Viva Lewes Issue #149 February 2019



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‘Custard on crumble, mustard on ham’, muses John Henty,

in celebration of his favourite colour. Michael Blencowe

anticipates the return of the yellow Brimstone. Dr Dan Danahar

works hard to protect and restore all our lost butterflies. And Ed Ikin walks

us round the new Wakehurst Winter Garden, pointing out white Himalayan

Birch and red dogwoods...

Our broad theme for this issue, you see, is Colour. Perfect, then, to visit Peter Messer’s

studio – where tempera paint pigments radiate from jars on his shelves, waiting to be

mixed with egg yolk and applied to flat white gesso panels in his magical layers.

Or Nigel Cooke’s – purpose-designed so he can work on eight, huge, multi-layered

paintings at any one time.

Cressida Bell tells us she looks for patterns which sing – and is currently busy curating

next month’s In Colour exhibition at Charleston. While colour forecaster Anna

Starmer travels the world, with her Nikon D810, in search of inspiring colours.

Carlotta Luke shares splashes of colour, shot while documenting local building sites.

Charlotte Higgins pursues Red Thread through her new book about labyrinths. Louise

Gorst teaches how to disentangle your inner artist. Torz Dallison photographs four

Lewesians with an eye for colour. And Alexandra Loske, Curator at Brighton’s Royal

Pavilion, describes how she made colour her specialist subject – and now views many

worlds through it. A bit like we’ve tried to, in this issue.



EDITOR: Charlotte Gann

SUB-EDITOR: David Jarman


ART DIRECTOR: Katie Moorman

ADVERTISING: Sarah Hunnisett, Amanda Meynell



CONTRIBUTORS: Jacky Adams, Ben Bailey, Cressida Bell, Michael Blencowe, Sarah Boughton, Julie Bull,

Lulah Ellender, Daniel Etherington, Mark Greco, Anita Hall, John Henty, Robin Houghton, Jo Jackson, Chloë King,

Dexter Lee, Alex Leith, Lizzie Lower, Carlotta Luke, Anna Morgan and Galia Pike

PUBLISHER: Becky Ramsden

Viva Lewes is based at Lewes House, 32 High St, Lewes, BN7 2LX, all enquiries 01273 488882




Bits and bobs.

8-21 Cressida Bell’s colour-print cover;

Alexandra Loske’s colourful Lewes;

Photo of the month (in black and white);

yellow Doortrait; blind and deaf, dear

Archie; Glyndebourne competition;

walking and cycling charity Sustrans;

Lewes in numbers on poverty levels;

Craig befriends a (blue) chameleon; book

reviews for Janet Sutherland, Sarah Ann

Juckes, Beverley Elphick; Carlotta Luke’s

colour-filled building-site archive.


23-27 Chloë King’s caught between latenight

online shopping and decluttering;

John Henty hums along to Yellow

Submarine; David Jarman revisits 1066

and All That, via Stephen Medcalf.

On this month.

29-41 Joan Baez blows away Brighton

Dome; Wakehurst Winter Garden

colours; Charlotte Higgins at Lewes

Literary Society; Dr Dan Danahar speaks

at Seedy Saturday; Hildegard von Bingen

season at ACCA; Dexter Lee’s film roundup;

Louise Gorst reaches our inner artists.




42-49 Still I Rise at De La Warr. Art and

about: The Antidote to Valentine’s, Tom

Walker at Skylark, and Eva Wibberley;

plus, Stephen Jones’s Hats at the Royal

Pavilion; and Joe Hill curates at the

Towner. Art Focus on Nigel Cooke,

revisiting Hastings, at the Jerwood.

Listings and free time.

51-65 Diary dates: An Evening with

Allie Rogers, Lewes and District Garden

Society Talk, Headstrong Club with

Benhamin Sovacool, and Eric Ravilious

and the Lure of the Everyday, among

many others. Gig of the month is

Hutstock in aid of the Ham Lane Scout

Hut, plus listings. Classical roundup,

starring The Baroque Collective,

Photo by Torz Dallison



plus Brighton Philharmonic, Corelli

Ensemble, Poppy Ackroyd and Castalian

Quartet. Free time listings, including

Morning Explorer, and The Tiger Who

Came to Tea; plus Bags of Books’ Anna

on Katie Abey’s We Eat Bananas; Lewes

abc and the dinosaurs; and Shoes on now

on the ancient art of tie-dyeing.



67-72 Early supper in Wingrove House;

Methi Dal recipe, from Robin van

Creveld, to chime with the Dal Festival;

and Joe’s fish supper at The Royal Oak.

The way we live.

74-77 In a variation on our usual theme,

Torz Dallison visits four beautiful Lewes

homesteads, and asks their owners

‘What’s your favourite colour?’



79-92 Peter Messer’s magical otherworld;

Anna Starmer colours in this

one; How colours may affect our health;

Lewes FC introduces Fran Alonso – new,

exciting women’s manager; Michael

Blencowe soars with the Brimstone; Alex

Leith goes Business walkabout.

Inside left.

106 Tom Reeves shares a tribute to his

father: Edward M Reeves, atop a very

long ladder, Newhaven 1963. Isaac Reeves

adds the colour.


We plan each magazine six weeks ahead, with a mid-month

advertising/copy deadline. Please send details of planned events

to, and for any advertising queries:, or call 01273 488882.

Remember to recycle your Viva.

Every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of our content.

Viva Lewes magazine cannot be held responsible for any omissions, errors

or alterations. The views expressed by columnists do not necessarily

represent the view of Viva Magazines. Viva retains copyright for any

artwork we create.

Love me or recycle me. Illustration by Chloë King




Join us for our


Saturday 9 March 2019 from 9.00am till 1.00pm


An HMC independent boarding and day

school for boys and girls aged 13 to 18


This month’s cover is the work of Cressida

Bell, a self-described “designer of anything

with a pattern on it”. Granddaughter of artist

and former Charleston resident Vanessa Bell,

Cressida primarily trained as a textile designer,

but her work in decorative art now ranges from

rugs to walls, tiles to mugs, cakes (pictured p.9,

bottom left) to cushions, and much more. “It’s

about getting a pattern that really sings to you”,

Cressida says.

“It’s an interesting job, there are patterns out

there such as the Chintamani which has got

three spots. I’ve tried doing it and if you get it

wrong it looks rubbish. You might think that

three spots all over something would be fine,

but it’s a very specific skill getting a pattern to

be harmonious. That’s my challenge on a daily


Having grown up in Leeds, Bell spent her summer

holidays in Charleston: “So I’d go from

gloomy old Leeds to lovely Sussex. It’s funny,

Charleston, it’s not colourful in the traditional

sense of very bright colours. Rather, it’s got a

particular vibe of colours: they’re not reds and

greens, it could be black and yellow ochre. But

somehow it makes for a lively colour scheme

that maybe red and green would not.”

Bell is curating In Colour next month, Charleston’s

second exhibition in their new Wolfson

Gallery, which will feature works reflecting both



Bell’s personal aesthetic and her artistic heritage.

“I’ve never curated a show before, so it’s all

new to me. I’m trying to look for works of art

where you can tell that the artist has superimposed

colours on the painting, rather than

actually seeing them.”

Bell wishes that people would try wearing more

colour, “because it’s so life enhancing. I have a

very bright-coloured kitchen made up of turquoise,

cream, blue and red. It’s incredibly cosy

and friendly: people love it. But it’s unusual, it’s

not the sort of colour most people paint their

kitchens. Colour is very instinctual. When I

have a room to paint, it immediately comes to

me, I don’t spend ages agonising.”

The cover Cressida designed for us has an

intriguing artistic provenance, of a satisfyingly

physical and inky nature. When making her

textiles, she uses a bit of paper to protect the

table from being printed on at the end of the

fabric. “What happens is, you get this build

up of different designs being printed on each

other, which ends up being nicer than the

fabrics. I’ve used one of those, so it’s a slightly

random thing.”

The cover is an amalgamation of two prints:

Tropical Spot and Beach, resulting in a somewhat

hypnotic palimpsest of patterns. Bell has

recoloured some elements, and also added

some colour to create a bespoke image for Viva

Lewes: we’re thrilled with how her combination

of happenstance layers and adroit

editing has turned out. “I’ve

always longed to use one

of these things because

they’re fun. I can’t throw

them away, I’ve got

drawers full of them.”

Joe Fuller

In Colour is at Charleston

from 6th March-26th August


A new opera about love,

loss and divided lands

1 - 3 March 2019

All tickets £15 - last few remaining

Book now

Photo by Charlotte Gann


How long have you lived in Lewes, and what

first brought you here? A man! I moved from

Brighton at the end of 2007, and have lived here

ever since with my husband and daughter. I was

kicking and screaming at the prospect – I’m an

urban creature, and even Brighton seemed a bit

small after Berlin, where I’d been living before.

But my friend, the late Robin Lee, took me on a

tour of Lewes, and showed me it would be fine.

He was right: I love it. It’s steeped in history, so

very beautiful, and small without being smallminded.

The liberal spirit of the town is very

important to me, and it’s so creative.

You’re an Art Historian, and work as Curator

at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. How is that?

Curatorial jobs are few and far between, so I feel

incredibly lucky to work for this unusual, historic

building. The job literally takes me round the

world. The Pavilion was built by King George IV,

and is reminiscent, for me, of the German palaces

of King Ludwig – which provided the blueprint

for Disney fairy-tale castles.

You also have a glorious book on colour

coming out next month. What is it about

colour that compels you? I applied for a

scholarship to do a PhD on the history of colour

in the Pavilion – I got it, and colour has become

my specialist subject. It’s universal. It runs

through science, philosophy, history, art history,

and of course art. It’s a prism through which

you can talk about almost anything – and it’s led

me to all sorts of projects and collaborations. I

particularly like writing about women colour

theorists – the first, Mary Gartside, published

her work in 1805: a serious work on colour,

presented under the soft cover of a painting

manual for ladies.

You’re German by birth. How are you feeling

at the prospect of Brexit? I’ve felt in limbo for

the last two and a half years. It’s been particularly

painful for me as someone who came here

because I loved British culture, and grew up

feeling free to work and live anywhere in Europe.

Personally, I’m lucky to have been picked for

a pilot scheme, and awarded my ‘settled status’

quite early. I still feel welcome and at home in

Lewes and Sussex, but the bigger picture is awful.

What do you like best about living in Lewes?

The indie shops, especially the antiquarian

book shops. Bow Windows rang me once, early

on, to say they had one of the rarest books on

colour: was I interested? This was the 1821

colour nomenclature that Charles Darwin took

on his Beagle voyage in the 1830s (not the same

copy, you understand). When I started collecting

colour books, I walked into A&Y Cumming and

said “I’m interested in giraffes in the 1820s, and

Regency colour theory.” We have just the thing,

was their response, before reappearing with an

extraordinary book on colour by George Field;

and another written in 1829 featuring George

IV’s own giraffe! Interview by Charlotte Gann




While looking through an old hard drive

over Christmas, Ben Broad found this

photo, which he calls Rainshine. He sent it

in to us this month.

We love the glint on Lewes rooftops, and

like how black and white stands out, not

least in an issue full of Colour.

Here’s what Ben told us:

‘Taken in the late summer of 2015 from the

top of Lewes Castle, I found my attention

drawn to the fine texture of the brick and

tiles, as well as the wide range of intricate,

geometric shapes.

I was lucky with this shot as it was taken

just after a very sudden, heavy summer

shower. Having given up on the idea of

trying to take any shots at all, I fully stowed

my camera away. Yet, slightly bizarrely,

mere minutes after the rain passed, the

sun splashed across the rain-washed roofs

causing everything to glint and sparkle. The

light illuminated the roofs for only a minute

or two but for long enough for me to

manage to quickly un-stow my camera and

grab a couple of shots, this one included.’

Please send your pictures, taken in and

around Lewes, to photos@vivamagazines.

com, or tweet @VivaLewes. We’ll choose

one, which wins the photographer £20, to be

picked up from our office after publication.

Unless previously arranged, we reserve the

right to use all pictures in future issues of

Viva magazines or online.




Jo Jackson, from the blog The Lewes

Home, snaps a front door in Lewes and

asks the owner...

LBNP VivaLewes 66x94_6.qxp 08/03/2018 20:26 Page

Louis Browne


Specialist notarial services

in Central Lewes

If you could give your door a

characteristic, what would it be?

Cheery. We have painted both the outside

door and the inner door bright yellow, so

whatever is going on outside in the world

the doors are always a welcome ray of

sunshine to return home to. Warm, sunny

and, importantly, not too serious!


01273 487744

Member of the Notaries Society

Member of the Society of Trust

and Estate Practitioners





Archie, 11, Cocker Spaniel. Deaf and blind as a result

of a severe ear infection and cataracts in both eyes. A very

overweight incarnation of Archie was adopted at 6 when his

elderly owner moved into a care home.

Not all rescue pets are heartlessly discarded; many are given

up with much reluctance and Archie, as with many others,

had been dearly loved.

Likes: Serif typefaces, mermaids, anything by Dennis

Waterman, Frazzles.

Dislikes: Betrayal, model villages, people who move the

furniture around, Pat Sharp.

Did you know: A deaf and blind dog can still have an excellent

quality of life, albeit with some caveats – food and drink

bowls must be kept in the same place and care should be taken to keep floors clear of objects. Textured

rugs can be placed in different parts of your home to create a sensory map for easier navigation.

Though still able to pick up on vibrations, an unexpected pat can be startling so always let strangers

know that your pet is deaf and blind.



The world premiere of a new opera is coming to

the Glyndebourne stage this March, featuring a

chorus of around 80 local auditioned singers. Led

by five professional singers and players from the

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – one of

the two resident orchestras for the Glyndebourne

Festival – the opera is called Agreed, and is about love,

loss and divided lands, with a multi-genre score by

British composer and conductor Howard Moody that

includes elements of classical, world and jazz music.

