Yesterday on a longish walk through Panel Lane and up to Icklesham I was thinking about these ancient roads. Panel lane is an ancient pig drove, and is very deep set and has huge high banks. When you walk down it, it seems to go on forever, and descends quite low, with huge high banks where you can see the root work of trees and layers of earth and rock; so many times has it been walked and worn down over time. Before ascending again, you come to a lovely old brick bridge with views on either side of the small river, which isn’t a river at all, (though I like to think it is,) prosaically entitled Panel Sewer.. except I have seen swans gliding along it, so to my mind it’s a river.. and I always think of the words to the Leonard Cohen song: ‘The Traitor’
‘Now the Swan it floated on the English river …Ah the Rose of High Romance it opened wide …’
Yesterday as I was thinking about little interventions in nature, I saw some rural ‘love graffiti’, painstakingly written by a couple in love..their names Geoff and Tracy, and I thought the names to be people of around fifty or more, in the flush of middle-aged love, they had declared their love on the bridge of Panel Sewer. Their love declarations are to be found all over the countryside around Panel Lane..on trees, stiles, fences, gate posts…I photographed some..
Panel Lane is said to be haunted. Sometimes I think it’s some kind of portal. People have seen apparitions. I haven’t. Sometimes N used to walk to the Queen’s Head on a full moon night, and then his intention was to walk back. Well, sometimes, it turned out he couldn’t. I would get a ‘phone call asking me to rescue him as he felt he could not walk further down the lane, into the ancient descent, with woods and owls on either side.. He sometimes ‘saw’ things in the lane or ‘heard’ them. So off I went, usually in my pyjamas, awakened from my slumber, to drive in the night to rescue him from the darkest part of the lane.
In the evening I went to a party which had a walled garden. One of my favourite English things.