Archive for the ‘Sussex’ category

more Roses in June – Boule de Neige

June 13, 2012

Image

Hastings humour

June 9, 2012

There’s an extremely silly bus shelter at Warrior Square, St Leonards — Lottie gamely volunteering for the ‘does my bum look big in this?’ treatment!

‘Munstead Wood’

June 8, 2012

Munstead WoodDavid Austin Rose — looked unpromising in the bud but has now blossomed spectacularly! Very large dark red flowers, splendid fragrance. Another David Austin triumph.

Roses in May

May 29, 2012

‘Le temps des roses’ is generally in June.  But suddenly there are roses all around our house!

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Some local history — Hastings and St Leonard’s

April 15, 2012

Spotted on recent outings:

(1)

Opposite the Royal Victoria Hotel in St Leonard’s-on-Sea.  ‘Tradition says that William the Conqueror landed at Bulverhythe and dined on this stone’.

(2)

‘The site of / ST LEONARDS PIER / Where the first moving pictures / in the town were shown / 7th November 1896’

[very hard to read unless the sunlight falls at the right angle!]

To quote Shelley, ‘Nothing beside remains…’ — except a bit of open space on the roadway which must have been where the pier head was.

(3)

At the rear of Debenhams store in Robertson Terrace, facing the seafront at Hastings — all postwar rebuilding after bomb damage.  There is other history on this site — for another day…

The Hungry Monk R.I.P. :-(

January 20, 2012

Devastated to discover that our favourite restaurant of all time, The Hungry Monk at Jevington near Eastbourne, has closed after 44 years.  The birthplace of Banoffi Pie is no more! 

The restaurant had a unique combination of cosy historic surroundings, wonderful menus with locally sourced ingredients, interesting wines (and an ideal ‘taster’ selction with meals), attentive service and immense atmosphere.   Eating there was always a memorable experience and well worth the prices,  but evidently in these straitened times there just weren’t enough customers to keep it going.  Very sad.

Where can we go for our extra special celebration dinners now??

The building will be turned into holiday cottages.  They’ll be lovely.  Good luck to them!

We salute a great institution with gratitude and many happy memories.  Farewell, Hungry Monk…

We have arrived in Sussex!

March 8, 2011

Better late than never (having finally got my internet connection back), this is to let you all know that after considerable tribulations, alarms and excursions, Diana and I moved into our lovely ‘new’ house in St Leonard’s-on-Sea on 17 February.

After a couple of weeks we are at last beginning to feel at home, having unpacked at least some of the 300 boxes that arrived from our two previous houses and begun to sort out what goes where.  It’s a lovely big solid 1930s house – with a huge reception hall with room for both our grand pianos (major selling point) and some endearingly quirky features of design and layout, but in great condition and beautifully maintained.

We’ve had a fascinating session with a couple of local architects, and it looks as if we’ll be able to do a certain amount of building to give us more room, better facilities and possibly even more sea views!

And on 24 February, a week after moving in, I took ‘early retirement’ from my job at the Royal Opera House.  So I’m looking forward to continuing with freelance work but also having time to look at the sea, smell the flowers, listen to (and play, or even write) some different music, and generally catch up on all the good things in life that we’ve been too busy to appreciate for the past few years.

Watch this space for more news and pictures as things happen…

The Hungry Monk

January 4, 2010

 

Happy to report that The Hungry Monk, at Jevington in Sussex, is STILL my favourite restaurant!

Diana and I ‘road-tested’ it yesterday for Sunday lunch, and it was absolutely wonderful – as wonderful as I remember it from 30 years ago…

Cosy lounge for with log fire for our welcoming glass, lovely starters, tender locally-reared Sussex lamb and seasonal vegetables, pretty ace desserts including of course Banoffi Pie which they invented (accidentally!) in 1972. Back to the lounge for coffee and chocs. Great selection of wines (they offer a package of a glass each of three different ones for three courses, all magnificent; but the wine list has more mouth-watering goodies in it too).

Can’t recommend it too highly – and we will be back here with the family for my ‘special’ birthday dinner in a few weeks’ time!

…and what’s on the other side…

May 5, 2008

Cuckmere Haven

Well… sorry about all those deadlines I was supposed to be meeting today – but I couldn’t face being stuck indoors (it was a public holiday).  Having checked the weather forecast and discovered it had upgraded from ‘probably rainy’ to ‘mostly fine’ in the South-East, I hopped in the car (which also welcomed the chance to stretch its legs) and whizzed down to Sussex for my favourite walk, up and over Seaford Head, with the fabulous view of the Seven Sisters on the other side.

The thinnest of cloud and the lightest of breezes ensured the sun was not too blazing hot.  I travelled light – no jacket or sweater, no bag, no camera, just my phone.  I was well rewarded;  it was a glorious day, Seaford very quiet, a classic Monsieur Hulot-ish slightly eccentric unfashionable seaside resort.  Not many people about, apart from a coach load of Italian kids, singing, on a guided tour (when they weren’t singing they were being earnestly lectured by a tall gent in a long red coat, looking oddly like an escaped Cardinal.  But I digress).

Up on the clifftop path I was assailed by multitudes of flying insects.  No rabbits though (but plenty of evidence that they were about).  Rooks and seagulls everywhere, even sparrows (a rare sight these days), and some very pretty slim beige and brown bird which obligingly perched on the cliff edge before flying off and revealing a fetching white bum;  the bird book in the back of the car suggests it’s a Wheatear (female and/or in winter plumage).  I feel honoured. 

And the skylarks!  They are supposed to be a vanishing species too, but fortunately no one has told these chaps, who were singing their little hearts out ‘in profuse strains of unpremeditated art’, as Shelley described it.  I watched one skylark take off, and followed its soaring, singing flight until my neck ached and I began to think passers-by would think I looked like an idiot.  But as I walked on I could still hear it, hundreds of feet above me, for several minutes, until its song was lost among half a dozen others.

At the far end of the walk, instead of going down to the rather grubby beach (which I gather is called Hope Gap), I turned inland a bit, looking (in vain) for a viewpoint from which to see the sinuous curves and oxbows of the Cuckmere River.  My eye was caught by a triangular cairn I’d never noted before.  It turned out to be a war memorial, complete with faded poppies and crosses.  A plaque described how a company of Canadian soldiers in World War 2 had camped out in the valley, heedless of warnings that they were under the flight path of German bombers.  The next morning, sure enough, two Messerschmitts destroyed them all.  The Captain was shaving in one of the coastguard cottages, and was killed instantly ‘when a bomb came through the wall that held his mirror’.  A sad bit of history.

War memorial, Cuckmere

More details here, with the text of the plaque – the writer has had the same experience as I have just had!