Monday, 19 November 2012

High tide and sunset at Bosham

Sussex has two halves, East and West. East has high chalk and sandstone cliffs and shingle beaches. West has no cliffs at all, but it has a lot more sand, and it has big watery inlets that are havens for bird life. The biggest inlet is the vast Chichester Harbour, which has many branches and tucked-away creeks.

Deep inside the harbour, right on the water's edge, is Bosham. It's a very old place, and the church is actually mentioned on the Bayeaux Tapestry. There's a scene where in the year 1064 riders approach and enter a church, with this commentary sewn in: '...Harold Dux Anglorum et sui milites equitant ad Bosham...ecclesia...', which translates as '...Harold the Leader of the English and his soldiers ride to the church...'.

He took mass at the church before sailing for Normandy. The trip achieved nothing good. The Duke of Normandy - aka William the Conqueror - was minded to dispute Harold's right to the English throne, wasn't going to be persuaded otherwise, and two years later asserted his will by invading England with an outcome we all know about. The makers of the Tapestry thus took care not to call Harold Rex Anglorum (King of the English). William wouldn't have liked that at all. You really didn't want to irritate Willam.

Bosham is nowadays a well-off, boaty sort of place, very attractive, and much visited by those who like seabirds and harbour scenes and glorious sunsets from west-facing Bosham Quay. I went down there yesterday afternoon with my friend R---. We arrived at three in the afternoon, when the tide was at its height. The tide at Bosham is a subject on its own. It can entirely cover the road that skirts the harbour, and if the tide is coming in, and you stay too long in the Anchor Bleu pub, you may find that your car is half-submerged. It regularly happens. It nearly happened to Fiona when she was brand new, and I went down to Bosham on an inaugural run. The tide creeps in quite fast, you see. Here are two pictures I took on Boxing Day in 1995, with the harbour road deep under water:

It was similar on Sunday, and to cap it all, a lovely sunset was developing. Here's a few shots of that:

R--- and I adjourned to the pub, the Anchor Bleu, for coffee:

Refreshed, we went out for a final stroll around. The tide was starting to go out a bit, and the moon had risen. The afterglow was magnificent:

Funny how the sunset itself, although stunning, is unsubtle compared with the colours you get in the afterglow.

It was time to go. It was getting dark and cold. I fired up Fiona, and we sped back to my house for a heartwarming stew, composed of beef slowly cooked for three hours in red wine, plus carrots, potatoes, onions, seasoning, and freshly-cooked broccoli. It wasn't Masterchef, it was inspired by my Good Housekeeping cookbook, but it was absolutely delicious.

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