Jimper’s Jottings


A stroll around Rye today is completely different from the same walk fifty years ago. Today you have to look in the window or at the sign above to know what they sell. In my young days you knew where you were by the smell. Every shop had a distinctive aroma. No, not musty pongs, but a real smell of what they traded in. Butchers had a smell of meat and sawdust. Pubs could be detected by the smell of tobacco and stale ale. Clothes shops had a smell of newness, that’s the best I can describe it as but it was unmistakable.

Green Grocers sniffed of fresh fruit and veg., the Garden of England indoors. Ironmongers had a metallic, oily whiff. Grocers smelled of fresh roasted coffee and bacon. Today, with ventilation and air conditioning they all seem to smell the same.

Writing this on 10 July amid tropical heat I worked out this is the thirty-third day of no measurable rainfall.

If we have no rain over the next two weeks or so the corn harvest will suffer. I am old enough to have seen summers like this before and I have learned that nature always makes good. I did forecast this type of weather back in the February “Rye’s Own” as after a very cold, long winter, we usually get a good summer.

Rainfall seems to be the big issue this year. We have heard very little from the voices predicting Global Warming in the last eight months but I bet we soon will if this weather carries on into August.

Rye seems to have got its act together this year with no major events clashing with each other.

Reading Arthur Woodgate’s article last month about the loss of the sailing smack “Pert” and realising that Arthur’s recollection of the local name of the tidal river banks of ‘pulsing’ was close but not close enough to find in ‘Collins Dictionary’. The name he is searching for is puzzling. No wonder Arthur was puzzled by not finding it in the dictionary. Sorry Arthur, I could not resist the pun. If you look down on the tidal marsh from the air or hill, you will find that the gutters that drain the water from the land leave the area looking like a jigsaw puzzle. Arthur nearly got it right and I and expect he hasn’t heard it described as puzzling for many a year. Today its all called salt marsh to sell the sheep that graze there as the meat from them is thought by many to have a better taste.

(It may be that Arthur did have the correct name and I could have misinterpreted it from his original handwritten article. I must confess I have never heard the salt marsh described as ‘puzzling’ and am very impressed by Jimper’s superior knowledge. Ed.)

The smack “Pert” was on the ground where Mr. Gall eventually built a motor repair garage. The old building, a wooden construction 50′ by 20′ was taken down by my father and erected on our farm, where we used it for storing bales of hay right up to the late sixties.

My Aunt used to work at Mr. Gall  doing the book-keeping.

Rye’s Own February 2011