Chachalaca

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August colours...Brede Valley

From a very young age I have been used to collecting words. I have a Greek father who rejoices in using words like “assignation” and “fiduciary”, so these words slip easily in and out of my speech. Unfortunately, I’ve never had the heart to tell him that these are Latin words.

Last Second Wednesday I learned a lovely new word, this time courtesy of Michael Howard, our National Trust ranger: chachalaca. Unfortunately my chances of being able to casually drop this word into a sentence are very limited. It’s one of the 850 species of birds that you can see and hear in Costa Rica. It’s also known as the chicken bird and it forms part of the Ortalis group, from the Greek for “hen”. My father would be pleased.

Just one of the amazing facts that Michael dropped into his talk. He illustrated his lecture with the fabulous photos that he has taken on his journeys, ridiculously true to scale models, but most fun of all, recordings of their song.

And another fact: did you know that the iridescent plumage of the hummingbird has more colours in it than all other birds put together? Well you do now, courtesy of the Winchelsea Second Wednesday Society.

There was a last day of school feel to the afternoon. With this year’s speaker number two, Bill Doherty, and speaker number 5, Paul Youlten, also in attendance, we finished off the final part of our programme before the summer break.

But life in Winchelsea doesn’t stop just because we do. Our monthly church market is on August 6 at St Thomas’ and the Winchelsea summer fête is on Saturday, August 13. There will be the fun dog show, barbecue, stalls, games and the Hooe Silver Band will be playing. Our very own Charles Palmer, recently awarded as a Sussex winemaker protected designation of origin status, will be serving their delicious sparkling wines. The money raised on the day will go to the Rye Foodbank, Rother Responders, Rye Memorial Hospital and the New Hall.

Because it’s been such a dry year, midsummer colours have come early to the landscape. Gone are the fresh greens and the perfect lawns. Bleached yellows, golds and bronze dominate the parched views. The wildflower circles in the churchyard have settled perfectly into this August pallet.

We return on Wednesday, September 14 when we start the second half of our 2022 programme. Until then, enjoy the rest of the summer.

I’ll finish with not my words, or my father, but with those of our former Rye neighbour and resident of Lamb House, Henry James:
“Summer afternoon; summer afternoon. To me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

Image Credits: Natasha Robinson .

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