Kingston-near-Lewes

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South Downs Way © Christopher Somerville
Views from the South Downs © Christopher Somerville
Views from the South Downs © Christopher Somerville

A sad-faced mermaid adorns the sign outside The Juggs at Kingston-near-Lewes. Inside this tile-hung, low-beamed and horse-brassy village inn under the South Downs, a typical Sussex pub, the bars were alive with chatter and rumbling with cheerful laughter.

I sat finishing my sandwich, watching two near-identical kinsmen entirely absorbed in their conversation opposite one another at the window table. The fire was hot on my cheeks, the beer fruity in the glass. Could I brace myself to shift out into the nipping afternoon air? Hmmm ...

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