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Rickmav Trip Report Two Weeks in Kent & Sussex

Rickmav Trip Report Two Weeks in Kent & Sussex

Feb 7th, 2007, 01:13 PM
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Rickmav Trip Report Two Weeks in Kent & Sussex

Hello everyone. This is a continuation of our four-month trip to England and Italy (Sept�Dec., 2006). I have attached links for Yorkshire and Suffolk in case you are interested in some of the other things we did.

- Overview & Yorkshire: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34937079

- Suffolk: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34941319

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Part I � Sour Milk Floors, Kipling's Ticket to America and a Pub 'Round Every Corner.
--------------------------------------------

Left our self-catering cottage on Saturday (Sept. 30) from Beyton Suffolk for Owl Cottage in Jevington, East Sussex. It seemed as if everyone in England was on the road. Going towards London was the worst part, after London, it was better. Crossed the Thames at Dartford Crossing, it was quite an experience being caught in a traffic jam that high in the air. I didn't realize how wide the Thames River is.

Unfortunately, we're disappointed in our cottage rental. That happens so rarely for us in England that we were surprised. I think, in the end, the worst thing was the smell of cat urine. It didn't matter what we did, we couldn't disguise it. We even had the landlord come over and he was adamant that there was no smell, but my husband insisted, and he finally poured some strong chemical on the hallway rug that masked it for a few hours. Very frustrating.

The cottage description also did not mention that the building backed onto a horse farm, with the attendant smells and flies. The heating wasn't turned on until we insisted (it got quite cold at night), the smoke detector went off at all hours and when we complained to the agency, Hoseasons, we were told it was our word against the owners and they believed him. Oh well, can't have perfection all the time. We tried not to let it affect our holiday, just stayed away from the cottage as much as we could. (It cost us 333 pounds.)

Jevington is very small, with one pub. The village is near to Polegate, which has little charm, but the best library ever. Used the computers there to check e-mails, do some on-line banking and surf the Internet. The staff were wonderfully helpful and made us feel like part of the community. I just love libraries.

There was a boxed set of Agatha Christie DVDs in the cottage � with Miss Marple played by Margaret Rutherford, so we watched a few. Quite fun. I still think Joan Hickson was the best Marple. There's also some Monty Python DVDs, I'll have to watch them on my own since Rick, my husband, doesn't think they're funny. I love them. Some Black Adder and my life would be complete.

Started out early the next morning for Lower Dicker (that's worth a joke or two) for a Mammoth Car Boot Sale (or so it was advertised). But when we got there, it had been cancelled. The drive through the countryside was pretty tho'. Headed for Alfriston to see the National Trust's Alfriston Clergy House. (The Clergy House is included in the Great British Heritage Pass.)

The Clergy House was the first property the Trust bought � for 10 pounds in 1896! The town is very pretty, but it was quite busy, the lovely sunshine had brought people out for the day. Lots of ancient looking pubs and crooked buildings and an interesting variety of shops. There really isn't a lot to see at the Clergy House but they were having an Apple Festival, which was fun. Staff and volunteers had made different treats with the different kinds of apples growing in the orchard and we could taste a bit of everything for free. Rick's favourite was the apple cake and mine was the shortbread cookie with apple chutney on it. You could buy the apples as well, although they were all cooking apples and since I refuse to do any baking on holiday, we just took pictures of all the beautiful varieties. We did buy a ticket for 1 pound to win 10,000 pounds � the money goes towards rebuilding the rose beds.

The house actually belonged to the church next door � hence, Clergy House � and in the late 1800s was scheduled for demolition. But a new vicar recognized its importance as an example of a 14th c. dwelling and saved it, eventually selling it to the newly founded National Trust.

One of the most interesting things in the house is the chalk and sour milk floor in the miniscule Great Hall. Local people used the plentiful chalk available from the surrounding fields and hills and would it on a flattened, dirt floor. Then they would damp it down repeatedly, add more chalk, etc., and then finish it off with sour milk. When the mould stopped growing on the milk, the floor was considered finished or cured. Apparently, it has the consistency of soft cement.

Wandered about the shops a bit in Alfriston, then had lunch at the Badger Bakery & Tearoom. Was very good. I had cauliflower and Dijon mustard soup with homemade bread and a big chunk of delicious cheddar. Rick had a ham and tomato sandwich with crisps and a side salad. All for five pounds. The Tearoom's speciality is homemade cakes, which looked scrumptious, but we were too full of apple treats. (The plum and cinnamon cake looked wonderful.)

