare their love like this?:

And who planted, and why, a trail of cyclamen corms that run alongside the mile-length of the Charleston Valley Ridge path all the way back to the forest car park?

Why do the elderly couple drive all the way from Peacehaven to tramp round the forest regularly? What about the lone gent who walks the same route every day and never says a word? And how sad it is to see the memorials left by relations to their loved ones.

Most touching and enigmatic of all though is a secret glade that was obviously once a favourite stopping point. It used to have a distant view of the sea but the trees have now grown too high. On one of the two benches is carved a tender message ‘Vo3 My Love 4 ever SJ’ and over the years around have been planted spring bulbs, polyanthus, cyclamen and a couple of hellebores. All lovingly if occasionally tended. But a few weeks ago another addition: a heart shaped scattering of human ashes. Today, as I passed, I noticed one more thing: carved in mirror form on the side of one of the benches was ‘Shine on you crazy diamond’. Click on this link, listen and wonder:

Who says dog walking is boring? And by the way, happy new year to you all.