It's been a quiet year for social naturists in East Sussex, my adopted country out there on the edge of the English Channel. That is apart from the thunder and hail!
When I decided to finally put on some clothes and go to the garden centre three miles away the plants were unusually all freshly watered and startingly green - a big change from the great April drought when we all thought summer was coming.
The end of the lockdown has pushed our vision forward to Midsummer's Day, when we are hoping our new life will start.
We got a good start as St Mary's church has a new vicar and the church hall gave us the thumbs up to restart our naked exercise classes on May 19th.
The big news in our village is that 'Keep Britain Tidy' - a campaign started the year before I was born - has invited the Parish Council to consider setting up a litter picking group. Hopefully a the bottom tier of government in England works slightly faster than the top tier so that, unlike the report from the recently announced public inquiry into the Covid pandemic, I hope the litter picking group will get set up before the election in 2024.
But the BIG NEWS for East Sussex Naturists is that the uncertainty over our Sunday swim, that has been held for the last 35+ years, is over. We have to swim later, so we start at 6 p.m. on Sunday 30th May and have swims on the 6th, 20th and 27th June. By that time we hope the sea will have warmed up or the route to the Mediterranean has been re-opened.
The big news for the East Sussex Coastal BHF fund raising group is that the Naked Heart Walk which had to be postponed last year is all geared up to run this year on 3rd July and new registrations continue to come in as we try to clear our hundred nude walkers target. Weather they will be nude on the day will be determined in the heavens of course, but we will be making offerings at the sacred river as frequently as we can.
Our other focus is on our new event - an English safari on a rewilded estate of some 3,500 acres just 44 miles from the centre of London. With true British fortitude and stoicism and un-Britishly completely naked, we will forgo the Land Rover and stalk the game on foot. Dispensing with all but shoes, we hope to surprise the Tamworth pigs, spot the 'purring' turtle doves and find the elusive hedgehog. Maybe we will even find one of the 27 species of dung beetle that keep the place clean. Of course top of the list will be a sighting of the reintroduced white storks. These birds are particularly associated with Sussex and the village of Storrington is named after them. Wheeling about overhead these Polish birds call to mind their compatriots contribution to the Battle of Britain in similar skies.
‘There’s something so magical and charismatic about white storks, when you see them wheeling around in the sky, and I love their association with rebirth and regeneration. They’re the perfect emblem for rewilding. A symbol of hope.' Isabella Tree.
Well, that’s the news from Eastbourne and Rye, where the women are shy, the men like to be naked and the children are mainly good.