Decided we needed to see the sea again (I was still yearning for Aldeburgh in Suffolk), so drove to Pevensey Bay. A huge, pebble beach. We walked and walked, picked up these strange shells that look just like people's ears (our granddaughter will love them). Then we sat and watched the windsurfers. Part of you just wants to march right out there and ride the wind to wherever it would take you. I did notice, and this is a 'cheeky' aside, there were a lot of flat bums in those wetsuits.

Then drove along the seafront in Eastbourne, kind of Miss Marple shabby, but nice. Not as attractive when you got off the water, tho'. Stopped at an ASDA to get groceries, what a madhouse. They were actually running out of things and certain shelves were bare. Don't know if I've seen that in Canada. Stocked up on wine, cheese, water and crisps � life's necessities. And chicken Kiev, which we love, and only eat in England. It's probably full of all kinds of processed and re-processed crap, but it is tasty.

Watched a new 'Cracker' tonight. I was surprised at the anti-Americanism in the story. It basically said that America had funded terrorism in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and South America, but when it was being done to them, suddenly it becomes evil. Obviously, it's fiction, but wonder if this reflects how other Brits feel.

Raining the next morning, but as I mentioned in Suffolk, we have decided to just carry on. Stopped at the library to check messages, I'm waiting to get instructions for how to get to the place we've rented in Umbria and am getting anxious since once we leave England for Italy; I'm not sure what kind of e-mail access I'll have.

The librarian is so nice and gave me a pass for the week, which means I can use the computer for as long as I want. Received an e-mail from the cottage owners in Suffolk, somehow I'd left behind my computer disc, which has all the trip information on it. They are going to send on to our next cottage. Nice people.

Then went to Bateman's (also included in the GBH Pass). We visit it every time we are in the area, it's so lovely. It was Rudyard's Kipling's home and you can easily imagine him living here, particularly when you enter the room where he wrote. I know if I had that room I could be one of the world's greatest writers, too.

Heard a story from one of the room stewards that I'd never heard before. Kipling and his wife Carrie were on their round the world honeymoon when he went to a bank in Tokyo to withdraw some money. He took out 100 pounds and the bank manager asked if he was sure he didn't want any more. Kipling said no. The next day his bank failed and he was wiped out. All he was left with was the 100 pounds and a return ticket to America, where his wife was from. They eventually ended up moving to Vermont and lived on a cottage on Carrie's family's land. Four years later, after a bitter fight with Carrie's brother, the Kiplings left America and never returned.

I also didn't know that after Kipling and his wife died, their daughter, Elsie, took all the furniture, etc. back to her home at Wimpole Hall, near Cambridge. Bateman's was left to the National Trust. But after the war when the National Trust opened the house to visitors, Elsie decided that she couldn't bear the house being without all the things that had made it a home. So she brought everything back, set it all out exactly as it had been, and came back every year until she died in 1976 to make sure that the Trust had kept everything as it was. The garden is also beautiful, even in early October.

Ate at The Bear in Burwash. Was very good. I had lasagne, Rick the all-day breakfast. About 11 pounds. A nice, cozy, well-used feel to the place, lots of English couples eating there.

Ran into a traffic accident just outside Hastings, vehicles were backed up for miles. So, did a u-turn and came home another way. Rick asked how I knew there would be a way out and I said that in England there's always a pub or a different route just around the corner.

Next...Foyle's War, The Embarrassing Venus Video and Robin Hood's Beach.
rickmav is offline  
Feb 7th, 2007, 05:34 PM
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OK, so I've managed to successfully click on a link once again and am rewarded with more of this delightful trip report. Sorry about your cottage, I guess it's bound to happen sometime. Look forward to more of your adventures.
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Feb 7th, 2007, 05:52 PM
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Thanks noe847 for hanging in there.
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Feb 7th, 2007, 08:49 PM
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Well, you asked the question.

"America had funded terrorism in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and South America. Obviously, it's fiction, but wonder if this reflects how other Brits feel."

It's not fiction, and you'll scarcely find a Briton disagree with a single syllable. If you've had to deal with the effects of the murders in this country funded by the ****ing morons in North America who contribute to Noraid, and executed by people America wouldn't extradite, you'd feel the way we all do.

Which, I suspect, is merely mild irritation compared to what citizens of Central and Southern American countries subject to American invasion and subsidised terrorism over the past century feel.

