Kiddy-corner from the bus shelter is The Red Lion. Apologies for the terrible picture - I was so shaken from my Momentous Realization that I took a lousy picture. The salient points are: on the right, part of the sign saying Hand Cross; and in the middle, behind the Public Footpath sign, The Red Lion, Established 1519.
It's difficult to pick a favorite Heyer because I have loved her books since I bought my first one at the age of 15 on a band trip to Canada. But The Talisman Ring is right up there. Near the beginning of the book, the young heroine encounters the young hero, who has been shot. She takes him up on her horse and he tells her:
"Follow this track; it'll bring us out on to the pike-road, north of Hand Cross. If you can wake old Nye at the Red Lion, he'll take me in.... It seemed an interminable way to Hand Cross, but at last the lonely inn came into sight, a dark huddle against the sky."
OK, some poetic license there, but Hand Cross!!! The Red Lion!!!
Heyer lived in Sussex, not far from here, for many years. So this isn't completely surprising, but still...
A good day. Lunch out, flowers everywhere, a nice bus trip, with the absence of any traffic related tension, and The Red Lion Inn!!! Hand Cross!!!