We’ve got four pairs of tickets up for grabs for the

opening night of this spectacular show on March 1st.

To get your name into the draw, simply answer the

following question: In which year was Glyndebourne

founded by John Christie and his opera singer wife,

Audrey Mildmay? Please send answers with your

name, telephone number and address to by 23rd February.

See for Ts and Cs. Good luck!

Photo by Sam Stephenson Photo © Glyndebourne



We may not be able

to see a grey smog

colouring the skies

of Lewes, but that’s

not to say we don’t

have an air quality

problem. The past

few years have increasingly

seen news

stories about the

dangers of poor air

quality, particularly

to children, whose

lungs are still developing.

To help educate people about this problem

and help instigate solutions, walking and cycling

charity Sustrans is ‘working with 25 schools across

Sussex on a major air quality education project

funded by DEFRA’.

It’s all part of Airmazing Journeys – a project Sustrans,

Sussex Air and Living Streets are bringing

to local schools. Daisy Addison, Air Quality Officer

for Schools for Sustrans in Sussex, explains.

“The project’s focus is to raise awareness of air

pollution and possible ways of tackling it,” she

says, “alongside both

some basic monitoring

of behaviour

change within the

schools we work

with and some wider

long-term air quality


Working with pupils

from South Malling

School, Sustrans

have undertaken

various activities, including

poster campaigns,

bike counts and even “analysing lichen as

an indicator of air pollution”.

So, recognising and understanding the problems

are vital to changing behaviour. “One of the key

ways in which Sustrans works is to help communities

and individuals identify their own barriers

to sustainable and active travel,” says Daisy,

“and to then put in place practical solutions.” No

one wants children’s lungs to suffer – and no one

wants Technicolor toxic skies. Daniel Etherington

Photo @ Sustrans


Despite being a wealthy town, Lewes has pockets of poverty. The claimant count at November 2018

records 140 people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit, so available for and actively

seeking work.

In 2015, there were 445 dependent children (all 0-15s plus those aged 16-19 in education or training)

living in poverty in Lewes, defined as households living on less than 60% of national median income.

This represents 1 in 8, or 12%, of all children in the town, and has fallen from 15.8% in 2010. And

there are 3 foodbanks in Lewes.

While the numbers of people sleeping rough has risen nationally and regionally, Lewes District recorded

only 1 person in 2017, a fall from 3 in 2016. (Lewes Open Door suggests a higher number: between

5 and 10 – see Viva Lewes 145.) Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Hastings together recorded

a total of over 250 people sleeping rough. Sarah Boughton






In Janet Sutherland’s fourth poetry collection, Home Farm, the poet takes us

‘home’ to the Wiltshire dairy farm where she grew up. Dark, tender, above

all real, it’s an immersive read.

The collection celebrates, and mourns, rural living, while never shying

away from its hardship. It’s the careful observation of detail that’s so fine.

(No coincidence, then, that it’s not the metaphor – of river as snake – that

takes ‘us back home’, in the opening poem, but ‘The real snake in the old

river’ that ‘does that, / swimming head up and jaunty’.)

I especially love the portraits of stoical cattle dotted through the farm, and

book: ‘Fastened to the earth / and to the dawn through which this fog has

settled / they breathe out gusts of steam’. Throughout, too, weave family,

childhood, loss. The book feels like a tribute – ‘Look at the four of us,

you’re telling the story. / My chair on two legs tilted on the dresser’ – and comes complete with maps

and one unforgettable excerpt from a letter. Charlotte Gann

When I began reading Outside, by Sarah Ann Juckes, I was expecting a Young

Adult fantasy book about a fictional world. The story begins with Ele, a girl

imprisoned in ‘the Tower’ and subjected to abuse by a menacing, mysterious

creature, known simply as ‘Him’. Ele and her fellow captives, known as Others,

have their own lyrical language, and we discover that Ele is planning to escape.

Her problem is that she isn’t certain that anywhere else actually exists. She has

been trapped so long she worries she has imagined the Outside; yet her urge to

get there is stronger than this fear…

It soon becomes clear that this is no fantasy book but a clever exploration of

how we tell ourselves certain narratives in order to make sense of our world. It’s

a book about speaking your truth without shame, coming to terms with your past and giving a voice to

those who have been silenced or mistreated. Lulah Ellender

The second in a planned trilogy by Beverley Elphick based in and around

Lewes in the late C18, Retribution picks up the story of Esther Coad, a trainee

midwife living with the consequences of breaking up a smuggling gang. Now

settled and seemingly happy, Esther’s life is soon thrown into chaos by her aunt,

the leader of this gang, who has escaped jail and is out for revenge.

The story packs in plenty of action: a murder at the altar, kidnap, a voyage on

a convict ship, thwarted love and troubled families. Most of the events occur

locally, and it’s fun spotting the names of streets and villages nearby. Elphick

cleverly uses extracts from contemporaneous newspapers and history books as a

backdrop to Esther’s adventures. Some of these real-life events seem every bit as

dramatic as Esther’s own story. Lulah Ellender




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For our ‘Colour’ issue, Carlotta’s chosen

shots from various local building sites

she’s photographed: the Arndale Centre in

Eastbourne with a rainbow of colours in

the building materials; green plasterboards

dripping with sealant at the Depot; the Glynde

Place renovation, with pink plaster board on

a new stairway; and two from the UTC@

harbourside in Newhaven: a closeup of really

old layered paint in the old Carpenter’s

workshop; and the delivery of orange packages.


“Excellent team!

A helpful, cheerful, professional and refreshingly

unpressured service from a professional team who know

the local area well! We would be happy to recommend

their services to anyone looking for a new home in

the Lewes area.” Mr B 14.12.18

Please call us on 01273 471231 to see

how we can help you buy or sell your home.


Chloë King

Chancing personal enlightenment

A spectre is haunting

Lewes: TV presenters. I was

chancing a dodgy multipoint

turn the other day,

when I double took: through

my rear-view mirror the

disgruntled face of Susanna

Constantine staring at me

through window glass.

Not long beforehand,

I interviewed Sophie

Robinson off DIY SOS.

Then, while late-night

online shopping, I quite by accident found

myself coveting a giant ‘hot coral’ linen pillow

with pom-pom edging from Sophie Robinson’s

own range! What strange synchronicity is this?

She even said on the phone that the Pantone

Colour of 2019 is ‘Living Coral’ (which is a lot

like ‘Hot Coral’ but more alive).

Perhaps these coincidences are leading me

towards a new, better co-ordinated path? I’m

following @mysticmamma on Instagram, a

horoscope blog described on Google as an ‘axis

point of what’s happening energetically in the

cosmos’. I’m using it for local news, obviously,

what with Lewes being ‘Centre of the Cosmos’

and all that.

Except, I can genuinely relate to what is being

written on there. Who could argue with the

advice to ‘keep laughter in your heart as you

move into the future, and claim your power to

live a more effective life’?

Over the holidays, I thought I’d chance some

further personal enlightenment via the Lüscher

Colour Test, a psychology test for which you

rank eight colours in order of preference and

then fall into a pit of despair at the searing

truth the combination spells about your

subconscious motivations.

In order to sleep afterwards,

you Google the Barnum

Effect and decide that it

only speaks to you because

you are a human being like

any other. But there are

benefits to reading stuff that

helps you reflect on your

circumstances, whatever the

medium might be. For 2019,

I’m definitely trying hard to

laugh and be more effective.

I’ve also managed to coerce my husband

into listening to Marie Kondo. We started

watching her Netflix series this week. It

turns out that witnessing the fallout from the

everyday excessive consumption of the average

household makes for quite dreary viewing, like

DIY SOS without a makeover budget.

The comfort of seeing a family clear a path to

their front room does little to quell the sickness

of knowing it took them two skips to do so, and

that’s just one household – not even my own.

But there is light to be found here. I am

becoming a convert to the KonMari method.

What first sounds absurd makes sense when

you realise that her decluttering technique is

about changing the habits of a lifetime.

The ritual of thanking your gear as you

offload it, forces you to acknowledge that

your possessions may not have served much

more than to gratify a desire to purchase soft

furnishings on a winter’s night. No more will

you acquire stuff willy-nilly.

In fact, come to think of it, Marie Kondo may

well be doing more to facilitate the collapse of

modern capitalism than every shonky world

leader combined, so pass the bin bags!

Illustration by Chloë King



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Lewes Out Loud

Plenty more Henty

What is there not to like about

my favourite colour – yellow

– apart from the fact that it

is the one chosen by Chelsea

FC for their away strip this

season? Normally in blue, the

West London side defeated my

South London strugglers by a

single goal over the Christmas

holidays, and that made me

see red.

Otherwise though, anything

that reflects the sunshine at this

drab time of the year has to be

good news, doesn’t it? Custard

on crumble, mustard on ham and, waiting in

the wings, hopefully, a host of golden (yellow)

daffodils ready to herald the spring.

Why, even Donovan, all those years ago, burst

into song about Mellow Yellow and did you know

that he also helped write the lyrics for Paul

McCartney’s Yellow Submarine?

Famously, he met the Beatles in February

1968 when they all travelled separately to

Rishikesh in Northern India to learn about

transcendental meditation from Maharishi

Mahesh Yogi. It was an extraordinary

gathering, recalled by Donovan in a moving

documentary on television in December.

On a personal note, I have practised TM with

a small group of friends here in Lewes for

over 30 years. I learned the simple procedure

whilst working in Brighton and have found it

so helpful to my creative life in many different

ways. How politicians, both locally and

nationally, would benefit from sitting quietly

for a few minutes before, and after, the business

of the day. School children too.

Town centre ‘silence’ was broken for a short

time just before the Christmas

festivities with the solemn

tolling of Gabriel, the market

tower bell. Unannounced,

it puzzled me at first as I

foolishly imagined, for a

moment, that perhaps it

warned of invasion of our

shores or worse.

However, all was explained by

a charming woman standing

alone outside the Town Hall.

She said she was a member of

the Wratten family of local

bell ringers and the ringing

of Gabriel, for ten minutes, was part of a

ceremony, unique to Lewes.

I learned that the Armistice of 11 November

1918 was not THE Armistice but the first,

which had to be prolonged three times. The

playing of the Last Post followed and will be

repeated, finally, on 16 February at 11 a.m.

Other brief encounters this month? A fellow

I shall call my biochemist ‘buddy’, Derek,

outside the House of Friendship. He prefers

home cooking, he told me, and burnt porridge

was his speciality when a boy scout! On a bus

journey to and from Brighton, fellow Lewes FC

owner, Michael, and his wife, Ann.

Talking of the mighty Rooks, I was impressed

by the public address announcer at the

Dripping Pan recently. I’ve done the job at

several major football grounds myself, so can

imagine his apprehension when announcing

the Lewes ‘man of the match’ against Burgess

Hill. Olumide Oluwatimilehin, a new signing,

had an excellent game.

My psychedelic illustration? A more colourful

me! John Henty









David Jarman

on history he can remember

Stephen Medcalf, Emeritus Reader in English

at the University of Sussex, whose unique

presence graced the streets and restaurants of

Lewes for so many years, died in September

2007. A volume of his selected essays, edited

by his erstwhile colleagues, Brian Cummings

and Gabriel Josipovici, appeared in 2010. Now

I’m told that The Later Middle Ages (1981)

which, as my informant tells me, ‘Stephen

edited and wrote most of many years ago’, is

to be republished by Routledge. One of the

original contributors, David Starkey, supplies

a new preface. ‘Republication after forty years

suggests that it has become a sort of classic,’ he

writes, before conjuring up a remarkably vivid

evocation of Stephen.

The only thing that I remember Stephen

telling me about his collaborations with David

Starkey was that they had agreed that their

genially variant temperaments were best

summed up in the terms of 1066 and All That.

Stephen was a natural Cavalier (‘wrong but

wromantic’); Starkey a Roundhead (‘right but

repulsive’). The Sellar and Yeatman classic

promised: ‘A Memorable History of England

Comprising all the parts you can remember

including 103 Good Things, 5 Bad Kings

and 2 Genuine Dates’. On a recent rereading

I counted only 41 ‘Good Things’ and 4 ‘Bad

Kings’, though the latter climbs to 6 if you

allow Canute, who ‘began by being a Bad King

on the advice of his courtiers’, and Richard II

who ‘tried first being a Good King and then

being a Bad King, without enjoying either

very much.’ And John, one of the undoubtedly

Bad Kings, is elsewhere upgraded to being ‘An

Awful King’.

As for the ‘Later Middle Ages’, they apparently

contributed to not only ‘The Wars of the

Roses’, which ‘came about because of the

Barons noticing suddenly that the Middle Ages

were coming to an end’, and ‘The Dissolution

of the Monasteries’: ‘It was pointed out… that

no one in the monasteries was married, as the

Monks all thought it was still the Middle Ages.

So Henry VIII who, of course, considered

marrying a Good Thing, told Cromwell to pass

a very strong Act saying that the Middle Ages

were all over and the monasteries were all to be


1066 remains a deliciously funny book. I

especially enjoyed the sample Test Papers,

with questions ranging from: ‘What is a

Plantagenet? Do you agree?’ to ‘How angry

would you be if it was suggested that the XIth

chap. of the ‘Consolations of Boethius’ was an

interpolated palimpsest?’

In their ‘Compulsory Preface (this means

you)’ Sellar and Yeatman assert

that History is ‘what you can

remember’. This suits me.

Once I could have written page

after page, ‘comparing and

contrasting’ the foreign policies

of Canning and Castlereagh.

Now my memory of, say, the

Crimean War is likely to be,

as in the book: ‘This war

was exceptionally inevitable

and was caused by a number

of causes.’