In fairness, America began interfering in Afghanistan only after the Russians started it. I don't know what the precise text in Cracker was, but the real point about Afghanistan isn't that America funded terrorism. It's the specific terrorist America funded.

Chap called Osama bin Laden. Whose murderous activities were indeed just fine as long as he was merely killing a few Soviet conscripts or inflicting a spot of "persuasion" on locals.
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Feb 7th, 2007, 09:10 PM
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flanneruk:
1) I wasn't commenting on whether the theme of 'Cracker' was true or false, I meant the show itself was fiction.
2) You shouldn't presume to know how I feel about what has happened or is happening in the world today. You would be surprised how wrong you are.
3) I was trying to express my views, on a travel forum, on things I saw and thought about while I was in England. My curiousity about how people in England might think about the issue is genuine, but obviously this isn't the place to wonder about it.
4) I'm sorry I wrote it because Fodor's will probably delete my post and that will be distressing to me because I had some genuine information to impart.


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Feb 7th, 2007, 09:30 PM
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HEY CHILL OUT YOU GUYS.
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Feb 7th, 2007, 09:50 PM
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Rickmav:

Yes, I'd be sorry too if this led to deletion of a fascinating (and excellently written) thread. And, re-reading my piece, it could have been drafted in a way less likely to attract the blue pencil. So please accept my apologies: I was slightly distracted by the flannerpooch's confusion at all the snow that's suddenly materialised outside.

However re-reading it, I can't for the life of me see where I'm making any assumptions about your own views.

But let's see if I can bring a touch of near-objectivity to the issue, in the hope of some measured observations on an important aspect of tracvelling in a country where you can understand everything they say

The perception of American double standards on terrorism is indeed widespread in Britain: virtually universal indeed. Traditionally, it rarely surfaced much, except as a wry joke among ourselves when we were sure our transatlantic cousins weren't in earshot.

And that's important: much of the time (as in Afghanistan) our own government was fully in agreement, and most Britons fully understand that keeping global peace inevitably involves human tragedy, and it's the job of a superpower and its allies to make sure that the tragedies affect other people.

So getting wound up about - say - American connivance in the overthrow of Allende and the subsequent Pinochet government was the province of people who took politics too seriously. Or you might provide the gorier details of early 20th century interference in Mexico, Cuba or the Philippines to the odd American fellow-student whose education (and uncritical belief) in universal American benevolence had missed that bit out.

Then came Northern Ireland. Noraid, difficulties over extradition, and the near canonisation of murderers and their supporters in New York, Boston and (it sometimes seemed) the whole Democrat Establishment touched some very raw nerves. And each IRA atrocity in England made those nerves rawer still. Above all, this wasn't a government supporting terrorism far away: it was ordinary Americans supporting terrorism specifically aimed at us. People we'd marched with over Vietnam or nuclear disarmament were funding bombings we'd just avoided by a couple of minutes.

None of which affected the shock and anger in Britain over the events of September 11, 2001. But it made claims about "wars on terrorism" hit very unfertile ground here.
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Feb 8th, 2007, 12:23 AM
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hi - can we get back to south-east england please?
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Feb 8th, 2007, 01:07 AM
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I doubt your post will get deleted since these outburst happen on a regular basis along with various other denials of reality.

Very detailed and interesting report; I wish I thought I could have put up with the cottage situation as you did.
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Feb 8th, 2007, 01:16 AM
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If I may just lower the tone a little: if you think your trip to the car boot sale occasions a laugh or two, a friend of mine used to live in the neighbouring village of Upper Dicker.

Shame about the cottage: but have you read 'Cold Comfort Farm' - which claims to be set in Sussex...?
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Feb 8th, 2007, 04:43 AM
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rickmav - So sorry about Owl Cottage and subsequent bad reaction by the owner and the letting agency.

So glad to read how nice the previous place was about returning your computer disc and the week long pass at the library.

Loving all your details and how you mix it up, giving us a bit about what you eat, where you are going and then some history.

Yours is one of the best reports on this forum. Looking forward to more.

Sandy
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Feb 8th, 2007, 04:59 AM
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Ok, can I split my response into two parts:
1)
Your holiday - I've really enjoyed reading all your posts. It sounds as though you had a great time wandering round some of my own stomping grounds, it's a lovely part of the country isn't it? It doesn't get as much publicity as some other areas, and it's not really an area that UK holiday makers think of coming to, but there is a lot here. Did you go up to Beachey Head while you were in Eastbourne? I smiled at the Dartford Bridge part - my dad now refuses to drive over it as he gets vertigo.

