Friday, August 07, 2009

Sussex, part 5

Current work: en vacances
Listening to: too early for anyone else to be up yet
Reading: next on TBR (!)

On the Thursday, went to Battle to see the battlefield (i.e. 1066 – Harold vs William the Conqueror). Here, it looks so peaceful. You'd never think that this field was running with blood, 943 years ago.

We also enjoyed looking round the remains of the abbey.

I particularly liked the vaulting in the monks' common room.

And here, where the altar of the church once stood (take the "Henry VIII was a despoiler" rant as read), King Harold died. The stone marks the spot.

We wandered round the parish church a bit later and looked at the roll of people involved in the fight, and I was quite surprised to see Dad’s family name there. (However, this does not mean I am related to an old, distinguished family: on that side of the family, I've traced back 400 years and we are talking sons of the soil all the way.)

Then we went to Bodiam Castle – on the way there, we had about the only big rainstorm on the whole holiday, and it was over in ten minutes. Had a great time wandering round and climbing narrow (and very steep) spiral stairs. This is the view from the car park:

And here's the view from the entrance. (I do have a lot more pics from within, but that's with my castle geek hat on... so I won't inflict them on everyone here.)

As usual, we ended up by the sea in the evening before dinner; walked along the seafront at Hastings, then ate at Pevensey.

Pedometer reading: 17817 steps.

Friday was our last day in Sussex. With a long journey home due the next day, we decided to explore locally and went to Brighton. Saw the Pavilion from the outside but there was a huge queue to go inside; none of us could face waiting (it was blazingly hot), so we nipped into the museum next door instead. But I really would like to go back and explore properly, one day.

Then we strolled on the pier, and the kids and DH had a paddle in the sea. I wussed out because shingle beaches are so painful to walk on and the one at Brighton is steeply shelving – so I sat in the sun and watched them, letting my mind wander and musing on the gorgeous colour of the sea. This pic's from the pier: to me, this looks more like the South of France or Spain than England.

I'd love to know why the water looks so amazing on the south coast. Is it because there's more of a tide in the North Sea, or the fact that the beaches are (in the main) sand, that the sea in my part of the world always looks sand-coloured rather than like this?

Madam fulfilled a long-held ambition to go on one of the bungee trampolines, and loved every second of it. On the way back, we missed a turning with the satnav ('in 200 yards...' - and, 40 yards later, the turning has passed - why can't it just say 'next road on the left'?) and ended up on a really pretty route back to the cottage via Devil’s Dyke.

Pedometer reading: 15687 steps.

And then it was back home on the Saturday. On the way, we heard traffic news that owing to a lorry fire the M25 was closed between junctions 28 and 27 (just where we wanted to go) so we came off at J29 and nipped in to scrounge a cup of coffee from our favourite family.

I amused myself by pointing out places that are on the list for my Essex book, all the way down the A12. Obviously on the way back from holiday is NOT the time to do location shots (apart from that, I didn't have Pevsner or my annotated map with me because I have specific things in mind) but... DH has been warned.

'Maldon. Have you ever been there?' he mused.

Cough. Have I? I took my first steps there and we have cine film of it. And I walked there with DH and my bestest aunt, uncle and cousins, the afternoon DH decided to buy me an engagement ring...

Had a great time away but was lovely to be home again. Went out to dinner on the Saturday night, as it was our wedding anniversary, but am feeling rather restauranted-out. I was good and did NOT eat pud while I was away. We won’t mention the ice cream by the sea, though…

Sunday, picked up the dog and he was so pleased to be home. And I worked on the book as DH promised to do a BBQ and let me off kitchen duties. (I did, however, do the weekly shop, so the kitchen is stocked with healthy stuff rather than junk.)


Jan Jones said...

Oh, wow, how gorgeous is Bodiam Castle!

And the vaulting.

Is the sea that Mediterranean colour because it's shallow there and reflecting the sky? That's usually how you can tell how close you can bring a yacht into the land out in Greece. Deep blue - good. Turquoise - stuck.

Caroline said...

OK, *how* did you get pictures of Bodiam Castle without people in it?? Every time I've been there it's been crawling with sightseers!

(Hello, by the way, I think I wandered over here via Kate Walker's blog :o)

Caroline said...

Hi Kate. Echo Jan - Bodiam Castle is lovely! I must put that on my list of castles to visit. It reminded me of Hever castle in Kent - and how I spent a lovely day with dh there many a summer ago. I love Maldon (I call it Maldon -on - the - Mud!) I now live in north Wales but used to live in Essex and you've remided me how lovely it it was to wonder around such a historic place. Take care. Caroline x

Lori x said...

Lovely photo's Kate, it seems like you had a really lovely week. Happy anniversary by the way.
My dad's family are all from essex (Tiptree mainly) but Maldon, Mersea...they all hold lots of memories!

Nicola Cornick said...

What a fabulous tour, Kate! Thanks so much for sharing. I love Bodiam Castle and have always wanted my own moat. I've never been to the Brighton Pavilion either (shocking, I know) but would love to see it one day.

Nell Dixon said...

Belated happy anniversary. Love the vaulting pic - hard to tell but it looked early english?? not quite stellar??

Donna Alward said...

First of all I hate all of you who have visited castles of any sort. HUGE SIGH! I really need to win the lotto so I can take a half year and crawl around Europe.

You know what I thought of instantly when I saw that vaulting? A group of nuns wondering how to solve a problem like Maria.

And Kate - I hope hope hope you had whippy ice cream.

Shirley Wells said...

What gorgeous pics. Thanks for sharing. Bodiam Castle looks wonderful.

As for ice cream by the sea, it's obligatory... ;o)

Belated happy anniversary!

Lacey Devlin said...

So many gorgeous pictures, where do I start? They're just amazing! Honestly I'd love to be able to fit in your pocket and go with you!

Now I'm off to find some ice cream ;)

Diane said...

Thank you for the pictures, and well done on the steps. :o)

Kate Hardy said...

Jan, we loved Bodiam.

Thanks for the explanation - but the water's dark blue off Scroby Sands and that's swallowed ships whole...

Kate Hardy said...

Caroline - nice to meet you! It was two minutes after a huge rainstorm (the only one we got caiught in - well, we were in the car). And I think we were lucky that the sightseers were all still sheltering inside...

Kate Hardy said...

Caroline - Hever's lovely, too. I'd like to go back. (Isn't that the one with the maze with the water that squirts out if you step on the wrong slab? Or is that Leeds?)

Maldon has many happy memories for me, involving ice cream and roundabouts and toddling around with my parents.

Kate Hardy said...

Lori - thanks, we had a wonderful time.

Tiptree's also on my list (because of the abbey, though nowadays I guess it's more famous for jam). My lot are more Southend way.

Kate Hardy said...

Nicola - with you entirely re the moat. (Oxnead Hall in Norfolk is for sale. I need a lottery win or a really HUGE bestseller, like yesterday...)

Kate Hardy said...

Nell, thank you :o)

It's early English - very similar to the one in Rochester cathedral.

Kate Hardy said...

Donna - LOL. Maria would've been a problem because it wasn't a nunnery... :D

Whippy ice cream with a flake in it. AND local toffee ice cream. (Not both on the same day. I was a little restrained.)

Kate Hardy said...

Shirley - thank you. It was. We had a fabulous holiday (and I think switching our phones off might've helped just a little bit).

Kate Hardy said...

Lacey - glad you liked the pics. Enjoy the ice cream!

Kate Hardy said...

Diane - thanks. (And the whippy ice cream was on your behalf *g*)