I was once told that the

original illustrator of 1066,

John Reynolds, lived in

Lewes. But, of course, I can’t

remember who told me

so can’t verify this


Illustration by Charlotte Gann

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Joan Baez

‘time to quit bouncing around on buses’

What made you decide

to do a farewell tour?

I asked my first and

best vocal coach when

I would know if I’m

to quit and he said, oh

you’ll know, your voice

will tell you. I was 30

when he said that, and

I feel as if I know now

what he was talking

about. I’d also like to

pay a little respect to

my body so it seemed

like the time to quit

bouncing around on buses. It’s not a bad time...

for a woman of my age in this job. Ha, it’s been a

long time out here.

Has it affected your choice of songs? Oh

yeah, completely. There are some things I long

to do, but I’d rather do the ones that I do well,

and there are enough of them that we have a

beautiful show. Cleverly I have this wonderful

29-year-old singer with me, Grace Stumberg.

People say you can’t do Forever Young, why don’t

you just let her do the high notes? So I do, and it

works out beautifully.

What kind of material have you been

performing on tour? Obviously it’s got to have

everything, but there are certain songs you know

will go down well. I mean, anything by Dylan

will get a huge response. It’s also nice to have a

new album that has been well received because

it gives me the leeway to sing new songs that

people at least partially recognise. That gives the

whole evening a chance to be more fresh.

Were you compelled to address politics

on the new album? No, but my choices are

wrapped in that anyway.

There wasn’t an official

theme, what rings bells

for me is usually more

than just words and

music. These things fall

into a different kind of

depth, and you can call

it ‘political’ or you call

it ‘aware’, you can call it

whatever you want.

There’s a song about

Obama singing in

church after the

Charleston shooting...

I was listening to the radio and that song came

on. It’s called The President Sang Amazing Grace

by Zoe Mulford. I was driving and I just had to

pull over. I mean, I fell apart because it was such

a beautiful song. I knew immediately I wanted

to sing it. When I was putting it together, it

took me literally two weeks before I could get

through the song without crying.

Is there room for hope in melancholy

music? I don’t have much faith in hope. Haha,

you know, when it doesn’t have legs. I think you

can only hope for something if you’re doing

something about it. So maybe that’s where these

songs belong. If nothing else, it gives people

something real, you know? My bleakness comes

out of the fact that I think, because of global

warming, all of our discussions are going to

mean nothing very soon, and that puts it all in

perspective. We are going to last just so long, so

what can we do during this time to try and make

the world a slightly better place?

Interview by Ben Bailey

Brighton Dome, Fri 22 Feb, 7.30pm

Photo: Dana Tynan




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Winter Garden

White, reds and light at Wakehurst

“I want everyone to feel something as they

step into this garden.” So Wakehurst Head of

Landscape and Horticulture Ed Ikin tells me

of the new Wakehurst Winter Garden, which

opened in January.

“There’s lots of individually interesting plants

– things for people to discover – but, really, it’s

about the experience of being in the garden.”

The composition he describes beautifully. The

framing of the white Himalayan Birch – which

has been chosen for its pure white bark, and

because it holds its shape beautifully over years

– the dogwoods Cornus Alba Siberica providing

red, and a “fringe of grasses”. He talks about

“layers of colour”, and “the way the grasses

glow – with light inside them”.

The sense of light’s very important. “Winter is

the more challenging season”, says Ed. “We’ve

chosen a design that works with this. I think when

people talk about ‘botanic gardens’, they probably

imagine a project where lots of individual plants

have been curated. Of course, that is the case

here – there are 33,000 plants in total – but the

big canvas is what we start with. I want anyone to

come and experience the sense of light coming

through an undulating landscape. Later, there’s

time to enjoy the detail.”

I ask who’s been the landscape’s architect, or is

it a whole team of people?

“A whole team of very talented people”, he

says. “But Garden Supervisor, Francis Annette

created the detailed plan. I think he’d say he was

inspired, above all, by the Downs themselves.”

The Winter Garden opened last month. It

should remain for years. In 2019, we need

gardens like this.

Yes, Ed is concerned about climate change, he

tells me. “Very. What’s new is this concentration

of extreme weather events. The English weather

has always enjoyed its ups and downs and

surprises. Not so often two consecutive weeks

of 35 degree days, for instance – as we had last

summer – nor of flash flooding.

“Let the plants tell the story,” Ed says, “not just

us gardeners. All our mature, native trees are

showing the signs of stress.”

Anyway, “it’s very important to give gardens

time to flex and evolve,” says Ed, who’s spent

his entire life outdoors, growing up on a farm,

and working ever since in gardens. “We’ve

made what we think is an extraordinary garden

with many interesting plants; over time, it will

only grow richer and deeper.”

Wakehurst Winter Garden sets out to offer all

its visitors a haven. The Wakehurst team has

also worked hard with scent, concentrating a

lot around the paths where visitors will wander,

and be beguiled, for instance, by Sweet Daphne

and Witch Hazel.

“We want you to feel alive and stimulated

in this space”, says Ed, “and in a way that’s

tangible and real. We’re appealing to your

senses – sight and smell.” And yes, of course,

colour’s integral. “There’s something about

subtlety and complexity”, he says. “This garden

will bring people peace.” Charlotte Gann

Photo by Jim Holden


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Charlotte Higgins

Red Thread spinner

My first question to Charlotte Higgins,

February’s Lewes Literary Society guest,

who I’m speaking to down the phone, is a

little unfair. I ask her to give me a nutshell

description of her recently published book Red

Thread – On Mazes and Labyrinths.

Charlotte is the Chief Culture Writer for the

Guardian, and before our conversation I’ve

been reading Red Thread, a beautifully sculpted

and illustrated hardback which journeys into

the culture of labyrinths, and the labyrinthine

nature of culture. You might have heard

extracts of it on Radio 4 – it was their Book of

the Week in the first week of August.

It’s not something she can contain within one

sentence – or even six, as it happens – but she

does come up, in the middle of a response it

later takes me ages to transcribe, with this:

“It’s… an exploration of the way that the idea

of mazes or labyrinths has been invoked as

a metaphor; as a way for understanding and

describing the world; as a way of understanding

and describing the human psyche.”

It’s also something of a memoir. “The labyrinth

resembles the human brain, doesn’t it?” she

continues. “That coiled mass. So in effect it

[the book] is the imprint of my brain… This

labyrinthine book about labyrinths is in a way

some kind of self-portrait. If that doesn’t sound

too pretentious. Which I’m sure it does. But


It won’t sound pretentious to anyone who has

attempted to negotiate their way through the

book, an ambitiously structured collection

of culturally informed episodes, each

thematically connecting to the next, with

red herrings thrown in to divert from the

ultimate message. There are guides along the

way – some of whom prove helpful – including

Virgil, Umberto Eco, Sigmund Freud, the

archaeologist Arthur Evans, Stanley Kubrick,

and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

And, most importantly, a certain Sofia

Grammataki, a Cretan classicist who took a

pre-teen Higgins on a tour of Knossos (where

Daedalus’ mythical labyrinth was sited) while

she was on holiday with her parents. Many

years later Higgins found a postcard given to

her by Grammataki with the guide’s address

on it, and – both being labyrinth enthusiasts –

they became regular correspondents.

Or did they? Having not yet completed the

book by the time we talk, I’m not entirely

sure, as Higgins admits that Red Thread – even

though it’s shoe-horned into the ‘non-fiction’

shelves of bookshops, does contain some

consciously fashioned fictitious twists. “The

mythical labyrinth was a trap, it was a place

that was designed to baffle the person who

went into it, so there was no way I could write a

book without containing a little trap, otherwise

that wouldn’t be a labyrinth, would it?”

All very intriguing, and I’m looking forward

to more guidance when she comes to town on

the 12th. Or returns, as it happens: she’s been

to Lewes before. “I found its layout slightly

confounding,” she admits. “I have a limited

sense of direction when it comes to towns and

cities.” Alex Leith

Lewes Literary Society, All Saints, 12th Feb,


Photo by David Levene


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Dr Dan Danahar

Bringing back the butterflies

Biodiversity depletion is a huge worry. While

Michael Blencowe eagerly awaits the return of the

yellow Brimstone in this month’s Wildllife piece

on page 89, talking to Dr Dan Danahar made me

worry that day may never come.

Dan – known as @ButterflyDan on Twitter – is

Executive Trustee of Big Nature. He’s been working

in biodiversity for years across a whole raft

of initiatives, and is talking this month in Lewes

Town Hall at Common Cause’s Seedy Saturday.

“Habitation fragmentation is one of the main

causes for the massive, massive loss of biodiversity

we’re experiencing in this country today”, Dan

tells me.

2010 was the International Year of Biodiversity,

and Dan and others were involved in numerous

events and initiatives across the year. Ten years

on, 2020 will be marked as a key year too – with a

whole new roster of follow-ups planned. “But it’s

not enough just to make people aware”, says Dan.

“Awareness alone can be a burden.”

Awareness may, however, have been what motivated

the thousands of people who turned out to

join Chris Packham last September on The People’s

Walk for Wildlife. It’s also why Dan, himself,

actually physically gets down on the ground to

help – and has done so for years.

“Today, there are twenty-five to thirty butterfly

havens in Brighton and Hove”, he says. “The

first was at Dorothy Stringer School [where Dan

teaches]: a 400 square metre area carefully restored

to provide a range of different microclimates,

precisely tailored to the needs of our rare chalk

downland butterflies.”

He explains how butterflies work well as “a flagship

species”. (Of course they’re colourful, visible, and

beautiful. Most people like them, and might note

their absence.) But of course it’s all insect life that’s

at risk – due to human population growth and the

lengths we’ve then gone to to wring out resources.

“Insects are the cogs”, Dan says. “They make the

ecosystems function.”

At Dorothy Stringer, in twelve years, they’ve seen

the return of 30 species of butterflies. That’s 81 per

cent of the city’s butterfly fauna, in a comparatively

tiny area. Repairing the ecosystem works. The

evidence is clear. “Build it and they come”, says

Dan Danahar.

“But the evidence is equally clear of the damage

that’s been done. Certain pesticides, for instance

– notably neonicotinoids – have been enormously

damaging; much more so than we for a long time

realised.” He says even lavender pots on sale at

nurseries and flagged ‘bee friendly’ may be steeped

in damaging insecticides.

These butterfly havens are sorely needed. And

Big Nature is funding some work to take place in

Lewes – in partnership with Wildflower Lewes.

“We commissioned Wakehurst to grow a bespoke

seed mix for butterflies. It’s ready now, waiting in

their Millennium Seed Bank.”

At Seedy Saturday, Dan says he plans to talk about

the actual physical detail of what’s involved in

replenishing a site to make it butterfly-friendly.

Fascinating as well as vital. Charlotte Gann

Seedy Saturday is on 2nd February, at Lewes Town

Hall, 10am-3pm, adults £1, kids free. commoncause.

Photo by Dan Danahar


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Hildegard von Bingen

12th century composer, naturalist, mystic, protofeminist

Hildegard von Bingen was

a remarkable woman. She

corresponded with the Pope and

bridged composition, naturalism,

mysticism and more in her prolific

and astonishingly varied work. We

spoke to Dr Alice Eldridge, Lecturer

in Music and Music Technology at

the University of Sussex, who has

curated a series of events to explore

the modern resonances of von

Bingen’s music and life.

“Throughout her life from the age

of about three into her 80s, she had extraordinary,

multisensory visions. This ‘spiritual gift’ gave

her power at a time when little was expected

of women in society. Her legacy includes over

70 musical works which are direct accounts of

her visions. She also authored medicinal and

botanical texts, so Germans celebrate her as the

first naturalist. People came to her as a healer, not

because of her spiritualism, but because of her

systematic use of medicinal herbs.

“‘Viriditas’, the title of the festival, is Latin

for ‘green truth’. Hildegard saw humans as a

microcosm of the universe. It’s a non-dualistic

idea that heaven and earth are integrated through

nature so ‘Ecological’ and human health are

intrinsically linked.”

This annual festival of Music and Ideas is an

opportunity for emerging Sussex composers

to create and perform new works in the

Attenborough Centre. On 8th Feb, Fem Engine,

a newly formed collaboration between musicians

Bunty, Bellatrix and Hannah Miller (Moulettes),

will perform three new works that Sussex

composers have created for the trio, whom

Eldridge describes as “amazing and intuitive

composers and performers”. She

explains that the works might not

be fully notated however. “They

might be described through text,

graphic scores, even the use of

scents of particular herbs as a form

of musical score, so part composed,

part improvised. Hildegard’s

music was improvisational in a

way, melismatic, very free, really


Eldridge tells me that Hildegard

is the first named composer,

and the festival also celebrates her as a female

figure of authority in her age. “In the light of

contemporary movements in gender equality

globally, and recent recognition of previously

unsung women composers, it’s quite interesting

to look back and see a woman with such

power in so many ways at this time: creatively,

politically, financially, and holding such respect

and influence. Many of her musical works were

songs to be sung as part of the daily service in the

convent. These works were a way to praise God,

but also as a way for women to use their voice

when otherwise living in silence. So it was literally

giving women a voice.”