Shame about your cottage, I guess there are always a few duff ones around and you were unlucky.

2) You asked if the attitudes exposed on 'Cracker' reflects how people really feel in the UK. I have to back Flanner up here and say that, yes, it does really. Not everyone of course, but quite a lot of people. When the Oklahoma bombing happened I couldn't tell you how many times I heard 'god that's terrible, I wouldn't wish that on anyone, but at least they know how it feels now'. As well as deep sympathy the same people would also feel a sense of 'they got a taste of their own medicine for once'. The US citizens' support and funding of Noraid caused a lot of pain here - this was money used to create bombs to kill British people, men, women, and children. the refusal of the donating Americans to recognise this (and there is a suspicion that they knew but just didn't care) has caused a lot of continuing bad feeling. Although again, I repeat, there is no sense of gloating or gladness about any attacks on American soil ...more a hope that now maybe the Americans will understand how other nations feel.
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Feb 8th, 2007, 06:21 AM
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Again, thanks for all your comments. I hope flanneruk we can be friends again. I value your insights.

flybob - consider me chilled.

Dukey & SandyBrit - We've had so much good fortune when it comes to renting cottages in England that even though we were disappointed, we kept reminding ourselves how fortunate we've been. And Sussex is so beautiful that it wasn't hard to stay away from the cottage.

PatrickLondon - I haven't read the book 'Cold Comfort Farm', but I did see the movie. Oh my gosh, I think we may have been staying there.

nona - Yes, we went to Beachy Head and loved it. And thanks for your thoughtful answer to my question.

annhig - will post next instalment today. Thanks for nudging me on.
rickmav is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 07:02 AM
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I agree very much with Nona1

There has been a lot of hurt about American support for the IRA. It has felt like a betrayal by friends.
Try to imagine a situation in which a militant Hawaiian independence organisation started planting bombs on the US mainland and actually targeted a party conference, narrowly missing killing the president but killing and injuring some of his close associates.
Imagine them planting bombs in clubs where the average age was late teens and early twenties.
Imagine them planting a bomb outside a Mcdonalds on the day before Mothers' Day and killing two little boys who were shopping for presents for their mothers.
Then imagine that there are people in the UK who actually send money to this organisation.
Imagine that the UK government refuses to declare the members to be terrorists and refuses to extradite them.

Sorry to post such a sombre reply, but you did ask what British people thought.

MissPrism is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 07:07 AM
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I've enjoyed your posts too because you have obviously enjoyed some of my favourite places.

Did you walk down to Robin Hoods Bay?
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Feb 8th, 2007, 09:20 AM
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Absolultely LOVING your reports! Too bad about the cottage - I rented one in Kent once where the owner lived next door and was a pet rescuer. So there were about 20 cats in the garden and 4 or 5 dogs. But luckily the cottage itself was spotless and there were no odors at all. And it was great having all the animals around since I always miss my own when away.

Just one comment about the terrorism/Noraid issue. I totally agree the Noraid is an absolute discrace -- but probably 90% of Americans have ever heard of them and have absolutely no idea of them funding the IRA. And if you eliminate Boston and the NE - the number is probably more like 99%.
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Feb 8th, 2007, 09:21 AM
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oops - . . . disgrace . . .
janisj is online now  
Feb 8th, 2007, 09:23 AM
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Oh sheesh - I AM in too much of a hurry this morning. This is what I meant:

>>. . . . . but probably 90% of Americans have NEVER heard of them and have absolutely no idea of them funding the IRA.<<
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Feb 8th, 2007, 11:31 AM
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Thanks MissPrism and janisj for your support and opinions. We didn't walk all the way down to Robin Hood's Bay, just appreciated it from the cliffbank. Next time.

------------------------------------
Part II - Foyle's War, The Embarrassing Venus Video and Robin Hood's Beach.
-------------------------------------

We are great fans of the British television program, Foyle's War, which is a detective series set in the midst of WWII Sussex. (I realize it sounds like all we do is watch television. In fact, we don't get all of the series in Canada, but can find them at our local library.) When I discovered that much of the filming for Foyle's War is done in Hastings, we knew we had to go there.

