Friday, 27 June 2014

Skywatch in Bexhill

While we were away we went to see the De La Warr Pavilion, an incredibly modern looking '30's building, sitting on the coast in old-fashioned Bexhill as though it had just landed from outer space.

One of the exhibitions in the pavilion was a wonderful small display of Otto Dix etchings, nineteen etchings from his huge fifty print series of 1924, 'Der Krieg', on loan from the British Museum. Hugely powerful work, both the subject matter and the technique. I studied etching at college so this exhibition was a real treat for me. The plates combine etching, dry point and aquatint to fantastic effect. I couldn't photograph the work without some reflection from the glass, but I hope this will give you some idea.

Then it was outside to have a blast of very fresh sea air!

With lots of sky for Friday skywatch.

Sunday, 22 June 2014


The Ancient Town of Winchelsea, like nearby Rye, became one of the Cinq Ports in the twelfth century. But by the sixteenth century the harbour had silted up and it was left literally high and dry 
and now it's a quiet and pretty place. We had come to visit the church of St Thomas the Martyr  and parked outside these attractive houses with their well-kept front gardens.
A notice attached to a tree at the edge of the graveyard marks the spot where John Wesley gave his last outdoor sermon. He was 87 years old.

The graveyard is visited by people wanting to see the gravestone of the comedian Spike Milligan. The inscription is in gaelic.
It translates as, "I told you I was ill."
There are always interesting things to discover in old churches and St Thomas the Martyr is no exception; a sad little story on the church floor
and around the walls a series of wonderful figures, their history unknown.
The detail in the carving is lovely, depicting leather bindings for the sword, (and some grafitti!)
chain mail, with the gloved sections not worn
and some nicely scalloped fabric. 
They were very well turned out!
At the rear of the church a notice informed me that one of the reclining figures features in a painting by the Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais.
I'd never heard of this painting before, 'L'enfant du Regiment,' although so many of Millais' images, especially 'Orphelia' are well known.
Then we went on to the coast and ate fish, chips and mushy peas!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Out and about in Rye.

Painting of Rye by a local artist in the bar of 'The George."
Ever since reading "The Master" by Colm Toibin about Henry James in Rye I've wanted to visit Lamb House where he lived from 1898 'til 1914.  As soon as we had left our overnight bags at the hotel I went hot-foot round the corner to knock on his door.
 See the little white note taped over the entry details? They were closed until the 21st!!
We had driven for four hours to get there and I wasn't even able to peep into the garden.
The reason for the closure was filming, a new BBC production of Mapp and Lucia. The name above the door had been changed from 'Lamb House' to 'Mallards' and a whole new false bow window and plastic railings built to one side by a local carpenter. (Someone had leant against the railings and they'd been put back together with sticky tape!)
A shop window had become the Tilling Emporium displaying period clothing

with information about E.F. Benson, the writer.
Filming was in progress around pretty Church Square

and extras were waiting in the churchyard.
The cameras were in action inside 'The Old Vicarage.' (Our receptionist told us that the owners were delighted because the kitchen had been totally reconstructed and they were going to be able to keep the Aga !)
It seems that Rye has been full of characters both fictional and real
with houses are as varied as the personalities,

from the grandeur of Nash's house to this little place where the door height is 5ft 4 inches!

On our second night we stayed in Mermaid Street.
My, those pebbles take some walking on!
Here's our B&B.
Rather appropriately we were put in 'Benson' room.

 And after so much sight-seeing it was good to flop into bed!