The Viriditas events will also include a Q&A

with Observer music critic Fiona Maddocks

(7th); vocal trio Voice and group Celestial Sirens

performing music composed or inspired by

Hildegard and other early sacred works (10th);

Bird Bath, a sound installation created by Eldridge

herself with meditation teacher Alistair Appleton

(6th-8th) in ACCA’s café bar, folk singer Laura

Cannell’s Untuning of the Sky (7th), an Ecotherapy

‘Walk-shop’ (8th), and more. Joe Fuller

Viriditas, 6th-10th Feb,

Illustration from von Bingen’s Scivias, depicting her receiving a vision



Volver, True Romance, Never Let Me Go

Film ’19

Dexter Lee’s cinema round-up

At the Depot, Pedro Almodóvar’s 2006 drama

Volver (Feb 1st) makes a welcome return as part

of a Spanish-language double bill, courtesy of

U3A. An ensemble cast is headed by Penélope

Cruz and Carmen Maura, playing a grieving

daughter and the ‘ghost’ of her mother. There’s

also a body in deep-freeze and some ashes that

aren’t what they seem. It’s high on farce, tragedy

and earthy passion: classic Almodóvar. Next up

is The Motorcycle Diaries (Feb 8th), which follows

the young Che Guevara (Gael García Bernal) on

his life-changing trip round South America on a

motorbike; Walter Salles directs.

Valentine’s Day sees the start of a ‘lovers on the

run’ mini-series, starting with Tarantino-scripted

True Romance (14th), starring Patricia Arquette

and Christian Slater as a prostitute and her

boyfriend who unwittingly get involved with

the mob when they accidentally steal a suitcase

full of cocaine. This is followed by Bonnie and

Clyde (17th), Arthur Penn’s ground-breaking

‘New Hollywood’ movie with Warren Beatty

and Faye Dunaway in the title roles. The series

concludes with Sam Peckinpah’s 1972 neo-noir

The Getaway (19th), with Steve McQueen and

Ali MacGraw.

The latter film falls into two different seasons

(clever programming, that) as it also kicks off a

trio of Peckinpah movies, introduced by Robert

Senior. The controversially violent Straw Dogs

(26th) follows, with the neo-Western Bring Me

the Head of Alfredo Garcia (a charades favourite

if ever there was one) finishing things off on

March 5th.

For the second year running the Depot are

screening, in association with the Japanese

Foundation, a series of contemporary (2017/18)

Japanese films on Screen 3, namely Dear

Etranger (18th), Yurigokoro (20th), Born Bone Born

(25th), The Scythian Lamb (27th) and My Friend

‘A’ (March 4th).

And there are, as ever, a number of one-offs.

Jean Cocteau’s 1950 art-house experiment

Orphée, in association with the Lewes Literary

Society, gets a rare screening on the 3rd. On

the 4th there’s A Private War, with streamed

interviews afterwards with Jamie Dornan and

Rosamund Pike, who plays the late war correspondent

Marie Colvin. The Audrey Hepburn

musical Funny Face is the dementia-friendly

screening on the 5th. February’s book-to-film

discussion centres round Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never

Let Me Go (7th), turned into a movie by director

Mark Romanek and starring Carey Mulligan

and Keira Knightley. And Mr Voigt’s Film Club

focuses on Orson Welles’ classic The Lady from

Shanghai (20th), with its shatteringly unforgettable

magic-mirror-maze climax.

The Lewes Film Club, in the All Saints, has

three offerings this month. Maudie (1st) stars

Sally Hawkins as ailing Nova Scotian housekeeper

Maud Lewis, who finds love – and artistic

studio space – in a very small house (with Ethan

Hawke). Glory (15th) is a fine Bulgarian film featuring

a stuttering loner who gets caught up in

the corrupt labyrinth of Bulgarian local politics

when he finds a wad of money on the rail tracks.

And Being Blacker (19th) is a documentary about

Brixton reggae record-shop owner, sound-system

pioneer and music producer Blacker Dread.





Alice Channer

Amphibians, 2012

Anne Hardy curates

the Arts Council Collection

Roger Ackling

Night and Day (1 hour), 1977

Shirazeh Houshiary

Listen to the Tale

of the Reed No.3, 1982


Art Gallery

17 February

2 June 2019

Free entry

Sarah Lucas

Nud Cycladic 7, 2010

An Arts Council Collection National Partners Exhibition

Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom

Plantain Drop, 2014


Louise Gorst

Curious to explore your ‘creative side’?

When we are children, we

don’t question the power

of our own imagination,

but somewhere along the

way, many of us come to

believe that creativity is

for artists and not for us.

Louise Gorst, who’s running

a number of courses locally

this month, holds powerfully

to the contrary view that

everyone is creative, but

that there are blocks in the

way of us tapping into what

is a universal impulse. Her

teaching is all about this process of unblocking.

“For a start it helps to be in the moment”, she

says. That is why her weekly Experimental

Drawing and Painting classes begin with a

short mindfulness meditation – and then it’s

about learning new skills, practising them and

having fun.

When Louise came to Lewes – via Sydney and

London – for the first time, over twenty years

ago, she found Paddock Art Studios quite by

chance and took it as a sign that it might be

the place where she could escape the city and

“reconnect with nature”. She’s been involved

there ever since.

Over the years, her teaching has moved a long

way from her original life drawing classes

and now offers something quite distinct from

representational drawing or portraiture.

As the name suggests, the classes are about

experimenting, without too much focus on the

end result. “When you start with a creative

process you don’t know what the result is going

to be,” Louise says, “just as when you go to bed

at night you don’t know what you will dream.”

There is method and

structure to the course.

“It’s not just anything goes;

people need some sort of

structure or they panic”,

she says. The courses and

workshops rotate through

different themes which

include colour theory and

the colour wheel as well as

abstraction and pattern. Six

modules make up a term.

The course has been a

success from day one and

there’s always a waiting

list, according to Louise. She’s now started a

second class in Isfield, and expanded her offer

to include a drawing method called Zentangle

– which uses structured patterns. It is based on

the idea that anything is possible “one stroke at

a time”. The practice, she tells me, has an effect

akin to meditation and anyone can do it.

In addition to her ongoing weekly courses,

Louise also runs one-day workshops, Creative

By Nature, which offer the opportunity

to dip a toe in the water. In all her classes,

her students are a real mix in terms of prior

experience, and are often surprised by how

much they enjoy it, she says. “What people

say is that time flies, like they have become so

absorbed in what they are doing that their left

brain has switched off.”

That might just be the best sign that Louise’s

methods are working. Julie Bull

Creative By Nature Workshops: 24 Feb, 24

March, 12 May. Experimental Drawing and

Painting: Fri am Paddock Studios; Mon am Isfield

Village Hall. Zentangle Courses 2nd, 14th and

28th Feb, Ringmer.


Eduardo Gil, Niños Desaparecidos, Segunda Marcha de la resistencia, Buenos Aires (1982), courtesy the artist

Still I Rise

Feminist resistance

“So, what it’s all about?” I ask Rosie Cooper,

sitting in the café of the De La Warr Pavilion,

overlooking the glimmering, choppy


She’s Head of Exhibitions there, and she’s

telling me about Still I Rise, on at the elegant

Bexhill arts centre from 9th Feb.

It’s not so easy to summarise.

“It began as an examination of the role

women have played in resistance movements,

and alternative forms of living, since

the nineteenth century,” she says. “It features

100 exhibits from around 40 practitioners,

featuring materials produced by visual artists,

writers, designers and activists.”

So far so simple.

“It’s all developed from a long-term conversation

I’ve been having with my fellow curator

Irene Aristazabal, about feminism and

how to embed inclusive feminist practice

in our respective cultural institutions,” she

continues. Irene is Head of Exhibitions at

Nottingham Contemporary.

A longer explanation follows, because the

exhibits describe intertwining and often

contradictory themes, and the curators –

also including Cédric Fauq of Nottingham

Contemporary – have come at it through

the prism of feminist and queer theory.

The key term, in my understanding, is



‘intersectionality’, which I check out later

in a dictionary: ‘the complex, cumulative

manner in which the effects of different

forms of discrimination combine, overlap

or intersect’.

“So we’re talking about ‘feminisms’, in the

plural” explains Rosie, “because feminist

resistance intersects with queer and other

resistance movements, and they learn from

each other. We’re also acknowledging that

different struggles intersect at different


They can also contradict: “white Western

feminism can be very different from the

feminism of women of colour, for example,”

she explains. “There were also tensions

between middle-class and working-class

feminisms in the UK in the 80s.” Many of

these contradictions are explored; the curators

have been careful not to arrange the

exhibits chronologically, to “allow them to

talk to each other across space and time, acknowledging

that whilst things have moved

on in many ways, there is still a lot to do.”

One might expect it all to be a bit confrontational.

But Rosie says, “We’ve left a lot of

room for poetry, and moments of humour.

One visitor to the show at Nottingham

[where Still I Rise has had a three-month

run] said that they expected the show to be

aggressive, but instead they found it poetic,

thoughtful and sensitive. We loved hearing


There are a few headline names among the

exhibitors, including American artists Judy

Chicago and Suzanne Lacey, but Rosie

is quick to highlight some of the lesserknown

contributors, including Bexhillborn

artist Carl Gent, who re-narrates

local history to highlight important female

figures of the past.

Upstairs in the First Floor Gallery there’s a

solo show with a linked theme: Hayv Kahraman

fled Iraq during the First Gulf War.

Her paintings reflect the female response to

conflict and upheaval.

The main show’s title, of course, is taken

from a powerful Maya Angelou poem. “The

poem’s message leaves a lot of room for

interpretation,” says Rosie, “and that’s very

apt.” Alex Leith

De La Warr Pavilion, 9th Feb-27th May

Judy Chicago, Smoke Bodies (1972), Courtesy the artist, Salon 94,

New York and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco.

Its Judy Chicago, Immolation (1972), Courtesy the artist, Salon 94,

New York and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco.



In town this month

Oska Lappin

As an alternative to the saccharine hearts

and flowers and enforced romance that

surrounds the month of February, from

the 2nd until the 17th St Anne’s Galleries

present The Antidote: a riposte to Valentine’s

Day. Featuring work by Carolyn Trant,

Solange Leon Iriarte, Sarah Shaw, Oska

Lappin, Sophie Wake, Derya Erdem

and Rachel Glittenberg, the exhibition

explores the wider experience of love and

matters of the heart in all their complex,

ambiguous and occasionally dark glory.

The gallery is working with local schools and arts organisation Equal Arts Brighton to create

‘friendship’ cards, which will be displayed as part of the exhibition then delivered to local elderly

people on Valentine’s Day. Equal Arts support older people and those with dementia in Sussex

through creative activities and by bringing the generations together, combating isolation and loneliness

and supporting health and wellbeing. Visit their JustGiving page to find out more.


At Skylark, downstairs in the Needlemakers,

you’ll find an exhibition of recent work

by pastel artist Tom Walker. Stormlights

is a series of atmospheric, monochrome

pastels that, in Tom’s own words, ‘attempt

to capture a particular kind of light. The

low light that rakes the land or seascape,

intensely bright but casting very dark shadows

giving all it touches stark yet dreamlike

definition. I call this “stormlight”.’

Mission accomplished. The exhibition

continues until June.

Eva Wibberley (detail)

Chalk Gallery continues their general exhibition of

work by the artists’ collective until the 24th of February,

when they begin their programme of featured

artists for the year. First up, from the 25th, is Eva

Wibberley who presents her latest oil and acrylic

seascapes, inspired by the diverse and endlessly

changing light and colour of the sea, land and skies

of the coasts of Sussex and Cornwall.



Out of town

Join our regular drawing classes with

Pat Thornton and Rachael Adams:


Hat-maker for rock stars and royalty

since the 1970s, milliner Stephen Jones

OBE has long been inspired by the lavish

interiors of the Royal Pavilion with his

Spring/Summer 2012 collection Chinoiserie-on-Sea

drawing directly from its

wonder and whimsy. From the 7th February,

an exhibition of hats from across

his 40-year career takes over Brighton’s

pleasure palace, with installations of his

most glamorous and captivating pieces

displayed throughout its exotic rooms.

Co-curated by Jones himself and Martin

Pel, Curator of Costume and Textiles at

the Royal Pavilion & Museums, the exhibition

includes hats worn by the Duchess

of Sussex, as well as Lady Gaga, Kate

Moss and Mick Jagger, and others made

in collaboration with some of the world’s

best fashion designers. Expect to see hats

popping up everywhere – the Banqueting

Room table set with A-lister headgear,

food-inspired hats among the copper pots

in the Great Kitchen, and millinery for

Dior on display in the Music Room. Stephen

Jones Hats at the Royal Pavilion continues

until the 9th of June. (Free with

Royal Pavilion admission, members free.)

Stephen Jones holding ‘Royal Crescent’ from his Chinoiserie-on-Sea collection

© Tessa Hallmann/Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove


Out of town

There’s much to see at Towner

Gallery this month. In Figure

Study II, Towner’s recently arrived

Director Joe Hill curates

a personal response to the gallery’s

renowned collection. His

diverse selection takes its title

from a Francis Bacon painting

that belongs to Joe’s home town,

the former mining and textiles

community of Batley in West

Yorkshire, a place which lost its

Art Gallery in the 1980s to a now derelict shopping centre.

Also at Towner, from the 17th, British artist Anne Hardy curates the Arts Council Collection. Hardy’s

own work derives from what she perceives as ‘pockets of wild space’. She creates immersive, sensory

installation works. She brings this approach to her selection for Towner in The Weather Garden.

The gallery also presents the first UK exhibition of Carey Young’s Palais de Justice (2017) which

was filmed surreptitiously at the enormous and ornate Palais de Justice in Brussels, and depicts

female judges and lawyers at court, seen through a series of circular windows in courtroom doors.

Anne Hardy and Carey Young will be in conversation at the Towner on Saturday the 16th of February

at 5pm.

Image: Carey Young, still from Palais de Justice, 2017.

Single-channel HD video (from 4K); 169, colour, quadraphonic sound; 17 mins 58 secs.

© Carey Young. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.



Jamie Crewe, An Abductress (no 3), digital print on flourescent

paper, 2018



Exploring resistance movements and alternative

forms of living from a gendered perspective.

In collaboration with Nottingham Contemporary.