I printed off a map from the Internet that shows many of the film locations -http://www.visithastings.com/attractions/foyleswar_locationmap.aspx - and we wandered around trying to find as many as we could. Using the map, we easily located the house on Croft Road that is used as Foyle's home. It's in this very quiet neighbourhood and we felt a bit strange taking pictures of it. But no one paid us much attention. Another thing I like about the British. Also, took pictures of the distinctive black fishing huts on the beach, the Royal Victoria Hotel and some of the general street scenes that appear in the series.

(Another great website we use to check out the film locations for our favourite movies and television programs is - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0310455/locations.)

The Old Town in Hastings is a lot of fun, with tons of shops and pubs and a pedestrian area on George Street that is lively and interesting. Found this great junk shop, I really only skimmed the surface but picked up some great books and a few surprises for my husband's Christmas stocking.

Had lunch at Si, Simply Italian (in training for our Italian sojourn). Friendly place, near the beach, reasonably priced. Rick had spaghetti bolognese and I had pizza. Big portions and tasty.

Enjoyed the arcade on the beach, everybody loves to feel like a kid again. Rang the 10p slot machine up to two pounds, decided I was on a losing streak so walked away.

Then my conservative husband and I decided to do something quite insane. We made a music video, starring ourselves singing 'Venus', in a mini-studio on the sidewalk. The booth looked like a large version of the passport-picture kiosks. We sat inside, put in our money, and followed the prompts on a large screen. You don't see a camera but there was something flashing away. Then you waited a few minutes, and, voila, the machine previewed your very own music video. What a hoot. We looked so ridiculous. And by this time, people who were in the arcade started wandering over to see why these two idiotic tourists were laughing so hard. The machine burns you a DVD and spits it out along with a cover (I think it cost us 4 pounds). The video was a great hit when we returned home. We are thinking maybe we should send it to Canadian Idol.

Walked along the beach, Hastings has the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in Britain. The boats were all there, so took lots of pictures, including some artsy ones of the fishing junk laying around floats, piles of nets, old dinghy's, etc.

Then we drove to Beachy Head. The views are quite breathtaking and the air so full of oxygen we both felt light-headed. Wandered about the hills. Drove round to Birling Gap, situated on top of the Seven Sisters Cliffs. We'd been warned the road was quite narrow, but we've been on worse (this is foreshadowing our adventure in getting to our cottage in Chianti in a few weeks). There is a metal veranda/stairway thing that goes down to the beach at Birling Gap and although I have a fear of heights, I walked out to the edge to get the best look at the amazing cliffs and ocean, and then descended to the beach. I believe this is the beach that was used in the scene in Robin Hood (the one with Kevin Costner and Alan Rickman) where Robin first touches English soil after returning from the Holy Land.

Once we came back up, which took forever since I had to rest every three steps (obviously too much chicken Kiev!), we had a pint at the bar at The Birling Gap Hotel. Friendly place, lots of families about. It has kind of a 1930s vibe, but with a colonial twist. Would be nice to return when the fireplace was lit.

All the pure oxygen (plus the pint) ensured we had an early night. And we both had a great sleep. I need to find a way to breathe this air all the time.

Cooler today, but still lovely. Set off for Charleston Farmhouse first thing in the morning. It is the 17th c. home, with additions, of the artists Vanessa Bell (sister of Virginia Woolf) and Duncan Grant. Clive Bell, Vanessa's husband, later joined the two of them. It gets even more complicated.

Another place I'd always wanted to visit, have seen some of the interiors in decorating magazines or illustrating stories about the Bloomsbury Group. Rick wasn't keen on visiting, so he waited for me in the lovely gardens. It cost 6.50 to go in (including the guided tour); this was one of the few places we visited that wasn't covered by the Great British Heritage Pass.

Virginia Woolf actually found the house for her sister on one of her rambles over the South Downs. Woolf herself bought a cottage not far away called Monk's House, near Rodmell. The tour guide was very good and made you actually hear and see the cab as it drove up to the doors on that crisp, autumn day overflowing with Vanessa Bell, her lover Duncan Grant, Grant's lover, Vanessa's two children with Clive Bell and a large dog named Henry.

You get to visit about 10 rooms in the house and all of them are decorated with Vanessa's stencils and paintings, as well as Grant's paintings, textiles and ceramics. A bit hectic, but in a seamless kind of way. I felt as if I wanted to move right in and would be effortlessly happy there. The guide's funny and honest stories made it easy to imagine all these creative and complicated people living together. A person on the edge of the Bloomsbury group, in response to a question from someone who wanted to know what they were really like, said, "They are a circle of close friends who live in squares and love in triangles." Perfectly put.

