WHISPERING SMITH: Take a trip and wake up to smell the C of E

I AM not a religious man, but old churches seem to hold some sort of fascination and magic for me and I visit all that I find.

In many, you can feel the history, smell it, actually, it shouts at you and, on just a few occasions, it tempts one into believing that just about anything is possible.

Wander the country, yes, but sometimes you may have to look closer to home and I have recently visited Clapham, Buncton and Tortington churches. Clapham gives you that feeling and Buncton (Wiston) most certainly does.

Tortington, for some unexplainable reason, not so much, but travel a mile or so down the road to St Andrew by-the-ford at Ford and the history whispers at you, demands that you listen, engulfing you as soon as you walk through the door.

Tortington’s graveyard looks as if it has been hit by a storm of weed killer, while at its Ford neighbour, the rye grass is a resplendent growth around the headstones and perhaps that is the difference between the two, a feeling of originality hard to define but easy to absorb, makes you feel a higher power seems almost inevitable.

THE M.V. Belle has returned to Littlehampton and launched the summer season with a trip up to Arundel on the pick of summer days.

In the sunshine, swans with cygnets, egrets, cormorants and oyster catchers watched her progress from the river and low-water mud banks.

The Belle is available for private parties as well as the casual traveller and she should be a big attraction with visitors to our fair town.

Pre-bookings are available and a notice board of sailing times will be on the railings close by to the Empress Restaurant and Bar.

I felt a bit like Bogey riding a very upmarket African Queen, bought a new hat in Arundel and got a sunburned nose. No bounds to my imagination or my certifiable need to collect brimmed hats.

IF THE ‘cycling is forbidden’ notices in the pedestrian precinct are not going to be returned, the message could be painted on the ground at each end of the precinct.

That suggestion came from one of the police community support officers, so perhaps she should be heard.

I heard her, so listen up, West Sussex County Council.