Hayv Kahraman, Hussein Pasha (detail) , 2013, Oil on wood

Courtesy Defares Collection



Painting, drawings and sculptures exploring

the artists experience of living between

western and middle eastern cultures.



Further afield

Kingfisher by Jackie Morris

The exhibition of original artwork

from The Lost Words – the extraordinary

‘modern spell book’, written by

renowned author Robert Macfarlane

and illustrated by Jackie Morris –

continues at Nymans. The book

celebrates the relationship between

language and the living world, and the

exhibition is accompanied by a series

of events to inspire both adults and

children to reconnect with nature.

Continues until June 2nd.

Prized Possessions,

an exhibition of

more than twenty

Dutch paintings,

continues at


House and

Park. This major

exhibition brings

together Dutch



by some of the

finest masters

of the ‘Golden Age’ from National Trust collections

around the country. The show is especially relevant

to Petworth, which holds major Dutch paintings

in its collection and reflects the Dutch influence

of King William III and Queen Mary in its design

and decoration. Continues until the 24th of March.


The Duet, Gabriel Metsu ©National Trust Images Christopher Hurst


Nigel Cooke in his studio © Lens & Pixel

Nigel Cooke

Painter’s Beach Club

One of the big themes of Nigel Cooke’s

massive, multi-layered paintings is journeys,

so there’s something apt about the way he’s

come full circle with his latest show, Painter’s

Beach Club, on at Jerwood Gallery in Hastings

till March 24th.

“I graduated in 1994 with a friend of mine,

and another friend had a shop space he said

we could use, on the sea front in Hastings,

and we put on an exhibition that nobody

saw. I hadn’t been back since.”

Twenty-five years on, Nigel’s on the phone

from his studio in Kent, which his architectwife

purpose-designed for him, enabling

him to work on up to eight canvases – each

of which is over two by two metres – at a

time. “There’s a gallery at the front, where I

can look at the work away from all the clutter,”

he tells me.

“You’d like to think that the perfect space

would lead to you getting things together

on every level, that life would become more

cerebral, ethereal, clean…” he continues.

“But life’s still messy, and you’re still you. It’s

like when you go on holiday, the surroundings

might change but you’re still the same


Perhaps such ‘messiness’ is necessary for his

art to work. Every frame he paints, he says,

is a journey into the unknown. “When you

start to paint, you’re looking into the future,

trying to reach a distant point, and you don’t



know what that is until you get

there. In every painting there

needs to be tension, discordance,

conflict. The deliverance

has to be double-handed.

There must be an element of

antagonism. Otherwise a painting

is just an illustration.”

The paintings all have a subject,

of course, but that is only

a starting point. “A red herring,

just an excuse to get started.

The true subject of the painting

is the painting itself. If you

look at Velazquez or Rubens

you can see that the application

transcends the image and

becomes the reality.”

He listens to audio books,

while he’s working (currently

Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections)

“more for the rhythm of

the sentences than the meaning

of the words.” He loves

writing, and wishes that it was

as easy to “harvest disparate information”

in the same way on

the canvas, as you can on the

page. “Rothko and Rembrandt

are two very distinct things

which can’t work together

visually. I’m trying to create a

place where they can.”

He’s also influenced by cinema

– he cites Yorgos Lanthimos’

The Lobster as a favourite,

for the way the “deliberately

dreadful deadpan dialogue”

consciously and “upsettingly”

jars with the cinematic beauty

of the images. But most of

all, of course, he’s influenced

by other painters. Velazquez

comes up a few times. “If you

put Bacon, Picasso, Velazquez

and Clifford Still into a

blender”, he tells me, at the

end of our conversation, “you’d

get one of mine coming out of

the other end.” Alex Leith

Painter’s Beach Club runs

alongside Telescope, featuring

twenty artists Nigel has encountered

through Instagram,

Jerwood Gallery, till March 24th

Book of Crap (First Edition), 2010, © Nigel Cooke, Courtesy Pace Gallery Indian Summer, 2015, © Nigel Cooke, Courtesy Pace Gallery



on you

Counselling, Psychotherapy

and Psychological services

in central Lewes

01273 921355

FEBRUARY listings



His Dark Materials.

Lewes Theatre Youth

Group present the stage

version of the Philip

Pullman fantasy trilogy.

Lewes Little Theatre, see

Film: Maudie (12A). All Saints, 8pm,


Life Drawing. Drop-in session (bring own

materials). Lewes Arms, 7.30pm, £5 (also

Tuesday 19th).

The Group. Club for men and women aged

50+. Opportunities for meeting new friends,

walking, eating out, theatre, golf, holidays. A

pub in Lewes, see


Lewes and

District Garden

Society talk.

Chloe Anthony on

Permaculture. St

Thomas Church

Hall, 7.30pm for

7.45pm, £3 for



Spirit of the Pan. Festival of beer, spirit and

wine. The Dripping Pan, 5pm till late, see



Seedy Saturday. Seed swap,

children’s activities, talks, workshops,

stalls, food and more.

Lewes Town Hall, 10am-3pm,

£1 (kids free). See page 35.

Author event: An Evening with Allie Rogers.

To celebrate LGBT History Month, local

author Allie Rogers will discuss the Spirit of

Brighton and its ‘particular place in the queer

psyche of the country’ with Lesley Wood, chief

executive of New Writing South. The Keep,

5.30pm, £5.

Gideon Mantell: The

Dinosaur Doctor of Lewes

and the Fossil that Changed

the World. Gideon Mantell

Birthday Memorial Lecture

delivered by Ray Hale, specialist

in wildlife lectures and educational

displays. Lewes Town

Hall lecture room, 7.30pm, £3. See page 64.

Comedy at the Con. Raymond and Mr

Timkins and Steve N Allen. Con Club, 7.30pm,



Let’s Get Funked. Funk, soul and reggae

night for grown-up dance lovers who like to

party early. All Saints, Friars Walk, 7.30pm,


Headstrong Club talk and discussion.

Benjamin Sovacool on energy studies and the

necessity of interdisciplinary and inclusive

research. Elephant & Castle, 8pm, £3.


FEB listings (cont)


Taking a natural approach at menopause.

One-day workshop for anyone interested

in exploring a more natural approach at

menopause, run by Chantry Health. St

Mary’s Church Hall, 10.30am-4.30pm, see


Thomas Cromwell &

the Dissolution of the

Sussex Monasteries.

Lewes History Group talk

with Helen Poole on how

Thomas Cromwell, one of

the most enigmatic figures

of Henry VIII’s reign, masterminded the

C16 dissolution, having seen the process first

hand at Bayham Abbey. All 17 of Sussex’s religious

houses were to suffer. King’s Church,

7pm for 7.30pm, £1/£3.


Patina’s 18th Birthday Party – Ditch the

Detox. Celebrating 18 years of Moving On,

with funk band Supernatural Things (above),

DJs and cocktails. Fundraiser for Moving On

2019. Lewes Town Hall, 8pm, £11 (£8 adv).

The Hummingbird Project: Celebrating

innovative work with young refugees.

Elaine Ortiz (founder and director of the

project) and young leader, Mohamad Aljasem

will talk about this Brighton initiative

to provide aid and solidarity to unaccompanied

asylum-seeking young people. Phoenix

Centre, 7.30pm.

A place to renew and revive your connection with nature in the Azores

One of the world’s most magical and unspoilt destinations

A beautiful holiday home in wild forested land on the outskirts of

Gingeira Village, ocean views, double bedroom, ideal for couples.

Direct flights from Lisbon to Pico or Horta (easy transfer). Lewes owner

FEB listings (cont)

Jaha Koo: Cuckoo.

A theatrical dialogue

journeying through

the last 20 years

of Korean history

told by a bunch of

talkative rice cookers.

Attenborough Centre, 8pm, £12/£10.

Lewes Literary Society talk with Charlotte

Higgins. See page 33. lewesliterarysociety.


Eric Ravilious and the Lure of the Everyday.

An illustrated lecture by Jo Watson.

Uckfield Civic Centre, 2.30pm, £7 (free for


Three Green Initiatives in Lewes. Illustrated

talk for Friends of Lewes who outline

their involvement in three green initiatives –

an i-trees survey, Litter Free Lewes and Tingles

Way eco-walk. Lewes Town Hall lecture

room, 7.45pm, £3 (free to FoL members).


Lewes Archaeology Group talk: ‘Where

Archaeology meets Astronomy’ by Robert

Turner, who will explore how astronomy can

assist our understanding of the alignment of

standing stones. Lewes Town Hall Lecture

Room, 7.30pm, £4/£3 (to include tea/coffee),

free for 25 years and under.

Film: Glory (12). All Saints, 8pm, £5/£2.50.

Catalyst Club. Spoken word lecture salon,

three guest speakers share their passions with

a live audience. Lewes Arms, 7.30pm, £7.


Lewes Castle &

Anne of Cleves House

Lewes Castle*

Morning Explorer Sessions

Monday 18 th February, 10-11am

Morning Explorer sessions are for

families with additional needs.

Please get in touch to discuss your

access needs and to book a place.


Anne of Cleves House,

Lords & Ladies,

Tuesday 19th February, 1- 4pm

Sewing, spinning & dressing up.

All ages. Included in admission.

Lewes Castle*

Knights & Dragons

Thursday 21st February

10.30am-12noon or 2pm-3.30pm

Stories of castle knights, armour

to try on & lots of things to make.

Ages 4-8. Tickets £5. Adult to stay

*Booking required for

Lewes Castle activities

Awaken your senses in our new Winter Garden and

feel the colours, scents and textures lift your spirits

Flourishing from mid-January

Tours available daily, 24 – 27 January

For details visit

FEB listings (cont)


Springlines. A talk by painter Mary Anne

Aytoun-Ellis about her collaboration with

poet Clare Best on ‘Springlines’, a project

exploring forgotten and mysterious bodies

of water in hidden corners of the landscape.

Paddock Art Studios, Paddock Lane, 3pm, £5.


Film: Being Blacker.

New documentary from

Molly Dineed telling

the story of well-known

reggae record shop owner

and music producer,

Blacker Dread, his extended family, friends

and the wider Brixton community. There will

be a short introduction by Richard Cupidi. All

Saints, 8pm, £5/£2.50


Guerilla Poetry. Come along with words to

perform or just enjoy listening. The Lansdown,

7.30pm, free.


Lewes Death Café. Conversations around

death and dying. The Dorset, 1pm, free.








Prelude and Liebestod

(Tristan and Isolde)


Four Last Songs


Symphony No.1


BAR 4:30pm - DOORS 8:00 to 11:30pm

Non members welcome £5 OTD - Club Members free

Discounted parking

at NCP Church Street

just £6 between 1-6pm

Tickets from £12.50-£39.50

50% student/U18 discount

Brighton Dome Ticket Office

(01273) 709709




As many may know, back in October the 6th

Lewes Scout Hut in Ham Lane was vandalised

during a private hire party. Due to this damage

the hut has since been unusable for weekly

Scouts, Beavers and Cubs meetings, as well as

other local community groups who hire it. Fundraising is ongoing to get the hut back to its former

glory, and in aid of this effort a gig is being held at the Con Club featuring local bands Caburn,

The Wild Pansies, The Manatees and the tunes of DJ Mighty Alboy. Proceeds from the gig will go

towards fixing up and refurbishing the hut for future use, so head along to the Con Club for a night

of top-class entertainment and merriment for a really important local cause.

Friday 15, 7pm till late, £8 (tickets on the door).


Bus Monkeys. Indie, rock and pop covers.

Royal Oak, 8pm, free

Coda. Led Zeppelin tribute. Con Club, 8pm, £5

(club members free)


Robb Johnson. Folk, social comment. Elephant

& Castle, 8pm, £7


English dance tunes session – bring instruments.

Folk (English trad). The Volunteer,

12pm, free

London Calling. Clash tribute. Con Club,

7.30pm, £15


Alison Neale (sax), Alex Eberhard (drums),

Terry Seabrook (piano) and Steve Thompson

(bass). Jazz. Snowdrop, 8pm, free


Hotter Than Hell. Kiss Tribute. Con Club,

7.30pm, £12

Ramskyte. Folk, vocal harmony trio. Elephant

& Castle, 8pm, £6

Sam Walker. Multi-instrumental songwriter

and performer. Lansdown, 8pm, free


Jah Wobble & The Invaders of The Heart.

Post-Punk Dub World. Con Club, 7.30pm, £20


Julian Marc Stringle (clarinet & sax), Bobby

Worth (drums) and Nigel Thomas (bass).

Jazz. Snowdrop, 8pm, free


Hutstock. Fundraiser for Lewes Scout Hut.

Featuring: Caburn; The Wild Pansies; The

Manatees; DJ Mighty Alboy. Con Club, 7pm, £8

Yacht rock Paradiso. 70s, 80s, 90s club classics

and floor fillers. Lansdown, 8pm, free


Open Night with spotlight on Milly

Murphy. Folk (English trad). Elephant &

Castle, 8pm, £3






B *

5 years peace of mind up to 2024 upon purchase of selected

OLED & LED TVs. Visit us in store or online to find out more.



in store | online | mobile

* Scale: A++ to E. ** Terms apply, contact us or ask in-store for more details.

11 Imperial Arcade, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 3EA

01273 827450 | Visit:


JOKO with Butxaca, Con Club, 22 Feb


Nigel Price (guitar), Terry Seabrook

(organ) and Milo Fell (drums). Jazz.

Snowdrop, 8pm, free


JOKO with Butxaca. African Jazz grooves

with seriously big horn sections. Con Club,

7.30pm, £6 (members free)


The Twagger Band. Folk, multi-instrumental.

