Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lamb and Woolf - 25 June 2011

After weeks of miserable weather, the Met Office were promising a heat wave for the weekend. This was too good to waste, so we took a couple of hours off work on Friday afternoon, and set off for Eastbourne on the South Coast.

The first thing we learnt, was traffic on the M25 is appalling on Friday afternoons, and we crawled along in a very tedious manner. Eastbourne was freezing cold when we reached it, but were reassured by the fact that the heat wasn't due to build up until Saturday. The hotel we had booked was right on the seafront, and I suspect, in common with many there, was stuck in a delightful time warp of how England used to be.

Meals were basic home cooking, just as our mothers used to do 50 years ago. The host had an endless supply of jokes, and could talk for England. But the sea view from our room was great and, in a perverse way, rather enjoyed the very different, non-slick, experience.

Saturday started grey, but the day was supposed to clear, and reach a high of 25 C, with a warm summery evening. We certainly got the improving day, but the mild evening was a myth.

Our idea was to do a walk in the morning, while the day got around to warming up. The walk started in Robertsbridge which was such a delightful town, we had to explore it before starting the walk. After completing the walk, we had a drink at the Seven Stars Inn, which is apparently the oldest hostelry in the country. It used to house the workers building the Abbey in 1194. The Abbey ruins are passed on the walk, but the Pub still survives.

From here we went to Rye. This has to be one of our favourite towns, and this time we wanted to visit Lamb House, the home of Henry James. He entertained most of the notable people of his day in literary circles.

We continued with the literary theme, and went west of Eastbourne to visit the country home of Virginia Woolf. Set at the back of a secluded village, it must have been a wonderful spot to get away from everything and write. Her bedroom and writing studio have been kept just as it was when she lived there.

After dinner, we decided to support the Armed Forces weekend, by attending the concert in their honour, at the Redoubt Fortress, on the Eastbourne seafront. The Fortress is worth visiting on it's own account, in fact, we would have to be honest and say the venue was better than the orchestra, but they performed with great enthusiasm, even tacking the 1812 Overture as their finale. A guest piper was excellent, and despite the freezing fog rolling over the Fortress walls towards the end, we still enjoyed our evening. The warm summer evening never eventuated, and we actually wondered if a heat-wave was a figment of someone's imagination at the Met Office, as we woke up Sunday morning to Eastbourne blanketed in sea fog.

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