The Royal Crescent, Bath.

We had a little Road Trip down to Dorset and Somerset a couple of weekends ago. The weather was rubbish so we went inland to the city of Bath.

A true high point for me was the Royal Crescent.

This is one of Bath’s most iconic landmarks, was built between 1767 and 1775 and designed by John Wood the Younger. This impressive landmark is arranged around a perfect lawn overlooking Royal Victoria Park and forms a sweeping crescent of 30 Grade I Listed terrace houses.

It is iconically Georgian. I wanted to look behind that sweeping bank of closed doors. Have a wander. Stay a night. Play at being mega rich.

Oh! There was also a cricket pitch…

We didn’t do the Roman Baths- the obvious Bath attraction. Still in COVID times pre- booking online is the way to go- obviously 🤦🏽‍♀️.

Brighton’s Back Passages.

Today we followed the ‘Brighton’s Back Passages’ walk (p.46) from the above by David Bramwell, John Ashton, and Tim Bick.

Starting at Morrison’s supermarket in Kemp Town, the first back passage was a tunnel- shaped covered alley.

A few passages later we hit Quadrophenia Alley ‘where Jimmy and Steph get it on…’ and apparently ‘Fans have been known to re-enact the love scene here’.

The next Alley off Little East Street had ‘ambient music installed in an attempt to calm passing drunk vandals… and has been decorated by legendary Japanese street artist Lady Aiko.’

Many more alleys followed.

Items of interest included:

Brighton’s smallest pub and. ‘… it’s hardest to find.’
A pull bell.
Fake door- created for the set of the film Wimbledon and has never been removed.
Pub by Brighton station
Max Miller Statue, Pavilion Gardens.

The Brighton’s Back Passages walk finished at the lovely Brighton Pavilion.

Brighton Pavilion.

We started the walk off with coffee and cake at The Flour Pot Bakery.

And finished with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc at the Theatre Royal.

The walk was brilliant. Cheeky Walks spot on and very easy to follow. We didn’t loose our way at all. A first for us…!

Leamington Spa and the Regent Hotel.

Last weekend involved a road trip up to the West Midlands

Wet trip up to Middle England.

And an overnight stay in the Regent Hotel Leamington Spa, now a travel lodge.

It is a beautiful grand old lady of a building and had me wondering about it’s history. Wikipedia told me this:

In 1809, a plot of land was purchased to build the hotel on, which cost £1,000. The foundation stone was laid eight years later, on 18 July 1818 by the granddaughter of the original landowner. The hotel was officially opened on 19 August 1819. The hotel opened as Williams Hotel, but 3 weeks later was renamed The Regent by permission of the then Prince Regent (George IV). In 1830 Princess Victoria, then aged 11, apparently stayed overnight at the hotel with her father. Eight years later from the balcony of the hotel it was announced that Victoria, now Queen, had allowed the prefix Royal on its name, which the town still bears to the day. Moving to more modern times, the cast and crew of the British comedy Keeping Up Appearances stayed at the hotel whilst filming in Leamington. For some years now the hotel has been a Grade II listed building and in 1998 the hotel closed its doors. In 2003 however it was decided that the hotel was to be extensively redecorated and refurbished as part of a scheme to regenerate the surrounding area.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regent_Hotel

Leamington was also beautiful on a chilly May Sunday morning. I love the architecture and the wide tree- lined avenues.

Couldn’t live in the Midlands. The draw of the coast is too strong, not to mention the warmer climes in the South East of England. However there is still something magical about the Shires- historical and literary.

Nymans. West Sussex.

Nymans’s-National Trust property in West Sussex- dramatic architecture is part Regency, part pseudo-medieval – and now part ruin, following a fire in 1947. Nothing is quite as it seems…

Been there a few times but last weeks visit had added interest after watching Netflix’s drama The Crown and realising it was the ancestral home of Anthony Armstrong Jones, lord Snowden, husband of Princess Margaret.

It’s beautiful!

Shoreham to Lancing

Continuing our south coastal journey, this time we walked from Shoreham to Lancing.

