Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st December 2008. I caught the train to Falmer with brother-in-law Steve and Mabel. Mabel was terrified of the train and shivered and yawned all the way there.
As usual, Michael met me on the footbridge and I couldn`t believe how many people were at the station! Mabel soon relaxed and played with Tara, Phils dog. Aoife did stirling work as group photographer. We wobbled off on the usual
route, past the site of the new football stadium, had trouble getting across the busy road. Once we were on the footpath proper, Mabel was off the lead and in her element. We stopped at the trees and Michael was passing round his
posh dates. Further on and Mabel amused us by jumping into a cattle water trough! We trudged onto the concrete road and down to the Abergavenny Arms for lunch. Steve was made-up to stand at an English bar again and order a pint of
Harveys, he`s been in America for many years now and their beer sucks.
Ruth arrived to take Steve and Mabel home, we were worried that she wouldn`t be able to keep up with the pace, Mabel not Ruth, but she was great and could have done the whole walk. Keeping an eye on the time we set off for Southease
Church so Michael could have a quick fumble in the church, the self timer was taken of the group but without John and Smoth. After getting up Beddingham Hill we watched the people flying their remote controlled gliders, Tara the dog
was barking at them! Neil met us just before Firle Beacon where we stopped to enjoy Bobs mums rock buns - delicious as usual. I was then keen to get to the tea room before the massed ranks as I knew there wouldn`t be much room. My
new LED torch was superb.
The service at the Singing Kettle was great as usual. Most of us were suffering stiff legs more than we usually do! Many cups of tea later and with the mandatory toasted tea cakes inside us we limped down to the car park to initiate
tent erections. This usually involves lots of head scratching for Peter Scovell and the
unfortunate lucky co-pilot. It was Bobs turn this year and indeed, there was
much head scratching and we could hear "is it supposed to look like that", "where does this go?", "have you got the pegs?", "something`s not right here". And then there was a tent in front of Bob, unfortunately it was mine and when
he turned around, Peters was still morphing into different shapes!
Eventually we were ready to go to the Smugglers Inn and piled in to enjoy good food, good beer, good company and bad singing. I was knackered more than usual and I know a few others were too. It was good to see Kathy with her friends
and her daughter and Ethan. Mark Clough and Peter Maskell joined us in the pub, Peter still hadn`t given up smoking. The singing did eventually get going but only after quite a few people left the building! It was a bit subdued but I
don`t think that was a bad thing, before you knew it we were limping back to the tents. It was a lovely clear night and I slept very well but had to get up twice as did Peter who had to clamber over Bob in the peculiar tent. It`s
always easier to pack them up and we were soon wobbling our way past the car park towards the tea room again. We were lucky to see the Bish torso in full display as we creaked past his BMW and Johns new Audi. Joy was in the Singing
kettle and soon had us slurping tea and as if from nowhere, about twenty full breakfasts appered! It`s good to see that Peter Maskell can still tuck it away, and he`s a good sport because we gave him some stick. Aoife, Roisin and Mark
arrived, then Lycia and the Bish tribe and then Sandra and Ruth. Soon after that I had to leave and so that was the 32nd walk over.
Walk: Michael, Phillip and Lydia Bish with Tara, Mark Odlum, Ian Maskell, Ted, Bob Adams, Peter Scovell, Keith Foskett, Jeremy Rowley, John Robinson, Dave and his daughter Katrina, Mark Williams, David Samson, Gary & Luke Barnes,
Steve Atinkson, Ed Millner, Peter & Mike Cuthbert, Paul Brooks, Steve Coales and Mabel - morning section,
Smoth - afternoon section, Neil - evening section.
Pub only: Peter Maskell, Mark Clough,
Camped: Ted, Smoth, Bob, Peter, Ian, Keith, Jeremy, Mark, (Michael, John, Peter M`, Cloughie = car kippers)