One day a Sussex man found a hat in the middle of the road when he was returning home from the pub. Imagine his surprise when upon lifting the hat he found a man's head beneath it. Digging down further he then discovered the man to be wearing spurs, deeper again said man was mounted on a horse...such was the dreadful reputation of the mud which blighted the would be traveller trying to traverse the county. Indeed Dr John Buxton in 1751 surmised that all the people and animals in Sussex were particularly long legged and this was purely down to the effort needed to pull their ankles out of the quagmire which stretched their bones and muscles. The "Sussex Butter" of January is infamous...somehow "a regular honey pot of a lane" sounds so much more charming than a muddy lane!
One of the pluses of all this mud is that there is a veritable treasure trove of words to describe the stuff in the Sussex dialect.... please allow me to leave with you with a few choice examples. If you rebrand your mucky boots with one of these adjectives perhaps you may feel a little more inclined to give them a good clean! Cledgy, gawm, pug, slabby, sleech, slommocky, stabble and stodge to get you started! I am pleased to report that we meanwhile made it home safely.