Shoreham-by-Sea is a coastal town and port in West Sussex, England. The town is bordered to its north by the South Downs, to its west by the Adur Valley and to its south the River Adur and Shoreham Beach on the English Channel.

There is a boardwalk which runs roughly from the end of the port and along Shoreham beach, then a footpath takes you down to Lancing. The beach is a nature reserve and we spotted lots of wildlife on the way, as well some fabulous houses lining the beach.

Lancing has a beautiful College- an independent boarding and day school. It looked magnificent in the distance.

Lancing College

Next stage of our coastal pathway will be Lancing down to Worthing, West Sussex.?

When things don’t quite work out.

I am on annual leave these last two weeks of January 2021. Like a lot of other people during this pandemic, I should have been elsewhere in the world. So we had to re-think. Plan B was a road trip to take in a few of these:

Then a third lockdown has meant staying in our home town. So plan C came into force and we took a walk and did these:

Eastbourne Borough, Eastbourne Town and Eastbourne United.

The Standen Winter Tree of Hope.

Tree of hope.

I’ve seen a lot of these crafting trees around this December. I think that creating them over the lockdown periods have given many people something to do and have helped alleviate loneliness and boredom. These ones were at Standen House, the National Trust Arts and Crafts family home with Morris & Co. interiors, set in a hillside garden.

The Crocodile by Roald Dahl.

“No animal is half as vile
As Crocky–Wock, the crocodile.
On Saturdays he likes to crunch
Six juicy children for his lunch
And he especially enjoys
Just three of each, three girls, three boys.
He smears the boys (to make them hot)
With mustard from the mustard pot.
But mustard doesn’t go with girls,
It tastes all wrong with plaits and curls.
With them, what goes extremely well
Is butterscotch and caramel.
It’s such a super marvelous treat
When boys are hot and girls are sweet.
At least that’s Crocky’s point of view
He ought to know. He’s had a few.
That’s all for now. It’s time for bed.
Lie down and rest your sleepy head.
Ssh. Listen. What is that I hear,
Galumphing softly up the stair?

Go lock the door and fetch my gun!
Go on child, hurry! Quickly run!
No stop! Stand back! He’s coming in!
Oh, look, that greasy greenish skin!
The shining teeth, the greedy smile!
It’s Crocky–Wock, the Crocodile!”

Carved crocodile. Standen House Estate.

Hastings, East Sussex.

View from East Hill

Today was a trip down the coast to Hastings. The town lies between two hills- East and West. It was attacked by the French during the Hundred Years War. The architecture is a fascinating mish-mash of styles ranging from Medieval to Victorian times.

The old town high street (George Street) is a diverse mix of antiquity and modern cosmopolitan. There are cute narrow twittens running off the Main Street up into the cliffs.

Enjoy a game of open air chess in the Old Town square.

Hastings has a thriving fishing community. It’s fleet is the largest in Europe that is launched from a beach as opposed to a quay or harbour.

A local character?

Bench on the East Cliffs.

Lastly Hastings was the birthplace of Grey Owl, a pioneer Of Canada conservation- said to have saved the Canadian beaver from extinction.

Newhaven to Dieppe Ferry.

‘Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore’

Andre Gide

Newhaven Harbour, East Sussex.

Even the humble shores of Newhaven in East Sussex. Newhaven ferry port overlooks the English Channel, one of the busiest shipping channels in the world. It is located on the south coast of England in the county of Sussex at the mouth of the river Ouse. It is the closest port to London with Ferry links to France, and is ideally placed between the seaside resorts of Brighton and Eastbourne with quick and easy access to the rest of the UK.

http://www.newhavenferryport.co.uk/

On my way to work I pass this ferry. The pull to hop on and cross the channel is always there!

The Secret Garden.

Bateman’s Robin. Burwash East Sussex.

‘The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off. Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off—and they are nearly always doing it.’

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Chapter 8. “The Robin Who Showed the Way.

An autumn walk around Bateman’s gardens and this engaging robin reminded me of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. A childhood favourite book.