Wednesday, September 29, 2010


In summary, we had a lovely time.

More specifically, we took the bus to Newhaven from a stop at the foot of our street. The ferry ride was very pleasant - about 3 1/2 hours. Arriving in Dieppe, it's about a 15 minute walk into town to the train station.  Took the train to Rouen and found a hotel.  They whole thing took most of a day - but it was amazingly unstressful.

Our hotel:  was odd, in a very French (and not bad) way, which I will blog later.  The most important part of it was that it faced the Palais de Justice, which was begun in the 15th century, added to in the 16th and 17th century when it was a royal palace, and then again in the 19th century. It was badly damaged during 2 nights of bombing in WWII, one before D-Day and one in August of the same year.  But it has been restored nicely.

The weather:  It would be untrue to say that it rained and was cold the whole time we were in Rouen. There were moments of mere drizzle and we saw the sun twice.  In Dieppe, on the way back, the sun broke through and we had a lovely, though unexpected,  hike to the ferry.

We started wadering around an old sector of town while en route to the ferry, but we ended up getting kind of stranded on top of the cliffs over the ferry port. We were actually on a Randonee route, very pretty walking high over the sea.  There were houses and streets, but we had trouble finding a way down to the ferry.  So we backtracked.

Oddly enough, this was one of the highpoints of the trip for me.  I am  not a city girl. I like being out in nature.  The picture here is of Dieppe,  taken from the cliffs on our walk.

We are home now, in our favorite coffee shop. Tomorrow we go into London for the day.

Taking a Break from Travel Posts

Lots of fun to watch, nothing to do with travel.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Off To France

Off to France for the weekend. We will not be taking technology, so I will report on this later.

Alfriston Clergy House

Alfriston Clergy House was built in the 13th or 14th century by a prosperous Yeoman Farmer as a family home. It's a medieval type building and it reminded me a lot of the Whipple House. Fireplaces were added to the Alfriston House in the 16th or 17th centur, which made it really very similar to Whipple House.

In the 15th century it became a part of a priory. hence it's name. It was the very first property acquired by the National Trust - in 1898.

Notice the lovely wooden door tops - they were probably added in the 16th or 17th century and I loved them.

Originally it did not have a fireplace, but a firepit in the floor - one of the pictures shows this. Cooking would have been done n an outbuilding because of the danger of fire. The pictures show the Hall, where everything would have happened. On one side of the Hall, the house had a Solar, or Chamber where the family slept. On the other side of the Hall, there would have been a buttery, a cheese room, storage and places for the servants to sleep.

A Perfect Day in the South Downs

The COG and I walked from Exceat to Alfriston and back again, on part of The South Downs Way - an ancient track that runs along the coast. We had lunch in a pub in a tiny village en route. We admired the 13th century church and Clergy House. The weather was sublime. It was a Good Day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bodiam Castle, Tuesday's Highlight

Bodiam Castle - haven't visited for over 30 years - and it's lovely. It's a National Trust property and like all their properties, it is a wonderful tranquil timeless spot.

The castle is 14th century, built between the battles of Crecy and Agincourt by a knight who had made a lot of money fighting in France. He came home, married well, built a castle (which was also built as a very comfortable home) and went back to war again leaving a pregnant wife. That was pretty much his pattern, until he retired to hunker down in his castle and survey the countryside, keeping things safe in his little corner of Britain.

Actually, the castle was in a very strategic place - at that time. The River Rother, navigable by French ships, and strategically important, basically ends at Bodiam.

The outer wall is intact. The interior was despoiled by Cromwell's troups, like nearly every other castle in the land. However, some remains and you can climb to the top of some of the towers for views of the countryside and there are a few rooms still intact in the towers. It's a lovely little place.

The highlight of Tuesday, in between Ikea and the mostly disappointing coast.

Puzzling British Road Signs (continued)

What about Badgers? What does this mean?

The COG Arrives (a long time ago)

The COG arrived last Saturday.  I kissed him and left, moments after he entered the flat as I had to make a second trip to Ikea in order to get the sofa bed we wanted.  They only get a couple of them a week and they were saving one for me till the end of the day. So I really had to go then.

But, I did return later. By then, The COG was out taking pictures, so I waited for him to come home so I could actually greet him properly.

Sunday we did some shopping in Brighton.

Monday we went for a walk and took some pictures and kind of hung out.

