Busy busy busy as usual. This post covers two different, contrasting visits to Rye Harbour, a trip over here from Portugal for daughter and grand daughter, and various other things, including an ideologically conflicted trip to the Ardingly Autumn Show and an abortive trip to see ‘Guys and Dolls’.
We went for a walk at Rye Harbour on Saturday. I say a walk but it was a first bit of exercise for Battleaxe after a Covid jab on Wednesday. I always get bad reactions to them. Why? Anyway, as usual, this one meant a day in bed followed by a couple of days of fatigue. However, when we got to Rye Harbour, the sun was out, it was warm, the sky was blue and the tide was exceptionally low. Nice coffee at the Visitor Centre, got some lovely photos. Altogether excellent.
The next day I had to drive to the Ardingly showground with friend Jan to collect our WI’s entries for the regional WI competitions at the South of England Autumn Show and Game Fair. Had a bit of an ideological struggle about this. By and large this event encapsulates everything I hate about county-style Tory Britain – red-faced tweedy haw haws (and those were just the women), blood sports, game keepers, hunting, ostentatious displays of horsey wealth… I could go on ad infinitum. Jan thinks the same way, but, for her, those thoughts are overcome by a desire to see our WI up, out, doing and winning! She had galvanised people to put 20 entries into the various classes… and we were placed in seven, all with large numbers of entrants, which was very good. The Sussex WIs used to have a marquee at the S o E summer show, which I went to many times (see post) and really enjoyed, but a few years ago the Society raised the price so much we could no longer afford it.
Jan got my arm up my back to enter two classes – a poem, and a photograph. Sssh – made little effort with either… but to my surprise the photo won 3rd prize and the poem was Highly Commended (friend Shirley won 2nd prize with her poem, which was excellent.) Here is my photo, taken a few weeks ago, but I am too ashamed of the poem to publish it. Nevertheless, both Shirley and I were robbed. The theme was an acrostic poem on the word Autumn, but the winning poem’s first word was ‘Ah…’ Now, sorry, that is cheating. One could easily do a whole poem like that: ‘Ah, Umm, Tut, Ugh, Mmm, Noooooo’.
Anyway, managed to avoid all triggering sights except I asked an incredibly upper-class tweedy couple festooned with dangling badges how to get to the Young Farmer’s tent, which was sharing with the WI. Turns out the bloke was the ultimate head haw-haw honcho – no less than the Chairman of the S of E Show Committee. Of course Battleaxe was fraightfully polite, even engaging in joshing banter about how one is never too old for a Young Farmer…
Next thing we are off to Gatwick to collect daughter and grand-daughter. D went off to Brighton for a couple of days, and GD came to us.
Another walk at Rye Harbour. How different this was. Dull, cloudy, chilly, windy, the tide was incredibly high… how could it change so quickly… Worst of all, Rye, Winchelsea etc have had no water for days. Am not going to waste energy slagging off Southern Water. They are beneath contempt. So, no water in the Visitor Centre, no coffee, no loos. Anyway a brisk chilly walk was followed by a huge lunch at the Queen’s Head in Icklesham. Had initially booked the Robin Hood, but got there to find we were seated in the annexe with a party of 38 imminently expected…. no way. GD is not good with rumpus and racket – nor are we for that matter.
Daughter reappeared on Friday – had quite a fun time and meal out at Rustico in Ore. Here are the three Battleaxes comparing yoga/Pilates moves… It is good to see the family!
Next thing we know, it’s Saturday again. They are due to leave from Gatwick – oh my, who’d have thought it, there is a train strike. But that is not all, oh no – us two had arranged ages ago to go up to London to meet old friends of Philosopher’s and go to the afternoon performance of ‘Guys and Dolls’. Tickets already bought… But we reckoned we could do it all – drive up to Gatwick, and then on into London as far as Morden Tube. All went well until we got near the M23 turn-off from the M25 – massive traffic trouble on M23, so we were diverted off at the previous junction, and I then had to navigate a complicated route through country lanes and places we had never even heard of – Bletchingley anyone? South Nutfield? But we made it in good time, dropped them off, (those cheeky devils at that airport – £5 charge for drop-off!) and then had to start again and navigate a new route into London, to Morden.
To cut a long story short, by the time we got there through heavy traffic, I was feeling sick, Philosopher was tired, and then of course it was totally impossible to find anywhere to park… should have thought of that before, parked well away, maybe got a bus to Morden, but by then we had no time or energy to try.
We eventually found a space, but it only allowed us to stop for 30 minutes…. so we decided this trip was not happening.. After a degree of weeping and gnashing of teeth, we set off back home again, and discovered an unexpected little gem, Morden Hall Park, run by the National Trust. Nice tea-room, lovely garden centre and a rejuvenating walk round the park made us feel much better.