Elephant & Castle, 8pm, £7

Loose Caboose DJs. Northern Soul. Con

Club, 7.30pm, £6


Simon Scardanelli. ‘Sundays in the bar’

session with indie-folk-rock maverick. Con

Club, 3.30pm, free


Simon Bates (sax and clarinet), Darren

Beckett (drums) and Terry Seabrook

(organ). Jazz. Snowdrop, 8pm, free


English tunes practice session for any

instrument. Folk (English trad). Elephant &

Castle, 8pm, free




Services include

Modern and Traditional Haircuts

Beard Grooming and Shaping

Luxury Wet Shaves

We welcome our clients to kick back and

relax, we have the beers stocked in the

fridge and plenty of friendly banter,

so make hair for men your choice for

all your grooming

Take advantage of our opening offer - £5 off

any service (Usual Adult Hair Cut Price £17)

Get the promo by scanning the QR code.

Open Monday to Saturday

with late night opening to

7pm every weekday and

until 8pm on Thursdays

Book an appointment

01273 911808 or just walk

in whatever works for you.

16 Market Street Lewes BN7 2NB


Spring evening


In aid of The Lunchbowl Network

Including music from Bizet's 'Carmen', Kurt Weill's 'Street Scene', songs

by Ivor Novello and Composizioni da Camera by Tosti and much more!

Georgia Mae Ellis - Mezzo Soprano

Ryan Vaughan Davies - Tenor

Robert Scamardella - Pianist


Saturday March 2 2019

at The Trinity Centre, St John sub Castro, Lewes at 7:30pm

Ticket price £20 which includes a drink and canapes and can be purchased at Lewes and

Seaford Tourist Information Centres, by telephone, 01273 483488 or on the door.


Classical round-up


The Baroque Collective

Period instrument ensemble The Baroque Collective, led by

Alison Bury, are joined by the Baroque Collective Singers to

perform the popular Gloria by Vivaldi and his equally glorious

but lesser-known Magnificat. Handel’s Coronation Anthem Let

Thy Hand be Strengthened and Overture to Rodrigo complete the

programme. It’s directed by John Hancorn, with soloists Jenni

Harper and Rebecca Leggett (pictured). Rebecca is an awardwinning

and up-and-coming mezzo who started her singing career

as a student at the excellent East Sussex Academy of Music

in Lewes which, like all state-funded classical music education,

is seriously under threat. This concert is sure to be popular, so

don’t rely on tickets being available on the door.

St Michael’s. £20 / £15, under 16s free, from Lewes Tourist Information





KLM Photography


Viriditas. A series of events celebrating the

music and life of Hildegard von Bingen. Talks,

workshop, meditations, a sound installation

and culminating in a concert. See also page 37.

ACCA. Ticket prices vary per event – see

SUNDAY 10, 2.45PM

Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra. Guest

director Stephen Bell conducts the Prelude and

Liebestod from Richard Wagner’s opera Tristan

and Isolde, known for its harmonic sophistication

which was unprecedented at the time. Also on

the programme are Richard Strauss Four Last

Songs featuring Welsh soprano Camilla Roberts,

and Glière Symphony No 1 Op 8.

Brighton Dome. £12.50-£39.50, 50% student/U18

discount. 01273 709709,


Corelli Ensemble. Reprising its January

concert at Seaford, the Corelli Ensemble is in

Lewes performing a programme of Handel,

Boyce, Warlock, Lewis and The Lark Ascending

by Vaughan Williams, played by the ensemble’s

musical director, Maeve Jenkinson. St. Pancras

Church. £10 from, £12 on

the door. Children free


Poppy Ackroyd. Classically-trained musician

Poppy Ackroyd creates percussive textures from

traditional classical instruments, which she

layers and manipulates digitally. The result is

an interesting fusion of acoustic and electronic.

She’s ‘a neo-classical force to be reckoned with’,

according to Electronic Sound magazine. ACCA.



Castalian Quartet with Daniel Lebhardt,

Piano. The Coffee Concert series at ACCA continues

to present high-quality music. This month

the Castalian Quartet play Haydn String Quartet

in C Op 20 No 2 and Elgar String Quartet in E minor

Op 83, before joining with Hungarian pianist

Daniel Lebhardt for Brahms’s dramatic and fiery

Piano Quintet. ACCA. £18.50, concessions £16. Robin Houghton


As a Family Mediator working with separating couples

one of my key messages is that divorce is a process not

a one off event. The journey will be painful but with as

much mutual respect as you can muster they will get

through it. Even if it feels as though there is no love left

many couples I work with, in time, can be friends.


But every February when the shops and restaurants

around Lewes become a haze of pink and red hearts

and flowers, in the name of love, I am sensitive to the

fact that for some couples Valentine’s Day is an unsubtle

reminder that their relationship is not what they hoped it would be.

When a couple seek mediation advice, even if the split is mutual, quite often one

partner is driving the process more than the other. The other partner wants to try new

ways of trying to save the relationship. So the lead up to Valentine’s Day often means

hurt, and confusion.

In my mediation work I spend time helping both partners helping them understand

what mediation involves. Both parties need to understand that mediation is not a

process where I help the couple reconcile (even if deep down it is what one party

wants). The spirit of mediation is to be mutually respectful, keeping in mind they were

happy once and that with support all legal and other issues can be resolved.

As the richest couple in the world, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos (Amazon) said, “We feel

incredibly lucky to have found each other and deeply grateful for every one of the years

we have been married to each other,” the statement continued. “If we had known we

would separate after 25 years, we would do it all again.”

Using the non-confrontational processes I provide couples can one day cherish the

romantic times they once shared.

Please call to discuss what might be the best

process for you on 07780676212 or email

For more details about how I work visit

I am an accredited family mediator and a nationally recognised expert family

law solicitor specialising in mediation and collaborative practice. Contact me

and we can arrange to meet in Lewes at Westgate Chapel, 92a High Street.



open between 10am and 11am exclusively

for them. The morning includes a story, with

special tactile objects to feel. Lewes Castle,

10am-11am, regular admission applies.


Look Think Make. Drop-in family-friendly

creative activities, with support from De La

Warr Pavilion staff and volunteers, suitable for

all ages, children must be accompanied by an

adult. De La Warr, 2pm-4pm, £1.


Tales for Toddlers. Feel-good-fun for little

ones with storyteller Ed Boxall. De La Warr,

10.15am & 11.15am, £1.


Film: Song of the Sea (PG). Animated

adventure about ten-year old Ben and his sister

Saoirse, the last seal-child, who go on an epic

journey to save the world of magic and discover

the secrets of their past. Towner, 10.30am, £4.


Morning Explorer: Knights and Dragons. A

special time for families with additional needs,

The Tiger Who

Came to Tea.

Olivier Awardnominated


show, suitable

for children

age three plus.

Run time

approximately 55 minutes. De La Warr, various

times and prices, see


Lords and Ladies. Drop in for an afternoon of

sewing, spinning and dressing up as the Tudor

well-to-do. Anne of Cleves, 1pm-4pm, price

included in admission.


Knights & Dragons. Half-term

workshop for four to eight

years with stories about

castle knights, armour to try on and lots

of things to make, including a dragon mask.

Lewes Castle, two sessions: 10.30am-12pm &

2pm-3pm, £5 per child.



Totoro. Much

loved Hayao

Miyazaki and

Studio Ghibli

classic. Towner,

2pm, £4.

Photo by Robert Day




Get your little ones talking about the foods they eat

(or perhaps don’t eat?!) with the fantastically funny We

Eat Bananas by Katie Abey. You’ll find flamingos eating

bananas, hippos flipping pancakes and gorillas whipping

up a stir fry, in this ‘You Choose’ style picture book

packed with hilarious characters. Each page starts with

a heading (‘We Eat… Sandwiches’, for example) and

contains loads of fun illustrations of animal characters

enjoying a variety of examples of that food type. Apart from Monkey, who always does his own

thing, and is always munching on something completely different from everyone else! There’s lots

to discover and talk about on each page and questions to ask each other, like ‘What do you like in

YOUR soup?’ and ‘How many scoops (of ice cream) could YOU eat?’

Anna, Bags of Books

Perfect for young children of about 2-5 years old and now 20% off as one of the ‘Books

of the Month’ at Bags of Books. Find it in store or at And there are

plenty of other great picture books that will inspire any picky eaters to broaden their food

horizons – just pop in and ask for our recommendations!



We’ve had this picture book – Lewes abc, by Karen Robinson –

floating around the Viva office for some time, and now seems a

very good moment to give it a mention, with half term around the

corner. I’m certain my kids would have relished this at the right

age – they always liked puzzle-type books, as well as alphabet-based

ones – and the Lewes abc has the additional magic of being based

around our hometown. A trail you can walk out of your front door and follow.

The book can be bought in various sites across Lewes, one of which is Tourist Information, and this

month you’ll also see it included as part of their window display, I’m told, alongside promotion for

the annual Gideon Mantell Birthday Memorial Lecture. This year’s lecture will be given by wildlife

specialist Ray Hale, and is entitled ‘Gideon Mantell: The Dinosaur Doctor of Lewes and the Fossil

that Changed the World’. Also sound fun? Learning how the young doctor, from the seed of one

small fossil, deduced that dinosaurs had once roamed these Downs… Charlotte Gann

The 2019 Gideon Mantell Birthday Memorial Lecture is on February 7th in the Town Hall, 7.30pm-

10.00pm, entry £3. Lewes abc: A Treasure of a Trail, £8.99, can be bought in Brats, TI, Lewes Castle and

Museum shop, Anne of Cleves House, Lewes FC, and Pells pool (once it reopens)


Sometimes when it’s cold and damp outside we spend our Saturday afternoons nesting, spending

time together indoors. Inevitably the boys often think this is a signal to engage with screens but this

Saturday I managed to introduce them to the colourful world of tie-dye.

Each boy was given an old T-shirt, a pair of plastic gloves, some rubber bands and

some dye.

First we set up our work surface, ensuring that the table was covered with a

plastic table cover. Then we tried out a variety of folding, twisting, pleating or

bunching techniques, using rubber bands to bind our efforts. There are lots of

different effects you can achieve with tie-dye – just look on YouTube – but our

favourites were ‘Stripes’ and ‘Sunburst’. After mixing our dyes, we began to

apply them to the T-shirts, checking to make sure we were penetrating the

folds. Be careful here not to over-saturate the fabric, though, which may

lead to a muddying of the colour.

We wrapped our T-shirts with plastic wrap in order to keep them damp

and left them overnight. In the morning we rinsed them well until the

excess dye was removed and then washed and dried them.

As a fun, easy activity to do on a winter’s afternoon, tie-dye got the

thumbs up from all the children. Jacky Adams

Early Years Open Mornings

The Early Years provision is ‘outstanding’ and is a strength of the school.

Pupils enjoy coming to school and grow into articulate, confident young

people, who say that they feel safe, secure and happy. Inspection 2018

Saturday 9th March 2019 & Saturday 11th May 2019

Please register online. Alternatively book in for a Private Tour by email:

Kidbrooke Park, Priory Road, Forest Row. East Sussex, RH18 5JA

Tel: 01342 822275 - Registered Charity Number 307006


Wingrove House

A winter treat

It’s January, and we’re full of

good intentions, my wife and

I. We decide to walk from

Seaford to Alfriston before

eating at Wingrove House.

We set an ETA of 4pm,

before darkness falls, which

leaves us in a bit of a quandary.

With alcohol out of the

equation (it’s a dry January)

what are we going to do to

kill the time between arriving

and eating? We book

a table at the abnormally

early time of 6pm, when the

hotel’s restaurant opens.

Tip 1: don’t try to walk along

the road from Seaford to

Alfriston, the footpath soon

runs out. Tip 2: Much Ado Books has armchairs

upstairs where you can sit and read. Tip 3: Ye

Olde Smugglers Inne do a lovely pot of tea.

Naturally we are the first to arrive, so we pick a

table in the corner with a view of the spacious

restaurant, all pale grey panelling, off-white

walls and coral-painted antlers. Our waiter is

Italian, and he assures us that the place is fully

booked that night.

And so we punctuate our conversation by

playing with Shazam, while we choose from

the one-sheet menu. “Everything is locally

sourced,” says our man, and the menu tells you

where the main ingredient was produced. My

starter: ‘Smoked salmon, pickled beetroot spaghetti,

horseradish crème fraîche. Spring Smokeries,

Edburton, Henfield’ (£9). And my main:

‘Braised venison in Long Man ale, pancetta and

rosemary, baked mustard and herb dumplings.

South Brockwells Farm, Little Horsted’ (£18).

Shazam detects the music to

be a series of cover versions

by artists that, on the whole,

we haven’t heard of. We’re

drinking South Downs fizzy

water, from Hampshire.

Let’s say we’re more aware

of the nuances of the situation

than we would be were

we knocking back wine.

The tables gradually fill

up with couples, whom we

observe with great interest.

I like the food, though I

wish I’d been as bold as

Rowena, and ordered the

most expensive main, the

‘Fillet of beef, celeriac and

potato boulangère, carrot

purée, port and shallot sauce’ (£28). I was scared

by the price, and lured by the herb dumplings,

which – my only quibble – turn out to be of the

dry variety, placed onto the stew rather than

cooked in it. I have a taste of the steak, though,

and it’s perfect. The cow, we’re told, was raised

by ‘David & Jane Fenner, Bullock Down Farm,

Beachy Head’. We’re not given its name.

The place is fairly buzzing when we finish our

desserts, at 7.30, the sort of time we’d normally

contemplate arriving. Mine is a ‘Warm ginger

sponge, rum toffee sauce, vanilla ice cream’

(£7.50), mostly chosen for the nature of the

toffee sauce. It’s got that hot-and-cold yum,

perfect for a winter’s night. We order a taxi back

to Seaford station: happily full, and clear in the

head, we’ve got time to catch The Favourite at

the Depot. Alex Leith

High Street, Alfriston, 01323 870276

Photos by Alex Leith



Photo by Chloë King


Methi Dal

Community Chef Robin van Creveld

I’m a long-term vegetarian, despite being an

omnivorous chef, and so lentils and legumes

are a key part of my diet. I spent a lot of time

in India, back and forth, and I learnt to cook in

India. I mean I really learnt. I lived in ashrams,

where much of life is focused around the

kitchen and I was blessed to learn from very

experienced cooks. I’m actually making my

favourite comfort food for this recipe. Dal and

chapatti, for me, when life is complex, makes

me feel a lot better.

