Life in a VisitBritain poster

Jack and Jill Windmill Sussex TheBigForestThe day started at 6am high up on the Sussex Downs at Jack and Jill Windmill.

Jack or Jill Windmill Sussex TheBigForestLunch was at an ancient Inn called The Juggs and as we parked the Camper van we saw a sign, it was the day of the village fete.

The Villiage Fete 1 TheBigForestThe Villiage Fete 2 TheBigForestThe Villiage Fete 4 TheBigForestThe Villiage Fete 3 TheBigForestThe stalls were just as they should be, plants all jumbled together and worth a rummage, a bookstall where I found two of the 1950’s penguin children’s books I’ve been collecting for just 20p and a skittle alley with union jacks fluttering in a warm breeze.

The sun was bright and hot. It was the world of VisitBritain, cottages were thatched and friendly folk waved from farmhouse doorways. Well not quite but almost.

Then we drove through the Sussex countryside to The Bradness Gallery, it’s the home of two artists and their garden was open for charity. We were greeted by the owner who sorted my Mum out helping her over the gravel drive. Bradness Gallery Garden 1 TheBigForest

Bradness Gallery Garden 2 TheBigForestThe garden was perfect. Unbelievably perfect. There is a generosity of spirit in sharing such beauty with others and we appreciated the view as we sat under a tree and ate some mighty fine cake and drank tea with the smell of Philadelphus wafting in the breeze.Bradness Gallery Garden 6 TheBigForestBradness Gallery Garden 4 TheBigForestBradness Gallery Garden 5 TheBigForest

Bradness Gallery Garden 3 TheBigForestSo often there is a gap between the essence of place that tourist posters and websites attempt to portray and the reality. But yesterday we lived in tourist Britain, the Britain of calendars views and guidebooks, fetes and union jack bunting, of nice folk with cheery smiles and excellent cake for tea!  Fifteen hours of near perfection.


(If you are waiting for the ‘reveal’ of the puppet challenge it’s not forgotten, it’s just we can’t show you the pictures until the end of June when the images will be up on Clive Hicks-Jenkins Artlog alongside the other artists taking part! And soon there will be new ‘big work’ on Etsy too, and a magazine article about us……)

About TheBigForest

TheBigForest. A silly artist maker creating in felt and paper construction. Like us on Facebook: TheBigForest. Find us at Twitter : twitter/TheBigForestuk


  1. So homesick now… 16 weeks and counting until I’m back in Blighty, thanks for whetting my appetite!

  2. Too bad you can’t package this day and sell it to tourists! But that would probably ruin everything . . .

    • In our constant search for ways to make a living and actually enjoy it I have thought it would be fun to take small select groups of tourists around places you would never find without a local. Of course they would need a similar sense of wonder at the strange but Im sure there are plenty of folk who have that. There are lots of truely strange places in Brighton but in Sussex too – small fragments of beautiful Burne Jones stained glass in a church in the middle of the Downs (the rest was blown out by a stray flying bomb in 1944) that nobody knows about and a railway tunnel built like a castle with a cottage directly over where the trains run – it must have filled with steam when it was built in the Victorian era!

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