SEAFORD AND CUCKMERE VALLEY 141
West Dean (about six miles from Eastbourne). The church here is Norman. The old Parsonage House of the fourteenth century abuts on the churchyard, and it is said that it was built by the monks of Wilmington.
At West Dean, in sweltering August sunshine, I strolled about, smoking a packet of Black Boy tobacco, purchased at the local grocer's, and trifling with time. Everybody else did something. I watched a farmer hanging red tiles on his barn—the tiles are first fitted with two little wooden pegs which catch on the rafters, and I understand that there is much skill needed to hang tiles in a correct manner. We may be certain that knowledge of this sort is older than ten thousand years.
The farmer and I drew into the inn later on. I noticed that his eye began to water for he could not abide my Black Boy tobacco, and I suppose his mouth watered (as mine did) when the large jug of beer was placed on the table.
Then we got upon the subject of dew-ponds, the brewing of ale, old songs, the laying of straw and thatching with reeds down Pevensey Marsh way. Such things go well with ale, and are immemorial, as Hilaire Belloc—a South Downs man—has written. I swapped old songs with the farmer.