Chana dal, or yellow split peas, are one of the

highest protein lentils you can eat. They are

also the only lentil that you can commercially

grow in this country – I use Hodmedods as my

main supplier of British-grown, quirky legumes.

Chana dal has a texture unlike most lentils. It

has integrity, body, which means that, as part of

a dish, you get complex flavours and textures,

which I really love.

Soaking is a really important stage. You can soak

the peas in water for as little as two hours but it’ll

make you fart like crazy; the longer you soak –

up to two days, changing the water several times

– the more of the farty stuff goes out.

Methi means fenugreek. Most people use

the seed, or powdered fenugreek which

is principally bitter, and easy to burn. My

preference is the leaf, which gives you a very

enigmatic flavour that is quintessentially Indian.

For Indian food, the longer and slower you

cook your onions, the more depth of flavour

you have to your gravy. I start the cooking in oil

and finish with butter, which is my preference

for this sort of food.


250g yellow split peas (pre-soak in ample water

for 8 hours minimum); 1tsp turmeric; 1tsp

garam masala. For the gravy: 1 onion, minced;

1tbsp tomato purée; 2 tomatoes, chopped; 3

cloves garlic, chopped; ½ tsp fenugreek leaf (or

½ tsp ground fenugreek); ½tsp turmeric; 1tsp

ground cumin; 1tsp ground coriander; ½tsp

chilli powder; salt; 150g frozen peas. For the

tarka: 2tsbp butter; 1 clove garlic, sliced; ½tbsp

grated ginger; 1 fresh green chilli, sliced


Cover the soaked split peas in three times

their volume of water, add turmeric and garam

masala and parboil for 20 minutes or until the

lentils are soft and their liquid reduced by half.

Discard any foam that forms on top and add

salt to taste. To make the gravy: fry the onions

and garlic until soft, add ground spices and salt

and fry for one minute before adding both fresh

and puréed tomatoes. When the cooking oil

starts to separate from the tomato gravy, add

the split peas and their water and simmer until

the liquid is further reduced by half. Shortly

before serving, stir in the peas. Melt butter in a

pan and gently fry garlic, ginger and chilli and

drizzle over the hot dal. Serve with chapatti and

fresh onion salad.

As told to Chloë King

Robin van Creveld runs a range of courses both

at and away from his Community Kitchen on

North Street and on 16th Feb is co-hosting an

event for the British Dal Festival in Lewes. See and




mixed salad or dessert

with any full priced

adult pizza

Mon-Thurs 1700-2200

Fri and Sat 1200-2200

Eastgate Street

Lewes BN7 2LP

(Old bus station)

01273 470755

For you and your guest when you

dine between February 1st-28th

(excluding 14th)




The Royal Oak

Flourishing fish

Sometimes I get carried away. In a menu-browsing fervour, I excitably

ordered battered fish for both courses. Once the dust had settled, I

worried that my single-minded choices wouldn’t do justice to the

breadth of options available from The Royal Oak. However, thankfully,

they merrily delivered – with their tasty take on the pub staple

fish form.

I ordered The Royal Oak house bitter from the bar, a smooth brown

ale. My fish adventure began with beer battered calamari: a generous helping of chunky, distinct squid

in a crisp, dark coating, and there was a nice tang to the sweet chilli sauce (£6). A far cry from the prevalent

standards of rubbery fish in sad pale gloss.

My guest plumped for hummus, olives & pitta (£5.50): we both enjoyed the creamy and garlicky dip,

and also appreciated the benevolent bartender who gave us more bread at no extra cost.

The fish main was fresh and flaky, matched by some well-cooked, fluffy-on-the-inside and crisp-onthe-outside

chips (£12.50). My guest’s shiitake mushroom & roasted garlic risotto (£11.50) was rich and

truffley, a feat that’s apparently difficult to achieve in vegan cooking, so another culinary tick there.

After two large courses we opted to skip dessert, happy to lounge in the spacious and relaxed environs,

sampling some of their wide-ranging herbal tea selection whilst playing Scrabble (a welcome find).

Joe Fuller 3 Station Street,

Photo by Joe Fuller

Fresh and

Seasonal Sussex





Creating stronger

communities and

a more sustainable

local economy

Find out more about

the food you buy, direct

from the farmers and


1st & 3rd Saturday

Every Month

9am-1pm, Cliffe Precinct


With recommendations in both the Michelin

and Good Food Guides, The Jolly Sportsman in

East Chiltington is widely renowned for its

excellent standard of food and wine, cosy fire

and stunning location.

In February they are offering Viva readers two

main courses for the price of one from their

à la carte menu on any Tuesday, Wednesday

or Thursday (excluding February 14 th ).

Minimum of two courses, not including sides.

Booking essential. Please mention this voucher

when booking and bring it along with you.

01273 890400





Edible updates

Big congrats to Bun +

Bean who have announced

the opening

of their second outlet,

at Soulfit. The

café will be run

by lovely Hannah

of Hannah’s

Van, who’ll still

be trading from her

van at weekend footie

matches and events. Great

to start the year with good news!

On Feb 1st, Lewes Football Club is hosting

their inaugural Spirit of the Pan Festival

of Beer Wine & Gin. This will include 17

beers, 5+ gins and several local wines, plus

the £5 entry gets you a free Special Edition

glass, bargain.

Also new this year is Dal Club – an event

I’m hosting with Chloe Edwards of Seven

Sisters Spices for the British Dal Festival.

With Robin Van Creveld (see, too, Recipe,

page 68), Elisa Furci and Jacob Fodio

Todd, we’ll be holding a supper club at All

Saints Centre on Sat 16th. See Instagram.

com/lewesdalclub for details of all events.

On Feb 11th, the Paint Club promises a

relaxed evening of painting, socialising and

drinks at Fuego Lounge, and The Feature

Kitchen will deliver a delicious Turkish

feast on weekends from 8th and 9th Feb.

Our Reader Offers include a 2 for 1 offer at

The Jolly Sportsman; Côte are offering a

free bottle of wine; and Wingrove House

10% off. Lastly, the superb Flint Barns

Wine Club, serving up wines beloved of

the Rathfinny team, promises a memorable

Valentine’s at £65/head.

Personally, I’m holding out for a cartload

from Bonne Bouche…

Chloë King

Illustration by Chloë King


The Pelham arms



Best Burgers

for Miles

Home of

ABYSS Brewing

Award Winning

Sunday Roasts



Great Venue for


Children and

Dog Friendly





FOOD 12 NOON TO 2.30PM & 6 TO 9.30PM



FOOD 12 NOON TO 2.30PM & 6 TO 9.30PM


BAR 12 NOON TO 10.30PM






This month, photographer Torz Dallison went round to people’s

houses. Each of our subjects has a real eye for colour – Jo Jackson

of The Lewes Home blog (, and pictured below)

kindly put us in touch with them. Torz asked each:

What’s your favourite colour?

Jo Jackson

“Scarlet, I’m always drawn to the bright orange-tinged

shade of red for its fiery, passionate intensity!”


Sharon Makgill

“Neon pink.”


Jonnie Bassett

“Emerald Green.”


Samantha Stas

“Muted pink, the colour of Germolene”

J M Furniture Ltd


Bespoke custom made furniture and kitchens.

We welcome commissions of all sizes and budgets.

01273 472924 |


Photos by Katie Moorman

Peter Messer

Making his own marks

Walking round to Peter Messer’s studio on a

winter-lit morning is rather like walking through

one of his magical paintings – especially when

he’s the figure perched at the end of it. I hugely

enjoy our encounter. He’s fascinating on the

subject of art, life, self and town. On his process.

He talks about how the little knot of Lewes he

often concentrates on (which also happens to be

where I live) has layers: both physically (it’s very

hilly) and historically; as well, of course, as personally

– as his days, years, decades unfold here.

I love the titles of his paintings – ‘A Very Human

Scream’; ‘Trough People’; ‘Panic in the

Farmers’ Market’ – and was struck to learn that

a painting often starts, for Peter, with a word or

phrase. (When we talk about this, he uses the

word “sidelong” – “a sidelong phrase in a book”,

he says. It’s a word which seems to me quintessentially

Messer – even as he slides off into the

world of working-on-one-of-his-paintings…)

And yes, he loves books. He has, he says, been

a “habitual reader – reading every day” since

childhood. But it’s paint he turns to to tell his

own stories: “I can deal with narrative quite happily

in a painting.”

His studio is in Paddock Art Studios in Paddock

Lane. His daily commute consists, famously, of

a five-minute stroll up Castle Lane and down

the other side. “I’ve spent time in Lewes for

fifty years”, he says. “I went to school here, and

moved in to live in the 1980s. Being here, I’m

very aware of the layers of time, and how my





own life has changed within

the town.”

He shares a “throwaway line”

from a writer whose work he

loves: Kate Atkinson. The

line? “There is another world

and it’s this one”. He also

recalls a 1970s TV adaptation

of Cider with Rosie: a boy

Laurie Lee, a little drunk on

cider, skitters past a man who

turns to look back at him over

his shoulder. The man, too, is

Laurie Lee.

“I’ve always been self-absorbed”,

Peter Messer smiles.

He talks about how he’s always

noticed: that he observes himself

even as he lives through

(grim, and other) times. And

Lewes is a great microcosm”.

Most of all, he’s wrapped up

in the physical, actual process

“of making something really

work” – and that’s from the

raw ingredients. He himself

makes the gesso panels on

which he paints, and the tempera

paint, from raw pigment

which he mixes with egg yolk.

“It was a breakthrough for me,

in my twenties, after Art College,

to discover the medium.

The minute I started using

tempera, I found I could make

my own marks.”

He talks about the “white, flat

ground” of the gesso base, and

how he – and it – works with

layers; how sometimes he adds

“big, broad-brush glazes”.

How the figures – often

solitary, or huddled in groups

– appear, and how he also likes

“the environment to do some

of the work”. And he acknowledges

the vital role of humour.

“Life’s far too serious”, says

Peter Messer, “not to laugh

at”. Charlotte Gann


Because every life is unique

…we are here to help you make your

farewell as personal and individual as possible,

and to support you in every way we can.

Inc. Cooper & Son

42 High Street, Lewes

01273 475 557

Also at: Uckfield • Seaford • Cross in Hand








Wills + Estate


Lasting Powers

of Attorney

Chrismas Ogden Solicitors Limited, Howard Cottage, Broomans Lane, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2LT.

Web Telephone 01273 474159

Fax 01273 477 693 Email

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm


Anna Starmer

Colour forecaster, author and photographer

I have been a colour forecaster for over 20

years. After graduating from Chelsea College

of Art, I worked in a Textile Design studio, as

the knitwear designer. I found that I loved the

process of creating new ideas more than I did

the garment design. I then began working as an

independent colour consultant to high street

brands, creating seasonal mood boards and

colour direction.

Several clients asked if I could create a

trend book so, while I was on maternity leave,

I made the first Luminary Colour book, by hand.

It is now a biannual inspirational colour bible.

The 20th edition – Autumn/Winter 2020 –

comes out this February. It sells to brands like

M&S, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis, Ercol Furniture,

and Anthropologie, whose design teams use it

in their planning.

I travel somewhere different for each season

and use photography to gather colours and

ideas. I’m constantly taking photographs on

my iPhone or with my camera. I don’t use too

much equipment – I like shooting with natural

light – and find that my Nikon D810 gives me

a real vibrancy of colour. I also collect treasures

as I go along. It could be anything: a piece of

fabric, a little bowl which is a beautiful colour.

I use these items like a colour recipe, and work

closely with a dye house to match each shade

onto Luminary Colour fabric swatches.

Photos by Anna Starmer



Photos by Anna Starmer



Each Luminary book contains 60 new

colours, matched to both fabric and paper

for perfect technical colour communication

within the design industry. The photography

and storytelling brings these colours to life

for my clients. I suggest how to use each

in a fashion sense, in an interior sense, the

different proportions, what should be the

main colour, and what to use as accents.

Then I look at different surfaces and

textures to show how they change through

creating still life photographic images.

I enjoy this aspect of my work more

and more, and increasingly work with

brands to plan future colour directions

and to visualise the products through

photography. I recently worked with

the Dualit brand, creating a colour

range called New Neutrals, I loved both

designing the colours, as well as styling and

photographing the campaign.

Ten years ago, I wrote a consumer

book called The Colour Scheme Bible:

a manual for home decorators on how to

put colours together. It’s stood the test of

time, selling nearly half a million copies

worldwide, inspiring both the at-home

decorator and those in the design industry.

My latest book, Love Colour, is full of

useful and practical advice, and it uses

inspiring photography of beautiful homes

from around the world to spark ideas. We

can be overwhelmed by the colour choices

on offer, and so Love Colour suggests ways

to be a little more confident with colour at

home. Go out and collect colours that you

love, take photographs, make mood boards.

Find your inspiration and then create a

home in which you love to live.

As told to Lizzie Lower

Luminary Colour is available through

specialist Trend Book Agencies. Love Colour was

published Ivy Press in Nov 2018 and is

available online and at all good bookstores.

Photos by Anna Starmer



Colour therapy

In the pink (and blue and green…)

When Norwich City painted

its away changing room pink

this summer, BBC Sport

reported that the measure

was supposedly to reduce

opponents’ testosterone


But can colour really affect

us physically?