Tuesday we rented a car and made my third trip to Ikea in a week. (We will speak of this no more.) Then, we headed cross country, first to Bodiam (which I will post separately) then to Rye. I can't at the moment think why we went to Rye. It may have been just because it was There. It was not a successful destination - we never got out of the car; From Rye we went to Hastings - thinking of Foyle's War.  Hastings was worse than Rye.  And  we drove home along the coast.  Unfortunately, the coast road is completely built up nearly the whole way.  Not a lovely drive.

Until Eastbourne, which was a surprise.  You have to understand that Eastbourne has a rather grim reputation as being a place for old people.  One of the Brighton travel guides we have refers to it as 'The World's largest Open Air Hospice' where there are 'more hearing aid shops than pubs'.  But actually, it's a very pretty place. I mean, the seafront is nicer than Brightons in some ways. More greenery, anyway, and almost completely lined with intact Victorian hotels and housing.  The COG read that this is because it is owned by the Duke of Devonshire (he is the leaseholder on all the property) and he has been completely against any development that damaged the Victorian Essence of Place.

Thank-you Duke of Devonshire.

Anyway, from then on the scenery got better.  We arrived home late but (despite all the futile driving) quite content. The COG managed to get a couple of lovely shots of the sun setting from Eastbourne. And, of course, Bodiam was good.

Wednesday we had a great day.  Which I will blog about separately.

Now it's Thursday.  We walked downtown, did some errands and some grocery shopping. Then we took the bus to Newhaven where we arranged to go to France this weekend.

We are sitting side by side on an old leather chesterfield in a pub called The Saint George, which has free internet and terrible music.  Both of us are using our computers. I have answered my email and am now blogging. The COG is trying to get into his work site.  It's pretty much driving him crazy with frustration as it's slow and he cannot get in. He thinks the latest Mozilla, which downloaded without his permission, is blocking the flash somehow.

We haven't had as much time on the internet this visit and we won't have access in France this weekend, so I won't blog again (apart from a couple more posts tonight) until Tuesday.


Yes, another closet

I have a thing about closets. I like them organized. Here is a picture of the cleaning closet in Brighton. I wish it were prettier - but I didn't feel like painting it at this time. I think it's kind of pathetic to post it - it's not even a good picture. Because it's a stitched picture, it looks blurred. But, the truth is I spent a couple of days organizing this space. I cut in half the shelf that had filled the whole top of the closet. And I built the shelving from extra shelves from an Ikea unit in another room. And I just used bits of left over batten attached to the wall as a base for nails to hang things from. Maybe some day I'll paint it and put some kind of flooring on it. Right now it's got 150 years of dust on wide Victorian, mismatched floorboards.

BTW. This is an understair cupboard of the kind that Harry Potter slept in at the Dursley's house.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Miscellaneous pictures taken from the plane over the Irish Sea.

Window Shopping

Saw this in a shop window yesterday and instantly had an image of Little Miss T. saying 'Oh no no no' and waving her finger from side to side.

One very sweet image replacing another, less wholesome, one.

Coffee Shop

I love this coffee shop. Close to home. Free Wifi. And really good coffee.

And the heart on my latte makes me happy everytime.

I Forgot

From the plane I also saw Kew Gardens. And I finally remembered that I had a camera with me. So here is a photo of Kew (correctly, the Royal Botannic Gardens at Kew) from above.

The big glass house in the middle of the lawn, is the Temperate House - the largest Victorian glass house in existance. (We love Wikipedia). The glass house off to the left is the Palm House. The rest is.... gardens.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Safe Arrival

I'm here in Brighton again. The COG joins me on Saturday. It was a completely uneventful flight, except for one thing. I had a window seat and the weather was clear. It was also a little later than usual, so I could see clearly the entire coastline of Southern England as we flew over - was able to identify lots of it. And London was wonedrful. I saw and could identify:

St. Paul's Cathedral
The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
Westminster Abbey
The Tower
Tower Bridge
Chelsea Bridge
Buckingham Palace
Hyde Park and Kensington PArk
The Albert Memorial and The Albert Hall
10 Downing Street (or at least, Downing Street)
The Gherkin Building
The Millenium Bridge
The London Eye

And much much more.

I only regret that I didn't look for The Globe Theatre. I would have been able to see it if I had thought to look for it, but I was concentrating on the other side of the Thames at that point.

When I got to Brighton, later, it was still clear and sunny but only in the 60's. There were lots of brave young English women in skimpy outfits. Because if you aren't willing to do skimpy when it's 60 here, you'll hardly ever have the chance.

Anyway, I'm here and glad to be here. More to follow. Including some pictures i took from the plane, when I have a chance to post them.

The Big Blue & Yellow Store - All Alone!

I spent Monday at Ikea. All by myself. I realized it was the first time I ahd ever been to Ikea by myself.

