Saturday 20 to Sunday 21 December 2003. It was wet, very wet, in fact it was so wet we didn`t want to set off, but we did. Mark Odlum had found a short cut which meant we didn`t have to walk along the busy Woodingdean Road, as Mick said, it has only taken 27 years to find this out! Once we got onto the Downs it got even worse, the wind was blowing a gale. We stopped at the trees but were so cold and wet we soon moved on. By the time we got to Rodmell we were wet right through to our underpants.

It was great to get to the pub and we soon dried out around the open fire, as usual we ate and drank too much but who cares! The climb upto Beddingham Hill was easier this year as the wind was behind us. When we did get to the top the weather perked up, the sun came out and the light was amazing. We limped on to the crossroads where Phil and Mick let their fireworks off. Phil went for the multi-bang box of plenty while Micks rockets were a bit like him - short and stout, plenty of volume but didn`t last very long!

We hobbled down the chalky track and piled into The Singing Kettle for tea and teacakes. There were only four tents this year and once they were up we were straight in the pub (Smugglers), it must be noted that Ian was the only person to have a valid reason for staying in the hotel - he was still getting over his double hernia operation. It was a lovely evening and Cloughie, Dave Holmes and Peter turned up. The singing was actually quite good this year, perhaps because one of the local choir was present and spurred us on. As usual, Cathy, Karen and Chris were there and did us proud with the accompaniments.

At chucking-out time, the reluctant hotel users shuffled off to their warm beds while us campers had to make do with our smelly sleeping bags and freezing air temperatures. Breakfast this year was in the Singing Kettle and Joy and her friend did us proud with a superb cooked breakfast for about twelve, no mean feat in that tiny house. Ruth arrived to collect me and after the mandatory christmas shopping it was time to say goodbye. We all agreed that it was one of the best Alfristons ever, may there be many more.

Those taking part... Ian Maskell (hotel), Peter Scovell, Adrian Backshall (Ted), Michael Bish, Phil Bish (went home), Mark Odlum (hotel), Peter Cuthbert, Michael Smith (Smoth), Mark Clough (pub), John Robinson, Steve Willis (went home), Bob Adams, Ralf Beckett, Dave Holmes (pub), Jeremy Rowley, Andy Ward (hotel), Keith Foskett

Imagine being very wet, then double it!
And then treble it!
Sensible Steve holding on to his hat
John drying-out in the pub at lunchtime
Group photo at Southease Church
When we reached the top of Beddingham Hill it cleared up nicely
"I don`t mind helping you with your homework Michael!
We had breakfast in the Singing Kettle and it was lovely
Last minute shopping