“Colours definitely have

a physical effect on us,”

maintains colour therapist Theresa Sundt, who

teaches and practises in East Sussex. “Light and

colour are the same energy, as light diffuses

into the seven colours. It’s scientifically proven

that light is necessary for our wellbeing, and it

replenishes us, like recharging a battery. The

different colours correspond to different wavelengths,

and act to stimulate different hormones

in the body. To work properly, the body needs to

be exposed to all the colours of the spectrum.”

The therapeutic use of colour dates back to

ancient Egypt, Greece, China and India, but

the concept was further developed in the 20th

century, when Einstein’s energy theories gave it

fresh support. “We have a measurable electromagnetic

field, and the mitochondria in our

cells need to be replenished by light,” Theresa

explains. “We are made of energy, and we need

energy to function.”

That colours have particular properties feels

intuitive, so most people would agree that

red is ‘warming’ and blue is ‘cool’. Red is also

associated with passion and danger, while blue

– apparently the most popular colour – is relaxing.

Yellow is seen as optimistic; green restful;

orange ‘fun’; and violet spiritual. Black – the

absence of colour – is thought sophisticated

or sinister, and white (which contains all other

Painting by Freddy Callf

colours) is pure and clinical.

What’s more, it seems there

is scientific support for those

views. In 1996, the British

Medical Journal reported

that red, yellow and orange

placebo tablets had a more

stimulating effect than blue

or green pills, which were

considered more tranquillising.

The calming effect of

blue has also been demonstrated in cities such as

Glasgow and Tokyo, where the introduction of

blue street lighting was found to reduce crime.

‘Stimulating’ red, meanwhile, was discovered

in a 2011 study to speed up people’s reaction

times; while there’s also the well known example

of prisons painting cells ‘emasculating’ pink to

reduce violence among inmates, based on US

research from the seventies (presumably studied

by Norwich City’s manager).

So far, so intriguing. But how do we apply

colour therapy to our own lives?

Theresa has some suggestions: “You can wear a

particular colour, or introduce it into your home

with a cushion or some flowers. You can also

solarise water, by wrapping a glass in coloured

cellophane and leaving it in the sun for a few

hours – you’ll be amazed how you can taste the

difference between red and blue!”

She also advocates ‘colourpuncture’: the use of

a small torch with interchangeable coloured

lenses, which can be shone onto specific therapeutic

points on the body.

“The best thing to do is to go for colours that

‘speak’ to you,” concludes Theresa. “Every

colour tells you something – you just need to

listen.” Anita Hall


Lewes Town & Country

Residential Sales & Lettings

Land & New Homes

T 01273 487444


Property of the Month Lewes £895,000

A contemporary riverside property with expansive open living space with south/west facing balcony offering a stunning

outlook across the river and neighbouring nature reserve. The first floor offers two large double bedrooms both with en-suite

bathrooms and views over the river. Useful lower floor with further shower room, ancillary room ideal as an office or

occasional room. The property further benefits from an allocated parking space. EPC - TBC

Laughton £1,250,000

Stunning detached contemporary conversion in a village location.

Finished with the highest attention to detail. At over 2,800sq.ft. this

unique home offers a double height open plan living space with

designer kitchen opening onto south facing sun terrace. Parking

for several cars, timber garage with excellent office area. EPC: TBC

Lewes £899,950

Contemporary 4 bedroom town houses in central Lewes. Open

living space on the ground floor with state of the art kitchen

opening on to terrace with far reaching views. Designed to the

highest standard, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and terraces. Benefits

from allocated parking and useful historic Vault space. EPC – TBC

Twineham from £750,000

Partridges is an exciting new development of 3 luxury, 4 bedroom,

3 bathroom “Sussex Style” houses in the picturesque setting of

the village of Twineham. Each house benefits from a covered

car port, a good sized garden with patio and the peace of

mind of a 10 year Build-Zone new homes warranty. EPC TBC

Lewes from £429,950

A selection of 2 & 3 bedroom contemporary newly converted

town houses. Beautifully finished throughout with state of the

art kitchens with solid wood work tops and a selection of

NEFF, Hotpoint and branded appliances. Engineered wood

flooring and luxury bathrooms & shower rooms. EPC – TBC


Illustration by Mark Greco


You can’t start a fire without a spark

It’s around about now that I start getting a bit

bored of winter. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a

bit of bleak beauty: bare trees, frosted landscapes

and all that. But now I need something to get

my heart racing. I’m searching for a sign – some

life in the graveyard of winter, a promise of those

dynamic spring months ahead, a flash of colour.

In February my light at the end of the tunnel is

an oncoming butterfly.

On sculpted, vibrant yellow wings the Brimstone

makes his elegant entrance into the New Year

on those bright February days when you feel the

warmth of the sun on your face. Its distinctive

yellow wings have given birth to a legend – that

this ‘butter-coloured fly’ inspired the word butterfly.

This claim may be wishful thinking and so

is my hope that these February Brimstones are

the first signs of this year’s new life. By the time

Brimstones fly in February they are already on

their last (six) legs.

Fresh Brimstone butterflies emerged from their

chrysalises in late summer, so by February they

could be seven months old – and in butterfly

years that’s ancient. Admittedly almost all that

time they’ve been asleep in a hedge, sheltered

from the storms under holly and ivy. Yet despite

the worst winter weather, they always emerge

immaculate in the spring. They must be made

of Teflon.

When they awake the (bright yellow) males

search for a mate, they mate, the (pale yellow)

females lay eggs and then both die. Still, an adult

life of over ten months earns them the title of

our longest lived butterfly. An insect OAP.

The Brimstone’s caterpillars feed on the leaves

of buckthorn and alder buckthorn, unobtrusive

shrubs which, like the butterfly, are widespread

across Sussex. When I first became the proud

owner of a garden it was only a matter of days

before I evicted the gnomes and planted an alder

buckthorn. The following spring I was excited to

watch a Brimstone laying her tiny skittle-shaped

eggs and I studied the caterpillars as they hungrily

defoliated my tree. It’s funny, people often

complain to me about caterpillars eating their

plants – especially cabbages (the food of Small

and Large White caterpillars). Why people are

concerned is beyond me. Cabbages are horrible.

The only reason I would ever plant a cabbage

is for the pleasure of watching something else

eat it.

The first Brimstone sighting in February doesn’t

exactly mean that spring is starting but it’s

certainly a sign that winter is starting to end.

And right now that’s good enough for me. Either

way this yellow butterfly is a welcome messenger

of what’s to come – the first sulphurous spark to

ignite the blaze of spring.

Michael Blencowe, Senior Learning & Engagement

Officer, Sussex Wildlife Trust











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Fran Alonso

New Lewes Women’s FC Manager

Back in 2007, aged 32, Fran

Alonso had a “pretty good

job” as a landscape gardener

for Alcorcon City Council in

Madrid. “But I really wanted

to be a football manager,

and I wanted to do it in the

best league in the world, the

Premier League.”

He moved to England and

became a cleaner in a sports

hall in Bournemouth.

I meet him in his new office,

overlooking the Dripping

Pan pitch, on his first day of

work as manager of Lewes

FC Women’s team, and I can see why the Lewes

board chose him from a very strong shortlist of

candidates. He is a hugely enthusiastic man.

“I couldn’t speak a word of English when I

arrived, so it took me a while to get going,” he

says, now quickfire fluent. “First I became a

referee, for amateur games, as a way to help me

learn the language of football.” He took coaching

badges, and any volunteer coaching job he

could, including managing the Southampton

Foundation kids’ team, which turned out to be

his big break.

“Southampton FC, in their first season in

the Premiership, spent £13 million on the

Uruguayan player Gaston Ramirez, who didn’t

speak a word of English. They needed a translator

for him, and quickly. Full-time. I had to drop

everything else. It took me about 30 seconds to

say ‘yes’.”

A second break came when Southampton FC

signed a new Argentinian manager, Mauricio

Pochettino. Fran was asked to translate for

him – both in the changing room and at press

Photo by Alex Leith

conferences. Pochettino was

impressed with his commitment

and he asked him to

become part of his technical


In the intervening years his

CV has only got stronger.

Pochettino’s successor

Ronald Koeman kept him

on as an assistant coach.

Koeman then took him with

him when he was poached by

Everton. When Koeman left

last season, Sam Allardyce

kept his services. And all this

time – as a volunteer – Fran

continued to manage/coach three different

Ladies’ teams, including Everton Ladies. “I was

working 90, 120 hours a week.”

In the summer new Everton manager Mauro

Silva announced that he was bringing his own

staff with him, and Fran was, suddenly, surplus

to requirements. “That’s football,” he says.

“There was no hard feeling.”

Hence his availability for the Lewes job. I can’t

help wondering if, after plying his trade at the

top level of the game for five years, this new job

at the Dripping Pan doesn’t seem like a step

down for him. “A lot of people have said that,

but I don’t see it that way,” he says. “I really love

the ambition at this club, and I love what they

are doing with Equality FC. I started following

Lewes long before I knew about the job. It is an

opportunity for me to grow, and for Lewes FC

to grow, too. I am very excited.”

He still wants to become a Premiership manager

– eventually. “People still laugh at me when I say

that, but not as much as they did ten years ago.”

Alex Leith



By the time you pick up this magazine, Alistair

Fleming, the upmarket bespoke kitchen cabinetry

company, should have completed their move

around the corner to Cliffe High Street. I’m

given the lowdown by Dougal Fleming, who

I bump into in the Cliffe (always a pleasure).

Expect it to be top spec, and stylishly designed,

with input from Helene and Adele from Freight.

Their showroom will have four different sections,

featuring styles to suit the more conservative as

well as the more innovative-minded of customers,

with a client consultation room behind, he

tells me.

Wandering up School Hill, I can’t help but notice

a six-foot wooden daffodil, which alerts me to an

A-board notifying the arrival in town of Narnia’s

Wardrobe in the basement area in front of

Abigail’s Drapery. For the first time, I go down

there, and find myself in a colourful, larger-thanyou’d-imagine

space shared by three businesses.

Abigail, of course, makes and mends, as you’d

imagine from the name on the tin, and she shows

me round (the others having popped out). Regal

England is a restored furniture place – largely

period chairs – run by Bobby who used to own

a place in Battle. Narnia’s Wardrobe has been

started up by Lewes returnee Amelia, who sources

and sells designer clothes. There are racks of

jackets, shirts and jeans by the likes of Paul Smith,

Diesel and Armani, with marked-down prices

that still tend to hit three figures. I’m particularly

taken by a pair of Dolce & Gabbana dungarees,

for some reason.

There’s not much churn at the Needlemakers,

though the smallest space in the basement is up

for grabs, as seamstress Suzie has moved her business

back to hometown Worthing. Upstairs I chat

to Sharon in Popsicle (see too page 74), perhaps

the most on-theme shop in town (though

Marchand Son must be in the running) who

shows me that she’s stocking the new book Love

Colour, by Anna Starmer (see page 83).

The jeweller David Smith, a sign tells me, is

moving on from his shop on the High Street. I

wander in to investigate, and am put through to

him on the phone: he’s “moving sideways”, he

tells me, to set up a workshop at home, concentrating

on bespoke jewellery. The shop will

probably be open till April (“or until stock runs

out”) after which he’s going on a “long summer

holiday”. Best of luck to him.

Finally, I pay a visit to the Phoenix Industrial

Estate, where I witness the first stages of its

‘phase one’ demolition: a Hughes and Salvidge

truck is shifting rubbish from the back of what

was once the Café des Artistes, opposite Tesco.

But does this demolition work necessarily mean

that we are nearer to anything being built there?

Watchdogs Lewes Eye suggest the owners are

simply implementing the terms of their planning

permission before it runs out in May, to avoid

having to reapply. Time will tell: meanwhile the

area, barbed-wired and boarded up, has a dangerous

derelict look about it. Alex Leith



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Photo courtesy of Edward Reeves


“Dad had a real head for heights,” says Tom

Reeves, telling me about this picture of his

father, Edward M Reeves, taken in Newhaven

in 1963. “He was photographing the construction

of the Sealink Terminal, on this ladder,

attached to this crane. He must be at least 30

feet in the air.” As you can see, he was wearing

no harness, and “the camera he was using, a

Rolleiflex, needed both hands to operate it, so

there wasn’t much opportunity to hang on.”

He came back down for a break after a while,

it seems, and while he was on the ground, the

crane twisted, and the ladder snapped in half.

He wanted to take more pictures, but how

would he complete the shoot? “He arranged

to be swung out over the harbour in a bucket

suspended from the crane,” continues Tom,

who admits to having no head for heights

himself. “This was okay, until the bucket

started spinning!”

Tom’s son Isaac has obviously grown up on

such stories of his grandfather’s derring-do,

and decided to make this picture – originally

shot in black and white – part of a ‘colourisation’

project he’s working on.

It’s not an easy process, he tells us. “There’s

not really an easy way to colourise an image,

short of sinking hours of time into it. It’s a

matter of building up hundreds of colour layers,

and every different colour section has to

be masked out manually; currently there’s no

good automated way to do this.

“I think the reason why colourisation appeals

to people so much is that it adds a new

dimension to an image – while black and white

photography certainly has its place, colour can

make it easier for people to make a connection

to the image, especially with older photographs

where colour images just don’t exist

of that time. The recent colourised film They

Shall Not Grow Old by Peter Jackson has really

helped to change this.”

Back to 1963: I ask Tom if his father was successful

in his attempt to fulfil his commission,

which would nowadays, presumably, be taken

using a drone. I needn’t have doubted. “He got

his shot,” says Tom. “He always did.”

Alex Leith

Thanks, as ever, to Reeves, 159 High Street,

01273 473274. Contact Isaac with an original

b&w image for a quote on colourisation



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