What was The COG thinking! There I was, all alone, with a credit card at Ikea. I learned so much that day.

I learned:

1) How to get to Ikea on public transport. Take the #7 bus to the train station. Take the train to East Croyden. Take the Tramway from the front of the station. Do not get off one stop early because you see the Ikea sign. You will end up walking over a mile on busy roads not intended for pedestrians before you finally risk your life running across a busy road to get there.

2) Don't depend on anything you want being in stock. The includes the Sofa Bed, which was the main reason I came a week earlier than the COG. Not in stock. Not available from The Warehouse. Come back on Saturday when they are supposed to be in stock.

3) It costs £21 and 4 hours (round trip) to get there.

3) After exactly 2.25 hours, I had shopped enough and was suffering serious Shopping Fatigue. But I had a cup of coffee and soldiered on for another hour. I was pretty surprised that I was fed up so soon.

4) Not a good idea to go home at rush hour carrying two enormous Blue and Yellow bags and a box with a bar stool in it. I took up the whole center of the train.

5) The taxi from the station to our flat costs £6.20.

So, all in all, a good day full of useful information.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Flower Season at Appleton Farm

One of the best benefits of our CSA is the flowers. This week we were allowed to pick 2 bouquets plus 5 sunflowers, and 1 gladiola.

When I'm picking I find it hard to believe that the bee population has been rather scarily sparse some years. The flower beds have a constant hum of happy bees and you have to pick a little carefully so you don't disturb them. I've brought them home once or twice and when I carefully release them outside, I wonder if they will find their way home. It's not far - maybe 1/2 mile as the bee flies - and I can only hope they have a working gps.

Still Life With Zucchini and Can of Tomatoes

So my lovely neighbor Dorcas offered me one of her special zucchinis. 'They're great,' she said.'You just hack off as much as you need and leave the rest till later. They last forever.'

She gave me my choice. I took the smallest.

I put it next to the can so you could appreciate the size.

Swan Song

The swans are back, sort of. There have been two - one adult and one juvenile - living by the side of our pond all week. The young one looks like a swan, but he's still grey and fluffy. His white feathers are just coming in.

We're a little worried because there's only the one adult. What happened to the other one?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ikea + Cats = a good night

The Ikea in Wembley UK, let 100 cats loose one night to see what would happen. They made an ad out of the results.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Earl Goes Pfffffttt

It's a beautiful morning - blue skies and a damp, green-scented breeze. Earl's visit was a complete anti-climax. Hours of soaking rain (which we desperately needed) but not a branch down in our yard. No wind at all.

The Cranky Old Geezer, in an uncharacteristic glass half-full, moment told me that I should be glad I wasn't one of the 600 people in the state who lost power. But all I can think is that Earl didn't even deserve the moniker of 'tropical storm' if only 600 people lost power.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Hurricane Earl is on his way, due to hit us sometime after midnight, although latest reports say it is a very weakened storm that will make landfall.

Naturally the COG and I went to the beach to see what was happening, which turned out to be mostly other people watching to see what was happening. There was a father and 2 kids bodysurfing in the 4-6 foot swells, despite dire warnings about riptides in the media. They were having fun. And a couple of people were fishing.

Now it's pouring rain outside. The COG refilled the gas can for the generator and we've recharged everything that takes charging and run the dishwasher partly full. We are all set in case of a power outage.

But we are expecting that it will be nothing more than heavy rain with a bit of wind. I love a good storm.

Brighton News

Just had to share this headline from the Brighton Argus:

Two Men Held by Police After Prams Stolen

Two men from Surrey have been arrested on suspicion of theft after two prams worth more than £1,600 went missing from a shop.

A 26-year old man from Horley and a 23-year-old man from Morden were stopped in a car on the Surrey border after the theft from a shop in Lewes Road, Brighton, at around 1.15pm on Monday, August 31.

The suspects have been released on police bail until October 2 pending further inquiries.

PC Lisa Timerick, of Sussex Police, said: “We are in the early stages of the investigation and are still appealing for witnesses.

Anyone with information should call Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Monet Refrigerator Etc.

The fridge has been a little overshadowed by the rest of the kitchen, but it is lovely in its own way. I'm particularly fond of the feet, which we cut down from the entertainment unit. And then, of course, there's the trim on the top, just for pretty. And the metal in/out boxes which form shelves.

The Etc. is the little hutch we bought at a flea market in July. We are going to paint it white, change the knobs and do something else decorative, though we don't know what, yet. You can't really see the size in the photo - it's 45 inches high. About the same as the test of the kitchen. More on this one, later.