Many of the textiles designed by Bell and Grant were brought out again in the 1980s by Laura Ashley and they are just as attractive today much of the furniture is covered with them. I particularly liked Vanessa's bedroom, which opens on to the garden, through French doors, and to the wonderful two-storey studio beside it. The studio is so full of their energy, that it feels as if they'd just left a few moments before. On the easel in the studio is a full-length, full frontal nude portrait of a man quite eye stopping. The guide never referred to it and none of us were brave enough to ask who it was. Does anyone know?

There are quite a few Impressionist paintings in the house, but they are all copies (except for two by Walter Sickert, the guy Patricia Cornwell thinks was 'Jack the Ripper'). Clive Bell, Vanessa's husband, was an early champion of the movement and bought many of the originals at rock bottom prices. When the 'ménage a endless' ran out of money in the 1950s they sold them all, but not before Vanessa and Duncan copied them. I think Charleston House is one of the most interesting places I've ever visited and I would heartily recommend it to anyone.

Had lunch at The Ram in nearby West Firle. Vanessa, Duncan, and Quentin Bell, Vanessa and Clive's youngest boy, are all buried in the churchyard. The pub must be a popular hiker's stop, everyone but us seemed to be outfitted in boots and walking sticks. I had tomato and basil soup with ciabatta bread and Rick had a steak sandwich. It was okay, not two thumbs up, cost about 12 pounds.

Then drove to Monk's House, Virginia and Leonard Woolf's home, about 10 miles away. It's run by the National Trust so is covered by the GBH Pass. The Woolf's bought the house in 1919 for 700 pounds. White clapboard, on the road to the Rodmell village church, it's actually quite humble. Virginia herself recognized this and said that they bought it for the garden and the fact that the back of it runs into the Downs where she loved to walk. You only get to see three rooms, the sitting room (decorated in a sparer version of her sister's style), the dining room and Virginia's bedroom. You also get to see inside the more modern small chalet where she wrote, situated at the back of the garden. Very austere. Reminded me a bit of Vita Sackville-West's writing room at Sissinghurst (the two women were, in fact, lovers).

Virginia's favourite part of the day was in the late afternoon after she'd gone for a long walk. She'd come home and have tea, answer letters and write in her journal. She called it 'the cream of the day'. I quite like that.

I found it interesting that none of the written material we received at the house referred to the fact that Virginia killed herself while living at Monk's House. She drowned, in the river Ouse, and her ashes were scattered in the garden. (Played out so wonderfully in the movie, 'The Hours', with Nicole Kidman.)

A very full day. And a lot to think about.

Next...An Arts & Crafts Haven, Pooh Corner and The Wet Battle of Hastings
rickmav is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 04:52 PM
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In fairness, while I agree with most of what Flanner is saying, I have to say that in this as in all political discussions the temptation to use too broad a brush should be resisted. When I was in London in 1991 I had scarcely ordered my pint in a Westminster pub than the old gentleman standing next to me at the bar, who heard my accent, chewed my ear off for a good twenty minutes about how I ought to be ashamed of myself for setting off all those bombs. He was red in the face and blasting spittle, and no protestations on my part that I hadn't set off any bombs nor put any coins in a Noraid jar or contributed in any other way was going to cool him off.

He was under the impression that every bar and restaurant in America had a jar on the counter "for the widows and orphans" of the IRA, and that all the money went for guns and bombs instead. It isn't, and has never been, true. I've certainly never seen the jar, not even in Boston. Americans did raise some money for Noraid, but after such famous Irish-Americans as Ted Kennedy publicly called for the practice, and the desire behind it, to cease, it was mostly underground, and mostly Irish. People forget that back in the bad old days there were more undocumented Irish immigrants in the cities of the East Coast than Mexicans in Arizona.

When he'd finally shouted himself out he left and I sat there trembling slightly and trying to finish my pint. I didn't get much sympathy from the other folks at the bar, though the Australian barmaid gave me a wink. I felt pretty shattered. Since that time I've received a few misdirected lectures on the positions of Mr. Bush, which are also not my own. But it goes with the territory. Most people everywhere are pretty nice. And Brits, of course, have very little to brag about in the way of national leaders or foreign policy in the Middle East themselves, which usually leads to an air of embittered cameraderie rather than attacks.
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